WHAT KIND OF
And when your Lord announced: "If you are grateful, I will
certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment
The First World War and the Second World War taught humanity a lesson
in the form of wanton slaughter on a global scale, major European cities
reduced to rubble, flattened housing estates, and genocidal concentration
camps. The West, caught in the middle of these wars, drew a very important
lesson from these tragedies: form alliances in order to have an efficient,
easier, and quicker conflict-resolution mechanism. Other European countries
had tried to form alliances in the past, but these were never long-lived
either because of a conflict of national interest or for some ideological
reason. This time, the West knew that the desired union had to be more
than just an economic or a joint defense pact; it had to be a union established
upon common cultural values. Obviously, this is a lengthy process.
These wars devastated Europe's economy and industry. The survivors had
to rebuild hundreds of cities, repair infrastructure, and reestablish
a functioning education and health system. The war was over, but now the
colonies were demanding independence. It appeared to be a hard job to
create stability as well as a union amidst all of this chaos. The first
step in this direction was the European Coal and Steel Federation, formed
in 1951 primarily to serve and develop industry. This union eventually
became the European Economic Community (EEC), then the European Community
(EC), and finally the European Union (EU). Eventually, it became a strong
union in which products, services, capital, and labor freely circulate
between member states; a union having a common currency, compatible laws,
and even state bureaucracies. Today, the EU is one of the major players
on the international political stage.
The military, political, and economic unity of the Islamic world
will enable a better use of the available resources and allow
it to accomplish major cultural and economic development.
The EU: A Possible Model for the Islamic Union
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has 56 member states
and is the largest Muslim organization in terms of number of members and
of geography. In addition, there are several regional military and trade
alliances between neighboring Muslim nations, each of which fulfills important
functions and represents a positive development. However, the Islamic
world needs a more comprehensive union, one with permanent institutions
empowered to take binding decisions, develop and implement common policies,
represent the entire Islamic world, and produce solutions for all Muslims
rather than just in a few regional hotspots. This union's power must be
economic, military, and social. The existence of such a union will create
an environment of mutual trust and agreement so that a sense of solidarity
will develop. Accordingly, the member states' security concerns will be
addressed, and the resulting extensive cooperation will result in higher
standards of living in the member states. Acting as one body in all affairs
concerning it, either directly or indirectly, this world will be able
to develop strategies that are in the Islamic world's best interest.
In the second half of the twentieth century, developments in Palestine,
Bosnia, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kashmir, and Aceh brought an important
truth home to the Islamic world. In these regions, where thousands of
civilians lost their lives, countless children were orphaned and savagery
and violence reached shocking levels, the West either did not react at
all or was slow to take preventive action. Such indifference reminded
the Muslims once more that all of them are responsible for protecting
the rights of other Muslims and meeting their needs. Therefore, the Islamic
world has be very responsive and proactive, for only united Muslim nations
can guarantee the safety of all Muslims by speaking for all Muslims in
the international political arena with one voice.
The Islamic world has to become one bloc in terms of military, politics,
and economics. An Islamic world united from within will ensure world peace
and prevent radicals from moving toward a clash of civilizations based
upon their ideologies of self-interest and conflict.
The Islamic Union's General Structure
The EU, a model for our proposed union, can be described as an entity
in which member states' sovereignty, system of governance, and state bureaucracy
would continue their functions under the umbrella of a constitution based
on "European culture." Within this constitution's framework, member states
would cooperate in politics, culture, and economy, and a central legislature
and administration would coordinate their cooperation and represent Europe's
interest as a whole.
Islamic Union must have a structure that preserves member states' independence,
national borders, rights, and interests. Each sovereign state must strive
to unite under a shared Islamic culture, develop common policies, and
establish the legislative and administrative organs that will implement
them. The purpose here is not to achieve a structural merger of states,
but to unite behind common policies and interests in order to achieve
the political power that such a union would have.
In such a union, the world's Muslims will be in direct touch with one
another, know each other's problems intimately, and help one another.
