Master in International Studies’ Comprehensive Examinations
University of the Philippines-Diliman
August 24, 2009
A. Islamic Studies 231 (Islamic Political Thought)
Question number TWO:
Discuss Al-Afghani’s “Pan-Islamism” and its various manifestations today
Al-Afghani was one of the revolutionary philosophers and political scientists who expounded on the idea of Pan-Islamism. He explained the necessity of the idea to the lost glory of the Islamic golden age during the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) up to the four rightly-guided Caliphs.
It is different with Pan-Arabism which connotes the idea of unity among all the Arab people regardless of religion, ethnic affinity, and geographical context. Pan-Islamism is an aspiration of oneness and unity of all Muslims regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity, and other demographic elements. It is somehow paralleled to the idea of Ummah.
According to Al-Afghani, it can be attained through a people’s revolution pantheistically opposing the ideals that poisoned the sanctity of Islamic principles. He operationalized the idea by creating an institution that will protect, guide, and supervise the Pan-Islamic community. He commissioned the idea of going back to the era of the Khilafa (Caliphate) system with a Caliph that is selected based on the ijtimah of the maturity of the population through a shura process.
Consensus and communal integrity among the Muslims were the ingredients for the materialization of Pan-Islamism.
The idea of Pan-Islamism is highly manifested in international organizations and supranational organizations with common norms, values, mores, rules, principles and folkways. The European Union is an example of a pan-Europeanism with one free market, one judicial system, one banking system, one parliament, and soon there would be one government which they are now working on proposing it through their charter with one President as one of its provision.
The Arab League which is composed of Arab nations from the Southwest Asia to North Africa. They have a common language, culture, and state religion. The organization of Islamic Conference is also an example with member-countries that are predominantly Muslims. Another is the African Union wherein the members are situated in the continent of Africa. Also, the Organization of American State whereby the state-members are in North and South American continents except Cuba.
Every supranational society and/or international organizations are developed because of common understanding with areas that they have common interests with.