Islamic Universality

Is Diversity, Coexistence, Mutual Acquaintance

Edited version of the original article by Dr. Mohamed Amara*

Islamic universality is diversity, coexistence, mutual acquaintance, and competition within the framework of human unity and of all that is shared by all mankind. Western globalization on the other hand stands for conflict, division and a so-called 'creative' chaos that unfolds against a backdrop of Western hegemony seeking to cast the entire world in the Western mold only.

The universality of the Islamic civilization is part and parcel of the “universality of the Islamic message of which the Quran spoke” from Islam's outset: { We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.} (Al Anbia, verse 107), and {Blessed is He who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures.} (Al Furqan, verse 1). Being derived from the Holy Quran, “the term 'Ummah' was not used to mean closed or exclusive, but to signify the community that is forever open, inclusive and expansive.” This universality of the Ummah “does not mean the monopoly of the Islamic civilization over the whole world to the exclusion of the 'Civilizational Other'. It means interaction and competition with the other in the full respect of civilizational plurality, cultural diversity and the color, race, custom and creed...”
The universality of the Ummah means therefore “interaction and competition with the other in the full respect of civilizational plurality, cultural diversity and the color, race, custom and creed...” and not “the monopoly of the Islamic civilization over the whole world to the exclusion of the 'Civilizational Other'.” because we know that people differ in their laws, cultures and civilizations: { If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.} (Al Maida, verse 48). Thus interaction and positive competition is the only means to bridge gaps, redress injustices and restore the balance of relations between classes, nations and civilizations.

'Conflict' does not refer here to a dispute where one party triumphs over the other and lays claim to its lands, resources and privileges During the era of colonialism the Western centrality trend meant the destruction of “the bases of the intellectual heritage of colonized peoples and the infiltration of their value systems.

On the cultural level, Western colonialism “operated through the westernization of the colonies, and on the religious level through evangelization.”

On the economic level the colonies' wealth was usurped, building its luxury with the surplus achieved by impoverishing the colonized nations.

Due to the West's rejection of plurality and its refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Other's existence, it has become associated with a clear degree of condescension towards the others, particularly in light of the imperialism which started in the mid 19th century.

According to the Western understanding ( is) the only civilization worthy of such name and one that should be set as the paradigm of progress and the mold in which the whole world should be cast. This (includes an) exterminatory centralist tendency (which led to) the extermination of peoples through occupation -in Africa and Palestine- was seen as an act of civilizing and modernizing those countries and purifying their lands from barbarian peoples and primitive customs. The evangelization of Muslims was seen as the salvation of those allegedly godforsaken souls; and the extermination of the cultural heritage of non-European countries was considered as a liberation from backwardness and stagnation. It might also be taken as the application of the natural law of the survival of the fittest (Darwinism).

Globalization represents a new cycle in Western centralism. It involves a design to cast the entire world in the Western mold at all levels, be they economic, political, moral, cultural, military or legislative, etc. So whoever fails to voluntarily board “the Ark of the Western civilizational model” would embark on a cycle of conflict and coercion.

If the fall of communism heralded the birth of Western globalization, the 9/11 events provided a 'golden opportunity' to make this globalization (in such a way) that it would mostly benefit the US.

Since globalization is the West's attempt, under the command of America, to cast the entire world in the mold of the dominating civilization to serve its own interests, this invasion spares no field (of activity). Attempts are made to globalize unbridled capitalism which has achieved unprecedented levels of social injustice. The developed North, which build much of its wellbeing and comforts on the spoils of colonial rule, represents 20% of the world's population but consumes 86% of the world's production. “The most important trade in the economy of globalization is arms' trafficking, followed by drugs and then prostitution. The world's expenditure on drugs amounts to 400 billion dollars while prostitution draws 20 trillion dollars. The proceeds of sexual exploitation of children, in America alone, are estimated at two billion dollars a year, while the average spending on weapons amounts to 1000 billion dollars every year.”

*Quted from:
“Between Islamic Universality and Western Globalization” by Dr. Mohamed Amara, Member of the Council of Islamic Studies, Arab Republic of Egypt.
In the “Journal Islam Today” No. 26-1430H/2009

notes: - publications - islamtoday

The author calls this system “dysfunctional”, not only because it lets 20% of the world's population consume 86% of the earth's resources while the other 80% live off the remaining 14%, but also because now-a-days “most capitalists have focused their attention on brokering and stock exchange speculations (instead of commodity services and production) -100 trillion dollars- i.e., 97% of all liquid assets, while the share invested in global production and commerce does not exceed 3.5 trillion dollars.”

“From 1991 to 1998, the volume of international commodity trading increased from 25 to 38 trillion dollars, while the volume of financial trading -unproductive and even destructive speculations- increased over the same period from 15 to 180 trillion dollars.” Now in 2011, the increase in financial speculation in relation to commodity trading would have increased extremely, numbers needed!

“The debt of Third World countries, i.e. 80% of the world's population, reached 1.950 billion dollars in 1995 on which interests alone equal 4 times the expenditure of the third world on education and health together. The magnitude of the tragedy is hard to understand unless we know that multinational and continental companies which globalize world economy borrow money from Wall Street at an interest rate of 6% then lend the same dollars to the South at an interest rate between 20 and 50%. This has come to mean that by borrowing from the North, the South was actually funding it, not the other way around, and that the South was developing the economy of the North. A short term loan to Egypt of four million dollars, for example, reached, once paid off, a global total with interest of 22 million dollars. That is the economic guillotine that they wish to globalize and that will extinguish any hope of an independent national economic development of the South.”

He asks why is “the basic right to self determination (which is) guaranteed by international laws to free people from the yoke of colonialism, (why is it) being denied to the peoples of the Islamic Ummah in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya?”

Then there is the case of the “moral invasion of the Islamic world and Southern civilizations taking place in the name of globalization.” For example through the Population Conference's 1994 population report one “seeks to change family structure to cover all forms of illegal unions, including gay marriages. The UN-report clearly and persistently calls upon governments, (and other) institutions to give priority to biological research on changing family structures and strive to abolish all forms of “discrimination” in marriage and other forms of union... The document promoted sexual freedom to the extent of incriminating early marriages and called for legalizing fornication instead.”

“In addition to the globalization of economy, politics, legislation, defense and values, there is also religious globalization through the evangelization of Muslims in a plot to obliterate our Ummah and civilization and close the chapter of Islam forever.”

The author also suspects that because of natural catastrophes and crisis, and “the current and growing needs of many Muslim societies have helped change the attitude of their governments from opposing missionary action to becoming more amenable to these Christian endeavors.”

Against the pervasive Western globalization, the author challenges the Islamic Ummah and their responsible representatives to build upon much more cooperation within the Ummah and the other countries of the South. “Globalization technologies can and should globalize the Islamic world first, opening frontiers to integrated Islamic trade, industrial and agricultural complementarity, and then, it will be possible to deal with the world as one economic block.” And he stresses the necessity to putting in order “the Arab and Islamic mind (and) house and preparing the ground for the conclusion of alliances and creation of organizations that represent the safetynet of our Ummah and the means of eschewing this invasion. Faced by this looming danger, we need to remember and apply the experience acquired by our Ummah throughout its long past.”