American Islam and the Marginalization of South Asian Culture – Part 5

June 28, 2007  |  Thoughts

Wahabi Arabic Hegemony and the Andalusian Ideal

As we have demonstrated, the largest factor of this South Asian marginalization seems to be the self-hating nature of South Asians towards their own culture. Nothing of worth was integrated into American Islam because South Asian’s had nothing to bring. While we have provided a few small examples of the rich South Asian cultural and religious legacy which has not had the opportunity to contribute to the American Islamic project (except immigrants wearing Kurta and selling Samosas), the discussion over *why* larger amounts of native and immigrant South Asians ran from their spiritual and cultural heritage has still not taken place. In fact, it would be a clear oversight in this discussion to lose sight of the influences of anti-cultural or Arabization ideologies on South Asians themselves.

The overwhelming power of the decline of a Muslim South Asian culture can be attributed to the viewpoint of ethnically Arab and linguistic Arabic superiority in religion. This idolization of the foreign necessitates an eventual and automatic rejection of native culture. This concept is represented excellently in an article on “Ethnic Culture Versus Islam”. While the article is specifically addressing Malay’s, the beliefs of a large group of religious South Asian and non-Arabs have been the same. The article at one point states the crux of the problem:

That is why our brand of Islam is the same as in India and we find some differences when comparing our practices to that of the Middle Eastern Muslims.

The nation at that time owed their loyalty to the Sultans. When the Sultans converted to Islam the nation followed suit without any questions asked. They became Muslims due to the tradition of loyalty to the Sultans rather than because they were committed to the religion.

Here alone was reason enough for the weak following of the religious principles. The people were just doing what the Sultan asked. The old cultures and traditions were retained and practiced side-by-side with Islam. The early Malay Muslims were one confused lot of people and, to some extent, this confusion still remains.

The preference for Middle Eastern countries and their interpretation of Islam is a universally adopted one by those suffering from the inferiority complex. Various excuses are presented to help further marginalize the faith of “simple” non-Arabs. The article quoted attempts to discredit the rational faculty of non-Arabs who apparently were, in the authors view, peons and simpletons without any desire or say in their own faith. The view that non-Arabs had no real reason for choosing Islam other than “that is what the ruler did” shows a lack of awareness of the established sainthood and scholarship of these regions (see: Part 4).

Although non-Arabs are often painted as those who accepted the faith of Islam without any real reason for adherence, interestingly enough, it seems that it was exactly these non-Arab areas which survived harsh pressures to leave and silence their religion. The examples are abound in history and modern times: Chechnya, China, Myanmar, and India. These are cultures that faced entire extinction of their faith (and themselves along with it). In fact, it was these non-Arab countries where the most difficult challenges were met against non-Muslims with an unyielding and consistent clinging to the faith and tradition of Islam. It is interesting to note that the fact:

Although the Chagatai Khanate and the Golden Horde both established themselves in regions already inhabited by Muslims, their invasions of Central Asia and Russia, respectively, did not have the catastrophic effect on the native Islamic faith that the Mongol invasion of Persia and Iraq had.

-The Islamic World to 1600 / The University of Calgary

So, when the Mongols crashed into Iraq and razed Baghad, the faith was deprecated and Buddhism replaced the religion of the land.

Yet, when Russian communists eliminated all religious practice, where study of Islam was punishable by imprisonment or death, Muslims kept a strong love for the faith in their hearts through spiritual and traditional practices. When Muslims in India faced massacre and Hindu mobs, they died holding onto their faith. When the Chinese Hui faced being alienated by their own people and suffered through horrible attacks, they still kept close to Islam. Certainly all these groups did not survive by clinging to mere printed letters of Arabic texts or love of their contemporary Arabs (who were nowhere to be found when it came to these events). Rather, they kept to the developed tradition of Islam as they understood it, and not once did they consider it second to that of the Arab people. So is this the story of a people who built a civilization, a lifestyle and a culture intertwined with their faith, or is this a story of a people who simply were Muslim because a Sultan hundreds of years ago converted?

The Wahabi philosophy is a major driving force of such accusations of mindlessness and irreligiousness of historical South Asians. The adoption of the Wahabi philisophy (which exists at different tiers and levels) within South Asia is also therefore responsible for the Arabization and the marginalization of South Asian faith, art, tradition and culture. The central thesis of Wahabi philosophy relies on reinterpretation of hadith texts and Quran, a necessary act to erase the tradition ‘inserted’ by people especially by those of non-Arab lands. This same argument was applied to the Ottoman Turks primarily to undermine their authority to the Caliphate, but it was further applied to all non-Arabs including South Asians, Persians, Chinese, Malay, Russians, and others in seeking to consume them into the Wahabi philosophy, which was increasingly being represented by an new Arabic Hegemony.

