The Concept of Globalization and How This has Impacted on Contemporary Muslim Understanding of Ummah

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Журнал: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 2, Number 2 / November 2011 - подписаться на статьи журнала

This paper begins with the examination of the concept of globalization and modernization before exploring the concept of Ummah and globalization's impact on Muslim understanding of Ummah. This paper investigates theological meaning of Ummah by using Quranic research methodology and examines Muslim understanding of Ummah in the globalized world. It finds that even though the theological meaning of Ummah stands for the whole of humankind it becomes an exclusive concept in the era of globalization and it creates confusion.

Keywords: globalization, modernization, Ummah, terrorism


Ummah in general, refers to Muslim's global community albeit arguments that theologically Ummah is not an exclusive concept, rather it includes the whole humankind. This concept has derived from Quran and was implicated practically by Prophet Muhammad for the first time through establishing the first Muslim state of Madinah in the seventh century. For Islamic scholars, ‘the Muslim world constitutes an Ummah – a universal community based on a shared faith and the implementation of its law’ (Hassan 2006). However, this ‘universal community of Ummah’ is now absorbed in the nexus of different countries, where in most cases Islam is not even the major religion since the present world system is governed by the treaty of Westphalia signed back in 1648 resulting at least 192 (UN members) countries till 2008. Therefore, scholars argue that national identity has superseded Muslim's Ummah identity and as a result the concept of Ummah rather refers to an ‘imagined community’ since it has no universal political implementation in this 21st century. Moreover, globalization through its drivers, i.e. migration, media, western values and Internet adds a new dimension to the Muslim understanding of Ummah. This paper begins with the examination of the concept of globalization and modernization before exploring the concept of Ummah and globalization's impact on Muslim understanding of Ummah.

The concept of Globalization

In theory, the concept of globalization is explained in its name. In my opinion, globalization has a central discourse of ‘global’, which comprises mainly economy, society, culture and politics. In this discourse of ‘global’, people from different countries with different cultural backgrounds are connected with each other economically, socially and politically where they form a standard homogenous culture and thus become globalized. In globalization, the restrictions of national boundaries are attenuated. Giddens states, ‘globalization is about the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa’ (Giddens 1990: 64).

Simultaneously, globalization adhere a tendency of fragmentation within itself. Clark asserts:

Globalization denotes movements in both the intensity and the extent of international interactions; in the former sense, globalization overlaps to some degree with related ideas of integration, interdependence, multilateralism, openness and interpenetration; in the latter, it points to the geographical spread of these tendencies and is cognate with globalism, spatial compression, universalization, and homogeneity (Clark 1997: 1).

Clark's theory argues that this process of intensification has tension of disintegration or fragmentation within itself. Bauman (2000) explains: ‘…[globalization] tends towards disaggregation, autarchy and isolation as well as ethnic or nationalistic separatism and regional integration’. Therefore, theoretically, it is globalization's nature that it will create difference and disturbance parallel to its homogenous tendency. According to Hall, Held and McGrew (1992: 217), nature of this tendency has no ‘fixed political inscription it can be either progressive or regressive and fundamentalist’. Based on these theoretical arguments, I contend that while globalization integrates people, culture, economy, societies around the world within its ‘global’ discourse, simultaneously it produces an alternative discourse of ‘local’ which tends to resist its integration process. The nature of this resistance has no fixed political set-up.

Globalization and Modernization

In this 21st century, ‘it has been perceived that [globalization] originated primarily from the economic and political domination of the USA, spreading modernity and consumerist values on [distant local cultures]’ (Wunderlich and Warrier 2007: 92).

Therefore, in other words, I argue that globalization accelerates the process of modernization with dispersion of western values. In that connection, I intend to investigate theoretically the relation between ‘the West and Modernity’ which later will help me to set up a discussion on how globalization and part of its western values are facing resistance from different segments. In this regard, I shall look into Hall's categorization of the ‘West’. Hall (Hall and Gieben 1992) lists four main areas in which the category of the West ‘circulates and coordinates’. First, it functions as a category which allows us to map out the world in terms of the West and non-West (Ibid.: 277). Secondly, it is a criterion by which we can make judgments about the rest of the world – both spatially and temporally (Ibid.). Thirdly, it makes a frontier around which numbers of positive and negative qualities are sorted and gathered (Ibid.). Fourthly and finally, it is a term of standardization that is developed, industrialized, urbanized capitalist, secular and modern (Ibid.).

