[Chapter 27] The Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah

Dec 21, 2010

Chapter 27
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

The Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah

That is why, over ten years ago, I put forward the notion that those of us who lived in the West constituted to what I called the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah. I gave a series of lectures on the topic as part of a similar seminar as this one, except that it was much larger – several hundred people – and the organizers called it a convention. But the tapes of my speeches disappeared. I am still pleading with the organizers for tapes of my speeches – it is all part of the challenge of doing Islam and dealing with Muslims in the West.

Beyond all question, Muslims of the West are part and parcel of the Muslims of the world – forever. When I say ever, make that both a temporal as well as a geographic concept. Also, make time go both forwards as well as backwards to be subsumed in the concept of ever. So, at this level and from this point of view, Muslims are one indivisible body – when one part hurts, so does the entire body.

As Muslims, our sense of unity in fact goes deeper.

As humans – and as Muslims we understand this, at least we ought to, more clearly than most others – we are an inseparable part of the human race. When the bell tolls, as the poet said, we don’t need to send to find out for whom it tolls, for we know full well that as children of Adam “it tolls for thee.”

We know full well that whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, white, black, male or female, it is a part of us for whom the bell tolls – no matter for whom it tolls when it tolls in a particular place, at a particular time for a particular individual.

So also Islam is eternal and immutable and indivisible. And it is from God Almighty – designed by God to program or to show his creation how they do or must work for him.

Yet to live and work and die in the West is not quite the same thing as living and working and dying elsewhere. If you don’t know or understand this, your familiarity with the various regions of the world is open to question.

If on the other hand, you know it but will not, for whatever reason, admit it, then you have failed the first test of being a Muslim – integrity. Islam, more than anything else expects from its followers integrity – integrity of body, mind and soul as well as integrity of thought, speech and behavior.


Then, some years ago, I articulated the same general ideas in the form of a sociopolitical model that I called the Golden Triangle of Islam in the West, in which I argued that living and practicing Islam in the English-speaking democracies of the West required special understanding of the Western environment of freedom and responsibility. It required a mindset and temperament that were attuned to negotiation and compromise on the one hand and openness and inclusion on the other hand.

I hope some day we will wake up – and I hope that day is not too far – and realize that this part of Western culture was part of God’s gift to humanity, part of our own Islam, and in fact part of what we ourselves taught the world centuries ago. It is that long-forgotten and long-atrophied part of Islam that we have come home to now. I hope this will make us see that if we possess a proper understanding of Islam, and if we are the kind of real Muslims we claim to be, then for those of us living here in the West, West is where home is – both for us and for our Islam. We will realize that right here in the West is the “back home” for which the Pakistanis, Indians, Arabs and others among us have been pining for so long.

None of this is a Johnny-come-lately kind of knee-jerk reaction to the horrible events of September 11, 2001, but a model of Islamic understanding, practice and outreach that has taken years – decades – of contemplation, thinking, observation, analysis and soul searching to develop and articulate.

While the Western Wing and Golden Triangle terminology has not caught fire yet, the basic ideas behind it are beginning to percolate to Muslim consciousness and vocabulary on both sides of the Atlantic. But in some instances at least, I am afraid, they are a hurried housecleaning job on the part of some segments of Muslims in response to September 11 and its aftermath.

Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

© 2003 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.

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