Separatism, factionalism, and fanaticism will be put aside for the principle
of Muslim unity. The fact that the Islamic world has not been able to
reach consensus among the different views, systems, and models that characterize
its members has prevented it from acting in unity. The proposed Islamic
Union's call for unity will not be made according to race, economic condition,
or geographical location, and all animosity arising from differences of
race, language, or culture will cease under the umbrella of this union.
Its members' sense of unity will not be based upon the superiority of
one culture, nation, or group over another, but upon the spirit of solidarity
engendered by equality, tolerance, love, and friendship.
One of the primary reasons for establishing the Islamic Union is to create
a central authority capable of directing the general Muslim population.
For this reason, the central authority must have a structure that reaches
all Muslims or, in other words, must be able to accommodate all different
views under its umbrella. The Islamic Union must be based on Islam's central
tenets, receive practical as well as theoretical differences in views
with tolerance and understanding, and successfully turn these differences
into cultural diversity and wealth. These differences must not be allowed
to obstruct the application of political will and joint action. All disputes
between Muslim nations must be resolved, and their differences must be
settled within the framework of this central authority. An Islamic Union
that can manage its internal affairs will be able to resolve potential
differences with other civilizations easily and to produce the joint policies
that its central authority will implement and administer.
The Islamic world has many issues that need to be resolved and that are
continuing problems for the international community: such political tragedies
as Palestine, Kashmir, and Iraq; the ideological war on terrorism; and
such social issues as underdevelopment, poverty, health, and education.
These main topics are not regional or local matters; rather, they have
a direct bearing on all Muslims. Given this reality, the Islamic world
must achieve solidarity in order to resolve them. No one can suggest that
what happens in Palestine concerns only the Palestinians, that the innocent
Muslim Kashmiri civilians suffering from oppression should sort themselves
out, or that starving children in some Islamic country are only the responsibility
of the country in question. Muslims cannot accept this situation as a
matter of faith.
God calls to the Abode of Peace and
guides whom He wills to a straight path. (Qurâ€™an, 10:25)
Make allowances for people, command what is right, and turn away
from the ignorant. (Qurâ€™an, 7:199)
However, Muslims have failed to form a strong alliance among themselves
and so other-and non-Muslim-countries are offering solutions to these
and similar problems. The proposed solutions, however, do not have the
Muslims' best interest at heart, or else offer only short-term solutions.
In many conflict-riven regions, the Muslims' relative weakness prevents
them from having any real voice at the negotiating table. In addition,
the so-called peace plans often incorporate certain clauses that do more
harm than good. The Islamic world has an obligation to produce a joint
action plan to safeguard the affected Muslims' rights.
The number of issues awaiting resolution by the Islamic Union indicate
that it will have a busy schedule. To function efficiently, it needs to
have a permanent operational headquarters, form the legislative and administrative
organs that will coordinate their activities (including their subdivisions),
and ensure that these institutions will function properly. The infrastructure
that will deliver the right decisions at the right time must be built,
the union must inspire trust with its activities, and its members must
be reassured that their rights are fully protected.
The Islamic Union must have the flexibility to adapt to changing political
conditions and the foresight to develop appropriate strategies. The need
for an active central authority that can take the initiative, instead
of giving reflexive responses to world events or being content with either
criticizing or voicing opinions, is obvious. This center must shoulder
the responsibility for coordinating, supervising, and serving the interest
of all member states equally. It must consider all developments objectively
and be guided by the Islamic world's demands. An Islamic Union that can
arbitrate between member states, resolve their conflicts of interests,
and protect Muslims in their dealings with other nations will increase
the Islamic world's cultural, economic, and political influence.
For the Islamic Union to become a united force and a unifying structure,
it must protect modern social values, respect the human rights of all
people, and be based on democratic principles. Not surprisingly, all of
these values are central to Islamic morality.
