Muslim World Cosmopolitanism

1699 WordsJun 18, 20187 Pages
LA ILAHA ILLALLAH, no god but Allah, is the most fundamental and oft-chanted phrase of the Islamic belief. It simultaneously negates the existence of all other deities, and affirms the divinity of the only one true God, Allah---all in one breath. It is truly the most exclusive and iconoclastic claim that rejects the notion of anyone being divine except Allah. The American Heritage Dictionary defines ‘cosmopolitan’ as something that is “common to the whole world,” or a person who is “at home in all parts of the earth or in many spheres of interest” (1978, 301). Now, how, on Allah’s earth, can we talk about “Muslim” world cosmopolitanism? That is just how Allah or His prophet, Muhammad (570-632), from day one, viewed Islam,…show more content…
Biblical stories repeated in the Quran made Islam the inheritor of the original divine message of Abrahamic monotheism. Islam was the logical and historical culmination. Islam continued and completed the original monotheism. That is why, for Muslims, Judaism and Christianity or their variations were not alien religions. The Quranic recognition of Jews and Christians as “Peoples of the Book” greatly helped Muslims not to shun seeking learning from non-Muslims. It was, in fact, in their educational and economic institutions that Muslims of diverse races and regions enjoyed their best cosmopolitan experiences not only among themselves, but also among believers of other religions. “Seek knowledge even if you have to go to China as seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman,” Muhammad is famously, if not authentically, reported to have enjoined upon Muslims. It was in this enlightened spirit that Muhammad once offered freedom to some poor prisoners of war in exchange for teaching Muslim children reading and writing as their ransom instead of paying cash and gold which they could not afford. He let others go on promise of not fighting against him again. In spite of all the religious and ritual differences with Jews and Christians, Muhammad still did business with them as long as they did not pose threats to his nascent state in Madina. With Muhammad and his immediate followers, politics, not religion, made enemies, though the
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