9. Ð., 2005.
For the time being I want to share my doubts brought forth by Gulenâs works with you as doubting is the best way to gain full understanding. To understand Mevlana Gulen today means to understand the modern world and the role of Islam in it.
One of the main ideas of F. Gulenâs creative work both written and oral is the idea of justice. Muhammad, the Seal of Prophets, many times repeated and it is recorded in many Hadiths that âall people are equal like the teeth of a comb.83â And this first of all means the refusal of Islam to accept racial, ethnical and physical peculiarities of people. This is a basic principle of Gulen without however the idea of forced equalization. Islam and violence are incompatible this is the truth of Koran and a repeated refrain of Mevlana Gulen.
Islamic civilization accepts the absolute meaning of 5 values. They are Faith, Life, Knowledge, Posterity and Property. Faith means the confession of the true religion, proclaimed by Prophet Muhammad. Life must be dedicated not only to God but also to people (and first of all family). Mind and knowledge must be connected with faith and verified by it. Posterity, or children, means the intergenerational continuity, the reproduction of life on the Earth which is willed by God. And, finally, the last but not the least principle of practical philosophy of Islam. It is maintenance and transferring of property.
F. Gulen emphasizes that nowadays in the beginning of the XXI century Islamic understanding of the quality of life is based on the same principles as one thousand four hundred years ago (I would like to remind you that we live in 1426 Anno Hegirae). This continuity regarding the qualitative standards of manâs worldly life is the first thing that we must understand while speaking about social principles of Islam. In the course of time some notions, of course, changed in this or that way but I want to emphasize once again that maintenance and transferring of property have always been an inherent part of the Islamic society.
The Islamic civilization is a specific form of life which has got its own regional and cultural peculiarities. I donât think that it will be productive to compare the points of view on the quality of life in the Islamic and Eastern Christian countries. Today all of us use cars, computers, dictaphones and etc. but there are essential differences in our world outlook. For Muslims Godâs Word became a Book and was
83 See my publications in Russian, Balkan and Turkish publications: Ð¡ÑÐ°Ð½Ð¾Ð²Ð»ÐµÐ½Ð¸Ðµ ÐÑÐ¼Ð°Ð½ÑÐºÐ¾Ð¹ Ð¸Ð¼Ð¿ÐµÑÐ¸Ð¸. XIIIâXVI Ð²Ð². // ÐÐ¾Ð²Ð°Ñ Ð¸ Ð½Ð¾Ð²ÐµÐ¹ÑÐ°Ñ Ð¸ÑÑÐ¾ÑÐ¸Ñ. 2001, â 1. ÐsmanlÄ± reformlarÄ± ve Avrasya diyaloÄu // Diyalog Avrasya. 2001, No 5. TÃ¼rkmen halkynyÅn geÃ§miÅi boÑunÃ§a resminamalarâ¦ // Miras. 2002, No 3(7). European Turkey as inter-civilizational contact zone of the Ottoman period. 14th-20th centuries // Hierarchy and Power in the History of Civilization. 2nd International Conference. St.-Petersburg, July 47, 2002. Abstracts. Moscow, 2002. Ð¢ÑÑÐºÐ¼ÐµÐ½Ð¾-Ð¾ÑÐ¼Ð°Ð½ÑÐºÐ°Ñ Ð¸Ð¼Ð¿ÐµÑÐ¸Ñ: ÑÑÐ°Ð½Ð¾Ð²Ð»ÐµÐ½Ð¸Ðµ ÑÐ¸Ð²Ð¸Ð»Ð¸Ð·Ð°ÑÐ¸Ð¸ ÑÐµÐ³Ð¸Ð¾Ð½Ð°Ð»ÑÐ½Ð¾Ð³Ð¾ ÑÑÐ¾Ð²Ð½Ñ // Miras. 2004, No 3 (15).
revealed to people through Muhammad whilst for Christians It (the Word) âbecame the flesh and lived among usâ (1:14) and appeared like Jesus from Nazareth.
According to the Islamic teaching Sacred Koran is not just a god-inspired Scripture but Godâs Word revealed to us directly. For a Muslim believer the Word is beyond exception and It regulates not only spiritual and general practice but also personal everyday life including estimation of the quality of life. We must perceive Christianity and Islam as two different entities and while comparing the realities of civilizations it is necessary to remember that for Muslims Koran is Godâs Word but not the Muhammadâs Word.