Hall's analysis of the concept of the ‘West’ clearly demonstrates that this is a concept which is in use to signify a distinctive philosophy that deals with the rest. In my opinion, the ‘West’ is a certain way of thinking, behaving and acting. Especially, in his fourth point, Hall depicts that the concept of the ‘West’ is about achieving standard. It makes a distinction between modern and non-modern. As a result, in developing countries, steps are being taken to become modernized – for example in India and in Bangladesh and even in Pakistan, governments are formed mimicking Western democratic government, importance is given in schools to learning English, people interact in fast-food shops like KFC, Pizza hut – to become more American, European, in other words to become Western thus means to become modern. This demonstrates that instead of being a geographic entity, the ‘West’ in the contemporary world refers to a concept that can be interpreted as synonymous to modernization.

I shall consider the concept of Ummah in order to discuss globalization's impact on the Muslim understanding of Ummah in the final part.

The Concept of Ummah and its Theological Meaning

The word Ummah is mentioned several times in Muslim core sources including the Quran and Sunnah. To be precise, it is mentioned 64 times in the Quran (Al-Ahsan 1992: 9). Therefore, this word is very significant to Muslims. Since the entire Muslim community in the world regardless of their nationality embraces Quran as their holy book and do not question its authority, in my opinion it is plausible to restrict my investigation of the meaning of Ummah to the Quranic interpretations. Besides, there is a debate concerning the attribution of some Hadith sources even among Muslim scholars, questioning their authenticity.

Quranic interpretation of Ummah is diversified in its meaning. Hassan asserts, ‘the meaning of Ummah ranges from followers of a prophet; a divine plan of salvation; a religious group, a small group within a larger community of believer’ (Hassan 2006).

To define ‘Ummah’ etymologically Saunders asserts that, ‘the word is more closely linked to the gloss of people and is thought to be cognate of the Hebrew am and Aramic ummetha, and is often used in Arabic to denote the Western concept of nation’ (Saunders 2008).

By contrast to Saunders, Al-Ahsan argues ‘it is clear that Ummah means community’ (Al-Ahsan 1992: 11). From those two comments it emerges that Ummah in general and in etymological term means nation and community. However, a nation is an amalgam of different communities therefore those two remarks raise confusion. Mystification around the meaning of the word Ummah intensifies when I look into the following Quranic verses and their interpretations.

Quran says: ‘And mankind was not but one community ummatun wahidatan [united in religion] but [then] they differed’ (Quran 10:19). Al-Ahsan interprets this verse by stating, ‘Man is the only species within which more than one Ummah exists, and the basis of this division is a set of ideas or an ideology’ (Al-Ahsan 1992: 12). Based on this explanation of Quranic verse, it can be argued that every member of this humanity is also a member of Ummah even though they are divided into different beliefs.

However, the meaning of Ummah becomes more complex when Quran states ‘the followers of each prophet form an Ummah’ (Quran 10:47). At this point, ‘Ummah’ narrows its criteria to religion. In this respect, it can be argued that the Christians and Jews are parts of Ummah since their Prophets are Jesus Christ and Moses – who by the way are also considered as prophets for Muslims as well. Al-Ahsan notes, ‘The Quran claims that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were all Muslims because they surrendered to the will of Allah’ (Al-Ahsan 1992: 16). Therefore, with respect to the verse 10:47 it can be argued that Ummah refers to the followers of each prophet only because those Prophets are considered as Muslim.

Sachedina (2001) adds more dimensions to my exploration of the meaning of Ummah through referring to the verse of 5:48 where Quran gives acknowledgement to the Muslim as the best community. He interprets that particular verse and argues that ‘Muslim community remains the ideal or best community (Khayr ummatin)’ (Sachedina 2001: 38). This verse adds dimension in the sense that it asserts the supremacy of the Muslim as a community in comparison to other communities. Here the presence of the Muslim Ummah does not eliminate the existence of other communities.

