Contemporary Issues










It is said that, thanks to the ever faster communications the world is becoming a global village. Cultural and sometimes the political differences are being reduced.  But the direction of gap-reducing moves are mostly coming from nations outside the Western community which is Western Europe and North America.  This community has been a net exporter of ideas, methods and forms to the rest of the world since at least two centuries.   The importers are said to be Westernizing themselves.


But the phenomenon is not unique in history. Cultures of persistent winners always made the losers to emulate the winners. In the East China greatly influenced its neighbours like Japan, Korea, Indo-China etc.  All took Chinese society and its ways as their models.  In the Middle East Egypt and Babylonia taught their neighbours like Persia and Greece how to live a civilized life by the standards of the times.  Greece taught Rome and both taught the emergibg Muslim civilization. Soon Islam was teaching the rest about almost everything well into the 16th century.  Then the West gradually rose to dominance and still enjoys it at an unprecedented level. 


It is vain to resent this.  Those outside the Western community must judiciously make their pickings from the Western model if they do not want ending up as indiscriminately aping them without the social and economic benefits.


So far the best policies in this matter seem to have been devised and implemented by the Japanese.  This traditionally closed society complacently proud of its ways was shocked into a rude awakening when they suddenly noticed that USA was centuries ahead of them in development and power.  This awakening had occurred in 1860s and sent the Japanese scurrying in all overseas direction gathering information and know-how.  By 1905 (after a mere four decades) they were able to beat the Russians at a naval battle in the Sea of Japan, for they had so rapidly industrialized their economy.  By the Second World War they had become a formidable economic and military power able to colonize lands from Manchuria and Korea and through China to the Philippines and Indo-China within a couple of years. Which shows that they had not only emulated the Westren economic and technological successes but also imported theit political barbarism called racial supremacist colonialism.


We Muslims have been both the neighbours and part of the West and could and should do better than the total outsiders the Japanese. But we could not.


To close the power gap between ourselves and the West without losing our ever-superior aspects we need both to know ourselves and the West and only on that basis adopt new ways from it.  What is more, if we want to contribute to a better world we also have to teach and make accepted our own better values and ways by the West who had already adopted a lot from us since the times of the Crusaders.  So this Certificate Course will explore these issues.





Northern Europe has a  unique geography which first caused a long delay in its development and then a fast development only second to Islam’s Medieval development in speed as well as scope.


So long as technology was primitive the cold, wet and densely forested north Europe could only sustain a hunter-gatherer economy.  Long and cold winters made agriculture difficult despite all the water available and encouraged hunting and animal husbandry and determined in favour of an animal-based diet.  Brief summers brought floods and knee-deep muds on top of being too short for agricultural hopes.  What would normally grow in more temperate climates in the winter, like root vegetables like carrots, turnips and beets could only be grown during the summers in the north. Of grains the sturdier barley was grown in preference to wheat.  Below the 50th parallel (e.g. in France and not Britain and at lower elevations grapes could be grown and became extensively cultivated.  These food sources dictated by climate in their turn dictated habits and pastimes of the north Europeans-  an animal diet and the habit of taking alcoholic drinks to both warm up and pass time more easily during the long and dark hours of winter.  A by product of the same climate has been music and musical instruments which showed a development as nowhere else. Music invited dance and dance invited sexual proliferations, all mainly due to long. Dark, depressing winters.  What else could this people do, given their poor pagan culture which is always both materialist and magical? 


Until the flourishing of the Roman Empire what we call the West today was almost entirely confined to the shores of the Aegean Sea-  Greece to the West and Anatolia to the East.  The climate here was excellent and developed neighbours plentiful.  In fact we can regard the Hellenic civilzation as much oriental as occidental.  It was a frank disciple of the Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations and later the acknowledged teacher of the Roman which eventually covered all


Then arrived another import from the East. The Semitic religion eventually called Christianity which became an Hellenized form of Judaism.


With all above mixing we can identify the ingredients of today’s Western civilization as follows



A primitive pagan hunter-gatherer and often also nomadic civilization which has always been called by all others as ‘barbaric’.  In this animal diet, alcohol, music and dance and profligate sex and incessant raiding of neighbours and warfare were prominent. Animism and ancestor worship were integral to a polytheistic mythological religion.



