Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Nation One Nationality...

There's only one Malaysia and the nationality of its citizens is Malaysian. But the Malaysians can be of different racial origins, embracing different religious faiths and practicing different cultural norms and habits beside the overriding Malaysian cultural mix. Thus we have UNITY IN DIVERSITY. Other nations too have the same national and cultural identity. One national identity but made up of several religious and socio-cultural ingredients.

What's wrong with that? It's true for the US, the UK and other European nations, USSR, Indonesia, Singapore etc. The national identity remains intact and well-respected without any attempt to integrate all the religio-socio-cultural mix into one common
entity loosing all original costituent textures, shades and colors.

While socio-cultural differences can be slowly overshadowed by a strong overarching national culture which evolves through the years, to put all the citizens of a state under one religious faith is an impossibility. In the context of Islam, it is even ludicrous since the Ummah ( followers of the Islamic faith) can only be a Muslim with total subjugation to Allah and His Prophet, Muhammad SAW. Those who don't accept and pronounce the shahada ( Asyshadu anlaillaha illallah waasyhadu anna Muhammad ar-RasuAllah), cannot be considered as an Ummah. As such the slogan Satu Malaysia Satu Ummah must be understood with the limitation of the religious requirement, although the integrative potentials and aspirational aspects of such a call is great.

While all nations aspire to create a single, solid and homogeneous entity, heterogeneity is a fact of life. Allah Himself stated in the al-Quran that He created men with different races and descendants so that they may learn from each other. If Allah has willed it so how presumptous it is of men to want everyone in a country to assume only a single identity? They can only coexist and live together under the same leadership, nationhood, ideological conviction, political and socio-economic regime. But their religious faith, native culture and customs can remain different though under one overarching national identity. Thus we still see the differences among people from different racial and cultural origins in the US, UK, Indonesia or elsewhere although they are all Americans, English, Indonesians etc. Malaysians would also be the same. It is the rights, the privilages, the pride and the security of being the citizen of a nation-state that hold the people together, not necessarily their religious and cultural orientation or their political views.

Thus i Malaysia is a beautiful clarion call for all Malaysians to work together, develop the country and live in peace and harmony. But it cannot be equated with one ummah for we are multiracial and multicultural. What is needed is more goodwill between ummah and non-ummah. More importantly. the ummah - those professing the Islamic religion- must not allow themselves to be torn apart by party and political interest. You'll all answer to the same God - Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. The breakup, ill-feelings and enmity between and among the ummah, can be more destructive than the social ills of society as a whole. Let the ummah in Malaysia consolidate themselves and the ideals of i Malaysia can be achieved more easily.


Al-Manar said...

Having gone through different periods of Malayan/Malaysian history I have never been conscious of integration of races. There was no slogan to consciously integrate. Until today I have my mutiracial friends. I am sure you have no less.

I dislike the way we, in independent Malaysia, create slogans almost for any events. In the md 1950's I was conscious of 'merdeka' the battle-cry of Soekarno. Like what has been happening today, when cries for free elections spread from one Arab country to another, the cry in Jakarta reverbrated in Tanah Melayu and gained momentum.

I created 'berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan' as my battle-cry for what I do, expecting it to create awareness among others to follow.

I like the idea that the ummah be allowed to consolodate themselves out of natural self awareness and of necessity.


norzah said...

Too much slognism is certainly going to reduce its meaningfulnees ad impact, Akhi. But it's all right so long as it doesn't imply something that's unacceptable. 1 Malaysia 1 ummah seems incorrect for the non-muslim cannot be considered as ummah
although they are bona fide Malaysia citizens. It's a little offensive and embarrassing. the Maal Hijrah celebration should be confined to those who accept and love the Prophet (pbuh).