ISLAMIC HISTORY
     

Islam is part of world history too. Remember for example the three islamic world empires during the 17th century, despite the widespread notion that the limited world-historical importance of Islam came to an end.

Recently an admirable aproachable review was written in which the Middle East ('Middle Kingdom') is centralized. The book 'Destiny disrupted. A history of the world through Muslim eyes' by Tamim Ansary, succeeds to transfer a nuanced vision of the Islamic world to a larger audience.
A pre-Islamic history of the Middle Kingdom, life of Muhammad and the rise of Islam are described. Moreover, it is not so much about the historical facts about the life of the Prophet, as scholars who try to figure out, but rather what their ordinary Muslims believe of their Prophet. After the death of Muhammad, the Muslim empire expanded rapidly. But after this, Islamization and Arabization of the conquered regions ran significantly slower than expected: it took many centuries before the majority of the population was Muslim, and in many areas population kept his own language instead of to change into Arabic.
Early Muslim leaders quickly created a new empire in size and level of civilization that the empire of Charlemagne left far behind and that could compete with the sophisticated civilizations of China and India. In the following centuries the empire saw a gradual decline and fragmentation, till it was struck in the 12th and 13th century by the Crusades and extremely destructive Mongol invasions.

One of the reactions on the Mongol invasions came from an illustrious during the troubled times of the Mongol invasions living Islamic scholar, theologian and logician born and sought the return of Islam to original interpretations, the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The radical ideas were given more support centuries later: in the 18th century amoung Wahhabi adherents and in 19th century with the Salafi movement.


A completely different reaction on the Mongol invasions was the fast expansion of Sufism, that did play an important role for the classical islamic literature and poems by Nizami, Roemi and Hafez. The 16th and 17th century saw an 'Islamic Renaissance'. During this era, 3 large Muslim empires came into existence: the Ottoman empire that stretched from southeastern Europe to the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, the empire of Salafists that spanned the modern Iran and Afghanistan, and the Moghul empire from which India and Pakistan would arise. The ironic side was that the political power marked the definitive end of the religious unity of Muslims: the Sunni Ottoman Empire was continuously in war with the Salafists, who made Shiite Islam its state religion; and for the first time there were massive forced conversions, especially from Sunni to Shiite Islam.
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Marrakesh Declaration

In recent years, several predominantly Muslim countries have witnessed brutal atrocities inflicted upon longstanding religious minorities. These minorities have been victims of murder, enslavement, forced exile, intimidation, starvation, and other affronts to their basic human dignity. Such heinous actions have absolutely no relation whatsoever to the noble religion of Islam, regardless of the claims of the perpetrators who have used Islam’s name to justify their actions: any such aggression is a slander against God and His Messenger of Mercy s as well as a betrayal of the faith of over one billion Muslims.

At the same time, in these lands where the government’s central authority is weak, fading, or failing, the Muslim majority, in reality, is often no better off than the religious minorities. In countries where the Muslims are a majority and the authorities are aggressive, such conditions obligate the Muslim majority to protect the minorities, their religions, their places of worship, and other rights. This situation also demands that Muslim jurists, philosophers, and intellectuals engage in a serious study of the reasons for such egregious departure from normative Islam using a sound and methodical scholarship. This scholarly activity must deconstruct extremist discourse avoiding the typical responses which to date are invariably superficial, generalized, and vague condemnations on the one hand, or limited to the sphere of debates over the particularized legal proofs on the other.

It goes without saying that the Islamic tradition is based on revealed scripture, guided by the actions of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and inspired by the noble aims of the Sacred Law. The religion’s scholars produced a vast, unprecedented cultural and legislative body of work concerning religious minorities, which have been, and which continue to be, part of the fabric of Muslim societies since Islam’s advent. Past Muslim societies were stunning examples of diversity with sundry sects, creeds, opinions, and worldviews. They all coexisted within an environment of tolerance, brotherhood, and mutual understanding of the other. History has recorded these details, and objective historians from various backgrounds have affirmed this.

