The second study is William M. Watt's Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity.  In this book, Watt argues that the traditional Islamic world≠view is incompatible with the conditions and demands of Western modernity. He contends that the modern Muslim mind is still determined by the epistemological rules of the early phase of Islam‑what Muhammad Arkoun might call the Classical Islamic phase. 
Watt offers only a quasi‑theoretical reading of the subject of Islam and modernity. Although modernity is one of his key analytic concepts, he does not define it clearly, nor does he adequately portray the dynamics of Western hegemony over the Muslim world and their current consequences.
The author further maintains that the traditional Islamic outlook, which was formed in the early phase of Islam against the background of the Qur'an, hadith and consensus, is based on the following premises: (1) the unchangingness of the world, (2) the finality and superiority of Islam, and (3) the idealization of Muhammad as the perfect model that Muslims must follow. In reconstructing the epistemological foundations of this outlook, Watt argues quite explicitly that there is no place in Muslim thinking for development, social and economic progress and advancement. He justifies the above view by saying that, "apart from the particular dangers inherent in the idealization of early Islam, there is a general danger, namely, that the community becomes so obsessed with recreating something past that it fails to see and deal with the real challenges and problems of the present." 
It is clear that Watt treats the complex and rich history of Islamic epistemology in a monolithic fashion. He is far less successful in his attempt at the reconstruction of the Islamic theory of knowledge than, let us say, both Fazlur Rahman  and Muhammad Arkoun, to whom he refers very often.
In treating `religious revivalism,' Watt argues that Islamic resurgence has resulted from the `ulama's desire to enhance their power and social prestige.  This thesis, to my mind, misrepresents the formation and growth of the modern Islamic movements, which should be understood, to a large extent, as a reaction to the Western colonization of the Muslim world. Although he declares that one of the great evils of the present day is "the unscrupulous exploitation of the Third World by Western multinational corporations,"  he does not show how this exploitation has affected the formation of the whole process of Islamic resurgence.
Watt's effort to present a true picture of the conflict between Islam and modernity is highlighted by his failure to grasp the complex composition of Islamic epistemology and its successive transformations through the system of the Shari'ah. He argues, for instance, that the traditional Islamic image "is making it difficult for Muslims to adjust adequately to life at the end of the twentieth century."  Isn't the role of theology in any religious system to constantly adapt its main presuppo≠sitions to the exigencies of the changing world?
In conclusion, Watt fails to integrate the historical reality of Western exploitation of the Muslim world into ‑coherent system of analysis. At times, his analysis takes a highly descriptive form which lacks a dynamic reflection on the process of modern history. Furthermore, as indicated above, Watt's approach incorporates in it the notion of the superiority of the Western culture over the Islamic one. It is time that Third World thinkers take a critical stand towards the legacy of the West, Westerni≠zation, and modernization in the Muslim world.
. William Montgomery Watt, Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity (London and New York: Routledge,1988).
. Mohammed Arkoun, Essais sur la pensee islamique (Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose, 1984), especially chapter eight.
. Watt, p. 22.
. See Fazlur Rahman, Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), and Akbar Ahmed, Postmodernism and Islam (London: Routledge Press, 1992).
. Watt, p. 43.
. Ibid., p.102.
. Ibid., p. 71.