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Pan-Islamism - Jamal Al-din Al-afghani, Late Ottoman Politics, The Khilafat Movement, A World Of Nation-states

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Overdamped to Peat

A term of European origin, pan-Islamism denotes the intellectual and institutional trends toward Islamic unity that emerged among Muslim peoples, starting in the mid–nineteenth century and continuing throughout the twentieth century. The need for a unified Islamic identity was a product of the challenges posed by Western intervention in and domination of Muslim societies during the colonialist period. Leaders throughout the Muslim world appealed to the Islamic tradition to solidify public opposition to foreign occupation and thereby gain political independence. Like its European namesakes pan-Hellenism and pan-Slavism, pan-Islamism used cultural ideas to achieve nationalist political ends. Unlike the ethnic identities emphasized in European nationalisms, however, pan-Islamism emphasized the religious heritage and symbols that both united all Muslims and set them apart from their Western Christian colonialist occupiers. The nationalist purposes to which pan-Islamism was primarily directed may seem at odds with the universal principles on which it rests, but this tension was largely resolved in the practical drive for political, economic, and social progress that enveloped Muslim societies. Nowhere is this resolution more clearly defined than in the life and work of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1839–1897), a Muslim reformer and key advocate of pan-Islamism.

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