Eric Walberg's new book From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization provides
    an overview of imperialism and colonialism in the Muslim world. It elaborates on the third of the Great Games
    addressed in his earlier work, Postmodern Imperialism, which traced the movement of history from the
    colonialism of the British and other empires, through the neocolonialism of the US empire, to the current
    Great Game marked by the revival of Islam.

    Walberg reviews the Islamic reform traditions from the 19th century on (deriving from Al-Afghani, Qutb)
    incorporating the Islamic critique of the West as well as the Sunni/ Shia, mainstream/ Sufi/ Salafi divisions.
    Then he addresses the twentieth century experience of Islamic states (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
    Iran), as well as the current dynamics of the Muslim world (Saudi, Iran, Qatar, Turkey, and now Egypt/
    Tunisia/ Libya). Key actors and milestones in the struggle to free the Muslim world from the imperial yoke
    are discussed.

    While the Christian/Judaic surrender to capitalism led to Marxist secularism and the communist utopia,
    Walberg views the Islamic project as containing an alternative socio-economic orientation. This prevented
    the rise of capitalism/ imperialism in lands populated by Muslims, making them the losers in the technology
    race of the 19th-20th centuries, but the repository of a corrected vision of the rich lost values of the earlier
    monotheistic traditions.

    Here modernity and postmodernism are critiqued from both left and right, and Islam is discussed as both an
    alternative worldview and world order. However the contradictions of the Arab Spring may be resolved as
    the West continues its decline, Walberg projects how the understandings entrenched in Islamic civilization
    point toward a new-old civilizational alternative, one not derivative from the West, but indigenous to the
    developing world still under its heel.


    Glossary / 7

    Preface / 15

    Introduction / 19
    Definitions / 19
    How Did the Arab Spring Come About? / 25

    CHAPTER 1:
    Islam, Christianity and Judaism / 32
    Muhammad and Islam 7th–16th Centuries / 32
    Early Islamic Reform  / 41
           sharia/ fiqh, ijtihad/ taqlid, hadd/ ta’zir, maqasid,
           five pillars + jihad, Sufism, politics, economics
    Early Relations between Europe and the Muslim World / 62
    The Ascendancy of Rationalism and Capitalism in the West / 66
    Relations from the Sixteenth Century to ‘Independence’ / 70
                   Turkey, Egypt, Levant, Africa, Saudi Arabia,
                   the Gulf, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia,
                   India, southeast Asia
    Appendix A: Philosophical Debates in Islam / 90
    Appendix B: The ‘Protestant’ Ethic, the Rise of New Ageism and
    Fundamentalism / 92

    CHAPTER 2:
    The genesis of re-emerging Islamic civilization / 108
    Reform from within the Imperialist System / 108
           Wali Allah/ Wahhab/ Afghani/ Abduh
           Political Nationalism / Economic Nationalism                                 
    (Socialism): Constructing a Secular State
                   Independent of the West  
    Relations between Europe and the Muslim World from
    ‘Independence’ to Independence  / 123
    Turkey, Egypt, Levant, Africa, Saudi Arabia,
    the Gulf, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, India/ Pakistan,
    southeast Asia
    Appendix A: Islamic Reformation Calls / 153
    Appendix B: Contemporary Secularists/ Nationalists / 155

    CHAPTER 3:
    The theory of Islamic renewal / 166
    Traditionalists as Holistic Modernists / 168
    Turkey, Egypt, Levant, north Africa, Iran, Pakistan,  southeast Asia,
    the West, converts
    Premodern Revivalists: From Wahhabi to Neo-Wahhabi / 202

    CHAPTER 4:
    20th–21st century experience of Islam in practice / 215
    Turkey, Egypt, Levant, Africa, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, Iran,
    Afghanistan, Central Asia, Pakistan/ India/ Bangladesh, southeast
    Asia, the West
    Appendix: Al-Azhar University in the 1980s–2010s / 267