Greek ideas and ways spreading westwards into Italy and Spain and from thence into north Europe and nort Africa.



Semitic spirituality in both Judaic and Gnostic forms as modified by Greek ideas-  all of which became Christianity. This broth both harmed as much as helped the Western Europeans.  It helped them by spiritualising and moralizing them and harmed them by suppressing their intellectual development and allowing them having such supersitions as to drive them to oppressive barbaric acts-  witness the inquisition and the witch-hunts.




Islamic elements being added as from the Crusader era.



the so-called enlightenment and Industrial revolution all of which was financed by the massive profits from colonial expansion and exploitation.


We must briefly scrutinise all these before we can move forward.




Anthropologists explain that primitive communities, whether nomadic or settled create and adopt a primitive religion based on animism and ancestor worship.  This is coupled by the practice of magic and ritual which are designed to exploit and propitiate the gods and spirits believed in.


Animism (from ‘anima’,  soul) is the belief that not only men and animals have spirits which survive death but almost all objects,  especially the impressive ones do also have spirits residing in them.  Trees,  rivers, mountains, rocks…  which impress the primitives as especially important for them may be regarded as gods and therefore worshipped.  Mount Fuji in Japan, Mount Olympus in Greece and Nile in Africa enjoyed divine status,  for example.  Lesser objects like big and interesting trees or rocks had powerful spirits residing in them which demanded respect and promised help to the respectful.  Otherwise all landscape was inhabited by good or bad spirits variously called demons, fairies, elves, goblins genie or jinni etc.   The sky was even more important.  As the biggest and brightest objects the sun and then the moon have always enjoyed divinie status from oldest times.  After them came various bright stars like the Jupiter and mars which also became gods. In fact most Greek and Roman gods have astronomical roots.  Mars is the god of war and Venus the goddess of beauty and love. 


While the earthly gods like the Fuji and Nile were worshipped in situ and as they were the heavenly gods like Venus were represented in human forms and these forms were housed in temples erected to their names. Additionally there were many local shrines to these gods and goddesses where both locals and pilgrims called to worship and pray to them for their various needs.  The Greek god of Medicine, Asclepius had a shrine at Epidaurus where pilgrims came, prayed and slept and could see Asclepius in their dreams revealing them the cure they needed.   All such hundreds of shrines to the names of various gods were run by resident priests and priestesses who often passed the office to their offspring. Sometimes these priests and priestesses hid in or behind the statues of these gods and answered the questions of petitioners giving the impression that it was the god who was answering.  When Khalid b. Walid was demolishing the shrine of Uzza near Taif a black, wild looking woman was seen to rise from among the ruins and run away. Khalid gave chase and cut her down. She was the priestess answering the questions put by the credulous worshippers of al Uzza.


Again, the primitives worshipped also their male ancestors and kept their graves tended for as many generations as possible. They prayed to them at these graves and made offerings of incense and even food.  In most cases the ancestors were buried together with their utensils and foot items. The most spectacular of these are seen in the Pyramid graves of pharaohs.


In the settled and also well-developed civilizations the king also was a god and in fact in practice the most demanding and effective one. He was seen as the son of Heaven or the son of the chief heavenly god the sun.  Both pharaohs and Japanese emperors were the sons of the sun.  Roman emperors also liked to enjoy divine status although by then the intellectual development was too far advanced for this claim to be taken seriously except by the lower level of the populace. The elites continued to treat the emperor as an equal except in political authority and the emperor granted as much.