At the same time we must not ignore the cultural particularities of different regions of the Islamic civilization. Maghreb Countries, Turkey, the Middle East, Iran and other regions of the Islamic world have their own peculiarities and each of them faces the European culture in its own way. But still the Islamic cultural scientists who study their own traditions âfrom withinâ (and in the first place among them I would name Fethullah Gulen) point out some elements which are common for the worldwide ummah.
The attitude of Muslims to the material welfare and prosperity is based on the concept that Allah rescues believers from worldly hardships and misfortunates. He gives and takes life according to His Will and can bring the man back to life.
A Muslim believer approaches the quality of life through the distinction of righteousness and sin. It can be formulated in the following way: the quality of life in the Islamic understanding is avoidance of any kind of sin (there is a personal sin, the sin before yourself, the sin before God, the sin before the whole mankind, the sin before concrete people and at last the sin before your community â djamaat).
The core moment of Islamic outlook is the significance of every human life given by Allah. But in distinction from âJudaic and Christian materialismâ Islam states that long life by itself is not the value which we must long for by all means. It is more important not to commit injustice and always remember that All-seeing Allah will not leave our bad deeds unpunished. Here the importance and necessity of the faith of Allah are emphasized as life without faith (irrespectively of the prosperity level) loses its sense. âThe blessing of the afterlifeâ exceeds the faulty pleasures of the worldly life. âThe wish of pleasures in the immediate life leads to the deviation from the faith of Allah and to the debauchâ (Sura âAl-Bakara,â 212).
What is struggling for better quality of life in the Islamic understanding then? The answer is very easy. It means to surpass each other in good deeds. âTry to surpass each other in good deeds and Allah will recompense for it. Wherever you are Allah will gather all of you on the Day of Resurrection. Truly, Allah has got power upon everything â upon life and resurrectionâ (âAl-Bakara,â 148).
An important qualitative characteristic is our active life position. Creative activities are welcomed by both traditional Islam and modern theologists including F. Gulen.
It differs from the opinion widespread in the West that the Islamic East is the world of sweet delight immersed into the historical dreamâ¦ Such faulty views distorting the situation go back to the times of Crusades. In the XIX century they were brought to life again. It was the period when Islamic countries were viewed as an object of colonial expansion. In reality Islam is completely against self-complacence, relaxation and spiritual kaif. This religion has always been emphasizing the necessity of constant self-improvement and such important notion as jihad which first of all means inner development of the person.
The Islamic tradition is characterized by the call for moderation and prudence. Passions, of course, exist but they must be under the control of our mind. And with no doubt we must avoid evil passions. We must be moderate in everything. And there is no need to repent for the manifestations of your sensitive sphere. Sensuous pleasure is a natural spiritual move and all natural things are desired by Allah.
It is said in the Hadiths that doing good is desired by Allah but doing no evil is also good. In Hadiths there is also one Eastern wisdom: âIf your eye arrests at somebody who exceeds you in wealth, social standing or physical features look at somebody who concedes to you according to these points and be satisfied.â
Moreover, there is no idea that poverty is sacred in the Islamic civilization (in comparison with Medieval Europe). Poverty is no welcomed and begging for money is a sin. One of the Hadiths says: âA really poor man is the one who having no means of living does not show his poverty to others in order to get help and does not live by alms.â In other words for a true Muslim begging for money is impossible.
Beggary by itself doesnât bring us closer to God as it makes people struggle for living and gives no opportunity to stop and think about the divine sense of existence. Besides, the poor man can not help or support those who really need it. It is considered that if you are at least relatively able to work you must do everything possible in order to overcome poverty.
Public opinion in the Islamic countries welcomes beautiful clothes, shoes, good cars and etc. on condition that their owner fears of God and helps those who are weaker and poorer. People who became poor because of some objective reasons (illness or disability, family misfortunes, wars or natural disasters) are supported by the Islamic community. The quality of life and social welfare are as high as the charges of well-to-do Muslims in favour of the poor, lame and impotent.
