The Muslim world is out of sorts even though it has emerged from the post-Almohad era in the last century. Like a rider who has lost control over the stirrup and failed to seize it again, it has been struggling to attain its new equilibrium. Its secular decadence, condemning it to inertia, apathy, impotence and colonizability, has nonetheless preserved its traditional values in a more or less fossilized condition. It has emerged under such conditions at the time when the twentieth century reaches the peak of its material power but when all the moral forces have started disintegrating since the First World War.
At present, it is blown off course by contradictory and conflicting ideas: on the one hand, the ideas which put it face to face with the problems of the technological civilization without establishing real contact with the roots of that civilization and, on the other, the ideas which link it to its original cultural universe without embracing the archetypes of this universe despite the praiseworthy efforts made by reformists. Yet, either out of craze or by force of sliders put under its feet, the Muslim world risks to be carried away by the 'modem ideologies' at the very moment when they are celebrating their failure in the West where they were born.
Were it tempted to follow in the footsteps of Europe, as it appears from its general atmosphere or perhaps because of an undeclared desire of its elites, it would run the risk of constantly lagging one stage behind the train of history, as it would have to repeat at its own expense all the unsuccessful experiences of Europe, notably the Marxist experience which seems, however, to have already been surpassed both scientifically and philosophically.
Western elites, having been dizzied by the dialectical materialism especially since the end of the Second World War, have begun to sober up in recent years, thus regaining their autonomy of thought in respect to this doctrine. In contrast, we see that it is more occupying and preoccupying the minds of some Muslim intellectuals as if they had met with their Archimedean moment! We can never make history by simply following in others' footsteps along the beaten tracks. Indeed, it is possible only by opening up new paths. Making history is only possible on the basis of genuine and efficacious ideas that respond to the moral as well as developmental problems of a society that is in need of reconstruction.
We have attempted in this work to show the difficulties with which Muslim society has been struggling in order to face its problems at the level of both morality and efficacy. We have ideas that interfere with one another. By stirring the problem of ideas, we have aimed at demonstrating its weight in history and in the destinies of mankind.
If we have not succeeded in presenting a clear solution to this problem, we believe, however, that we have accurately defined it. In addition, we have had no claim other than opening an essential debate that is far from being closed by the end of this book.
Algiers, 21st Ramadan, 1390 AH / 21st November, 1970 AD
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