from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
States with a Muslim population of more than 5%
Green : Sunni , red : Shiite , blue : Ibadi (Oman)

The pan-Islamism ( in Arabic اتحاد الإسلام, DMG ittiḥād al-islām ) is a religious-political movement that seeks to highlight the commonalities within Islam in history, culture and religion. The aim of pan-Islamism is the unity of all Muslims in an Islamic state or caliphate .

Pan-Islamism emerged as a reaction to European expansion in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East towards the end of the 19th century. The term, however, was coined in Europe .


Age of Imperialism

After the European colonial powers Russia, the Netherlands, Great Britain and France had already brought several areas with a Muslim majority population under their control by the middle of the 19th century, the imperialism that began in the 1870s saw further European penetration of the Islamic world. In 1874 the British secured sovereignty over the Malay states in Southeast Asia with the Treaty of Pangkor , and in 1880 with the Treaty of Gandamak they forced the Afghan king to cooperate with them. France occupied Tunisia in 1881, the British occupied Egypt in 1882 after popular uprisings and established a "veiled protectorate " there.

On the political level, the European and especially the British dominance led to the rise of pan-Islamic consciousness. The Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II , who until then had still worked with the British and French, knew how to pick up on these feelings very well. He became the most important actor in the field of pan-Islamism ( ittiḥād-i Islām ), established contacts with Muslims under Russian and British rule as well as with Shiite scholars in Iran, informed about pilgrimages and transnational Sufi orders (Abu l-Hudā as- Sayyadi) spread pro-Ottoman propaganda and built a system of Ottoman consulates in Muslim countries.

At the same time in Paris in 1884 the scholar Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani (1839-1897) organized a group of pan-Islamic men based on the Masonic model, which he named after an expression used in the Koran ( Sura 31:22 ) for faith al-ʿUrwa al -wuthqā ("the tightest bond"). Together these men brought out a newspaper calling on Muslims to unite against British imperialism and to support the Ottoman caliph. This newspaper, also called al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā , enjoyed great popularity in the Islamic world, but the company soon fell asleep when the British banned the newspaper from entering India and Egypt and the county ran out of money. However, the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh , who belonged to the Paris circle of al-Afghani and rose to the governing body of the prestigious Islamic al-Azhar University in Cairo in the early 1890s , continued the pan-Islamic project. In 1898 he came up with the idea of ​​holding an all-Islamic congress under the leadership of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid.

A tenor of pan-Islamic thought was that Muslims could only withstand the challenge of Western civilization if they closed their ranks and overcame their division into different schools of law and denominational groups. One company that was supposed to realize exactly this goal was the reform society Nadwat al-ʿUlamāʾ, founded in Kanpur, northern India in 1892 . It aimed to bring together scholars from the various Islamic currents, Aligarh modernists, Deobandis , Ahl-i Hadith , themselves representatives of the Shia , in order to jointly develop a new theology with which to defend Islam against attacks from the West could. In 1898 the company founded its own school with the Dār al-ʿulūm from Lucknow . However, the company was limited to South Asia and failed after just a few years.

On the other hand, the magazine al-Manār (the lighthouse), founded by Muhammad Abduh in 1897 , which also campaigned for the overcoming of the Madhhab antagonisms among Muslims, developed international appeal .

Hannah Arendt emphasized the importance of the“ pan movements ”:“ In any case, the Nazis owed the Pan-German movement of Austrian character [...] more and more decisive than any other ideology or political movement. And Stalinist Bolshevism is deeply indebted to Pan-Slavism. ”The same applies to Pan-Islamism, which from the end of the 19th century was considered an indispensable prerequisite and obligatory project for every Islamist movement. The primary goal of the pan-Islamic movement was the unification of all Muslims against colonial rule as an absolutely necessary phase on the way to building a new and powerful Islamic empire. "

- Mehdi Mozaffari, Rise and Development of Islamism , 2013, p. 18

First World War and the aftermath

During the First World War, the Ottomans tried unsuccessfully to instrumentalize pan-Islamism in support of the Central Powers . After the end of the First World War, however, pan-Islamic ideas declined sharply, which was further accelerated by the abolition of the caliphate in Turkey in 1924 .

In the interwar period, secular and nationalist ideologies increasingly ousted pan-Islamism. This could not be counteracted by various conferences on the future of pan-Islamism in 1924, 1926, 1931, and 1935.

After the Second World War , pan-Islamism gained new attraction and was used in particular by Saudi Arabia to push back pan-Arabism . For this purpose the League of the Islamic World was founded in 1962 and the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 1969.


  • Kemal Karpat: The politicization of Islam. Reconstructing identity, state, faith, and community in the late Ottoman state . Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford 2001, ISBN 0-19-513618-7 .
  • Azmi Özcan: Pan-Islamism. Indian Muslims, the Ottomans and Britain (1877-1924) . Brill, Leiden et al. 1997, ISBN 90-04-10632-4 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Pan-Islamism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. See Zafarul Islam Khan: Nadwat al-ʿUlamāʾ. In: Encyclopaedia of Islam . 2nd Edition. Vol. VII, pp. 874–875, and Marc Gaborieau: Un autre islam. Inde, Pakistan, Bangladesh . Paris 2007, pp. 143-147.
  2. On the journal al-Manar cf. Stephane Dudoignon u. a. (Ed.): Intellectuals in the Modern Islamic World. Transmission, transformation, communication . Abingdon 2006, pp. 1-158.
  3. Mozaffari , in Zs. Totalitarismus und Demokratie , Ed. Hannah-Arendt-Institut Dresden, V&R , H. 11, 2014, pp. 15–28, ISSN  1612-9008 (print), ISSN  2196-8276 (online)