د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك

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مكتبة د.ياسر الشريف المليح(Yasir Elsharif)
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27-04-2004, 08:51 AM

Yasir Elsharif
<aYasir Elsharif
تاريخ التسجيل: 09-12-2002
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Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك (Re: Yasir Elsharif)


    The Construction of Arabic Islamic Identity in the North
    The present Northern Sudan was the home of the Nubian civilization that flourished several thousand years before Christ, as well as the home of the great Nubian kingdoms. The pyramids in Nubia stand to this day, living monuments of the greatness of the Nubian race. In the 8th century, Nubia conquered the whole of Egypt and dominated the Nile Valley. Nubia was an active player in the international stage of the ancient world and came in contact with many civilizations. As Lloyds Binagi has explained, “The Northern Sudan has a long and rich civilization that pre-dates Pharaonic Egypt and the rise of Islam…. Nubia… has had contact with every civilization that has appeared in Egypt: the Greeks… the Romans, Arabs, Turks and British”.
    Christianity found its way to Nubia in the sixth century, transforming it into a Christian kingdom that lasted for a thousand years. Soon after the rise of Islam in the seventh century, the Muslims conquered Egypt and knocked on the doors of Dongola the capital of Nubia. The Nubians resistance, although stopped the Islamic march, could not drive the Arabs out of the Nubian land. A stalemate between the two parties furnished the ground for a political settlement. A treaty between the Nubians and the Arabs was reached in 651-52 A.D. The terms of the treaty are interpreted differently by different contemporary writers. Whereas some of these writers consider it to be in the advantage of the Arabs, others see it as a victory for the Nubians. However, the undisputed fact is that the Nubian kingdom achieved what no other kingdom had achieved in the ancient world, i.e. to stop the hitherto unstoppable Muslims' march. Muslims divide world into dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb (territory of Islam and territory of war). With Nubia maintaining its territorial integrity, Muslims had to create a third category, which is neither dar al-harb nor dar al-Islam came into being. This is called dar al-'Ahd (territory of pact). Although the treaty secured the sovereignty of the Nubian kingdom for almost a thousand years, it opened the land for the Arabs to trade freely, and therefore set the process of Arabization and Islamzation in motion, the matter that ultimately led to the kingdom’s demise.
    Although its roots can be traced in the coming of the Arabs to the Sudan, the Arabic Islamic identity in the North is a relatively recent creation. The 14th and the 15th centuries were considered as a period of change in the riverain Sudan. Social movements, especially of the Arabs and the Funj, along with economic and cultural developments coming from the surrounding countries, set the scene for more favorable conditions for the processes of Islamization, and identification with the Arabs.
    Travelers into the Funj kingdom in the first quarter of the 16th century described an ethnic composition of the country very similar to that of present day Sudan. References to tribes such as Shaiqiyya, Ja'aliyyin, and Rubatab as "Berabra", meaning Northern Nubians, were made by Gailliaud who visited the Funj kingdom in 1523. Gailliaud found that the population of the kingdom was classified ethnically into six categories, which are "so distinct that there is no one individual who does not know to which he belongs". Five of these classes were classified mainly by the color of their skins. The color of the Funj is azraq (blue=black). "Their color", he maintained, "is that of copper". The 'Abdallab are close in complexion and features to the Funj, apart from their curly hair, and their color is akhdar (green, meaning dark brown to black). The Barabra, i.e. the Ja'liyyin, the Rubatab, the Shayqiyya, and the Danagla, are described as Khatif lunayn (of two colors mixed). "The individuals of this class", said Gailliaud,"are half yellow [asfar] and half green [akhdar]. .. the blood strain which predominates in them is that of the Ethiopians". The Arabs' color was described as asfar (yellow meaning white). He said of them the following:
    These are the least colored, and belong to the tribes of nomadic Arabs. They have straight hair. This race crosses only rarely with the others… It is easy to recognize, not only from the traits of their visage, but from the purity with which they still speak the Arabic language.
    Strikingly enough, he also spoke of the abid who had been brought into Sinnar from the South and the west (the Nuba mountains). This is more or less the same ethnic and color classification at present. Probably, the only difference is that in the 16th century the Ja'aliyyin, the Rubatab and the shaygiyya still spoke their Nubian languages. They continued to speak it until the early 19th century.
