Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History

Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History

Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History

Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History


The economic, social, political, military, and intellectual aspects of the Muslims' concern for history reveal the general structure of their perception of reality.


The contemporary Arab Muslim's concern for the study of history is a part of his total search for dignity, identity, and purpose. The impact of the power of the West has challenged to the core his concept of who he is and where his destiny lies. It has questioned his perception of the world and the totality of life; his faith in the adequacy of his norms and ideals has been eroded.

The importance of developing a concept of history as a means of preserving Islam appears to be a nineteenth and twentieth-century phenomenon. Utilized in the last century as a rallying cry against the erosion of confidence in Islam as a viable way of life in the modern world, the concept of history has served as a basis for political unity for nationalists and supranationalists alike, as a focus of pride in the heritage of the elders and as a common memory of a great achievement that endows the individual with pride and dignity.

The Muslim Empire was built on the promise of support from God for the community's efforts in establishing Islam throughout the world. (God has promised those of you who believe and do works of righteousness that He will make you His viceregents on earth as He made others before you. And He will surely establish for them their religion which He has favored for them, and He will exchange for them their fear for security. They worship Me; they do not worship others beside Me.)

Ever since the Muslim community first responded with obedience and commitment to the message of the Qurān as revealed to Muhammad, it has functioned within the scope of the divine promise that those who believe and are faithful will be rewarded with victory and assurance of divine approval. The experience of the community in its formative period fulfilled that promise since Islam was able to establish its hegemony over large areas of the world, not only supplanting the former rulers of the areas but also establishing the religion of . . .

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