Front Page Titles (by Subject) 23.: Islam and Its Effects - Judgments on History and Historians
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23.: Islam and Its Effects - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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Islam and Its Effects
Through the sensuous delineation of a future life, Mohammed gives his own measure.
It is a low religion of slight inwardness, although it can combine with whatever asceticism and religious absorption it now and again finds among the nations.
Something very peculiar and rather unparalleled in the history of religion is the enormous degree to which pride is taken in this religion, the feeling of absolute superiority over all others, the utter inaccessibility to any influences; these characteristics grow into innate arrogance and boundless presumption in general. This is in keeping, in praxi, with the lack of any deeper culture and of clear judgment in matters of everyday living.
Further characteristics are consequences of the thoroughly despotic state form which passes over from the caliphates to all splinters thereof. Despite an occasionally very lively feeling for one’s home region which attaches to localities and customs, there is an utter lack of patriotism, i.e., enthusiasm for the totality of a people or a state (there is not even a word for “patriotism”). This is an advantage; a Moslem simply is at home in the whole Islamitic world. That is why a call to arms is not issued in the name of a political home, but only in the name of the faith, ed-Din; the war preacher concerned knows that his listeners can be stirred up only through fanaticism, even though the real purpose of the war may have nothing to do with the faith.
Further consequences of despotism, at least in substance, are the following:
In all activities, tortuous paths are preferred to straight ones. Everything is spun fine and dragged out.
While openness and the citing of real reasons are considered presumption, one’s goal may be reached only through flattery and intrigue.
Universal mutual mistrust.
A basic theme: egoism is directed less at honors and distinctions than at money and property.
Utter lack of gratitude to former benefactors.
In Islam, slavery has an important source, among others, in the harem system, which is inconceivable without eunuchs and black servants. The blacks, however, are much better off here than on the former American plantations; the eunuch is the best and closest friend of his master, feared by the women who seek his favor; the black “house slaves” are treated like children of the house and are far above the rank of their Arab fellow house servants, the “chadams.”
The strongest proof of real, extremely despotic power in Islam is the fact that it has been able to invalidate, in such large measure, the entire history (customs, religion, previous way of looking at things, earlier imagination) of the peoples converted to it. It accomplished this only by instilling into them a new religious arrogance which was stronger than everything and induced them to be ashamed of their past.