Arab League in Cairo, Egypt. Engraving on wood after a drawing by German artist Wilhelm Ginz (Getty Images)

The great values and principles, which represented a moral cover and an intellectual guide for enlightenment and modernity, constituted one of the ingredients that contributed to the spread of their statements worldwide, thus becoming an element of attraction and temptation for elites and societies.

The modern civilizational model, with its philosophical, cultural and legal background, presented itself as a universal project, carrying in part human values to move man and societies from the position of tradition and the cultural and social patterns that have been governed by them to a situation that elevates the human being, in patterns and systems that recognize his being and grant him the rank of holiness in history, through the foundations of rationality, freedom, individuality, democracy, equality and other key values on which the modernity project is based for the individual man and modern societies mainly.

However, this project, which heralded a number of aspirations for modern man, the outcomes of which have been unfolding for decades, in destructive tendencies for man and societies whose cultural and value foundations and political wills differ from the direction drawn by some of the dominant forces on the tools of civilization production until today, and which lead the world economically, legally, politically and culturally.

Perhaps the conflicts, wars and disputes - in the Muslim world and the sponsorship of colonialism and settlement in the third world as a whole - reveal the extent of the contradictions that the modernization project has carried over the past centuries, and they are not symptoms associated with the conflict of interests and political and military disputes, but rather express a "paradigm" that carries its crisis within it, in other words, the project carries with it the sin of birth at the level of the genes from which it is formed.

Where is this manifested? What are its manifestations at the level of modern history and reality? And how does his hostile and rejectionist view of the other in some of its manifestations with colonialism and against the emancipation, independence and sovereignty of peoples affect the relationship between cultures, peoples and civilizations? More precisely on the relationship between East and West?

The Arab-Islamic deliberative field and modernity. The need for criticism and the necessities of appeal

It does not matter much to stand on the linguistic and terminological connotations of concepts such as the Enlightenment and modernity, which have become commonly used, nor does it matter to enter into an academic description of the cognitive transitions through which the models of modernity and the will of the Enlightenment have passed.

Rather, we are interested here in the foundational aspects that imply fundamental contradictions in the entire project of modernity, which are the aspects with which the Arab and Islamic world interacts, and have been the subject of cultural and intellectual celebration by a group of elites and intellectuals, considering that the means of progress is to experience multiple criticism, and engage in the era by getting rid of heritage and all that Arab culture possesses, because the latter is a self-crisis, and therefore we should take the easy path to achieve progress.

Critics have paid close attention - after the defeat of June with the second generation of pioneers of Arab renaissance thought - to heritage as a factor that should be worked on, and return to it to criticize it in the horizon of transcending it, and then it is possible to count a number of intellectual and cultural studies in the field of Arab deliberative that have been preoccupied with criticism of heritage, a criticism that oscillates between extremism in criticism with ideological tools and not mostly scientific, which leads to its abolition, due to the negative position on it, or moderate criticism that works to synthesize between The spirit of the times, and the enlightened aspects of heritage.

However, what should be emphasized is that most of these studies have not been critically preoccupied with modernity much, or that they have been preoccupied with them from a position of absolute adoption, without a real critical dialogue about them, except in a few intellectual and philosophical theses.

Or quite the opposite, where the preoccupation with it was out of total rejection of it, with a background dominated by a mostly emotional dimension, or subject to the context of resistance to the colonial West and its cultural values, assuming absolute rejection and sharp contradiction between Islam and modernity, and that Islam does not need enlightenment or renewal, and that the way forward is to return to Islam.

This is in fact alienated from the times, and some of the proponents of the hypothesis of complete rejection were not based on epistemological aspects that provide a conscious critical reading of the crisis of modernity, and thus give the Islamic civilizational dimension the possibility of resuming what makes a creative link between the bright Islamic cultural heritage and its values, and the current era.

The power devoid of morals and devoid of values, reaches its peak with the hostility of man, life and nature, and then begins to decompose and collapse, as the major transformations in the course of civilizations, cultures and peoples, were moral, and whatever countries possess the tools of technology and progress, the abstraction of moral scruples is an indicator of the beginning of the decline

Colonialism of the Islamic world was the most important factor that fueled rejection, and obscured the process of conscious criticism of the modernity project, and then the twentieth century formed direct resistance to colonialism, so culture was one of the aspects of resistance and rejection of everything that comes from the other side, which means that colonialism is one of the obstacles that prevent the process of education based on mutual dialogue between the cultures of peoples and their civilizational specificities.

Similarly, the vision - which was formed after the Western world introduced the contexts of modernity to the Arab and Islamic world - represented an inferior and exclusionary view, a cover for colonialism and a justification for it, under the pretext of separating the civilized and uncivilized world.

Perhaps the popular discourse in occupied Palestine today is a return to these old narratives and a collective mobilization in a language based on complete separation, which puts the West to the test of contradictions in philosophy and the model that governs its vision of relations between peoples and cultures, and the view of the other.

