A primary question imposes itself. Do we (muslims) represent an umma in the contemporary world?
What is meant by the question is not the umma as known in the political geography asa nation recognized by international law, but the umma is meant here as a concept of universal communal based on self awareness of the concerned entity about its identity on side, and the acceptance of the distinctive identity of the muslims on the other side.
Muslims are supposed to be a doctrinal or ideological universal community, united through the entire world by their faith in thinking, feeling and action. They all believe in and they are all committed to Islam and its values of doing good and spreading it. However the concrete reality is that natural barriers such as geography and ethnicity in addition to political, economic and cultural barriers, under colonialism and post colonial era have obstructed the supposed unity of the umma.
Nevertheless, the challenges and dangers muslims have been facing in the contemporary world ought to revitalize the awareness of unity and integrity of the muslim communal body.
From another angle, the entire world is witnessing an era of globalism through its speedy communications, and transportations with all its negatives and its positives. This may be an opportunity for the muslims to surmount the barriers and gain some kind of unity at least in their thinking and feelings. The negatives of globalism may add to the challenges, which they must face together ,within the limited effective armament muslims may have in the contemporary world.
Feeling as one "Umma"
We have to feel genuinely as one umma in a rational mature well organized way so that our relationships work together in coordination and harmony within oneself. Muslims do not live in a vacume. They live in a world full of people with various backgrounds. An umma consciousness ought not to engulf or negate other muslim existential relations in the contemporary world. Islam being the message of "The Lord of the Universe"-allows and urges constructive natural relations between muslims and whomever they come across for whatever legitimate purpose. Through Islam we must make the best of our potential abilities. The identity of the muslim individual, group and umma can be perceived and universally recognized through truthfulness, honesty and helpfulness rather than through poaching, talking, and publishing about faith and its acts of worship. The umma has to support any victims of aggression or oppression. This is the basic element of the universal mission of the muslim umma To think as one umma muslim specialists in various fields e.g. science and technology, law, literature and art, have to exchange their knowledge and experience within themselves and with their colleagues all over the world. Professional unions and associations should have effective universal interrelations, structural links and meetings. Muslims must assure their role in the contemporary civilizations as they assured through the medieval world. Universities in muslim nations should have conferences , joint projects and student exchange programs with universities all over the world. The muslim inter-state organization fro education, science and culture have to reflect capably and effectively how the muslim umma think ,and to provide a bridge between muslim thinking and the contemporary world.
As an umma muslims should practice ijtihad', not in the sense of finding practical solutions but to have anew comprehensive vision of shari'a and its goals and objectives, and of jurisprudential development and its influences by changes through times.
Islamic Academic Institution of Education and Research through out the world are urged to coordinate their efforts to bring about a contemporary vision of the dynamic open ended shari'a. Such reconstruction and reconstitution would prove its visibility and productivity in...