Can the Western Civilization become a Global Civilization?
Political Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

Javed Sahib, you must have viewed the translation of some of the articles written by Dr Murad Hoffman in the previous issues of Zindagi. The topics of these articles are ‘Clash of Civilizations and Islam in the 21st century’ and ‘Islam and the ideological crisis of present age’. We desire to find out your analysis of these articles for the readers of Zindagī, and also your point of view on these topics. Our first question is that Professor Huntington, to whose views Dr Hoffman has alluded in his first articles, is not very hopeful about the global conquest of western civilization. He says: West is, without doubt, unparalleled but not universal. In this context, kindly elucidate the meaning of predominance of western civilization in the present age; does this civilization hold the possibilities of becoming a global civilization?


The western civilization is in reality a stage in the evolution of human culture. In this respect, it possesses certain qualities, which can be regarded useful for mankind. It has gathered adequate resources for the solution of the problems that human culture could have encountered. The extraordinary development of scientific studies, its compatibility with the diverse circumstances of human economics and the stability of democratic values are the main features of western civilization. But despite of all this, it is absolutely true that western civilization does not hold the possibilities of becoming a global civilization. In my opinion, there are a few reasons for it:

The first reason is that religiosity is innate in humans and not something extraneous to the nature on which the Almighty has created them. Unfortunately, as a result of the clash, which the west had with the church, it is unwilling to recognize the significance of this consciousness. So the situation is not that the west has swerved from religion, the situation is that the western mind is not even willing to perceive the worth this consciousness should be given in human civilization and the role it should play in society. Accordingly, it is faced with the predicament that it is not becoming possible for it to establish a relationship of man’s inner self and his moral being with the material evolution. Now, western civilization is left with only two alternatives: one is that it should concede this reality of human nature and the other is that with a new technology, it should change human nature.

The second reason is that for universality, there is a need for certain fundamentals that, in diverse human civilizations, can serve the purpose of unification. The problem of the western civilization is that, even after the realization of this unity, it is insistent on the political, social and sociological division of people in this world. The reason for this is its theory of nationalism. This idea of nationalism has impeded the paths leading to the unification of human civilization. Rather than highlighting the concept of collectivity of mankind by making use of new means of communication and discovery of new fields of knowledge, the individual concept of nationalism is being entrenched. The thought and philosophy of the west, in spite of realizing the need for collectivity, is not ready to relinquish nationalism.

The third reason is that the west is incessantly refusing to make the economic system subservient to ethics and morality. Global civilization will surely be ethical. This is the requisite of human nature. If a civilization is not ethical, then even at the epitome of material advancement, it can only enslave human bodies and cannot conquer their hearts and minds. Man becomes contented with material luxuries and mental inquietude for some time but veritable and enduring serenity can only be obtained through moral values. It is, indeed, beyond doubt that the western civilization -- in collective life -- has become the flag bearer of certain values which, in all respects, are worthy of admiration, but they are not ready to adopt this point, as a fundamental rule, that the settlement of dissension, in any case, should be on the basis of moral values.

These are the three reasons on the basis of which I agree with the point that the western civilization, even after possessing so many qualities, has remained incapable of developing the fundamentals needed to become a universal movement.

For Questions on Islam, please use our