Siavosh Naderi Farsani
The International Academic Center For Islamic Discourse(IACID), Sweden
The Asian Symposium on the Humanities and Arts for Peace, Hiroshima, Japan, 2015

There are three important questions about some religious and ethical implications of globalization: What are some religious and ethical challenges in the process of globalization, what are some capacities and strengths of religion that can promote the peaceful process of globalization, and finally, what are the possibilities to promote peace oriented beliefs and values of religions globally. To be more specific, this paper concentrates on Islam and it’s interplay with some important elements of globalization such as the values transmitted and spread globally, the globalization of power and also the globalization of wealth.

It is also important to divide Islam in three parts: the Islamic scholars and reference groups, the Islamic governments, and finally, the Islamic nations. The globalization of power, wealth and some related values will challenge some elements of governments in the Islamic countries and it also may threaten the dominant value system of Islamic societies. Moreover, reshaping the hierarchy of power and changing the position of authorities in the society, can be considered as some challenging forces of globalization that may lead to some ethnic and religious conflicts at the local and global level.

This paper use a meta analysis of related conducted researches and works as it’s methodology to approach the main posed questions. Finally, based on the related discussions, a list of suggestions and recommendations regarding promotion of peace and conflict avoidance within the process of globalization, will be presented.

Key words: Globalization, Peace, Islam, Religion, Power, Values, conflicts, worldview, culture

Introduction

Globalization is considered as the process of integration arising from the interchange of ideas, products, worldviews and other elements of culture(Martin and Elizabeth king,1990). However, the main questions posed by three main Islamic discourses are that how some different elements of cultures and worldviews can be integrated, does the integration process of values and beliefs within a global context is possible and does such an integration take place peacefully or is it pregnant with conflicts and tensions, what is the dominant worldview(s) that generate some main components of globalization such as power and wealth, what are threats and opportunities of globalization regarding the ideal global culture of peace, how is it possible to experience any peaceful coexistence of different worldviews within the global context? The answers to such questions from the view points of Islamic scholars fall into the three categories; the conservative and traditional critiques, the liberal reformists and the realist revivals.

The Islamic traditionalists advocate that Islam as one of the main dominant worldviews in the world should preserve it’s unique presuppositions, beliefs and values practiced by Muslims for last centuries. They find the process of globalization as a real threat and require Islamic nations, governments, and scholars to avoid the products of globalization. Some of the social, political and military conflicts within the borders of the Islamic nations are considered as the result of such an assumed contrast between globalization and Islam.

The liberal reformists, however, find the process of globalization as an opportunity and embrace the values transmitted by such a global process. The liberal reformists are usually identified with macro values such as humanism, democracy, secularism, citizenship and human rights. Such a perspective toward globalization and modernity result in some internal conflicts between radical traditionalists on the one hand and the extreme reformists on the other hand. The complicated process of globalization, sometimes, leads to secular but not democratic states in the region as far as the economic values and interests are concerned. Such a support of authoritarian regimes and dictators lead to further conflicts.

The third views toward globalization fall into a category that I call it the realist revivals. The proponents of such a perspective accept the process of globalization as an inevitable reality. However, they believe the products and values of such a reality should be first modified and then integrated in the Islamic value system so that adopts the ideal components and elements of the Islamic worldview and culture. The ideological mechanism employed to do the necessary modifications, receives the values of modernity through the process of globalization as it’s inputs first, and then modify them based on the Islamic value system. For instance, The concept of “democracy” is changed to “theocracy” in the political system. Such a view within the Islamic context has the most peaceful capacity for coexistence, exchange and integration of values concerning diverse cultures.

The Scope of Islam and globalization

A)Liberal Reformists

The liberal reformists state that the scope of Islam is limited to the individual life including worship of God, spirituality and private religious practices. They believe that the collective life of Muslims including political and economic systems can not be established based on the “Shariah” and Islamic jurisprudence as such a jurisprudence frustrates to meet the real needs of people in the modern societies such as democracy, justice, freedom and progress. They advocate also that the religious political system neglects systematically the minority’s rights. Such a stand’s point of liberal reformists requires humanism epistemologicaly and secularism politically that are, of course, totally rejected by traditional and revival views in the Islamic discourse(Motahari,2005).

As far as the political systems of Islamic nations during the last century are concerned, one can see some secular political systems in the Islamic lands. However, not only did such systems neglect democracy, but they did lead to violence of human rights at a large scale, deepen the regional and international conflicts, threaten the peace and escalate environmental pollution in the last decades.i

One can reason the frustration of such a secular political systems regarding the ideal global values is due to the negative effects of globalization. On the one hand, the process of globalization transmits enough information and knowledge regarding the modernity’s values to the Islamic nations through telecommunication and academic structures and mechanisms, but on the other hand, it manipulates systematically the choices of Muslims based on a specific ideology that guarantee the economic interests of superpowers but not necessarily the human rights, freedom, democratic values, peace and environment in the Islamic countries.

