Globalization Versus Islamization: Common Destiny or Separate Futures?
There seems to be a worldwide Islamic revival. How does this unstoppable reality relate with contemporary Globalization? How do Muslims perceive Globalization? Some writers have argued that Islam’s response to Globalization is positive. Others contend that Islam and Globalization are diametrically opposed. This paper attempts to explore the full dimensions of Globalization as it relates to the Muslims worldwide. It also probes ways of possible harmonization between the Muslims’ desire to totally ‘islamize’ all facets of (Muslim) life and the West’s drive for Globalization. The paper concludes that Muslims are a world-community with a moral mission and that, by the very nature of this mission they cannot afford to resort to isolationism. Therefore, Muslims are ready to engage all nations in a meaningful dialogue on an equal footing and in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Today there are 28 countries in the world, with a total population of 836 million, in which Muslims have an overall majority. The total world Muslim population is a round 1.2 billion, 1 roughly a quarter of the total human population. Islam, the fastest growing religion in the world, is also the second largest in Europe and North America.
Muslims are a spiritual and cultural block with shared identity and aspirations. One of such aspirations is the total ‘islamization’ of all facets of Muslim life, including intellectual, political, and socio-economic. This would make them become a political and economic block, as well. Events in the Muslim world since the Islamic revolution in Iran more than two decades ago have shown that the worldwide Islamic revival has become a reality and is a tide that is seemingly unstoppable. How does this reality relate with contemporary Globalization?
Globalization has variously been perceived as Internationalization, Liberalization, Universalization or Westernization. How do Muslims perceive Globalization and how does this perception affect the course of Globalization?
Some writers have argued that Islam’s response to Globalization is positive.2 According to this opinion, Islam is not only compatible with Globalization but stands to gain from it. They point out, for example, that global communication, global organization and global finance have allowed ideas of the Trans-world ummah of Muslims to be given concrete shape as never before. Others contend that Islam is diametrically opposed to Globalization. They think, for example, that the Islamic revolution in Iran was a direct response to Globalization.3
However, the fact is that there are areas of friction and areas of harmony between the two. To begin with, Globalization is not inherently good or bad. Its outcomes are largely the result of human decisions that can be debated and changed. What makes it suspect even to Europeans and many Americans (as evidenced by the anti- Globalization demonstrations in Western capitals) is the fact that the main tools of Globalization (i.e. global financial institutions, global information networks, the internet, Trans-national corporations) are controlled by the United States which is bent on dominating the world and imposing its values and culture on others. America does not inspire confidence even among its staunchest allies, hence the effort by the Europeans to lessen the super power’s influence on their continent.
Muslims and other third world peoples have even more reason to be suspicious of America. The US’s double standards and its appetite for propping up and supporting dictatorships around the world have seen its reputation hung in the balance. There has been no dictator in recent history, except that he was a bosom friend of America- and they are good at discarding them when they have outlived their usefulness. The unrivalled promoter of democracy who imposes democracy even by means of the force of arms, America has consistently denied Muslims the chance to democratize. The final test for America came with the events of the September 11th 2001 that saw the US renounce all pretence to democracy, human rights, international law and other such slogans.
This paper will attempt to explore the full dimensions of Globalization as it relates to the Muslims worldwide. It will also probe possible ways of harmonization between the Muslims’ desire to ‘Islamize’ and the West’s drive for Globalization.
Globalization is easier to describe than to define. This is because the phenomenon is a development that is still unfolding with uneven incidence between countries, classes and other social divides. This is why there is a lot of disagreement on the general definition of the term.
