In this paper, Dr Kalim Siddiqui takes a historical approach to understanding the fundamental intellectual problem facing Muslims today: the reasons for the decline of Islamic civilisation from the standards established by the Prophet (ﷺ) and his rightly-guided successors, and the processes by which this decline can be reversed by the Ummah today.
He does this by examining the very different historical experiences of the two major intellectual and theological traditions in Islam: the Sunni and the Shi’i. He points out that both erred early in their history, resulting in the Ummah’s historical deviation from the Islamic path, but that while today Sunnis remain in the political wilderness, the Shi’is of Iran have, through a process of political ijtihad culminating in the work of Imam Khomeini, succeeded in bringing about an Islamic revolution aimed at establishing a prototype Islamic socio-political order in the modern world. By tracing the reasons for these divergent experiences, Dr Siddiqui aims to place Iran’s Islamic Revolution in the broader context of Islamic history and enable its essence to be understood outside the Shi’I context of Iran’s particular experience.
Dr Kalim Siddiqui (1931 – 1996) was Director of the Muslim Institute, London, and Leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain. As one of the leading intellectuals of the global Islamic movement, he was committed to helping generate an ‘intellectual revolution’ in Islamic social and political thought which could lay the foundations for a future Islamic civilisation and world order.