Muslim World: Recovering Unity, Challenges Ahead and Role of OIC -By Abdur Rahman Fuad


Muslim history involves the history of the Islamic faith that’s proved as a religion and as a social institution. The history of Islam began in Arabia with the Islamic Prophet Muhammad(sm)’s first recitation of the Quran in the 7th century in the month of Ramadan.

Later on, Islam under the Rashidun Caliphate grew rapidly. Geographic expansion of Muslim power extended well beyond the Arabian Peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Empire with an area of influence that stretched from northwest India, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees.


The narrated timeline can serve as a rough visual guide to the most important polities in the Islamic world that’s prior to the First World War. It covers major historical centers of power and culture, including Arabia, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), Persia (modern Iran), Levant (modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel/Palestine), Egypt, Maghreb (north-west Africa), al-Andalus (Iberia), Transoxania (Central Asia), Hindustan (modern Pakistan and north India), and Anatolia (modern Turkey). It is necessarily an approximation, since rule over some regions was sometimes divided among different centers of power, and authority in larger polities was often distributed among several dynasties.  After that, we saw Islam as the general religion of this states but differences including various detached, sectarian groups and nationality. On the other hand, political stages, situation and area of relations with Islam for the Muslim countries are not going in the same way. For that, you cannot take any revolutionary step and inauguration to do something for the Muslim world as whole. What the thing that cracked down the Muslims unity, values, rule and culture? You see, Muslims are united in conferences, showdowns and seminars, but not in practical activities.

The political ramifications of Islam are important because there are over one billion Muslims spread widely around the world. They are the  majority among the Arabs in Middle East and also in non-Arab countries like Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey and several of the former Soviet republics (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and Indonesia. There are other countries, such as Nigeria and the Philippines, in which Muslims constitute an important political force. Indeed, only about one of every four Muslims is an Arab. To explore politics in the Muslim world, we can examine five factors.

  1. The Political Heritage of Muslims

The attitudes of Muslims toward the non-Muslim world are shaped by three historical elements. The first is during Islam’s early period, Muslim zeal sparked rapid religious and political expansion by peaceful conversion and   conquest.  The second is Conflict with Christian powers. At the urging of Catholic popes, the Christian kings of England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire led the Crusades against the Muslims and re-take their power in hand. The third is Muslim political heritage that’s the last vestige of Muslim power was eclipsed when the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. During the last half century, direct political domination ended with the collapse of colonialism. New countries came into being; others moved from autonomy to full independence. As with most new countries, the Muslim states fiercely guard their sovereignty and take up their growth of oil power, Islamic fundamentalism, pride and militancy also.

  1. Islam and Nationalism

There are elements of the reawakening of Muslim assertiveness that support the unification in the ummah. After centuries of outside political, economic, and cultural domination, the people in the region that stretches from Morocco to Afghanistan have begun to reclaim their heritage in what might be called a “Muslim pride” movement. Also constitutionally some countries provide their as an Islamic state, some are takes Islam as a state religion but not told to followers to do the Islamic Sariah. Some are the secular states where that do differentiate between the Islam and state. Countless country’s positions are not clear; Islam or secularism constituently unclear.


Pan-Muslim and Pan-Arab sentiment, it is unlikely that Muslims will reestablish the ummah in the foreseeable future. Ethno nationalism is one factor that will prevent this. Many Muslim countries have sharp differences and vie with one another for regional influence.  Some Muslims, notably the Kurds who live in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere, want to form their own countries. Further solidifying nationalism, there are major ethnic differences within Islam. Culturally, Indonesians are no more like Syrians than are Canadians.

  1. Islam and the Non-Islamic World

Muslim political history influences current Muslim attitudes toward the domain of unbelief in several ways. One is the frequent evidence of anti-Western feeling. In the eyes of many Muslims, the United States is the most recent dominant Euro-Christian power. Western behavior over centuries that have been unfair to Muslims. Muslims also see the struggle with Israel, especially the issue of Jerusalem, as part of a long, ongoing history. They tend to view Israel as partially a creation of the Western powers in the latest round of the ancient contest for control of Jerusalem and the surrounding region. And also the United States has never protested against Israel’s nuclear weapons capability, and they suspect that racism is the reason. There is a deep feeling that when it comes to the Arabs, it’s always very harsh treatment, and when it comes to the Israelis, it’s easy.

