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Islam and Sectarianism (22 Oct 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Cultural Identity: Committing Violence and Causing Bloodbath In The Name Of Cultural Identity Is Not Approved By the Quran


By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

22 October 2019

The renewed and intensified hostility between the Turks and the Kurds in the backdrop of Syrian civil war has once again brought to the fire the bitter reality that cultural identity is more important to nations than their religious identity. This truth has time and again been reiterated by the behaviour of ethnic groups all over the world. The Kurds are not the only ethnic group who are caught in the web of cultural identity and this behaviour is not the characteristic of Muslim groups alone. Japan's 220 year Self-imposed Isolation (Sakoku) was also a fall out of the fear that foreign influence may damage the culture of Japan. But this behaviour among Muslim ethnic groups is disappointing because, though Islam recognizes diversity of race, language and culture, it associates utmost importance to unity in religious lines. The Quran says:

"O people, we created you from a man and a woman and made nations and tribes among you so that you may recognize one another. The most Noble in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you."(Al Hujurat: 13)

Thus, taking pride in one's culture and ethnicity is permissible in Islam to the extent that it does not sacrifice religious unity. Righteous is the criterion of superiority and committing violence and causing bloodbath in the name of cultural identity is not approved by the Quran.

The Kurds are an ancient ethnic group who inhabit parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey have their own language, dress code, food habit and customs. Majority of them. They take pride in their glorious past as the great warrior king Sultan Salahuddin Aiyubi belonged to the Kurd community. However, they lost power and could not establish their own nation state. Though they succeeded to acquire an autonomous region in Iraq called Kurdistan, their dream is to establish Greater Kurdistan comprising their population in all the four countries.

After the dissolution of Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, Mustafa Kamal stressed on the consolidation of Turk national and cultural identity which bordered on the suppression of Kurd cultural identity. They were called 'Mountain Turks' and Turk language and culture was thrust upon them. Kurdish language, names and dress code was banned. Though both the Turks and the Kurds were largely Muslims, the clash of cultural identities created a human crisis in the region. Religion failed to bind them together as cultural identity acquired greater importance to them. The clash of cultures intensified in the 70s as Kurd revolutionary groups emerged and fought for their cultural rights. Instead of accepting their just demands, the Turk government adopted suppressive measures broadening the divide. During the Syrian civil war, the US exploited the Kurds by promising them assistance in the establishment of greater Kurdistan after the territory captured by the ISIS is evacuated. However, when the political mission of the US in the region was over, it withdrew from the region leaving the Kurds at the mercy of Turkey. It shows how clash of cultural identities turned two Muslim ethnic groups into foes.

Another example of culture playing the role of divider is the Balochistan crisis. The Baloch ethnic group lives in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They have a distinct culture and have been at war with Pakistan as they consider themselves an independent nation though they are Muslims and politically they are a part of an Islamic country. The biased economic policies of Pakistan have only intensified the sense of 'otherness' among them. But the pride in their Baloch identity is at the root of this crisis. They are said to be the descendants of Hazrat Amir Hamza, uncle of Prophet Mohammad pbuh.

The Kashmiris are yet another victim of this cultural supremacism. They take pride in their skin colour and their Israelite and Greek ancestry. Though they belong to the Muslim community, their sense of cultural supremacism did not allow them to mix with the larger Muslim community of the Indian sub-continent living in their self imposed ghetto for centuries. The proof that cultural affinity and common ancestry binds communities more strongly than religion lies in the fact that the Kashmiris Muslims lived more happily with the Kashmiri Pundits and under a Hindu king but never wanted to mix with the larger Muslim and Hindu community of India. On the other hand, Hindus and Muslims of India live harmoniously because of the same cultural affinity despite having serious religious differences. The crisis in which the Kashmiri people are in today is the result of their deep-rooted cultural supremacism.

The peaceful co-existence of the majority Jews and the minority Muslims in the Jewish state of Israel is yet another example of cultural roots and common ancestry being a greater binding force which renders religious differences ineffective. In Israel, about 18 percent of population is Muslim. Still no serious religious strife between the two communities is reported, though internationally the two communities see each other as their arch enemies as some long standing disputes exist between them. The Muslims there have assimilated themselves into the social and cultural fabric of Israel. This has been easy for them as both the Jews and Arab has roots and common history. Most importantly, the Israeli Jews call Israeli Muslims their cousins because the Jews and Muslims are descendants of Prophets Jacob and Ismail respectively who were the sons of Abraham.

More examples of cultural identity and common ancestry playing a greater role in the formation of collective human behaviour can be found in the world. Cultural roots are more deeply entrenched in collective psyche of ethnic groups than religious roots. The reason may be that religions can be shifted or changed but cultural roots can't. However, ethnic groups closing themselves in self created ghettos and repulsing the light of development and modernisation for fear of cultural invasion are modern counterparts of Aborigines if Australia and Africa or tribes of Andaman & Nicobar.