A trait of Wahabi philosophy is the emphasis on the Arabic tongue, and this a higher level representation of the deep resentment of non-Arab people and their contributions to Islamic thought. Unfortunately the Wahabi mentality has slipped into most of the discussions regarding Islam to the point that people actually believe that Arabic needs to supplant their native tongue. Or at least, people can give no legitimate reason why their native tongue is relevant to the world today. Arabic has become the only tongue of faith, and English has become the only tongue of business. This is, of course, based on the understanding that there is a series of secret knowledge which, these cultural apostates suggest, was never introduced to non-Arab communities. The idea that people of faith within South Asia have a legitimate claims to a rich intellectual, spiritual and scholastic tradition of their own that was largely independent of parallel Arabic influence is strikingly obscene to some, or is castigated to the side as “Sufi”. Since they are either knowingly or unknowingly influenced by Wahabi ideas against Sufism, this makes most native tongues irrelelvant.

Obviously the issue of the importance and relevance Quranic Arabic and the knowledge behind Quranic understanding is, and always has been, a seperate and distinct issue for South Asians scholars. Learning and understanding Islam through the Arabic Quran was far different than learning and adopting the contemporary Arabic culture which grew and existed in parallel with non-Arab Muslim regions. It is often assumed that non-Arabs were not benefited by those with knowledge and spiritual insight, since the source of Islam was ‘Arabia’. However, what is equally as possible (and an often overlooked fact), is that these far-away lands were able to be spared from the influence of the new aspects of Arab culture developing centuries after the Prophet (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalam), while attracting only the most dedicated Sahabis and spiritual Imams of Islam (who were obviously successful, by the Grace of Allah in spreading Islam).

This idea of Arabization of tongue and culture, of course, has been devastatingly successful, and fed right into the weaknesses of the colonized South-Asian inferiority complex. Hence South Asia began marginalizing their own culture only a few decades after the Saudi’s began the propaganda machine. The rich colors of the South Asian woman have been discarded, and today, this is the picture of the religious South Asian woman given to the world:

American Islam has fallen into similar traps as native South Asians, converts especially (at times) are under a hidden inferiority complex. For American Muslims, the Arabic cultural imperialism has also continued to dominate the conversation regarding arts, culture, dress, food. The Arabic influx into our language, and the intense desire to learn it, add it into our everyday English is only a continuation of what has happened in South Asia.

Even traditionalists have been affected by the Arabization bug. ‘Traditional’ American Islam has fallen towards an “Andalusian” ideal which seeks to emphasize and recreate the real tolerance and intellectual prosperity which existed during the times of Muslim Spain. However, Americans have apparantly not thought through the consequences of choosing Andalus as a primary example of a tolerant Islamic state. While Andalus was incredibly successful and one of the heights of Muslim tolerance, it was still representative of an Arabic hegemony which had turned Morroco, Egypt, Jordan and Syria into Arabic speaking polities.

Andalus was indeed a case where a great deal of diversity attracted great thinkers and progress. However, at the same time it is clear that the apparant Arabization of Andalus was an underlying theme of the society. In Andalus Arabic was the primary language, so in what way did Islam prove in Andalus to incorporate a different culture in terms of honest respect and growth? Everyone dressed like Arabs, and spoke Arabic, ate like Arabs. It seems that while Andalus was the height of tolerance on the part of the Arabs after the Prophet (sallalahu’alaiheewassalam), even then it made the everyone into Arabs. In fact, a primary question would be: can we outline clearly in what ways was Andalus uniquely Spanish? Was the Medina Azahara inspired by Spanish architecture or by Damascus? What made Maimondes, a Jewish philosopher in Spain, look and dress like this:

This same phenomenon of Arabization which was witnessed in Spain occurred in Egypt, in Syria, in Morrocco, all of which were not native Arab speakers, much less self-identifying as Arabs until a much later point in history. But why didn’t this phenomenon take place in India, in Turkey, in the Caucuses, in Singapore and Malaysia? Why wasn’t this level of Arabization necessary for the continued development of the religion within these countries, and did they not achieve spiritual and knowledgeble heights without making Arabic a requirement for religious and spiritual acheivement?

