Abu Salif Ahmad ‘Ali al-‘Adanî, born in the Yemen, is an Italian Muslim and one of the scholars devoted to the revival of the classical knowledge of Ahl as-Sunnah, in particular the existential legacy of the Islamic West.

He has studied in Tunis, with Shaykh an-Nayfar, the then greatest exponent of traditional Maliki knowledge together with such as Shaykh al-Akhwah, and a student of inter alia Shaykh Muhammad at-Tahir b. ‘Ashur at the Zaytunah Mosque before the interruption of traditional teaching in that lighthouse of authentic median wisdom; at the Bourghiba School for Arabic; and at theZaytuniyyah University. He then moved to Cairo, where he studied at Ourman School, at the DirasatKhassah in al-Azhar, and at Kulliyyah Dar al-‘Ulum (under Dean Muhammad Beltaji) at the Cairo University, including with Dr. ‘Abdus-Sabur Shahin, the head of the linguistics department. At the latter institute, he studied, at university level, Arabic and linguistics, tafsir, hadith, fiqh and usul al-fiqh, kalam, sirah, history and politics, philosophy and Sufism, poetry, prose and literary criticism, and a miscellany of general subjects.

His translation of the section on zuhd from Imam al-Qurtubi’s lovely “Qam` al-Hirs” has been published in Bristol, UK, by Amal Press.

The translation of Shaykh Zarruq’s manual on Allah’s Most Beautiful Names (“Al-Maqsid al-Asma”), previously available only as an e-book, is currently under print, as part of a project to translate most of Shaykh Zarruq’s texts and to establish an International Society for the service of the Zarruqi School broadly, which is intended to be launched in Fez around the spring of 2015.

That is my question

The lands of Rum, Slavs and other geopolitically crucial groupings with a long tradition of being external to the Abode of Islam or plainly hostile to it are being rocked by what is commonly referred to as Islamophobia.

Yet those same lands are witnessing an expansion of restless genius of recent Muslim coinage amid the progeny of those selfsame groupings; a genius capable of vastly enriching the anemic Dīn of established Muslim communities once properly cultivated, nurtured, canalized and enhanced.

The first issue confronting that virgin genius, oscillating between current fragility and luscious potential, is how it should organize itself: Which type of social aggregate is deemed the most congenial to it, and if one is tentatively selected, is it validated by Allah’s Dīn?

The core of that most pressing concern is embedded in a question I received from SlavicEurope.

I reproduce the text thereof (suitably edited for our English-speaking readership) here under:   

“As-salāmu ‘alaykum,

Today many Muslims, who come to Islam from non-Muslim peoples, are in doubt as to how they should operate in the new reality of the Ummah.

a) Some advisers tell them that they need to join existing peoples with Muslim roots and cultures, accept their culture, marry among them and become part of them.

b) Another group of people state that Islam has nothing to do with ethnicity, so new Muslims should be just Muslims without any definite ethnicity, freely mixing as such with all Muslims, because the real matter is to keep a proper ‘aqīdah, madhhab and manhaj, rather than the same culture or any culture at all.

c) There are also individuals who contend that such Muslims of recent coinage have to establish their own communities, marry Muslims among their people or similar peoples (for example, Caucasians, Africans or Asians), help each other and build anew their own ethnic identity in Islam, like other Muslim peoples did before.

We have therefore the following questions we would like to pose to you in this connection:

1) Are the ideas of preserving and developing some ethnic identities as Muslims in conflict with the Qur’ān and the Sunnah?

2) How should we properly understand those ahādith which seemingly enunciate the strict prohibition of tribal or national patriotism?

Do they mean that ethnicity is no recognized reality in Islam, and that it is harām to unite on the ground of ethnicity?

3) Are Muslim communities built along defined ethnical lines viewed as anti-Islamic separatism or negative fragmentation of the Ummah?

4) What is the legal judgment (hukm) of encouraging marriages within one people or group of similar peoples? Is it allowed or prohibited?

5) What is the Islamic understanding of the terms ‘asabiyah, ta`assub and qaumiyah? Which of those realities are allowed for Muslims and which ones are prohibited?

Bārakallāh fīkum”

While I immediately realized the deep significance of this theme and the dramatic urgency to tackle it in a clear, decisive and beneficial manner, I hesitated to put pen to paper.

The source of the question and its content were dear to my heart.

In addition, the extreme confusion which reigns in the post-Caliphate Ummah, both within its heartland and among the expatriates scattered across the “developed” world and torn between conflicting impulses or allegiances, torn that is between past, present and future, regardless of whether those expatriates head from Arabia, the Subcontinent, Africa, Turkey or Malaya, was a cogent reason for expending myself into the project of attempting an answer.

It was even more of a cogent reason in the light of the fact that I have not found satisfactory guidance on the subject in the existing literature, East or West, from established Muslim communities or from recent ones settled in the Rūmī West or thereabouts.

On the other hand, I did not feel I was up to the demanding task and equipped to do even surface justice to it.

Eventually, as the inner pull leaned more to the side of a positive response to the request for help, I decided to dive in.

Subject to one proviso, namely, that it would not be called or perceived to be a fatwā, let alone an opinion which bound fellow Muslims in their life decisions.


In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful

May Allah send prayers of blessing and greetings of peace on our beloved Prophet Muhammad, on his Family, and on his Companions



One of the key things to realize in this context is that this strange age, which is rapidly fading into the epochal conflict in the last cycle of time, is unprecedented in the historical continuum of the Ummah.

The present age, in fact, joins two sets of truths of seemingly mutual negation and irreconcilability:

  • For the first time, the whole of the Ummah finds itself politically emasculated. For the first time, Muslims displeased by the emasculation of their fathers who kneeled before an external dominant force, have migrated in large numbers to the lands controlled by that selfsame dominant force;
  • Simultaneously, the foundations of human existence remain utterly unchanged, since Allah’s pattern in creation is invariable.


One of the great tragedies of our emasculated modern Ummah has been the inability (especially by the intelligentsia) to take in the full, two-dimensional picture.

  • If only b existed without a, one might have simply built on established precedents and reproduced them, mutatis mutandis, as past Muslims successfully did across the centuries;
  • If only a existed without b, one might have simply defined Islam anew and acted upon it accordingly.


Because of the said inability to grasp the composite new world ushered in by the fall of Caliphal power, we saw center stage being occupied, nay, appropriated, by the following two defeatist attitudes (which are indeed mutually destructive):

  • The so-called “orthodox” Muslims were solely concerned with the conservation of “what they knew Islam to be”, even though the memory thereof became increasingly dimmer and vaguer for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They bequeathed to us a dying tradition;
  • The so-called “progressive” Muslims, on the other end of the same spectrum, were solely concerned with formulating the coordinates of the brand new Islam they dreamt to construct. They bequeathed to us the ghastly golem of reformism, may Allah not bless it!