  1. Islamic Sectarianism

Religion is not always a source of Islamic unity. Instead, religious conflict has been sparked by sectarian splits. The most important of these separates the majority Sunnis and the minority. The issues between the two sects involve with doctrinal matters. In the Minority sectarian country, they led their governments himself. Such as- Iran 90-95%, Iraq- 65-70, Azerbaijan- 65-70%, Lebanon- 45-50% and Bahrain- 60% Shiite lives in that’s countries. In the Muslim world, At least, Sunni lives in 45 countries where the Shiite amount less then Sunni.

At the same time, the four schools of thought are only, and considered by each other’s scholars and founders to all be correct. So they will never count as sects. Why the differences then? The different schools of thought were founded customized for different groups of people, based on the traditions, tendencies, culture, evils, and pagan rituals of particular societies. Imam Abu Hanifa’s teachings’ adoption in South Asia such as Pakistan- 85-90%, Bangladesh- 95%, Turkey- 85-90% ,Afghanistan- 85-90% and Uzbekistan, Syria- 80-85% . Imam Malik’s teachings’ adoption in North Africa was a response to a much more different arena, and so on. (The daily Nayadiganta- 09.04.2016)

Ethnic divisions were one source of the trouble, but these intermingle with and are supplemented by the contest for power between Sunni and Shiite factions. The Sunni Taliban government of Afghanistan has also had numerous border clashes with Shiite Iran.

  1. Islamic Traditionalism and Secularism

A second point of division within Islam separates Muslim traditionalists and secularists. Traditionalist (fundamentalist) Muslims want to resurrect many of the cultural traditions, such as western cultural and having women cover their faces, which were weakened under the influence of Western culture. Fundamentalists also want to establish legal systems based on the shari’a rather than on Western legal precepts. The traditionalists also look forward to the reestablishment of the ummah.


Secularists, by comparison, believe that within Islam there can be many Muslim states and that religious and secular law should be kept separate. Politicized Islamic groups proclaim Islam to be a nation when in fact Islam is a religion. Whatever may be theologically correct, the fact is that traditionalist Muslim movements during the 1990s gained strength in Algeria, Iran, Turkey, and several other Muslim countries.

OIC as a leading part of the Muslim world: Why cannot over take their challenges and prospects?

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an international organization founded in 1969 to serve as the collective voice of Muslims around the world, meets 1st in Morcco and latest 13th in Istanbul (April)  2016. The last event takes place at a difficult time for the ummah when millions of Muslim lives remain at risk in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Palestine and Central African Republic. Others are denied opportunities by failed states, weak governments and social grievances. At a time when the Islamic world faces the most serious challenges in a lifetime, Muslim leaders must show unity and solidarity to promote justice and peace.

1st Phase of 21st Century: Challenges and Prospects

Terrorism is a global problem that we cannot eliminate without global cooperation. For this purpose, the OIC must take the lead to highlight the threat of secular extremism while working with member states to address the root causes of terrorism.

Today every leader enforce on terrorism that is the number-one challenge that the Muslim world faces. Terrorists not only claim innocent lives, but also inflict irreparable damage to Islamic civilization by distorting the past and hijacking the future. Meanwhile, acts of terrorism perpetrated by DAESH and al-Qaida, among others, fuel discrimination, xenophobia and Islam phobia in the West and leave Muslims more vulnerable to verbal and physical abuse.

The second is sectarianism that has been another pressing problem. By fueling tensions between Shiites and Sunnis to score political points, certain groups have been playing into the hands of terrorists who exploit the anger of a disenfranchised youth and hopeless adults to further escalate tensions in the Islamic world. It is important to keep in mind at all times that Muslim leaders have the power to make a difference in their communities and countries. We must take a stand against oppression and express our solidarity with the oppressed.

Sectarianism is an issue that requires urgent attention. We have to work hard to alleviate sectarian tensions in the Muslim world and create opportunities for Shiites and Sunnis to develop solutions to pressing problems together. We must first embrace our fellow Muslims in order for Muslims to have a bigger impact on the world.


