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, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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