Pakistanis banned in Kuwait. Does ‘Ummah’ exist?
As reported by The Express Tribune (http://tribune.com.pk/story/690697/ban-on-visa-pakistanis-barred-from-entering-kuwait/), citizens of six countries including Pakistan, are not allowed to enter Kuwait borders. All of these six countries have Muslim majority population and, as a result of this directive, the concept of Ummah among Muslims is in the line of fire, once again.
Desi-liberals, as expected, came out of their cocoons, and as always, started creating noise without accessing the reality. It was there chance to mock Islam and Muslims and they didn’t leave any stone unturned to make most out of this situation. On the other hand, right-wingers didn’t have any argument left to hold their claim of considering Muslims as single “Ummah” as they have been banned to enter a piece of land which owned and governed by Muslim leaders.
For me, the concept of “Ummah” can never go along with current nation-state theory. Nation-state theory believes in territorial integrity, that practically divides people on the basis of geography. Once people are distributed as per their geographical location, they are bound to follow the rules of that land. They have the Army whose aim is to protect the borders.
All their daily life activities are governed by political, social, educational and other systems that are implemented on their part of land. With this reality, “Ummah” is nothing more than a fancy word which presents an illusion. You will find people in Pakistan reacting to anything happens to Muslims all over the world; whether its Palestine, Mynmar, Central African Republic or some western country. Muslims feel connected and this connection is very visible in Pakistan.
However, practically speaking, there is nothing they can do to help “Ummah” because they are divided into boundaries. For example, whenever Israel bombs Gaza, the armies of neighboring 22 Arab Muslim states remain unmoved. Even in Pakistan, those who believe that Kashmir has to be a part of Pakistan, rely on some Jihadi groups to do that for them and will never ever think of Pakistan Army to do the job.
This mindset, in practical, dissolves the whole concept of “Ummah” and most people realize this when they come across decisions like ban in Kuwait. They question themselves, if we all are part of one “Ummah”, why we are barred to enter one of our lands. On top of that, people who are not part of Ummah, are welcomed warmly there, and then, some of them realize that concept of “Ummah” can’t go hand in hand with nation-states.
This situation pushes them to think for a borderless Islamic State where the concept of “Ummah” can find its application. Parties like Tanzeem-e-Islami and HuT (Hizb-ut-Tahrir) are using this scenario to their advantage and focusing to create awareness in public for the idea of Islamic State. Zeno Bryan, Professor of Foreign Affairs at Hudson Institute, Stanford University, mentions this, “HT’s greatest achievement to date is that it has shifted the terms of debate within the Muslim world.
Until a few years ago, most Islamist groups considered the notion of establishing a new caliphate a utopian goal. Now, an increasing number of people consider it a serious objective. And after decades of stressing the existence and unity of a global Islamic community (umma), HT can take pride in the growing feeling among Muslims that their primary identity stems from, and their primary loyalty is owed to, their religion rather than their race, ethnicity, or nationality”.
I am quite sure that if decisions like ban in Kuwait keep coming, people will strive harder to establish the state where they can live as 'Ummah'.