    These conditions sowed the ingredients of the Northern identity in the soil of the North. These ingredients are Arabic language, claims of Arab ancestry, Islam, and the legacy of slavery. The inhabitants of this part of Sudan exhibited a special liking for the Arabs. It looks that they took every opportunity, whether a remote link, imaginative, or even fabricated, to identify with the Arabs, and to adopt their language. The Funj give us a clear example of identity shift that may shed light on the phenomenon of identification with the Arabs. At the beginning of their Kingdom, the Funj were pagans in religion and spoke their own language, which was the kingdom's official language until the 18th century. They also administered justice in their courts according to their own tradition. Their first king, 'Amara Dungas converted to nominal Islam in the early years of his rule for political expedience. Three centuries later, i.e. during the 18th century the administration of justice was founded on Islamic law, and official documents were written in Arabic language, which also became the lingua franca of the kingdom. Not only that, the Funj king, Badi III, announced officially in a circular to his subjects that he and his folk "descended from Arab, and indeed from Ummayads". He made that announcement in response to a whisper campaign, which accompanied a revolt in the northern provinces, and which branded them "pagans from the White Nile". The circular, which was sent to Dongola, concluded that "and so you have seen the facts the tongues are silent, and the slave 'Aziz may see the virtue of the use of discretion in regard to injurious speech". And part of this injurious speech is obviously that he was "accused" of not having Arab ancestry. As the class of Muslim merchants strengthened, and the religious sufi communities spread, and the power of the ulama, individuals learned in Islamic law, increased, the kings sought to retain their eroding judicial power by studying Islamic law and become ulama on their own right. Therefore, the Funj ruling class, according to Spaulding "joined the Orthodox merchant families in promulgating claims to Arab origin" and they "discovered a fact hitherto unknown- they were Ummayyads". Thus the identity shift, which started in the 16th century for political convenience, was completed in the 18th century. And as David Laitin says, "what one generation considers simple pragmatism the next considers natural".
    If the Funj kings were able to become Arabs by a royal decree, the tribes of the riverain North secured the desired ancestry for themselves by other means. They were able to write their own genealogies which "have been known to be traced with many jumps or lacunae back to Arabia, and in cases where the Sudanese lineage is politically or religiously prominent, back to the Prophet Mohammed, his tribe, the Quraysh, his relatives, or his close associates”.
    It was clear that for the Nubians as well as for the Funj, the world was no longer stable. Old identities came under questions, and people could no longer be themselves. The incentives for an identity shift we re abundant, and the conditions for a “tip” and “cascade” were complete. The result was that Scheler’s two types of identification seem to have taken place, idiopathic and heteropathic. Idiopathic identification can be observed in the areas where the indigenous languages were lost, and Arabic was adopted instead. Heteropathic identification, on the other hand, can be observed in the areas where indigenous languages survived.
    Three Salient Features of Arabic Islamic Culture
    In the pervious section I tried to answer the "why" part of the question, i.e. why Northerners identified with the Arabs, or, in other words what motivated the shift of identity they experienced. In this section I try to look into the "how" part of the question, i.e. what made it possible for the Northerners, and indeed for a whole lot of people across the Islamic world, to bid for Arab descent. To my mind there are three salient features of Arabic Islamic culture that made it fairly easy for individuals and groups to lay claims to Arab ancestry without being seriously and vocally challenged by the center of the Arab identity.
    The first feature is the patriarchal order of the Arab tribes. In this order children are linked to their father, while the mother count little in the lineage, for she is the field (harth) or the bowl (ma'un) of the husband. The concept of the wife as the field of her husband, entails that whereas she bears his seeds, the harvest is his, and not hers. This is how any intervention of Arabic blood, in the Nubian family line, whether real, imagined, or contrived, immediately put an end to all the lineage before the moment of intervention. Thus, according to the popular belief in the North, the Arab personality from whom the three main Ja'aliyyin groups in the North, i.e. the Shaigiyya, Rubatab, and the Ja'aliyyin proper, have descended is Ibahim Ja'al. Through this eponymous ancestor, the lineage of these three Nubian groups have been diverted to Arabia (Qurraish) and linked to al-Abbas uncle of the Prophet Muhammad. However, this claim, according to a prominent historian who belongs to the same group, is "difficult to substantiate".
    Another feature of the Arabian patriarchal society is that strong tribes have a set of satellite groups, such as clients, slaves and other forms of affiliation, revolving around it. The hierarchical system of the tribe accommodates all these groups in well-stratified social categories, and enables them to claim affiliation to the tribe, although they know their place. An individual belonging to these lower strata can be elevated to a higher position on merit, or/and recognition of parentage, as the case of 'Antra shows. This characteristic made it easier for the Arabs to accommodate the Northerns' affiliation, and to place them in a lower stratum of their hierarchical system.