Active and effective role of the institution in the resolution of long outstanding issues of Palestine, Kashmir and Syria is yet to be seen, though there has been resonance about these critical disputes during Islamic summits but nothing more than passing of resolutions has been achieved. On the other hand, they take place few steps for member’s countries on increasing soldier for a strong ally not depends on others and increasing the rate of education to point out the western world.

Facts and Contradiction Subjected for the Muslim World

No New Strategies in the Muslim World

The colonial era naturally saw the birth of numerous resistance movements who opposed the illegitimate foreign presence: some proclaimed exclusively nationalist ideals; others added or preferred a link with internationalism, socialism or communism while others were driven by Islam. The daily and tangible character of the domination meant the terms and objectives of any resistance became explicit: in one-way or another, in Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt or in Syria, political freedom was sought.

During the last 50 years the situation has changed considerably and it must be admitted that the opposition movements as much as the general population have barely updated their analysis or renewed their strategy for the struggle against dictatorships and economic decline.

Refrain From Uniting Efforts

In the recent times it failed again during Afghanistan, Iraq and Libyan invasion as it played little role in the peaceful settlement of the conflicts. The US offensive against the Syria is deferred by active involvement of Russia rather than any Islamic country or organization. OIC failed to live up to the expectations of the Muslim world in these times of suffering and this obliterated OIC from hearts and minds of the Muslims. It is pity that the transnational organization that is second largest in the world is less effective than many smaller regional organizations.

 Indifferent to Palestinian Issue

The leaders of the Arab world, for the most part autocratic, divided to the point of sheer madness, loving of their own power alone, valets for the financial manna of the industrialized countries, pawns in their game, deaf to the cries of their own peoples and  deep down, indifferent and opportunistic toward the Palestinian cause, is pathetic.

The people themselves have fallen into this trap that is the overbearing influence of the Palestinian question: for every serious crisis, the day after new massacres, a wave of emotion mobilizes them for a time and permits them to express their frustrations but one sees absolutely no structured thought about change.

Rejection and Attraction to the West

What is troubling is that this theoretical rejection is itself contradicted in practice on a daily basis by attraction to the Western way of life. This contradiction is said to be illustrative of the nature of the crisis of conscience that faces the contemporary Muslim world; incapable of defining itself other than in the negative image of a caricaturized west, one ends up feeling that they have betrayed themselves every time they find themselves living the values of the other. These are explicit symptoms of a profound alienation.


We can better understand the difficulties that the Muslim world faces today when we try to explain ourselves and communicate better. To tell one’s values, one’s demands, one’s hopes, has become a challenge. Either we insist on the essence of our common values and we give the impression to most people of betraying ourselves, or we insist on difference and we reinforce the sense of differentiation and of inevitable conflicts.

Self-Criticism is Generally seen as Treachery

The law schools, streams of thought, Imam and intellectuals have practically ceased debating and we hardly progress beyond a discussion about the Islamic legitimacy of ideas. An often nervous, blighted intellectual discussion ends up forbidding itself the right to self-criticize because to do so would be seen as treachery. The logic stays the same: to recognize the validity of the other’s criticism is to be or to become unfaithful to one. Muslims will not find the energy to renew and reform if they cannot seek to escape from this harmful logic.

At last we can say that, the first and foremost objective of OIC should be the revival of unity of Ummah. It is the need of the hour and in today’s global village survival without alliances is not possible. And the bond between the Muslims is natural. Keeping in view the state of Muslims, unity among Muslim world may seem a utopian notion but it is in fact possible. To solve our problems why we are knocking another door? The European Union (EU), an economic and political union of 28 member states of Europe, is one such example. Europe fought two world wars on the basis of national pride but in the 2nd half of the twentieth century established European Union in 1993 which is one of the most vibrant organizations after UN. The OIC should convince the member states to unite for one common goal that is Islamic renaissance. The EU model can be implemented in line with OIC charter. Again I want to say that, Under Turkey’s term holding the presidency, the OIC will promote and should cooperation among Muslim nations to address pressing problems.

Abdur Rahman Fuad is student of Master’s at the Necmettin Erbakan University, Konya, Turkey.