I shall conclude this section by looking into the verse 2:143. The verse says:

And thus we have willed you to be a community of the middle way (ummatan wasatan), so that you might be a witness (to the truth) before all mankind, and that the Apostle might bear witness (to it) before you. And it is only to the end that We might make a clear distinction between those who follow the Apostle and those who turn about on their heels that we had appointed (for this community) the direction of prayer… (Quran 2:143)

Al-Ahsan (1992) argues while interpreting this verse that Ummah refers to the followers of Muhammad as a group of people with a physical identity of direction to pray which is Kabah thus explicitly indicates to the Muslims. Purist Qutb (1999) further adds in reference to the verse that ‘Ummah refers to the “world community of Islam”’. He asserts:

Muslim all over the world, with all their differences of race and language, would from then on perform their prayers… [by doing so] Muslim would assert, and be reminded of, their human and religious unity, and of their membership of a single world community with a common way of life, a common religious legacy and a common role and aim in the world (P141 volume-1).

Meaning of this verse is very crucial in understanding the meaning of Ummah.

To sum up the interpretations of this verse I argue that similar to the verse 5:48, Quran acknowledges the supremacy of Muslims comparing to other communities.

Therefore, I contend that the Quranic term Ummah indicates to the supremacy of the Muslims, at the same time it is an inclusive term in the sense that it acknowledges the whole human kind and makes them part of the Ummah. However, in my opinion, the issue of religion is at the heart of this concept, especially the monotheist religions when it refers to the followers of each prophet. In that sense it excludes, Hindus, Baha'is, Buddhists, Atheists and other people.

Sociological and Political Dimension of Ummah

Speaking from sociological point of view, Ummah became the ‘transformative concept’ of Arab tribe after the establishment of the first Muslim state of Medinah in the 7th century. In brief, when Prophet Muhammad emigrated to Madinah, the Arabs were divided into different tribes. Their first loyalty was to their own tribe. After the foundation of Prophet Muhammad's ‘Ummatu-l-Muslimin’, Al-Ahsan argues, ‘their supreme tribal loyalty was shifted to that of a new Islamic identity’ (Al-Ahsan 1992: 19). Hassan (2006) takes this further when he argues, ‘Ummah became a transformative concept as it changes the identities of Arab tribes to Muslim and when Islam began to expand to non-Arab lands; different groups of Muslims [transformed] into a community of believers’. Ummah had its political dimension as well.

Politically speaking, Prophet Muhammad established the concept of Ummah through the formation of the first Islamic state of Madinah by the documentation of Madinah Constitution which also is known as the Charter of Madinah (see Appendix 1). Through the article 1, this charter establishes Ummah as a political community. However, Prophet Muhammad's Ummah was inclusive not exclusive as the article 30 of Madinah Charter states that ‘the Jews will be treated as one community with the believers’ (see Appendix 1). It makes the whole charter inclusive to some degree. Safi (2001) argues, ‘the Ummah constitution defines the political rights and duties of the members of the newly established political community, Muslims and non-Muslims alike’. By contrast to Safi, Al-Ahsan (1992) argues that the charter was developed in several stages and non-Muslims were not in view when it was first written. He argues, ‘the Jewish tribes' names are not cited in the early parts of the document, and as the city of Madinah needed to be guarded an offer was made to the Jewish to make them citizens’ (Ibid.: 21). Al-Ahsan (1992) concludes that the first article of the Madinah Charter that refers to Ummah actually excluded the Jews. Simultaneously, Mandaville (2002) argues that the Ummah of Madinah was a sort of a ‘defense pact’. Mandaville's argument provides some sort of ground to Al-Ahsan's claim that the Jews were originally not part of the Madinah Pact and initially they were excluded; however, the security reasons forced Prophet Muhammad to include them. Nevertheless, at the end, Ummah of Madinah included non-believers, by doing so; I argue that the original Ummah of Madinah accepted the inclusive vision.

Before, engaging myself into the discussion of globalization's impact on contemporary understanding of Ummah, I shall examine the relation between religion and globalization in the following section.

Globalization and Religion

The fundamental resemblance between the world religion phenomenon and globalization is that both of them are by nature universalistic and related. Arjomand (2004) argues that in the old pattern of religious universalism, referring to the ‘missionary expansion’ of the world religions among nations and across the ‘frontiers of empires’, religion is the motive force behind globalization. He opines, ‘globalization [in the 21st century] by contrast, is a much broader process as it is set in motion not by religion, but by new cultural and especially technological forces that are entirely secular’ (Ibid.). In my opinion, the latter form of globalization promoted religion as well. For example, Beyer (2001) argues that globalization makes religion's two major strengths – communal and societal – stronger. Beyer asserts ‘communally religion is very often a vital part of cultural particularities … expresses what people are when faced with the seemingly external forces of globalization’ (Ibid.: 253). In addition, to explain globalization's impact on religion's societal surface, Beyer argues that, ‘[globalization] is an effective resource for mobilizing [people] across the social cleavage such as stratum, class, region and local culture’ (Ibid.). Bearing these theories in mind, I would like to consider the impact of globalization on the contemporary Muslim understanding of Ummah.

