The New Muslim Identity

In the face of constant scrutiny from the media and mounting pressure to question their own blind following of their Islamic beliefs, an increasing number of Muslim youth find themselves more conscious of their faith than ever before. Instead falling into the trap of becoming unconscious Muslims, just going through the motions of actions and behaviours that tend to become lost traditions with no real reasoning behind it, we find that they are seeking knowledge and answers to the fundamental questions of what being a Muslim really means.

This quest for knowledge and understanding is fuelling a new awakening, an Islamic Renaissance if you will.

The Muslim identity is growing in leaps and bounds in all corners of the globe, and coupled with that, the youngest mean population of any religious group on the planet, you have a new generation of conscious, proud and increasingly confident Muslim youth. Not to say that the challenges they face aren’t many, in fact, this group of people has faced more social tribulations than most people their age. This is probably what makes them so resilient and tenacious. They have grit and they won’t just lie down or take a beating. They are not alone in their struggles and they know it.

Despite being such a diverse population, with pockets of Muslims in countries all over the world, they all have one thing in common — a sense of belonging. Whether you are a revert in Mexico or born into a Muslim family in Pakistan, whether you speak Chinese or French, you still belong to the same Ummah. You are still one brotherhood. This is their common understanding and together with the rise of internet and social media, the e-Ummah is now more accessible in far corners of the globe than it ever was before.

Older generations would come back from Hajj and Umrah trips and regale us with stories to share a little bit of what that feeling was, to be a part of the brotherhood of global Muslims. To feel what it was like to know and see the rest of the Ummah. Now, we can experience it on a daily basis, where most young people live, in the digital world. Of course, nothing beats the real thing and nothing will replace the experience of visiting the holy sites in person, but the feeling of connectedness is no longer only associated with physical trips to the Islamic heritage sites.

At a place where technology, society and religion intersect, a new global Islamic identity is being formed and it transcends nationalities, culture, traditions and languages. It is about common belief and faith. It is about what we can share, the phrases, the stories, the books, the celebrations and the struggles. It is no longer about how different we are, but more about how the same we are.