    CHAPTER 5:
    Contemporary issues in Islam / 277
    Nationalism and the Sunni-Shia Divide / 277
    Jihad vs Terrorism / 282
    Hadd Laws / 287
    Women in Islam and Converts / 290
    Economics / 297
    Appendix: The United Nations Arab Human Development
           Reports / 311

    CHAPTER 6:
    Postsecularism: Muhammad and Marx / 320
           The Dialectic between Revelation and Reason in Islam /
                   the West / 320
           Social Evolution and Islam / 326
    The Caliphate is the Islamic Version of Globalization / 331
    21st Century Ijtihad: Interpreting Sharia in Today’s World / 341

    Bibliography / 353

    Index / 357

Islamic Civilization

/ Eric Walberg

ISBN: 978-0-9853353-8-0
$26.95  2013  369 pp.


E-book Order: $16.00


    "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism is a compelling representation of the current state of the Muslim
    world, positioned within a most illuminating historical exposé. In this sequel to his equally authoritative
    Postmodern Imperialism, Walberg attempts to bridge the East-West gap, not through a reconciliatory
    discourse, but through a critical reading of history. He juxtaposes religion and ideology using a
    methodological and epistemological critique—a style that is both crucial and in some ways, incomparable.
    This volume should serve as a gateway to understanding Islam, and its location in the emerging new political
    dynamics, resulting from the bankruptcy of capitalism, and the lack of any other convincing alternatives.
    Walberg’s book is an essential read—both revealing and very inspiring."
    – Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian-American journalist, author, editor-in-chief of Palestine Chronicle

    "Anti-imperialists need this sort of critical analysis in order to understand whether, to what extent and
    especially how we can work in alliance with different Islamic political movements on common causes."
    David Heap, University of Western Ontario

    "Walberg’s contribution is a welcome addition to a debate that needs to return to mutual respect rather than
    mutual demonization and name-calling. It is a thought-provoking and informative book.
    – Zafar Bangash, Director, Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, Toronto

    "Edward Said's criticism of Orientalism and the postmodernist deconstruction of dominant narratives have
    challenged the traditional ethno-centricity of western historical studies. Walberg's analysis incorporates the
    experiences of the Other in a new dialectical approach to international relations. Brought up in the West, he
    has lived in the East, and is endowed with a cross-civilizational knowledge of the world. Here he describes
    globalization and imperialism from the point of view of Islamic civilization, seeing it as inheriting the role which
    Communism once had as the main opponent of western hegemony, but with important differences that are
    not a derivation of western civilization itself."
    Daniele Scalea, Director of the Rome Institute of Geopolitics (IsAG) and the Italian journal,

    "Eric Walberg sheds a sharply different light on the nature of the imperial world. A convincing argument and
    a must-read for anyone interested in the anatomy of labyrinthine imperialism."
    Dr. Ismail Salami, Visiting Professor, University of Tehran

    "Eric Walberg is one of the most well-read, insightful, articulate and educational writers working in the
    alternative media today...This book is a detailed primer and reference library for understanding Islamic
    history and is divided into key parts: A history of Islam, Christianity and Judaism from the 7th to 16th
    centuries; the re-emergence of Islamic civilization as a reaction to the western imperialist system, with its own
    internal dynamics; a survey of Islam as practiced around the world; an analysis of contemporary issues in
    Islam; and a consideration of Islamic culture in relation to both secular socialism and globalization."
    Richard Wilcox, Rense

    "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization is a gripping and informative
    wake-up call to both sides of the anti-imperial equation, pulling together the many threads that can unite us,
    from Foucault’s “political spirituality,” to the Egyptian revolutionaries’ solidarity with America’s 99%, to the
    American Muslims’ support for the peace and ecology movements."
    William T. Hathaway, Intrepid Report

    "The final section of the work reiterates a positive outlook for Islam and highlights its features that are in
    contrast to western military/financial imperialism:

  • - human life and nature are sacrosanct
  • - war, while ‘human nature’, is strictly circumscribed
  • - usury outlawed
  • - distribution must be equitable (no “too big to fail, too big to prosecute” banks
  • - cultural restraint within moral ethical order
  • - ends do not justify the means (no democracy from a gun-barrel)
  • - umma, as a whole, must enjoin what is right

    It would seem that Islam will emerge from the imperial yoke, ridding itself of the western imposed
    nationalism/financialism/militarism that now overrides them. Today’s violent political Islam is the product of
    imperialism, and a product of the collaborations of the Saudis with the US/Israeli empire. and their al-Qaeda
    affiliates through the Middle East and Northern Africa.

