The identity is the reality of every person and every individual that distinguishes him from anybody else, therefore the identity is related to his personality, which in turn composes the mentality of the person, composes of the emotions and the feelings of the person and it is related to his physical and character and behaviour. That is manifest in the Hadith of the Aisha (ra), where she said,
“I heard from umm ul Mu’mineen Safiyyah that she was the dearest child to her father and her uncle, and she said, “Whenever I meet them, they used to take me instead of any other child. When the messenger (saw) came to their tribe, they came to him and did not leave him until sunset and then when they returned they were so tired, so I went to them and did what I used to do regularly for them, and none of them turned to look at me and I heard my uncle Abu Yaasir say to my father, “is everything ok?” he said, “Yes by Allah” and he said, “did we met him? Is he really the messenger)?” he replied “yes” and he asked him ?what was in your heart for him?, he said, “Animosity towards him for as long as I live”
So when they went to meet the prophet (saw), they returned and did not change even though he declared that he recognised the prophet (saw) and that is proof that the identity of the prophet (saw) was the same as the identity mentioned in the Torah and distinguished him from anybody else. The father of Safiyyah was a Jew and was knowledgeable about the torah, they went to the prophet (saw) and they did not want to believe in him but they wanted to check if it was true that he was the messenger and when they returned, he asked, “Is it him? As it was in the torah?” he said “yes” and he said that he will have animosity to him as long as he lives.
That identity is what distinguished him (saw) from anybody else it is about what the person believes, his thoughts and ideas, his personality, his style and way of life; like if someone said, “I am a Muslim” or “my Deen is Islam.”; he is describing his identity. However if he made it more specific and said, “I am a Muslim who believes in Islam according to Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah,” then he is distinguishing himself by his identity.
Furthermore, the identity of the individual is different from the identity of the society, because it could be that you have an Islamic identity and yet you are living between the man-made identities of the Kufr society. So the identity is what forms and shapes the behaviour, character and thoughts etc and could be completely different from what is prevalent where you live. In our case, the identity we carry is completely different from the identity of the society and this is an almighty tradition.
So it is Sunnah Rabbaaniyyah, and otherwise we would all be like fish in the water and it is inevitable that there will be a confrontation between your identity and the identity of the society where you live whether in UK, Pakistan, Iraq, USA etc. It is a clash between the identity of individuals and the society, or the clash of identities of a society with another society.
Hence, whenever someone’s identity starts to match and reconcile with the society where he lives, then he will start to integrate and lose his identity, he will no longer feel any clash; but when there is a clash of identities, he will feel strange and will be strange and that is how the prophet (saw) said,
“Islam came as something strange, and will return as something strange, so paradise is for the strangers”
And when they asked who were the strangers?? he (saw) replied,
“They are very few people among a lot of corrupted people.”
So when someone is conscious about the identity clash, he feels from his own soul and Nafs that he belongs to that identity, that he is part and is proud of that identity and will lead to him fighting for that identity, he will love and hate according to whether or not the people share that identity; he will have friendship according to that identity and will have animosity against those who do not carry that identity. That is because the identity has a fundamental effect on his beliefs and ideas, on his behaviour and personality. The identity is a controller of the person and it determines his behaviour, determines his objective in life and that will have an impact on his personality.
That is why, when he has a clear understanding of his identity, he will never be a hypocrite nor double faced nor have double standards. Verily, Islam has its own identity and will it never reconcile with the identity of the Kufr societies that are based on Kufr law and on man-made systems.
But rather the Muslim has his own identity that is based on Islam and though he may be living in a society that carries a Kufr identity. That is also why it is inevitable that they will clash with each other.
So the fundamental pillar of the identity is the Aqeedah, the belief, the Tawheed. Also the identity is based on the culture, civilisation and history and even the language of the Qur’an. The Arabic language is part of our identity, so when we are speaking about the identity, we are speaking about all the detailed components that are independent of all other identities. There is no way to be Muslim and Kafir at the same time, or to be? Muslim and western? or ?Muslim and Arab? or ?Muslim and Asian? at the same time.
That is not because it is bad to be born in Arabia, but you identity has nothing to do with where you are born, it is about to have the correct belief and culture and you combine that with all your personality and behaviour and carry it with you.
