“Islam was and is not only a viable option, but is the only alternative to an Occident that is increasingly troubled by social and ideological crises.” – Murad Hoffman
In his 1992 book Islam the Alternative, German career diplomat Murad Hoffman argued that far from having reached an “end of history” in secular capitalist paradise, the West was heading for trouble. The only viable solution to the coming crisis, as Hoffman saw it, was authentic, corrected Abrahamic monotheism: namely, Islam. Hoffman expected that by the mid-21st century, Islam would be the majority religion in the West, not because of immigration, but because Westerners would embrace it.
Zionist arch-Islamophobe Bernard Lewis likewise understood that Islam offered a tempting alternative civilizational model. Lewis found this terrifying. In his 1990 essay “the roots of Muslim rage” Lewis coined the term “clash of civilizations” to describe the alleged long-term incompatibility of Christian and Islamic forms of Abrahamic monotheism. Lewis’ lifelong crusade to cast Islam as a dangerous “other” was, among other things, a psychological overreaction to his repressed realization that Islam could save Christian civilization. And that, to a committed Zionist, must be a terrifying prospect.
Reacting against Hoffman, while echoing Lewis, Samuel Huntington published his essay “The Clash of Civilizations” in 1993. Like Lewis, Huntington exaggerated the differences between Islam and Christianity, predicting that an immanent “clash” between Islam and the West would be central to the coming era of inter-civilizational warfare.
The truth, of course, is that the differences between Islam and Christianity are miniscule compared to the differences between universalist Abrahamic monotheism (Islam/Christianity) and other dins including secular materialist humanism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, paganism, and so on. In reality, there is only one traditional Western religion, universalist Abrahamic monotheism, and it is shared by all of the world’s 2.5 billion Christians and 2 billion Muslims, who together make up a majority of the world’s 7.5 billion people — and who have been disenfranchised in their own Holy Land by a few million Zionists. But Zionist-influenced Western elites threw all of their international-banker-financed weight behind the Lewis-Huntington prophecy that the West would soon go to war with Islam. On September 11, 2001, they rolled out the “most perverse publicity stunt in the history of public relations” (in the words of National Medal of Science winner Lynn Margulis) and made sure their prophecy came true.
In the post-9/11 world, proposing Islam as “the only alternative to an Occident that is increasingly troubled by social and ideological crises” is even more subversive than it was in 1992. Indeed, the Global War on Islam (GWOI) was designed to throw a monstrous roadblock into the peaceful and natural Western path toward Islam proposed by Murad Hoffman. Today we cannot help but see that the highest-level Western elites, who dominate the world through weaponized usury, will stop at nothing to maintain their power and the riba system that sustains it.
Today Murad Hoffman’s liberal yet vaguely salafist approach seems a bit dated. His belief that the secret rulers of the West would allow individuals to discover Islam for themselves the way he did, through free inquiry protected by Enlightenment liberalism, now appears naive (perhaps that is why Hoffman’s excellent books are now in the discount bin at IslamicBookstore.com).
Hoffman apparently did not fully understand that even in 1992, the only functioning “Islamic alternative” society was the Islamic Republic of Iran. Today, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, we should take time to ponder the experience of Iran’s Muslims in their ongoing efforts to realize an Islamic civilizational model.
The first lesson of the Iran’s Islamic revolution is: think pan-Islamically, act locally! Though Imam Khomeini sparked an Islamic Revolution, not a Shi‘i revolution or a purely Iranian revolution, his was nonetheless a “revolution in one country” (as the Russian Bolsheviks started calling their project after 1925). Both Imam Khomeini and his successor, the Rahbar, Imam Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, have been devoted to supporting Islamic movements as well as other justice movements in various countries that embody values compatible with Islam, while at the same time focusing on building viable long-term institutions in Iran. And those institutions, for obvious reasons, have to be compatible with the local religious and ideological orientation of the population. So just as Islamic Iran is naturally going to have religious institutions dominated by Persian speakers of the Twelver Shi‘i (Ja‘fari) school of thought, those seeking to Islamize Turkish society will have to work with Turkish speaking Hanafis, those working in Morocco will be among Arabic-speaking Malikis including quite a few Sufis, and so on (and of course everyone, everywhere, will have to be able to communicate with those who have unthinkingly absorbed the secular-materialist progressivist humanism that is the de facto hegemonic religion imposed by the West on much of the world).
While the above observations may seem obvious, the unfortunate reality is that too many Islamic activists have been hindered by the sectarian delusion that their own approach is the only acceptable one. These folks need to remember the Qur’anic edict, “For every community faces a direction of its own, of which He is the focal point. Vie, therefore, with one another in doing good works. Wherever you may be, Allah will gather you all unto Himself: for, verily, Allah has the power to will anything” (2:148, Muhammad Asad’s interpretation).
The Islamic Revolution succeeded in part because Iran nurtures high-quality Islamic scholarship, and many of those scholars are willing and able to apply their knowledge to real-world social and political problems. It succeeded because a nucleus of the Iranian ‘ulama’, led by Imam Khomeini, refused to do what so many Islamic scholars have done, which is sell their souls and their services to corrupt rulers. Instead, Imam Khomeini and his allies spoke truth to power, sparking a popular revolution that institutionalized a role for religious scholars in a democratic-republican political order, under the doctrine of walayah al-faqih.
Should Muslims be working to impose the Iranian walayah al-faqih model in other Muslim-majority countries? Probably not. The conditions in most countries will not permit an exact duplication of the Iranian experience. But other Muslim communities can certainly “compete in goodness” with Iran by developing and empowering communities of first-rate Islamic scholars who speak truth to power. They can heap scorn on sellout pseudo-scholars who lick the boots of tyrants. And they can engage politically, wherever they happen to live, focusing on the most important issues from the standpoint of authentic Islamic values. Among those issues are: the fight against the international bankers’ usury-based currency system; the struggle for truth against official lies and cover-ups; the struggle to liberate Palestine; other struggles on behalf of oppressed people (mustad‘afin); and the larger struggle to re-establish God rather than man (or his emerging replacement, the post-human cyborg) as our focus of conformity.
All of the above issues require revolutionary rather than reformist approaches. Usurious currency creation by private bankers must be completely abolished, not reformed. The most subversive truths of “hidden history” must be fully unveiled, destroying public confidence in the lying rulers. Palestine must be completely liberated from Zionism. Neo-liberal capitalism must be overthrown and replaced by a system that cares for the poor and oppressed. And the idolatrous conformity to the human and/or post-human must cede to the conformity to God.
In short, 40 years after Iran’s liberation from the Shah, we still need Islamic revolutions. Meanwhile the Islamic Republic of Iran endures as a source of inspiration to Muslims everywhere, while the lessons of the 1979 Revolution remain more relevant than ever.