There is a clear concept of social justice in Islam. You deserve Godâs Mercy to the extent you contribute to the improvement of your community (ummah) fellows. The person who gives his debtor enough time for debt repayment or lets off what he owes him will be under Allahâs protection in the Last Day. While usurers can not reckon upon Godâs Mercy.
Islam fixes a certain succession of addressees for help. First, the person must render assistance to himself (he can not help others if he can not maintain himself), then he must help his children, wife or wives and his communityâ¦ It means that the person must first give a hand to his close relatives and then to the distant ones.
Modern Muslims especially those who live in the European countries clearly understand that modern world is a jungle. The following Muhammadâs words are of great importance for the Islamic community: âIn the Last Day I will be the Prosecutor of three categories of people those who turned a free man into a slave, those who sold a man and spent the money and those who hired a man, used his labour and didnât pay.â Modern European muftis emphasize that different illegal ways of using gastarbeiters (foreign workers) falls under the category of enslavement of free people.
Mevlana Gulenâs personal extreme modesty which borders on ascetism is not a dogma and not even an example of a teacher who calls his followers to accept his way of austerity. Gulenâs personality does not need exterior comfort. But this is Gulen! The greatness of the teacher is in the fact that he offers a choice of the way and the choice is after those who believe.84
Nowadays more and more often Islam is spoken about as a teaching encouraging active life position and creative activity. At the same time it is a historical fact that the Islamic world falls behind the West in the sphere of exact sciences and industrial development. The rivalry between civilizations today is first of all the rivalry of technologies. And meanwhile the Islamic world is behind in this competition.
Islam is against primitive usury in any form. Using surplus exchange value in the process of enlargement of the production is not pleasing to God. The Islamic world sacrificed accumulation of capital in order to create a society with an averaged model of prosperity and without extreme forms of
84 Ð¤. ÐÑÐ»ÐµÐ½ Â«Ð¡Ð¾Ð¼Ð½ÐµÐ½Ð¸Ñ, Ð¿Ð¾ÑÐ¾Ð¶Ð´ÐµÐ½Ð½ÑÐµ Ð²ÐµÐºÐ¾Ð¼. Ð¢. 1. Ð., 2005. Ð¡. 77-78.
exploitation. From the point of view of industrial and technological development it was a minus, of course. So, an idealized and absolutized abstract idea of social justice had a bad effect.
Moreover, traditionalistsâ positions have always been very strong in the Islamic society. Islam as a religion gives the traditionalists a very powerful argument. They can ask about every innovation the following question: âIs it mentioned in Koran?â And nowadays many theologists but not F. Gulen estimate modern technologies (including digital and information processing technologies) from the point of view of their value for spreading Islam.
Hard business competition is not appreciated in the Islamic tradition people must compete only for being more righteous before God. Contrary to the widespread opinion Islam welcomes knowledge and science: âThe one who follows the path of knowledge goes directly to Allahâ¦â But in this statement human sciences are meant in the first place. As far as the technologies are concerned it is necessary to mention that the East first of all adopted the military ones. Moreover, they were perceived separately from the technological progress in general.
The main changes in the traditional Islamic understand ding of the quality of life happened in the result of collision with the Western world in the XVIâXIX centuries. In my opinion, the first stage of such transformations happened in the period of Sultan Suleiman Kanuni, in the second third of the XVI century when the Muslims saw not just Europe but a developed and in many points superior to them civilization with the centre in Imperial Vienna. The next historical period was at the end of the XVII century when the Islamic world suffered some smashing defeats from Europe which created the âHoly Leagueâ.
The press of the West continued in the period of Napoleon wars when a global secular project based not on the European Christian values but on universalism of the age of Enlightenment was opposed to the âIslamic project.â We must not forget that Napoleonâs plans were really worldwide. He intended not only to invade the Eastern Mediterranean but also to activate positions of France in Hindustanâ¦ During this period the Islamic world realized that scornful and contemptuous attitude towards non-Muslims in Europe is no longer possible (as well as the extensive spreading of Islam).
After that a civilizational dialogue between Islam and the West followed. In the middle and in the second part of the XIX century the world ummah experienced the time of reforms and adaptation processes. Letâs remember the reforms of Mohammed Ali in Egypt, the reforms of âtanzimatâ (reorganization) period in Turkey, the babid and behait movements in Iran, and the activization (which lasted till the Ð¥Ð¥ century) of the Islamic political organizations in Hindustan.
