On Sunday, 4th of February, Shaykh Hammad Mustafa al-Madani al-Qadri addressed the first session of this year’s webinar series. Speaking on the topic “Identity Crisis for Muslims in the 21st Century”, Shaykh Hammad said that the preservation of identity stands as a paramount concern for many communities in a world of increasing globalisation and cultural assimilation. In his discourse, Shaykh Hammad underscored the importance of reconnecting with cultural heritage as a means of fortifying Muslim identity in the modern era.
Shaykh Hammad began by delving into the historical context of Muslim identity elucidated how centuries of colonial rule not only led to territorial occupation but also inflicted a comprehensive subjugation of culture, language, and norms. Even after gaining political independence, countries such as India, Pakistan, and various African nations continued to grapple with the enduring legacy of cultural occupation. Despite nominal independence, many nations still find themselves ensnared in a web of cultural dominance, perpetuating a sense of confusion and disconnection from their organic traditions.
The Shaykh identified conformity and the allure of postmodern ideologies as significant factors contributing to the erosion of Muslim identity. He argued that societal pressure to assimilate and the narrative of self-determination promoted by postmodernism had led many to forsake their cultural heritage in favour of homogenised identities.
In sum, the discourse advocated for a holistic approach to preserving Muslim identity, one that honoured both religious principles and cultural heritage. By embracing their linguistic, customary, and historical roots, Muslims could cultivate a sense of pride and resilience in the face of external pressures.