By virtue of keeping the spirit of all previous esoteric traditions intact given that it is the most recent of all esoteric traditions, Islam can be metaphorically considered as a “lake” where the streams of all other civilizations converge, as one scholar put it. Thus, as a civilization with a fundamental worldview that will be described shortly, Islam has always been far ahead of its time, even with the advent of modernity. The basic inclination or tendency of an Islamic worldview is to “bind disparate elements together,” and as a result “recasts them so as to harmonize with and mutually support other elements.” Thus, the “essence” of an Islamic worldview “transforms the elements making up a civilization, giving them their new character as constitutive of that civilization.”
And contrary to conventional thought, Islamic civilization transcends cultural and national boundaries, given its basic nature as described above. The organizational principle of Islamic civilization – known as Tawhid – is the impetus for intellectual and social advancement in virtually every part of the world. Scientific thinking is essentially a direct outgrowth of the Islamic worldview and the organizing principle of Islamic civilization. Thus, Europe would be remiss to not credit Islam for its growth over the course of the last five centuries.
As one scholar has suggested, civilization is “an advanced stage of human society, where people live with a reasonable degree of organization and comfort and can think about things like art and education.” Civilizations are also defined by “growth, achievements, and a manner that forms a well-mannered personality and society.” Thus, the civilizational aim of Islam is the negation of barbarism and ignorance and thus the cultivation of civility and scientific thinking, as evinced by Islam’s contributions to a wide range of scientific fields during its “Golden Age.” It is also important to note that changes and “new ideas” prompted by modernity do not always equate to advancement, growth, and progress. As the 20th century historian E.H. Carr said: “Not all change is progress.”
Although Western humanist and secular discourse would insist that a civilization does not require a religious impetus, history refutes such a wrong-headed notion. All civilizations to date have had a religious impetus. Even modernity as it took off five centuries ago resulted from the transmission of knowledge from Islam to the West. Thus, there is no civilization which has not had a religious impetus to account for in the historical record, a fact which should break the ego of stiff-neck ignoramuses like Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour. And in fact, Western relative decline vis-à-vis other civilizations over the course of the last number of decades is a direct result of the West’s religious decline. Nevertheless, ever since the close of the Medieval period in Europe, the entire aim or purpose of Western civilization has been to negate such principles and facts, which over the long run ends up being a futile enterprise.
René Guénon is among the scholars in the modern age who assessed the impact of Islam on Western civilization. His conclusion was:
“Most Europeans have not accurately assessed the importance of the contributions that Islamic civilization has made to its own, nor have they understood the nature of their borrowings from this civilization in the past, some going so far as to disregard totally all that is connected with it.”
As mentioned before, ignorance of history and the actual historical record has much to do with this mindset. As Guénon wrote:
“This is because the history they are taught makes a travesty of the facts and seems to have been altered intentionally on a great many points. Indeed, this history goes to extremes in flaunting the little respect it has for Islamic civilization, the merits of which it habitually disparages each time an occasion presents itself.”
It follows that:
“We must therefore see this as a result of the pride and presumption of Westerners, which prevent them from recognizing the truth or the importance of their debts to the East.”
And in the case of all debts, these aforementioned debts must be paid one way or another to their rightful creditors, even if it means gradually and subtly over the course of a prolonged period.