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Not so much successful

Reader comment on item: Islam vs. Islamism (article)

Submitted by Gato Branco (Lithuania), May 22, 2013 at 03:52

I disagree a little bit with the statement that Muslims has military and political successes all the period up to 1200.

The period of Muslim military expansion is largely limited to the period of 634-800.

In fact the caliphate ceased to exist as a centralized state already about 900 CE.

Already in the period starting 1000 CE, Islamic world suffered several disruptive invasions by Seljukides(Iran and Near East) and Hilali bedouins(North Africa). After the first(end of 11 c.) and the third crusades(end of 12c.) Muslims suffered several setbacks from the hands of crusaders. Starting from 1200 Christians conquered the most of Muslim Spain. Finally the Mongolian invasion in the middle of 13th century was a devastating blow to Muslim lands.

Europeans, on the average, had much quieter life during the most of their history, since starting with the year 1000, the Western Europe saw no nomadic invasions.

Since the end of 14th century, and especially in 16th century there was certain revival of Muslim fortunes, when in 15-16 centuries the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal states rose to great prominence, but it was short lived, Safavid and Mughal states suddenly collapsed in the beginning of 18th century, while the Ottoman state which still stood at the gates of Vienna in 1863, became a "sick man of Europe" in 1800

In cultural and civilizational aspects Muslims lands were more successful, and even in very stressful circumstances of wars and conflicts in 13-14th centuries Islamic world was able to produce great philosophical schools as that of Ibn Arabi and his followers, or later the Isfahan philosophic school of the Safavid Iran. The poetry in Persian language with names such as Rudaki, Ferdowsi, Saadi, Hafiz, Jami, Bedil flourished in all the centuries from 10 to 17.

In 1550, Istanbul, Isfahan or Delhi looked indeed more prosperous that Paris or London, and even in 1660 Isfahan still did not looked any worse that the Paris and Versailles of the Roi-Soleil(Louis 14).

As for presumed "aggressiveness" of Muslims, it was determined not so much by Qur'an or Hadith, but by social circumstances in the Muslim world. Islamic society was quite militant in the first period, 634-750, when this aggressiveness was largely based on the tribal society of Arabs. Such tribal societies tend to be aggressive irrespectively whether they are Muslim, pagan or whatever else.

On the contrary when after the advent of Abbassides the islamic society shifter from tribal to urban, its aggressivity decreased markedly. In the period of 1000-1200 it is the Western society which tended to be very aggressive, despite of being Christian(and presumably having to obey the dictates of "turning the other cheek"). St Bernard called the Militia Christi to kill pagans and heretics without any qualms of conscience for the glory of Christ.

It is not because St. Bernard or crusaders were killing-prone perverts of some kind and deliberately distorted the message of Christ, but because they were children of the feudal society which was based on the military values of knights-warriors, which were similar to those of Arabs in pre-islamic and early islamic periods. When the Ottoman empire instituted a quasi-feudal system, based on spahis and janissaries, it is not surprise, that they became agressive and expansive again like the Europeans knights of the Middle age.

And at the same time, when Ottoman were marching towards the gates of Vienna "for the sake of Allah" and bands of Crimean Tatars abducted thousands of Polish, Ucrainian and Lithuanian women to the sex slavery in Istanbul harems, thousands of impoverished and militant hidalgos(knights) from Pyreneans stormed vast lands in Americas and decimated their populations "for the sake of Christ", while Christian slave traders transported tens of thousands of slaves through Atlantic.

As for so-called "jihadi islamists", they are not really religious people, but rather a kind of revolutionary nihilists like marxists whose motto is "we will distroy the old world to its very fundaments and then we will build our new world, what was nothing will become everything"(the words of the marxist hymn "International")

Submitting....

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