Skip to main content Accessibility help

Book description

According to diverse indices of political performance, the Middle East is the world's least free region. Some believe that it is Islam that hinders liberalization. Others retort that Islam cannot be a factor because the region is no longer governed under Islamic law. This book by Timur Kuran, author of the influential Long Divergence, explores the lasting political effects of the Middle East's lengthy exposure to Islamic law. It identifies several channels through which Islamic institutions, both defunct and still active, have limited the expansion of basic freedoms under political regimes of all stripes: secular dictatorships, electoral democracies, monarchies legitimated through Islam, and theocracies. Kuran suggests that Islam's rich history carries within it the seeds of liberalization on many fronts; and that the Middle East has already established certain prerequisites for a liberal order. But there is no quick fix for the region's prevailing record of human freedoms.


‘A capstone achievement that explains why political freedoms have expanded so haltingly in the Middle East … Everyone who cares about human freedom and flourishing in the Middle East should read this book.’

Richard A. Nielsen - MIT

‘In the past decade, Timur Kuran has revolutionalized our understanding of the economic development in the Middle East. Now he turns to politics. This book is compulsory reading for anyone who wants to understand the modern world.’

James A. Robinson - University of Chicago

‘Freedoms Delayed is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why the struggle for political rights has been so contentious in the modern Middle East. In this powerful book, Kuran makes the case for the importance of deeply-rooted legacies of Islamic law as a key determinant of political freedom today.’

Lisa Blaydes - Stanford University

‘The Middle East is the least free part of the modern world. In this tour de force, Timur Kuran rigorously probes the sources of this problem, and objectively exposes its roots in the Islamic tradition…’

Mustafa Akyol - Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Page 1 of 2

Page 1 of 2


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.