Islam has divine sources – the Quran and the Sunnah. But its functioning as a religion strongly depends on human and social factors. The way in which we get an idea of Islam, the Quran and the Sunnah depends on which preachers and books we learn about them from, and also on which scientists we are asking for clarification.

Now let’s look at the situation of European Muslims and the call of Europeans to Islam from this, practical point of view.

There is no doubt that Salafism played a very important role in the adoption of Islam by many Europeans. Or we can say – the understanding of Islam, which was defined in Saudi Arabia, because often its representatives do not want to call themselves Salafis. Bilal Phillips, Zakir Naik, Abdurahman Green, Pierre Vogel and many other representatives of this direction – tens of thousands of people from all over the world, including Europeans, have accepted Islam through them.

Now let’s see what are the reasons for the success of the Salafi movement. Partly this is its simplicity and ability to give simple understanding and rules of religion. We do not say that they are correct, but it was the simplicity of the Salafi approach that helped many people to prefer Islam to other religions that seemed complex and contradictory to them. However, a huge role in the success of the Salafi dawah was played by it’s support of the Saudi kingdom, which for decades distributed millions of petrodollars for these purposes. This consisted of translations, publication and distribution of literature, free education of students and preachers, the opening and support of Islamic centers. All this helped Salafism to spread even in those parts of the Islamic world where it never existed and where there was a different understanding of Islam, but lacking such financial resources like in Albania and Bosnia.

But the time for the success of the Salafi dawah in the West is coming to an end. Among other points, for two reasons. The first is the dramatic changes in Saudi Arabia itself. The era of oil is already over, this country is forced to modernize. What does it mean, first, cutting costs and channeling all funds for the development of their country, and secondly, changing attitudes to many issues. Saudi Arabia is becoming more modern, more liberal, resolving many things that have been banned for decades. Accordingly, the authorities not only will not support those scientists and preachers who are in favor of these prohibitions, but will gradually abandon them and replace them with others. Consequently, the training of their students and the production of their religious materials will also gradually cease. The second reason is Western states and societies, the farther away, the more they will begin to oppose such an understanding of Islam, which is accompanied by Salafism and similar directions. This will include the closure of their centers, the prohibition of foreign financing, the prohibition on the entry of their preachers, etc. Moreover, the Saudi authorities themselves will soon be helping them in all this. The same is expected by similar movements like Deobandi and Barelvi, preaching the segregation of Muslims from Western culture.

Now consider other sources of development of Islam among Europeans. For example, different Sufi tariqas and movements. Some of them also achieved considerable success in calling Europeans to Islam. In addition, although their followers among European converts are less than followers of the Salafite call, some Sufi tariqas and movements succeeded in creating cohesive communities due to the fact that they have living teachers in the form of sheikhs and their representatives on the ground.

However, the possibilities of the Sufi groups and the Tariqah are incomparable with the mass Dawah supported by the states, especially when they had the opportunity to do so. For this reason, and also because they are focused on their inner environment, the tariqas can not replace the Salafi dawah when it decays. In addition, Sufi leaders, like Salafi leaders, tend to isolate their followers from European converts from European Muslims who do not follow their direction or their sheikh. They do not prioritize the development of Islam among Europeans, on the contrary, for them, European converts are just mining, replenishing their ranks. Therefore, they educate them so that their foreign associates are closer to them than European Muslims of another direction or tariqa.

The same can be said about the branches of Islamic political parties and movements of the Arab world or official structures of foreign states present in non-European diasporas. For them, European converts are prey, fresh blood or agents of influence, and not those who need help to stand on their own feet and assert Islam in these countries.

Thus, the strategic prospects of indigenous European Muslims can not be linked to any of these forces. Although they have made a significant contribution to the spread of Islam among Europeans, now European Muslims have reached adulthood when they can and must come out of their care. European Muslims can neither rely on the eternal help of foreign Islamic centers and movements, nor be eternal hostages to their policies and interests.

In this case, instead of rejecting all their achievements, we need to use the best of their experience. From Salafis — to take their culture and experience of street dawah, the accessible spread of Islam. From tariqas – their ability to create cohesive communities. From movements and parties – the participation of European Muslims in the social processes and discussions of their countries. Now all these activities are under the control of external forces, which confront each other in the European arena. While the European Muslim movement is interested in subordinating them to the purposes of spreading and developing Islam among Europeans and consolidating European Muslims working in different spheres and different methods on the basis of belonging to one religion and nation.

Independence and unity instead of dependence and disunity – this is what we need.


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