What factors led to the decline and eventual collapse of these Islamic states and did they have any problems in common that would help explain their fall?
My text for this is Traditions & Encounters by Bentley and Ziegler.
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There are a number of factors that help to explain why the Islamic states declined. These factors were generally caused by the fact that these empires were autocratic and large. From these two main characteristics arose the problems that led to the empires’ eventual declines.
First, all of these empires were autocratic. This meant that the most important person in the empire at any time was the emperor. There were few checks on the emperor’s behavior. When there were good emperors, the empires were generally strong. However, all of these empires also had bad emperors, and some of these bad emperors caused the empires to decline. There was also infighting for power between different members of the royal families. This tended to weaken the empires.
Secondly, all of these empires were quite large. As was the case with the Roman Empire, this helped cause their decline. The military and bureaucratic apparatuses that are needed to hold together a large empire are very expensive. When the empires stopped expanding, they stopped bringing in new territories to help pay for these apparatuses. When this happened, the empires became less able to administer their entire territories. In addition, a large empire is likely to have a large number of different kinds of peoples. This meant that there would be diversity of culture and religion. This led to tensions between different ethnic, cultural, and religious groups.
Finally, we should mention that these empires, for whatever reasons, stopped developing new military technology. This allowed European countries to catch up to them and eventually pass them in military power. These European countries then attacked and weakened the Islamic states.
For these reasons, all of the Islamic states discussed in this chapter of your text declined.
A large factor of the Islamic empires' success was their advancement in education and technology. During the empires' downfalls, the empires rejected new thought and technology. They began to embrace fundamentalist religious ideology, which limited their acceptance of new ideas and developments. Examples of this rejection given by Traditions and Encounters include the closing of coffee shops and the banning of telescopes. People had previously met in coffee shops to engage in scholarly discussions, and telescopes were an example of new scientific technology that represented development and thinking. By banning these shops and telescopes and limiting and discouraging the sharing of new ideas, the Islamic governments turned their backs on one of the most important factors leading to their success. European states, which had begun developing new thought, in part because of contact with the Islamic world during the Crusades, overtook the Islamic ones.
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