A Peaceful and Harmonious Islamic Union
The Islamic Union must
work to bring peace to all people, not just Muslims, and tolerant and
peaceful in its decisions and practices. The core of Islam is the good
morality revealed in the Qur'an, which requires Muslims to be friendly,
gentle, compassionate, tolerant, just, understanding, patient, and devoted.
Islam invites people to a peaceful world:
O you who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam).
Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to
you. (Qur'an, 2:208)
Muslims are defined as people who obey God's commands, try to practice
the Qur'an's morality diligently, make the world a nicer place, build
it up, and deliver peace and happiness. They strive to do good, pleasant,
and nice things for people, and make a great effort to reflect our Lord's
infinite compassion and mercy. God told His followers to be good to people,
take an interest in his or her surrounding environment, and call people
to the right path. The following verse describes the difference between
people who have no positive effect on their surrounding environment and
those who always try to do good:
God makes another metaphor: two men, one of them deaf
and dumb, unable to do anything, a burden on his master, no matter where
he directs him he brings no good. Is he the same as someone who commands
justice and is on a straight path? (Qur'an, 16:76)
The message of this verse must guide the Islamic Union, which must be
a platform for implementing Islamic morality's understanding of devotion,
unity, friendship, honesty, justice, loyalty, fidelity, and service. Islamic
morality guarantees people's freedom of thought and life, discourages
tension and dispute between people, and even forbids suspicion, negative
thoughts and words about one another. Our envisaged union must be formed
by Muslims who operate on that basis and work for world peace.
The Qur'anic morality requires that Muslims refrain from war and conflict
and resolve disputes by dialogue and agreement. The Qur'an considers war
to be an unwanted necessity and a last resort that must abide by strict
humanitarian and moral rules. Muslims are charged with always siding with
peace and agreement, and fighting only in self-defense if attacked by
the enemy. God reveals that it is evil-doers who begin war and that He
does not like them:
Each time they kindle the fire of war, God extinguishes
it. They rush about the land corrupting it. God does not love corrupters.
Our Prophet Mohammed's (may God bless him and grant him peace) life shows
that war is only fought for defensive purposes when all else has failed.
The Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him
peace) over a period of 23 years. For the first 13 years, Muslims lived
as an oppressed minority community under pagan rule. Many Muslims were
physically tortured, some were killed, and others had their property looted.
As a community, they were constantly exposed to humiliation and threats.
Nevertheless, they remained peaceful and continued to invite the pagan
Makkans to peace. When the oppression reached unbearable levels, the Muslims
migrated to Yathrib (later Madinah), where they found freedom and friendship,
and where they gradually established their own rule. Not even then did
they declare war on the aggressive pagans of Makkah.
The nature of an Islamic society is measured and balanced, for people
are invited to do good and commanded to refrain from evil. Surat al-Baqara
2:143 states that Muslims are witnesses as well as role models to people
as a "middlemost community." Another verse reveals that they are required
to be an example of good for humanity:
You are the best nation ever to be produced before
mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong, and believe in God.
An organization formed by Muslims who abide by God's teaching is obviously
required to protect and represent this good morality and show the Islamic
Union's way forward. It must first resolve intra-Muslim disputes and deliver
peace to the Islamic world, oppose any movement that incites violence
and war, and constitute a preventive force against all warmongers. Furthermore,
it must cooperate with the international community on terrorism and international
crime, as well as on matters of general concern (e.g., weapons of mass
destruction), and even lead the fight against these threats.
A Generator of Solutions
We have briefly mentioned
some problems (e.g., Palestine and Kashmir) that the Islamic Union could
resolve quickly. Thus, once it is established, this union will have to
shoulder huge responsibilities and become an organization that can generate
realistic and appropriate solutions.
The current situation has a negative effect not only on Muslims, but
also on many innocent people around the world. Untold millions continue
to suffer from the curses of corruption, poverty, immorality, the unfair
distribution of wealth, ruthlessness, tyranny, conflict, and injustice.
