Tag Archives: identities

What do you call a Brown Guy with a Beard? by Umer Sultan

Ever wondered what a Brown guy with a Beard is called? This question arose after an incident that took place. Before anything, I know it is a little long post, so please bear with me because it is a very important issue. Also share it with others so that the discussion gets into the other communities!

So few months back my brother and I came to the realization that it is obligatory wajib (command) on Muslim men to have beard. I know many brothers will jump on me and ask me century old questions, and I will inshallah (God-Willing) address those in some future posts, this one decision changed our outward appearance and taught many different lessons.

Change in our outward appearances resulted in the change of how people perceive us. Different people were asking me questions about why I am not shaving, what does it represent? Is beard the tribal pride or something? Of course there were some Muslim brothers who were supportive of this, many thanks to them for being there and more importantly to Allah Ta’ala for giving me the company of such friends.

I really like when people are eager to learn and they ask me questions. So I was happy that people were asking me questions that they would not ask such questions before but there were some others who resort to passing out judgement.

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Filed under American Muslims, Islam, Islamophobia, Umer Sultan

From Ascribed Identities to the world of Self-Identification

Just as modernity altered the way individuals understood their relationship to society at large, so did it fundamentally change the way individuals understood themselves. It used to be that a person’s identity was defined by the society to which he or she belonged. But as society was increasingly deemed to be nothing more than the product of human imagination, so too were social identities cast aside as mere human constructions. After all, if there are numerous alternatives to the present social order, there must also be numerous alternatives to the identities that society ascribes to us. Thus, with the rise of modernity, new collective identities began to arise, constructed not through societal mandates but through conscious self-reflection—not “Who do you say I am?” but “Who do I say I am?” In short, the modern age has ushered a transition from a world in which identities were bestowed to a world in which identities can be gained or lost through deliberate action—from a world of ascribed identities to a world of self-identification.”

[Page 132-133 Chapter Six- Generation E]

Source: Reza Aslan. How to win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization and the end of the War on Terror. Random House, New York, 2009.

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Filed under America, Muslim World