There are at least five broad conceptualizations of Globalization within which most definitions are confined. First is the notion of Globalization as internationalization. This notion designates Globalization as a growth of international exchange and interdependence. The second is the view of Globalization as liberalization. Here, Globalization refers to a process of removing government-imposed restrictions on movements of capital and goods and services between countries in order to create an open, borderless world economy. The third conception equates Globalization with universalization. This denotes the process of spreading various objects and experiences to people at all corners of the earth. The fourth views Globalization as Westernization or modernization. According to this conception, Globalization is a dynamic process whereby the social structures of Western modernity (i.e. capitalism, rationalism, industrialism, bureaucracy, etc) are spread the world over, normally destroying pre-existing cultures in the process. The fifth identifies Globalization as ‘deterritorialization’. Following this conception, Globalization entails a reconfiguration of geography so that social space is no longer wholly mapped in terms of territorial places, territorial distances and territorial boarders.4
Most of the definitions of Globalization attempted by different writers reflect one or more of the above conceptions. Some have defined Globalization as:
The intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.5
Others have defined it as:
The multiplicity of linkages and inter-connections that transcend the nation-states (and by implication the societies) which make up the modern world system. It defines a process through which events, decisions and activities in one part of the world can come to have significant consequences for individuals and communities in quite distant parts of the globe.6
Globalization is an economic, social and cultural reality. The exact constitution and relative influence of the factors underlying this phenomenon are much debated, but clearly a central role has been played by economic and technological change. That is to say: increasing economic integration into a single world capitalist system, and developments in transport and communications.
In most part, Globalization is still a topic debated predominantly at the economic and business levels. But significantly, Globalization also affects the foundation of our cultures and our universal living, and this is what is of utmost importance to Muslims. So what would be the relationship between different cultures in a globalized world? Is it going to be one of subordination, domination and exploitation or one of equality, mutual respect and beneficial exchange? We shall attempt to answer these questions below.
Islam is not just a religion; it is a complete way of life. It is an ideology that provides for the spiritual as well as the mundane needs of its believers, and ensures the quality of their intellectual and ‘civilized’ life. Muslims believe that Islam is suitable at all times for all peoples and all places. Islam comprise within its systems broad principles and guidelines that are capable of providing guidance for mankind and ensuring their happiness and well-being.
Islam is built on the foundation s of uncompromising monotheism. It teaches belief in One God who is the source of all good, the creator of all the worlds. The purpose of life is to seek the pleasure of this one God through total submission to his will (Qur’an 6:162). Human beings are members of one family descending from the same father and mother. Their differences in colour, language and nationality are but superficial. The noblest among them is the most pious (Qur’an, 49:13). God has honoured mankind and elevated them above other creatures (Qur’an 17:70). He also loves them and desires their welfare hence he sent prophets in various stages of history for their guidance. These prophets were all true messengers of God who brought the same message of monotheism and must be believed and honoured by all (Qur’an 2:136). Muhammad is the last in the chain of messengers (Qur’an 33:40) and he was sent at a stage in the history of mankind when humanity had attained maturity. Therefore his message is the most comprehensive of all the messages sent through the entire line of the earlier prophets. Thus, philosophically Islam has provided believable answers to the questions that have been nagging humanity, such as: What is the meaning and purpose of our existence? From where are we and where are we heading to? What is reality and how do we relate to it? Etc.
Islam is an ideology of the golden mean that aims to maintain a balance between material and spiritual, body and mind, and this world and the hereafter. Islam gives due importance to the affairs of this life; at the same time it does not ignore the final destination of men (Qur’an, 28:77). It institutes acts of worship that are designed to provide constant spiritual nourishment. Just as human beings normally eat three times a day for corporal (bodily) nourishment, Islam directs Muslims to pray five times a day for spiritual sustenance and nourishment.
Islam builds its social system on the family. It regards family as the basic unit on which the whole edifice of society is founded. A healthy family is essential for harmonious living in an Islamic society. It entails love and compassion between spouses (Qur’an 30:21), respect and care for parents and elders (Qur’an 17:23-24) and responsibility to the young and old, alike. It creates an atmosphere of brotherhood and solidarity in which every individual works towards the betterment of the whole society.
