The Extinction of Race Consciousness is One of the Most Outstanding Moral Achievements of Islam- There is a Crying Need for the Propagation of this Islamic Virtue: Toynbee

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: In the wake Boston bombing recently it is important to read and reflect on what some of the greatest contemporary minds of the Western world have seen and predicted of Islam. Without the prejudice of racial profiling and gut reactions of hate towards all muslims and Islam, it is clear that all reasoned people must see through the charade being put up by the extremists (nothing to do with real Islam or any religion for that matter) and the militant atheist who uses the activities of the extremist as a fodder for spewing hate and to propagate his or her Islamophobic agenda.  Toynbee rises above this common hate filled agenda and uses his brilliant analysis of rise and fall of civilizations to project a positive and optimistic coming together of western and Muslim intellectual thoughts. There is no “end of civilization” here , as direly predicted by Huntington, but the beginning of a new one, where Islam is to play a major role in bringing to the fore its great beauties of Equality, loyalty, faithfulness and Justice. This is where all humanity can be and will be again one within the benevolent presence of that One Loving God, our creator.  We all must pray for  healing to happen and that day to be hastened.

ISLAM, THE WEST, AND THE FUTURE: By Arnold J Toynbee:  (This is a chapter of a book by Arnold J Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, published by Oxford University Press 1948. Toynbee’s chapter is reproduced in its entirety
below. The introduction to the author, the headings and accentuation of some text into bold letters has been added by Alislam-eGazette editor.)
The essence of Toynbee meta-history is that civilizations thrive and survive on the basis of their ideas. As Muslims polish their ideas and their pens and realize that they do not have a sword suitable to this day and age, they will inherit the future, and unite mankind in a universal brotherhood.
Alislam-eGazette editor

Encyclopedia Britannica online has the following to say about Toynbee: “Arnold J Toynbee was an English historian whose 12-volume A Study of History 1934–61) put forward a philosophy of history based on an analysis of the cyclical development and decline of civilizations that provoked much discussion.
Toynbee was a nephew of the 19th-century economist Arnold Toynbee. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford (classics, 1911), and studied briefly at the British School at Athens, an experience that influenced the genesis of his  philosophy about the decline of civilizations.


Excerpts from the Article:

In these recently and rapidly ‘opened up’ tropical territories, the Western civilization has produced an economic and political plenum and, in the same breath, a social and spiritual void. The frail customary institutions of the primitive societies which were formerly at home ill. the land have been shattered to pieces by the impact of the ponderous Western machine, and millions of ‘native’ men, women, and children, suddenly deprived of their traditional social environment, have been left spiritually naked and abashed. The more liberalminded and intelligent of the Western administrators have lately realized the vast extent of the psychological destruction which the process of Western penetration has unintentionally but inevitably caused; and they are now making sympathetic efforts to save what can still be saved from the wreck of the ‘native’ social 17
heritage, and even to reconstruct artificially, on firmer foundations, certain valuable ‘native’ institutions which have been already overthrown. Yet the spiritual void in the ‘native’s’ soul has been, and still remains, a great abyss; the proposition that ‘Nature abhors a vacuum’ is as true in the spiritual world as in the material; and the Western civilization, which has failed to fill this spiritual vacuum itself, has placed at the disposal of any other spiritual forces which may choose to take the field an incomparable system of material means of communication.
In two of these tropical regions, Central Africa and Indonesia, Islam is the spiritual force which has taken advantage of the opportunity thus thrown open by the Western pioneers of material civilization to all comers on the spiritual plane; and, if ever the ‘natives’ of these regions succeed in recapturing a spiritual state in which they are able to call their souls their own, it may prove to have been the Islamic spirit that has given fresh form to the void. This spirit may be expected to manifest itself in many practical ways; and one of these. manifestations might be a liberation from alcohol which was inspired by religious conviction and which was therefore able to accomplish what could never be enforced by the external sanction of an alien law.
Here, then, in the foreground of the future, we can remark two valuable influences which Islam may exert upon the cosmopolitan proletariat of a Western society that has cast its net round the world and embraced the whole of mankind; while in the more distant future we may speculate on the possible contributions of Islam to some new manifestation of religion.
These several possibilities, however, are all alike contingent upon a happy outcome of the situation in which mankind finds itself to-day. They presuppose that the discordant pammixia set up by the Western conquest of the world will gradually and peacefully shape itself into a harmonious synthesis out of which, centuries hence, new creative variations might again gradually and peacefully arise. This presupposition, however, is merely an unverifiable assumption which mayor may not be justified by the event. A pammixia may end in a synthesis, but it may equally well end in an explosion; and, in that disaster, Islam might have quite a different part to playas the active ingredient in some violent reaction of the cosmopolitan underworld against its Western masters.
At the moment, it is true, this destructive possibility does not appear to be imminent; for the impressive word ‘Pan-Islamism’-which has been the bugbear of Western colonial administrators since it was first given currency by the policy of Sultan ‘Abd-al-Hamid-has lately been losing such hold as it may ever have obtained over the minds of Muslims. The inherent difficulties of conducting a ‘Pan-Islamic’ movement are, indeed, plain to see. ‘PanIslamism’ is simply a manifestation of that instinct which prompts a herd of buffalo, grazing scattered over the plain, to form a phalanx, heads down and horns outward, as soon as an
enemy appears within range. In other words, it is an example of that reversion to 18 traditional tactics in face of a superior and unfamiliar opponent, to which the name of ‘Zealotism’ has been given in this paper. Psychologically, therefore,
‘Pan-Islamism’ should appeal par excellence to Islamic ‘Zealots’ in the Wahhabi or Sanusi vein; but this psychological predisposition is balked by a technical difficulty; for in a society that is dispersed abroad, as Islam is, from Morocco to the
Philippines and from the Volga to the Zambesi, the tactics of solidarity are as difficult to execute as they are easy to imagine.
The herd-instinct emerges spontaneously; but it can hardly be translated into effective action without taking advantage of the elaborate system of mechanical communications which modem Western ingenuity has conjured up: steamships,
railways, telegraphs, telephones, aeroplanes, motor-cars, newspapers, and the rest. Now the use of these instruments is beyond the compass of the Islamic ‘Zealot’s’ ability; and the Islamic ‘Herodian,’ who has succeeded in making himself more or less master of them, ex hypothesi desires to employ them, not in captaining a ‘Holy War’ against the West, but in reorganizing his own life on a Western pattern. One of the most remarkable signs of the times in the contemporary Islamic world is the emphasis with which the Turkish Republic has repudiated the tradition of Islamic solidarity. ‘We are determined to work out our own salvation,’ the Turks seem to say, ‘and this salvation, as we see it, lies in learning how to stand on our own feet in the posture of an economically selfsufficient and politically independent sovereign state on the Western model. It is for other Muslims to work out their salvation for themselves as may seem good to them. We neither ask their help any longer nor offer them ours. Every people for itself, and the Devil take the hindermost, alIa franca!’Now though, since 1922, the Turks have done almost everything conceivable to flout Islamic sentiment, they have gained rather than lost prestige among other
Muslims -even among some Muslims who have publicly denounced the Turks’audacious course-in virtue of the very success with which their audacities have so far been attended. And this makes it probable that the path of nationalism which the Turks are taking so decidedly to-day will be taken by other Muslim peoples with equal conviction tomorrow. The Arabs and the Persians are already on the move. Even the remote and hitherto ‘Zealot’ Afghans have set their feet on this course, and they will not be the last. In fact, nationalism, and not PanIslamism, is the formation into which the Islamic peoples are falling; and for the majority of Muslims the inevitable, though undesired, outcome of nationalism will be submergence in the cosmopolitan proletariat of the Western world.
This view of the present prospects of ‘Pan- Islamism’ is borne out by the failure of the attempt to resuscitate the Caliphate. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abd-al-Hamld, discovering the title of Caliph in the
lumber-room of the Seraglio, began to make play with it as a means of rallying ‘Pan-1slamic’ feeling round his own person. After 1922, however, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his companions, finding this resuscitated Caliphate incompatible with
their own radically ‘Herodian’ political ideas, first committed the historical 19 solecism of equating the Caliphate with ‘spiritual’ as opposed to ‘temporal’ power and finally abolished the office altogether. This action on the part of the Turks
stimulated other Muslims, who were distressed by such highhanded treatment of  a historic Muslim institution, to hold a Caliphate Conference at Cairo in 1926 in order to see if anything could be done to adapt a historic Muslim institution to the
needs of a newfangled age. Anyone who examines the records of this conference will carry away the conviction that the Caliphate is dead, and that this is so because Pan-Islamism is dormant.
Pan-Islamism is dormant-yet we have to reckon with the possibility that the sleeper may awake if ever the cosmopolitan proletariat of a ‘Westernized’ world revolts against Western domination and cries out for anti-Western leadership.
That call might have incalculable psychological effects in evoking the militant spirit of Islam-even if it had slumbered as long as the Seven Sleepers-because it might awaken echoes of a heroic age. On two historic occasions in the past, Islam has been the sign in which an Oriental society has risen up victoriously against an Occidental intruder. Under the first successors of
the Prophet, Islam liberated Syria and Egypt from a Hellenic domination which had weighed on them for nearly a thousand years. Under Zangi and Nur-ad-Din and Saladin and the Mamliiks, Islam held the fort against the assaults of Crusaders and Mongols. If the present situation of mankind were to precipitate a ‘race war,’ Islam might be moved to play her historic
role once again. Absit omen.
“Arnold Toynbee.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
08 Oct. 2008 <;.


Leave a Reply