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By Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad

The fiscal, social, political, army, and highbrow points of the Muslims' situation for background exhibit the overall constitution in their notion of reality.

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For the committed Muslim, neither the flow of history itself nor the study and interpretation of it can be considered apart from the realm of the sacred and the workings of the divine. God as creator is also the maker of history; His hand controls every moment in time, every historical event. History is the arena in which His will is made manifest, His dominion is expressed, and His commitment to the fulfillment of its divinely ordained rules is evidenced. And yet in the Islamic understanding it is not God alone who is responsible for the historical process.

The strength and effectiveness of this voice of conservatism has varied at different times in the last two centuries, depending on the fortunes of the Islamic community and what was perceived as victory or defeat. Recent writings coming out of the Muslim world continue to reflect the crises of the modern period, responding particularly to challenges to the authority of Islam in the lives of the believers. These new works appear to follow similar attempts of the earlier generation in trying to elicit an emotional response as a drive to action, to involve the Muslims in shouldering the responsibility for their lives as Muslims rather than copying certain Western ideologies.

They vary in whether they seek their total present identity from within the Islamic tradition, from the West, or from some kind of compromise between the two. All acculturationists seek to be relevant to the modern world and are therefore open to appropriating Western technology. This they may either justify as being outside the realm of religion and therefore permissible, or else they may say that it is Islamic in origin and that all they are doing is reappropriating technology which has been refined by the West.

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