Sunnis make up the backbone of the Muslim world both in terms of quality and quantity.
Sunnis made Islamic history for the most part: It was the Sunnis who fought the Crusaders and Mongolians. While Sunnis were fighting for survival against the Crusaders and Mongolians during the first civilization crisis, the Shiite, who were sovereign over Damascus and Cairo, caused great distress for the caliphate in Baghdad, as well as the Seljuks!
First civilization crisis, civilization ideology journey launched by Ghazali
The Muslim world faced a great local and foreign attacks during the first civilization crisis. From abroad, the Crusader and Mongolian herds turned the center of the Islamic world into hell, from Kashgar to Bukhara, from Samarkand to Baghdad. They destroyed the founding cities and fortresses of Islamic civilization!
Bukhara was razed to the ground numerous times!
Tashkent, Herat, Hive, Nishabur had to recover over and over again!
These cities that were wiped out with bulldozers were built from scratch by Mongol conqueror Timur and his son Shahrukh and grandson Ulugbegh.
Timur was one of the four great rulers who reigned over the world.
He took one of the biggest initiatives that helped the Muslim world recover; he and his sons rebuilt all the Islamic cities that were razed to the ground.
The intellectual operation that started prior to the Timurids, which also boosted the confidence of Timur and his children, laid the strong foundations of the great resistance and resurrection: This was the journey towards building first the fundamentals of faith, then all sciences and politics, through the Sunni intellectual backbone that would enable a great ideological breakthrough, with Ghazali having a founding historic role in this journey.
This journey of building a civilization ideology which Ghazali had started in order to form the Sunni intellectual backbone not only challenged the Shiite thought – which possessed strong intellect and performance – and the world in the following centuries, but also managed to lay the foundations that would allow the Sunni foundation to spread through all fields and penetrate the capillaries of life.
This journey of civilization ideology that started with Ghazali was carried to brand-new fields and horizons with the breakthroughs by Radhi in philosophy; by Imam Rabbani, the “renewer” (mujaddid) of the second millennium, in Sufism; and Ibn Haldun, who follows the Ghazali mother lode, in history, philosophy of history, politics, and civilization history. This strong Sunni fundamentals of faith, in-depth intellectual background, and comprehensive political breakthroughs that were thus developed, enabled the Muslim world to repel all local and foreign attacks, leading up to the establishment and preservation of the next millennium. In brief, we overcame the attacks during the first great civilization crisis by the Crusaders and Mongolians from abroad and Shiite from within, by accomplishing a spectacular in-depth, deep-seated, comprehensive Sunni intellectual breakthrough.
Second civilization crisis: deviation in fundamentals of faith, ideology, politics
We have been struggling with similar problems during the second great civilization crisis for the last two centuries: the shattering of the foundations of faith, intellectual collapse, political division and deviation. In other words, the colonization of the Muslim world by imperialists, their seizure of the Islamic world’s resources and the destruction of their culture on the one hand; and the lack of thinkers in the Muslim world capable of a breakthrough against the attacks on the Sunni fundamentals of faith and ideology, in efforts similar to those by Ghazali and those who succeeded him, displaying complete misery on the other!
Let it be known that if we are able to realize a Ghazali-like intellectual breakthrough primarily in the fundamentals of faith, ideology and politics, we can overcome this second great civilization crisis afflicting the Muslim world.
We must strive to be aware, determine what needs to be achieved, and become what we need to be. This is a journey towards an ideological civilization: It is standing witness to the truth, to all ages and calls, and the age and call in which we live.
We need to build a Muslim community based on the fact that we cannot form our own world on the concepts of others, freeing ourselves from the webs and shackles of the age to set off on a journey that will help us reach the concepts enabling us to build the call of the age.
However, the situation we face is dreadful: The concept that valuable ideas in the world are produced in the West only, and the representation of Islamic ideology – including artistic ideology background and experience – by the Shiites.
There is no such thing as Sunni ideology: Sunni ideology is diminishing! Sunnis either sway towards the Salafi line or promote the Western routes of secular academy!
We need a long-term, radical ideological breakthrough that will reveal efforts and a challenge similar to the Sunni intellectual breakthrough by Ghazali in the fundamentals of faith, Islamic scholastic theology (kalam), methods of Islamic law (fiqh), and political thought.
As a result of the deliberate strategic steps taken by Western orientalists and colonialists, Islamic ideology and art theory have been represented and produced by the Shiites in the last two centuries.
Sunnis are either shouting slogans or, like in the entire Arab world, destroying the historical intellectual experience and rendering it unrecognizable in attempts that reinterpret and rebuild the Islamic heritage based on Western postmodern mindscapes: What Arkoun, Laroui, Jabiri, Hanafi Abu Zayd did was not “modern Islamic thought” as always has been said. On the contrary, it is secular Arab ideology and destroying the Islamic ideological background and experience based on modernist and postmodernist models!
The Sunni world is struggling in the middle of a destruction catastrophe, both theoretically/intellectually and practically/politically.
But we have not yet lost hope. If we set off on a radical civilization ideology journey that will bring to light the Ghazalis, we may start sowing the seeds of leading generations that will pave the way for the country, the region, and humanity. God willing, we are going to achieve this.
This article contains a history of philosophical interpretation that should be taken seriously, not a sectarian one!