One of the most preposterous lines of thought that I often come across on various fora is the laughable assumption that ‘Islamization’ [another dubious term nevertheless] of a particular area implies complete decimation of indigenous races, languages, and cultures. In other words, you would ultimately be transformed into Arab Bedouins.
Being an Arab and being a Muslim are two entirely different things.
I am an Indo-Aryan by race. My distant ancestors stood against the invading waves of Arab armies when in the 7th century they moved eastwards towards what today constitutes Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
The defenders were defeated and became subjects of the new ruling elite. It was a purely political struggle between two Imperial houses. The Arabs replaced the Persian Sassanids as regional hegemons. This Arab expansion, at the expense of administratively collapsing neighbors, had a lot to do with deadly intra-Arab power struggles [which I will touch upon in some other post].
Just as in today’s world mediocre politicians polish their legacies by embarking on ‘humanitarian interventions’ and aggressive wars abroad, there were factions within the Arab power elite who had to build their own ‘legacies’ to denigrate those whose exemplary conduct during and after Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him and the Ahl al Bayt) had become indigestible due to tribal and personal jealousies.
That the Arab forces were religiously Muslim did not make this engagement an ‘Islam vs Zoroastrianism/Hinduism’ affair.
If battlefield and military engagements could fundamentally transform a people’s spirit, the Greek and Mongol incursions in the Khorasan and Western Indus regions would have resulted in the spiritual Hellenization and Tengerisation of this part of the world respectively. None of that ever happened. It takes more than that to revolutionize the spirit of a people.
Besides, anyone who thinks that his ancestors were forcefully converted to a ‘foreign faith’ unconsciously sketches a damning picture of his own forefathers. I am not prepared to condemn my direct predecessors.
As I wrote in the last part, Islam addresses the human nature; not Arab, Persian, Indian, Turkic, White, Han, Korean, Japanese, Black natures etc.
Race is a biological fact as obvious as life and death.
It has a certain sanctity.
As the Holy Quran says:
“O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” [49:13]
In light of the above verse, if now someone denies races and ethnicities, he not only denies the divine order but also displays sheer ignorance of reality.
Similarly, he who advocates forced mixing of various nations and tribes to eradicate their natural differences tinkers with the divine equilibrium and invites disorder and mayhem.
Even people who live under one roof are expected to respect each other’s private space.
Naturally, then, it is expected that macro-differences [racial, ethnic, tribal, and linguistic] too should be acknowledged and not trampled upon.
Each race, ethnicity, tribe, etc. has the divine right to maintain its distinct outlook.
And, thus, the noblest is the one who recognizes the natural differences and ventures to align himself with divine wisdom.
(to be continued)