We could phrase their difference in these alternative terms:

  • The crime of the former (who sought to have b without a) was precocious senility. He was a dignified, gray-beard personage whose appearance reassured less and less as his focus tended to lean excessively backwards, and thus became antiquated, démodé, transcended by time in his anachronism; 
  • The crime of the latter (who sought to have a without b) was an extravagantly impetuous youthfulness. He was either an anarchical child or a rebellious, hubris-style adolescent excited by the idea of erecting a Lego fantasy unfettered by adults’ norms. He looked cute, as children do, even though he was quickly past youthfulness’s natural life span, but that cuteness soon metamorphosed into Frankenstein hideousness.


Though the pitiful dignity of the backward-looking elder might be more endearing than his counterpart, at least relatively, the only route to a correct assessment of the issues raised by the question our Slavic brothers have directed at us (and thus to a correct ruling on them) is a holistic vision: It alone does justice to both a and b, the way justice is enacted by mature people between the incipient light of false dawn and the crepuscular shadows. 

That is precisely the route we intend pursuing in this answer of ours.

The first word has to belong to Allah, the Lord of all domains. He has created them and issued them with their commands: «Does He who created not then know? He is the subtly All-Pervading, the All-Aware» (Sūrah al-Mulk: 14).

Allah has declared the seminal arch-truth as follows:

«Yā ayyuhan-nās! Innā khalaqnākum min-dhakarin wa-unthā wa-ja`alnākum shu`ūban wa-qabā’ila li-ta`ārafū. Inna akramakum ‘indallāhi atqākum (Mankind! We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is the one with the most taqwā)» (Sūrah al-Hujurāt: 13).

The first thing we notice is that Allah addresses the whole of mankind, i.e. mu’minūnkuffār andmunāfiqūn without distinction.

Allah asseverates a central cosmological truth: Man is exploded into existence from an intimate amalgam of fecundating male and fecundated female, and that original cell develops into a composite organism encompassing a more or less large number of kindred cells. The societal fabric reproduces therefore the interlaced fabric of cells, tissues, muscles, nerves and so on which make up the organism of a living human.

Incidentally, the word ‘asabiyyah descends from ‘asab, the primary signification of which is “nerve”. 

Human society consists of tribes and peoples: That is how it is and will always be on this earth. We all come from Ādam (not from other pre-Adamic creatures who lived on the earth), and although Ādam contains all the soils in the Adamic soil, with all their variegated colours and shapes, when human stock differentiated from that first point of confluence, different soils were tilled and different ethnicities emerged by His invariable pattern.

As Søren Kierkegaard suggested, cultivation rotation is preferable so as to avoid stagnation, but the fact remains that the variegation of ethnicities is the unfolding of an unalterable Divine design.

Peoples (shu`ūb in the āyah) is the plural of people (sha`b), i.e. a vast multitude of humans traced to a common ancestral root.

The primal meaning of the word is ramification from a shared origin.

A number of tribes (qabā’il in the āyah) are incorporated in a “people”.

The Arabic word for tribe (qabīlah) bears the primal meaning of a side facing other sides within a spatial continuum: You need to have a face (identity) to face someone else, to interact with him, to be protected from him, to benefit him and be in turn benefited by him.

A tribe conjoins plots of land with a civic identity (‘amā’ir). A single unit of the latter (‘imārah) conjoins a number of smaller units, each one of which is called batn, the inner part or interior of something, such as the stomach in the human body. Even smaller units are then contained in a batn, called afkhādh, literally thighs, every thigh (fakhdh) comprising various pieces of flesh in the thighs, fasā’il, while the single unit thereof, a fasīlah, encloses a plurality of family clans (‘ashā’ir).

Family clans revert to the origin of the species which this blessed āyah alludes to: The pairing of a male and a female.

The Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, did not contradict this manifestation of Divine Wisdom and could not have contradicted it. He was a walking manifestation of His Attributes, Wisdom included.

He confirmed the existence of ethnicities, instructed the maintenance of ties of blood and kinship, urged the believers to memorize the beneficial aspects of their lineage, etc.

He was not sent to shatter and revolutionize the way a social organism naturally establishes itself and functions, just as he was not sent to shatter and revolutionize the natural laws of good functioning on the part of individual bodies.

He, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, simply pointed to the necessity laid down in the noble āyah:

  • To recognize and understand one another, to have deep knowledge (ma`rifah) of each other,li-ta`ārafū. You cannot understand yourself, let alone others, as a people or a tribe, unless you have a conscious perception of your origin, affiliation and personality, a conscious self-perception.
  • To call all the peoples and tribes Allah willed into existence to a higher identification, based on knowing worship of the true God, where the hierarchy of merit was determined by the single criterion of taqwā of the true God. Taqwā means conscious avoidance of evil and engagement in what is virtuous and good [See our article “Ascending Terraces” in the e-magazine Sulwān, Vol. 1, January 2013]: In other words, he, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, called them to the Prophetic supra-nation (Ummah), which existed simultaneously with peoples, tribal federations, tribes and smaller social nuclei, without at any time calling them away from the natural phenomenon of peoples and tribes or intermediate units.


That already disposes of the first sub-question (1) I was asked to shed light upon, namely:

1) Are the ideas of preserving and developing some ethnic identities as Muslims in conflict with the Qur’ān and the Sunnah?

It is clear that ethnic identification, as people, as tribe, as a sub-tribe down to a family clan, is intrinsic to the human creature by virtue of the Creator’s wise legislation of how life in this earthly transit should proceed.


Let us now move to the second question, part of which is already clarified by our answer to the previous point:

2) How should we properly understand those ahādith which seemingly enunciate the strict prohibition of tribal or national patriotism?

We have stressed that the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, did not urge people away from ethnicities, since that is how Allah, whose very beloved he [Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam] was, had made mankind into.

As the renowned mufassir ash-Shinqītī wrote in Ad’ al-Bayān:

“Know that there is no scholarly disagreement as to the prohibition of calling to a fastening bond other than Islam, such as the various nationalisms or blood-based social aggregates, especially if the purpose behind the call to nationalism is to loosen the fastening bond of Islam altogether. The true sense of any such call would therefore be a call to loosen oneself from the Dīn of Islam and to intentionally reject, in a conclusive manner, the heavenly commanded fastening bond, so as to replace it with the bond of tribalism or nationalism.

Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, explained in His masterful Book that the wisdom behind the children of Ādam being made into peoples and tribes is for them to cooperate with one another, without any such people or tribe fanatically weighing down on the others”.

Calling away from the heavenly bond to one where Revelation was marginalized was precisely the ploy of secular enemies from within or without.

That is irrelevant to our Slavic brothers who are interested in how best to serve Allah in the fast-changing societies they reside in.


The matter is crystal-clear:

Not a single Prophet, friend of Allah, Islamic leader or scholar ever questioned the validity of a Muslim’s affiliation to the country, people, nationality or tribe he belongs to.

We have made it plain in our article “And I, stateless Cimmerian …”, that the opposite is true. Every great man of Islam is traced to his lineage, to his city or village, to his region and tribe; and the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, is constantly informed of our genetic root when prayers are sent on him.

Not a single Muslim notable in traditional lands (Arabia, Turkey, Africa, the Subcontinent or Malaya) urged his fellow countrymen or tribesmen to renounce their identity and be subsumed purely into an Ummah; and they would have simply ignored his fatuous and unrealistic call.

They maintained their family ties, they knew their lineages, they spoke their languages, they revered their cultures and distinctive traditions, they inter-married and so forth.

No reason whatsoever exists for their counterparts from Europe and other areas dominated by Rum and Slavs being denied the same existential gift.

The only thing which is forbidden across the entire Ummah, regardless of whether one is Moroccan or Alaskan or Vietnamese, is to inflame a tribal, ethnic, nationalistic or similar fervour in a negative sense, and channel that misguided Jāhiliyyah-style patriotism into a destructive cohesiveness aimed at trampling down other similar identities.

That is the “‘asabiyyah” which Prophetic reports, including a famous one in Imām at-Tirmidhī’s Al-Jāmi` asSahīh, have sternly castigated.

The same is true of the term ta`assub.  

Qawmiyyah is definable as “nationalism”, either in the neutral sense of belonging to a certain national entity or, more frequently, in the blameworthy sense of an illegitimate call to promote the interests of one national grouping at the expense of or in conflict with other national groupings in the Ummah.

When tribal delegations visited the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, in the Illuminated City, they were supplied with provisions of guidance in the Dīn, for them to be disseminated among fellow tribesmen and shared with them upon their return. The Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, did not bide them renounce their ethnic identity, have aversion for it, substitute for it a sheer Islamic identity (which was complementary and operated on a higher plane of existence), nor did he advise them to relocate to al-Madīnah, the size of which never became that of a huge city or metropolis.

If each one of those social aggregates was Prophetically confirmed in an ethnicity it belonged to, what difference is there between an ethnicity existing prior to the adoption of Islam or thereafter? What is the difference, in that regard, between Africans or “Asians” and Europeans?

Either it is prohibited in the Law, in which case it would have been prohibited right across the board; or it is lawful and natural for any organic ethnicity. There is no third legal value.

It would be sinful, nay, even worse than that, to suggest that our Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, knew that ethnically built communities with an allegiance to Islam and the supra-ethnic Ummah, exactly what our Slavic brothers posing their question to us are asking about, were impermissible and yet tolerated them for those who already functioned within ethnicities!

That is slanderous of the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, and whoever dares to offensively suggest it to his “Caucasian” brothers in faith should have a hard look at his own self.

Indeed, even “Salafism”, in spite of the idealism it espouses, reiterates the same universal truths we have set out here, for instance in its leading websites or “cyber clubs” (e.g. www.islamweb.net).

Indeed, I have seen no modernist Muslim from Arabia, Turkey, Africa, the Subcontinent or Malaya, in spite of the barren idealism propagated by “reformist Islam”, who did not maintain solid close ties with his family clan, fleshy area on a thigh, or all the way up to his tribe, tribal confederation or people.

We have addressed that aspect, and related ones, in our aforesaid article “And I, stateless Cimmerian …”, so no need exists for their pleonastic repetition here, since we fully stand by them in this context as well.

The answer to another question is thereby exhausted:

5) What is the Islamic understanding of the terms ‘asabiyahta`assub and qaumiyah? Which of those realities are allowed for Muslims and which ones are prohibited?


So far so good, since we largely had a pleasure ride across universal truisms.

It is now that we have to sharpen our vision, to observe things frontally and laterally, holistically as we said, thereby stretching our sights both to the unaltered cosmological realities and to the alteration of the post-Caliphate picture.

Let us now rapidly tackle the last question as well:

4) What is the legal judgment (hukm) of encouraging marriages within one people or group of similar peoples? Is it allowed or prohibited?

Marriage is the consensual coming together of two clans. The more homogeneous the two clans the better, generally speaking, since there would then be a firm shared foundation (ethnic, linguistic, cultural etc) to build upon.

Nowhere does Islam discourage consensual preference for marriages within a tribe or people. That is in fact the norm within humanity.

Some schools of jurisprudence (though not the Mālikī) expressly maintain that ethnic homogeneity is a legally recognized ground for mutual compatibility between spouses = each one is viewed askuf’ or match for the other inter alia on that basis. That is so in the Hanafī madhhab, which has always thrived in ethnically homogenous societies (Turkish, Indian, Afghan, Uzbek etc), in theHanbalī madhhab, which is nominally adopted by “Salafis” and “manhaj-fanatics”, and in theShāfi`ī madhhab which is dominant among Somalis with their accentuated tribalism:

How incongruously ironical, then, that our modernist Muslim brothers from Arabia or the Subcontinent seek to demonize the new Islamic blood from the lands of the Rum, the Slavs (Saqālibah), the Bulghār and similar stock, for wishing to create their own ‘asabiyyāt based on absolutely the selfsame existential bases (ties of blood, common language and cultural norms or practices) underlining their own families, tribes and nations they have never renounced!

Brothers from the Rum, the Slavs (Saqālibah), the Bulghār and kindred stock, you must awaken to the demonic attitude displayed to you by the traditional Muslims: They burden you with guilt for what they accept and select for their own selves!

«Do you order people to devoutness and forget yourselves, when you recite the Book?» (Sūrah al-Baqarah: 44).

If we read our perfumed literature, we discover for instance that the Kattānī family in Morocco intentionally opted, as a norm, for marriage within the same or similar bloodline; or that many of our inspirational descendants from the Prophetic lineage (shurafā’) in the Islamic West purposefully did the same to try and preserve inbred nobility of lineage and virtue = nasab andhasab.

That is acceptable, and nowhere were the Muslims advocating or implementing those ideas fustigated for their lawful resolution.

Muslim tribes and nations in the past, as well as tribes and nations which embraced Islam, and that means their prevalent nature must have been sound and laudable, promoted variations to the same theme:

Some of them emphasized kinship centered on the womb, hence one proceeding, descent-wise, along both patrilinear and matrilinear lines.