Last but not least by any means is the magical nature of paganism. All pagan religions believed in and resorted to magic. In strictly tribal communities specially endowed persons provided a link between gods and spirits on the one hand and living men on the other.  This primal priest was variously called a shaman, a  witch-doctor or medicine man etc… and by his traditional special methods drank and/or danced himself into a trance (self-hypnosis on the hysterical side) and produced revelations from the spirit world often in response to applications for information or cures on the part of the people.  This should not be confused by prophethood as defined in Islam.  The shaman actively seeks his inspirations and works himself into a trance by any means fair or foul.  Fair, like music and dance and foul like asking a child to be sacrificed to the proper god before revelations can start.  A prophet of Allah is not like that.  He is unaware of his future mission and in fact would fear a prospect of prophethood.  His preparation for it is neither conscious nor deliberate but takes the form and remains an instinctive tendency to think, meditate and worship.  That was how sayyidina Muhammad sws was prepared as were the older Biblical prophets. 


Other than eliciting revelations from gods and spirits, priests (which the shamans were the earliest forms) devised magic to help theirs and people’s wishes come true and fears go away.  Magic ultimately boils down to a procedure designed to create a belief about something crucial to the seeker.  It can take either of two forms or a mixture of both.  Mental magic is based on suggestion which today is the basis of medically approved therapeutic method called hypnosis. Some gifted people have the ability to play so masterfully on the mind set of others by a combination of verbal suggestions and assuming of airs that they are able to modify, at least temporarily, the physiological or psychological condition of their clients or audience. Pains of a sufferer may disappear and even a cure may be triggered on.  Or the client or audience may be put into various forms of emotion as the hypnotist (‘magician’ in old terminology) like fear, love, generosity, hatred and even madness. 


The suggestions are made even more powerful by surrounding them with special effects like a haunting music, smoking candles and incense, arresting dress,  dark  etc.  It was by such means that shamans, yogis, witch doctors or priests, call them what you want, could work up their audience to almost any emotion and belief and make, for example, one of them to drop dead (from an heart attack) by suddenly and unexpectedly direct at him an arm bone or skull or chin bone in the middle of frantic dancing to the accompaniment of desperately beaten drums.  When Christianity came to Europe these primitive religions did not entirely die out despite all the efforts of the Church. In fact the Church itself adopted and assimilated a lot of the pagan beliefs and practices and the rest survived in an underground of witchcraft which angered the officially set up rival if selective witchcraft system the Church.  This obsession with pagan occultism never left the Western culture to this day but was especially powerful until a couple of centuries ago.  Then the Church was hunting down and burning those ‘unlicensed’ witches who stole customers from the licensed coven that the church to a certain extent was-  for in many other respects it was doing a very good service, inspiring real piety and charity for example. 


As for the other kind of magic, namely the physical this has always been based on creating illusions by chemical and mechanical and nowadays also electronic means.  Allah explicitly explains the magic of the pharaoh on that basis. The ‘incredible feats’ made by modern stage magicians, like being sawn into two under a giant saw are illusions created by laser-based visual illusions which now are being put into military use, like creating ghost planes or tanks to deceive the enemy. One way or another and for better or worse the West is still sticking with its pagan and magical inheritance




Greeks have a mixed origin in that they eventually became a recognized  nation after at least four races flew into the pot of races over about two thousand years.  Mycenaeans, Dorians, Achaeans and Ionians fused over time into a single identity,  the Hellenic.  Beginning from settlements around both sides and in the islands of Aegean Sea they spread to Cyprus, Western Anatolia, Greece proper, Macedonia, Epirus etc which together became the Greek homeland and then sent colonies settling throughout the Mediterranean basin, from west nortb African and Spanish coast to Syria in the east and beyond.

Avidly learning from the older civilizations of Egypt and Babylonia and already endowed with great racial intelligence and aptitudes they formed and presented to the world arguably the most comprehensive and accomplished of the antique civilizations.  In  fact the Hellenic civilization is the one most similar to today’s in most aspects-  rational, philosophical, scientific, democratic and secular. Greek had a religion, a pagan one modified by philosophy and eventually drifting towards monotheism but they never took religion as a basis for their laws and policies-  as the Semites did. 


When the Greek world reached its both geographical and spiritual zenitn, namely the times of Alexander the Great (4th cent BC) it was extending from Spain in the West to Altai mountains in the East although not as secure as in Greece itself. It taught its ways in all these lands and left many monuments to its greatness.