In politics, Islam presents a system that recognizes and accepts the principal pillars of democracy (i.e. participation, consultation, transparency and accountability). This system is based on three principles, viz.:
- The rule of law. That is to say, rule based on Shari’ah (Islamic law) as derived from the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions;
- Consultation and representation or shura; and
- Consensus of the rulers and the ruled.7
In the sphere of economics, Islam has established a system that is people-orient and is geared towards achieving justice in an egalitarian society. The system is based on the following principles:
- Fair distribution of resources, and
- Prohibition of concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. This includes prohibition of hoarding, excessive accumulation of wealth, as well as exploitation.8
The Islamic system guarantees full rights to the people including civil and political rights. It also guarantees complete freedoms and full rights (including religious, cultural and economic rights) for minorities (i.e. non-Muslims).9
In the field of international relations, Islam believes in peaceful co-existence between nations (Qur’an, 60:8-9). It promotes relations based on mutual agreements, openness and free flow of goods and ideas; and respect for established laws and conventions in war and peace.10
These systems and principles are not mere slogans on paper. Indeed, they were put to practice with astonishing results. Islamic ideology provided Muslims with a vision that propelled them to create a civilization that was the epitome of achievement in all fields of endeavour. They built powerful nations and egalitarian societies in which men of all faiths, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds lived in peace and harmony. For centuries, they were the masters in learning and scholarship and the torch-bearers of progress in Asia, Africa and Europe. As Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, speaking about Muslim achievements in Europe, says:
We have underestimated the importance of 800 years of Islamic society and culture in Spain between the 8th and 15th centuries… to the preservation of classical learning during the Dark Ages and to the first flowerings of the Renaissance… Not only did Muslim Spain gather and preserve the intellectual content of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, it also interpreted and expanded upon that civilization and made a vital contribution to its own in so many fields… in science, astronomy, mathematics, algebra… law, history, medicine, pharmacology, optics, agriculture, architecture, theology and Music… Many of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, alternative medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities… Islam was a religion of remarkable tolerance… allowing Jews and Christians the right to practice their inherited beliefs and setting an example which was not, unfortunately, copied for many centuries in the West.11
Such glorious Muslim achievements were made possible by the vision of Islam. Unfortunately, this vision was lost over the centuries. As Muslims lost the vision, they also lost their place in the community of nations. They succumbed to intellectual and cultural stagnation and became consumers, instead of producers, of ideas. Consequently, decay set in and their societies wallowed in poverty, ignorance and disease. The Muslim lost his power and glory and became an easy prey to his enemies. He was colonized, subjugated and exploited. He was turned into an object of contempt fit for all labels and denigrations. Today, he is the fanatic, the extremist, the fundamentalist and of recent the TERRORIST.
For a century or so, Muslims wondered in the wilderness of borrowed systems and ideologies. In desperation and under the influence of the colonial looters, they sought panacea for their problems in Capitalism, Liberalism, Socialism, even Communism. They tried nationalism, Arabism, and Ba’athism to no avail. Finally they were awoken to the fact that these ideologies had failed their very inventors and that they did not succeed in the environment where they developed. Muslims realized that even though the West might have achieved the highest material progress possible so far, western nations enjoy neither peace nor security or happiness. This realization forced Muslims to look inwards for solutions to their problems and the call: ‘go back to the roots; go back to Islam!’ echoed.
Muslims believe that all these calamities happed to them because they lost the vision of Islam. Therefore, ‘Islamization’ is about reclaiming that vision. The ‘Islamization’ movement was born early in the second half of the last century. It gathered movement and diversified in the 1970s and early 80s, covering more and more fields of activity. Some of these fields are outlined below.
- Islamization of Knowledge
Perhaps this is the most important aspect of the Islamization movement. It emerged as an answer to the intellectual crisis in the Muslim world. There was near-consensus among Muslim intellectuals and opinion leaders the world over that the intellectual and methodological decline of the Ummah is at the core of its malaise. The post-colonial education system in operation in most Muslim countries could not produce scholars of required creativity and excellence, nor could it induce the zeal and motivation necessary for rebirth and regeneration. This is because this system is based on a vision that is different from the Islamic vision and therefore cannot inspire the Muslim. The Western educational model is inspired by la nation as the genuine and ultimate reality. For the Muslim, no reality is ultimate but Allah. Therefore, ultimate loyalty to the nation-state is both impossible and blasphemous to Muslims.
The objective of Islamization of Knowledge therefore is to restore the Islamic methodology of learning on the Tawhidi (mono-theistic) paradigm so as to reflect the harmonious relationship between revelation (al-Wahy) and reason (al-Aql) in the Islamic scheme of things. It also seeks to inject in knowledge-scientific and otherwise-such Islamic values and concepts as the unity of truth and unity of knowledge, unity of life, unity of humanity, subservience of creation to mankind, vicegerency of man on earth and the divine trust which makes man directly responsible to God in all his endeavour and activities in this world.12 ‘Islamization’ has been institutionalized with the creation of the International Institute of Islamic Thought headquartered in Virginia, USA and taken up by dozens of universities and research centres in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Thousands of dedicated researchers-Muslims and non-Muslims-are busy generating knowledge in such areas as Islamic economics, Islamic management and business ethics and Islamic psychology for Muslim teachers, managers, doctors, bankers, etc.