Others emphasized one side only, patrinlineality or agnatic kinship = kinship through agnates (the male line) alone.

In North Africa, past the primordial nomadic stage, family was synonymous with a “republic of paternal cousins”, while the “hayy” or broadly construed “district” consisted in a group of families / family clans descended from the male line (= one genealogical side). Different historical stages in the life of a social unit would determine whether to marry inside or outside one’s hayy.

Wise people will make the wisest choices which best suit a given time and place.

The danger to avoid is blood and thus cultural stagnation, the recycling of the same blood or “genetic auto-transfusion”, while Spanish footballers or Ukrainian gymnasts, Jamaican sprinters or Afro-American NBA stars, Samoan scrum-halves or Sinhalese bowlers practice the form of it which is associated with doping, “cheating in sport” via performance-enhancing.  

That is why the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, said: “Marry the stranger women rather than those sharing your same blood (Ightaribū wa-lā tudwū)”, since it would assist procreation by blending bloodlines.

Continuous marriage with cousins does give rise to a range of problematic minuses.

That is why a “district” was enlivened, refreshed and enlarged by marrying outside it, though ordinarily within the perimeter of the same Dīn, language, culture, people, and even tribe.

Exiting one’s tribe or people altogether is naturally licit (the more so in the view of the Mālikīschool which sees spousal compatibility in a restrictive sense).

If one, however, desires to create a viable new tribe, people, or in-between social aggregate, among Muslim co-nationals of recent coinage, so that they can preserve a group identity and contribute as such to the elevation of Allah’s Word, it should be the exception rather than the norm.

At present, unfortunately, the general norm is for a “Caucasian” Muslim to marry outside his stock.

The desirability of inverting the proportion between norm and exception is strengthened by the fact that, as Ibn Khaldūn pointedly realized by panoramic examination of history, ‘asabiyyah is generally a pre-condition for political sovereignty and authority.

One can take different routes in actualizing the same goal of empowering Allah’s Dīn, but there is no doubt that forging a cohesive social unit which plays an active role in restoring Islamic power, to a greater or lesser extent, is superior to passively following the cosmological input of another group = a group other than one’s original ethnicity. The former is the precinct of men, the latter the reserve of children.

By Allah, one can reach the Lord either way, but our Lord says that He prefers the strong mu’min over the weaker one.

You can support the Dīn of truth as part of a vibrant group or as an individual, and is the congregational prayer not far worthier than the individual devotion?

One cannot do that contribution, as Circassian or Flemish Muslims, unless he has developed‘asabiyyah in the positive sense given to the word by Ibn Khaldūn, a fine intellect but also a judge and political ambassador of the Ummah, or by his successor and fellow Mālikī savant Ibn al-Azraq (d. 896 AH: See Badā’i` as-Silk fī Tabā’i` al-Mulk).

What ‘asabiyyah means, for them and other luminaries in Islam, is not fractious patriotism. In truth, the Ummah is so split up into countless mutually wrangling or warring factions that in no way building genuine communities of European or comparable Muslims, along the lines of a people or tribe, might produce the atomization we sadly witness these days.

The Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, has anticipated, for the phase following the temporary disappearance of a unified polity led by an Imām, the dissolution of that polity into innumerable factions, and the killing or imprisonment of Muslims occurring on the largest scale as a phenomenon internal to the Ummah. We can already discern that trend patently.

No, ‘asabiyyah for them meant a positive, vital force: It meant intimate group cohesivenessulfahknitting and drenching a social unit.

Ulfah is something commendable. It bespeaks of intimate harmony, harmonious intimacy, familiarity which breeds concord. It enables and does not disable. It empowers and does not disempower. It is constructive and not destructive.

Allah says in His Book that it is He who reconciles between the hearts of believers (ta’līf: from the same root) and embeds concordance in them.

It is connected with: Lineage, nobility, pride in lofty ancestral achievements, alliances, clientage, leadership, cohesion, close unity, conjunction. All of these are positives: inner vitality growing into outward vitality as well. They beautify life for both individual and group.

Let alone the word ‘asabiyyah, not even the source-noun ‘asab has an equivalent in neo-Latin or Saxon languages such as French or English. It is a blend of connective bond, fastening force, encompassment and concentered unification. The same is true of the plentiful linguistic derivatives from that root-word, including the Khaldunian ‘asabiyyah.

It certainly has no such meaning as “nationalism”, “national consciousness” or “national patriotism” which Young Turks, pan-Arab socialists and other devotees of delinquent “isms” centralized in the past, thereby aping the dominant Rum who had vanquished or colonized them.

There is no denying that intimate cohesiveness, whether in a household or in a people (large multitude of humans descending from a common ancestral source), is enhanced by proximity of blood, language, culture and the like thereof.

Humans are more at home with their family members or linguistic brothers, as doves or penguins from the same family would be. They are more intimate with them. They communicate more effectively. They socialize with them more easily and engage with them in a greater number of valued projects, whether they are business ventures or civic activities or the establishment of Islamic cities and governances.

There is easier mutual recognition, ta`āruf to borrow the term in Sūrah al-Hujurāt, while they are still enjoined to recognize the separate identity of another cohesive group within the same Prophetic Ummah or human species.

Internal reciprocity of solidarity (one of the benefits of ‘asabiyyah, though not a translation for the term as erroneously postulated by Orientalist researchers) is heightened by it. 


Let us shift now onto the main expanse:

3) Are Muslim communities built along defined ethnical lines viewed as anti-Islamic separatism or negative fragmentation of the Ummah?


a) Some advisers tell them that they need to join existing peoples with Muslim roots and cultures, accept their culture, marry among them and become part of them.

b) Another group of people state that Islam has nothing to do with ethnicity, so new Muslims should be just Muslims without any definite ethnicity, freely mixing as such with all Muslims, because the real matter is to keep a proper ‘aqīdahmadhhab and manhaj, rather than the same culture or any culture at all.

c) There are also individuals who contend that such Muslims of recent coinage have to establish their own communities, marry Muslims among their people or similar peoples (for example, Caucasians, Africans or Asians), help each other and build anew their own ethnic identity in Islam, like other Muslim peoples did before.


For us to brave the waters of this interrelated expanse successfully, it is crucial that we bear in mind our departure point: A panoramic vision towering over both permanent reality and variable contingency.

The variable contingency, as we said, is that the Ummah for the first time in history is emasculated; while Allah’s creational patterns remain the same, including how humans connect with one another so as to beget social organisms they feel affiliated to.   


For many a century, the life of a Muslim was easily defined.