Babies die because there is no food, children and the elderly are left
to fend for themselves on the streets, refugees are forced to live in
tents or barracks, and sick people cannot afford any medical treatment-all
of these problems affect not only the Islamic world and the underdeveloped
world in general, but also, to a lesser extent, the developed world.
Many innocent and needy people are waiting for a helping hand. The Muslims'
responsibilities in this regard are as follows:
What reason could you have for not fighting in the
Way of God-for those men, women, and children who are oppressed and
say: "Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers!
Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!?" (Qur'an,
The Islamic Union will resolve the disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims
as well as conflicts between Muslims. Currently, even intra-Muslim disputes
are being resolved by Western countries or international organizations
under their control. Foreign powers, unfamiliar with Muslim history and
culture, do not appear to be capable of delivering appropriate solutions,
even if they do provide some little help from time to time. Muslim nations
should solve their own problems, for then their problems will not be dragged
into the international arena, the proposed solutions will be in their
interest, and a united Islamic world will send out a message of power
and stability. One of the Islamic world's greatest troubles is its current
inability to produce such common policies and effective strategies even
on matters of direct concern.
Hungry and poor people need every kind of help.
The Islamic Union must find solutions for the Muslim nations as well
as for all people seeking peace and security. Each nation has its own
political, demographic, and economic problems, and different regions have
their own regional problems too. Although each of these problems requires
different solutions and measures, the fundamental problems and their solutions
are everywhere the same. Much suffering and trouble is caused by the fact
that the Qur'an's morality is not practiced as it should be, which means
that the required solutions are not devised according to its guidance.
If just and realistic solutions are to be reached, such qualities as open-mindedness,
flexibility, and free thinking, together with honesty, devotion, justice,
and helpfulness, all of which are derived from the Qur'an's morality must
guide the Muslims.
There is an important link between solving economic problems and social
morality. For instance, one of the greatest economic problems is social
injustice, which is essentially a moral problem. There can be no social
injustice in an Islamic society, for God requires that all surplus goods
or wealth be shared with the needy and prohibits conspicuous consumption.
Financial means should not constitute the basis for privilege and become
a value shared by the few, for the Qur'an's morality requires social solidarity
and awareness of one another's needs. Sincere Muslims have such a devotional
character that they give their food first to the poor and the captives,
even if they are in need themselves. They do so only to earn God's good
They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor
and orphans and captives [saying], "We feed you only out of desire for
the Face of God. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks."
The solidarity and cooperation between individuals can easily be achieved
in international relations, for Islamic morality will guide the union's
member nations. It is intolerable that some countries enjoy exaggerated
luxury while, in another country, thousands of newborn babies die of starvation.
Every conscientious person should be disturbed by this situation.
Many charitable and international organizations are actively seeking
to assist these poor and suffering nations. However, their efforts usually
do not go beyond delivering aid packages to the affected regions. And,
this aid often does not reach its intended recipients due to the failures
of the underdeveloped nation's system and their mafia or gang-type organizations.
All of these must be eradicated, and a new mentality based on conscience
and common sense must be nurtured through mass education campaigns.
When wastefulness is prevented, when solidarity develops and sharing
is encouraged, and especially when people have learned to be guided by
their conscience, such economic imbalances can be eradicated. The most
suitable structure to implement these solutions will be the Islamic Union.
Private and Individual Rights Must Be Just and Respected
a society shaped by true Islamic morality, individual rights and freedoms
are very important. Personal rights and freedoms are guaranteed so that
people can live a free and dignified life. God has revealed in the Qur'an
that all people are equal in His presence, for superiority is based upon
one's awareness of God, and He commands Muslims to be just, tolerant,
forgiving, and understanding toward people. Therefore, they must respect
differences and be fair when evaluating them.
