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Recommencement of the Civilizing Movement and Bringing Together of Muslim Schools of Thought

Nov 6, 2009, 12:58 PM | Article By: Alhaji Ousman M Jah

Religious conflicts put a stop to the movement of Islamic civilization. Prior to Islam, due to various quarrels, the Arabian tribes lacked civilization; however, through settling the disputes, Islam created a proper ground for Islamic civilization to flourish. The history of theology {Kala'm} and other kinds of debates was itself a sign of bringing together and consequently a ground for civilization.

The best models which can both cause the bringing together and take us to the true civilization are God as well as mystical spirit and dignity. Once the mystical school is properly fulfilled amongst us, we shall have dignity, we shall possess an international language, we shall reach our evolutional movement, and also we will have learned the essence of religions. Mysticism seeks the true nature of man shared by all mankind; it is the abstinence from animality which is despised by everyone; it causes an inward perfection-seeking change in man ?something they desire. Through mysticism, one can achieve his sacred this - worldly and afterlife goals from all aspects.


Bringing together of religious sects is the goal for all of those who pay attention to and have their eyes on the glory, greatness, prosperity, and superiority of their nation. However, wishing alone is not enough to fulfill this great goal. Rather, one must seek the roots of this phenomenon and attempt a fundamental survey so that the efforts would not go to waste along a pointless path. In our opinion, religious conflict is a side-effect of a malignant disease which has afflicted the Islamic world and is manifested in the cessation of its civilizational movement.

The disease has numerous side-effects the most important of which being disruption and dispersion which manifests itself in various forms. It sometimes appears in a religious form, at other time in a racial one, and sometimes in a form pertaining to a country, region, etc. The important thing is the existence of disruption no matter in what form it is fulfill; therefore, attempting to cure religious disputes without taking into consideration the roots of the phenomenon is like attempting to cure an acne caused by hepatic disease by dressing the wounds, while one must deal with and cure the liver.

The civilizing Movement

To say that religion signifies the advancement of human society toward the civilizational movement would be no extravagance, since civilization is the same as amount of mankind?s achievements in the fields of his material and spiritual progress. Moreover, all the teachings of Islam are concerned with saving man from stagnation, lassitude, and stiffness in order to pull him toward a limitless movement in the fields of fulfilling advancements in order to conquer nature, making efforts in the process of being the vicegerent of God on the earth and that of mental and spiritual elevation, and breaking out of selfishness and inferior motives.

Prior to Islam, the Arabian Peninsula lacked a civilizational project. Therefore the Arabian tribes were engaged in tribal conflicts and quarrels. The Arabian world testifies to this matter, and the poems from the Arabian age of ignorance have depicted such widespread conflicts. It existed in such a way that the Arabians in the Era of ignorance could not abandon it in their lives, since it had been a part of their daily life. The poets speak of that spirit of ignorance whose return was desired in the era of Umayyads' ruler ship as well.

One poet rebukes urban life, considering Bedouin life as an honor for himself. He considers plundering and assaulting as a principle in his life that should always exist: even if there were no enemies, one was to wage war with neighbors, friends, and even relatives. It is noteworthy that in his lines the poet has used the word "hadara" meaning civilization as opposed to "badiya" {desert}. Such a contrast is present in the Islamic traditions {hadiths} which prohibit people from taking on Bedouin life after migration, i.e. turning to Bedouin life after having migrated to a city; the prohibition in this regard is strict and close to the point of excommunication, since civilization requires urban life and cannot be provided through a mere Bedouin one. Also the matter considered in these lines permits the avoidance of civilized life through engaging a person with the intention of pillaging him, and in case they did not find a wealthy tribe to attack; they would assault the weak tribe, and if they did not find the weak tribe, then they would attack and plunder their brothers in the "Banu Bakr" tribe. The important matter was war and conflict.

When Islam presented its civilizational project to these fighting tribes, it turned the goals of the tribes into a universal mission; it put them on the track of great goals. Islam managed to overcome the disruption and conflict between Arabian tribes, to the same extent that it managed to originate the civilizing movement in the society. All of the conflict phenomena which appeared in the Islamic society at the beginning of prophecy or after it originated from the sediments of a conflict from a tribe which was against the civilizing movement.

Despite the problems and tribal, racial, and political obstacles that had appeared in the Islamic life during the first and second centuries, the great civilizational movement which Islam had originated in people's heart was still going on and expanding. Constantly having its benefits, it resulted in the creation of a civilization which no one would deny; it caused a movement in scientific and social advancement in extensive fields.

Bringing Together in the Light of the Civilization-Seeking Movement

If we exclude some undesirable phenomena that existed among the ignorant people who were away from the civilization-seeking movement in the early centuries of Islam, we shall see that the civilized Islamic society was overflowing with the phenomena that the demonstrated the domination of the spirit of conversation, agreement, and acceptance of the other party's opinion, along with racial and religious coexistence, a matter which existed in its best manifestations in the relationships among religious leaders, scholars, and men of literature with various kinds of though. Here we cannot recount all of its related forms; however, we will just mention to you the writing of "al-Mas?oudi" regarding one of the meetings of Barmakids in the era of civilizational movement:
It appears in the book of "Muruj al-Dhahab" that: Yahya b.Khalid was a man of knowledge and cognition, a man of debate and opinion. He led a meeting in which theologians from Islam and authorities from various sects participated. One day when they had gathered around him, he told them: you have spoken a lot concerning absence and appearance; eternity and occurrence affirmation negation motion stillness accompaniment and separation, existence and nonexistence, traction and mutation; bodies and accidents; modification; negation of attributes and their affirmation; ability and actions; quantity, quality, and leadership? whether it is a narrative debate or dependant upon people's will; and you speak other thing regarding the principle and branches of the religion. Now speak peacefully about love, and every one of you would speak out his opinion and what has come to his mind concerning love.
Ali b.Haitham who was a Twelver Shiite and among the well-known theologians of Shiites, said:"O Vizier! Love is the fruit of harmony and a reason for the mixture of two spirits, an ocean of delicacy, the tenderness of God?s creation, and the purity of essence. Its harm knows no boundaries, and extremism in it causes a decline in the body."

Abu Malik Hadrami who was one of Khawarij {who were called "Shurat"} said: "O Vizier! Love is the breathing of magic, more concealed and hitter than embers, and can only be achieved through the marriage of two natures and the mixing of two types; its penetration into the heart is like the penetration of raindrops into the sand; it is the king of virtues. It captivates intellects, and through it gazes will calm."

The third person who was Mohammad b. al-Hudhail al-Allaf, a member of the Mu'tazili sect, and the leader of the people of Basra said: "O Vizier! Love closes the eyes, seals the hearts, penetrates into the bodies, and quickly places it self into the livers. Its possessor is afflicted with suspicion and hallucination; no existent will remain for him, and no promise of his shall be fulfill. Troubles come to him in a rush. He is a sip of hemlock and a part of the boundaries of bereavement; however, it causes happiness and liveliness in the nature, and its possessor will lend no ear to a prohibiting invitation and will grant no permission to the reproving adversary."

Dr. Muhammad-Ali Azarshab,
From: Al Taqrib Journal on Islamic Unity& Proximity
To be Continued