In light of the above, and after further review, it seems that South Asians did indeed contribute to the American Islam dialogue, however it was not with their own culture, arts and heritage. It was as carriers of the Wahabi-based inferiority complex.

(continued with: “The Sunnah and Ottoman Multiculturism”)

 


14 Comments


  1. Enjoying the series. That article you found on “Ethnic Culture Versus Islam” is so appropriate. The self-hate just wafts off of it. My most detested slur that often comes out in literature like that is “folk Islam”. I don’t know who coined it, but it deserves to be dropped off a cliff. Where is the Islam that is not practiced by folks? And where are the folks that do not exist in an ethnic milieu?

    The view that non-Arabs had no real reason for choosing Islam other than “that is what the ruler did” shows a lack of awareness of the established sainthood and scholarship of these regions (see: Part 4). This is so true too, and since that awful article was targeted to Malays, let me just link to a fantastic resource on the legacy of sainthood and scholarship in the Malay Archipelago, Bahrus Shofa (In Malay language).

  2. assalam alaikum bhai, excellent series. People seem to think Islam is “arabic” in dress language and culture. While you rightly point out the centrality of the Quran and the Prophet, PBUH, people often fail to see that there own culture is AS ISLAMIC if not MORE than the Arab culture.

    For eaxmple, the Prophet’s simple diet and his izar and turban etc, are followed more in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan rather than Saudia. The hideous red -checked Najdi handkerchief did not exist in the Prophet’s time.

    Our arab islamists, and also today’s popular “Traditional scholars” –barring Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad–also are quite ignorant about the mountains of Islamic literature that exist in Persian. Persian speaking Turkish dynasties dominated the Muslim world since Tughril Beg in 1000 AD. Over time the wealth of Islamic literature came to be at least equal to that in Arabic, and in Sufism, far exceeds that literature in Arabic. Kashful Mahjub was the beginning, which opened a floodgate. Indeed, no better book on sufism exists in any language.

    If we consider Sufi poetry, than there is no comparison. Sanai, Rumi, Sa’di, Jami, Hafiz, Bedil, Nizami, Khusro… Persian contains a treasury of Islamic literature.

    The Sufis encouraged the vernacular languages as well as the local arts and crafts wherever they settled, and often composed the greatest poetry in their adopted languages. They truly Islamized the local cultures.

    Surely, what better Tafsir is there than all this dazzling diversity of Islamic folk cultures, of the famous verse,

    “If all the seas were ink,
    and all the trees pens,
    The Praise of thy Lord
    would not be finished.” ?

  3. as-salamu’alaikum bin gregory,

    Thank you for your link to the Malay resource!

    I believe I first started hearing folk Islam from Bilaal Philips, the Salafi preacher. I don’t mind whatever labels they decide to use, as you indicated, Islam was always made up of ‘folks’! Folks carried Islam to us and scholars and saints were all folks as well.

    If this is folk Islam, then what is their Islam? The idea that they are a following a ‘textually’ accurate Islam has already been debunked, since in the post-Salafi era we have seen that what differences exist simply boil down to a matter of interpretation at a fundamental level regarding specific hadith on innovation, specific narrators and chains, and specific post-Salaf scholars.

    walaikumassalam Gumnaam bhai,

    Your points are spot on accurate. I also find the fact the outside of Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad, there is a lack of Western traditional scholarship who are frankly even interested in non-Arabic contributions to Islam. Indeed, from my perspective, the ‘torch’ of spiritual enlightenment was given to those communities from the Arabs fairly early on. The Naksibendi-Hakkani silsila/chain of saints spans all these regions and represents (for me) the real aspect of spiritual authority and contribution passing between communities and peoples.

  4. Outside of Abdal Hakim Murad, there is Shaikh Nuh, who encouraged Faraz Rabbani to go to Dar ul Uloom in Karachi, so I see that as a very positive step in the right direction.

  5. Salam alaykum,

    Yes, it’s your friendly wahhabi hothead, fresh from MR’s blog!

    Interestingly, anthropologists like Gellner posit that, when Islam arrives in an area, it accomodates itself in a tradition without fully managing to displace pre-Islamic (quite often, anti-Islamic) customs. It’s all about synthesis.

