New Islam: A Project without a Caliphate
By Dr. Rafiq Habib Available at: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1265890488202&pagename=Zone-English-Living_Shariah%2FLSELayout
The conflict between Western domination and the Islamic Movement involves numerous entwined battles and implied confrontations that reveal the reality of the problem and the reality of the differences between the Islamic project on one hand and the Western project on the other.
At the heart of the battle between globalization as a Western project and the Islamic civilization project, the issue of the Islamic Caliphate gets caught in the crossfire. Although an Islamic Caliphate does not currently exist, it is there in all the battles between the West and the Islamic Movement, in all the battles of secularism with the Islamic project, and in all the battles of the ruling regimes and secular elites against the Islamic Movement. It could be argued that Islamic political unity represents the essence of the battle. Consequently, the idea is besieged by all parties who are hostile to the Islamic project, or against it, in order to diminish the status of political unity of the Ummah in the Islamic discourse and remove it as an essential maxim of the Islamic Movement.
The maxim of an Islamic Caliphate and a United Islamic State represents the dream of millions of Muslims; it is the banner that brings together all Arab and Muslim countries, and the most prominent title of the rising history of the Islamic Ummah. This maxim is strong enough to gather the Ummah, unite its orientation, and motivate it to realize its own unity. Therefore, this maxim has been besieged and the Islamic Movement has been put under pressure to express this maxim only implicitly in its discourse. Moreover, the maxim itself is considered to be hostile to the existing territorial nation-state.
The West and the Memories of History
In the collective Western mind, the idea of restoring the United Islamic State represents a project to create a superpower that would implicitly challenge Western countries and the United States of America, which is the only superpower in the world today. The West believes that once the United Islamic State is established, its domination over the world shall cease, because the United Islamic State shall separate the West from the rest of the world and occupy the heart of the world. By default, the United Islamic State would put an end to the West as a superpower and, more importantly, to the role of Western civilization as the dominant advanced civilization.
Only after breaking the Ottoman Empire was the West able to control the Arab and Muslim region and then the entire world, because to rule the entire world they had to occupy the Arab and Islamic region
Globalization, the dream of Western hegemonic liberalism on the world, shall end if the United Islamic State comes to being, because the Islamic civilization would dominate an important part of the world. If this happens, there will be another competitor to Western civilization and a barrier that would prevent its control over the world.
The dream of a United Islamic State is a repeat of the history of the West with the Islamic State in its various phases. The West was unable to achieve global control and dominion until the Islamic Caliphate fell, because this Caliphate was the last global cultural challenge to Western nations.
Only after breaking the Ottoman Empire was the West able to control the Arab and Muslim region and then the entire world, because to rule the entire world they had to occupy the Arab and Islamic region, which is at the heart of the world both geographically and culturally. This is one manifestation of the ‘middle nation’ concept: it is the heart at the middle of the world, the area in which the colonial powers realize their hegemony and domination, and the region that causes the fall and defeat of these powers.
On the other hand, if the heart of the world becomes free and if the ‘middle nation’ is liberated and able to build its unity and civilization, the entire world would follow suit. The State of the Muslim civilization frees the world, while the State of Western civilization colonizes it. This is the contrast and irony, which renders the covert war on the idea of the Islamic State the essence of the current battle and future confrontations.
In light of the above, the West has been doing its best to contain the Islamic Movement within its borders, facing it with its entire might, and trying to besiege its ideals. Western countries can be divided into those hostile to the Islamic Movement and those which besiege it territorially and nationally. This has created the idea of merging the Islamic Movement into the political process to be a part of the competing political trends within the framework of the territorial nation-state and to ensure its compliance with the conditions of working therein.
