The ’Qura~n, to which falsehood can never draw near, which leads people out of the darkness and into the light and onto the path of our All-Wise, All-Knowing and Praiseworthy Lord, which is a guide, a source of glad tidings and a mercy for all Muslims, and a reminder and a comfort for those who fear Allah, was revealed in the month of Rama’daan.
This holy month in which Allah revealed His verses to our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) 1,400 years ago is described in these words in the ’Qura~n:
The month of Rama’daan is the one in which the ’Qura~n was sent down as guidance for humanity, with clear signs containing guidance and criterionn [for discrimination between what is right and wrong].
Any of you who are resident for the month should fast it. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days. Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you. You should complete the number of days and proclaim Allah’s greatness for the guidance He has given you so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Chapter of Alba’qarah, 185)
The month of Rama’daan, which is also revealed to be “better than a thousand months,” (Chapter of Al‘qadr, 3) is also a fruitful one containing the Night of Decree. This month has a particular importance, purity and beauty for Muslims. As described by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi [Badee‘ Azzamaan Sayyid Nu’sry] in the words “In the holy month of Rama’daan, the Islaamic world comes to consitute a single masjid [mosque], and this is such a masjid that in every corner of it millions of ’haafi’th [those who have memorized the ’Qura~n] read the ’Qura~n, the word of Allaah, and cause others to hear it,” throughout this month the Muslims of the world fulfil their obligations to fast, maintain the bounds set by Allaah in the verses, realize their helplessness and give thanks to Allaah for His blessings, pray with all sincerity and endeavor to tame their earthly desires.
As emphasized by Bediuzzaman, one of the most important attributes of the month of Rama’daan is that it unites all the Muslims of the world. By means of this precious month the extent of all Muslims’ need for unity and union, and the powerful force for world peace they can constitute if that unity is established, once again become apparent.
The fact that the forces opposed to Islaam are expending such great energy, and the suffering being inflicted on believers in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, must encourage all Muslims to reflect on the importance of “acting in unison, leaving their differences aside and working to disseminate Islamic moral values.”
The Islaamic world covers a huge geographic area populated by 1.2 billion Muslims. Unfortunately, it is characterized by tension, conflict, and disorder, all of which continue to threaten global peace and prosperity. All attempts to solve the region’s problems have so far failed. But a review of its history shows that a strong central authority, ruling according to the ’Qura~nic morality and tolerance, as well as respecting all people’s rights and belief systems, had enabled this vast region to live in peace.
The Ottoman Empire was the most recent example of this. And now, it is time to bring about a new Islaamic Union, for the current system, based upon nationalism, materialistic philosophies, and atheism can only worsen the current situation. Such an Islaamic Union would enable the Muslim world to live in peace, both internally and externally, and allow the entire world to benefit from its vast natural resources.
One of the first things we notice when analyzing the state of the Islaamic world is its many internal divisions due to deep-rooted distrust and disputes. Recent history has seen the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait, and East Pakistan’s (Bangladesh) war of independence from West Pakistan. The civil wars and internal conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria due to political and ethnic differences made it obvious that something is wrong with the Islaamic world. In addition, very divergent religious views and models are being practiced in the Islaamic world, because there is no central authority to determine what is and what is not compatible with Islaam, establish consensus, and provide guidance to the general public. Catholics have the Vatican and Orthodox Christians have the Patriarchate, but there is no religious unity or central authority for Muslims.
However, solidarity is central to Islaam’s character. After the death of our Prophet Mu’hammed (P.B.U.H.), the Islamic world was for a long time led by the institution of ’kilaafah, which provided religious guidance to the Muslims.
In our day, too, a progressive central authority could be formed. Establishing an Islaamic Union and a central Islaamic authority, based on democratic principles and the rule of law, would be major steps forward in resolving the Islaamic world’s current problems.
Several aspects of this proposed Islaamic Union are explained hereafter, such as its ability to:
1- Reach the entire Islaamic world. Therefore, it must be founded upon Islaam’s core principles and not become the organ of a particular denomination or sect.
2- Support human rights, democracy, and free enterprise, and seek to achieve its mission of economic, cultural, and scientific development in the Islaamic world.
3- Establish friendly and harmonious relations with other countries or civilizations, and cooperate with the global community and the UN on such issues as controlling weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international crime, and the environment.
