“The Islamic World”…political inflation and the rupture with historical experience

We continue to address Dr. Jamil Aydin’s book “The Idea of ​​the Islamic World: A Global Intellectual History”, in which he argues that the Islamic world is a secular colonial concept, which was not conceptually and historically derived from the Qur’anic concept of the nation, and is based on the idea of ​​an abstract, rigid Islam stripped from its historical, social and cultural contexts.

Aiden relied on the main arguments and historical stations at which he stopped, that the concept of Islamic unity was truncated and came in the context of imperial equilibrium and was not prompted by a global theory about the caliphate, and neither the common history nor the fixed traditions of Muslims were the foundations of the idea of ​​the Islamic world, as he spoke about the discontinuity With Muslim political experience.

Political Inflation… Breaking with the Muslims’ Experience

Islamic political visions from the middle of the 19th century onwards, including the international Islamic movement, do not reflect a stable and continuous tradition, but rather reflect the intertwining of Islamic intellectual history and the transformation of the international system from the era of empires to the era of contemporary nation-states, and therefore, modern Islamic political visions are emerging What the Muslims witnessed during their history.

The experience of Muslims before the 19th century shows that powerful Muslim dynasties can challenge and weaken other Muslim dynasties. While transmission and communication technologies had enabled much interconnection between scholars and Islamic elites, there was still no sense of a global Muslim public opinion, let alone any shared narrative of Islamic history and political experience.

The Ottoman Empire did not seek to represent Muslims in the world because it could properly do so, but because it was strategically wise. Therefore, the same nervous system of the internationalist Islamic movement continued to function after the Caliphate

Between the Napoleonic Wars and the 1870s, the political energy of Muslim societies was mainly directed to the strengthening of Muslim dynasties and the empowerment of Muslim subjects ruled by non-Muslim kings. While European powers were expanding into Asia and Africa in the first half of the 19th century, the idea of ​​an Islamic world still had a long way to go. The internationalist Islamic movement was not the result of a continuous global tradition, and this movement was not the first or even the natural response to the new imperialism.

The Ottoman Empire did not seek to represent Muslims in the world because it could properly do so, but because it was strategically wise. Therefore, the same nervous system of the Islamic international movement continued to work after the caliphate, especially because it was facing problems that are still continuing. The caliph was just a messenger and a symbol of the imaginary unity, but Muslims subject to Western empires who suffer from racial discrimination remained the beating heart and driving force of the international movement Islamic.

New political conditions erased the earlier imperial context from memory. The Islamic international movement took several different paths in the period between the two wars. Muslim thinkers of the interwar period found themselves engaged in a global debate about the idea of ​​an Islamic world whose meanings and purposes were constantly shifting by geopolitics, politics, local history, and strategic necessity.

The Turkish Republic was preoccupied with programs of modernization and secularization, and in that period, figures such as Shakib Arslan and Amin al-Husseini appeared, and Muslim societies began to explore many political options that were not governed by a specific pattern. The idea of ​​an Islamic world could have disappeared as different Muslim societies turned toward various ends, but this did not happen.

Ataturk inspired Western-style Islamic modernization projects, such as in Iran, Albania, and Afghanistan. The anti-religious tendency was one of the most prominent responses to the Orientalist and Darwinist discourses about Islamic inferiority and backwardness. In reverse logic, Turkey makes clear the fact that the idea of ​​the Islamic world did not necessarily disappear amid Westernization and nationalism.

Another response to Orientalism was a discourse of oppression, racial discrimination, and betrayal on the part of European empires. And the rhetoric of victimhood became powerfully prevalent.

After the abolition of the caliphate, there was intense disagreement about the appointment of a new caliph. On the one hand, there was Sharif Hussein, whose hopes were destroyed by the Saudi state, and there was no one who possessed the necessary ingredients. Then Ali Abdel Razek appeared trying to negate the idea of ​​the caliphate as a religious obligation, but the most important obstacle was Absence of political necessity…

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