Muslims’ encountering with the culture and civilization of the west, their becoming aware of the west’s colonial and domineering policies as for the developments taken place in the media tools, and comparing the west culture with the pure, fully-fledged and valuable culture of Islam are the main factors in the social development of recent decades.
The historical trend of Islamic thought and reflection lies in four stages of creation, efflorescence, stagnancy, and revival and further recovery, and this is exactly the same way that westerners have gone through in achieving their current age.
Stages of historical trend in the west include:
· Antiquity (Establishment of the Roman Empire)
· The New Testament (Prosperity and greatness of the Roman Empire and the West)
· Medieval (stagnancy period, church governance)
· New Age (revival period and return to the majestic days of the Roman Empire, Renaissance)
Due to this, when the revival movements of the Islamic thought began, some called it by such names as the Islamic Renaissance and the Islamic Modernism. However, what is emerging in the Muslim world has a fundamental difference and that is the way they look at the beyond and further revival of social life.
The westerners considered the period of political governance of the churches and religious thought as their inactivity and stagnancy period and called it as the Dark Age, and based on this idea, they thought that the only way to their sublimity is to return to the thought that says “there is no God” which was prevalent in the ancient Roman Empire.
This is while the inactivity and stagnancy period in the Islamic countries is the period during which the Muslims abandoned their spiritual and religious teachings and depended on the industrial tyranny of the west. Hence, they think that the only salvation way is to get back to their original Islamic roots.
Grounds of Islamic Awakening
The origins of the Islamic Awakening shall be searched in the industrial revolution of the west. This revolution emerged two main needs for the westerners:
1- Providing everlasting energy.
2- Providing consumer market.
Islamic countries, due to their specific geographical situations and containing rich energy resources, have been and are the best options for the westerners to meet those main needs.
Colonial measures of the westerners, at first, were taken place in the form of political colonialism and then as the intellectual and cultural colonialism.
In political colonialism, Muslims surrendered to the west after resisting for a while, but in facing the cultural colonialism, they did not accept the west and giving up their beliefs.
In this arena, the main role in enlightening the public was put upon the elites of the Islamic societies such as Seyyed Jamaleddin Asadabadi, Eghbal Lahouri, Mahmoud Shaltout and etc.
Continued efforts of the west to create intellectual and cultural evolution among the Muslims make them resist against that change whose outstanding sample was the establishment of the Islamic Government by Imam Khomeini (RA) in Iran and its developmental progress can be seen in the Islamic uprisings and movements in Islamic countries of the Middle East.
According to what was said, the realization of the Islamic Awakening can be seen as the result of three factors:
a) Colonial movements of the west
b) Role of Muslim elites
c) Development of communicational and media tools
a) Colonial Movements
It was previously noted that colonial movements of the west were planned and performed in two forms: political colonialism (old colonialism) and cultural colonialism (new colonialism).
The west used various tools in order to achieve its goal of which the followings can be mentioned:
1) Supporting colourful political parties with the aim to destroy opposite ideas and create intellectual and political dependency.
2) Using drugs.
3) Doing investment on undermining human resources and make them dependent.
b) The role of Muslim elites
The most important element in the realization of Islamic Awakening could be seen as the existence of cultural and political Muslim elites, because understanding and realizing the exact political and cultural movement of the west and their goal-setting are only possible by deep thinking.
Having knowledge of and understanding about the unique capabilities and capacities of the Islamic thought and serious defects of the western thought, Muslim elites revealed their aims in different levels of Islamic countries. In this regard, the role which was played by Seyyed Jamaleddin Asadabadi, Iqbal Lahouri, and most importantly Imam Khomeini (RA) is praiseworthy.
Meanwhile, scientific-regional activities of such thinkers as Ayatollah Boroujerdi, Mahmoud Shaltout, martyr Motahari, martyr Seyyed Mohammad Bagher Sadr, Allameh Tabatabaei, Imam Mousa Sadr and etc, had a vital role in enlightening the public thought towards the west activities.
c) Development of communicational and media tools
Nowadays, communicational tools are developed so that one is able to pass geographical boundaries of other countries and to get informed of their political, cultural, and economic situation without having to take several trips and just by using various communicational ways.
Muslims have perceived that in order to achieve development, the westerners guide them towards a way that not only does not result in their development, but also like sticking in the swamp, the more they effort, the more they go down, while the westerners, themselves, went through another way to achieve the current situation.
The total of the three mentioned elements drew the Muslims’ attention to their monotheism religion, so that they found the only way out of backwardness and reaching human perfection and sublimity in returning to the noble Islamic origins, and this was the beginning of the movements that we are witnessing today as the “Islamic Awakening”.
Effects and Consequences of Islamic Awakening
As the movements which happened at the beginning of Islam, the effects of Islamic Awakening include three stages: the beginning, establishment, and development.
Islamic Awakening in the present time includes the stages of forming public movements, confirming the teachings and religious symbols as the superior religion, and finally its development and universality.
- Short-Term Consequences
The first sign of Islamic Awakening is the public protests. This kind of protests always occurs as one of the two legal (peaceful) and illegal (street) protests.
Legal protests usually have a logical ending, so that even in their most severe form in which people want the government to step down, this demand will be met in the form of referendum.
Illegal public protests end in one of the three types of revolution, that is, guerrilla, collective, or constitutional.
The difference between these revolutions and other revolutions of the world is that since it is so much recommended to the collective movements in the Islamic sources, the revolutions of Islamic nations occur as the collective or constitutional ones. For instance, such worships as the Friday Prayer must be inevitably done with general community.
The role of Islamic leaders is also of so much importance. They have been and also are the most powerful leaders of the world in mobilizing public for political movements. Both features of revolution can be found in the characteristic of Imam Khomeini (RA).
- Mid-Term Consequences
The important goal of each revolution is to bring change and evolution which of course causes forming a periodic vacuum in the management and implementation of the planned programs. During that periodic vacuum, many try to establish the basis of revolution based on their thoughts of which we can point to ethnic, nationalism, and westernization thoughts as the most important ones.
However, since the main demand of the Muslims in the formation of revolution is to dominate the Islamic thoughts and values, after revolution the Islamic teachings have the largest share in the formation of basis of governments.
Thus, it can be seen that such planning as establishing the great Middle East will be just like a dream for the westerners.
- Long Term Consequences
Another consequence of the Islamic Awakening is the pivotal role of religious thought and formation of united Islamic nation in a long term.
This will be the beginning of formation of the global government of Imam Mahdi (AJ) and the globalization of Islam.
The growing movements in Islamic societies are good news for having a bright future along with independency and progress for the Islamic nations and they bring the hope of establishment of global government of Imam Mahdi (AJ), the government which is promised by the great God:
»My righteous slaves will inherit the earth« (Al-Anbya’, part 105)
We hope that day arrives.
- Culture and civilization of Islam, by Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati
- Dynamics of culture and civilization of Islam and Iran, by Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati
- History of political ideas, by Dr. Mohsen Azizi
- Islamic revolution, its contexts and consequences, by Dr. Manouchehr Mohammadi
Security expert of Islamic Development Organization of Tehran
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - 13:37