With its population amounting to approximately 1.5 billion (Muslims make up one fourth of the world population), its mineral resources, and the strategic importance of the geography, the Islamic world is a great power. From Indonesia to Chad, the Caucasus to Tanzania, and Morocco to Fiji, the Islamic world now stretches over a huge area and covers the lands that gave rise to the greatest civilizations in history. The region's geopolitical, cultural, and geo-economic qualities place this geography on the agenda of international relations and world politics even today.
The fact that crossroads and transit routes of world trade are located within this area is among the important factors. Considering that the canals and straights joining the Black Sea to the Mediterranean sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean are under Muslim control, the Islamic world's importance in terms of global balance becomes better understood. Additionally, the world's richest lands, in terms of such strategically important natural resources as oil and natural gas, are located in Muslim countries. The effective use of these resources represents a strategic opportunity for the Islamic world to increase its impact on world politics.
The current situation clearly suggests that Muslims will influence the developments of the twenty-first century in one way or another. However, what really matters here is that this influence must benefit the Islamic world in particular and humanity in general. The first thing that comes to mind at this stage is whether the Islamic world can play such a role, given its present condition. No doubt, Muslims have the necessary ability and awareness to shoulder this responsibility. However, looking at Muslim nations today reveals many problems, among them the lack of established democracy, the inability to keep up with technological progress, and an underdeveloped economy. An Islamic world preparing to play an active role in world politics must solve these and similar problems first.
The Islamic world's disunity and fragmentation is an even more urgent and vital problem that must be resolved. The fact that the Muslims have not been able to create a powerful and active Islamic Union is a major contributor to many of today's ills. When a strong Islamic Union is formed, such problems will either not arise or will be resolved far quicker than anticipated.
It must be stated here that the diversity found in the Islamic world, as well as the existence of various schools of Islamic thought, is not an issue in this regard. Muslims’ liberation from this diversity does not mean that they will be gathered under a single administration or system. Rather, this diversity must be united under the umbrella of faith and on the basis of mutual tolerance and solidarity. Differences of thought, practice, or point of view are normal and common in all societies. Islamic morality requires that Muslims never forget that they are all brothers and sisters, irrespective of their differences. Whatever the race, language, nation, or branch of Islam one might follow, all Muslims are brothers and sisters. Therefore, such differences must be appreciated as a source of richness instead of as a source of potential conflict and fragmentation. Such a mistaken view only diverts one's attention from the real issues and delays urgently needed and important preventive action.
The solution lies in forming an Islamic Union that will unite all Muslims and guide them to the right path. Therefore, every Muslim must work for its creation.
1. All Muslim governments should prepare for the Islamic Union by developing their relations with other Muslim countries and organizing cultural activities that will help establish true Islamic morality in their countries.
2. All Muslim NGOs, associations, charities, members of the media, and intellectual leaders should make genuine efforts to resolve the differences between Muslims and to achieve unity and solidarity.
3. All Muslims should work to create this Islamic unity, regardless of the mosque or school they attend, the Internet sites that they visit, and the charities or associations to which they belong. Moreover, they must encourage other Muslims to follow their example.
It is the prayer of all Muslims that the great Islamic civilization, one that will bring goodness, justice, and peace to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, will flourish once more. God willing, the formation of the Islamic Union will bring all of this about.
All Muslims who wish to play a role in this holy duty should make the following prayer and then act upon it:
Come, let's heal the rifts between Muslims. Let's bridge the gaps between Muslims who do not pray in one another's mosques, who do not read each others books, and who are hostile to one another because of small ideological differences. Let's do away with such artificial segregations. Let the house of God, the mosque, be the place of worship of not this group or that sect but of all Muslims. Let every Muslim greet and talk with every other Muslim. Let's end the disputes between communities or individuals, and let all Muslims work hand in hand in humility and tolerance to serve God's religion.
Let's not forget God's command:
Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate. Remember Allah’s blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing. You were on the very brink of a pit of the Fire and He rescued you from it. In this way Allah makes His Signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be guided. (Surah Al’ Imran, 103)