- Islamic Banking
The emergence of Islamic banking, otherwise known as ‘interest-free’ banking, is part of the Islamization process brought about by the resurgence and reawakening of Islam. It is based on Islamic economics as enunciated in the Qur’an which is built on the foundations of free enterprise (Qur’an, 2:275), eradication of exploitation through elimination of interest (Qur’an, 2:275) and concern for social justice as symbolized by the institution of Zakat (Qur’an, 9:60).13
Islamic banking is founded on the Islamic economic concept of Mudaraba, or partnership. It is a system of sharing profit and loss equitably. The interest-free bank serves shareholders who receive dividends out of the annual profits. The bank accepts deposits both for safe-keeping and profit sharing purposes. A certain percentage of the deposits received is allocated for interest-free personal loans while the major portion is utilized to meet the credit requirements of business and industry.14
Islamic banks provide credit facilities and perform all the functions of conventional commercial banks. Being partners in business and industry, they supervise the progress of work and chances of loss are therefore minimized. The profit sharing principle provides an incentive to the investors who invest their money in the bank. The partners in such banks have mutual gain and mutual loss as opposed to the conventional banking practice where the losses are borne by the borrower alone and the lender always stands to gain.
Islamic banking started in the early 1970s, with the first modern Islamic bank opening in 1975. Now it has become part of the banking scene the world over. Hundreds of Islamic banks are operating all over the Muslim world and many international banks in Europe and North America have interest-free sections to cater for the needs of their Muslim customers.
- Islamic Political Movements
Islamic political activism was the first manifestation of the Muslim’s desire for total Islamization of their life. The objective is to Islamize the Muslim’s political life by changing the present political order based on borrowed systems and ideologies. It also aims at removing military dictatorships as well as decadent monarchical regimes. These will be replaced by Islamic rule that will give people greater freedom and ensure their progress and prosperity.
Islamists adopted different methods and strategies in different countries in their effort to change the existing political order and replace it with an Islamic dispensation. Generally, Islamists prefer peaceful means to affect change. This is why you find that in most countries they operate within the status quo, forming political parties and aspiring to achieve power through democratic process. However, this is often sabotaged by secularist and extremist democrats actively supported by hypocritical Western democracies who believe that democracy is for their people only. This is what happened in Algeria in 1991 when elections were cancelled after the Islamic Salvation Front had won. Similarly, the Islamist Prime Minister of Turkey was forced out of office in 1997 after he had been democratically elected in a free and fair election.
Another method used by the Islamists is popular uprising like the one which saw the end of the decadent pro-West regime of Reza Phahlavi and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979. In Nigeria, a very interesting experiment is going on in coexistence between Islam and democracy. Muslims are using democracy to introduce Sharia in a gradual Islamization of society. In many other countries such as Egypt and Jordan, Islamist parties are playing the role of opposition in parliament.
Political Islamization is, however, facing a lot of resistance and opposition from post-colonial domination. This is not surprising because political change always involves a winner and a loser and the loser will naturally want to sabotage the change or at least postpone it for as long as is possible. The establishment of Islamic order in the Muslim world will mean the end of the post-colonial arrangement and this have grave implications on the current international economic and political order that is based on exploitation and domination of the weak by the stronger nations. This sets the stage whereby Globalization and Islamization are sure to come face to face. Whether such standoff will be confrontational or a compromise, only time will tell.
- Islam and Globalization
Islam was the first to regard the world as a “global village” when it declared the earth as the constituency of a single prophet. Before Islam, different prophets were sent to different communities and peoples, but Muhammad’s mission was global. He came as an emissary to the worlds (Qur’an, 21:107).
Islam contains within its teachings ideas of Globalization. According to the Qur’an, the earth is one, belonging to one God who has made it spacious so that men can travel freely in any part of it (Qur’an, 4:97). Human beings are members of the same family (Qur’an, 49:13) and are brought forth onto this earth in order that they may develop and exploit it (Qur’an, 11:61). They are enjoined to traverse its length and width and make use of its resources (Qur’an, 67:15). These ideas have since been put into practice in real life.
