Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) is an idea which aims to make Islam rule in all economic, political, socio-cultural fields of the society by establishing the unity and solidarity among Muslims.
This very idea, which was sounded off and discussed by the Ottoman scholars beginning from the second half of the nineteenth century as a seek for solution to recover from the backwardness against the West, in short, is based on the theses in which Islam will define the point of view for the people against the modern developments, which have the universal political and social contents convenient to apply to everywhere in the life, which have no obstacles for development, and which envisage Unity of Islam considering it is a religion perceiving all the Muslims as brothers and sisters.
In recent years, the facts that several Islamic countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine have been subject to various occupations and assaults, that thriving towns of Islam have been run over and thousands of innocent Muslims have been murdered, and that terroristic incidents have increased in our society and a range of progresses have been witnessed have helped to bring the idea of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) to the agenda sociologically. It can be seen that the idea of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam), which theoretically has a great value for the future of the Islamic world, practically includes problems pointing to intellectual, political, moral, socio-cultural fields and contains serious obstacles for the world politics.
One of the main problems which require attention is that the idea of Islamic societies, those which are experiencing problems in applying Islamic morality and precepts to personal and social lives, to be aspirant to the rulership with the assertion of being able to solve the problems via politics, as the Islamist politics anticipates, awaits to be discussed as one of the biggest inner conflicts of the Islamic world. To articulate the idea of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) together with Islamism, which advocates that it will be realised through the precondition of having the political power and the rulership, involves problems in it.
In this context, the facts behind the idea of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) is wrapped with a political ideology must somehow be related to the Muslims' perception of the religion they belong to and their understanding of practicing it in every aspect of the life. That is because, let alone the ideological side, the defenders of this concept which is identified with Islam are expected to be on the route of Islam and to design their whole lives according to that. Therefore, the fact that the ones who experience problems in understanding Islam try to save the Islamic societies with this politics brings a lot of contradictions.
Another important point is the internal mechanisms of the Islamic world. It is a matter of question how Islamic world could build up such big events like the Unity of Islam, since arbitrary exercises are popular, latitude of thought is restricted as much as possible, statist actions are more common and outrun the individual rights and freedoms, and the moral of ihlas (sincerity) is lacked in the Islamic world.
The truth is that Islam guarantees human rights, proposes to spread social ethics, advocates the rule of law, emphasizes to live in peace, encourages sharing in justice, and forbids every kind of deformity and depravity. In this context instead of imprisoning unity of Islam into borders surrounded by barriers, it is a better realistic approach in knowing it as the places that the truths of Islam are lived appropriately and expecting the missed unity to be born within that kind of places. Therefore, Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) requires that a Prophetic method should be modelled, and it should be filled with virtue and wisdom instead of superficiality of a shallow politic slogan.
Considering all these mentioned, we have decided that the issue 108 shall be themed around Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam). We have discussed the subject around the concepts of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam), Islamism, religion, politics, nationalism, religious fellowship, ihlas (sincerity), ittifak (alliance), ittihad (unity), Islamic nationality, i'la-yi kelimetullah (upholding God's Name), backwardness, progress, development, education, ignorance, caliphate, world peace, colonialism, modernism, European Union and planned to find answers to the following questions.
What is Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam)? What is the legality of this project which was at first a movement of idea predicting to recover Islamic countries with the leadership of the Ottoman Empire from falling behind the age and the supremacy of foreign countries? What should be the frame of Islamic fellowship? What are the arguments Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) is based on to overcome the problem of nationalism? What is the importance of the preconditions that Bediuzzaman gives as conditions of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam): having Islamic nationality as base, mesveret (council), agreement on principals? In this context what is the importance of having Islamic countries democratic governments? Is it necessary to make a connection between Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) and Islamism? What is the reason for Bediuzzaman to express the Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) as "worship" and "the most important religious duty of this age"? What is the relation of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) and morality? Are European Union or likewise federations to which Turkey is trying to enter barriers to Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam)? What is the meaning of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) in the context of world peace? What is the importance of Ittihad-i Islam (Unity of Islam) against the divergence from religion, materialism, secularism as the most major dangers of this age and against the destructive power of terrorism and against communism, masonry and atheism?
Key Words: The Unity of Islam, civil society, crowd society, love society, sincerity.
Source: This article is the editorial writing of the akademic magazine Köprü/Autumn 2009
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