After the Soviet Union ceased to exist, Francis Fukuyama anticipated the End of History. What he propounded was uncontested world dominance of Western Liberal democracy as the “final form of human government”, as he described it. Given the void left by the Soviet Union collapse, several scholars came up with disparate theses on the trajectory the world will take post-Soviet Union obliteration. Some scholars said the strife between the rich and the poor will shape the future world. Others drew a stable and peaceful picture of the future world. Be that as it may, no social thinker has ever had a crystal ball with which he judged the future course of the world, nor will anyone ever have.
The proposition posited by Francis Fukuyama was immediately repudiated by the cultural and economic rejuvenation in East Asian countries, notably in China. The defiance of North Korea and China of the US hegemony rendered Fukuyama’s thesis as irrelevant and extraneous. Then, Samuel Huntington wrote in his magnum opus, ‘The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order’, “In this new world (post-Soviet Union world), the most pervasive, important and dangerous conflicts will not be between social classes, rich and poor or other economically defined groups but between people belonging to different cultural entities.”
According to Huntington, “Culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest level are civilization identities, are shaping the patterns of cohesion, disintegration and conflict in the post-cold war world.” The major conflictual event that helped Huntington shape his view of the future world was the Yugoslavia breakup which ensued into a cycle of lethally violent killing. To buttress this proposition Huntington wrote, “In the Yugoslav conflict, Russia provided diplomatic assistance to the Serbs and Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Libya provided funds and arms to Bosnians, not for reasons of ideology, power politics or economic interest but because of cultural kinship.” Huntington further wrote, “Societies united by ideology and historical circumstance but divided by civilization either come apart as did the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Bosnia or are subjected to intense strain as is the case with Ukraine, Nigeria, Sudan, India and Sri Lanka.”
Taking into account the breakup of Yugoslavia and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, his analysis seems very much pertinent. Nonetheless, concerning Islam, he definitely made a mistake.
Huntington on Islam
To Huntington, “Islam is the only civilization which has put the survival of the West in doubt and it has done that at least twice.” Huntington understood the holistic nature of Islam better than many contemporary Muslim scholars. To him, “As a revolutionary movement, Islamic fundamentalism rejects the Nation-State in favour of the unity of Islam just as Marxism rejected it in favour of the unity of International Proletariat.” The rejection of Nation-State aspect is right; however, the comparison of Islam with Marxism is redundant given the lack of structural procedure Marxism has as against Islam which is based on unshakable principles.
Huntington attributes Islamic resurgence and the challenge it poses to the Western Civilization to its immense demographic growth. He writes, “No religious revival or cultural movement lasts indefinitely and at some point, the Islamic resurgence will subside and fade into history.” He goes on to say, “The Islamic resurgence will show (to the Muslims) that Islam is the solution to problems of morality, identity, meaning and faith but not to the problems of social injustice, political repression, economic backwardness and military weakness.” Firstly, Islam and its fundamental precepts can never fade or remain in a state of dormancy for far too long. Certainly the veneer of slumber that most of us (Muslims) have decisively chosen has allowed much of the world to take it as a herald of Islamic dissipation and permanent dormancy of the Islamic world with docile subordination to the prevalent world order.
That said, we should have something concrete and persuasive that proves Huntington wrong. Surely, we have. And what is that? The sayings of the Holy Prophet (SAW) refute the prognosis of Huntington concerning Islam. The Prophet said, “Islam will enter every household.” In another Hadith the Prophet (SAW) said, “Prophethood will remain among you so long as Allah wishes it to remain, then He will replace it with Caliphate according to the ways of Prophethood. It too will remain among you so long as Allah wishes it to remain, then He will replace it with Hereditary rule, and it too shall remain among you so long as Allah wishes it to remain, then there will be biting oppression and it too shall last so long as Allah wishes it to last, and then it will (again) be replaced with Caliphate according to the ways of the Prophethood and then the Prophet will be salient.” Experts suggest the salience of the Prophet (SAW) implies the end of the world. These are the assurances that help us get over the miseries and disillusionments we face in the face of a world that is replete with anarchy, devilry, decadence and oppression.
Secondly, the world we live in right now has substantially been successful in unleashing every kind of oppression that once would have been considered far-fetched. Be it political, social, economic or military sphere, the Western Civilization headed by the US has been very astute in applying what Pedro Banos, a Spanish author, calls, “Kicking away the Ladder” rule. Having said that, the world is moving towards a civilizational vacuum, which the decline of the West will create. This vacuum will eventually be fulfilled by Islam and Islamic civilization as the dominant world power.
—The writer is a Law student at JMI, New Delhi. [email protected]