Islamic morality, on the other hand, frees people from all kinds of worries and anxieties that trouble their minds. Believers only heed Allah and seek to win only His good pleasure. Fully aware of their responsibilities to our Lord, they live by their conscience at all times and, as such, are content and well-balanced individuals. They offer their environment goodness and beauty. This morality frees people from the pressures of envy, excessive desire, fear of the future and death, and other attitudes and fears that are incompatible with religious morality. Freed of these negative characteristics, they experience the freedom and peace derived from submitting to Allah.
Therefore, the development and advancement encouraged by the Islamic Union will not be identical to the development envisaged by the West. During its period of development, the West experienced great social injustice. For instance, the driving force of development in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England was ruthless exploitation. The working classes endured terrible working and living conditions. Children as young as 7 or 8 were made to work in filthy coal mines for 16 hours a day; many of them died before they were 20 years old. In the 1840s, the average life expectancy of coal miners fell to an average of 17 years. (“The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Families.” Online at: www.asis.com/sfhs/women/sophie.html.)
On the other hand, the rich lived in excessive luxury and extravagance. All industrialized Western countries went through these horrific experiences, and they built themselves upon the exploitation and oppression of millions of poor people.
The developmental model of a society dominated by Islamic morality will comprise social justice. The West suffered great injustice during its own development because its leaders adhered to materialism's misconceptions of human nature. Islamic morality, however, requires people to be entrepreneurs and pioneers in all fields, as well as compassionate, selfless, and just to others. Throughout the rise of Islamic civilization, Muslims were world leaders in economics and very successful traders. However, the resulting wealth did not remain in the hands of the few, but spread throughout society. Such social aid institutions as charitable organizations, social complexes, soup kitchens, caravanserai (large inns), public baths, and libraries show that wealth and culture did not remain in the hands of a few Muslims, but were accessible to all. The envisaged Islamic Union must adopt this developmental model.
Another aspect of this developmental model is open-mindedness. Islamic morality requires Muslims to be open-minded or, in other words, that they maintain dialogue with other cultures and benefit from their achievements. For this reason, Muslim thinkers and scientists examined earlier Greek, Chinese, Roman, and Indian scholarly works, from which they acquired knowledge and then developed and enriched with an Islamic understanding. The Islamic world of today must examine other cultures, in particular those of the West, benefit from their accumulated knowledge, and then use and advance them further for their own—and humanity's—benefit.
Islamic morality demands that technology be used to the full. For instance, Muslims must build their own film industry to teach humanity righteousness and goodness, as a counterweight to films that seek to impose a materialistic twist on Islamic morality. If some art trends contain negative influences, Muslims must produce a more beautiful and splendid art form. If people admire the impressiveness, cleanliness, comfort, and liveliness of cities, Muslims must build even better cities and make the world an even better place in which to live.
Surely Muslims can build a civilization comparable to the great Islamic civilization of the past, but to do so they must live according to the aesthetics and artistry, open-mindedness, moderation, and justice of the Qur'an's values. Islamic art, culture, and civilization will not only bring prosperity to Muslims, but to all of humanity. The world's greatest libraries, most stunning architecture, cleanest streets, the brightest lit roads, and best schools, universities, and hospitals will be built by Muslims, and all people will have equal access to them.
The rise of Islamic civilization is possible under the leadership of an Islamic central power, and the twenty-first century can be an enlightening one for the Islamic world. At a time when globalization is gaining momentum, Muslim nations must resolve their conflicts; enter into joint scientific, technological, and trading ventures; and combine their forces in the interest of all Muslims.
Finally, it must be stated that Muslims do not divide the world into two opposing poles: "Westerners" and "Muslims." First, the majority of Western people are People of the Book and therefore share many of the Muslims' moral and religious values. That is why many aspects of Western culture (e.g., freedom of belief, democracy, and family values) are central to Islamic morality as well. On the other hand, many people in the West have chosen Islam as their religion and continue to do so. Considering that the Qur'an's values have so far not been made available correctly and comprehensively in the West, it is realistic to expect many more people to embrace Islam. Muslims must adopt this attitude to the West and its culture. Also, they must remember that some circles have been under the influence of materialistic philosophies for over two centuries, and that they still need to be freed from their prejudices. This is the responsibility of Muslims.