World order from a Western and an Islamic Perspective (Part 2)

A Critical Review of the Book World Order, written by Henry Kissinger
4 March 2024
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Nabi Sonboli

A Critical Review of the Book World Order, written by Henry Kissinger


 Islamic Order: Opinion

 In Kissinger's view, Islam divided the world into Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb; the inhabitants of the second are infidels. He believes that Islam's world order is based on the permanent war between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, and the strategy of realizing this order is jihad, which is not always military. Kissinger considers the Islamic worldview a closed worldview in which others have no place.

 In Kissinger’s opinion, Islamists oppose international order and any non-Islamic order. The system based on Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb is the official doctrine of the Iranian government and armed groups in the Middle East and the ideology of groups such as ISIS. Kissinger brings together all Islamic and terrorist groups, including Shiites, Sunnis, and Salafists, and does not make any difference between them in terms of looking at the world system. In his view, Islamists all disagree with the Westphalian system and seek its complete transformation. They do not recognize the legitimacy of the state as the axis of the Westphalian system and consider it temporary. In their view, national loyalty is contrary to religious beliefs and the principle of non-intervention. Jihadists consider transformation as a task. In the world order of Islamists, purity is the principle, not stability.


 Islamic Order: Critical View

The first and most important claim of Kissinger is that non-Muslims have no place in the Islamic worldview. The position of non-Muslims in Islamic system, both as a minority and as a majority, is clear. The approval of other divine religions in Islam and the explicit emphasis on justice and fair treatment of non-Muslims is contrary to Kissinger's claim. One of the first actions of the Prophet (PBUH) after the migration from Mecca to Medina is signing a public covenant, known as Saif Al-Nabi. In this covenant, it said: هذا کتابٌ من محمد النبی [ص] بین المؤمنین و المسلمین من قریش و [اهل ] یثرب و من تبعهم، فلحق بهم و جاهد معهم . انّهم امة واحدة من دون الناس, “This is a writing from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) among the believers and Muslims of Quraysh tribe and [people of] Yathrib and those who follow them and join them and fight with them in the way of God. They are all one nation in front of other people.” The interpretation of the last part is that it accepts non-Muslims as part of the nation.

 Second, the first social principle in Islam is the principle of invitation and the invitation is to reason and logic. In various verses, God challenges human reason and logic and, on the basis of reason and logic, calls on human beings to think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and find the creator. Invitation to thinking about creation and dialogue requires creation of a peaceful social environment. Muslims mostly live in Asia and Islam was mostly spread there by peaceful invitation not by force.

 Third, from the Islamic point of view, the world is not divided into Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, as Kissinger claims, but has different divisions that are compatible with the principles of the Westphalian system. Muslim thinkers have a social view of the international system and divide society into nine internal and international groups based on Koran verses and Islamic traditions.


 Internal groupings inclued:

 The People of Dhimmi: These people include followers of other heavenly religions, such as the Jews, Christians, and Magus, who live in Islamic society and have a dhimmi contract with Muslims.

The People of Tenant: These include individuals and groups that use the security contract and are called the people of tenant, who are called refugees today.

The Corrupted People: They consist of groups and those who disrupt order and provoke insecurity. Drug smugglers, extremist groups, terrorists, and human traffickers fall into the group.

The Rebels: They are those who seek to overthrow the Islamic system. The subversives and separatist groups fall into this category.


International grouping:

 The People of the Covenant: Those who have a covenant with the Muslims. If we call the United Nations Charter a covenant, in the current international system, the covenant covers almost the whole world. There are basic principles of Westphalian order in the charter, and the US and Europe have violated these principles more than Iran and China.

The Peaceful Peapole: Includes nations that have signed a peace treaty with Muslims, and war may or may not have occurred.

The People of Hodneh: They are groups and nations that a ceasefire have been stablished between them and the Islamic State and have temporarily left the war.

The People of Eatezal: They include those who end their hostile behavior by leaving war with the Muslims but refuse to sign any contract and are called the people of Eatezal.

Dar al-Harb: It covers only groups and nations that are at war with the Muslims. In the current world, only Israel is included in this category. Kissinger extends Dar al-Harb to the whole non-Muslim world, which is not really the case.

The basis of all the above nine divisions is the degree of adherence to covenants and, rules and laws governing the society and social order, both internal and international levels.

 Fourth: He claims that Muslims consider the contract as a temporary thing and do not adhere to any covenant with non-Muslims. This claim is not only completely contrary to the explicit Qur'an verses as the main text revered to by Muslims, but the long history of treaties and agreements between Islamic countries and non-Muslims does not confirm it either. The belief that Islam will ultimately dominate the world does not mean not committing a covenant. There is no recommendation to encourage Muslims to violate covenants, but it is absolute to emphasize the necessity of keeping covenants in Islam یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُواْ أَوْفُواْ بِالْعُقُودِ ... (Al-Ma'idah/1), and or وَأَوْفُواْ بِالْعَهْدِ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ کَانَ مَسْؤُولًا (Al-Isra'/34). Contracts mean all covenants and agreements that Muslims make with each other or with enemies and other countries. According to Allameh Tabataba'i, fulfillment of the covenant includes both individual and social covenants, but in Islam, fulfillment of social covenants is more important than the fulfillment of individual covenants because social justice is more important and its violation leads to more general disasters.


Fifth: If, from the Islamic point of view, the world was only divisible to Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, and the Islamic Republic followed such a theory, today's Iran's cooperation with Russia and China and the signing of long-term contracts between them would not have been formed, and the Islamic Republic would not have been a member of treaties like Shanghai or other regional and international organizations.

 Nabi Sanboli, a senior expert at the Institute for Political and International Studies

 (The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)

i Pamphlet of international relations Ph.D. course presented by Dr. Mansour Mirahmadi, professor of Shahid Beheshti University, first semester, 2023

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