The Rise of Nation-States And The Disappearance Of Ummah

There are many discussions and debates on what and how “state” contributes to domestic peace and order. Many realists defend the need to have a state that can organize the affairs in a particular society. Hans Morgenthau, a German-born American political scientist and historian in his book, “Politics among Nations” argues that state is another name for compulsory organization of society – the legal order that determines the condition under which society may employ its monopoly of organized violence for the preservation of order and peace.

Others concentrated on the idea that state is an unnecessary instrument in building society. They opined that the state was invented by the ruling clique to advance their interests. In the State and Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist, penned that state is the product and manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. To Karl Marx, a German philosopher and economist, the State is an organ of class domination. Its aim is the creation of order which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the collisions between the classes.

Michael Curtis, the author of The Great Political Theories, opined that state is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachment as well of the workers of individual capitalist. Also, it is the state of the capitalists, hence its necessity ceases and withers away.

Given this, Islam has its own conception of nation and state. The Ummah is translated as nation thereby Muslims in Madinah were treated as one ummah under the pluralist state of Prophet Muhammad. He emphasized in his final pilgrimage’s sermon that “Arabs are not superior to non-Arabs and whites are not superior to blacks.” The import of his message is that Muslims are all equal in the sight of God. The Prophet being an Arab did not elevate Arabs to the top class. In fact, he often castigated them. This means that Muslims constitute one Ummah.

Lots of the verses in the Quran have warned Arabs that should they leave Islam, and Allah would change them and entrust Islam to “others”. This became reality after the fall of Abbasid Empire when Turks moved forward and wore the mantle of responsibility. Ottoman Turks held the reins of power and conquered Europe in the name of Islam.

Consequently, the rise of nation-states in the post-Ottoman period has divided the Muslims. The territory became sacred to a tiny Muslim state and the border turned out to be a wall where an Arab Muslim needs a visa to cross an imaginary line separating his place with the Muslim Turk. Worse, these fictional and invented borders were drawn by colonial powers in 1916.

The fifty-seven Muslim states on earth have written their national policies, principles and laws which are opposed to Islamic laws. Their foreign and domestic policies run contrary to Islam.

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The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Lobbyist.


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