Islam spread from the Arabian peninsula to the Middle East and Asia Minor, moved west-ward to North Africa and Spain and spread eastward to Persia, Central Asia and as far as the Indus Valley. It then moved down through the Sahara into the western and eastern parts of Africa, and extended East reaching parts of India and China and all of Malaysia and Indonesia. During its spread across continents, Islam encountered and assimilated different cultures. It made contact with the Byzantine culture in Syria, with the ancient Egyptian culture, and with the Persian, North African, Spanish and Indian cultures. These contacts created one of the greatest cultural diffusions between Arabs, Moors, Turks, Afghanis, Spaniards, Indians, Kurds and many other nationalities.15 Thus, more than half the then known world was effectively assimilated into one society of shared values and culture. In this society, people, ideas and products moved freely. There were no restrictions whatsoever: no borders, no visa, no tariff – nothing! Truly, this was perhaps the first human political, economic and cultural integration achieved on a global scale. It was the first instance of Globalization.
Contemporary Globalization has received a lot of attention in the Muslim world. Apart from numerous studies by individual Muslims, there have been institutional efforts at comprehending the development, responding to it and interacting with it. The prestigious Morocco-based Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) organized an international symposium on the subject in July 2001. The occasion brought together thinkers, academics and experts from the Muslim world and from a number of Western countries, as well as representatives of Islamic international and regional organizations. In April 2002, the Muslim World League convened an international conference under the general theme of “Islamic Ummah and Globalization” that was attended by Heads of States and Governments of Muslim countries, as well as religious experts and policy-makers. On both occasions, issues of Globalization, international co-operation and dialogue among civilizations were discussed.16 Another conference under the theme ‘Muslim Youth and Globalization’ organized by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) was to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in October 2002.
The general Muslim view is that they accept Globalization in principle, but they reject any part of it that contradicts the basic teachings of Islam. They also reject any aspect of Globalization that amounts to colonialism re-packaged (i.e. the ‘post-colonial’ project). For example, Muslims are against weakening the authority of the state and depriving the state of sovereignty to pave way for the rule of the trans-national corporations.
Muslims acknowledge that the world is characterized by an immense variety of peoples, societies, beliefs, traditions, languages and cultures. They note with concern that Globalization is threatening to annex all these into a Western technological and economic monoculture. The modern channels of cultural communication – the media, advanced educational systems and information networks – bring uniform messages based on a Western materialistic lifestyle. Muslims favour cultural interpenetration that is genuinely a two-way street. This means that exchange rather than domination (i.e. a form of cultural hybridization) should characterize cultural Globalization.
Muslims welcome democracy but reject a democracy that is imposed by sanctions, threats or the use of force. They frown at the democracy of the very rich, a democracy that is controlled by Big Business: such as oil cartels, arms manufacturing companies and media empires. Democratic values are not exclusive to the West so each country should be allowed to practice democracy in its own way and according to its own circumstances. If Ugandans, for example, think the Movement system is democratic, there is no reason why Uganda should be forced to have a Western-style multi-party system.
Human rights are integral part of Islam but not necessarily as they are understood in the West. For example, in Islam any sexual relationship outside marriage is illegal, consent or no consent, and it is a crime that has to be punished severely. Similarly, Muslims cannot accept a third sex or a “marriage” between man and man or woman and woman. To us Muslims, lesbians and homosexuals are either criminals to be punished or sick people to be treated and counseled. They can never be normal.
- War against Terror or Clash of Civilizations?
To Muslims, September 11th was significant in two ways. First, it called the bluff of a bully superpower. Secondly, it exposed the fallacy of Western democracy. On the fateful day, there was complete break down in the US and it looked like an African country in the event of a coup. All the vital organs of government were in tatters and for hours no one was in charge. While the ordinary citizens went physical, embracing and crying, their leaders scurried for cover. The so-called most powerful man on earth hastily abandoned his country’s air space and the ‘Air-force One’ was grounded. With Usama bin Laden in a cave and George W. Bush in a cabin – both hiding – the myth of invincibility was exposed.
Within hours of the events at the WTC and the Pentagon, and without any investigation or evidence, the culprit was declared as Islamic terrorists. Democracy took a vacation and human rights were suspended. While security agents were busy herding Muslims in their thousands into FBI cells, ordinary Americans descended on their Muslim compatriots. Homes and businesses were attacked, women were abused on the streets and racist remarks were hurled at Muslims in their mosques, schools and workplaces. Anybody who remotely resembled a Muslim (e.g. the Sikhs, an Indian religious group who wear turbans, and even Jews who sported beards) was savagely attacked. In the meantime, the awesome American war machine was being put into motion.
