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In the Middle of Nowhere: Essence of Life in a Globalised World

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At the threshold of the 21st century, humanity enters its third phase of the undoubtedly dynamic development which is broadly considered the consequence of ‘Western Civilisation’ that was modelled according to sequential notions, starting with ‘Renaissance’, ‘Age of Enlightenment’, ‘Industrialisation’ and ‘Western Modernity’ in its successive discourses in the 20th century.

Chronology and Terminology
Renaissance is perceived as the cornerstone of those sequential processes that looked back into the ancients’ heritage to restore. Nevertheless, it is claimed that ‘Middle Ages’ intermediated the ‘Classic Antiquity’ and ‘Renaissance’. Those ages are known also as ‘Dark Ages’ but an inquisitive question rises: were they really dark ones? 

Let us explore the darkness. Whoa! It is not merely a ‘black hole’ in the space of humanity; there are dimmed lights of a predecessor civilisation named ‘Islaamic Civilisation’, was prevailing. Ironically, it is described a dark era just because it was neither painted with Michael Anglo’s nor Renoir’s brushes. Full Stop!

Tracing back the Roots
Accordingly, one can not simply ignore the influential impact of Islaamic Civilisation upon its successor, the western, not merely via preserving and reviving the heritage of predecessor antiquities, but mainly for its prosperous contribution to the human race development in various realms; either being scientific, logic or ethic.

Terms like scientific, logic and ethics might surprise occidental mind and leads to another inquisitive question: but how come that an irregular religion that spread by fire and sword of some barbarians who call themselves Muslims to produce such civilisation?

Let us explain for whoever might care about understanding because before you communicate you should know!

Islaam Decoded
Westerns produced their civilisation according to their system, so rationally, Muslims must have sort of system that persuaded them to do so either. This system is ‘Islaam’. I’m not as much interested in presenting the output of Islaamic Civilisation as in scratching this surface. Hereby I shall explain the system rationally yet I ought to precede this by terminology of the system itself.

Rationally speaking, I can illustrate Islaam as a system that compromises the complexity of human being which exists into a ‘duplex state’; not merely ‘body’ but also ‘soul’. Such dual parts interact within a homogenous milieu where the resultant force of both ‘logic’ and ‘spirit’ is bestowed in order for human being to work precisely to fulfil a special mission on Earth. Nevertheless, such system can not exist alone; rather an ‘Almighty power’ guide it in order to sustain its stability, thus a ‘doctrine’ for soul to believe in and ‘law’ for his body to follow is ought to be taught via some ‘messengers’.

Now I ought to translate this into the terminology of the system itself:

  • Creator: Allaah the omnipotent of universe and no God except him;
  • Creation: Man is his viceroy for fulfillingthe mission of urbanising Earth;
  • Doctrine: Allaah legislated ‘a’qqdah which is the Islaamic creed that man ought to belief in;
  • Law: Allaah legislated sharee‘ah which is the Islaamic law that man ought to follow;
  • Messenger: Allaah sent to mankind prophets and messengers to reveal the message; and thus Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H) was not merely the prophet of Islaam but also “Seal of the Prophets.”

Consequently, sharee‘ah depends on in two main fundamental sources:

  • Holy ’Qura~n: Textbook of Islaam which was revealed to Prophet Mu’hammad Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.);
  • Prophetic Sunnah: Teaching, ’hadeeths (saying) of Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) that complementary explained and legislated according to the revelation.

The reward for fulfilmentthegoalofcreation is not merely urbanisation; in other words welfare of humanity in the mundane life, but mainly is considered as the validation to get a final reward in the Hereafter and this is the complete worshiping to Allaah.

This is an extremely briefed fundamental framework to understand Islaam which is not enough for who want to elaborate more.

Islaam in Action
Since human being is the focus of Islaam, sharee‘ah tends to improve human attribute. Thereby a complete moral system aroused that aimed to balance between physical and spiritual needs in order to interact better either on the individual scale; behaviour, or the social scale; manners. Moreover, both Man and Woman are the basic elements of the society to form Family which is the pattern of the society. Outside family, there is brotherhood and cooperation according to modesty. Consequently, Islaam persuades Muslims to establish justice among the community.