Our Prophet's (may God bless him and grant him peace) practices in the
first Islamic society (Madinah) have shown the way for all Muslims with
regard to social structure and governance. The "Constitution of Madinah,"
considered the Muslims' first constitution, reflects an advanced level
of understanding of law and exemplifies Islamic society's sense of justice
and individual rights. Under it, all people of whatever religion were
given their fundamental rights and freedoms, and people's property, life,
family, and places of worship were safeguarded. With this agreement, everyone
could live under one political entity and peace was brought to tribes
that had been feuding with one another for many years. Outside of the
Constitution of Madinah, the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him
peace) always treated the pagans fairly, honored their pleas for safety
and protection and desired friendly and civilized relations between people.
Fourteen centuries ago, Islam brought such values as individual rights,
law and order, equality before the law, and economic freedom to humanity.
As Islam spread, the justice that prevailed throughout its domain became
the envy of all nations. This sense of justice, which is still remembered
today with respect and approval by many Western thinkers, led many people
and nations to embrace Islam and welcome Muslim rule. Our Prophet Mohammed
(may God bless him and grant him peace) practiced the Qur'anic system
of justice in the best possible way, and his Companions and Muslims in
general continued to practice this superior morality. This enabled the
Muslims to become a community that achieved justice between people:
Among those We have created there is a community who
guide by the Truth and act justly according to it. (Qur'an, 7:181)
Oil complexes in Azarbaijan and Indonesia.
Islam teaches freedom of thought and participation in government. A broad-based
consultation process is one of Islam's most fundamental social requirements,
for God commands Muslims to govern by mutual consultation, namely, to
discuss their affairs among themselves:
[Believers are] those who respond to their Lord and
perform prayer, manage their affairs by mutual consultation, and give
of what We have provided for them. (Qur'an, 42:38)
When action follows consultation, all individuals will have had an equal
chance to voice their opinions and then to consider the matter from many
different perspectives. This reduces the possibility of error and, therefore,
results in an agreed-upon and appropriate decision.
The degeneration and moral collapse in societies where people
are far removed from religion's morality is a major problem in
The most important aspect of consultation is that each representative
does his or her best to respect and understand the different viewpoints.
Their main concern is to find the right ideas, rather than who proposed
them. In other words, consultation's main purpose is to make those decisions
that are in society's best interest. Islamic morality requires that Muslims
not insist upon their own views, but adopt the view that is closest to
their conscience and justice. Muslims must refrain from the insistence
and pride inherent in thinking that "my views are the best, my views must
be recognized by all," for such behavior does not please God. Muslims
must know that that there is always someone who knows more than they do,
and that it would be a grave error to insist that their own ideas are
Over everyone with knowledge is a knower. (Qur'an, 12:76)
The Islamic principle of consultation is a leading light for the Islamic
Union, which must be built on a political culture of free speech without
fear of recrimination, where their rights are safeguarded, and where everyone's
views are listened to with equal respect. In this way, its member nations
will develop societies in which people respect each other's views; where
equality, justice, and freedom rule; and where oppression and injustice
are eradicated. Such achievements will enable the Islamic world to guarantee
the Muslims' safety and happiness, and also will become the driving force
of our world's culture and civilization.
Projects of "greening the deserts" play an important
role in the Muslim world's economic recovery. The projects carried
out in Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco have been quite successful.
Economic coopearation among Muslim countries will yield better
results in similar projects.
The Ultimate Goal: Developing the Islamic World
The Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, 452
meters tall, are the second tallest buildings in the world.
… He gave you refuge, supported you
with His help, and provided you with good things so that, hopefully,
you would be thankful.
One of the Islamic world's most serious problems is its general underdevelopment.
Therefore, one of the Islamic Union's priorities must be to develop the
Islamic world by supporting the poorer countries and resolving their economic
problems. This can be done by fighting poverty,-encouraging new investments,
creating jobs,-achieving law and order throughout society, removing economic
injustice and guaranteeing social justice, and strengthening international
as well as regional cooperation and dialogue.
Problems and tensions within the Islamic world caused by financial inequality
must be reduced. A union and cooperation between Muslim nations in the
economic, political, and, most importantly, the cultural arenas will enable
the underdeveloped nations to advance rapidly. Moreover, those that have
the necessary infrastructure in place will be enabled to maximize their
productivity. Such a union will benefit economic growth and scientific
and technological development.
