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Arab Culture and Society


Cultural Primitivism

The term “cultural primitivism” has emerged as a response to the current level of civilization and the challenges associated with it. Human beings who embrace this idea will pursue the state of nature as the best model of leading their lives and getting rid of their predicaments, such as wars, technological shifts, and overutilization of resources. The concept remains significant since makes it possible for people to conserve the environment, overcome most of the pains they face, and improve their experiences (Afsaruddin, 2015). It is also important because it can guide human beings to relate positively, improve their ethical values and standards, support one another, and eventually achieve their personal goals in life. Such an approach is, therefore, essential and capable of guiding people to make the civilized world better and sustainable for all future generations.

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The idea of aṣabīyya is widely utilized in sociology to refer to group solidarity. When members of a specific community embrace this notion, chances are high that they will display the same interests, responsibilities, goals, and shared purposes in life. Such a practice is significant since it empowers them to address their common challenges, collaborate to pursue meaningful change, and even oppose any form of ineffective leadership (Zia, 2019). Aṣabīyya becomes a new opportunity to promote societal peace and empower all members in an equal manner. They will be united whenever they intend to pursue a specific cause.

The Ruling Bargain”

The concept of “ruling bargain” has become a powerful guideline that encourages people to examine the effectiveness of the established governance systems and consider new ways or strategies that are more democratic, citizen-owned, and capable of meeting their demands (Megheirkouni, 2017). This ideology is significant since it challenges the old and promotes the new in order to maximize equality, get rid of dictatorial regimes, and bring power closer to the people (Megheirkouni, 2017). The case of the Arab Spring that engulfed many nations across the Middle East was as a result of the analysis of the existing systems of governance that failed to meet the needs of the greatest majority.


The term ribā can be defined as usury within the Islamic society or teachings. It is significant since it guides the reader to understand how different investors engage in exploitative financial or business deals to enrich themselves. According to the Islamic culture, such a practice is wrong because the Quran condemns it. Ribā has remained contentious since it makes it easier for more people to understand the common challenges different believers and followers of Islam go through when trying to interpret religious teachings (Megheirkouni, 2017). Consequently, ribā has continued to guide or influence a wide range of Islamic financial practices or beliefs in the Arab world.

Sheikh Mo

Islamic scholars use the term “Sheikh Mo” to refer to the current Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates (UAE). The name has become significant since it resonates with the leader’s achievements within the past two decades. His leadership has managed to make the country one of the most prestigious and attractive in the world today (Zia, 2019). Those who want to pursue similar national aims need to consider this name for inspiration, endurance, and the desire to improve the experiences and lives of their followers. His case is a good example of how leaders can think deeply to transform their countries for the better.

Short Answers

Al-salaf al-ṣāliḥ and Islamic Reform

The term al-salaf al-ṣāliḥ is used widely in Islam to define the first three Muslim generations. The first one is the group of followers who lived during the time of Prophet Muhammad (Megheirkouni, 2017). His companions belonged to the same generation and were known as the Shahabah. The successors of these members form the second generation and they go by the name Tabi’un (Micir, 2019). The third one is comprised of their successors and are called Taba Tabi’un. The idea of al-salaf al-ṣāliḥ continues to play a critical role in the Islamic role since it influences modern-day reforms in many societies. Different leaders focus or pursue the original teachings of Muhammad and the immediate descendants to make Islamic principles more understandable and meaningful to the people.

The cases of Muḥammad ‘Abduh and Sayyid Quṭb try to describe how the above concept could become a powerful model for determining the nature of reforms in the Islamic world. These leaders remained radical and wanted all followers of Islam to pursue the original teachings that were shared during the early years of the religion to become the fundamental guidelines of social practice, education, and leadership (Megheirkouni, 2017). These actions reveal that more Muslims would continue to focus on al-salaf al-ṣāliḥ to acquire new ideas for changing their societies by taking back to the traditions and original teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

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The Trench and The Dove’s Necklace

In The Trench, Munif goes directly to analyze the rots and malpractices that the government in question promotes to maintain power while at the same time holding on to the traditions of Islam. The author believes that the support different governments in the Middle East receive from the West is inappropriate and capable of undermining the integrity of democracy (Munif, 1993). On the other hand, the book The Dove’s Necklace showcases how nonfiction can be utilized to ridicule or satirize the Islamic society that pursue its traditional values without considering the implications of modern developments and foreign influences (Alem, 2016). The position of women in the society remains questionable since the people are unwilling to retrieve or associate with the murdered female in Mecca.

With these divergent approaches, it becomes clear that Munif uses a radical approach to address the existing conflict between traditional values and the desire to embrace social and economic developments in the Islamic world. Alem (2016) goes further to use nonviolent or non-radical approach to examine the same clash using the power of literature. The outstanding outcome is that the two authors manage to paint a clear picture of the unique issues that many people experience in their respective societies.