4- Deal with the minority rights of Christians and Jews, as well as foreigners who migrate to Islaamic countries, consider their safety a priority, and value interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
5- Seek fair and peaceful solutions whereby both sides make compromises to end conflicts between the non-Muslims and Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir, the southern Philippines, and other regions. It must defend the rights of Muslims as well as prevent radical Islaamic movements from driving the situation to into a dead-end.
Such a rational, considered, and just leadership will benefit the 1.2 billion Muslims who are struggling with so many problems, as well as all humanity at large. An Islaamic Union founded upon ’Qura~nic principles will enable humanity to find peace and justice, and the good character prescribed by the ’Qura~n will deliver happiness. Since the era of the Prophet Mu’hammed (P.B.U.H.), Muslims led the way in science, reason, thought, art, culture, and civilization, and produced many benefits for humanity.
When Europe was in its dark ages, Muslims taught the world science, reasoning, medicine, art, hygiene, and countless other subjects. In order to restart the rise of Islaam, powered by the ’Qura~n’s light and wisdom, present-day Muslims have to acquire guidance based on the Qura~n’s morality and the Prophet’s Sunnah (His example, or way of life).
How can this project be realized? We will investigate this issue as we proceed. Also, it must be remarked here that out of all Islaamic nations,
Turkey in particular has an important role to play, as it is the heir of the Ottoman Empire, the founder of such an Islaamic Union which it ruled successfully for over 5 centuries. Turkey has the social infrastructure and state tradition necessary to fulfill the requirements of this important responsibility.
Furthermore, of all Muslim states, it has the best-developed relations with the West and is therefore ideally placed to mediate the differences between the West and the Islaamic world. Turkey also has a tradition of tolerance and harmony, and represents the Ahl as-Sunnah belief as the majority of Muslims believe, rather than a certain sect. All of this makes Turkey the most qualified candidate for leading the envisaged Islaamic Union.
Finally, the solutions proposed here need to be implemented immediately, because the risk of a clash of civilizations between the Western and Islaamic worlds is increasing by the day. Setting up the Islaamic Union will cause this danger to disappear.
History proves that the coexistence of different civilizations is not necessarily a source of tension and conflict. A multicultural state does not experience difficulties because of existing internal differences, but because of its inability to manage those differences. Different cultures that exist side by side choose either conflict or peace and cooperation, depending upon their existing levels of tolerance and whether they can or cannot control those factors leading to intolerance.
At present, some Westerners and Muslims prefer hostility and conflict over tolerance and harmony. Thus, misunderstandings and prejudices against Islam and the Muslims continue to present certain difficulties. On the other hand, Westerners feel unnecessarily threatened because of various misunderstandings. Therefore, a solution to these problems is needed urgently to avoid even worse conflicts and misunderstandings.
An Islaamic Union: The Only Way for Order and Stability
The developments especially in the recent years clearly show that the Islaamic world is ripe for great and fundamental change. The ’Qura~n and the ’Hadieeh literature suggest that the approaching period will be a bright one for the world’s Muslims, God willing. Setting up the Islaamic Union will speed up the process and begin a new era of plenty and prosperity for humanity in general.
The current situation may seem to be very negative at first look, whereas in reality each negative development signals the approach of a blessed period. War, destitution, famine, oppression, and tyranny against Muslims across the world are signs of the End Times foretold by our Prophet (P.B.U.H.). That all of these events are taking place is also a clear sign that the global rule of Islaamic morality is approaching, as prophesized by our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) (God knows best). Therefore, the current situation must not cause Muslims to feel despair and hopelessness; on the contrary, it should motivate them and increase their zeal and excitement. In addition, they must act with the awareness that despairing of solace from God is not an option, for
Do not despair of solace from God. No one despairs of solace from God except for people who disbelieve. (Chapter of Yoosuf, 87)
The great scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi explained, in his famous the Damascus Sermon (Hutbe-i Samiye), the conditions in which Muslims live, warned of the dangers of falling into despair, and spoke of the bright future awaiting them, as follows:
Despair is the most detrimental sickness. It has permeated into the heart of the Islaamic world... Such a despair that it has stifled our sublime morality, swerving our attention from the interests of the general to our personal interests. It is the very same despair that has broken our spiritual might... Despair is the most dreadful sickness of our people... It is the pretext of the coward, the inferior and the helpless... It is only Islaam which will truly and spiritually pervade the continents of the future and lead humanity to bliss both in this world and the next.
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