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Islam as a World Power. Michael Goheen Trinity Western University Langley, B.C. Importance of Understanding Islam. Size: 1.2 billion; 2025 1.8 billion Growth: fastest growing religion in world (percentage-wise) History of animosity between Christianity and Islam, and West and Islam

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islam as a world power

Islam as a World Power

Michael Goheen

Trinity Western University

Langley, B.C.

importance of understanding islam
Importance of Understanding Islam
  • Size: 1.2 billion; 2025 1.8 billion
  • Growth: fastest growing religion in world (percentage-wise)
  • History of animosity between Christianity and Islam, and West and Islam
  • Misunderstanding of Islam
  • Global power
new world order
New World Order
  • 20th Century: Bipolar (US, USSR)
  • Fall of Communism
  • New world order:
    • One world order: globalization and modernization
    • Bipolar: north/south; east/west
    • Chaos
    • Clash of civilizations
major forces of global power
Major Forces of Global Power
  • West: globalization/modernization
  • Islam
  • China and economic power
  • Third world church and Pentecostalism
clash between islam and west
Clash Between Islam and West
  • Major clash: Islam and West
  • Problem: Understand religion as private belief

“Islam is not a religion in the common, distorted meaning of the word, confining its scope to the private life of man. It is a complete way of life, catering for all the fields of human existence. Islam provides guidance for all walks of life . . . The Qu’ran enjoins man to enter the fold of Islam without any reservation and to follow God’s guidance in all fields of life.” (Ahmed)

clash between islam and west6
Clash Between Islam and West
  • Major clash: Islam and West
  • Problem: Understand religion as private belief
  • Clash between two major religions and civilizations built on those beliefs

“I don’t think there is a conflict between religions. There is a conflict between civilizations.” (Muslim lawyer from Tunisia)

mohammed s formative influence
Mohammed’s Formative Influence
  • Mohammed/Koran: Final revelation of God
  • Historical and cultural context:
    • Religious: animistic polytheism
    • Moral: immorality and corruption
    • Social: warfare, tribal strife, poverty, injustice
mohammed s public life
Mohammed’s Public Life
  • 15 years preparation (595-610)
  • Night of power (610) Gabriel: ‘Proclaim’
  • Rejection and hostility in Mecca
  • Hijra to Medina
    • Turning point in world history (calendars)
    • Rejected prophet to powerful leader
    • Capable of establishing ummah
    • Includes politics, society, economics
koran
Koran
  • Recorded revelations from Gabriel to Mohammed: Final revelation of Allah
  • Given to Mohammed over 22 years
  • One God, One Law for One People
  • Intended to create ummah united in faith and in submission to Allah’s law
  • Memorized by Mohammed; written down by scribes; collected into present form 20 years after Mohammed’s death
ummah and its mission
Ummah and Its Mission
  • Ummah: Community of believers submitted to will of Allah
  • Includes political structure, social community, economic system, civil law
  • Early ummah of Medina: normative
  • Peace: Comprehensive submission to Allah
  • Two regions: dar al-salaam/islam and dar al-harb
  • Mission: Establish peace throughout world by striving (jihad)
formative core of islam
Formative Core of Islam

‘Mohammed was possessed by two great religious aims--to proclaim God as the sole, almighty God, the Creator and the King of the day of judgement; to found a community, in Arabic called umma, ruled by the Law of God and His Apostle. These two objects constitute the core of Islam, its strength and its weaknesses’ (Hendrik Kraemer).

muslim resurgence
Muslim Resurgence
  • Growth and vitality
  • Self-consciousness of world power
  • Quest to establish states governed by shariah law
  • Anti-western
  • Military tendency
  • Oil-based wealth
struggle with the west
Struggle with the West
  • Struggle between two comprehensive religious beliefs

“The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed by the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. department of defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West.” (Huntington).

struggle with the west14
Struggle with the West
  • Struggle between two comprehensive religious beliefs
  • Three Muslim responses:
    • Acceptance of West and modernity
acceptance of western modernity
Acceptance of Western Modernity