On the global scale, it’s not merely the ‘ethical message’ to convoy; there is also the Pursuance of Knowledge which is a mandatory act upon Muslim being male or female according to the great prophet’s ’hadeeth and the’Qura~n (1). Consequently, ’Qura~n urges Muslims (2) to look into the book of nature and use their minds. This is the keystone to unlock the passion to know that portrayed Muslims; thus they seek for the past civilisations’ Science, Philosophy or in other words not merely for know but mainly to understand and add.

This is what happened exactly by Muslims scientists and philosophers; which can be perceived as worshiping Allaah on the major scale; humanity as they do on the minor scale; personal obligations upon every Muslim alone. Muslims then became bearers of a universal message of Islaam to inform mankind; yet informing means that Muslims ought to convoy not to force because there is no compulsion in religion; everybody is free wither to embrace it or not. This is what the dark ages looked like however civilisations rises and falls according to many factors that varies either internally or externally.

West Decoded
Therefore interacting with Islaamic Civilisation via many channels, either in Andalusia (Spain under the Islaamic Empire) or The Crusades had paved the route for Midvale Europe to walkthrough. Nevertheless based upon European Midvale troubles, antagonism between European intellectuals of the Renaissance and the Church occurred and thus Western Civilisation portrayed itself with the secular mask which separated the Church from the State.

Consequently, ‘Secularism’ became the milieu to develop and thus “materialism” with all the discourses among the philosophical inputs since the Renaissance till nowadays preached under “Humanism” to achieve ‘utopia’ of the human flourishingera.Hereby humanity superficiallyappearsdeveloping in accelerated velocity, noticeably since the middle of the 20th century.

West in Action
Nevertheless, since nothing in the world is absolute, therefore we need to determine our reference point for the nature of such development. If we referenced it to the merely “scientific-technical” origin, then we agree however what is the situation in case the origin is “human”? In other words, we are achieving on the pragmatic scale but do the same is being achieved on the human one?

My answer and so other intellectuals do is no. Questions like ‘why I live’, ‘what I’m doing’, ‘What is life’, ‘Why this happens’ are still valid without any significant answers. Moreover, what has been expected as human flourishing is simply still far away. Despite the successive response for their pragmatically mundane needs, western Civilisation entered a dilemma of falling to response for the spiritual needs of humans.

In other words, developing in what appears as an infinite scientific-technical progress is not apparently associated with an equal progress in the morality system. The outcome of such dilemma is gradual increasing in the magnitude of human problems not merely on the personnel’s scale, but also on the global ones too which is more influential.

As the 21st century arrives, another wave of the ‘old universal world’ according to the western civilisation came into light under the aspects of ‘globalisation’ which superficially aims to fulfil the same ‘old goals’ after changing the actors from ‘national state’ to ‘multinational corporations’ and thus ‘universal world’ became ‘globalised’. Moreover, it is not merely an economic wave but rather a socio-economical, and cultural ones that simply profound cultural societies.

Justice vis-à-vis Injustice
Humans are free to choose whatever belief to follow, one can argue that no problem for increasing all terminologies start with prefix‘self-’but how about our other field problems? Are not they global too starting from Hunger, Illiteracy, Poverty, Child Pornography, Fanaticism, and ends with Global Warming?

Hereby, despite being produced back in 1936, I recall Charlie Chaplin’s motion picture “Modern Times” and see it portrayed this dilemma; starting from the machine that insanely fed him till he faint and got nervous breakdown and ending with his walking with his girl. The real dilemma is human egotism that see the world merely from one perspective regardless the majority. Ironically this contradicts with ‘Democracy’ itself!

Do not we know that ‘One man’s meat is other man’s poison’ therefore isn’t better to understand his taste instead of forcing him to merely eat others’ meat? What if he is vegetarian?

Let us listen to each other; maybe Muslims have a better solution!


“We sent thee not save as a mercy for the peoples” (the Holy ’Qura~n, Chapter of Alanbiyaa-, verse 107).


(1) “Read: In the name of thy Lord who createth,” (The Holy ’Qura~n, Chapter Al’ala’q, verse 1)

(2) “Lo! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which Allaah sendeth down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and (in) the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth: are signs (of Allaah’s sovereignty) for people who have sense.” (The Holy ’Qura~n, Chapter of Alba’qarah, verse 164)

Hicham Maged -

Hicham Maged [Hishaam Maajid] has a bachelor's degree in architecture and urban planning and design.


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Last Updated on Sunday, 27 July 2008 10:56  

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