Contemporary Understanding of Ummah and Globalization

From theological interpretation and Prophet Muhammad's practical establishment of Ummah, it is plausible to contend that the concept of Ummah contains the vision of inclusivity within itself. The fundamental rule here is a Muslim needs to believe in singularity of Allah and Prophethood of Muhammad. Theologically, I have argued that Ummah refers to community in general but offers supremacy to the Muslim community, however, at the same time does not exclude other religious communities. Interestingly, this concept of inclusivity become exclusive by referring to Muslims only in this contemporary world where ‘1.5 billion people are Muslims’ (Arjomand 2004) who constitutes about ‘25 percent of the world's population’ (Hassan 2006) and are now divided into different nationalities; ‘of these about 1.1 billion live in 45 Muslim majority countries and the remaining 400 million live as minority in 149 countries’ (Ibid.).

In addition to the transformation in the concept of Ummah from inclusivity to exclusivity, globalization brings challenges for Ummah in different ways as it practically adhere no political implementation as a unified entity.

To examine the impact of globalization on the contemporary understanding of ‘Ummah’, I shall address the study conducted by Hassan (2006) to find out globalization and modernization's impact on Ummah. Thereafter, I argue that globalization forces a crisis of identity for the member of Ummah in one hand; and on the other hand, terrorists use globalization to promote hatred in the name of establishing Ummah.

Globalization and Debate Regarding Ummah

Hasan (2006) has conducted an interesting study in seven Mulsim countries, namely: Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Kazakhstan – to measure what he calls ‘Ummah consciousness’ among 6,300 Muslims. His study was conducted between 1997 and 2003. Through that study Hassan conducts ‘Ummah consciousness index’ which he compares later with the values of Human Development Index (HDI) reported in the Human development report of United Nation Development Program (UNDP) which was published in 2002 to determine the scale of modernity in those seven Muslim countries.

To determine Ummah consciousness, his key research questions were: no doubt about the existence of Allah; firm belief in Quranic miracles; fasted in the month of Ramadan; belief in life after death; belief that persons who deny the existence of Allah are dangerous. Hassan presented his findings through the following Table 1.

Table 1

Ummah consciousness and modernity in Muslim countries

Hassan, concludes that apart from Kazakhstan, six other Muslim countries adhere strong sense of religious consciousness which he terms as ‘Ummah Consciousness’. In addition, apart from Pakistan, six other countries experience significant modernization. An interesting point to note here is that Pakistan adhere the relatively low level of modernity within itself but hold quite a higher level of ‘Ummah Consciousness’, higher than Turkey and Iran – two Middle Eastern countries. However, a major drawback on Hassan's study lies in its term ‘Ummah Consciousness’. His research questions are based on religious awareness and do not include the question of ‘Muslim solidarity across the nation states’ which is fundamentally related to the concept of Ummah in my opinion. Nevertheless, his research finding raises a point which is amid modernization most of these Muslim countries hold a high level of religious consciousness even though scholars argue that globalization is seen as a major threat to Islamic tradition.

Hassan through a different research, points out to another significant impact of globalization on Ummah. Hassan (2003) asserts that, ‘globalization is prompting a reformulation of the common Muslim belief that Islam is not only a religion but also a complete way of life, which in Islamic discourse is known as the one religion, one culture paradigm’. The drivers of globalization – migration, Internet, media – enables a Muslim to see different Muslim nations and cultures which help to compare with own cultures. This is the most important impact of globalization on Muslims. As I have mentioned there are 45 Muslim majority countries in the world and millions of Muslims live as minorities in other countries. All of them are different in cultures and not many of them are ruled by Sharia law. In addition, there are vast differences in religious practices of ‘Abangan or syncretic Javanese Muslims and Wahabi Muslims (followers of the strict practice insisted by Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahab) of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’ (Hassan 2003). Hassan (Ibid.) argues that this realization has provoked an ‘unfavorable reaction’ among some group of Islamic intellectuals towards this ‘hybridity’ (syncretic and heterogeneous Islam). He provides example of Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, where he quotes Islamic scholars Azyumardi Azra who have rejected the ideologies of radical Islamic organizations like Front Pembela Islam, Jamaat Muslimen Indonesia and Al Qaida because Azra sees these organizations are advocating ‘Arabic Islam’ (authentic Islam) and rejecting the accommodative Indonesian Islam (hybrid Islam). To brand Al Qaida's terrorist activity under the apogee of ‘Arabic Islam’ does not demonstrate a fair picture of ‘Arabic Islam’. It is not about radicalism; rather it is to me Arabic Islam is the source of civilization worldwide and a major base of ‘European civilization’ (Goody 2004: 13).

