Islamist universalism to regionalism to imperialism to jihad

Posted on June 5, 2010. Filed under: Arab, Iran, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Jihad, Muslims, Pakistan, Syria, terrorism, Turkey |

The history of transformation of the revealed traditions is the history of empires. Most of the inspiration for empire building appear in communities that are not much productive in knowledge/technology terms themselves, but who are located on the major trade routes that carry continental level economic exchanges. Ambitious among them, see the potential in transforming an ideology that can help them mobilize to impose greater control over this flow and preferably the hotspots also.

The Jews opted out of the empire game early, perhaps because of factional experiences and therefore thinking of non-kin communities as unreliable. So that after this stage of national evolution, they became much more strictly endogamous and ceased proselytizing or converting to any significant level. However with the Islamists, one can easily see that the main centres of Islamic ambitions are exactly those which had empire ambitions also in pre-Islamic periods. The Qureshyi Mecca that produced the founding fathers of Islam are not exceptions in this regard, since the area had been at the periphery of major empires as well as quite close to major trade routes. The Nabateans and Sabateans lined the Red Sea trade routes right into the Arabain Sea as well as the trade routes connecting the Mediterranean to the CAR and India overland.

The two other ambitious Islamic centres are Anatolia-Syria, and Iran-Persia. Perhaps Afghanistan-Pakistan satisfies the criteria of being on the trade route while not being that productive themselves. Each of these centres thought that their imprial ambitions could be spurred and supported if they could use the universalist pretensions of Islam to justify imposing their regional rule on other territories under Islam.

But at the same time this universalism poses an unsolvable dilemma. Some have observed that each retreat of Islamist power is followed by decades or centuries belated but all-sweeping Islamist reaction. I would like to add that the reaction in fact is a much more complex phenomenon that is both the source of strength as well as the downfall of Islamists. The reaction is actually a cover for other regions within the reach of Islam to rush in in the name of Islam and impose their own regional imperial ambition on an area that has been weakened in fighting with the non-Musilm.

You can see this in noting that the cases that fit such succesful reaction, like the Mameluks, or Turks are all by Islamic armies led or core formed from regions external to the place they ultimately come to fight the “infidel” and clear the land of “kufr”.  Arabs are primarily interested in the riches of the Persian empire, and Egypt. Saladin was a Kurd prancing around in Egypt, Palestine. Mameluks were essentially Central Asians first enslaved and employed as soldiers in the early Caliphate. Seljuk Turks swept all the way from around the Pamirs, finsihing off the northern reaches of Ghaznavids, and ultimately expanding to form modern Turkey.

This is the reason in apparent century level gaps in the cause and reaction. It is not really a reaction, but an opportunistic use of Islamic universalism by regional ambitions to impose imperial extraction of profits from larger regions. However such imperial ambitions also impose a huge drain – economically, intellectually and ideologically – especially because the Muslims are mostly confined to areas which are not that highly productive. Over time, the new imperialist sucks the regional economy dry – and keeps other Islamic regions under constant subversion and suspicion – because it knows that other regions could try to emulate its successful strategy.

This is why in each corner of the Islamic world we find the ambition to pose as the centre of the Caliphate – be it Pakis, or Turkey or KSA or Iran. The more Islam expands the more we will see proliferation of that internal conflict. It is the universalist claims of Islamism that generates regionalism within Islam and which fuels further Jihad.

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4 Responses to “Islamist universalism to regionalism to imperialism to jihad”

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This is a book worth reading Dikgaj:
“Unmasking Muhammed” by Sujit Das
https://acrobat.com/#d=WsvZBY1sY0pLKbrDQmGZyA

It is free for all

Another perspective of Mahomet v Jesus from a Christian view:

“Muhammad seems to have realized early on that if Christ is who Christians say he is—the Son of God and the fulfillment of all prophecy—then there is no need for another prophet and another revelation.” http://frontpagemag.com/2010/06/16/jesus-of-nazareth-vs-jesus-of-neverland/

Somehow the earlier link doesn’t work. Maybe this will:

http://www.islammonitor.org/uploads/docs/unmaskingmuhammad.pdf

Dikgaj, here is a site run by ex-Muslims such as MA Khan from Pakistan http://islam-watch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=55

Articles
http://islam-watch.org/


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