Monday, March 13, 2017

PhD: On Umma

We generally imagine ourselves to be citizens of a state or country to which we owe ultimate allegiance. But most of us also have other allegiances that go beyond the state. Such "transnational" allegiance and solidarity can include language, culture and even religion.

In some Muslim societies, this can include allegiance to a broader Muslim or Islamic space or sense of belonging.

Yet this broader sense, religious belonging beyond the nation state must inevitably be influenced by the nature of the nation state from which it emerges.Transnational religious culture is built upon national or regional religious culture as well as other forms of culture.

Your "Muslim"-ness or "Islam"-ness isn't purely related to doctrine.

Saunders (2008) argues that the identity based on umma membership is fast morphing into a form of nationhood. He makes an argument for

... treating the ummah (the transnational community of Muslim believers) as a nation.

This is something new, and has only been made possible by

... a potent nexus of information and communications technology (ICT), emergent elites, and Muslim migration to the West ... globalisation, Western media practices, and the nature of European society allow 'ummahist' elites to marginalise other voices in the transnational Muslim community.

That may be the case in Europe, but what about Australia? Do the forces of umma represent Muslim elites? Is this happening more and more thanks to media practices? What about the nature of Australian society?

Saunders (2008) concludes that we

... need to recognise ummah-based identity as more than just a profession of faith - it represents a new form of postnational, political identity which is as profound as extant nationalism.
RA Saunders, The ummah as nation: a reappraisal in the  wake of the 'Cartoon Affair' (2008) Nation and Nationalism 14(2), 303-321

... To be continued

J Piscatori, "Order, Justice, and Global Islam Justice in International Relations" in R Foot, J Gaddis & A Hurrell, Order & Justice in International Relations (2003) Oxford University Press

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