Historically, How European Powers Smashed the Political Islamic Unity? (1) Featured

By Dr. Ibrahim Nouiri April 03, 2024 2817

Since the fall of the last Islamic Caliphate at the hands of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on 27 Rajab 1342 AH / March 3, 1924 CE, Islamic thought has been tackling the ramifications of this sensitive issue. Given the relationship between Islam as a religion and the state and the need for religious rulings to have authority, the caliphate essentially symbolizes the leadership of all Muslims in the world to establish the Islamic Shariah, spread the Islamic call across different regions and horizons, and convey the truths and teachings of the final message to all people.

Western powers (Europe) have realized since the siege of Vienna, the heart of Europe, by the Ottoman Caliph Suleiman the Magnificent in 935 AH / 1529 CE that the true strength of Muslims lies in their unity as a nation and civilization with its distinct mark. They realized that the Caliphate, which gathered them, represented the political barrier that preserved the continuity and influence of that strength. Therefore, they spared no effort in undertaking various actions, plans, and alliances, whether covert or overt, to dissolve this bond and fragment this unity. This was aimed at facilitating the subsequent division of the entity that the Ottoman Caliphate had shielded for five centuries and a quarter.


 Europe realized that the strength of Muslims lies in their unity and the Caliphate that unites them, so it worked to fragment this unity and dissolve this bond

After vigorous efforts made at different stages, those powers were able to achieve the goal they sought. The Ottoman Caliphate fell after being attacked and weakened, paving the way for the adversaries of the Islamic Ummah to gradually occupy its territories. Then they planted a foreign cancerous entity (Israel) in its heart to drain it, in case the resisting forces of the nation forced the occupiers to leave, as indeed happened, just as they anticipated in their schemes.


Dissolving Islamic Unity

One of the most important goals of the resentful Crusaders and the cunning Zionists, as stated by one of the most famous English spies known in Arabic historical writings as “Lawrence of Arabia” (1) in 1916, was to break Islamic unity, especially in its political dimension, to defeat and destroy the Ottoman Caliphate, and to separate the Arabs definitively from the Caliphate, so that they would live in a spiral of political chaos within small, incohesive, and uncooperative states.

The British pushed Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, as he was called at the time, to ally with them against his Muslim brothers, the Turks, in exchange for a promise of a unified Arab homeland under his rule. However, what happened was the division of the already divided Arab countries into smaller emirates as an implementation of the “Sykes-Picot” Agreement concluded between France and Britain in 1916.

Instead of the promise of a unified Arab homeland, another promise was declared, counter to the Arabs: the “Balfour Declaration” in 1917, which stipulated the establishment of a national homeland for the Jews on the land of Arab-Muslim Palestine, after many repeated attempts led by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the contemporary Zionist political movement, to obtain a part of Palestine from the Muslim Caliph Sultan Abdulhamid II, in exchange for paying off the debts of the Ottoman state and contributing to saving its deteriorating economy.

Sultan Abdulhamid faced that temptation with great historical resolve, prioritizing the interest of his Muslim Ummah over narrow nationalist interests, as he firmly replied: “Cutting my body joint by joint with a scalpel is easier for me than giving you a land that the Commander of the Faithful Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, conquered, and the leader Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi liberated.” (2)


To achieve this goal, they fragmented the Ottoman Empire into states and provinces, isolating the Islamic countries

Naturally, the focus of Western powers during that period was centered on destroying the Caliphate center in order to facilitate the destruction of the body's limbs, which the center provided with strength, military protection, moral support, and more.


The Demolition Conditions


Sheikh Mohammed Mahmoud al-Sawwaf mentioned that Western colonialism imposed several conditions on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in exchange for enabling him to seize power in Turkey and demolish the Islamic caliphate. The most important conditions were:

  • Declaring the permanent abolition of the Islamic caliphate from Turkey and the Islamic nation.
  • Turkey undertaking to sever any official ties with Islam and the Islamic world.
  • Turkey ensuring the freezing and paralysis of all remaining influential Islamic elements.
  • Turkey hastening to abolish the Ottoman constitution based on Islam and its Sharia objectives, declaring the secular Turkish constitutional law.

