a religious and political ideology based on the idea that Islam endows its adherents with supranational and supraclass unity, and that the political unification of Muslims under the leadership of the caliph is more important than any other kind of state and political unification.
Pan-Islam developed in the last quarter of the 19th century, a period marked by imperialist expansion and the formation of capitalist relations in the East. At that time, its main goals were the preservation of the independence of the feudal states and the establishment of Muslim political centers and unions capable of strengthening the rule of the feudal lords and opposing the colonialists. Thus, as V. I. Lenin observed, Pan-Islam reflected efforts to combine “the liberation movement against European and American imperialism with an attempt to strengthen the positions of the khans, landowners, mullahs, etc.” (Poln. sobr. soch, 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 166).
The first ideologist of Pan-Islam was Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, who tried to adapt the movement to the tasks of anticolonial struggle. However, the preaching of a unity based on Islam led inevitably to a contradiction with the bourgeois nationalist ideology of the emerging nations of the East, as well as with ideas regarding the patriotic unity of the population of individual states. As a result, at the beginning of the 20th century, Pan-Islam gradually lost its anticolonial tendency and became the weapon of the aggressive policy of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, who used it primarily for reactionary purposes. Later, it was used by the Young Turks. The last great manifestation of the anticolonial content of Pan-Islam was the Khilafat movement in India.
In Russia, Pan-Islam was the foundation of Jadidism, the bourgeois liberal, nationalist ideology of certain Muslim peoples. After the victory of the October Revolution of 1917, Pan-Islam was one of the main slogans of counterrevolutionary nationalists in Transcaucasia and Middle Asia.
On the eve of and during World War II (1939–45), Pan-Islam was used to split the national liberation movement of the peoples of the East and to preserve imperialist positions in Muslim countries. Today, individual Pan-Islamists are still trying to use the ideology to achieve anti-imperialist goals. However, Pan-Islam is, on the whole, harmful to Afro-Asian solidarity. By impeding the formation of class and national consciousness, it continues to have a negative effect on the development of social thought in Islamic countries.
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Gordon-Polonskaia, L. R. Musul’manskie techeniia v obshchestvennoi mysli Indii i Pakistana. Moscow, 1963.
Gordon-Polonskaia, L. R. “Religii sovremennogo Vostoka (Ideologiia i politika).” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 1973, no. 1.
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L. R. POLONSKAIA