In recent times, the world has experienced dramatic changes. Among the most striking of these changes involved the inhabitants of post-colonial Muslim nations adopting a new paradigm toward their minority religious communities: the contract of citizenship in which all people are equal, both in their rights and responsibilities, and with respect to their private religious affiliations, with no legal religious bias on the part of the government. Global accords, international law, and commercials systems of goods and services became a part of the local systems. These changes were instituted into the new constitutions that would become the founding documents of these nations. All of these changes are aspects of the phenomenon that is now referred to as “globalization.” It has lead to the dissipation of many of the cultural and political barriers and boundaries between societies and an increase in the phenomenon of the intermixing of ethnicities, cultures, and religions. In addition, a rise in international migration in search of economic opportunities or refuge from the fires of ethnic cleansing, religious oppression, and political exile has occurred.

Marrakesh Declaration

, and on twitter

In order to examine more deeply what entails the rights of religious minorities in Muslim lands, both in theory and practice, His Highness, King Muhammad VI of Morocco, hosted from 25th - 27 th January 2016, a conference in Marrakesh in the Kingdom of Morocco. The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, based in the U.A.E. jointly organized the conference. A large number of ministers, muftis, religious scholars, and academics from various backgrounds and schools of thought, God willing, participated in this conference. Representatives from various religions, including those pertinent to the discussion, from the Muslim world and beyond, as well as representatives from various international Islamic associations and organizations attended.

The conference’s discussions and research focused on the following areas:

  1. Grounding the discussion surrounding religious minorities in Muslim lands in Sacred Law utilizing its general principles, objectives, and adjudicative methodology;
  2. exploring the historical dimensions and contexts related to the issue;
  3. and examining the impact of domestic and international rights.
But not only in Marrakesh are initiatives developed in order to prevent unwanted effects of religion. February 12, the head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill signed at the Jose Marti airport in Havana, Cuba a joint declaration on religious unity. The dangers facing Christian communities in the Middle East, Europe and Ukraine are given special prominence.
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Adel Termos: father 'saved hundreds of lives' by

 

These Oslo Muslims brought a message of peace and tolerance, one that rejects hate. They chanted: "No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia." Zeeshan Abdullah, who helped organize the event, told the Muslims and Jews gathered together outside the synagogue:

"Humanity is one and we are here to demonstrate that. There are many more peace mongers than warmongers. There’s still hope for humanity, for peace and love, across religious differences and backgrounds."

tackling 2nd Beirut suicide bomber


That is a beautiful image. Over the weekend 21/22 February 2015, more than 1000 Muslims gathered to form a ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo, Norway. They both offered a human shield—in the best sense of the term—protecting one of the most visibly Jewish locations in their city, and condemned the murder last week of Dan Uzan, a Danish Jew, at a Copenhagen synagogue. That murder was committed by Omar El-Hussein, a Danish-born son of Palestinian immigrants, as part of an attack that also included shooting up a forum discussing free speech that featured Lars Vilks, who has been the subject of death threats and even assassination plots for having published cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Although Vilks escaped unharmed, one person attending the forum died. El-Hussein was pursued, shot, and killed by Danish police.

To the cultural flowering, we also owe masterpieces like the Taj Mahal in India and the Imam Square in Isfahan. Generally there was a development of nationalism, which remains the driving force in almost all Muslim countries. From the 18th century, contacts with the continually richer and powerful West increased. Also there occured divergent reactions on the process of modernization such as fundamentalism, secular liberalism and islamic modernism (e.g. the present position of women). The Wahhabi movement on the Arabian peninsula did not constitute a reaction on increasing western influence, and the Ottoman empire was less defenceless against western Great Powers.

Islamic history as a vibrant story full of pictureque personalities: the Islamic world went through enormous changes.