The aim of the paper is to emphasize the specific features of Islam which distinguish it from other great civilizations of the contemporary world and which cause that Islam is treated like a separate formation different from the others regardless of the fact whether you look at it from the eastern or western part of the world. The analysis conducted by the author has a textual character and refers directly to the most important thoughts included in the book by Edward Said 'Orientalism' and especially - in the light of his critical approach to the methodology of research concerning extra - European civilizations. He indicates the essence of this criticism which has its source in the deficit of demand for reliable analysis of the phenomenon of Orient - so varied and - yet so different from the West. The author draws two conclusions: 1) Islam is an indirect hybrid-like civilization, oriental in its nature yet in the form similar to Mediterranean tradition which is close to the West ; 2) Islam like the West and unlike the other civilizations of Asia is a complete formula which is not only a religion but also a complete legal and state system in which religion is an instrument to keep social order. The West would cease to be the West if it stopped protecting individual human rights. Similarly, Islam would melt away if it stopped protecting its dominant principle of class-free formula of justice and its rigorous law of shariat which shapes everyday life of a pious Muslim. The author concludes that it is this complete but anti-western legal system which forms the major barrier for including the Muslim areas of Africa and Asia in the process of globalization.
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