    FROM POSTMODERNISM TO POSTSECULARISM – Re-Emerging Islamic Civilization presents many
    thought provoking ideas, and a well-documented historical and philosophical perspective on Islam. It will be a
    difficult read for westerners with their isolated media view, but at the same time it is an essential perspective
    to look vis a vis changes that are already underway in the western world."
    Jim Miles, The Palestine Chronicle

    "an extensive exposition on Islamic Civilization itself. It covers the whole spectrum of dynasties,
    major episodes and personalities which is why the book should be an important reference for
    students of the civilization."
                                                  Chandra Muzaffar, interview, International Movement for a Just World

    "Walberg's monumental work is required reading for anyone seeking to view current events in their broader
    dimensions. Beyond the current threat of ISIS lie fundamental questions of civilization, which are coming to
    the fore in the standoff between the United States and Russia . . . But beyond the political aspect of the
    standoff lies a cultural chasm, illustrated by Vladimir Putin's rejection of consumerism and vulgarity, that is
    shared by the growing anti-globalization movement as well as the Muslim world that comprises a fifth of
    humanity. ... I believe that if Washington's aggressive policies do not end in a nuclear holocaust, the coming
    world face-off will be cultural: against US-led globalization as the engine that drives what I call vulgarity and
    wich Putin and many other leaders call decadence: the endless promotion of 'stuff' and 'fun' that transforms
    sentient beings into mindless consumers, indifferent to what their governments are doing both to themselves
    and other human beings across the world. And although I have been an atheist since the age of then, I
    believe that Islam will play a major role in that ultimate Great Game."
    Deena Stryker, Op Ed News


    This work is a logical continuation of Postmodern Imperialism, looking more closely at the Islamic project since the founding
    of Islam in the seventh century. It looks at the parallels with past crises in Islamic civilization, which gave impetus to reforms
    and renewal from within, relying on the Quran and hadiths,1 and interprets recent history from the viewpoint of the Muslim
    world, how it sees the imposition on it of western systems and beliefs, and how it views the new shift in forces that the Iranian
    revolution and Arab Spring portend.

    The current Great Game being played in the world by the powers-that-be will come to an end, bang- or whimper-style. The
    gathering banking crisis could lead to collapse of the subjective acceptance of capitalist hierarchy. Picking up the pieces will
    require an appreciation of Islam as a viable system with robust moral/ ethical limits, grounded in community and nature, not
    money and commoditization. Islam, like communism—and unlike capitalism—is not a conspiracy. It openly proclaims itself
    as an alternative socio-economic system which strives to eliminate exploitation. Capitalism, on the contrary, hides the
    surplus produced by society in order that it can be expropriated without causing protest by those who do the producing.

    Understanding Islam as a basis of social organization requires considering first methodology (how we see the world) and
    epistemology (the nature of knowledge and its limits). First, methodology: the most developed critical analysis of capitalism,
    Marx’s theory of abstract capitalism, based on Hegel’s Logic, shows a perfect correspondence of the logic-of-the-
    phenomenon with the phenomenon itself (capitalism), allowing the subject (us) to see the truth of the object, to ‘know’ it,
    though capitalism in history is imperfect (as is Hegel’s Logic in its unfolding in Nature). Marx’s materialism inverted the overly
    idealistic Hegelian theory, focusing on political economy, based on his famous equation “forces of production determine
    relations of production”, positing a revolutionary future where the contradictions of the real world are resolved, based on
    reason. Hegel-Marx stand in sharp contrast to the positivist methodology which has became dominant in the West, putting
    quantitative science above art and morals,2 reducing ‘truth’ to what can be physically measured, consigning art and morals to
    the trashcan.

