14.2.08

The Millet

Sometimes words do not fit, but nevertheless are used to describe matters that need understanding. This leads to confusion for those using them, it is doubly annoying if we use them ourselves to describe ourselves.

Time and time again folks have argued about the use of alienating language and categorisation to mutilate the meaning and essence of this world. For example the meaning of the word 'moderate' in the context of government speaking about Muslims they would like to breed. This term is seperate from a more religious rendering of the levels of faith, which from low to high are Muslim, Mu'min and Muhsin. These levels (and others) are in our teachings and in our common sense. I pity the fool who brings up their child/institution/country according to the going politically expedient definition of moderacy from those who dont wish us the most blossoming of times.

And so onto 'the community', because that is why i'm writing this post. Its actually a millet. Historically the millet system was used for different communities to organise themselves during the Ottoman times. Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani wrote about the millet, distinguishing it from qaum (nation) in that it had a religious commonality running through it. Maulana Madani was one of those sages who we probably should have listened to before partition. Yahya Birt writes on him here.

I like it because i think it can help believers in the Occident to finetune their selfanalysis on their own terms. It originates from our own traditional ways of thinking about collective life. It is even mentioned in the quran, apparently 15 times. You can use it to describe a school of thought or a creed.

There is no unified muslim community here, think of Prophet Noah's Ark but with slightly different demographics. Theres a diversity in ancestral geography, kinship, religiosity, taste and class patterns that on one hand is amorphous, without structure, but looked at from a different perspective, is perfectly normal considering Our cosmopolitan history. Understanding this millet, this rapidly formed and immigrated millet, with simplifying policywonk doublespeak is not going to work or get the best out of it.

The Millet in the UK doesn't really know itself too well. University was a good, pretty ramdomised knowing point. Religious institutional life also, but that tends to be more of a localised thing. Allow the web. This getting to know itself will take a lot of time, but it is... as the dude said 'inevitable'.

5 comments:

some random bloke said...

'taste and class patterns that on one hand is amorphous, without structure'

How dare you!

fug said...

think of it as sediment, which accumulates with time.. and theres stratification clearly visible...

then theres geological forces and metamorphisis.

OR.

crystalisation in parts, uneven, but beautiful in part.
ponced out yet?

some random bloke said...

"crystalisation in parts, uneven, but beautiful in part. ponced out yet?"

Dunno, maybe I got the wrong end of the stick. I thought you were denying any given social structure that gives meaning to class patterns, tastes/dispositions and stratification (within the community and out of the same community)...formations of these very same stuctures (defining class patterns etc.) is a two process, they are sites of contestation and struggle -- a dynamic struggle of different structural positions. It is a process of what you termed as 'geological forces and metamorphisis' i.e. emergence. To understand what becomes solid and what is cast away to the outer parts, we must ascribe some solidity to these patterns.

I live in a sad lonely little planet...slowly human communication and interaction is becoming a mystery. I have an urge to decode these mysteries, there must be some meaning behind patterns of behaviour! Everything has an underpinning to give it some coherent meaning.

Anonymous said...

Are we talking about the hairstyle?

fug said...

SRB,
what structure?

do you mean the one wher the backward punjabi doesnt want anything to do with the noble Turk? or the structure that permits widows and widowers to live alone and does little about it? or the structure that harbours segregated graveyards.... perhaps the structure that imports failed movements from the east that make fools of our noble millat? or the wannabe's that just 'allow' solving problems and compete for government attention?