It is early to speak about the results of the meeting between Islam and the New European civilization. But one certain moment can be mentioned. In comparison with Shinto and Confucian civilizations which managed to adopt the European developments as a whole the Islamic world always perceived and adopted them selectively (military technologies, for example). In the result guns and cannons, for example, were considered to be acceptable while printing the books was not. The first printed Koran appeared in Turkey somewhere in 1730.
In such a way regarding the progressive technologies Muslims followed the way of users but not creators. In addition, the adoption mainly started in extreme situations like military collisions with Europe, for instance.
There is one more relevant question about the actuality of the Islamic approach to welfare and prosperity for modern Russia, the country where a considerable part of population is comprised of people with values formed under the influence of the Islamic tradition. In this respect Mevlana Gulenâs opinion that our epoch needs the potential of creative activism which characterizes Islam sounds perspectively. Being a Russian, I personally think that nowadays it is actual for our country to start perceiving labour activity as an important component of personâs spiritual development. A high status of knowledge and intellectual activity, not ostentatious but true following the principles of social justice, responsibility of the whole society for old people, orphans and those who are ill taught by Gulen, all these principles of the Islamic civilization are highly called for in our days.
âWhen we look at the righteous life of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace â s.a.s.), â says
F. Gulen, â We can see that he practised what Koran teaches us.â85 We can also maintain (by no means comparing the figures of Muhammad (s.a.s.) and the hero of this article) that Mevlana lives in the way he teaches others. F. Gulen follows the truth which I found in his works and its simplicity and completeness gave me a real shock:
F. Gulen quotes Rasulullah: âI was not sent to anathemize but to be a mercy.â And then continues by himself: âHe was Allahâs Mercy to everybody. Thatâs why the Messenger of Allah wanted everybody to be rescued even the greatest enemies of Islam and took pains to do it.â86
In his endless care and desire ânot to feel an ant under his footâ F. Gulen does not emphasize some painful moments in the relations between âthe world of Islamâ and âthe world of the Crossâ, between Europe and Turkey, and I can understand why. But from the point of view of a secular Orientalist I
85 F. Gulen: Essays..., p. 65 86 Ibid, p. 55 would like to share some of my doubts with you. And all my doubts I address not only to Mevlana Gulen but to all readers irrespectively of their religion, language or political views.
Muhammad, the Last Prophet in the history of mankind, called the âSealâ in Islam because he âseals all Revelations of God,â is considered to be Godâs Mercy to all things, phenomena and creatures on the Earth without exception.
âAnd We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds, for the 'AlamÃ®n (mankind, jinns and all that exists)â (Surah âAl-Anbiya,â 21 (107)).
The Man in the Divine Sense is the Lord of His Creation, the Lord of all. âAnd We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worldsâ (Surah Al-Isra, 17 (70)). It must be understood and it is interpreted by modern Islamic theologists in the way that life, dignity and property of any person including a non-Muslim are sacred.
The proclamation of justice or adalet-i mahza is found in Koran while taking life of even one innocent human being is equal to killing all people in the world. Trampling human rights is unacceptable even to the benefit of the whole society. F. Gulen constantly says it and it is easy to understand but... not always and not in all situations.
I have given just some examples of the ideas which the Medieval Europe (of the VIIIâIX centuries) had to face in the process of formation of new approaches to the place and role of an individual in the young Christian community consisting of different ethnoses after losing the Roman civilization.
Islam was formed as a solid (in the main parts) teaching in the VII century in the South-West of Arabia. Natural changes of state structures, centuries-long stable religious communities together with economical reasons predetermined the continuity and maturity of Islam.
Muhammad realized himself as the last one in the succession of the main Biblical Prophets â Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ.
The prophecies of Muhammad of the early period (from 610 till his death in 632) were perceived quite positively (as a rule) and with adequate understanding of the meaning by his contemporaries â the Jews and Christians. A there was one reason for it.