S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-sectarianism/s-arshad,-new-age-islam/cultural-identity--committing-violence-and-causing-bloodbath-in-the-name-of-cultural-identity-is-not-approved-by-the-quran/d/120059

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   11


  • Narrowmindedness, extremism, superstition is not the problems of Muslims alone but also of Hindu society.
    This comment is  not proper in this context. You tactfully avoided the main point in my letter.I as a Hindu  can go beyond Gita/upnishad etc.In Hindu tradition No book / man/saint/Avathar etc is supreme. New addition is always welcome.In spite of  innumrable obstacles we are making progress.
    .let us close any furtherdiscussion on this topic.Thank you very much.

    By Dr.A.Anburaj - 10/26/2019 9:31:19 PM



  • Hadith supports the same that Quran is absolutely the words of God.
    Abu Hurayra said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to say when he went to bed, 'O Allah, Lord of the heavens and the earth, and Lord of all things, Splitter of the grain and seeds, the One who sent down the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur'an! I seek refuge with You from every evil. You take by the forelock. You are the Outward, and there is nothing above You. You are the Inward and there is nothing below You. Pay my debts for me and keep me safe from poverty.'"
    حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَنَا وُهَيْبٌ، قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَنَا سُهَيْلُ بْنُ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ‏:‏ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ إِذَا أَوَى إِلَى فِرَاشِهِ‏:‏ اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ، وَرَبَّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ، فَالِقَ الْحَبِّ وَالنَّوَى، مُنْزِلَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنْجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ، أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ كُلِّ ذِي شَرٍّ أَنْتَ آخِذٌ بِنَاصِيَتِهِ، أَنْتَ الأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَيْءٌ، وَأَنْتَ الْآخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَيْءٌ، وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ، وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ، اقْضِ عَنِّي الدَّيْنَ، وَأَغْنِنِي مِنَ الْفَقْرِ‏.‏
    The extract above is from Sahih (Al-Albani), English reference: book 50, hadith 1212, Arab reference: book 1, hadith 1212.
    The phrase, O Allah..Lord of the heavens and the earth..and Lord of all things..the One who sent down the Torah..the Gospel and the Quran, here implies God is the one that sent down the Torah, the Gospel and Quran to Muslims.  As this phrase implies God is the one to send down Torah, the Gospel and Quran, it implies that hadith supports Torah and the Gospel are truly the word of God.  Not only that, this phrase implies Quran is also the word of God too. 
    The same is in Quran 9:111 as below:
    At-Tauba (The Repentance) - 9:111  [read in context]
    إِنَّ اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُواْ بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (9:111)
    Basit -   Hussari -   Minshawi -  f
    Inna Allaha ishtara mina almumineena anfusahum waamwalahum bianna lahumu aljannata yuqatiloona fee sabeeli Allahi fayaqtuloona wayuqtaloona waAAdan AAalayhi haqqan fee alttawrati waalinjeeli waalqurani waman awfa biAAahdihi mina Allahi faistabshiroo bibayAAikumu allathee bayaAAtum bihi wathalika huwa alfawzu alAAatheemu
    Topics discussed in this Verse:
    [Allah's Covenant] [Believers:Allah has purchased of them] [Fighting (and striving) in the ca'use of Allah] [Gospel] [Martyrdom] [Property and wealth] [Qur'an] [Tawrah (the Law)]
    BEHOLD, God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return, ,[and so] they fight in God's cause, and slay, and are slain: a promise which in truth He has willed upon Himself in [the words of] the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Qur'an. And who could be more faithful to his covenant than God? Rejoice, then, in the bargain which you have made with Him: for this, this is the triumph supreme! - 9:111 (Asad) -
    The phrase, God..has willed upon Himself in [the words of] the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Qur'an, here implies God is the author of the Torah and the Gospel and the Quran since He is the one has willed upon himself in the words of Torah and the Gospel and the Quran.
    As Torah and the Gospel are also the word of God, there is no reason to ban Torah and the Gospel in Muslim countries.
    By zuma - 10/25/2019 10:23:23 PM



  • Mr Anburaj, perhaps I could not convey myself properly. As Muslims, we believe in the Quran that's why we weigh our ideas and beliefs on the scale of Quran. That was to your o he tiin regarding the approach of Islamic authors here. You talked of Rig Veda. How many Hindus today discuss Vedas or Upanishads? Though I personally believe that Upanishads are a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom. Hindus give more importance to eoics like Ramayana and Mahabharata because they tell interesting stories. They have abandoned the Vedas or the Upanishads though they corroborate Quran and Bible in the topic of the nature of God. You talk of openness and blame Muslims of blinkers on their eye but at least among us, forums like this are doing their own job to reform their society and at the same time making efforts towards interfaith discourse. Narrowmindedness, extremism, superstition is not the problems of Muslims alone but also of Hindu society. 
    By Arshad - 10/25/2019 4:34:23 AM



  • Dear Mr.Arshad,
    Thank you very much for your  kind  clarification.A horse with blinker on its eye is useful to drive cart.But for our  intelligence, blinkers do great harm.Physics /chemistry/ Medicine/knows no last Prophet/ scientist.Similarly for religion which is science of soul ,no last Prophet /scientist is possible. Anyone who refuses to submit his ideas to the test of free discussion,is more in love with his own opinion than with truth.The concept  of Final word of God is Koran / final Prophet is Mohammed  is the cause  for the maladice inflicted Muslim society.Let Noble thoughts come to us from everyside -Rig veda. Rig Vedic Teaching is a torch which is urgently needed to all particularly Muslims. If the blinker is not removed,Muslims could never see/realise the truth.