    Often, you’ll find that these customs can even constitute kufr. Very often, kufr and Islam cross-fertilise to produce beliefs that aren’t wholly within the scope of either tradition. You, brother, make the mistake of romanticising South Asian culture, nine-tenths of which is prejudice, ignorance, bigotry and superstition. Under Ottoman rule, some Muslims took the graves of non-Muslim saints that they had worshipped at before Islam, and committed enormities there which you can imagine. Under Mughal rule, Muslims were influenced by Hinduism to a disgusting degree. There was talk of castes, monasticism and monism, all of which Islam is free of.

    Folk Islam, a very interesting term, is basically a description of the Islam of the periphery of the ummah. It is the ‘Islam’ of the illiterate peasant, not the Islam of the scholarly community, which includes indigenous mythology and whatever other heresies. In Borneo, some ‘Muslims’ recently celebrated a festival of an ‘Ocean Goddess’. Some Muslims celebrate Nawruz, the festival of the Magians. Grave-worship is common. Amulets and talismans, are common. Some wear the ‘hand of Fatima’ for protection, others wear turquoise to avert the evil eye. All of which flies in the face of the Shari’ah, and can even remove one from the fold of Islam.

    Only with the decline of centralised Muslim rule do we see the resurgence of non-Arabic languages, such as Persian. It is not ironic that such a resurgence was the harbinger of stagnation, decline and ruin for the Muslims.

    I say: whatever wahhabism rids the world of, in terms of these cultures, alHamdulillah. Whatever good was in these practices was easily eclipsed by their evil- shirk.

    If you want to respond, please contact me via e-mail (above).

    Omar

  6. as-salamu’alaikum Omar,

    Interestingly, anthropologists like Gellner posit that, when Islam arrives in an area, it accomodates itself in a tradition without fully managing to displace pre-Islamic (quite often, anti-Islamic) customs. It’s all about synthesis.

    It’s funny how Wahabi’s trust Gellner more than Muslims to tell them more about their culture and religion. Omar has a particularly good knack for this.

    Islam of course manages to work and integrate existing cultures, in fact, Islam in itself is a purifying force. Just as it purified the Arabs of the Jahiliyya, it purified other lands. The idea that somehow the people of South Asia were less able to apply Islam is simply conjecture and representative of the usual takfiri attitude of Wahabi’s towards most of the past 1400 years of Muslims. It boils down to the same central issues that Wahabi’s have lost out on: Madhabi fiqh and traditional Tassawuf which is incorporated by it.

    You, brother, make the mistake of romanticising South Asian culture, nine-tenths of which is prejudice, ignorance, bigotry and superstition.

    A statement without real basis, what was the prejudice, ignorance, bigortry and superstition of the saints and scholars I have mentioned earlier in this series?

    Under Mughal rule, Muslims were influenced by Hinduism to a disgusting degree. There was talk of castes, monasticism and monism, all of which Islam is free of.

    The usual Wahabi outlook and a perfect example of why your version of Islam is culture, language, and art eradicating.

    Only with the decline of centralised Muslim rule do we see the resurgence of non-Arabic languages, such as Persian. It is not ironic that such a resurgence was the harbinger of stagnation, decline and ruin for the Muslims.

    In what way was ‘centralized rule’ free from stagnation, decline and ruin? In terms of progress in the science and of arts, there was no greater period than after the ‘centralized’ Arab rulers encountered other totally non-Arab cultures.

    I say: whatever wahhabism rids the world of, in terms of these cultures, alHamdulillah. Whatever good was in these practices was easily eclipsed by their evil- shirk.

    Thanks for illustrating the point about wahabism perfectly.

  7. Salam alaykum,

    I asked you to return your comments by e-mail, but you didn’t- which I don’t mind (but could you do it in future)? Jazak Allahu Khayr.

    “It’s funny how Wahabi’s trust Gellner more than Muslims to tell them more about their culture and religion. Omar has a particularly good knack for this.”

    This point is ridiculous. Since when did accepting the existence of an empirically observable phenomenon amount to “trusting the kuffar more than Muslims”? I guess next you will tell us that the Sun orbits the Earth, and that only evil, lying kuffar preach heliocentricism (after all, didn’t the Mughal Empire avoid importing that belief?). That’s the level of objectivity we should expect from fanatics like yourself.

    Islam does integrate when it comes to indigenous cultures. However, as I have said, and you refuse to realise, in every culture Islam arives in, it usually fails to displace completely some aspects of Jahiliyya, including in its original form (didn’t the Prophet- sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam- say that certain aspects of the Jahiliyya will remain with his ummah?).

    “the usual takfiri attitude of Wahabi’s towards most of the past 1400 years of Muslims.”

