The crypto-Nazis and general racist bigots say: Islam is a virus that, if unchecked, will overcome our native laws, government and culture, supplanting them with an alien and barbaric shariah. Minarets in Switzerland, hijabs in France, shariah marriage laws in England: the end game will be the repetition of the original story of Islam’s unfolding. Give a dog an inch and then he will take Medina and then Mecca and then whatever else remains, by insidious subtle moves at first, then by the sword and oppression.
The ignorant ummah says: give us our rights. Islam is compatible with modernity — more so, its principles pre-empt modern ideas of progressive economics, science, environmentalism and feminism. Islam is the best of modernity, tempered with and guided by God’s Law. So we demand all the external aspects of our practice, our clothing, our architecture, our sunnah.
The Tailor says:
But do they understand the Real meaning of clothing, architecture and the sunnah? Do they understand what a hijab is? Can they read the architecture of a Masjid? Do they live the sunnah? For the hijab is righteous language. The masjid is all of creation, its minarets are the awtad, the stabilizers, of Reality itself. And the sunnah is literacy.
You would have minarets, awtad, for your Reality. But remember that Pharoah had mastery of the awtad (89: 10), so take care in what you demand, if your demand is made in ignorance or in arrogance.
It is better to turn the other cheek in this particular dispute. For we are not ready. We are not ready. We are not ready.
We have no armor, no Medina, feeble grasp of the Deen, and an inability to read the Qur’an itself, let alone the other books. Who are we to demand any rights in such a state, when we do not understand what “rights” and a “state” are?
Where can the armor be found? Where is our Medina? It lies beneath your feet, in the Western forests behind you, in the streets of modernity that you walk. It lies in the culture that the racists would defend from you in their ignorance. The indigenous culture of the land that your journey (or your parents’ or grandparents’ journeys) has brought you to stand upon — this land will be your armor. The canon of the Northern lands will be your Medina.
Let’s talk about Britain rather than the rest of Europe. Islam is a coherent, single (not multiplicitous) Belief. But Islam is not water, it is milk. It is a way of reading the ayats of life, the signs of your context. Islam is reading. And so we read the Land we travel upon. If I were back in Australia, I would say the key to being a truly Australian Muslim begins with the signs perceived and annotated by the various Aboriginal tribes: the Rainbow Serpent creation myth and the shin, the Dreamtime symbolic, the walkabout hajj, the speech of praise and thanks I heard uttered by spirits in bushland creeks, emerging to give water and running underground, the Aboriginal methods of fire control, where the bush is systematically burnt back to prevent unchecked Fire. But I am not there now, nor in Switzerland or America, so let’s talk about Britain and you can fill in the dots for yourself, wherever you are, Muslim or not.
I say to you: no one can call themselves a truly British Muslim without becoming a hafiz, a guardian, of the blood of Truth — the culture — that runs through this land. He who meets, Uwaisi-like, Blake and Donne in the pubs and churches of the city. He who reads the poets from Wordsworth to the metaphysicians, for poetry is special and particular here. Who knows Dowland, who understands the hyper-geographies and Kabbalic psychologies of the Bard.
Our antagonists claim guardianship of this culture and gain nothing, for they are ignorant and cannot read. But they lack religion and literacy is key to religion, so we cannot fault them on that. But an illiterate Muslim is worse than a thousand ignorant racists. The migrant Muslims do not read the text in front of them and so risk everything. They made a partial hijrah only, the baby was a premature and requires immediate suckling from the Wife of Law, from the Mother of Belief.
An ancient indigenous Islam runs through the veins of our Island. A true British Islam would not destroy this culture, but would elevate it through providing an exemplary light by which to read these texts. It would elevate all ancient ayats of Albion. Islam would then be brought to the Island by the sword — but it would be Arthur’s sword and no people or animals will be harmed in the making of the film.
I speak here in the mode of Milk. But if you want to hear it from the Asselic realm, read this poet, hear this music, and make it your own song:
It was a time when silly bees could speak,
And in that time I was a silly bee,
Who fed on time until my heart ‘gan break,
Yet never found the time would favour me.
Of all the swarm I only did not thrive,
Yet brought I wax and honey to the hive.
Then thus I buzzed when time no sap would give:
Why should this blessed time to me be dry,
Sith by this time the lazy drone doth live,
The wasp, the worm, the gnat, the butterfly?
Mated with grief I kneeled on my knees,
And thus complained unto the king of bees:
My liege, gods grant thy time may never end,
And yet vouchsafe to hear my plaint of time,
Which fruitless flies have found to have a friend,
And I cast down when atomies do climb.
The king replied but thus: Peace, peevish bee,
Thou’rt bound to serve the time, the time not thee.
(Words by Robert, Earl of Essex, song by John Dowland)