Faced with this situation, Atatürk had no choice but to surrender and comply with the conditions of the Western colonial powers. He accepted, implemented, and even exceeded them, as he was naturally enthusiastic about this trend. (3)

When we delve into the historical context of that period, we find that the Western powers, collectively, were determined and resolute—even before achieving complete domination over the Islamic lands—to tear apart the political unity of the Muslim community represented by the Ottoman Caliphate, just as a butcher dismembers his slaughtered animal limb by limb. These powers realized that achieving this goal inevitably required fragmenting the Ottoman Empire into numerous states and provinces. Iran and Afghanistan were isolated, as were other Islamic countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkestan, and Kazakhstan, handed over to communist powers. However, the lion's share of this fragmentation fell upon the Arab countries, as they were scattered into more than 20 states.

Some may imagine this was due to the French-British conflict over areas of occupation and protection. However, if that were the case, the Arab partition would have resulted in two, three, or four major parts. But what actually happened was that the regions under the control of a single colonial power were divided and torn apart maliciously. Lebanon, for example, was separated from Syria, both of which were under French colonial rule—a similar fate to what the French occupation did in the Arab Moroccan region.

Even the territories under British colonial influence were not spared. Jordan was separated from Palestine and Sudan from Egypt, while the Arabian Gulf became a series of protectorates and spheres of influence.


The forces of the nation continued to aspire to Islamic unity and political cohesion, a goal that was evident in both political and intellectual discourse

The Islamic Unity


However, did the Islamic Ummah surrender to its circumstances? The truth is that various forces within the Ummah continued to harbor the idea of Islamic unity, or political unity, and this sentiment was evident in political and intellectual discourse, as well as through intellectuals, writers, and media professionals, etc.

This tendency became an emotional feeling for wide social segments within the Islamic Ummah, nourished over time by the West's hostility towards Islam, mockery of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and undermining the morals of youth, leading them to doubt their identity, belonging, and beliefs.

It is also fueled by the spirit of Western arrogance and vanity, which views Islamic unity, especially in its political dimension, as one of the foremost prohibitions. This is evident in its actions and schemes aimed at fragmenting the Islamic world and creating new political entities within its various regions and countries.

It should be noted that this mechanism—the policy of division and fragmentation—has been adopted by those colonial powers since ancient times, ultimately leading to the downfall of the Islamic caliphate.

In our time, however, those hostile forces against our Ummah realize that dividing this nation into nationalities, sects, tribes, and doctrines, after dividing it into states, serves the interests of global Zionism. The Zionist entity seeks to deal with a group of weak, conflicting small states, which is preferable to facing unified states with cultural, political, and economic depth. Therefore, they support minorities to manage sectarian, religious, and nationalist conflicts, aiming to achieve their strategic goals.

These anti-Islamic circles have spent centuries undermining the strong cohesion and solid unity among Muslims, regardless of their races, countries, and languages. They recognized that the best way to overcome this nation is to divide and end its international existence.

After achieving what enemies of the Islamic Ummah wanted, intellectuals, scholars, and experts of this Ummah began to contemplate the political fate of the Islamic world. They presented numerous forms that could one day become a political will to restore the Islamic Ummah’s unity, politically, administratively, and culturally. This is what we will discuss in an upcoming article, if Allah wills.




(1) Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888 - 1935), a British intelligence officer, spent many years in the Arab countries, and became famous for his role in supporting the Arab revolt and supervising the movement to separate from the Ottoman Caliphate, earning him the nickname the “Lawrence of Arabia.” Among his most famous works are “Crusader Castles” and “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.”

(2) Khalid Sulayman Al-Fahdawi, “Manhaj al-ta‘āyush bayna al-Muslimīn,” Dar afahat lil-Dirasat wa-al-Nashr, 2007, Damascus, 1st edition, 2007, p. 20.

(3) Ahmed bin Saad Al-Ghamdi, “Al-Wihda Al-Islamyah, Ososoha wa was’el Tahqiqha,” Al-Jarisi Printing Press, Riyadh, 1st edition, 1410 AH, p. 24.

(4) Munir Shafiq, “Islam and The Challenges of Contemporary Decadence,” Dar Taha for Publishing, 1st edition, London, 1983, p. 59.


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