Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah?―While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islam) [aslama], and to Him shall they all be brought back.
Surat Al ‘Imran (3:83) (Yusuf Ali)
Islam is, for S. Sayyid, a divinely given and ‘ummatically’ inflected name that assembles “narratives and practices, heritages and futures” (9) from which a “total way of life” can bloom (47). Sayyid stresses that Islam is a “relational and contrastive” collective identity enabled by difference and rejection (28; also see 72, 162). He writes that the Prophet’s arrival mended reigning social schisms and oriented a freshly minted world around a new fissure between Muslims and non-Muslims (see 172). We live in the historical sequence emerging from this chasm.
But as the foregoing ayah suggests, even Khomeini’s Great Satan is Muslim to the extent that he acts in accordance with God’s will: the kafir’s submission may be unknowing and unwilling, but it is nevertheless named “Islam.” Continue reading ““I am a Thing, Not a Person”: Rethinking Difference in Recalling the Caliphate“