The Prophet, one of the laity, was persuading people that his mission was to repeat, to specify, to record in the written form and to clarify the postulates of his precursors â the Biblical Prophets. The idea of âbeing the last oneâ was meant for Muslims, the followers of Muhammad, but it was also understood and to some extent shared (especially on the issue of appearance of some Messiah) by local Jewish and Christian communities.
Persecution on the part of compatriots caused hicra â the migration of Muhammadâs followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D. In my opinion, the desire to be isolated from the neighbouring Jewish tribes, from the neighbours (both Arabs and not) hostile to Muhammadâs monotheism mainly due to some mercantile reasons, and from the pragmatic interest of some chieftains, new neighbours of the Prophet determined two features of the Islamic community mentioned by the way by F. Gulen.
I name two features (and they are fully preserved in our century) considering them to be the most significant in the relations with the non-Moslem world. Firstly, it is the idea of ummah, a special community which is quite independent in social, ideological and political respect. Secondly, it is the idea of division of the inhabited world into two unbalanced parts â âthe land of Islamâ and âthe other part of the world.â The relations between them are established according to a social and political agreement which is offered and formulated by the Islamic part. In this case its maintenance is sacred for the Islamic ummah and its leaders.
Muhammadâs prophecies of the years 610-632, Hadiths and deeds of the caliphs, his successors, formed the idea of âthose who accepted Godâ and âthose who surroundedâ (meaning Muslims and non-Muslims) which still continues to be one of the basic points of Islam as a particular form of collective human life characterized by a number of absolute common features and only some regional and cultural peculiarities.
The common features include shariat as the only source of rights, responsibilities and rules of behaviour of a Muslim in ummah and out of it. During 1400 years shariat became a form of sacralization of worldly entities of a Muslim despite the place where he lives from Singapore to Hamburg and Houston. Regional peculiarities comprise, for example, some everyday differences in the life of Turks in Germany, or Arabs in France, or the Iranians in the USA and etc.
I would like to remind you that initially the following appositive understanding (or more often misunderstanding) of the postulates of Christianity and Islam existed.
In the Christian world the Word of God was embodied in our God, Jesus Christ, it (literally!) became his flesh.
In Islam the Word of God was embodied in the Sacred Book, Koran.
Consequently the initial differences of the Christians and Muslims were based (and still are based) on fundamental constants which can not be compared.
We should compare not the Bible (Gospel) and Koran but Koran and Jesus Christ. These notions which are not compatible in the Christian perception still determine the views and the dualism of values formed in the historical perception of the world of Islam and Christianity. Notice that in Fore-Asia they coexisted in continuous collaboration since Nativity and will continue to exist to the Day of Judgment, I suppose.
The first non-Muslims who turned to the problem âto understand Islamâ were the Christian heretics and the Jews of the Fore-Asia driven away by Rome and Byzantium. There were Copts, Arians, Nestorians and Jacobites among the Christians as well as the Jews, immigrants from Sasanid Iran and sometimes from Egypt.
There was no oppression of non-Muslims or their enslavement by the force of the Islamic arms. In the 1st â 2nd centuries of âhicraâ (VII-IX A.D.) the so-called âhereticsâ were looking for social freedom from the power of Rome and Byzantium in their ânew neighbours,â a solid ummah of Muslims,.
Jesus Christ foretold (see Gospel according to St. John: 14, 26) the acts of Mani and the last one demanded the refinement and clarification of Mosesâ and Jesusâ prophecies. In such mutual observation passed the first centuries of the development of Islam and its understanding in the world of neighbours, non-Muslims.
Delicately, as if it is a crystal dewdrop on a soft cheek of a child, touches Mevlana Gulen the problem of war and peace â jihad.
The war aspect of spreading Islam in the Mediterranean region and in the Middle East starting from the second part of the VII century and until the beginning of the XXI century must be viewed according to the Sunni and Shiite concepts of legitimacy of power succession in ummah. I would like to remind you that spiritual and worldly beginnings in Islam are inseparable thatâs why secular power (of sultan) is combined with spiritual power (of caliph-sultan).
Thatâs why nowadays especially after the tragedies that happened in the USA on the 11th of September, the terrorist acts in âNord-Ostâ and Beslan, Russia, in Madrid and London we must attentively study the division which exists within Islam into:
those who honor only Koran
those who honor Koran and shariat-adet
and those who admit not only the completeness and eternal essence of Koran but also the idea of changeability of this world and understand that theological statements must be made according to them.