    Not sure about you, but I certainly do make takfir of any person who continues to invoke some pagan ‘Ocean Goddess’ along with Allah. And I’d be worried about you if you didn’t do the same.

    I only specify South Asia, as that is what your article discusses. I have no problem with South Asians- some of my best friends are from over there.

    “It boils down to the same central issues that Wahabi’s have lost out on…traditional Tassawuf.”

    Yes, as historians and other than them have mentioned, ‘sufism’ is at the vanguard of cultural integration, which means, it is often corrupted by external traditions. I’m sure I don’t even need to mention some of the crazy (and influential) turuq that even you would deem non-Muslim.

    “A statement without real basis, what was the prejudice, ignorance, bigortry and superstition of the saints and scholars I have mentioned earlier in this series?”

    You are painting (or perhaps I should say, ‘inventing’) ‘tradition’ in one of its better aspects. Historians are rightfully suspicious about anybody who invokes ‘tradition’, just as they are sceptical of the ‘historical’ basis of nationalism. Travel in the Muslim world today- or, even better, ask a Muslim who has. You’ll find your silly claims about an idealised ‘culture’ shot down in two seconds. People go out into the ummah, expecting to find reasonable people like themselves. That is, they expect to find only reasonal, rational people. Often, they find this ‘culture’ you talk of. It’s often barbaric, superstitious and full of non-Islamic notions. It’s a culture which denies women their right to a dowry. It’s another, in which ‘caste’ is of prime importance. It’s tribalism, ‘asabiyya. I know of brothers who went to KSA, expecting to find it all purity and light- but it wasn’t. Racism is very prevalent, to a sickening degree. Blacks are openly called ‘slaves’, for no more than the colour of their skin.

    Do you approve of all that? I’m sure you don’t. But painting a ‘culture’ in the way that you did i.e. as utterly deviod of all taint, is disingenuous to say the least. The saints and scholars that you talk of, are a small facet of ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’. In fact, often we find in South Asian ‘culture’ artistic ‘documents’ of immense contempt for religious scholars and the clerical order as a whole. I remember reading of a poem, reasonably well-circulated at the time, and remember thinking- alHamdulillah the account presented in the poem is fictional. But fiction can tell us important things about its authors, and their milieu. According to this story, some mufti spends an entire night of debauchery with wine and a ‘young boy’- we can only assume that it’s the same ‘young boys’ praised in the peotry of al-Andalus. That’s what really ticks me off about ‘traditional Muslims’ and al-Andalus- they (Sh Hamza especially) depict it as some kind of ideal Islamic society. They neglect the artistic celebrations of homosexuality and the immorality of court life. I won’t speak of the Muslims there generally, but there is a wisdom behind the end of Islam there; it was a place of debauchery, where Jihad was abandoned and wealth was squandered.

    “The usual Wahabi outlook and a perfect example of why your version of Islam is culture, language, and art eradicating.”

    Right, so apparently by criticising “castes, monasticism and monism” I am some kind of cultural iconoclast. Well, boo-hoo. You can keep ‘culture’, and whatever filth it contains. Go hug the Masnavi. Go save some dumb Ottoman miniature before wahhabism consumes it in its pure, purging fires. “Culture”, “Language”, “Art”; what you really intend is ‘High Culture’, which many traditionals value unneccessarily. What incredible snobbery. Most Muslims never had a part in this culture. High Art is very elitist.

    We notice that our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) went to great lengths to eradicate shirk, and the means leading to it. Even when the nascent ummah was being throttled out of existence- when it could not yet take up arms in what was an existential struggle, we find accounts of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) destroying idols. Faith cannot exist where Taghut does also.

    I will add; ‘culture’ is something that exists. There is a good side to it. But, there is also a terrible, shirk-ridden part of it. Islam came to affirm whatever good was in a society, and even reinforce it. But it also came to displace, to destroy and to purge. Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did not suffer the existence of idols. And neither should we.

    Allah make us disbelievers in at-Taghut.

  8. I’m linking to this on Jinnz’s forum.

  9. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you are my brother, and I love you for Allah’s sake (insha Allah).

  10. I certainly do make takfir of any person who continues to invoke some pagan ‘Ocean Goddess’ along with Allah (SWT).
    If you’re going to continue to malign every muslim in Borneo by default with this one, you might at least provide a link to back yourself up.

