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The Rise Of The Middle-Eastern Bourgeoisie In Early Islamic Times

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Chapter Summary

The various trends of Muslim ascetism amalgamated during the third century of Islam into the movement known as Sufism. Although the ideal of renouncing the world was always a strong undercurrent in Islam, its representative opinion during this particular period postured a favorable attitude towards earning and amassing capital and, with some qualifications, even towards certain aspects of luxury. During that time the merchant class attained a social position and correspondingly, self-esteem, which it secured far later in Europe. This chapter examines this religious and social self-assertion of the Muslim bourgeoisie. The &t;bourgeois revolution&t; of the Middle East during the early centuries of Islam had many repercussions on world history. To mention just one: through it the Jews, who up to that time had been engaged mainly in agriculture and other manual occupations, were converted into a predominantly commercial people.

Keywords: early Islamic times; Middle-Eastern Bourgeoisie; Sufism



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