    The second feature is the concept of purity in Islam. Purity is central to the Islamic faith, and although it can be acquired by all Muslims through a definite purification process, it is also God given to the Prophet and his family. The Qur'an says: "God has willed to remove all abomination from you, ye ahl al-Bayt, (house of the Prophet) and to purify you through and through". Thus accordingly, the closer the person to the Prophet's clan the better, and the best of all is to descend directly from the Prophet's daughter Fatima. But nonetheless a drop of Arab blood is enough to purify you and your descendants. One observes that western white culture has exactly the opposite concept, where one drop of black blood contaminates you and makes you black even if your skin color is predominantly white.
    The third feature is the relationship between Islam and Arabic language. The fact that Islam was revealed to an Arab Prophet, and that it was spread by the Arabs, and that Arabic is the language of the Qur'an, all these factors have made the Arab race, the most prestigious race in the eyes of Northerners and Arabic not only a prestigious language, but also divine. Although absence of Arabic did not prevent non-Arabic speakers in the Muslim world, such as in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and even in Sudan, from laying claims of Arab descent, speaking Arabic as the mother tongue has sealed the myth of Arab descent among certain Northerners with a proof of lisanun Arabiyyun Mubin, a clear and pure Arab tongue.
    A Continuous process
    Nevertheless, the construction of an Arabic Islamic identity in the North is a continuous process. The Turks augmented the process of Arabization and introduced Orthodox scholarly Islam, and a long with the Arabs, Europeans and Northerners, they led slave hunt expeditions into the land of non-Arabised group, namely in the South and the Nuba Mountains. The Mahdist State that replaced the defunct Turkish in 1885 further augmented the process of Arabization and Islamization. The Mahdist State was not different from the Turks with regard to slave raids. When the British colonized the Sudan in 1898, they ranked the Arabized groups over the black African groups. Anthropologist C. G. Seligman, who was sponsored by the colonial government in Khartoum to study the groups inhabiting Sudan, for the purpose of helping the administration to rule effectively, described the Southern tribes as “savages”. The British showed a great deference to the Arabized groups of the North, and maintained, respected and enhanced their Arabic-Islamic identity. Education policies focused mainly on the Arabic-speaking, Muslim communities of the central riverain North. Within these communities the beneficiaries of this education were sons of prominent families; the Mahdi and Khalifa families, the Madhist amirs (commanders), and "fine Arab" notable families. In the early twentieth century, nationalism started to nurture among the young-modern-educated-generations of these families. "They explored "Sudanese"-ness in Arabic poems, essays, and other literary forms, and glorified the Arabic language, an Arab ethnic heritage, and Islam as the core values of this nationalism".
    However, been conscious of the long history of the term Sudani and the negative connotations attached to it, they assigned to it a double meaning. At one level Sudani remained as it had always been, i.e. synonymous to 'abd. At another level the term was seized upon "as a field for nationalist definition". They treated it as an evacuated frame, and tried to fill it with their own image. Thus the term Sudani, at this level, became a "label of national identity that placed great value on Islamic and Arabic culture". Thus from the viewpoint of other ethnicities, becoming a Sudani at this level is synonymous to becoming a Northerner. It means an "imitation of a more 'Arab' way of life", and a conversion to a "lifestyle which has historically emerged along the Nile". This definition has later proved to be so narrow, shortsighted as well as highly problematic. It is exclusionist, at one end, and assimilationist at the other end. Those who misfit the new definition of Sudani, are either to be cut off from the body politics, physically (cessation) or politically (marginalization), or to be changed in order to fit (i.e. to be turned Northerners). As Heather Sharkey has rightly observed "by failing to recognize cultural contributions the territory's non-Muslim and non-Arabic-speaking populations, their nationalist pogrom alienated, rather than attracted, many groups, specially in the South. The civil war, ranging intermittently since 1955, is the bitter fruit of this nationalism". An even more bitter fruit of this narrow definition of identity is the National Islamic Front (NIF) which usurped power in 1989, and set out to remove the misfits by the use of brute force
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العنوان الكاتب Date
د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif22-04-04, 09:45 AM
  Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif23-04-04, 11:32 AM
    Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Haydar Badawi Sadig23-04-04, 05:20 PM
      Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك aymen23-04-04, 09:29 PM
        Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif27-04-04, 08:31 AM
  Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Omer5424-04-04, 07:38 AM
    Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif24-04-04, 09:17 PM
  Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك قصي مجدي سليم24-04-04, 07:55 PM
  Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif27-04-04, 08:42 AM
    Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif27-04-04, 08:49 AM
      Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif27-04-04, 08:51 AM
        Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif27-04-04, 08:55 AM
          Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك Yasir Elsharif27-04-04, 09:00 AM
            Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك aymen27-04-04, 10:23 PM
            Re: د. العفيف: لماذا هذا الإلتواء من الدكتور خالد المبارك aymen27-04-04, 10:23 PM
  الدكتور خالد المبارك عن منظمة العفو الدولية Yasir Elsharif29-04-04, 11:43 AM


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