The Challenges of Globalisation to the Islamic Civilisation
Muhammad Adil Iqbal
Globalization manifests an era of turmoil that supports the superiority of economics and financial markets over other human activities. International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, industrialized Western countries, various multinational corporations, influential global business elite and now China as well are appearing to be leading and managing contemporary globalization which fundamentally is supposed to offer equal opportunities to every country. Globalization also appears to be a function of US hegemony. No one including Muslims is free from globalization’s positive or negative impacts directly or indirectly. Globalization is an increased interconnectedness and massive interaction in various spheres of life at global level in world system among world civilizations including Islamic Civilization.This appears to be a natural outcome especially after the advent of advanced information and telecommunication technologies in modern age of Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Technological advancement brought by Fourth Industrial Revolution is a testimony of human achievement and progress for individuals across the world at large. Advancements in artificial intelligence, mobile internet, internet of things, cloud computing, next-generation wireless networking technologies, virtual reality, augmented reality, block chain, edge computing, machine learning, robotic process automation, 3D Printing and many more holds a great promise of creating potential opportunities and access to knowledge. Emergence and advancement of these technologies is brought by Fourth Industrial Revolution resulting from fusion of physical, digital and biological spheres. These technological innovations may revolutionize production processes and enhance living standards, particularly in Muslim developing countries. However, as per opinions of various scholars, writers and world leaders, this globalization of Fourth Industrial Revolution appears destined to bring many challenges, transformations and instabilities for societies and governments all over the world including Muslim governments and societies in its cultural, religious and political aspects of life. Other than globalization, Fourth Industrial Revolution also represents a major problematic issue for future of Muslim societies and governments.
Today, Islamic civilization is going through enormous challenges facing its way of life mainly resulting from contemporary hyper globalisation and political, economic, educational, cultural and religious transformations it is causing in various parts of the Muslim World. Fatmir Shehu calls this ‘a polite invasion of the Muslim world by the Western imperialism in the twenty first century’. The challenges and impact of contemporary globalisation on Islamic civilization remains a discussion topic in intellectual and academic communities of the world in general and Muslim world in particular. This remains obvious as with about 24% of the world’s population affirming Islam as their religion, it is certainly a matter of great academic curiosity.
Contemporary neo-liberal predatory capitalist globalization is striking at the roots, foundation and heritage of Islamic civilization. Contemporary globalization led mostly by the West, particularly US, is causing a change in Muslim education system promoting Western way of thinking and creating dilemmas or confusions for Muslims in their political, cultural and religious way of life. Gradual emergence of awareness and consciousness through modern means of communication and media among Muslim countries about long existing cultural diversity within Islamic civilization is giving rise to a discussion involving ‘hybridity’ and ‘authenticity’ with its theological, sociological or cultural implications for the Muslim societies.
Globalization with rise of communication, information and cyber technologies is shaping the way Muslims think with respect to realities of life and their attitudes towards law, state, politics, business, religion, justice, knowledge, mutual interaction and attitudes towards minorities as well.
In the prevailing situation, it is of crucial importance to understand challenges globalisation poses to Islamic civilization. Understanding, adaptation and widespread application of Wasatiyyah (middle path of Islam) in Muslim attitudes can also play a vital role in preparing Muslim Ummah to handle challenges arising from contemporary globalization. In the prevailing situation, Muslim Ummah must follow the righteous path which is the path of the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The study on the challenges of globalization to the Islamic civilization will help in understanding and evaluating the prevailing situation. It will also be helpful in understanding the challenges and their consequences, so, an idea, about the solution which is best for effectively addressing these challenges, may be formed. It will also be helpful in understanding ways to preserve and strengthen the Islamic heritage in the face of globalization.
The situation calls for well planned preparation without comprising on basic tenants of Islam. Their remains a need for academic and intellectual emphasis on this issue in order to enlighten Muslim masses for better understanding of emerging technological change and Fourth Industrial Revolution in a way for preparing them for a careful adaptation and participation in globalization and Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is particularly crucial in contemporary period of tension between Islam and the West due to numerous reasons. This research will address the gap in the literature to fill it by focusing on the impact of globalization and Fourth Industrial Revolution on Islamic civilization. The study will be helpful for other and future researchers who will be interested in doing advanced work on same topic.