Nevertheless, I agree that globalization's major blow to the concept of Ummah is that it opens the world to the Muslims to compare and contrast religious practice, Muslim culture and other related issues. Through this, many people interpret and practice Islam in many ways and this is where academics (Hassan 2006; Kibria 2008; Mandaville 2002; Linjakumpu 2008) came in to coin in the term ‘an imagined community’ referring to Ummah in the 21st century context as they argue on the ground that Muslims are now absorbed in the nexus of nation states and diverse cultures.

Identity and Ummah

It is mentioned that present world system is now governed by the system of Westphalia. Therefore, theoretically and legally a Muslim is a citizen first and then a Muslim. However, this is more complex than it sounds. Hassan (2006) argues that psychologically, the term Ummah provides [a framework] for an existence at two levels. Kundani (2008) explains, ‘Muslim identity is based on the individual actively choosing to join the community of believers rather than accepting inherited tribal, ethnic or national filiations’. Therefore, it lies on an individual to make a choice whether to give highest loyalty to Islam or to the nation state. Al-Ahsan (1992) in this regard asserts, ‘All Muslim nation states fallen victim to this identity crisis’. This crisis of identity for Muslims prevail around the world just not only in the Muslims states. Muslims living in the western countries are also facing same challenges.

Globalization adds new dimension into this identity crisis. I have mentioned at the beginning of this essay that migration is an active driver of globalization. In different research findings, for example, Ahmed and Donnan (1994), Kibria (2008), Kundnani (2008), Bowen (2004a, 2004b), Saunders (2008), Rai (2006), it is mentioned that migration plays an important role in the context of revival of Ummahism upon individual. It works within several modes.

Ahmed and Donnan assert that ‘as Muslims cross international borders, they also come face to face, perhaps, for the first time in their lives, with the vast diversity of Muslim practice and cultures’ (Ahmed and Donnan 1994: 13). They reassert and reevaluate their religious values. A study conducted by Kibria on returned Bangladeshi migrants from Saudi Arabia is worth mentioning here. In her research Kibria finds that ‘returned migrants expressed support for the project of Islamization in Bangladesh, seeing it as a means to foster prosperity and social order in the country’ (Kibria 2008). In her study, Kibria shows that those migrant Muslims express their views to reevaluate the concept of Ummah and conveyed disappointment on the weakness of solidarity among Muslims living in different countries. Even though, Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim country in the world in terms of population until now it is very secular. Nationalism has been the main philosophy for this country because of which in 1971 it separated from another Muslim country Pakistan, through a 9-month long bloody war. Kibria's research finding can be explained in this way – as Saudi Arabia used to be the birth place for Islam and it still is very Islamic in most sectors, it might have a profound impact on those returned Muslim migrants.

On the other hand, a large number of Muslim settlers in the Western secular societies and countries are also transferring their supreme loyalty to Ummah. Research on Muslim migrant settlers in the West has emphasized religious minority status and the stigmatization of Islam in explaining the trend towards religious orthodoxy (Peek 2005; Schmidt 2004). Kibria asserts that ‘there is a desire under [certain] conditions to adhere only to the core tenets of Islam and to strip Islam of extraneous cultural influences, including ideologies of nationalism’ (Kibria 2008).

Theoretically, the conditions referred by Kibria stem within globalization's discourse. I have mentioned above by referring to the theories by Bauman (2000), Clark (1997) and Hall, Held and McGrew (1992) that globalization has a fundamental tendency of localization or provoking heterogeneous culture within itself. Saunders (2008) argues that ‘social isolation associated with migrancy (felt not only by the immigrants but also their descendants) has been the major factor in creating a common sentiment of Ummah’. By contrast to Saunders, Ramadan (2008) argue that it is the Western nation states which are still to recognize that Muslims can be good citizens while keeping their Muslim identity.