B) The Traditionalists

The traditional views toward the scope of Islam stand in contrast to that of the reformists. Rejecting and criticizing concepts such as modernity, humanism, democracy, pluralism and human rights, the traditionalists advocate that Islam is comprehensive enough to meet all the needs of Muslims employing the Islamic worldview. Based on such views, Islamic jurisprudence, principles and teachings can be manifested in the individual and collective life of people(Abolghasemi,2006).

The traditional jurisprudence ‘s methodology relies on the transcript of the holy book as well as the tradition of Prophet as it’s epistemological sources. The traditional scholars apply such a methodology to introduce norms, values, customs, practices and codes of behavior for Muslims. Moreover, the needed systems for collective life such as economic, judicial and political systems, are expected to be developed based on the same methodology.

In this respect, any new ideas, belief, values and behavior that can not be traced and identified with the holy transcript and the narrated tradition of prophet is considered as an open deviation from the original Islam and must be prohibited and punished based on such a discourse. Though some of the ongoing conflicts and violence s in the Islamic lands are potentially and theoretically motivated by such a traditional version of Islamic jurisprudence, its the process of globalization that transfers such cognitive and ideological beliefs to some concrete conflicts and objective violence.

The contrast of economic and political interests during the cold war led some of the liberal powers to support and mobilize the traditional views and forces in the Islamic nations as a situational solution to stop communism. In the other words, the internal conflicts of modern political ideologies transferred to Islamic nations through reinforcing the radical beliefs and forces.

C) The Revival Realists

The revival realists believe that Islam as a religious worldview includes a system of knowledge that is comprehensiveii enough to meet all the reasonable requirements for the collective life of Muslims. Criticizing both traditional and liberal views as two extreme orientations within the Islamic nations, the revival realists state that the Islamic societies require a more dynamic epistemology and ontology to meet the essential needs of modern societies.

Besides the holy transcript of Qur’an and tradition of prophet and the infallible(Imams), reason and consensus of the jurists and experts are considered as the sources of knowledge and jurisprudence. Rationality, expediency and flexibility characterizes such an Islamic discourse. Furthermore, revival realists believe that Islam is compatible with democracy. Yet, they reject secularism and advocate the political Islam.

As far as the process of globalization is concerned, the Islamic revival discourse compared with the liberal one is not in a passive and optimistic position toward the non Islamic products so that embrace any cognitive and concrete products of other worldviews and cultures and nor is it too pessimistic compared with that of traditional discourse to reject all the outputs of other worldviews. The favorite epistemological mechanism of such a discourse classifies the outputs of the other worldviews in three groups; some of them are totally rejected, some of them are modified and some of them are rejectediii.

Sources of conflicts

As far as the Islamic governments, Muslims, and Islamic scholars within the above three Islamic discourses are concerned and regarding the interplay of Islam and modernity through the process of globalization, one can categorize the external and internal sources of conflicts into three major groups; epistemological, socio political and cultural conflicts. The contrast between worldviews introduces the epistemological conflicts, the incompatibility of global economy and forces of open market with that of Islamic interests lead to socio political conflicts and finally the clash between tradition and modernity is considered as the cultural source of conflicts.

Clash or dialogue of worldviews?

worldview as the framework of one’s basic beliefs about things and their relationships, is located at the deepest layer of any culture(Naderi,2010). Such a layer provides any related culture with macro theoretical foundations, frameworks and presuppositions under each of which one can decode the sources of conflicts between Islamic socio political discourses and traditions on the one hand and the dominant paradigms and some other global products of modernity as follow:

Epistemology

It is regarded as some beliefs about the nature of truth and sources of knowledge. The process of globalization as a consequence of modernity has introduced three main theories of truth to the world including Muslims; coherence, correspondence and pragmatic ones(Motahari and Tabatabaei,1994). Though some of the Islamic revival scholars took one step to examine and adopt a modified version of correspondence theory and traditionalists rejected such three theories, reformists got influenced by different philosophical schools of thought as Heidegger ism or Pauperism.

However, the educational systems introduced by the governments provided ordinary people with some schools and universities in which the educational plans and curriculum were totally designed, administered and assessed within the realist, empirical epistemology that is regarded as the epistemological basis of materialism. Stopping children attending schools and even in some cases attacking to schoolsiv besides reinforcement of traditional systems of education, the traditionalists reveal their strategy to oppose educational aspects of modernity and globalization, while the revival Islamist started the Islamization of humanities as their main strategy toward epistemological aspects of modernity and globalization.

Ontology, Theology and Cosmology

Ontology as some beliefs about the ultimate nature of reality, theology as some beliefs about the existence and nature of God, and cosmology as beliefs about the origins and nature of universe, life and Man are three important pillars of any worldview including Muslim’s. Modernity through the process of globalization spread the scientific and empirical achievements such as big bang theory and other related views that are basically in contrast to that of Islamic cosmology.

