Lines in the Sand 1 May 2006Posted by MOZAFFAR in History, MOZAFFAR, Politics.
I’ve had trouble understanding the whole “Islam vs. the ‘West” scenario. Where is “Islam” and where is the “West?”
Meaning, where do I fit in? Within the next 5-10 years, the Muslims of the US will be the most influential population of Muslims on the globe. So, how does that affect this scenario? Similarly, I don’t look at Islam as being present in that stretch from African through the Middle East, through Central and South Asia, down through Polynesia. There are Muslims there, but where is the Islam?
But, the fact is that even though there may not have been an “Islam vs. the West” scenario before, now it’s happening. But where did it come from? Two sources that seemed to have fit perfectly.
First, there was Western and Eastern Christianity. Western Christianity begins ideologically (or in terms of authority) with Rome and the Romans. Eastern Christianity begins ideologically (or in terms of authority) with Constantinople and the Byzantines (aka the Eastern Roman Empire).
Second, many Muslim scholars historically chose the Dar al-Islam / Dar al-Harb dichotomy. The argument was that when Islam was defined on the world stage as a political entity, there was the land of Islam and then the rest of the earth. As the lands of Islam spread, it was to spread — in this reasoning — by conquest. That conquest may have been political, missionary, trade, etc.., but it was conquest.
Now, look what happens in the recent few centuries. The lands once inhabited by Eastern Christianity become inhabited by the Ottoman Empire. “West and East” becomes “West and Islam.” “Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb” remains. The fit is perfect.
No it is not. It’s simply a Eurocentric outlook. Nothing else in the world exists in this scenario, save the West, and the West is just the US, Europe, and perhaps Israel. And, the “Islam” of this world is not geographically “East” considering that North Africa is as “West” as is Europe. The “Islam” of this paradigm is the stretch of lands that have large Muslim populations.
A better reading would be the “North” vs. the “South.” Look at the globe. It is literally the “North” and the “South.”
To be continued in the future, God-willing.