The whole debate of migration here asserts that the Ummah is facing a predicament. The centripetal of this predicament is the tension between Nationalism and Ummahism for Muslim which is fostered by globalization through migration.

Ummah and Terrorism

Terrorists and Islamic radical political parties use ‘Ummah’ as a means to promote violence worldwide. The process of globalization makes it easier for them as they can contact and broadcast the messages through the web, through digital media, that is CDs (Mandaville 2002). What I find most striking about their modus operandi is that they misinterpret the concept of Ummah to promote hatred. Let me set an example here. It is the note written by one of the hijackers of 9/11 before his death.

The note of the 9/11 hijackers reads: ‘Remember the battle of the Prophet … against the infidels, as he went on building the Islamic state’ (Chapman 2005: 3). In this case, the only plausible argument behind writing this note by a terrorist, who was about to kill thousands of innocent lives, is he was justifying his action by comparing to the establishment of Ummatu-l-Muslimin of Prophet Muhammad. By all historical accounts, there is no evidence that Prophet Muhammad established the state of Madinah over the bloodshed of innocent people and it is mentioned that Prophet Muhammad's Ummatu-l-Muslimin included non-Muslims. The history of the Ummah has shown exemplary, almost unique models of multiracial, multicultural, multireligious, pluralist societies (Ibrahim 1991). Chapman observes that the rise of the global terrorism in the name of establishing Ummah can be interpreted as a failure of globalization. He asserts:

Islamist's grievances include the failure of the ideologies imported from the West – especially capitalism, communism/socialism and nationalism. These are perceived as ‘bankrupt ideologies foisted on them from outside’. While some aspects of modernity are enthusiastically embraced, others are vigorously rejected (Chapman 2005).

To elaborate Chapman's claim, it can be argued that globalization's localization process does create poverty which generate hatred in poor Muslim families against the existing system and therefore it is plausible to select the extreme way of misinterpreted concept of ‘Jihad’ as a protest against the dominating economic system in the name of establishing Ummah. A study conducted by Asal et al. (2008) among 141 Pakistani families found that, ‘wealth – or the lack thereof – conditions a family's belief about their son's jihad’. Asal et al. (Ibid.) report concludes that unemployment plays a major role behind the recruitment of jihadist by the terrorists.

To sum up my argument, I would like to state that globalization's impact on contemporary understanding of Ummah has mainly three dimensions:

a) It has fostered ‘Ummah consciousnesses as an answer to the ‘West’-driven globalization. At the same time globalization generated debate among Muslims about the ‘right’ form of Islamic implementation on a society. As a result, Ummah (theologically the best community) is divided within themselves.

b) Migration brings Muslims to face the hard reality to select their supreme identity.

c) In the name of Prophet Muhammad's political establishment of Ummah, extremists misinterpret the inclusive vision of Ummah which according to Quran acknowledges the existence of the whole humankind. The rise of jihadist is a major outcome of globalization's localization process.

Indeed the Muslim Community in the world is now divided into many nations, culture and ideas. Islam is interpreted in different ways within different segments of Ummah. Through the following figure, McCabe (2008) argues that the Ummah is fragmented into three sections: Political Islam, Radical Islam and Jihadi Islam.

Fig. 1.


In conclusion, I would like to summarize what I have argued so far. I have examined the concept of globalization and its integration and localization process to show that the concept of globalization adhere a tension within itself. I argue that globalization accelerates modernization and it is originated by the West. However, in theory, the West now becomes a concept for standardization. This standard procedure is rejected by far right Muslim organizations. Globalization through its drivers, for example, Internet, mobilizes Muslims to make religions' two surfaces – communal and societal – stronger. Besides, migration, an important driver of globalization, makes Muslims face a strong question about their identity. However, as Prophet Muhammad allowed the Arab tribes to keep their tribal identity after their Muslim identity, it is plausible to argue that a Muslim can keep both of their identities – national and religious. It seems radical Islamists are against this argument of keeping both identities. As an example I am here producing a portion of a pamphlet written by a banned Islamic Party call Jammatul Mujahideen which blasted 300 bombs simultaneously throughout Bangladesh on August 17, 2005. The Pamphlet which headlined, ‘Bangladesh: A Call for Implementation of Islamic Law’, was left at every spot. It reads:

In a Muslim country there can be no laws other than the laws of Allah… The Quran or hadith [examples from the Prophet's life] do not recognize any democratic or socialist system that is enacted by infidels and non-believers… [We] reject the constitution that conflicts with Allah's laws and call upon all to abandon the so-called election process and run the affairs of state according to the laws of Allah and the traditions of the Prophet (Hasan 2011).

