Islam at War and Communism in Retreat What Is the Connection?
Ali A. Mazrui
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, the three most momentous events in the Muslim world were the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the crusade in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion of 1979, and the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis. Each of these had major global and historic repercussions.
In 1973, when the monarchy was overthrown in Afghanistan and was succeeded by a leftist regime, few people realized the global consequences. The stage was set for two decisive processes in world history that went far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. One was the disroyalization of Islam, of which the fall of the Afghan monarchy was only a minor illustration; the other was the de-Leninization of Marxism that soon engulfed much of Eastern Europe and profoundly affected the Soviet Union. Afghanistan played a surprisingly important role globally in the events that led to this latter process.
The distinction between royalist Islam (based on hereditary leadership) and republican Islam (based on leadership chosen by an electoral college) dates back to the earliest days of the religion. Royalist Islam was consolidated with the advent of the Umayyad Dynasty ( A.D. 661-750) headquartered in Damascus. It was later succeeded by the Abbasid Dynasty ( A.D. 750-1258) based in Baghdad.
In doctrine, there was a quasi-hereditary factor in Shi'ite Islam. According to a well-known tradition, the Prophet Muhammad said on his deathbed, "I am leaving with you [the Muslim community]