    By Dr.A.Anburaj - 10/25/2019 2:27:13 AM



  • Muslims should rely on Quran since it is the word of God.
    At-Tauba (The Repentance) - 9:111  [read in context]
    إِنَّ اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُواْ بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (9:111)
    Basit -   Hussari -   Minshawi -  f
    Inna Allaha ishtara mina almumineena anfusahum waamwalahum bianna lahumu aljannata yuqatiloona fee sabeeli Allahi fayaqtuloona wayuqtaloona waAAdan AAalayhi haqqan fee alttawrati waalinjeeli waalqurani waman awfa biAAahdihi mina Allahi faistabshiroo bibayAAikumu allathee bayaAAtum bihi wathalika huwa alfawzu alAAatheemu
    Topics discussed in this Verse:
    [Allah's Covenant] [Believers:Allah has purchased of them] [Fighting (and striving) in the ca'use of Allah] [Gospel] [Martyrdom] [Property and wealth] [Qur'an] [Tawrah (the Law)]
    BEHOLD, God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return, ,[and so] they fight in God's cause, and slay, and are slain: a promise which in truth He has willed upon Himself in [the words of] the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Quran. And who could be more faithful to his covenant than God? Rejoice, then, in the bargain which you have made with Him: for this, this is the triumph supreme! - 9:111 (Asad) - 
    The phrase, He has willed upon Himself in [the words of]..the Quran, here implies Quran is the word of God that he has willed upon himself.  As Quran is the word of God, all Muslims should conform to the word that is written in Quran instead of rebelling against it.  To rebel against the book of Quran is simply to rebel against God, since Quran is the word from him.
    By zuma - 10/23/2019 7:46:06 PM



  • Mr Anburaj, I really appreciate your comment because it is an unbiased analysis of this website. Since you are a regular reader of this portal you might also have realised that this website aims Reformation within the Muslim community and tries to remove misconceptions about true Islam. This website also tried to present the true picture of Islam but the basic purpose is Reformation and introspection. In this sense this website is different from other hundreds of Islamic websites. Since there are many sects, schools of thought ND ideologies within Islam and some of them preach beliefs that are  supupuourtueud neither by Quran nor Hadith,the yardstick that this website has adopted is the Quran and hadiths. Otherwise there will be as many beliefs as there are Ulama.sSo thekeeping the discussion within the purview of Quran and Hadith ensures that all the sects will agree or at least will not openly disagree. Even at this platform, you see that authors don't agree on a point though arguments are given from the Quran and Hadith. Because their beliefs have been deeply itched in their psyche. You may also refer to my articles in which I have presented a comparative study of the Vedas, Upanishads and Quran on certain topics for a better understanding. 
    By Arshad - 10/23/2019 2:45:45 AM



  •  I am a regular reader of this  Web. All authors who contribute articles weigh any concepts,ideas etc on the scale of Koran. 1.It is not mentioned in Koran 2.It is not approved by Quran-This two sentences are freely used by all. Is Koran collection of all wisdom with infinite pages ? There is an aphorism in Tamil.If the father horse jumps 10 meters , the son horse must jump 30 meters.If the son horse jumps more than father horse, the father horse will be happy and proud of his son. Muslims must  drop that Pro. Mohammed is the last Prophet and Koran  is the final word of God. This is stagnation.This notion  blinking the normal intellectual growth  of Muslims/Arabians.
    Growth and innovation are the true sign of vitality and life.We must create new ..new .new..

    By Dr.A.Anburaj - 10/23/2019 1:58:37 AM



  • Even Jinnah, inspired by Turkish and English nationalism, tried to force Urdu on Bengalis and the result is well known.
    By SatishB - 10/23/2019 12:04:10 AM



  • After the US left the Kurds, now they are ho bobbing with Israel and have comicated matters. Their cultural identity has done them harm. For a Kurdistan, they have put their existence at stake and for this dream they are playing in the hands of foes. They have proved to be inadept at politics.
    By Arshad - 10/22/2019 6:58:01 PM



  • For Homo Sapiens, territoriality is a much more deeply ingrained instinct than either religion or ethnicity.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/22/2019 9:03:34 AM



  • Kashmiris are yet another victim of this cultural supremacism. They take pride in their skin colour and their Israelite and Greek ancestry. wrong.Arabian zealots/jingoists seeks to destroy all cultures and establish Arab culture which is projected / practiced by Pr.Mohammed. This is the root cause of all maladies that prevail in Kashmir. This notion explains the large exodus of Hindus from Kashmir valley. Israel is a demoratic country- ballot paper made government rules Israel.But Islam believes in Sword. Any one who weilds the sword forcefully occupies the thrown.If another Hero capable of more power emerges, the former King gets killed and the young Hero becomes the king. Muslims must opt for ballot paper made government.Else doom doom .... only.
    By Dr.A.Anburaj - 10/22/2019 3:17:50 AM



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