An Overview

The beginning of the human story is with the Adamic individual, the single nafs (which is feminine in Arabic) from which its spouse is created (zawj is masculine in Arabic).
The next stage, after the destruction of the first generations, is at the time of Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him, during the age of the great city-based cultures and empires. Ibrahim’s millet comprises his two-wife family and his followers. One line that descends from him branch out into tribes, the Children of Israel.

Later, at the time of Musa, peace be upon him, the backdrop is still the great city-based empires, but the revelation is now for tribes and confederations of tribes. All the great empires fail, in what is considered to be the great Bronze Age collapse of 1177 BC (or perhaps 1186 BC).
There is a space, a historical window of opportunity for the Children of Israel to institute a city-based Deen in Jerusalem, but that fails and the resurgent pagan city-empires put an end to it, and re-enslave the Children of Israel for a period of time.
Finally, the Romans, the epitome of Western order, whose eastern boundaries are marked by the Persians, bring an end to the Judaic experiment quite brutally.
Before that happens, there have appeared two prophets at the very end of the Judaic age: Yahya (John) and Isa (Jesus), peace be upon them. Sent to the lost sheep of the Children of Israel, many of whom reject them, a divergent group following the latter hitch their wagon to the Roman Empire, and thus fatefully give the greater part of Christianity its forevermore Western character, and its timeless opposition to the East, a binary opposition that has cohered since the time of the early Greeks and Persians.
Finally, the last of the Prophets, peace be upon him, is sent with, for the first time a universal message for all races, and people of every language and culture. It is neither of the East not the West. It is not of any culture, certainly neither Arabic culture nor Eastern culture, but it acts as a filter for all cultures and any, removing what is harmful and fostering what is beneficial.
It is not just a religion, but significantly a science of behaviour that extends with great sophistication into the zone of the marketplace. Contrary to the feverish imaginings of modern man, rather than unleashing constant jihad, after the first century, it is a vast commercial culture and civilisation, whose businessmen trade agnostically with East and West, North and South. Their abstaining from usury brings them great wealth, and gains them the love and respect of the people they live among and trade with.
Fatefully, a dynasty of later Muslims establishes its capital city in Baghdad and thus effectively in the ‘East’, thus giving an Eastern and an Oriental character to Islam in the eyes of the West, i.e. Romanised Christians.
Very aware of this, the Osmanli see the Fath (opening to Islam) of Constantinople, the last remaining citadel of Christianity after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, as their priority.
But Europe holds out. It redefines itself as Christendom and intrinsically not-Islam. It sees itself as Western, and Islam as Eastern, even in Morocco and North Africa, which had always been part of the Roman world and thus Western, and even when Islam took root in Spain and, moreover, went on to contribute most of the elements that today go to make up our post-Renassaince world.
With the collapse of the Osmanli order, something strange happened. A part of what destroyed most of the existing order at that time was the centripetal force of the nation-state, which, for inexplicable reasons, seized the imagination of people all across the world. Thus, the Osmanli multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, multi-cultural commonwealth was destroyed, sometimes by its own people, as well as the old Empires, the Hapsburgs, the Romanovs, and finally the British. Each race and culture thought that it ought to have a nation-state exclusively for itself: think India, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, Greece and more.
But parallel to that centripetal force, there was a centrifugal force that dispersed people from every nation all over the earth.
And this is the terrain on which we live today. An absolutely unique moment in history. The old division of East and West is completely irrelevant. The East is more devotedly Western than increasingly jaded Westerners. The nation-state, in spite of the rabid nationalism that seems to have taken hold of large numbers of people, is even less relevant, because the global nature of usury capitalism has rendered it outdated and outmoded, and, at the same time, penniless to carry out its projects.
The world awaits a force that is neither Eastern nor Western, not restricted to one culture or race, that is lawful, and capable of lawfully containing and restraining the ravages of an unleashed usury that is threatening to destroy the very eco-system, but, worse than that, to destroy the very convivial nature of human being itself that could be said to constitute our essence.

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Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973, and, at his suggestion, studied Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences in Cairo for a period. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s one of the imams khatib of the Norwich Mosque, and again from 2002-2016. He has translated, edited and typeset a number of classical texts. He currently resides with his wife in Denmark and occasionally teaches there. 14 May, 2023 0:03

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