One of the most significant works of the great Islamic scholar Ibn Arabi is the Meccan Illuminations (Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya). An Andalusian scholar and philosopher, Ibn Arabi departed from Spain to travel first to Konya in Anatolia and then to Mecca, and died in Damascus on his way home.
From the period of Abbasids to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Muslim scholars had been traveling in pursuit of knowledge from Western Europe to the Western borders of China by visiting all ancient cities from Andalusia to India. The greatest scholars of hadith and fiqh, along with pilgrims, typically embarked long journeys to acquire and exchange knowledge.
To carry out the duty of pilgrimage, I have come to Mecca and Medina this year. As hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all corners of the world do every year, I was astonished by the experience of witnessing such an immense unity of Muslims. Thus, I cannot help but thinking about the current situations in Muslim countries and their political deadlocks in the international arena.
When the Azan was being recited in Mecca or Medina, Muslims were surging toward the sacred Kaaba as rivers flowing into the oceans. While Muslims circumambulate the Kaaba shoulder to shoulder, denominational differences become insignificant. Whether Sunni or Shiite, all Muslims come together in the unity of Allah, in the leadership of the Prophet and in the Quran as the word of Allah. In his “World Order,” Henry Kissinger wrote about the spread of Islam and the establishment and the rise of the Ottoman Empire as extraordinary developments in the history of humanity. Then, Kissinger noted that Muslims are, in our present age, far from establishing an order in the world. The world order that was established after the First World War remains effective today. While Afghanistan and Pakistan have been struggling against terrorist organizations inhabiting around their borders, Iran has been pursuing solely the Shiite interests with an imperial claim. The African countries have still been under the yoke of poverty and colonialism, while the wealthy underground resources of the Arabic countries have been under the siege of the United States. Today, the Western states are not as strong and the Muslim countries are not as weak as they were during the First World War. For establishing a solid solidarity among the Muslim countries, the dece-ased Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan embarked the enterprise of the Developing 8 (D8).
Yet, the powers working for the Western tutelage overthrew his political power and gave a very clear message about the impossibility of establishing such solidarity among Muslims. When US President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by transporting the American Consulate General from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the OIC, under the leadership of the President Erdogan, condemned the US to isolation in the United Nations.
Until Muslim countries have realized the long-standing ideal of unity among the Muslims, the Western colonial empire will continue to exploit our resources and to enslave our minds.