The main route of the penetration of the Greek culture into Western Europe was through Italy.  Already settled by the Greeks from 5th  Century BC Italy was already one of the best settled colonies of Greece. Taranto, Bari and Brindisi were all dotted with marks of Greece. But to the middle of the peninsula a new power was evolving around the small village Rome.  These trace their origins to the Etruscans who came over from south Anatolia and mastered the peninsula by subduing the other native barbarians.  However little trace of their language and culture remains-  the language was drowned by Latin and the culture by the Geeek and it was these two elements that eventually defined the Roman civilization.  To the end of their days the Romans remained the pupils of the Greeks, especially the Athenians and Italy was dotted by many Greek academies teaching all sorts of subjects from philosophy to medicine and rhetoric to Roman students in Greek language.  So, almost all educated Romans from emperor down spoke Greek as their second language and even held many sophisticated debates in Greek.  For their part Romans spread this Greek culture throughout the lands they conquered.  We find many Roman remains in Britain for example which at their time served to introduce into Britain some Greek ways under Roman wraps.


Ironically however this very same cultural Hellenization of the West was nearly undone when Greece itself was half-Semitized by Christianity. As hijacked and gentilized by St Paul Christianity introduced into Europe the scriptural monotheistic tradition of the Jews which in its dogmatic and legalistic form stifled free thinking and scientific attitude so characteristic of the Hellenic culture.  The Christian church bred many sects and is still as fertile today as ever breeding sects, but almost all of them has been dogmatic, literalist, triumphalist, millenialist and persecutive as Judaism itself.  As a result it produced two queerly opposed effect on the Western mind, one salutary, the other deleterious.


Salutary was its inspiring great piety and charity into minds made and prepared for them (in those not so it only produced crass superstition with no moral gains). Deleterious was its literalist dogmatism and persecutive fanaticism. Therefore we soon find the sons of Socrates and Seneca fighting bitterest possible religious and sectarian wars among themselves as well as directed to the pagan barbarians of the north, like the Teutons and the Vikings.   The war against the barbarians is the very first example in history of religious warfare and predates Islam’s jehad by at least four centuries.  Popes headed armies advancing north and converting the pagan barbarians theyt met to the cult of Christ at the point of the sword.  They killed all who opposed without giving quarter or mercy and pillaged and stripped to the last asset the vanquished.  What is more they were equally ruthless and atrocious within their own ranks torturing and killing each other on account of barely discernible differences of dogma like “was Christ the Son of a similar or the same substance as the Father?” with both positions equally unsupported by the scripture in any case.  This dogmatism and doctrinal intolerance justifying even the most atrocious treatment of the opponent survived the decline of Christianity in the West and took the new garb of ideological zeal. 


Post-Christianity Europeans (as from late 18th century and beginning with the Great French Revolution of 1789)  repeated the record of their Christian evolution by inventing secular ideology after secular ideology each as fertile in breeding sub-sects and nurturing and displaying murderous persecutive fanaticism no less than Christianity’s.  For example the most pet ideology of all, namely socialism bred forms from the most dictatorial (e.g. Bolshevism in Russia) to the most liberal-anarchic which preached complete individual freedom to all in the hope that it wouldn’t end in anarchy but the human nature was good enough for peace harmony prevail, especially since private property (supposedly) was the only source of crime and oppression. None worked as expected and each party blamed  its failure to deliver the promised utopia on the hypocrites, traitos and saboteurs among their ranks which they chose to deal with characteristic Medieval Christian persecutive mania-  censure, terror and torture!  Hence the Bolshevik and Nazi attrocities.


The important thing for Muslims to understand from above is this:  The West, among other its cultural products, exported this dogmatic persecutive fanaticism to the rest of the world where groups were bred to formulate all sorts of ideologies,  not only in the secular field but also the religious.  So, while some Muslims went secular and copied nationalist or socialist ideologies from the West others went more fanatically religious and formulated versions of Islam in the spirit of Western Medieval Christianity-  hair-splitting in dogma, unforgiving of difference and actively persecutive and conquest-oriented in policies.  Even more surprisingly Islamic dogmatic and factionalist militancy chose to emulate Marxist movements in that it became almost completely political, subversive and saboteurish in organization (underground cell structures training the members in propaganda, disinformation, sabotage and assassination) and even legalizing the funding of activities by thefts and robberies-  exacty like Marxist guerrilla organizations. 