The influence of these three conventional groups might determine the relations between the worlds â Islam and non-Islam in the 21st century and afterwards. It makes F. Gulenâs careful calls not to harden the hearts of the deluded even more significant for our understanding.
After the abolishment of (quite peaceful) caliphate in the Turkish Republic (in 1924) there is practically no one, single Head of Sunnis â a caliph or a Prophetâs successor (mind that he is not considered to be the Messenger of Allah).
Shiite imams practising secular and spiritual power at the same time can be found in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In the new history of Europe of the XV-XVIII centuries inappropriateness of understanding of these realities by the monarchs and leaders of the Christian world lead sometimes to different incidents. Christianity of the VII-VIII centuries met the Islamic postulates with caution and such attitude continued to be transmitted for many centuries by both Churches, an Orthodox and a Catholic one, as well as by their bishops. This attitude is first of all based on the following positions:
The fear of the Christian clergy to have an opponent in the face of Islam as the last religion having clear common roots with Christianity and having no religious establishments mediating between the God and the Man.
Initial understanding of essential logics of Islam by Christian fathers of the Church which was at the same time closed for millions of Christians.
Islam represents the ethics and norms of a mass of people (ummah) but not a philosophical
teaching especially prepared (and renovated if necessary due to the wish of the authorities, for
3. The Christians of the Near East (Arabia, Egypt and Syria) and Byzantium saw in the absolute values of Islam (Faith, Life, Posterity, Mind, Property) the grounds of the civil society as we understand it in the XXI century.
For many years F. Gulen has been arguing against the faulty understanding of Islam as a militant religion which appeared under the influence of immense social and political changes caused by the invasion of Crusaders into the Fore-Asia, South-East and Central Europe in XI-XIII centuries.
We must also remember that those Christians who died in the military collisions with the Saracens were considered to be Martyrs. And in the Eastern Christian Church which experienced not only collisions with Muslims but also suffered from a smashing blow into the back of the Catholic knights soon started to consider that it happened due to the Islamic rivals. It is in this period (XI-XIII centuries.) when the image of a Muslim as a cruel killer inclined to public suicides in the acts of terrorism was formed in the mind of Christians.
We must also understand that the split of the Christian Church into two as a consequence of the Crusades which has not yet been eliminated by the Pope and the Patriarch is more significant for the history.
I would also like to emphasize that Koran, actually, fully completes the number of categorical prohibitions of killing innocent people: the Bible (the Exodus, 21-12, Leviticus, 24:17-18), Koran, 2, 178-179. Koran is one of the monotheistic teachings which forbids suicide (4, 29) and killing women and children as an ungodly act (Koran: 25 (68), 6 (151).
The postulate ânot peace but swordâ (Gospel according to St. Matthew, 10 (34-35), and Gospel according to St. Luke 12 (51-53)) does not correspond to the Islamic understanding of jihad (a sacred war) as a way to serve people including the use of force (Koran 5(54), 9(19), 8(72), 16 (110), 29 (6,8) and other surahs and ayats).
I would also like to note that in the XIII-XIV centuries during the Mongol invasion the perception of Chingishan as a destructive figure was characteristic for both Europe and Islam in Egypt and Arabistan, for example. But the Mongols and Tatars united by Chingishan and his close descendants accepted Islam in a short period. And in the result of this poorly studied phenomenon the Christian perception of the Mongol army as âthe plague for people,â âGodâs judgement,â the ruiners of the Christian, Iranian, Arabic and other civilizations was later transferred on all Islamic countries and the Islamic world in general.
In reality the antique philosophy and the human and scientific heritage were preserved for Europe by premongolian Islamic caliphates while the Mongols actively destroyed the traces of the antique culture.
May be one day the great culture of the West will find place for International Gulenâs Readings. Then the character of the Islamic invasions in Europe (including the Ottoman Turks) which can be compared to the world civilizational process and which is poorly studied both in the East and in the West will be analyzed. The Islamic consciousness of a modern Muslim, the citizen of the European country (including Russia, of course) and his views on the historical process of spreading Muslims in Europe must be studied.