To escape anomy, Muslims have but one choice, for modernization requires Westernization. . . Islam does not offer an alternative to modernize . . . Secularism cannot be avoided. Modern science and technology require an absorption of the thought processes [religious beliefs] which accompany them. . . . Only when Muslims explicitly accept the Western model will they be in a position to develop (Daniel Pipes).

acceptance of western modernity16
Acceptance of Western Modernity

The restoration of religion to the sphere of the personal, its depolitization, is the nettle that all Muslim societies must grasp in order to become modern. . . . If terrorism is to be defeated, the world of Islam must take on board the secularist- humanist principles [religion . . . in other words convert!] on which the modern is based, and without which Muslim countries’ freedom will remain a distant dream (Salman Rushdie).

struggle with the west17
Struggle with the West
  • Struggle between two comprehensive religious beliefs
  • Three Muslim responses:
    • Acceptance of West and modernity
    • Accept modernity, reject Westernization
accept modernity reject west
Accept Modernity, Reject West

Islam and modernization do not clash. Pious Muslims can cultivate sciences, work efficiently in factories, or utilize advanced weapons. Modernization requires no one political ideology, or set of institutions . . . The Shari’a has nothing to say about the changes that accompany modernization . . . (Daniel Pipes).

struggle with the west19
Struggle with the West
  • Struggle between two comprehensive religious beliefs
  • Three Muslim responses:
    • Acceptance of West and modernity
    • Accept modernity, reject Westernization
    • Rejection of West and modernity
rejection of western modernity
Rejection of Western Modernity
  • Growing among Muslims
  • Taliban example
  • Return to original ummah as model
  • Problem of static religion in world of change
  • Response of terrorism
islam is
Islam is . . .

“. . . a comprehensive system that tends to annihilate all tyrannical and evil systems in the world and enforce its own program. . . . a revolutionary concept and ideology which seeks to change and revolutionize the world social order and reshape it according to its own concept and ideals.” (Mawlana Abul A’la Mawdudi 1903-1979)

new style of terrorism
New Style of Terrorism

Primary purpose “is not to defeat or even weaken the enemy militarily but to gain publicity and to inspire fear—a psychological victory.” (Bernard Lewis)

response of muslims to muslim terrorism
Response of Muslims to Muslim Terrorism
  • Genuine Islamic actions

“Allah has answered our prayers.” (Hamas Weekly, 13 September 2001)

“Our driving motivation does not come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer. Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true God, Allah, and follow in the footsteps of the final prophet and messenger Muhammad” (Mohammad Sidique Khan)

response of muslims to muslim terrorism24
Response of Muslims to Muslim Terrorism
  • Genuine Islamic actions
  • Cannot be justified by Islamic teaching

“Those who plan and carry out such acts are condemned by Islam, and the massacre of thousands, whoever perpetrated it, is a crime against God as well as humanity.” (Zaki Badawi, Muslim College, London, UK)

response of muslims to muslim terrorism25
Response of Muslims to Muslim Terrorism
  • Genuine Islamic actions
  • Cannot be justified by Islamic teaching
  • Sympathize with motives yet condemn actions
sorting it all out
Sorting it all out
  • Two crucial questions:
    • Historical origins associated with violence yet claims to be religion of peace?
    • Meaning of jihad?

“Muslim jurists saw jihad as a requirement in a world divided between what they called dar al-islam and the dar al-harb. The Muslim community was required to engage in the struggle to expand the dar al islam throughout the world so that all of humankind would have the opportunity to live within a just political and social order.” (John Esposito, on way jihad has been understood for centuries)

jihad
Jihad

“ . . . a defining concept or belief in Islam, a key element in what it means to be a believer and follower of God’s will . . . A universal religious obligation for all true Muslimas to join the jihad to promote a global Islamic revolution.” (John Esposito)

“For most of the fourteen centuries of recorded Muslim history, jihad was most commonly interpreted to mean armed struggle for the defence or advancement of Muslim power.” (Bernard Lewis)

questions
Questions
  • Offensive and/or defensive?
  • Include violence?