There was the Abode of Islam and the Abode of kufr.

Whatever existed outside the former was a foreign cosmology. Within the former, the cosmological reality of the Muslim was first and foremost his affiliation to the Ummah. While nurturing that affiliation, he matter-of-factly expressed his other identities, none of which was suffocated: the familial, the tribal, the supra-tribal.

He was also connected to a continuum which, eschatologically, was expected to culminate in the universal spread of Islam under Sayyidunā Īsā, peace upon him. Had he lived in the age of the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, he would have loved to be one of his helpers; and if he lived at the end of the said eschatological curve, he would love, along with his family, to be among the supporters of Sayyidunā Īsā, peace upon him.

Between those two temporal watersheds, he wants to contribute to the empowerment of Islam.

The believer from a traditional Muslim background feels now the same rooted affiliation to the Ummah, the supra-national identity.

He has a national, ethnic, tribal identity of his own, and the same is true of his family members, friends, neighbours or co-nationals.

In the post-Caliphate decline of the Ummah, he has however experienced the harmful effects of calling to “isms” other than Islam, first and foremost patriotic allegiance to artificially traced nation-states, a colonial legacy, or populist movements along narrow geopolitical lines.

He has seen the tearing apart of intimate cohesiveness within the emasculated Ummah, and reacts emotionally to anything which suggests replacing the Ummah with narrower identities. That emotional reaction is commendable in a sense, but it clouds his understanding and results in unfounded analogical transpositions.

In particular, since his reality is radically different from that of new Muslims from either Rum or Slavs, he calls for any nascent group identity among them to be smothered to death.

Perversely, the traditional Muslim who migrated to the “West” directs his anger against “Western” dominance at the very sane progeny of the “Westerners”, those who have embraced his own way of life = Islam.

He also, and truth must be uttered loudly however cutting or bitter, he answers deeper internal impulses than sheer individual ones. The genetic map in him, displeased with unwanted colonial subjugation, stretches the hand to an easy prey in the colonizers’ lands where he has now settled: The fair-skinned, fair-eyed women therein who have become Muslim.

The local Muslim calling for deliberate promotion of marriage within the same indigenous ethnicity, whether Irish or Austrian, is viewed as a rival: Moreover, a rival to be vicariously penalized (and that is truly vicious, but humans act that way) for the crimes the local Muslim’s kāfir co-nationals committed.

Women instinctively search for watering farmers whose irrigation of fertile soil and plantation therein of seeds of growth they feel they can trust.

Child-bearing is after all is a symbol of womanly creativity and an expression of her continuity.

Women also look for candidates offering them a sense of reassuring nest.

The prancing “born” Muslim presents his winning credentials: ‘Our breed is guaranteed by many generations in Islam; and you can join an existing supportive clan that is already Muslim.’

After all, whatever offspring arises from that is seen as primarily part of his stock (he is the male), hence affiliated to the “established” Muslim clan, tribe or people.

Whether immigrant Muslims from the Islamic heartland like to hear it from us or not, however, their Dīn is pretty corrupt, as it has been corrupted by colonial dominion and their resultant love / hatred admiration of what colonizing Rum brought.

By and large, they do not have any understanding of what is the State, the fiscal State, banking, usury, democracy etc, and that is an undoubted fact.

On the other hand, because corruption is two-ended and has engulfed both land and sea, the “Caucasian” Muslim who has cancelled out his own identity, happy to become “just Muslim”, sees in front of himself an open field of women ready to be captured: “Non-Caucasian” women from a human reality, the indeterminate “Ummah”, he feels he can lay equal claim to.

That in one respect is even true, but it his abdication of responsibility to group consciousness and group identity that has brought about his amorphous indeterminateness: As he lacks a face, he is faced by others without facing other than the void which the “Ummah”, an increasingly nominal reality, has largely receded into.

There might be a vicious streak in him, too, so he punishes the “foreign” women who accept him for the lack of acceptance he suffers at the hands of the “traditional” Muslims.

In any event, unlike the “new” Muslim woman bearing an established stock’s children, he is antagonized even more, as a “predator” usurping the fruit-bearing tillage of traditional Muslim women: because the “Ummah” is a nice label to exploit, but only when it serves one’s interests.

In my 29 years as Muslim, I do not know of any concept, not even “Qur’ān and Sunnah”, which I heard used and abused in a more ignoble fashion than “Ummah”; and of course, whilst having earned my membership in the “Ummah”, no established Muslim clan valued and accepted me as one of their own, in spite of the terrific talent Allah gifted me with. I was always a stranger on the edge.

The only way I would have been acceptable is if I denied my source-identity and became a culturally assimilated “only Muslim” jelly.

We are going to revert to this arch-theme soon.

Also quite intriguingly, why is the language of secular technique, English, a language of very modest quality, the idolized lingua franca, instead of all members of the one-face Ummah dialoguing with each other in classical Arabic?

The sole genuine context in which an elite member of “Caucasian” Islam might thrive is among his own likes, since they recognize in him the same familiar face as theirs.

Until now, I have yet to meet a successful couple where the man, as Muslim of recent coinage fromRūmī land or thereabouts, preserved and centralized his identity, while the woman from “traditional Islam” added her own ethnic geniality to the mix, with embracing acceptance of that blessed cohesiveness on her part and that of her family clan.

Three more important truths:

