Civilization then and the Muslim challenge now

Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406/808) was a fourteenth century, Tunisian born Muslim historian and philosopher of rare distinction. His monumental work, the History of the World, fills seven volumes. It opens with a statement that is still an exciting vision of what history is all about:

History is a discipline widely cultivated among nations and races. It is eagerly sought after. The men in the street, the ordinary people, aspire to know it. Kings and leaders vie for it. Both the learned and the ignorant are able to understand it. For on the surface, history is no more than information about political events, dynasties, and occurrences of the remote past elegantly presented. .. The inner meaning of history, on the other hand, involves speculation, and an attempt to get at the truth, subtle explanation of the causes and origins of existing things, and deep knowledge of the how and why of events. [History,] therefore, is firmly rooted in philosophy. It deserves to be accounted a branch of [philosophy].

Humans are at the center of Ibn Khaldun’s world. The influence of God in human affairs extends to the extraordinary, for instance, the prophetic interventions, of which the most important was His message to humankind through Prophet Muhammad (s). God’s intervention in human affairs is a revelation to all the Prophets, as well as His unseen will that continues to animate the universe.

According to Ibn Khaldun, civilizations take different forms according to their environment: badawa, desert or nomadic life, and hadara, sedentary or urban life.

Today there is a new global civilization taking roots based on digital life. We can see the FUTURE materializing right in front of us.

Every year we are amazed at the things we are able to do with digital technology propelled by the internet, but this is still just the beginning of a digital revolution. According to some experts, if we compare the internet in the place of history to the automobile industry, we are at the point where the Ford Model T was in 1908.

One of the greatest threats we see in our new digital life is the phenomena of “fake news”, unprecedented misinformation about Islam and all forms of hate.

Ibn Khaldun analyzed in detail the sources of error in society, in particular partisanship, overconfidence in sources, failure to understand what is intended, a mistaken belief in the truth, the inability to place an event in its real context, exaggeration, and what he regarded as the most important of all, ignorance of the laws governing the transformation of human society.

If we are to take heed of Ibn Khaldun’s analysis of the behavior of human beings and of society, it is imperative we use and contribute to the digital life in a way that preserves and enhances the message that was revealed 1400 years ago to Prophet Muhammad (s).

In 1995 a small non-profit organization, Human Assistance and Development International (HADI), realized the immense potential of digital life and thus reserved the name ISLAM.ORG, with the specific purpose of preserving and enhancing the message of Islam. That was the start of IslamiCity one of the first online Muslim communities.

Today IslamiCity is one of the oldest and most respected websites about Islam and Muslims. It provides a non-sectarian, comprehensive and holistic view of Islam and Muslims. It cultivates peace, inspires action, explores positive solutions and encourages purposeful living through the universal teachings of Islam.

With the rapid change in technologies, maintaining a digital infrastructure and developing engaging content requires a significant investment.

This is a call for action to all those who are concerned about envisioning a place for Muslims in a society based on harmony within itself and with others to join and support the oldest and largest online Muslim eCommunity, ISLAMICITY.ORG - ISLAM.ORG.

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