Social Classes in Gulf Countries

The wave of globalization has triggered numerous changes in some countries that no longer put much emphasis on traditional values. For instance, most of the Gulf nations have managed to establish and support new social classes whereby some citizens can pursue their goals without embracing their original practices. The model has gone further to minimize traditional approaches and attributes that remained common in the region throughout the colonial period (Micir, 2019). Consequently, a new society has emerged that does not promote tribal-oriented classes. This trend has made it possible for these nations to record increased gross domestic product (GDP), economic diversity, and expansion.

During the colonial period, tribally-oriented social classes segmented based on origin, family, and culture existed in the Gulf. However, numerous transformations have been recorded within the past three decades whereby more leaders have promoted the idea of liberalism while at the same time encouraging more individuals to pursue their religious beliefs. Such an idea has neutralized cases of radicalism that have continued to exist in the wider Middle East region (Micir, 2019). This development should inform new practices in order to promote economic growth and empower more people to achieve their professional goals.

The Big Question

Barzakh: Tribal and the Modern

Writers and novelists in the Islamic world have been relying on the power of art to examine specific issues different members of their societies experience in their lives. Women have been on the frontline to navigate the traditional and modern through the use of various literacy devices. For instance, the works studied in class show how different authors have managed to examine the fate of women in Saudi Arabia and how the existing regime ignores their rights. A radical approach exists in most of the Islamic societies whereby females are expected to focus on their domestic roles. Those who try to pursue their personal or economic objectives encounter numerous challenges. In The Dove’s Necklace, the author tries to describe a woman who is murdered and her body dumped in the streets of Mecca (Alem, 2016). A similar fate of women is noted in the work The Trench whereby they are portrayed as individuals whose lives are edged on the decisions their husbands and relatives make.

Modern authors would continue to rely on satirical approaches to convince or inform more leaders about the importance of barzakh and how it can influence new practices and efforts to empower women. They consider traditional values as essential in every society since they make it possible for people to stick to their teachings. However, they believe that such ideas and teachings of Islam should not be a barrier for these members of the community to benefit from the notions of modernism (Micir, 2019). They go further to pursue a paradigm shift that is in accordance with the teachings or concept of barzakh.

The case of the Gulf can become a powerful model for many countries in the wider Arab society to empower more women, provide them with the necessary resources, and encourage them to apply their religious values in a balanced manner to fit in the rapidly modernizing and globalizing global society. Such an approach will make it possible for more individuals to achieve their maximum potential, support their children, and overcome most of the challenges that have affected them over the past decades (Zia, 2019). More writers need to pursue this approach to influence or promote the implementation of appropriate policies that create a favorable environment for women to become successful members of their respective societies.

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The concept of barzakh becomes a powerful guideline or notion that more women in the Arabian society need to pursue in an attempt to reshape their roles. The idea encourages them to strike a balance between the teachings of values and the notions of modernity. They can consider the issues of feminism to support their families and meet the demands of their husbands without giving up. They need to go further to have clear dreams and career objectives. They can identify emerging ideas or innovations that can guide them to become successful members of the modern Arab society (Zia, 2019). Those who take this idea or approach seriously will be in a position to change their experiences, achieve their maximum potential, and make it easier for their husbands and children to have fruitful lives.

Scholars, politicians, and social activists can find this concept meaningful in describing gender roles in the Gulf region. For instance, barzakh encourages more people to consider the satirical approach Allem applies in her novel. This knowledge can make it possible for more people to understand how women are expected to behave and pursue their goals in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca. Such an approach becomes a powerful strategy for questioning the levels of prejudice and malpractice that have made it impossible for more women to achieve their goals. With this new concept, leaders, politicians, and members of the wider society can be involved to change the fate of these members of the society (Micir, 2019). They can go further to redefine gender roles in the Gulf by providing the right resources without the need to undermine the teachings of Islam. With this form of support, the idea of feminism will a new meaning and influence desirable gender roles.

Analysts can study the successes and gains recorded in the Gulf as a product of barzakh. All countries in the region need to consider the idea to merge all aspects of modernism with the established traditional values in a more constructive approach that can benefit all members of the society (Zia, 2019). The government can also provide appropriate support systems and mechanisms to ensure that more women are able to achieve their potential. This development will transform the feminism agenda in the wider Arabian society and transform the experiences of all people positively.


  1. Afsaruddin, Asma. 2015. Contemporary Issues in Islam. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  2. Alem, Raja. 2016. The Dove’s Necklace. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
  3. Megheirkouni, Majd. 2017. “Arab Sport between Islamic Fundamentalism and Arab Spring.” Sport in Society 20 (11): 1487-1499.
  4. Micir, Melanie. 2019. The Passion Projects: Modernist Women, Intimate Archives, Unfinished Lives. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  5. Munif, Abdelrahman. 1993. The Trench. New York: Vintage.
  6. Zia, Afiya. 2019. Faith and Feminism in Pakistan: Religious Agency or Secular Autonomy? Brighton: Sussex Academic Press.

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