  • While traditional Muslims urge European believers of recent Islam to suppress their own group identity, the Rum, Slavs and so on are painfully coercing both categories of believers into public acceptance of their own atomizing identities: “Western”, European, Irish or Czech; nay, they are coercing them into one universal nation (non-Prophetic ummah) of secular humanism. It is also paradoxical that the Rum, who extolled the brilliance of Ibn Khaldūn and permeated their sociological vision with his ideas, have gained historical advantage.
  • Ideology will naturally insist on effacement of organic group identity (based on family nucleus, clan, tribe or people): That way, the ideological guide, the supra-ancestral ancestor (whether in a political movement or in a spiritual club) might be able to create a single diffuse identity, i.e. affiliation to his unchallenged authority and charisma. Supplanting any other identity, that affiliation centripetally reinforces his authority and charisma by enabling easier and firmer control of all the adepts; exactly like a centralized fiscal authority assists the servicing of dept to the world financial plutocracy. Moving away from that grip, back to decentralized affiliation and leadership, is the key both to the growth of Islam outside the Muslims’ heartland and to the renewal of the true Dīn inside that heartland. “Salafi” immigrants will try and delegitimize any organic “Caucasian” or Black American Islam, just as much as ideologues from within the latter camps will strive to prevent it or erase it. We are not of course implying that, in this chaotic situation and age, some kind of supra-organic connectivity (juristic, doctrinal, hānī or “futuwwah-inspired”) is systematically deprived of usefulness or generates nothing but harm. Reality is more multi-dimensional than that. Incidentally, both the traditional Murābitūn and Muwahhidūn implanted a Dīn-related call on the compact fundament of an organic “Khaldunian” ‘asabiyyah: They were no rainbow groupings driven by sheer ideology. 
  • Nuclear families are a curse of neurotic consumerism, so the construction of larger social units bonded by intimate cohesiveness and consciously preserving a sense of historical (including eschatological) motion are a winning antidote to it. Wives and children will operate within a vital social unit where its members, especially the leading and influential ones, reinforce prized values and norms away from capitulation to godless materialism. Humans usually learn by observation and emulation. Ibn Khaldūn was aware of the fact that the first stage of positive ‘asabiyyah, the one visible among desert dwellers, was a combination of environmental unity + shared lineage along patrilinear and matrilinear lines + deference to the authoritative elders at the top. We are even lower than Bedouins (or Chinese kuffār), in our urban post-Caliphate decadence, inasmuch as we do not have any identity which can plant deference in our children’s hearts. As for “established” Muslims, their children engage in massive withdrawal of deference and migration to the pernicious existential environments of kuffār, since their forefathers embodied a dry, moribund Islam incapable of warmly receiving the genius of Caucasian or Black American Muslims (who had passionately escaped the environment of kufr), pollinating it, and being pollinated thereby.


There cannot be many qualms about the fact that one of the major Islamic experiments on European soil saw the light of day in al-Andalus.

Ibn Khaldūn was not prescriptive nor was he simply a painter defining an objective reality. He tried to understand the social dynamics of human life and history, by resorting to a pyramid of interconnected concepts.

His gaze fell, among others, on the phenomena of alliance and clientage.

Let us say that a European Muslim, unable to meet the majority Muslims around him with his own ethnic face, prefers to merge into one of their tribes or peoples, as a tributary choosing to flow into the main river and be annihilated in it, or as a moth preferring incineration by the emotionally-neutral candle. 

In the past, a tribe would be assimilated into a stronger one as a result of political alliance.

The affiliation to the stronger tribe would be artificial, yet it would be felt as an affiliation of sorts.

The other situational instance saw freed slaves (mawālī) attached by clientage (walā’) to the tribal unit of their emancipating former masters. Theirs was likewise a somewhat artificial affiliation, yet one more far-reaching and more acutely felt by them (based on indirect ties of blood) than mere alliance, so much so that our literature faithfully records any such post-manumission affiliation by an Islamic notable who was a mawlā’

Social cohesion and solidarity did stem out of the said twin phenomena.

The contemporary “Western” Muslim of recent coinage, however, does not have a structure that might become a subordinate part of another via pacts of socio-political alliance; and no post-slavery clientage is discernible among them.

They are mostly loose individuals.

In any event, as Ibn Khaldūn and other Muslim sociologists highlighted, identifiable self-perpetuation was not decreed for Muslims assimilated by potent allies or master-tribes.


In al-Andalus, along with the Arabs and Berbers settled in the peninsula, with their close-grained and abiding ‘asabiyyāt, there were two important groupings within the Islamic camp:

  • The muwalladūn, i.e. the former Christian Spaniards who had embraced Islam. Muwalladmeans generated, produced or begotten. Arab dominance generated non-Arabs who were born and raised among them without pure Arab blood;
  • The Slavs (Saqālibah), together with prisoners of war and captives from the various regions of northern Europe.


While our new Muslims from the Rum can identify with the former, the fresh Eastern European Muslims will feel proximity with the latter.

Among the muwalladūn there were those who preferred to be so thoroughly absorbed by the Andalusian Arabs as to construct for themselves false Arab lineages. The family of Mughīth ar-Rūmī was among those who treaded that path.

The contribution made by some key muwalladūn to Islam in Iberia is undeniable: Baqiyy b. Makhlad (201-276 AH) was one of the early stars in their firmament, which later included the fellow Cordovan ‘Abdu’l-Malik b. Sarrāj and Muhammad b. Hazm. 

The same is true of a number of Slavs such as Ju’dhar, the freed slave of the ruler al-Hakam II (302-366 AH), or Fātin, the freed slave of al-Mansūr b. Abī ‘Āmir with whom Ibn Sā`id, the famous historian, genealogist and litterateur who authored Al-Fusūs and Tabaqāt al-Umam, held a scholarly disputation.   

On the other hand, there was a contrary trend within both such natively European groupings.

The Arabs looked down on the Slaves with airs of ingrained superiority, and such paternalistic detraction led a Slavic scholar to pen a treatise, Kitāb al-Istizhār wa al-Mughālabah ‘alā Man Ankara Fadl asSaqālibah, which, as its very title evinces, called for fighting assistance to be lent against whoever denied the Slavs’ virtue, by paying express tribute to the illustrious Slavs who valuably served Arabic culture.

More pronounced anti-Arab sentiments were voiced by layers of the muwalladūn, which makes sense as their stock descended from free people who took up Islam no differently than the Arabs themselves had done during the Prophetic generation or the immediately next generations.

The milieu of these “nationalistic”, “ethnically conscious” European Muslims, who deemed their inclination consistent with Islam’s ‘aqīdah, fathered the likes of the Andalusian Muhammad b. Sulaymān al-Ma`āfirī and Abū Muhammad ‘Abdullāh b. al-Hasan (d. 335 AH). Then, when al-Andalus split into a number of princedoms, some of which saw political hegemony seized by Slavs and muwalladūn, Ibn Garsiyah wrote a famous treatise (ornate in style and virulent in tone) purporting to demonstrate the surplus value (Caucasian) non-Arabs enjoyed over Arabs; which treatise attracted a number of similarly renowned refutations by Arab Andalusians.  


The distilled essence of this deliberately succinct overview is that, consonantly with the multiplicity of creation pointing to one Creator, different Muslims respond to external circumstances differently.

Similarly to one segment of the Spanish muwalladūn of yonder, our “Caucasian” Muslims in the “West” might decide to borrow the identity of established Muslim ethnicities, whether Bengali or Senegalese, Syrian or Kashmiri. They might be content with assimilation through marriage and intimate daily interaction, and construct plausible scholarship lineages (to a madhhab, a school of‘aqīdah, focus on the Prophetic household or a Sufi tarīqah) as a surrogate for the old fabricated genealogical trees.        

There are benefits which ensue from that choice.

The most prominent benefit is that it is a choice, as opposed to no choice at all.

