Although the book deals primarily with the Moslem world, it necessarily includes the non-Moslem Hindu elements of India. The field covered is thus virtually the entire Near and Middle East. The Far East has not been directly considered, but parallel developments there have been noted and should always be kept in mind.
long run, despotism can no more tolerate liberty of thought than it can liberty of action. Some of the Damascus caliphs, to be sure, toyed with Motazelism, the Ommeyyads being mainly secular-minded men to whom freethinking was intellectually attractive. But presently the caliphs became aware of liberalism's political implications. The Motazelites did not confine themselves to the realm of pure philosophic speculation. They also trespassed on more dangerous ground. Motazelite voices were heard recalling the democratic days of the Meccan caliphate, when the Commander of the Faithful, instead of being an hereditary monarch, was elected by the people and responsible to public opinion. Some bold spirits even entered into relations with the fierce fanatic sects of inner Arabia, like the Kharijites, who, upholding the old desert freedom, refused to recognize the caliphate and proclaimed theories of advanced republicanism.
The upshot was that the caliphs turned more and more toward the conservative theologian