President Bush initially declared America’s latest war (NB. it is the 232nd in its 225 year history – an impressive achievement indeed!) a CRUSADE, but then his aides quickly withdrew such a description claiming it was a slip of the tongue. Despite Bush’s well-known difficulties with words and sentences, one would have expected a man is such a high position of responsibility and who was leading his nation into “a very long war” to have firm control over his emotions and to respect the feelings of a quarter of the human race. But it soon transpired that Bush was only being honest. The so-called ‘war against terror’ was indeed a crusade against Islam and Muslims.
The conduct of the US war in Afghanistan, the barbaric bombing of civilians and the merciless killing of surrendering prisoners who had their hands tied behind their backs, reveals a deep-seated hatred that America harbours against Islam and Muslims. But this is not the real war. The real war is the United State’s onslaught on Muslim financial institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Freedom Movements as well as educational, social and cultural institutions. America brands anything Islamic as terrorist. While the United States supported East Morris (a Christian minority) to gain independence from Indonesia (the country with the largest Muslim population in the world), it regards all freedom movements in the Muslim world as terrorists and openly sends arms, men and material to fight them.
At the same time, the only superpower continues to sponsor, arm and finance the criminal Zionist usurper regime in Palestine and to protect it against international law. America is using its political, military, economic and media muscle to support and protect this terrorist regime, that illegally occupies land, has committed over 30 massacres, and completely destroyed 320 Arab towns and villages, sending their populations into mass exile and replacing them with Jewish settlers.17 In the last two years, this racist entity has waged a bloody war using heavy tanks, apache helicopters and F16 fighter-jets (all America made) against unarmed civilians whom it calls terrorists. In the face of this aggression, the so-called international community remains silent and the United Nations is crippled by the American veto.
Islam does not condone terrorism. In fact, it condemns it and reserves the severest punishment for terrorists (Qur’an, 5:33).18 It is important that we distinguish between Islam and what some Muslims do just as we differentiate between democratic values and American foreign policy.
Terrorism does not occur in a vacuum. The fact is that the US has wronged so many peoples and nations and committed so much injustice that it is time its nemesis caught up with it. We must not forget that America was founded on the mass-graves of the Red-Indians, against whom the white settlers committed genocide. And since its independence from Britain in the 18th century, the US has fought 232 wars, most of them aggressions against weak and peace-loving nations of the world. Since the end of World War II, the US has fought 75 wars all of which have nothing to do with self-defense. They were all aggressions, interventions, assassinations, support for military coups and subversion of popular, legitimate and democratically installed governments.19 The perpetrators of the September 11th attacks are sending signals that the superpower would do best to read well: a nation needs more than power to survive and the weak can have a day. After all, did the Biblical David not kill Goliath?
For Muslims, Islam is non-negotiable. They have nothing dearer. It made them what they were in the past and it holds the key to their future. If it had not been because of Islam, Arabs would be today like the Zulus of South Africa or the Tutsis of Rwanda and Burundi or the Karimajongs of Uganda. Islam is everything to Muslims. There is no alternative to Islam.
Muslims welcome international co-operation. They welcome any just and fair arrangement that would bring humanity nearer together. Muslims are a world-community with a moral mission and by the very nature of this mission they cannot afford to resort to isolationism. Muslims are ready to engage all nations in a meaningful dialogue on equal footing and in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They are ready to give and take and they believe they have a lot to offer.
But Muslims can never accept to be dictated to by any power on this earth. They acknowledge their weakness in the present time but they believe that this is transitory. The powerful of today were the weak ones of yesterday, and the weak of today could very well be the powerful of tomorrow. Muslims believe that if they adhere faithfully to the teachings of Islam they will achieve greatness and attain power and glory, hence their quest for complete islamization of their life.