It locates the “new” Caucasian Muslim in the map, somewhere. The issue is not even localization here rather than there, but that there is localization other than nowhere.

If that choice is made, it should be proclaimed. That “new” Caucasian Muslim is identified by others as a contemporary “muwallad”, and similarly identifies himself.


As we said, that option is nevertheless plagued by huge drawbacks.

It is the weaker alternative, the alternative of the weaker mu’min.

Your lineage dies soon, and with it the special genius thereof, with its enriching and vivifying potential for an Ummah in dire need of enrichment and vivification.

As the contemporary writer ‘Abdu’l-Ghanī Maghribī underlined:

“The affair of an individual who joins an ethnically foreign community for one reason or another does not transcend his own person [unlike a whole tribe’s alliance-based affiliation to a fellow tribe]. At the beginning, he is perceived as an external intruder in that community, until the social unity he has adopted and which has adopted him absorbs him as one of them, because of his commendable qualities or due to virtue showed by his descendants subsequently to his death”.

Not only that, but the like of the Iberian native who embraced Islam as his Dīn might have intelligibly chosen to be absorbed by a triumphant established Muslim: one who had helped Islam conquer, personally or through his identifiable forefathers, a most significant part of European territory, and who had erected there an advanced civilizational lighthouse. He represented moreover an ethnic majority in a land (al-Andalus) he saw as his true homeland, not as a foreign Rūmītechnocracy to milk.

The current Muslim immigrant in the “West” is the existential antonym of that noble ancestry of his, his depreciable alter ego:

Why should the European Islamic genius throw away its right of existence in favour of assimilation to that devolution? Because it is easy and expedient in the immediate run, because he is too youthfully lazy to roll up his sleeves and manly build the edifice of intimate cohesiveness (ulfah) with his own ethnic likes?


Ibn Khaldūn mentions that when authority founded on ‘asabiyyah fades away, internal rivalry pervades urban settlements: many candidates, encampments, competing laws of offer and demand appealing to the opportunistic side in man (not just economic, but also idealistic and ideological). The individual is then left to himself, consigned to self-rule (which is disastrous, more so than the stranglehold the group has over the individual in pre-civilization nomadic societies).

Related to that is the disaster of unwise worshippers unveiled by Ibn Khaldūn and very much applicable to present-day “new” European Muslims [He contrasts it with the success stories of a powerful ‘asabiyyah guarding a Dīn-based call as a necessary prerequisite]:

“Many people, who are devoted to worship and treading the virtuous paths of the Dīn, opt to rebel against unjust rulers under the motto of changing the wrong and prohibiting it and commanding the good. They do so in the hope of reaping from Allah the reward expected to flow from it.

Many followers and adherents among the rabble and the ordinary populace rally under their banner, whereupon they expose themselves to the agents of their own destruction. Most of the persons joining such causes perish in the process without earning reward but rather laden with burdens of sinfulness. That is so since Allah did not ordain them to pursue that path, and only instructed it to be treaded when there is the capacity to successfully replace any such existing authority with one more virtuous”.   


Unifying cohesiveness is provided by bonding lineage + kinship even if remote. Within that framework, leadership emerges as a prominent reality once a personality joining charisma and leadership surfaces and command is entrusted to him. When that conscious organic connectivity is wedded to and harnessed by a Dīn-based call, strength is piled upon strength [Naturally, with a Prophet or a walī-ruler the sequential order changes; but that is not a scenario we can hope to see enacted in our immediate age].

Positive ‘asabiyyah, as per the Khaldunian interpretation of its reality, fosters increased cooperation and reduces causes of friction and conflict, thereby inverting the process of fragmentation.

Look at the Muslims in the “West”: everything pulls hem apart.

  • They have inherited all the scholarly and ideological dividing lines that are present in the traditional heartland of Islam.
  • One should add to it the division between the inclinations of local Muslims and those of their immigrant brothers, who export their foreign cultures, their gross incapacity to decipher the mechanisms of kufr, and their invasive institutions which enjoy greater funding than what fresh Muslim blood from those countries usually manages to muster.
  • There is then the deep internal disunion among these ethnically orphan “Western” Muslims, who break up into proliferating ideological tribes, constantly at logger heads with each other.

Only a more or less ethnically homogeneous community is able to reconcile hearts with enduring success: unifying lineage, language and cultural practices which allow a community structured that way to embrace mainstream Muslims from all the recognized schools of jurisprudence, doctrinal belief and spiritual wayfaring. That is the trigger for fruitful projects and a genuinely legitimized leadership to materialize and prosper.

Ibn Khaldūn was right in asserting not only that Prophets, peace upon them, were also sent to fortifying communities, but that a Dīn-based call on its own (divorced from an underpinning‘asabiyyah) fails to yield success.

Back to the beginning:

The current traditional Muslim struggles with that notion. Because he is the product of post-colonial nationalisms and divisive nation states, he mutters “Ummah Ummah Ummah”. He cannot overcome an emotional reaction to the historical failure he has witnessed among the post-Caliphate members of his own people. He takes therefore shelter in rationalizations:

  • Yes, Ibn Khaldūn provided concrete historical examples of the lack of success marking Dīn-based call without a bracing ‘asabiyyah, but their lack of success was only due, in each case, to an unfavourable concatenation of external circumstances and factors.
  • For Ibn Khaldūn ‘asabiyyah has as its goal sovereignty, but that is not the call of the Dīn, otherwise it would be a sheer political motive hiding behind an Islamic slogan. The truth is that an essential component of Islam’s call is to make it the sovereign force in the world.
  • True (modern scholars state in unison), ‘asabiyyah did facilitate Islamic conquests, and true,‘asabiyyah does consolidate a Dīn-based call, entrench its effective influence, enlarge its scope of dissemination and expand its authoritative supremacy, but that is similarly true of other types of conscious communitarian force, such as (idealism raises its head again!) an‘asabiyyah of thought, an ‘asabiyyah of shared interests (e.g. a political party) or an‘asabiyyah of homogeneous ‘aqīdah, all of which are capable of scoring victories and tackling new challenges victoriously.

Facts belie these emotional dilutions of Ibn Khaldūn’s insight:

In the UK or in the African continent, in the Arabian Peninsula or in the Subcontinent,‘asabiyyāt in the form of artificial communitarian forces, connective ideological visions, doctrinal creeds, political coalitions etc, are only lacerating the Ummah further.

In the past, one ‘asabiyyah would become hegemonic and establish political rule over the rest, which were left free to express their specific human geniuses so long as they did not contest power and seek to topple it.

