Islam and the West: Conflict or Cooperation? by A. Saikal

By A. Saikal

A broad-ranging overview of kinfolk among the Muslim and Western worlds within the modern period set within the context of ways those have advanced traditionally. Arguing that the relatives were marked through lengthy sessions of peaceable coexistence, but in addition through many situations of hysteria, hostility, and mutual recrimination, Amin Saikal assesses the influence of the ongoing Arab-Israeli clash, the results of the Iranian revolution and of the wars within the Gulf and Afghanistan, and charts a direction for destiny co-existence.

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As such, the notion of suicidal action to take one’s own life and the lives of innocent noncombatants for political objectives has no place in the Islamic definition of jihad or martyrdom. It is regarded as morally and ethically repugnant when one deploys Islam to justify a political or politically motivated cause, no matter how compelling that cause is. In Islam, not every one can declare jihad. Only a learned religious authority (a scholar or jurist) that has reached the highest stage of ijtihad (independent reasoning) with widespread recognition in the Muslim world, and with the task of applying Sharia (Islamic Law) to contemporary circumstances can do so.

Seated on luxurious carpets, these sophisticated city dwellers debated such subjects as the nature of God, the intricacies of Greek philosophy, or the latest Indian mathematics. 5 Shared Values and Conflicts 31 It was largely in this context that Islam motivated the development of a great Arab Islamic empire, with a very vibrant, dynamic civilization – a civilization which was based not only on what it cherished from Islam and Arabs, and the indissoluble bonds between the two, but also, in ‘a give and take’ manner that profited from other religions and cultures.

One who proclaimed himself the Mahdi, with a mission to liberate the Sudanese in particular, and the Muslims in general from colonialist rule, was Mohammed Ahmad ibn Abdullah. He rose from Northern Sudan in 1881 and declared a jihad against the British and their Egyptian allies. 7 His rule did not last very long, as he died in 1886, and his successor Khalifa Abdallahi ruled only until 1898, when the British defeated him at Omdurman and regained control of Sudan; however, his tradition of Puritanism and Islamic resistance to outside domination became a recurring event in the Muslim world.

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