Israel and Islamic Unity
In the same vein, the objective of the Western Zionist project is to create an occupying Israeli state in Palestine to prevent the unity of the Muslim Ummah and divide it into territorial nation-states. The occupying Israeli state was planted in the area to prevent the establishment of the United Islamic State more than anything else. In contrast, the establishment of the United Islamic State would end the Zionist project and its representative state, Israel, which would then be an occupier of part of the land of the United Islamic State. Therefore, it would not be able to survive or protect its hostile project.
The survival of the Zionist entity, then, is important for the protection of the Western project and hegemony in the region. It is also important to prevent the establishment of the United Islamic State, which would put an end to this imperial colonial project.
Territorial Nation-State and the Islamic State
People were happy about what seemed to them like independence, but the truth was different. Colonization left its colonial territorial nation-state and handed it over to local leaders
It was not by coincidence that Western colonizers departed from the states that they built in our countries, quite the opposite as this was the peak of their victory. Ironically enough, the so-called ‘era of independence’ was not independence at all, but rather a perpetuation of colonization. Western colonization dominated most of the Arab and Muslim countries, fragmented the Caliphate, and established and governed territorial nation-states. The national liberation movement that began in the mid-twentieth century expelled the occupying forces, but the territorial nation-state built by colonization remained. The only change was that Western occupiers were replaced by national leaders. People were happy about what seemed to them like independence, but the truth was different. Colonization left its colonial territorial nation-state and handed it over to local leaders. In this way, the colonial project continued with local hands and the concept of territorial nation-state was confirmed, and thereby ending all the dreams of building the United Islamic State.
Hence, this territorial nation-state became the symbol of independence. However, it is a fake independence: it is independence from the foreign ruler, but a submission to a foreign model of state. When the feelings of independence from military occupation overwhelmed the liberated people, it was rather easy to pass the more dangerous occupation, that is, the occupation of the Western territorial nation-state model of Arab and Islamic countries to become the type of country that prevents Islamic unity and protects Western interests in the region.
The Zionist state is not the only state that protects Western interests and prevents the unity of the Ummah; the territorial nation-state model also protects Western interests, prevents the establishment of Islamic unity, makes the local rulers guardians of Western hegemony, and maintains a barrier between the Muslim Ummah and Western powers, which is a new type of local colonialism. Although the ruling regimes are local elites, they rule through a colonial state model that has been devised to colonize the Ummah and impose Western hegemony on it.
The essence of the Western political project is the territorial nation-state that adopts the Western political idea. Therefore, the concept of territorial nation-states is an integral part of the Western project. In other words, Western hegemony of the region shall remain as long as territorial nation-states remain in Arab and Muslim countries, in the same way that the establishment of the United Islamic State is sufficient to end such hegemony.
Ruling Regimes of Territorial Nation-States
These ruling regimes have been fighting the battle of Western countries by proxy and doing their best to prevent the establishment of Islamic unity
The position of the ruling regimes towards the Islamic Movement is clear; they believe that it goes beyond the borders and ideology of the state and beyond the boundaries of nationalism and territorialism. Therefore, these regimes wage war on the Islamic Movement or limit it within the framework of the territorial national political domain. The ruling regimes in Arab and Muslim countries try to prevent any trans-national connection, solidarity, or alliance of the Islamic Movement. This is because the more the Islamic Movement strengthens the unity of the Ummah, the more able it becomes to bring the dream of the United Islamic State into reality. Moreover, merely talking about Islamic unity has now become sufficient to lead to confrontation between the Islamic Movement and the ruling regimes.
The ruling regimes have become an integral part of the idea of the state they govern. Regardless of the nature and performance of the ruling regimes, they have become the heirs of the territorial nation-state concept and their destiny and survival have become associated with the survival of the territorial national idea. These ruling regimes have been fighting the battle of Western countries by proxy and doing their best to prevent the establishment of Islamic unity. These regimes, then, are local colonizers or agents of Western colonization because they have become the first bulwark against the project of the United Islamic State.