“Is Islam a religion of peace, as Muslim moderates (and Tony Blair and George W. Bush) say, or is it a religion prone to violence and holy war, as statements by radical groups suggest? . . . The answer lies not in an either/or response, but rather in a both…and response. The Islamic texts offer the potential for being interpreted in both ways. It depends on how individual Muslims wish to read them.” (Riddell and Cotterell)

christian response
Christian Response
  • Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim rage’
major grievances chapman
Major Grievances (Chapman)
  • The weakness and humiliation of the Muslim world
  • New forms of Western imperialism
  • Failure of ideologies imported from West
  • Establishment of Zionist state in midst of Islam
  • Presence of foreign troops in Saudia Arabia
  • Corrupt and autocratic governments in Islamic countries
  • Double standards
christian response31
Christian Response
  • Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim rage’
  • Distinguishing between gospel and Western culture
  • Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim mind

“. . . there is a titanic struggle taking place between moderates and radicals for the hearts and minds of the Muslim masses in the middle.” (Riddell and Cotterell)

christian response32
Christian Response
  • Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim rage’
  • Distinguishing between gospel and Western culture
  • Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim mind
  • Interpreting terror
    • “Violence and terrorism do form an intrinsic part of classical Islam” (Patrick Sookhdeo, Institute for Study of Islam and Christianity)
    • Ambiguity of Koran but “mainstream Islam, in law and theology as well as in practice, in the end has always rejected or maginalized extremists and terrorists” (Esposito)
sorting out theological and political factors
Sorting out theological and political factors
  • Theological:
    • Ummah as social-religio-political community
    • Mission of ummah: dar al-salaam, dar al-harb, jihad
    • Islam eschatology
  • Resentment toward West
    • Historic resentment toward Christianity (Crusades)
    • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    • Sanctions against Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan
    • Ascendency and universalizing of West: moral, political, legal, religious, economic implications
    • Critique of West: godless, immoral, arrogant, materialistic, seductive, imperialistic
    • Back pro-Western regimes
christian response34
Christian Response
  • Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim rage’
  • Distinguishing between gospel and Western culture
  • Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim mind
  • Interpreting terror
  • Distinguishing gospel and Islam
islam and gospel
Islam and Gospel
  • Both Islam and Christianity see religion as comprehensive and not simply private
  • Islam has been more consistent in maintaining this
  • We need to repent of dualism
  • Yet fundamental difference: Islam—this-worldly victory; gospel—intervention of Christ
tolerance christianity and islam
Tolerance: Christianity and Islam

“What is unique about the Christian gospel is that those who are called to be its witnesses are committed to the public affirmation that it is true—true for all people at all times—and are at the same time forbidden to use coercion to enforce it. They are therefore required to be tolerant of denial . . . not in the sense that we must tolerate all beliefs because truth is unknowable and all have equal rights. The toleration which a Christian is required to exercise is not something which he must exercise in spite of his or her belief that the gospel is true, but precisely because of this belief. This marks one of the very important points of difference between Islam and Christianity.” (Lesslie Newbigin)

christian response37
Christian Response
  • Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim rage’
  • Distinguishing between gospel and Western culture
  • Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim mind
  • Interpreting terror
  • Distinguishing gospel and Islam
  • Repentance and dialogue
dialogue about
Dialogue about . . .
  • Toleration and Islam
  • Islamic imperialism in first centuries
  • Debate about democracy among Muslims
  • Treatment of minorities and women
  • Issue of conversion
  • Preservation of democracy after used to gain power
  • Human rights: Islam and UN

(Colin Chapman)

christian response39
Christian Response
  • Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim rage’
  • Distinguishing between gospel and Western culture
  • Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim mind
  • Interpreting terror
  • Distinguishing gospel and Islam
  • Repentance and dialogue
  • Bold and humble witness to gospel