(MENAFN - Arab News) The concept of the "Nation of Islam" finds its roots in the early history of the Islamic world, and, it eventually resurrected strongly in the 1950s. Many Muslims (Arabs and non-Arabs) migrated to the "Near West" for education, specifically Great Britain and France, for both countries were perceived by those Muslim students as the beacon of enlightenment.
Moreover, most Muslim students selected Britain and France as their preferred education destinations because of their geographical proximity; scientific and technological advancement; liberal ideologies either in the areas of humanities (literature, philosophy and art) or social political views (e. g., egalitarian concepts - liberty, equality and justice) and their standing as colonizing powers of their homelands. These factors were in addition to the students' personal admiration of quality of life in those Western countries and lifestyle of the people, which is a general impression that a colonizer leaves on the colonized.
However, some Muslim students went to the Soviet Union and countries in the Eastern bloc, especially after their countries had gained independence from the West's colonization.
Both the East and the Western blocs have, evidently, achieved remarkable progress in all areas of human endeavors. This progress entitled them to be called developed countries that belong to the First World, whereas as the rest of the world (Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East/Muslim countries) is branded as underdeveloped world (often, out of political courtesy, called developing countries) and heuristically referred to as the Third World.
In terms of development, the comparison between developed and underdeveloped countries was strikingly dreadful, particularly in Muslim countries. Western countries were enjoying excellent level of development in industry, science and technology, art and literature, and all was reflected in the standards of living of Westerners. On the other hand, Muslim countries' development was based on agricultural economy that failed to bring prosperity and consequently Muslims continued to suffer from poverty, illiteracy, sickness, and other social and political ills. In the 1960s, the entire world was awash with new ideas, especially the Third World countries (Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East/Muslim countries), and was scrambling for the correct state-political ideology that could lead a particular country and its people to the path of development and progress. The main prevalent ideologies were capitalism and communism. Capitalism calls for democracy/election, individualism, peoples' liberation, civil rights, personal freedoms and women's rights. Communism, on the other hand, calls for one-state party, centralized economy, public ownership and collectivism.
The United States and Western European countries hold the views of capitalism, whereas the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries held the views of communism, and each bloc was working ardently for a world-prominence of its political ideology, specifically in Third World countries (sometimes referred to as proxy-state or agent-state). As a result, this struggle between the two blocks was manifested in what so-called the Cold War.
Third World countries, however, were experimenting with both ideologies and each country was fighting for its newly adopted political ideology, emphasizing that it is the only correct way to run the lives of its population. Thus, the entire world was involved in the battle between these two blocs and their conflicting political ideologies
In addition to capitalism and communism political ideologies, the Muslim World has another ideology that has to come into play in the public discourse. It is Islam and the concept of the "Nation of Islam." Although, the entire Muslim populations around the world comprised different ethnicities, cultures and countries; the majority of Muslims, then, had an explicit sense of possible unity in one nation; the Nation of Islam. This sentiment was established on a historical precedent. Most Islamic countries, today, were part of one Islamic nation and many believe that members of this nation were bonded together - despite their differences - by a fair and equal application of true Islamic principles and values, which created harmonious societies within one glorious nation. However, the abandonment of those egalitarian and altruistic Islamic principles by Muslims led to their downfall.
With this clear historical evidence in mind, the lessons to be learned by most Muslims from this contrasting state of affairs (Glorious Islamic state vs. disintegrated fair-play Islamic states) centers around a primary idea that Islamic principles and values can serve as a state-political ideology to achieve the followings: (1) harmonious societies, and (2) a glorious nation that can lead the world in all areas of human endeavors. The antitheses of this idea, of course, would be disharmonious societies and disintegrated glorious nation.
But, non-Muslim powers are practically leading the world militarily, economically, politically and scientifically, without adhering to a state-adopted theocratic ideology. One could discern that a theocratic ideology could not be the only way to development and progress and there must be other ideological alternatives.
Consequently, some Muslim intellectuals claimed that those other alternatives could be either capitalism or communism and these ideological views dominated the Muslim World, with a few Muslim intellectuals, still, believing that neither of these alternatives could be the correct one except the Islamic ideology.
Nonetheless, most Muslim countries experienced with both clashing political ideologies (capitalism and communism), but substantial development and progress hasn't happened in the Islamic world with the result that Muslim societies are still suffering from the same ills of backward societies. In the 1980s, underground Islamic groups surfaced with various theocratic orientations and territorial affiliations (e. g., Muslim Brotherhood: Egypt, Hamas: Palestine, Hezbollah: Lebanon, Salafists: the rest of the Arab World), and eventually other Islamic groups branched out from these groups or were established with one objective: The establishment of the Nation of Islam.
Coincidently, in 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, which is a Muslim country. The ground was prepared for Islamic groups to materialize that cherished Islamic dream, the "Nation of Islam."
Meanwhile, extensive religious rhetoric pervaded the entire Islamic public scene and laid the foundation for social and political structures for the call of Jihad in Afghanistan. The masses were ready to answer this call. As a result, thousands of Mujahideen belonging to different ethnicities and speaking different languages went to Afghanistan.
Those Mujahideen, with minimal and unsophisticated weaponry, succeeded in defeating the army of a superpower and driving it out from a Muslim country. The Russian military forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan in 1989.
This victory over a superpower validated the basic idea that the Nation of Islam can be established and Muslims' glory can be regained by adhering to the true Islamic principles and Muslim brotherhood. However, fierce fighting between Afghan Mujahideen groups broke out, and every group was doing Jihad for its own mundane interests. Consequently, the Nation of Islam was never established.
Probably, the first political lesson that Muslims have learned from the Afghan experience, especially the Mujahideen, is that it takes more than holding firmly to puritan theocratic principles and values to establish an Islamic nation and retain the glory of Islam. As a result, many Mujahideen decided to encourage their siblings to "Go West" to live and study, sparing them that bumpy road, they knew very well, which will certainly take them to the same path of all social, political, and economical ills.