Ruling Regimes against Islamic Unity
The entire discourse of the secular regimes with respect to the Islamic Movement tries to put a siege to the idea of Islamic unity and the global aspect of the Islamic project. Most of the attack is directed to the internationalization of the Islamic Project and Movement. Therefore, the media tries to restrict this idea and portray it as if it breaches and goes beyond the concept of national belonging. This battle has been going on for decades in an attempt to impose nationalism, in its territorial national sense, on the discourse of the Islamic Movement so that the relative weight of the maxim of Islamic unity fades, and the political discourse of the Islamic Movement transforms to the rather narrow national framework.
Once again it becomes clear that the idea of merging the Islamic Movement into political life means that the Islamic Movement should abandon the idea of Islamic unity or the global dimension of its project. In this way, the Islamic Movement is put under pressure to turn into a national Islamic Movement that works within the framework of restricted territorial nationalism and whose objectives and ends are limited to the territorial national domain. This is a continuous process designed to isolate the Islamic Movement from the idea of Islamic unity and the maxim of an Islamic Caliphate. Moreover, the adoption of the idea of a Caliphate is enough to declare war on the Islamic Movement.
The Islamic scene now has such trends or entities that adopt the Islamic project without the project of a United Islamic State. This represents the most important success of Western countries and the process of the siege of the Islamic Movement
The carrot offered to the Islamic Movement is to abandon the idea of Islamic unity, while the stick is the blockade, security strikes, and turning the confrontation into an international war. This is confirmed by the strange sensitivity towards any mention of an international entity of the Islamic Movement. It has become unable to work on an international level, although its project is global in the final analysis: it is the project of creating a global state that represents the entire Islamic Ummah.
One of the results of the severe siege on the idea of the United Islamic State is the emergence of those who adopt the idea of the Islamic project without the idea of the Islamic Caliphate or State, because the maxim of the Islamic State itself implies a United Islamic State, that is, the state of the Islamic Caliphate. Therefore, the Islamic scene now has such trends or entities that adopt the Islamic project without the project of a United Islamic State. This represents the most important success of Western countries and the process of the siege of the Islamic Movement: the journey to make a territorial national Islamic Movement has commenced. It has within it the seeds of a Western project through its territorial national trend and in this way it shall become eligible to play the role of the local colonizer or the agent of the West. It will then receive the territorial nation-states established by colonial powers and ruled by unjust and corrupt local regimes. However, these old regimes have expired and the Western requirement now is to create new regimes to lead and preserve the territorial nation-state and prevent the establishment of any form of Islamic unity or the establishment of the United Islamic State.
The New Islam
The West has been looking for an Islam that protects the territorial nation-state and prevents the establishment of the United Islamic State. But this would be an artificial, cloned form of Islam. This will be the ultimate victory of the West when it reaches an Islamic formula it can support because it is based on preventing any attempt to establish the United Islamic State and, at the same time, has an Islamic title that renders it more popular than the current ruling regimes. This Islamic title shall provide it with popular support that will reinforce its position in office. Then the Islamist shall be the protector of the territorial nation-state after he has given up the dream of Islamic unity.
The United Islamic State is not only a dream, but a symbol of the political unity of the Ummah. It is the first step to its renaissance, because the strength of this Ummah lies in its unity, through which it can rise up. Thus, dispensing with the objective of the unity of the Ummah means giving up the goal of the renaissance, and in its place the creation of the new Islamist who protects the Western project in the region, prevents the establishment of the United Islamic State, and turns the Islamic project into a territorial national one based on nationalism and partisanship like the new Palestinian who is being prepared to protect the security of the Israeli occupation.
What is Islam without an Islamic State? What is the Islamic project without an Islamic Caliphate? This is the issue and the essence of the conflict with the dominant Western civilization. The West will end up victorious if the Islamic project is besieged from within by territorial nationalism. The only way for the Islamic project to win this battle is to go out of the siege of territorial nationalism and declare the dream of its Ummah to restore the United Islamic State.
Statue of Liberty, New York