When we look at this view of the West, it becomes clear what is true of it and how it views the East, as colonialism and the desire to dominate with the tools of deadly violence are one of the most ugly aspects that accompanied the project of modern progress. Controlling with soft tools, controlling the destinies and choices of peoples, and dissolving their cultural and symbolic capabilities constitute moral violence and a rejection of the other and what he internals, but rather a rejection of diversity, pluralism and difference, and the quest to impose a single global vision, which is certainly the vision of the West.

Here it can be said according to the imperatives of history: that the power devoid of morals and devoid of values, reaches its peak with hostility to man, life and nature, and then begins to decompose and collapse, as the major transformations and in the course of civilizations, cultures and peoples, were moral, and no matter how much countries possess the tools of technology and progress, the deprivation of moral scruples is an indicator of the beginning of decline.

As for the East, what it encompasses at the level of its symbolic and cultural values is a creative motive for the resumption of renaissance and civilization, based on a return to its true self and identity with the spirit of the times.

Therefore, this is a way out for the whole of humanity from the tendency of destruction through physical aggression against man and life, and the moral dismantling of cultural values, the values of instinct that triumph for man, preserve his dignity and freedom, and achieve his humanity, thus creating a new paradigm, which major events can contribute to strengthening, and allowing him to be created on the ruins of the old sharp perceptions of the West.

Jerusalem and the question of Palestine have consistently inspired Arab and Islamic civilizational awareness throughout history by resuming the cycle of civilization and radiance again, and a new liberation of urbanism and man in the entire region. But this time it carries with it a revealing mirror of the predicament of modernity, enlightenment and progress backed by the decaying power of morality, that is, beyond the world of Arabs and Muslims.

The predicament of enlightenment and modernity. Absolute sovereignty of reason and atrophy of moral sense

From the 17th century until the present moment, reason has governed the way of thinking about the modes of modernity and the projects on which it is based, these projects produce a pattern of thinking and living, but at the same time these projects have put religion aside with its moral scruples without having any real role in shaping these perceptions and philosophies.

Rationality was indeed a liberation from the constraint of oppression that was multiplied by free thought and criticism, but at the same time there was no adequate control and protection to ensure that it did not fall into sharp extremes, which brought with it problems for the future, which are the countless pains that humanity is experiencing today.

These pains result from falling into the moral caveat, where man has been obsessed with progress and sovereignty over man and nature through the excessive employment of the mind without protection or moral motives, which govern and control this power that he possesses, so that it is not destructive to man, nature and the world in which we live.

Therefore there is no problem with the mind, but it is the fairest division among men, and one of the sanctities that one possesses, and it is one of the elements of the uniqueness that is singled out from the beings below him. But relying on it alone and destroying the rest of the actors in the production of meaning, the interpretation of relationships and the development of systems, made man a prisoner of these desires, subject to them, carrying out what they dictate to him without deterrence.

Thus, the mind that liberated a number of societies in a period of time, its bad employment - and what it produced in the fields of technology and economics and the justification of the possession of destructive power and the absence of morality - led to the fall of human societies under domination and control with the market system and its ruthless and immoral values.

From this point of view, wars and the extermination of man and societies have become commonplace, with the ability to justify this. This has been since the migration of the Puritans to America and the extermination of the American Indians there, and then the continuation of the colonial and imperialist tide, of which Palestine is the last perennial colonial phenomenon and prominent manifestations since that era.

Of course, before that, with the two world wars that claimed the lives of millions of people, together they can be considered an authentic expression of a crisis caused by a horrible in the system of enlightenment and modernity, which made progress its goal without setting moral controls and values for it, placing the "honored man" at the heart of this progress.

In conclusion: What has been happening in the Arab and Islamic context for three continuous centuries of colonialism - since Napoleon's horses set foot in Al-Azhar Mosque until the present moment - is in fact a struggle over two grounds and models, in which colonialism embodies hard power, matched by a continuous rejection and resistance to subordination and submission to various forms of resistance.

On the other hand, the West is trying to control soft tools, by dismantling the cultural complex of civilization and causing a division at the level of consciousness. The Arab context has always been in constant engagement with manifestations of enlightenment and modernity, sometimes coming on the back of a tank, and sometimes through cultural media.

These contradictions inherent in the Western model – between its desire for hegemony and the use of power and control on the one hand, and its desire to preserve its image and enlightened statements of human rights and freedoms on the other – make the modern philosophy of progress far from moral and ethical motives and face a real crisis.

This crisis he is facing gives us strength to criticize this model and to question its full legitimacy and sincerity when it comes to the civilized East, which has been seeking to resume for three centuries.

The current context and the current scene we are facing, which is a context of major moral, philosophical and moral collapses, make us face the need to return to the Arab and Islamic self. A return with a double critique and inspiration from various experiences and premises for the future; the future of humanity as a whole is in the lap of morality, not outside of it or disavowed from it.