The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis

( 2 )


The book you must read to understand the
Islamist crisis—and the threat to us all

Robert R. Reilly’s eye-opening book masterfully explains the frightening behavior coming out of the Islamic world. Terrorism, he shows, is only one manifestation of the spiritual pathology of Islamism.

Reilly uncovers the root of our contemporary crisis: a pivotal struggle waged within the Muslim world nearly a millennium ago. In...

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The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis

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The book you must read to understand the
Islamist crisis—and the threat to us all

Robert R. Reilly’s eye-opening book masterfully explains the frightening behavior coming out of the Islamic world. Terrorism, he shows, is only one manifestation of the spiritual pathology of Islamism.

Reilly uncovers the root of our contemporary crisis: a pivotal struggle waged within the Muslim world nearly a millennium ago. In a heated battle over the role of reason, the side of irrationality won. The deformed theology that resulted, Reilly reveals, produced the spiritual pathology of Islamism, and a deeply dysfunctional culture.

The Closing of the Muslim Mind solves such puzzles as:

·         why the Arab world stands near the bottom of every measure of human development

·         why scientific inquiry is nearly dead in the Islamic world

·         why Spain translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years

·         why some people in Saudi Arabia still refuse to believe man has been to the moon

Delving deeper than previous polemics and simplistic analyses, The Closing of the Muslim Mind provides the answers the West has so desperately needed in confronting the Islamist crisis.

"Should be required reading for anyone who hopes to argue effectively against Islamic jihad." —The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism

“What happened to moderate Islam and what sort of hope we may have for it in the future . . . is the subject of Robert Reilly’s brilliant and groundbreaking new book. . . . Closing is a page-turner that reads almost like an intellectual detective novel. It is among those few brave books on Islam . . . that should be read by anyone who wants to understand one of the most fundamental causes of conflict in the 21st century.”
National Review Online
“A book that may offer the key to both understanding and perhaps defeating the ongoing war of terror against the West.”
American Spectator
Robert R. Reilly comes closer to providing a persuasive explanation [of what happened to Islamic culture] than any other account I have seen. As Reilly succinctly shows, Islamic civilization . . . threw out of the intellectual window the principles of rational inquiry that the Greeks had first introduced to the West half a millennium before Christ.”
            —Weekly Standard
“The lack of liberty within Islam is a huge problem. Robert Reilly’s The Closing of the Muslim Mind shows that a millennium ago Muslims debated whether minds should be free to explore the world—and freedom lost. The intellectual history he offers helps to explain why Muslim countries fell behind Christian-based ones in scientific inquiry, economic development, and technology. Reilly provides astonishing statistics . . . [and] also points out how theology prefigures politics.”
World magazine
“Reilly recounts Islam’s abandonment of Hellenistic reason, and blames it for the subsequent decline of Muslim civilization and the rise of radical Islam. . . . The importance of this turn in Muslim thinking cannot be exaggerated.”
Asia Times
“Superb and essential . . . Fascinating.”
            —Jihad Watch
“Reilly locates the root of modern Islamic violence . . . go[ing] far beyond the conventional wisdoms that have driven the debate over national security. . . . The remarkable facet of The Closing of the Muslim Mind is that this work of theological archaeology is accomplished while leaving the audience an eminently readable book of just 200 pages. . . . This book should be compulsory reading at all institutions dedicated to preventing another 9/11.”
—Hudson Institute
“An eye-opening and mind-opening book . . . No short review can do full justice to this book . . . Well-researched and meticulously documented.”
Oregon Live
“Superb and stimulating . . . Reilly’s small book has earned a place near the top of the tiny library of books I regard as indispensable. How did I live so many years without it?”
—Joseph Sobran
“Hatred of Islamism for the West is not merely political, as Reilly’s exhaustive analysis shows, but is indeed ‘metaphysically necessary.’ . . . The roots of this now pervasive attitude are deeply buried and shrouded in time, denial and ignorance, and it is the principal achievement of Reilly’s book that he provides a comprehensive account of this momentous event, written in a lucid fashion that is accessible to both experts and the general public.”
National Observer (Australia)
“Clear and concise . . . What Reilly suggests, based on abundant modern scholarship, is that the first fully developed theological school in Islam, the Mu’talizites, would probably have despised bin Laden’s ravings. The tragedy of Islam is that the Mu’talizites . . . have become anathematised heretics.”
“The most eye-opening book of 2010.”
            —Catholic Culture

“Robert Reilly helps explain the Muslim worldview by thoroughly documenting the historic and doctrinal roots behind it; by refreshingly bypassing the overly dramatized question of “what went wrong,” he explains the more pressing “why it went wrong.” —Raymond Ibrahim

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610170024
  • Publisher: ISI Books
  • Publication date: 4/4/2011
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 262,743
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert R. Reilly is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, and National Review, among many other publications. A former director of the Voice of America, he has taught at the National Defense University and served in the White House and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Reilly is a member of the board of the Middle East Media Research Institute and lives near Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Roger Scruton ix

Introduction: Intellectual Suicide 1

Chapter 1 The Opening: Islam Discovers Hellenic Thought 11

Chapter 2 The Overthrow of the Mu'tazilites: The Closing Commences 41

Chapter 3 The Metaphysics of the Will 59

Chapter 4 The Triumph of Ash'arism 91

Chapter 5 The Unfortunate Victory of al-Ghazali and the Dehellenization of Islam 119

Chapter 6 Decline and Consequences 127

Chapter 7 The Wreckage: Muslim Testimonials 157

Chapter 8 The Sources of Islamism 173

Chapter 9 The Crisis 197

Notes 207

Further Reading 229

Acknowledgments 233

Index 235

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    Checked out of the library, and then bought for reference.

    Both Reilly and Bernard Lewis address the reason for the failure of Islam to keep up with the West in science and technology and what these pursuits bring to a civilization. Lewis focused on more recent history and only alluded to the role of religion in general terms. Reilly goes back a millennium and pinpoints the source of the problem: the eclipse of the Mu'tazilites by the influence of al-Gazzali and others, who rejected reason. (There is no such thing as cause-and-effect; there is only the action of Allah,who may habitually do many things the same way, but is not obliged to.) If the Mu'tazilites, who were rationalists, had prevailed, we might all be Muslims by now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    The author asks us why the Islamic world has become so angry and

    The author asks us why the Islamic world has become so angry and 'violent'.... I'm sick to death of violence being equated with the Muslim/Islamic world Mr. Reilly. It was peaceful until we waged the War on Terror on places we had no right being. We've already established that fact of NO weapons of mass destruction. And why the bombing of Afghanistan if that underdeveloped country had nothing to do with 9/11. Really, we need to be building bridges of compassion--not point fingers. When the Arab/Muslim world gains an upper hand with our English language and they really begin to understand Western culture I'm sure they're going to have a lot to say about our society. We have more problems than ever. How about work on our culture Mr. Reilly. We could use some intellectuals like you.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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