In the world of artificial, non-organic ‘asabiyyāt of thought, shared interests or political agendas, ‘aqīdah and their likes, they are forever bitterly competing with one another, sowing mutual aversion, underscoring the victories of the Rum, certainly not those of the Islamic Ummah, and being whelmed by challenges instead of whelming them.  

Time has come to recapitulate and pinpoint the essence of correctness in the questions which had been addressed to us:

“Today many Muslims, who come to Islam from non-Muslim peoples, are in doubt as to how they should operate in the new reality of the Ummah.

a) Some advisers tell them that they need to join existing peoples with Muslim roots and cultures, accept their culture, marry among them and become part of them”.

That is an option:

  • The option of the weak mu’min
  • comfortable in the fatherly hug of his adoptive father
  • who has immaturely jettisoned his roots, particularly his paternal roots,
  • something the Dīn never asked him to do (quite the opposite),
  • and who has allowed his fecundating genius to die a rapid and enforced death by insouciant occultation: «So which of your Lord’s blessings do you both then deny?» (Sūrah ar-Rahmān) 
  • He has deprived the seeds ensconced in his loins to play an identifiable destiny as Allah’s invincible plan unfolds itself: «[I]f someone kills another person – unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth – it is as if he had murdered all mankind » (Sūrah al-Mā’idah: 32). O Western Muslims, why do you metaphorically kill the stock your loins carry because of the crimes committed by kāfir members of your peoples?


“b) Another group of people state that Islam has nothing to do with ethnicity, so new Muslims should be just Muslims without any definite ethnicity, freely mixing as such with all Muslims, because the real matter is to keep a proper ‘aqīdahmadhhab and manhaj, rather than the same culture or any culture at all.

We have distended our multi-faceted and unconditional refutation of this perverse and perversely selective error.

Muslims from the Rum, Slavs, Blacks in America or the Caribbean, must fight for their rights: A quality life where they can feel at home in Islam (the Ummah) and with their own ethnicities, from family clans up to fully-fledged peoples, in the same way as the traditional Muslims do while peddling to us the unnatural idea of a human stock without root or lineage, culture or language.


The mosque is always the nerve-center, the ‘asab, of Islam. The pulse of the Dīn is best gauged from the mosque.

The fallacy of the motto “just be a Muslim”, “Ummah-only”, for you but not for me, is painfully bared by the current reality of mosques.

As houses of Allah, they are precisely where the gathering identity of the Ummah should be most pronounced, precisely where ethnic identities should be pushed to the background, along with ideological divides within the Prophetic nation.

Am I Muslim? Yes. Am I Ahl as-Sunnah? Yes. Do I follow a legitimate madhhab? Yes. Can I then walk inside the mosque with a group of fellow Muslims and teach or discuss useful aspects of the Dīn there, as a circle of learning which before you could see in mosques across the globe, with their cross-seasonal tapestries of activity and the unfailing buzz of participants in such gatherings?

Of course we cannot.

The mosque belongs to a specific ethnic group. It subscribes to a specific ‘asabiyyah of thought, shared interest or doctrine, perhaps one excited about the possibility of reviling Sayyidunā Mu`āwiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, under whose rule, cemented by a trusted bedrock of organic ‘asabiyyah, Islamic activities freely engaged in flourished inside mosques.

By that, the gigantic fraud of the ‘asabiyyah-free utopia preached (but not practiced) by traditional Muslims is shamefully exposed.

Even the jinn knew it better when they said: «All mosques belong to Allah (wa-anna’l-masājida lillāh), so do not call on anyone else besides Allah».


c) There are also individuals who contend that such Muslims of recent coinage have to establish their own communities, marry Muslims among their people or similar peoples (for example, Caucasians, Africans or Asians), help each other and build anew their own ethnic identity in Islam, like other Muslim peoples did before”.

That is the fragrant halāl we should wisely encourage.

The only obvious pitfalls to avoid are:

  • Do not forget the primacy of taqwā and the necessity to recognize the other faces or collaborate with them in goodness, and do not let yourselves be seized by the excesses or negatives of ethnical identification; 
  • Do not exaggerate with inter-marriages to the point of genetic stagnation.

Set up mosques open to all Muslims as true houses of Allah, and interact with the rest of the Ummah with gusto, once you have an identifiable face, but at the same time:

  • Promote your languages, indoors and outdoors
  • Open your own schools
  • Establish your clubs
  • Found publishing houses in your vernaculars
  • Nurture and showcase your cultures
  • Organize functions, symposiums, gatherings et al to reinforce your organic communitarism and the intimate cohesiveness lying at its source
  • Live close to each other
  • Share your wealth
  • Foster group consciousness among wives and children, a task obviously facilitated by intersecting genealogical lines
  • Develop your peculiar “district-like fabric” (ahyā’iyyah, from ahyā’, the plural of hayy) of close-knit families worshipping the Ever-Living, al-Hayy
  • Use Arabic as an additional vehicle of communication, a lingua franca further asserting the universality of your Islamic identity
  • Reject ideological factionalism as a primary tool of community-building
  • Spread tolerance between your broad ethnic family, the way we saw enacted in our past towards relatives, friends and neighbours, even when we did not know what Ummah meant, and even when we logically had differences, even radical differences, with those relatives, friends and neighbours. The differences enriched us and mercifully added salt to our lives. By contrast, how intolerant we have found most Muslims shouting “unity” every second word to be! How much twilight is hidden in the aurora, and how much blighting separatism is planted in the Ummah by allegedly unifying ideologies
  • Conclude solemn pacts of close collaboration with complementary Muslim ethnicities. Define your people (say, Latvian) and a federation of similar peoples (say, Baltic Muslims), and liaise with them assiduously, horizontally and vertically
  • Relocate, if need be, to a new land where you can practice that viably or more viably
  • When that is alive and well, it will be easy and delectable to trace more inner circles of likes and affiliate to them. They can be based on madhhab, doctrine, professional occupation, urban localization, common scholarly pursuit or interest, active project, spiritual activity and so on.

You will produce chieftains, and among them a charismatic personality will ascend to fruitful leadership, so the cycle will renew itself just as Allah’s earth of multiple forms and colours incessantly does.


We cannot become Bedouins (though we can learn from them), but we can and must do something: We hereby proclaim the end of ideology.

Success is by Allah.


  1. “Ightaribū wa-lā tudwū” is a weak hadith with no known isnad and rejected by many scholars. However, Al-Shafi‘i offered this same advice, and it is remarked upon and discussed in traditional works of fiqh, for example مغني المحتاج

  2. Sohail Jafar says:


    This a fantastic read.

    As someone who is a “born-Muslim” – I agree with you and hope that we all find beauty in our diversity and share together one goal: to be the perfect Muslim.

    Thank you.

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