Microsoft Word - syll Islam and Nationalism 2017 BIS.docx
The principle of nationalism claims political sovereignty or greater political power for a people on the basis of shared nationality (whether ethnic, regional, religious, etc.). Indeed, the division of the world into nation- states, and the nation-state as the fundamental political unit is widely recognized by the world community today—e.g. consider the United Nations framework for international conflict resolution. The spread of nationalism throughout the modern world has challenged Muslims to reconsider the basis of their political organization and Islam’s role in it. Most Muslim states today have adopted this framework. This means that all Muslim nation-states are modern in their basic political premises and organization. The nation-state framework lies at the root of a host of problems that continue to plague the politics of the modern Muslim world. The greatest consequence of Muslim encounter with nationalism has been a profound transformation in Muslim thinking about Islam itself. Millions of Muslims today see Islam as a global or international force whose goal is to establish an Islamic polity based on shari’ah in order to ensure a just, equitable, and peaceful society. In addition, the adoption of nationalism as a political principle by Muslims the world over implies the breakup of Muslim ummah into a myriad nations competing against other Muslim nations for prestige, resources, and power. Not surprisingly, while some Muslims espoused the national principle, others rejected it as antithetical to Islam. In confronting this challenge, Muslims responded in different ways, with some allotting Islam a central role in politics, while others denying Islam any political role whatsoever. This course explores the three main varieties of Muslim nationalism in modern South Asia (currently, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh): calaphatic nationalism seeking to establish an Islamic state on the basis of shari’ah; the modernist nationalism demanding an independent majority-Muslim quasi-secular nation-state in the form of Pakistan; and the pluralist nationalism of a Muslim minority attempting to accommodate itself in a non- Muslim-majority society. These three varieties also appear in other Muslim regions faced with the challenge of nationalism.
- Instructor: Adnan Rehman