Muslims believe the US is not fit to lead humanity for it was founded on injustice and it thrives on injustice, and it has built its alleged greatness on the ruins of others. The US government that today spearheads the so-called ‘war against terror’ is the greatest terror-machine ever invented by man. Violence permeates American society and they export it to other nations through their arms trade, ideas of clash of cultures and their movies. Gun and knife duels, school shootings by under-age children, abductions, kidnappings, murder and rape are as normal a part of American society as dancing in Uganda. America is not qualified for the leadership of the world and on this count even European countries agree, with perhaps the possible exception of the ‘sick woman of Europe’ – Great Britain. Indeed, Great Britain is counted as the 51st state of the US and her Prime Minister has become the public relations officer (PRO) of the US administration.
Muslims are not bent on dominating the world with violence and terror, as is frequently portrayed in the cheap Western media propaganda. But Muslims believe that they have a lot to offer to humanity. They believe that Islam is not only relevant to the modern world, but that mankind needs Islam today more than ever before. In the words of Prince Charles:
“Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in a world which Christianity itself is poorer for having lost. At the heart of Islam is its preservation of an integral view of the universe. Islam refuses to separate man and nature, religion and science, mind and matter, and has preserved a metaphysical and unified view of … [mankind] and the world around us. But the West gradually lost this integrated vision of the world…”20
As testified by Prince Charles above (whose magnanimity and objectivity we should acknowledge), the major source of the current malaise of our world is not globalization nor Islamization, but the fact that it is a world without a vision. And, this lack of a vision suits the evil designs of the ‘evil’ powers like the US, hence their untiring efforts to fight Islam. For, Islam is the only system that can offer such a vision. Thus they (unsuccessfully) continue to paint Islam in the dark colours of fundamentalism and terrorism (Qur’an, 61:8). But this had already been anticipated in the Qur’an:
“Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend it, but in the end it will become an anguish for them. Then they will be overcome” (Qur’an, 8:36).
Islam shall overcome.
- Ankie Hoogvelt, Globalization and the Post Colonial World (London: MacMillan, 1997) p. 182.
- Vicky Randal and Robin Theobald, Political Change and Underdevelopment (London: MacMillan, 1998) p. 250.
- Ibid., p. 251.
- Jan Aart Scholte, Globalization: A Critical Introduction (New York: Palgrove, 2000) pp.15-16.
- Hoogvelt, cit., p. 120.
- Randal and Theobald, cit., p. 233.
- See Abbas Mahmud al-Aqqad, Ma Yuqal an al-Islam (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, 1966) p. 189.
- Abass Mahmud al-Aqqad, al-Falsafah al-Qur’aniyah (Cairo: Dar al-Hilal, n.d.) p.32.
- Abass Mahmud al-Aqqad, al Dimuqratiyah fi al-Islam (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, 1974) pp. 518-19.
- Al-Aqqad, al-Falsafah al-Qur’aniyah, cit., pp. 79-83.
- Part of a lecture given by Prince Charles at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies in October 1993. Cited in Rukaiyah Hill Abdulsalam, Women’s Ideal Liberation (Jeddah: Abul Qasim Publishing House, 1998) pp. 42-43.
- See International Institute of Islamic Thought, Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan (Herdon, Virginia, USA: I.I.I.T., 1989). See also, Mona M. Abul Fadl, Towards Global Cultural Renewal: Modernity and the Episteme of Transcendence (Herdon, Virginia, USA: I.I.I.T., 1998).
- See Muhammad Muslihuddin, Banking and Islamic Law (New Delhi: International Islamic Publishers, 1992). Also see, Muhammad Ahmad, Towards Interest-Free Banking (New Delhi: International Islamic Publishers, 1992).
- See Muhammad Najatullah Siddiqi, Issues in Islamic Banking (London: The Islamic Foundation, 1983).
- Mushtaq, “Evolution of Science During the 8th to 11th century A.D.” in Islamic Thought and Scientific Creativity, vol. No. 2 June, 1991 p. 75.
- See, ISESCO News letter, issue No. 48, October, 2001 and The Muslim World Weekly Newspaper, issue No. 1739, April, 2002.
- See Al-Bayan Magazine, vol. 17 No. 176, July 2002, p. 96.
- See Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqh al-Sunnah (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1992) vol. 2 p. 393. See also, Umar Muhammad Labdo, Diplomacy and War in the Sokoto Caliphate (Unpublished PhD. Thesis, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto-Nigeria, 1998) pp. 32-33 and pp. 118-119.
- Al-Bayan Magazine, cit., pp. 92-95.
- Quoted from Prince Charles lecture cited above-see citation No. 11.