In addition, the concept of Ummah in this globalized period becomes exclusive. It refers only to Muslims. Muslims also interpret Ummah in different ways: moderate, political and radical-jihadist. The rise of jihadist movements in developing countries has an implication to question globalization's western concept and its economic system. They reject the ‘standard’ procedures of globalization. As a whole Ummah becomes a reality to a Muslim but its different interpretations produce confusion not only in the non-Muslim world but also even in Muslim world.


[1] This table is taken from the research report of Hassan (2006) where Ummah consciousness was measured out of 100 points and modernity measured out of 1000 points.


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Appendix 1

Full Text of the Madina Charter[1]

1. This is a document from Muhammad the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace – added by the publisher, absent from the original text – M.H.), governing relations between the Believers i.e. Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib and those who followed them and worked hard with them. They form one nation – Ummah.

2. The Quraysh Mohajireen will continue to pay blood money, according to their present custom.

3. In case of war with any body they will redeem their prisoners with kindness and justice common among Believers. (Not according to pre-Islamic nations where the rich and the poor were treated differently – publisher's comment – M.H.).

4. The Bani Awf will decide the blood money, within themselves, according to their existing custom.

5. In case of war with anybody all parties other than Muslims will redeem their prisoners with kindness and justice according to practice among Believers and not in accordance with pre-Islamic notions.

6. The Bani Saeeda, the Bani Harith, the Bani Jusham and the Bani Najjar will be governed on the lines of the above [principles].

7. The Bani Amr, Bani Awf, Bani Al-Nabeet, and Bani Al-Aws will be governed in the same manner.

8. Believers will not fail to redeem their prisoners they will pay blood money on their behalf. It will be a common responsibility of the Ummat and not of the family of the prisoners to pay blood money.

9. A Believer will not make the freedman of another Believer as his ally against the wishes of the other Believers.

10. The Believers, who fear Allah, will oppose the rebellious elements and those that encourage injustice or sin, or enmity or corruption among Believers.

11. If anyone is guilty of any such act all the Believers will oppose him even if he be the son of any one of them.

12. A Believer will not kill another Believer, for the sake of an un-Believer (i.e. even though the un-Believer is his close relative – publisher's comment – M.H.).

13. No Believer will help an un-Believer against a Believer.

14. Protection (when given) in the Name of Allah will be common. The weakest among Believers may give protection (in the Name of Allah) and it will be binding on all Believers.

15. Believers are all friends to each other to the exclusion of all others.

16. Those Jews who follow the Believers will be helped and will be treated with equality. (Social, legal and economic equality is promised to all loyal citizens of the State – publisher's comment – M.H.).

17. No Jew will be wronged for being a Jew.

18. The enemies of the Jews who follow us will not be helped.

19. The peace of the Believers (of the State of Madinah) cannot be divided. (It is either peace or war for all. It cannot be that a part of the population is at war with the outsiders and a part is at peace – publisher's comment – M.H.).

20. No separate peace will be made by anyone in Madinah when Believers are fighting in the Path of Allah.

21. Conditions of peace and war and the accompanying ease or hardships must be fair and equitable to all citizens alike.

22. When going out on expeditions a rider must take his fellow member of the Army-share his ride.

23. The Believers must avenge the blood of one another when fighting in the Path of Allah. (This clause was to remind those in front of whom there may be less severe fighting that the cause was common to all. This also meant that although each battle appeared a separate entity it was in fact a part of the War, which affected all Muslims equally – publisher's comment – M.H.)

24. The Believers (because they fear Allah) are better in showing steadfastness and as a result receive guidance from Allah in this respect. Others must also aspire to come up to the same standard of steadfastness.

25. No un-Believer will be permitted to take the property of the Quraysh (the enemy) under his protection. Enemy property must be surrendered to the State.

26. No un-Believer will intervene in favor of a Qurayshi, (because the Quraysh having declared war are the enemy – publisher's comment – M.H.).

27. If any un-Believer kills a Believer, without good cause, he shall be killed in return, unless the next of kin are satisfied (as it creates law and order problems and weakens the defense of the State – publisher's comment – M.H.). All Believers shall be against such a wrong-doer. No Believer will be allowed to shelter such a man.

28. When you differ on anything (regarding this Document) the matter shall be referred to Allah and Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace – added by the publisher, absent from the original text – M.H.).