In addition, know that when we speak about the identity in relation to his belief, we find that the Muslim is always loyal to his belief; the true Muslim always implements Islam and always has alliance and animosity based on that belief. The most noble and highest element of his identity and the most noble thing to be attributed to himis to be attributed to the most perfect Deen with the most honourable book revealed to the most honourable messenger in the most honourable language, in the most honourable month of the year on the most honourable night, with the most perfect Shari’ah and guidance for all of mankind that Allah (swt) praised it in the Qur’an,
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِين
“Who is better in his saying than the one who calls to Allah?s Deen and says, “I am a Muslim” [EMQ 41:33]
There is no way for anyone who believes in that to then integrate with the Kufr identity, or to believe in a multicultural society and integration. The Haq and Baatil cannot integrate, they may interact but they can never become integrated. Allah (swt) says,
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لله وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ واتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَاتَّخَذَ اللّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلا
“Who is better in his Deen than the one who submits his face to Allah with belief exclusively and follows the Millah of Ibraheem Hanifah ?” [EMQ 4:125]
And Allah (swt) says,
ِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا
“Today I have perfected for you your Deen and completed my blessing on you and chosen for your Deen to be Islam” [EMQ 5: 3]
Allah (swt) says that no-one is better than the one who has Islam as his identity,
ِبْغَةَ اللّهِ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللّهِ صِبْغَةً وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدون
“That is the colouring of Allah, and who is better in his colouring than the one Allah coloured? And we are for him worshippers.” [EMQ 2:138]
And Allah (swt) says,
وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُواْ شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا
“We made you the leading Ummah to witness the affairs of mankind and we made the messenger a witness over you.” [EMQ 2:143]
We are a nation that has its own Islamic belief, its own Islamic concepts, culture, behaviour, history; its own identity. So the fact that they are living in Europe, in UK, France or Italy etc that does not mean that they have a British identity or French identity; their identity is unique and they must interact and call the people away from their Kufr identity and to the Islamic identity. Allah (swt) says,
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ
“You are the best Ummah risen up from mankind because you command good and forbid the evil and believe in Allah”
So when we are speaking about the identity, we are speaking about a particular belief and a particular personality, one important matter about the one who embraces the Islamic identity; is that it is not a matter of choice, rather it is compulsory. They are all obliged to embrace that identity, from all of mankind until the day of judgement. Allah (swt) says,
قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا
“Say: O Mankind! I am the messenger of Allah to all of you” [EMQ 7:158]
And Allah (swt) says,
إِن يُوحَى إِلَيَّ إِلَّا أَنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِين
“It has been revealed to me [this Qur'an], in order to warn you [and whoever it reaches]” [EMQ 38:70]
And Abu Huraira narrated that the prophet (saw) said,
“By the one whose hand is Muhammad’s soul! Nobody hears of my name without to believe in what I brought whether Jew or Christian except that he is in hellfire”
So the duty on this Ummah is to make the identity of Islam dominant all over the earth. This identity is what defines his behaviour, objective and aim in this life. Allah (swt) says,
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ
“Say: my worship, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for the sake of Allah exclusively without any partners” [EMQ 6:162-163]
And Allah (swt) confirmed that in his saying,
قُلْ هَـذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللّه
“Say: this is my straight path, I call to the way of my lord,” [EMQ 12:108]
That Islamic identity is the source of the Muslim’s dignity and power, Allah (swt) says,
وَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَكِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُون
“And all the dignity is for Allah and his messenger and to the believers but the hypocrites do not know” [EMQ 63:8]
So it is the reason for all the dignity of the believers and Umar ibn Khattab said,
“We used to be the most humiliated people and Allah dignified us with Islam, and whenever we seek the dignity from other than what Allah dignified us with, Allah will humiliate us”
So the Islamic identity is unique by all its meaning; unique by its belief, unique by its emotions, unique by its mentality, unique by its civilisation and it is what distinguish between it and others. Allah (swt) declared this distinguishing between all of mankind and the jinn by the Islamic identity,
لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِين
“You have your identity (Deen) and we have our identity (Deen)” [EMQ 109:6]
They are separate and they will never be integrated. This distinction between the two identities must continue, we must call for that distinction day and night and we seek from Allah day and night and we call to Allah for it day and night, in every Salah, in every Rak’ah,
اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيم
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين
“Guide us to the straight path and not the path of the cursed and misguided” [EMQ 1:6-7]
And so we cannot follow the Arab traditions or the Asian culture or the western culture. The only Shari’ah we are obliged and indeed allowed to follow is the Shari’ah of Islam; and the only culture and identity that we follow is the culture of Islam. So make sure that your identity is pure and free from any other culture; not to be poisoned by the Jewish identity, or western or Asian or Arab identity and that is why the prophet (saw) asked the Jews to give up everything that they had and they replied,
“What does this man want from us? He wants us to leave what we are on and we will not leave it”
And that is why the prophet (saw) said,
“Whoever imitates/looks like a people he is one of them”
So we do not want to be like them, or even look like them. We cannot wear western clothes that are known to be part of the western fashion; the Muslims will always address the disbelievers and say, “you are free from what I am doing and we are free from what you are doing”
So May Allah make us stick to our Islamic identity and save us from all British values, customs, culture and identities. Ameen