Moreover, the Islamic theological foundations consider any deviation of monotheism(Tawhid), sacred realities(Ghodsi), revelation(Vahy), prophet hood(Nabuvah) as unbelief, blasphemy, heresy and apostasy(Kufr va Ertedad). Nevertheless, pluralism, human rights, citizenship’s rights as the products of modernity violate systematically such theological principles of Islam. The global reaction of Muslims to the offensive images of prophet published in Europe, is considered as an instance of such an ongoing theological conflict enhanced by the process of globalization.

Axiology, teleology &Anthropology

Axiology as some beliefs about the nature of value, what is good and bad, what is beautiful and ugly, what is pleasure and pain and anthropology as some beliefs about the position and nature of man in the universe and teleology as some beliefs about the meaning and purpose of the universe, its inanimate elements, and its inhabitants are other three pillars of Muslims that contrast to that of modernity’s elements transferred through the process of globalization.

Relativism as the main paradigm of modernity’s axiology contrasts to absolutism that is regarded as the favorite axiological principle of Muslims. Such an axiological difference leads to criticism, rejection and opposition of traditional views (and even in some cases the revival scholars) toward the western life style, art, music, recreation and dominant related value system. Negative attitudes and limitation strategies and policies taken regarding ICT, IT, satellite and mass media in the Islamic countries is considered as a systematic reaction to such a contrast and conflict.

Beliefs in evolutionism, competition and cooperation as defined in liberalism and socialism and also beliefs in humanism based on that Man is the focus of attention and center of world and their related socio political implications such the hierarchy and distribution of power are some anthropological principles that bring about contrast and conflict regarding Islamic worldview in which God is the focus of attention.

The process of globalization contributed in the global distribution of scientific and philosophical beliefs about the ultimate of Man, society, history and universe that are not compatibal with that of Islamic ones. Nihilism, natural determinism,dominance of capitalism,negation of hereefter life(Yaumol ghiyamah) and individualism as some teleological components of modernity produce an ongoing conflict between tradition and Modernity.

Conclusion

To study the roots of conflict in the Islamic world with a focus on the role of globalization , one should decode the main dominant Islamic discourses at worldview level, and then find their relation with the socio political conflicts at the surface structures of the related contexts. Liberal reformists, traditional conservatives and revival realists represent the three main discourses in the Islamic countries wile the former presents the scope of Islam as limited as the individual life, but the two later, though differently, expands the scope of Islam to the collective life of Muslims.

The sources of conflicts between Islam and modernity are epistemological, socio political and cultural ones. The process of globalization introduces materialism, relativism, humanism, secularism, pluralism, individualism and liberalism as some products of modernity, yet they are in contrast to the main principles of Islam as it is to be practiced in the collective life of people.

The weak economy of secular states, the differences between the poor and the rich, corrupted politicians and their dependence regarding the cold war, the result of 6 days war with Israel, support of authoritarian regimes by west, regime changes and the roles of international oil companies, cold war and support of fanatic and extremists in the world of Islam as the outputs of modernity in the world of Islam are some reasons for socio political tensions and conflicts with modernity in general and within the Islamic borders and between Muslims and their political systems on the other hand.

It seems the path to reinforce the culture of peace in the Islamic lands and within the global context passes through reinforcing the realist revival views not traditional discourse or the liberal reformists presenting secular governments or religious radicalism that are themselves as a part of the problem.

References

  1. Abolghasemi, Mohammad Javad,(2005), Toward Religious Culture, Chapter 1, Arsh Pajouh Institute for Culture and Art, Tehran
  1. Albrow, Martin & Elizabeth King(eds), (1990), Globalization, Knowledge and Society, London

  2. Misbah Yazdi, Mohammad Taghi,(2003), Velayte Faqih and Islamic State, chapter 5, Imam Khomeni Education and Research Institute, Ghom
  3. Motahari, Morteza, Tabatabaei Mohammad Hussein,(1995), Volume1, P 135, Principle of Philosophy and Methodology for Realism, Sadra Publication, Tehran
  4. Motahari, Morteza,(2005), Islam and Time, Chapter 1, Sadra Publication, Tehran
  5. Naderi Farsani, Siavosh(2011), Philosophy of Culture, Chapter 3, IICT, Tehran
  6. World Report(2013),p 515, Human Rights Watch, USA

Ende Notes

i

One can refer to some documents such as world report.

iiO you who have believed, enter into Islam completely(and perfectly) and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy(Translation of surah Al_Baqarah, 2:208)

iii The theory of Velayate Faqih developed by Imam Khomeini,velayate Faqih and Islamic State by Mesbahe Yazdi

ivOne can refer to so many cases in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other lands