29. The Jews will contribute towards the war when fighting alongside the Believers.

30. The Jews of Bani Awf will be treated as one community with the Believers. The Jews have their religion. This will also apply to their freedmen. The exception will be those who act unjustly and sinfully. By so doing they wrong themselves and their families.

31. The same applies to Jews of Bani Al-Najjar, Bani Al Harith, Bani Saeeda, Bani Jusham, Bani Al Aws, Thaalba, and the Jaffna, (a clan of the Bani Thaalba – M.H.) and the Bani Al Shutayba.

32. Loyalty gives protection against treachery. (Loyal people are protected by their friends against treachery. As long as a person remains loyal to the State he is not likely to succumb to the ideas of being treacherous. He protects himself against weakness – publisher's comment – M.H.).

33. The freedmen of Thaalba will be afforded the same status as Thaalba themselves. This status is for fair dealings and full justice as a right and equal responsibility for military service.

34. Those in alliance with the Jews will be given the same treatment as the Jews.

35. No one (no tribe which is party to the Pact) shall go to war except with the permission of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace – added by the publisher, absent from the original text – M.H.). If any wrong has been done to any person or party it may be avenged.

36. Any one who kills another without warning (there being no just cause for it) amounts to his slaying himself and his household, unless the killing was done due to a wrong being done to him.

37. The Jews must bear their own expenses (in War) and the Muslims bear their expenses.

38. If anyone attacks anyone who is a party to this Pact the other must come to his help.

39. They (parties to this Pact) must seek mutual advice and consultation.

40. Loyalty gives protection against treachery. Those who avoid mutual consultation do so because of lack of sincerity and loyalty.

41. A man will not be made liable for misdeeds of his ally.

42. Anyone (any individual or party) who is wronged must be helped.

43. The Jews must pay (for war) with the Muslims. (This clause appears to be for occasions when Jews are not taking part in the war. Clause 37 deals with occasions when they are taking part in war – publisher's comment – M.H.).

44. Yathrib will be Sanctuary for the people of this Pact.

45. A stranger (individual) who has been given protection (by anyone party to this Pact) will be treated as his host (who has given him protection) while (he is) doing no harm and is not committing any crime. Those given protection but indulging in anti-state activities will be liable to punishment.

46. A woman will be given protection only with the consent of her family (Guardian). (A good precaution to avoid inter-tribal conflicts – publisher's comment – M.H.).

47. In case of any dispute or controversy, which may result in trouble the matter must be referred to Allah and Muhammed (may Allah bless him and grant him peace – added by the publisher, absent from the original text – M.H.), The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace – added by the publisher, absent from the original text – M.H.) of Allah will accept anything in this document, which is for (bringing about) piety and goodness.

48. Quraysh and their allies will not be given protection.

49. The parties to this Pact are bound to help each other in the event of an attack on Yathrib.

50. If they (the parties to the Pact other than the Muslims) are called upon to make and maintain peace (within the State) they must do so. If a similar demand (of making and maintaining peace) is made on the Muslims, it must be carried out, except when the Muslims are already engaged in a war in the Path of Allah. (So that no secret ally of the enemy can aid the enemy by calling upon Muslims to end hostilities under this clause – publisher's comment – M.H.).

51. Everyone (individual) will have his share (of treatment) in accordance with what party he belongs to (Individuals must benefit or suffer for the good or bad deed of the group they belong to. Without such a rule party affiliations and discipline cannot be maintained – publisher's comment – M.H.).

52. The Jews of al-Aws, including their freedmen, have the same standing, as other parties to the Pact, as long as they are loyal to the Pact. Loyalty is a protection against treachery.

53. Anyone who acts loyally or otherwise does it for his own good (or loss).

54. Allah approves this Document.

55. This document will not (be employed to) protect one who is unjust or commits a crime (against other parties of the Pact).

56. Whether an individual goes out to fight (in accordance with the terms of this Pact) or remains in his home, he will be safe unless he has committed a crime or is a sinner (i.e., no one will be punished in his individual capacity for not having gone out to fight in accordance with the terms of this Pact – publisher's comment – M.H.).

57. Allah is the Protector of the good people and those who fear Allah, and Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace – added by the publisher, absent from the original text – M.H.) is the Messenger of Allah (He guarantees protection for those who are good and fear Allah – publisher's comment – M.H.).

[1] Taken from