    Travel in the Muslim world today- or, even better, ask a Muslim who has. You’ll find your silly claims about an idealised ‘culture’ shot down in two seconds.
    How about a muslim who is living there right now? I do not idealize the people I live amongst – there is good and bad everywhere – but I would sooner do that than condemn them unilaterally as you appear to do. Assume the best not the worst of your brothers in Islam.

    the ‘Islam’ of the illiterate peasant, not the Islam of the scholarly community

    what you really intend is ‘High Culture’, which many traditionals value unneccessarily. What incredible snobbery. Most Muslims never had a part in this culture. High Art is very elitist.
    Wait, so first you condemn the poor and uneducated, then you condemn the rich and well-heeled? It is the same educated class you started off praising that produced much of the high art of the muslim world. I’m starting to think that the acceptable upper and lower limits of religion in your view start at the soles of your feet and terminate at the top of your head.

  11. “If you’re going to continue to malign every muslim in Borneo by default with this one, you might at least provide a link to back yourself up.”

    I’m not at all maligning anyone in Borneo, except for those who do what I described.

    “there is good and bad everywhere”- is one of the points I’m trying to make. Thanks for stating it clearly.

    Oh, and for the record, I never praised the lazy and affluent section of society that did produce great works of art. The scholars were not artists who composed music, made pottery or painted miniatures. But I guess it depends on one’s definition of ‘Art’,

  12. as-salamu’alaikum Omar,

    I asked you to return your comments by e-mail, but you didn’t- which I don’t mind (but could you do it in future)? Jazak Allahu Khayr.

    No. If you want to email your comments to me you can do so at yursil at g mail.com. If you wish to post on a blog, you will receive comments back on my blog.

    That’s the level of objectivity we should expect from fanatics like yourself.

    I also see those espousing your beliefs as the fanatics, specifically a wahabi ones. With all your talk for ‘Kuffar’ and ‘kufr’ etc, you really don’t subject their consensus reality (and history) to criticism at all. You subject the Muslim understanding of the history of Muslims to Western ‘standards’ and find it faulting, so you buy into all the jealous and racist travelogues of visitors in Muslim lands. This is far more likely due to ignorance of Muslim histories and the convenience that their discreditation gives your ideological position. What is funny is that those same Western standards of ‘authenticity’ which you use for other purposes consistently have considered Hadith to be largely discredited. Then we enter into a pick and choose aspect of accepting a paradigm, which leaves us with really no paradigm at all except our own ego.

    Under Ottoman rule, some Muslims took the graves of non-Muslim saints that they had worshipped at before Islam, and committed enormities there which you can imagine.

    Proof?

    Under Mughal rule, Muslims were influenced by Hinduism to a disgusting degree. There was talk of castes, monasticism and monism, all of which Islam is free of.

    Proof? As I mention, there was no doubt that there was a revival to orthodoxy which the scholars of Islam were able to execute, those scholars were very much part of the South Asian Islamic tradition we are talking about.

    You’ll find your silly claims about an idealised ‘culture’ shot down in two seconds.

    I’ve travelled quite a bit, alhamdulillah.

    Whenever people want to criticize Islam, people are quick to say ‘that is not Islam’. When people want to criticize an Islamic tradition or culture, we find it difficult to say that “is not our tradition or culture”. In those days, Islam defined the people and the people lived Islam in a reality. If people were occasionally found to be wanting, the saints and scholars of the time addressed the issues. Hence we have greats like Imam Ahmad Sirhindi (R). The tradition and culture which supported him was the real tradition and culture of South Asia Muslims.

    I don’t believe there is an idealized culture, but rather, there is a culture, language, scholastic and saintly tradition being lost. This was the tradition which grounded Muslims within Islam in the first place.

  13. —You, brother, make the mistake of romanticising South Asian culture, nine-tenths of which is prejudice, ignorance, bigotry and superstition.—

    disgusting comment, if a God creates a whole community that is inherently evil like this guy is saying, then that God has not created Rahmah in this world.

    Moreover, people who can conveniently claim such things definitely have a superiority complex. And what group of Muslims have a cultural superiorty complex today? Thats right, you got it.

  14. I hope you have never expeerienced racism at the hands of any of your brothers, but if you had, you would know what I mean. Nor did I claim that anybody was inherently evil. You better get used to the fact, however, that the vast majority of people are misguided.

    And, actually, I don’t have a superiority complex even though I’m Arab by blood. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to get anti-semitic with me, because I look Jewish. Which is why (one of the reasons) I dislike anti-semites.

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