Economic growth will increase investment in science and technology, and
technological advancements will fuel further economic growth. Economic
development will raise educational standards, and society will develop
in many ways. Under the umbrella of the Islamic Union, individuals will
be able to travel freely without the obstacles of visas or borders, and
a system of free trade and enterprise will drive the Islamic world's rapid
growth and development.
This development will naturally result in the Islamic world's modernization
and reaching the standards found in the developed world. While Islam's
economic principles diverge from the hedonism that dominates the majority
of the West, free trade is just as essential to Islamic societies as it
is to Western societies. Islam recognizes everybody's right to private
ownership and free enterprise, but Islamic morality places certain responsibilities
on individuals in order to achieve social justice. The poor have a share
in the wealth of the rich, but not in the form of enforced taxation. Rather,
the rich give this share to the poor willingly because of their beliefs.
Islam's version of social justice is not achieved by central planning
and enforcement, as socialism proclaimed but failed to deliver, but by
the society's dominant moral values. Islamic morality also prevents the
rich from indulging in conspicuous consumption and extravagance.
Islamic morality instructs people to avoid waste and extravagance.
This is a key element in establishing social justice in Islamic
societies. Social justice in Islam can be established by the society's
prevalent moral values. Consequently, living by the Qur'an's values
and Islamic unity will cause the Islamic world to become more
The materialistic social model encourages consumption, selfishness, and
the ruthless oppression of others by individuals who have lost their respect
and love for their fellow citizens. Over the past two centuries, this
social model has come to dominate the majority of the Western world and
has eroded its traditional Judeo-Christian moral values. As a consequence,
many Western countries are forced to fight widespread drug abuse, prostitution,
corruption, gambling, alcohol abuse, and organized crime. Furthermore,
weakening religious beliefs has created an identity crisis: Materialist
philosophies, which assert that the purpose of life is to acquire material
wealth and live a life of pleasure, cannot satisfy people's spirituality
and so end up creating a void of aimlessness. Under the banner of freedom,
its adherents abandon themselves to their own selfish desires.
…so that it [booty] does not become something which merely
revolves between the rich among you…
Islamic morality, on the other hand, frees people from all kinds of worries
and anxieties that trouble their minds. Believers only heed God and seek
to win only His good pleasure. Fully aware of their responsibilities to
our Lord, they live by their conscience at all times and, as such, are
content and well-balanced individuals. They offer their environment goodness
and beauty. This morality frees people from the pressures of envy, excessive
desire, fear of the future and death, and other attitudes and fears that
are incompatible with religious morality. Freed of these negative characteristics,
they experience the freedom and peace derived from submitting to God.
Therefore, the development and advancement encouraged
by the Islamic Union will not be identical to the development envisaged
by the West. During its period of development, the West experienced great
social injustice. For instance, the driving force of development in eighteenth-
and nineteenth-century England was ruthless exploitation. The working
classes endured terrible working and living conditions. Children as young
as 7 or 8 were made to work in filthy coal mines for 16 hours a day; many
of them died before they were 20 years old. In the 1840s, the average
life expectancy of coal miners fell to an average of 17 years.16
On the other hand, the rich lived in excessive luxury and extravagance.
All industrialized Western countries went through these horrific experiences,
and they built themselves upon the exploitation and oppression of millions
of poor people.
The developmental model of a society dominated by Islamic morality will
comprise social justice. The West suffered great injustice during its
own development because its leaders adhered to materialism's misconceptions
of human nature. Islamic morality, however, requires people to be entrepreneurs
and pioneers in all fields, as well as compassionate, selfless, and just
to others. Throughout the rise of Islamic civilization, Muslims were world
leaders in economics and very successful traders. However, the resulting
wealth did not remain in the hands of the few, but spread throughout society.
