Author: Saadut
•3:06 PM

Indian film writer Javed Akhtar, who is often promoted by the Indian media to speak on Muslim issues, recently claimed “The term ‘Muslim Ummah’ is a myth, its delusional”

Sadly Mr Javed Akhtar not only has zilch knowledge of Islam, which he pretends to speak about, he is also often presented by the Indian media as someone representing Indian Muslims on their channels. Mr. Javed Akhter is a self proclaimed atheist, but that is none of our concern. What pains us is that this gentleman, like many other namesake Muslims promoted by Indian media, without any basic knowledge of Islamic faith are used as ‘secular nationalistic parrots’ on TV channels to defile and defame Muslims. And like him there are other known ‘secular nationalistic parrots’ who pimp their version of ‘Indian Islam’ for the convenience of own careers in India. What Mr. Javed Akhtar calls “myth and delusional” has foundations in the basic concept of Islam, a religion which he clearly has no knowledge of. The problem with Indian Muslims is hence two fold;

1) A backlash from resurgent Hindu nationalism that is aided by the state which is indifferent to Muslims (a recent report pointed that the living standards Indian Muslims was worst among all religions / communities in India) and

2) Bad portrayal of Islam by these self assuming ‘Muslim namesake experts’ who have for long been ignoring and hiding the real problems faced by Indian Muslims. Such experts are using their self pinned ‘Secular Progressive Muslim’ medallions as a pass for career advancements in India.


"Verily this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other)" (Qur'an 21:92)

Islam has always preached the oneness of humans, breaking caste, creed, geographic and national barriers. Since Islam unites all people under one faith it is called ‘the religion of unity’. The Islamic concept of ‘Ummah’ differs from the political concept of ‘nationality’. Since a nation is a political and geographic entity, its citizens are bound by this political and geographic boundaries labelled as ‘nationalism’.
Nationalism is often related to geographic citizenship involving allegiance to a geographic political state. For example a citizen owing recognized allegiance to India will subscribe to Indian nationalistic identity however as soon as an Indian origin person migrates to the west and assumes a western citizen identity, he sheds his Indian nationalistic identity while adopting the new one. Since nation is purely a political concept, nationalistic allegiances in such cases do not remain static but become dynamic with the change of political geography.
However this is not the case of ‘Ummah’. ‘Ummah’ exceeds far above political or geographic boundaries, including people who share a single belief, who subscribe to a single faith, whatever geographical, political or administrative unit they may be living under. While a Muslim will be required to change his nationality while migrating between different geographic and political nations, he will continue to be under the one Muslim identity called ‘Ummah’. Similarly a Hindu migrating from India to USA may change his national identity but will retain his religious one, from an Indian Hindu to an American Hindu.
People often mistake sub-nationalism in political nations, especially in Islamic countries, as a discord between Muslims. But these fights are mostly between political or ethnic orders rather than fights between Muslims (except for where Muslims may be fighting an oppressor). Hence the fragmentation of ‘Ummah’ (where believers coexist) is not possible.

“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Al Qur’an 6:159]

Since Islam stands for the unity of all believers, seeing their origin from a single ‘Aaadam’ and ‘Havaa’ (Adam & Eve), ‘Ummah’ comprises all Muslims throughout the world. One practical example of this one ‘Ummah’ is when during prayers in mosques, all castes, creed and color stand shoulder to shoulder in rows and kneel before one God. Or when during the annual pilgrimage of Hajj all nationalities, ethnicities gather wearing the same ‘Ahraam’ robes and perform the same religious rituals as a single Muslim entity, the ‘Ummah’.
Incidentally Arabic word ‘Ummah’ translates into a community, (also a nation or a group) bound by some basic commonality (like faith). The word ‘Ummah’ is mentioned forty nine times in the Holy Quran while the word ‘One Ummah’ is mentioned nine times.

"The believers are but a single brotherhood /sisterhood" (Qur'an 49:10).

Narrated Anas: The Prophet (SAW) said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself."  (Sahi Bukhari 1.12)

Suggest that the likes of Mr. Javed Akhtar study well before commenting on things they have little knowledge about. They surely don’t represent the ones whose belief they don’t share.

Ek hi saff mein khade ho gaye Mahmood-O-Ayaz ; Na koi banda raha aur na koi bandaa nawaz. 
(When was the last time Mr Javed Akhtar stood in this 'saff' to get a glimpse of 'Ummah'?)

21st Aug, 2013

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