That Islam influenced the West in a much bigger way than so far realized or acknowledged is a fact.  We have seen the almost barbaric condition of the Medieval West above.  It was a civilization lost in superstition of spirit and atrocity of behaviour.  Its record in dealing with its own people and those  outside,  especially its dealings with Islam beggars belief in ignorance and barbarity.  Yet today this same civilization is in many ways a beacon of universal toleration and humanity in general. How could such a child come such a bad parent?  If we explain this with the re-discovery of the Hellenic past that will only be half the answer. For the Greek civilization was more distinguished in ingenuity than humanity.  Like all ancients and most moderns they were racists and as such totally unscrupulous towards ‘barbarians’, i.e., non-Greeks. Jews similary dismissed and despised non-Jews as ‘goyim’,  i.e. gentiles, Arabs despised non_Arabs as ‘Ajam’ (pl. A’ajim) and in fact Arab’ meant ‘beautiful’ as if others were ugly.  The Chinese were equally proud racists etc.  All believed in slavery and owned slaves whom they mostly like animals in the unenlightened sense.  These attitudes are only partially abandoned today.


Being so proud and arrogant Greeks as well as all other rather successful races had no scruples whatsoever but would treat others like fair game.  At least until recently the West regarded and treated other geographical groups similarly and for example recognized no human rights whatsoever for the natives of colonized lands like the Americas and Africa. All

such were normal in ancient Greek thinking.


Hence, history had to wait for a single and unprecedented character to rise against such beliefs and attitudes.  Neither that holy Buddha nor that even holier Christ even raised the question. The Buddha accepted the cast system of Hinduism as natural order while as far as Gospel evidence goes was a prophet could only be sent to dear Israel and others were ‘dogs’ (Matt. 14: 26) which were not entitled to Divine guidance.  Only Israel the children of God were worthy of it.  When one considers how even the best brains and tenderest hearts, including spiritual masters and great philosophers before Muhammad sws could not see beyond the racial and class prejudices one cannot help but be burst into infinite admiration in front of the Last and Final Messenger of Allah sws and what he sws brought from His Creator “Neither Arab is superior to ajam nor ajam to Arab.  Superiority is by piety only”.  Allah said “He has divided you into races and nations in order that you recognize each other and exchange civilities.  Indeed the noblest among you is the most pious of you”. 


Islam did not only preach and Muslim did not only profess this first time ever Universal equality principle. They also practiced it to a large extent. Only today the West is coming to this stand and that is yet patchy in theory and even patchier in practice. What is certain, this holiest of all humanitarian principles is a gift from Islam to all and the West in particular. 


Islam also helped Christianity to shed, if partially and painfully, a lot of its deluded restrictions like the ban on divorce as well as helping it to understand the value of cleanliness and the success and salvation coming from scientific thinking. It was Islam again which cut down to size the absolute power and the supposed divine right of kings and lords and made them responsible for their actions. So it is possible now in  the West to question and investigate, try and convict anybody including the prime minister.  Islam could not be more positive and explicit on this  equality of all before law and offered many instances of its implementation.


The mark of Islam is all over the better features of today’s Western civilizations as no other’s and we should never forget this when considering the West as a model.






Change is so intrinsic to all existence that it is quite legitimate to consider change as the real existent instead of the forms which, due to the slowness of their changing we mistake as fixed realities. For example, a house seems to us unchanged day after day, because at daily rate its decay is too small to be noticed.   But a mass of rain clouds variously roll, spread and roar in so fast succession that we cannot take any given instant’s configuration as a fixed reality.  We only see how over-ruling and dramatic change can be when visit some friends after many years of separation-  sometimes we are shocked by the deterioration in them.

To see how change applies to Islam as well, both in the sense of physical and philosophical let us compare the Prophet’s sws late Medinese Islam and Islam at  its Abbasid stage.

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