Malek Bennabi and his modern Islamic thought
For a long time, Arab and Muslim writers and intellectuals have not been able to agree on clearly defined causes of "al-Takhalluf" (social, cultural and economic retardation) in their societies. One group attributed it to ignorance and illiteracy, while another lay the blame on the lack of technological know-how or colonialism etc. Every effort to get rid of "al-Takhalluf" was frustrated due to the fact that, rather than being directed to an analysis of the problem, such efforts usually focused on the symptoms and consequences. As a result, the Arab and Muslim world is still suffering from economic, technological and cultural retardation. However, the issue of development continued as a major preoccupation of a large section of Arab and Muslim intellectuals. Malek Bennabi is ranked among the very few who have profoundly and systematically contributed to the debate concerning the issue of development. This thesis is intended to discuss Malek Bennabi's singular ideas on "al- Takhalluf", development and social transformation. Compared to other Arab and Muslim writers and intellectuals who have dealt with the subject and achieved a consensus on its vitality, Malek Bennabi's thought singularly provides a realistic perspective based on a more comprehensive methodology. In the discourse of this thesis, Malek Bennabi's ideas will be compared to those expressed by geographers, economists, sociologists, and management scientists as well as to those specifically advocated by Arab and Muslim intellectuals, with a view to delineate the comprehensiveness of Malek Bennabi's approach vis-a-vis his predecessors and contemporaries. The study comprises an introduction, three chapters and the conclusion. Chapter One deals with the atmosphere prevailing in Malek Bennabi's country of origin and his own intellectual, cultural and educational itinerary both in Algeria and in France. It will also discuss the intellectual elements that have influenced his thoughts and are reflected in his works. Chapter Two is an elaborate account of Malek Bennabi's ideas on "al-Takhalluf" (retardation), development and social change in the Arab and Muslim world, and his analysis of the causes rather than symptoms of social and economic retardation as outlined in his nineteen books. Chapter Three is an assessment of Malek Bennabi's ideas on "al-Takhalluf" (retardation), development and social change in comparison to theories formulated by other experts in the field. It demonstrates the singularity, comprehensiveness and profundity of his thought and the success be achieved in diagnosing the phenomenon of "al- Takhalluf" as "deprivation of civilization" rather than a consequence of colonialism, ignorance or poverty. The conclusion sums up Malek Bennabi's ideas on "al-Takhalluf" and social change. It also includes recommendations towards a greater consideration of his work in order to reveal its more substantial aspects. This is followed by two appendices containing: (a) The various theories of backwardness, development and social change as propounded by selected geographers, economists and management scientists, and (b) The various ideas proffered by Arabs and Muslims on "al-Takhalluf" s well as their proposals to eliminate this malady from the Arab and Muslim world. A comprehensive bibliography of references used in the thesis follows the conclusion.