It is important to know that the threat from Ottoman Turks to the world of West (the 3rd and 4th waves of invasion into Europe after the Huns) did not have a religious basis but a vivid social, political and military one. If we compare it to the XXI century then we can say that it was a kind of sociodemographic expansion and a form of terrorism and latent conflicts of low intensity.
The reason for differences in views lies in the deep past, in initially different range of world outlook of the West which started to explore the New World â America, and tried to united the pieces of the habitable oecumene and the âmysteriousâ East which lived in its own world and didnât need any discoveries. We must also take into consideration the different level of expectations of the two parts â the Christian Europe and the Islamic Turkey in the period of their aggressive and hostile approach to each other (under the influence of Ottoman invasion into the Balkans in the XIV-XV centuries) as well as to take into account the incommensurability of the evolutional movements in the societies of the Age of Reformation in Europe and the blossom of the Ottoman Empire (in the XVI-XVII centuries).
Europe in its dynamic and constantly rising consumption and reproduction needed first of all stable deliveries of cheap food of high quality from the Eastern Islamic countries and only in the end of the XVIII â beginning of the XIX century started to need raw materials as well. While the Mideast countries till the end of the First Industrial Revolution needed mostly tax revenues or in other words were interested only in the number of their nationals.
Here we must consider âan inverted analogyâ: Islam penetrated into Europe and the Christian East in the VII-XII centuries mostly by ways of âpenetratingâ into the weak layers of the Christian civilization. The Western model found âa breachâ in the Islamic (and Ottoman in particular) civilizational model much later in the XVIII-XIX centuries represented by non-Moslem nationals of the Islamic states who protected their own sociocultural values and wanted to adapt Islamic personal liberties to the European advantages.
The growth of tensity of the relations and the abruption of the Islamic world in the Age of Industrialization outwardly had a religious character but these processes were first of all based on a great economic gap between the Islamic world and the West expressed in the stagnation and partial imitation of the consumer demand samples.
At that time there were two coexisting but opposite to each other processes:
The West tried to unite those countries which were equal in their development
Islam tried to preserve its world through partial adjustment to the exterior factors, through modernization and westernization.
In this way for many centuries the West and the East were not studying each other but trying to adapt the adequate consumer level without its full understanding.
The simulation of the Islamic (and in the first place Ottoman) isolationism in the consequence of their economic lag made by the great states of the XIX-XX centuries as well as hot spots on the outskirts of Europe aroused a protective reaction of the inadequate level in the object.
Domination of the inner stimuli towards reorganization and reforms in Turkey in 1850-1980 was accompanied by growing Islamism (especially after the epoch of secularism of Ataturk).
A low amplitude of fluctuation of the existing demands of the Islamic society in the XIX-XX centuries was combined with a massive consumption of the European goods which symbolized a so-called joining of the Osmans to the European world. There was no idea of discovering the world in Islam of this period. The existence of a great consumer demand complying with the standards had just a demonstrational effect in order to say, for example, âMy clothes are as good as Selimâs and Vilko or Hristoâs clothes are even better.â The Ottoman Centre â the imperative of the power, could not fulfill the distribution functions in a satisfactory manner and did not want to study deep interior processes of the development of the Western world thatâs why it came in nowhere.
The vector of the main efforts of the Ottoman Islamic State were aimed at the military political system which determined the failure of Tanzimat.
The vector of occasional decisions and searches intending to stabilize the Ottoman subsystem went away from the vector of development and knowledge adopted by the Atlantic civilizational model.
For example, systematic study of Islam in Europe started in the XIII century while the study of the Christian model (donât mix with the antiquity) in the East started only in the XVIII century. The West studied the intellectual component of the East while the Islamic scientists studied the military art and law of the period of industrial revolutions but not the philosophy of development.
Pragmatism of the Islamic study of the Western values:
Commercial and industrial exhibitions are attended while the libraries are not.
In the face of consciously closed by the Islamic authorities opportunities to understand the West Islam transforms into a kind of social consensus.
The superiority of the Islamic thesis âlearn and make it your ownâ and refusal from another thesis âlearn â comprehend â improveâ are especially dangerous for the collaboration of Islam and Christianity which must become the central process in the XXI century.