Such social aid institutions as charitable organizations, social complexes,
soup kitchens, caravanserai (large inns), public baths, and libraries
show that wealth and culture did not remain in the hands of a few Muslims,
but were accessible to all. The envisaged Islamic Union must adopt this
Nadir Divan Begi Madrasah, 1622, Bukhara,
Uzbekistan. (bottom right)
Alaaddin Caravanserai, 1229, Aksaray, Turkey. (top left)
A caravanserai dating back to the 17th century, Punjab, India.
Sher-Dor and Tilla Kari Madrasah, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
They will ask you what they should give
away. Say: “Any wealth you give away should go to your parents
and relatives, and to orphans, the very poor, and travellers.”
Whatever good you do, God knows it.
The metaphor of those who spend their wealth
in the Way of God is that of a grain which produces seven ears;
in every ear there are a hundred grains. God gives such multiplied
increase to whoever He wills. God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.
Another aspect of this developmental model is open-mindedness. Islamic
morality requires Muslims to be open-minded or, in other words, that they
maintain dialogue with other cultures and benefit from their achievements.
For this reason, Muslim thinkers and scientists examined earlier Greek,
Chinese, Roman, and Indian scholarly works, from which they acquired knowledge
and then developed and enriched with an Islamic understanding. The Islamic
world of today must examine other cultures, in particular those of the
West, benefit from their accumulated knowledge, and then use and advance
them further for their own-and humanity's-benefit.
Trying to isolate the Islamic world from other cultures making it self-contained
will not benefit Muslims. Islamic morality demands that technology be
used to the full. For instance, Muslims must build their own film industry
to teach humanity righteousness and goodness, as a counterweight to films
that seek to impose a materialistic twist on Islamic morality. If some
art trends contain negative influences, Muslims must produce a more beautiful
and splendid art form. If people admire the impressiveness, cleanliness,
comfort, and liveliness of cities, Muslims must build even better cities
and make the world an even better place in which to live.
Surely Muslims can build a civilization comparable to the great Islamic
civilization of the past, but to do so they must live according to the
aesthetics and artistry, open-mindedness, moderation, and justice of the
Qur'an's values. Islamic art, culture, and civilization will not only
bring prosperity to Muslims, but to all of humanity. The world's greatest
libraries, most stunning architecture, cleanest streets, the brightest
lit roads, and best schools, universities, and hospitals will be built
by Muslims, and all people will have equal access to them.
The rise of Islamic civilization is possible under the leadership of
an Islamic central power, and the twenty-first century can be an enlightening
one for the Islamic world. At a time when globalization is gaining momentum,
Muslim nations must resolve their conflicts; enter into joint scientific,
technological, and trading ventures; and combine their forces in the interest
of all Muslims.
The United Arab Emirates (left)
Good land yields up its plants by its Lordâ€™s
permission, but that which is bad only yields up scantily. In
this way We vary the Signs for people who are thankful.
We did not create the heavens and Earth
and everything between them, except with truth. The Hour is certainly
coming, so turn away graciously. (Qurâ€™an, 15:85)
Finally, it must be stated that Muslims do not divide the world into
two opposing poles: "Westerners" and "Muslims." First, the majority of
Western people are People of the Book and therefore share many of the
Muslims' moral and religious values. That is why many aspects of Western
culture (e.g., freedom of belief, democracy, and family values) are central
to Islamic morality as well. On the other hand, many people in the West
have chosen Islam as their religion and continue to do so. Considering
that the Qur'an's values have so far not been made available correctly
and comprehensively in the West, it is realistic to expect many more people
to embrace Islam. Muslims must adopt this attitude to the West and its
culture. Also, they must remember that some circles have been under the
influence of materialistic philosophies for over two centuries, and that
they still need to be freed from their prejudices. This is the responsibility
Ubudiah Mosque, Malaysia. (left)
If you tried to number Godâ€™s blessings,
you could never count them. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
God knows what you keep secret and what
you make public. Those you call on besides God do not create anything.
They are themselves created.