The Arab Identity

الكاتب : kaser119   المشاهدات : 472   الردود : 0    ‏2004-01-14
      مشاركة رقم : 1    ‏2004-01-14
  1. kaser119

    kaser119 عضو متميّز

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ
    The Arab Identity

    The debate has been raging on. The question discussed in newspapers in the Middle East and by Arab intellectuals faced with the image of a bearded, bedraggled Saddam Hussein in the hands of American captors was whether this was the final end of the “Arab Renaissance”.

    Many were asking if Saddam’s downfall was a humiliation to the entire Arab world, not just to the ousted Iraqi leader. Some commentators were saying that with Saddam’s capture, it was time to drop any expectation that a great hero will unite the Arab world. As Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of the London Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi put it, “a new humiliation to Arabs”.

    The heart of the discussion isn’t about Saddam’s capture; it’s about the Arab identity, or more specifically Arab nationalism. Though, to some Arab minds, this is sometimes synonymous with Islam, the political culture of Arab nationalism stems from an education that glorifies the history of the Arabs with or without Islam. Some Arab historians went as far as claiming that the reason for the success of Islam was because Rasool-Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was an Arab. A close look at the history of the Arabs in jahilliyah (pre-Islam) more likely reflects the Arab identity, because they opposed the Islamic message when it was first introduced amongst them. The Arabs at that time persecuted Rasool-Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and his followers through torture, killings and sanctions that lasted for 3 years.

    Before the advent of Islam, the Arabs were in total darkness and history proved that they were unrepentant pagans and polytheists unaware of the Unity of God and the succession of His [subhana wa ta’alah] prophets. They believed that Allah, the One and only True God, stood in need of partners who could mediate between Him [subhana wa ta’alah] and his creatures. Worse still, they gave daughters to Allah [subhana wa ta’alah] while they preferred sons for themselves. They worshipped stones (authan) and statues (aSnam) and offered sacrifices to Satans. They had had no prophet (Rasul) and possessed no scripture (Kitab) of their own. Consequently, they were ignorant of the last Day (Qiyamat), and of Heaven (Jannat) and Hell (Jahannam). They revelled in blood feuds, and buried female infants alive.

    Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) made mention of this in the Quran Al-kareem:

    هُوَ الَّذِي يُنَزِّلُ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ لِيُخْرِجَكُمْ مِنْ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ
    “It is He Who sends down manifest Ayaat to His slave (Muhammad) that He may bring you out from darkness into Light” [TMQ AL-Hadid: 9].

    Jafar ibn Abi Talib’s statement summed up the life of the Arabs during the jahilliyah and how Islam changed them when they embraced it. Jafar said this when he addressed King Negus of Abyssinia:

    “O King, we were a people in a state of ignorance and immorality, worshipping idols and eating the flesh of dead animals, committing all sort of abomination and shameful deeds, breaking the ties of kinship, treating guests badly and the strong among us exploited the weak. We remained in this state until Allah sent us a prophet, one of our own people whose lineage, trustworthiness and integrity were well-known to us. He called us to worship Allah alone and to renounce the stones and the idols which we and our ancestors used to worship besides Allah. He commanded us to speak the truth, to honour our promises, to be kind to our relations, to be helpful to our neighbours, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed, to avoid obscenities and false witness, not to appropriate an orphan’s property nor slander chaste women. He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him, to uphold Salat, to give Zakat and fast in the month of Ramadan. We believe in him and what he brought to us from Allah and we follow him in what he has asked us to do and we keep away from what he forbade us from doing. Thereupon, O king, our people attacked us, visited the severest punishment on us to make us renounce our religion and take us back to the old immorality and worship of idols. They oppressed us, made life intolerable for us and obstructed us from observing our religion. So we left for your country, choosing you before anyone else, desiring your protection and hoping to live in Justice and in peace among your midst.”

    The Arabs confuse the understanding of Arab identity with historical Islamic dominance. This confusion has led them to seek revival in Arab nationalism when faced with American hegemony. Arab nationalists need to appreciate that Islam was the cause of their revival and not Arab culture.

    Therefore, the many atrocious actions of Saddam Hussein fit more with pre-Islamic Arab history than with the noble history of the Muslim Ummah. He filled mass graves with the innocent, he gassed the Muslims to death for defying his kufr rule and he dragged the Muslims of Iraq through wars instigated by his colonial masters. Despite his claim to lead the Arabs to great heights the unifying factor of Islam was not lost on Saddam. He used Islam to achieve his objectives. For instance, he wanted to be identified with the Muslim hero Salahuddeen, the liberator of Palestine and a Kurd, because he noticed the merits of Islam in him and not because he was Iraqi.

    The dignity the Arabs are seeking can only be found in Islam. Despite the presence of the language of Arabic and their highly praised poetic abilities, the Arabs experienced their golden period under the rule of Islam and not before. They only achieved the dignity, power and prestige they sought when they ceased to be “Arabs” and became Muslims. Journal
    20 Dhul Qa'dah 1424 Hijri
    12 January 2004