Makkah Al-Mukarramah in the Pan-Islamic Thought of Jamaluddin Al-Afghani
Keywords:Islamic Unity; Pan-Islamism; Afghani; Makkah; Ottomans
This article discusses the importance of Makkah in the pan-Islamic and reformist thought of Afghani. Afghani framed his ideas within the context of his calls for universal Islamic unity, brotherhood and cooperation. As part of his thought, Afghani advocated that the status of Makkah as the Muslim spiritual qiblah or direction be enriched and expanded into the realms of social relations and intellectual awakening as well, thus also becoming a Muslim emotional, social and intellectual qiblah. Afghani juggled his qualified support for the Ottoman Caliphate with his reformist ideas, some of which went down well neither with the upper political echelons nor with some religious leaders in Istanbul. Afghani put forward the idea of establishing an international network of Muslim scholars, activists and even ordinary people, with Makkah functioning as a nerve centre and its annual hajj season an opportunity for regular meetings. He furthermore suggested that mosques and schools throughout Islamdom be converted into centres of teaching, propagating and facilitating Islamic unity, and that Makkah function as the unifying factor and guidance. The discussion of the article is tripartite concentrating on the meaning of Islamic unity in Afghani’s thought, the relationship between the Ottomans, caliphate and Makkah, and the role of Makkah at once as the focal point of Islam and a catalyst for pan-Islamism.