The “pendulum” of attitudes towards westernization
As the Ottoman Empire started to decline in the 18th and 19th century, some leaders started to reject Islamic ideology and adopt more western policies and started integrating westernization into the running of the countries. Leaders such as Ismail the magnificent tried to turn Egypt into a European country by designing a system where students educated in Europe were preferred for government and civil service instead of those educated in Islamic schools. He even changed the court systems to adopt a more European way of making judgments. This had negative consequences for the area as most of its residents were Muslims and when students educated in Islamic schools tried to get jobs, they would be rejected. This further increased the already existing gap between the elite population and the poor as the most accessible form of education for the poor people were the Islamic schools, and as the Islamic schools’ students stopped getting jobs, the gap widened even further. This caused political tension, economic hardships and general dissent by the public. This also inspired puritan movements such as Wahhab’ism and the Sanusi order. The reason for westernization policies was the decline of the Ottoman Empire. People’s reactions included the beliefs that the Muslims as opposed to Islam were at fault and they declined because they failed to properly follow Islam. This is what inspired puritan movements such as Wahhabi’ism and the Sanusi Order which propagated to “recreate the original community of the prophet”.