    Fourteen centuries ago, Muhammad’s revelations presented a vision much like Hegel’s and Marx’s combined, at the same
    time avoiding the degeneration inherent in the modernist project. Like Hegel’s Christian vision, Islam similarly posits an
    immanent God,where subject and object are one, and where through devout religious practice, the object (man) can strive to
    find spiritual truth, to unite with the subject (God)—by following the path laid out in the Quran. Through revelations from Allah
    via the Archangel Gabriel, Muhammad critiqued both past religious practices and past economic and political practices,
    positing a way of life where the contradictions of the real world are resolved, through faith and reason. Just as there is no
    detailed blueprint for communism, there is no detailed blueprint for the “straight path” of Islam. This is something that
    depends on the real world of their time, and how Muslims engage with it.

    Epistemology—what we can know and how—hovers in the background throughout this study. ‘How can we find the truth?’ is
    the crux of the struggle between western civilization and re-emerging Islamic civilization. Matter, the individual, appearance,
    reason confront spirit, society, inner experience, revelation. Those of us educated in the West have a certain mindset which
    inevitably colors the lenses through which we see the world, by which we identify ‘truth’. To understand the world from the
    viewpoint of re-emerging Islamic civilization requires taking off these glasses and looking at the world through different
    lenses, using a different ‘map’. That is the purpose of this book.

    The collapse of the Soviet Union and the fatal weakening of the socialist movement for a better future pushed me to reflect on
    what was missing in Marx, and to investigate what I saw as the strongest force resisting imperialism—Islam.

    Neither life in the Soviet Union, nor life in Islamic societies was/is particularly attractive to someone brought up in the cradle of
    western luxury. But it doesn’t require much investigation to realize that the small proportion of the world’s population who live
    lives of luxury today are born lucky, that for vast majority (the so-called 99%) of the world’s population, the security and
    communal values of both the failed socialist experiment and the ongoing Islamic one have their pluses. And further
    investigation reveals that, regardless of material considerations, there is a spiritual richness in Islam that in many ways is
    unrivaled in other social systems. And I mean ‘social systems’ as opposed to just ‘religions’, because Islam strives to be
    more than just a religion.

    I have been fortunate to live under both these alternative social systems. Both were/are frustrating, defective, messy, far from
    fulfilling their promise, full of hierarchy. But they could be worse. The post-collapse Soviet Union is far worse for most of its
    inhabitants than the defective Soviet way of life. It is hard to imagine a worse fate than being poor and born into Mubarak’s

    My concern in Postmodern Imperialism was to expose the logic of empire and give readers a sense of what the real world
    really looks like. My concern here is to give the reader a glimpse of the sweep of Islamic civilization and to see its re-
    emergence today as a positive development, possibly the most important one for realigning ourselves with Nature, and
    rediscovering humanity’s spiritual evolutionary path.

    There have been many societies in the past where life was far ‘superior’ to western civilization today, and there will be in the
    future. To appreciate alternatives to western civilization requires an open mind and a fresh look at the past. What Islam adds
    to the socialist alternative is a sense of the miracle of life, acknowledgment of our humble part in the universe, without
    abandoning the vital role of reason.
Eric with protesters in Tahrir Square at the
statue of General Abdul Munim Riad who
died in the War of Attrition 1967--1970 (
photo :
Mahmoud Shaban)

Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he
has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s. He has lived in both the Soviet Union
and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a
writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper,
Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to
Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a
commentator on Voice of the Cape radio. His articles appear in Russian, German, Spanish
and Arabic and are accessible at his website Walberg was a moderator and
speaker at the Leaders for Change Summit in Istanbul in
2011. His book,
Postmodern Imperialism, is published in Chinese, Turkish and Russian.