Islamic Law (Shariah) & The Idea of "Watan / Vatan" or "Homeland" in Islam

The wordings of the current oath of enlistment and oath for commissioned officers in the U.S. Armed Forces are as follows:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

The idea of a person's "Homeland" or in Persian called "Vatan" ("Watan" in Arabic) is interesting to note.  This concept has a huge influence on things that deal with issues such as defense of one's homeland.  The Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and other exclusive extremists who think they are the only ones who have the truth tend to put this idea out that Muslims need to "Jihad" against their enemies because we are all one "Ummah" or community.  Well, Muslims are all one "Ummah" or community, that is correct in spirit.  However, another concept in Islam that is forgotten by these extremists is that of "Homeland".  For example, during the Iran-Iraq War both countries were "Muslim Countries" in the sense that they had majority Muslim populations.  However, now that they are at war, how does the idea of Qital or Jihad work?  Well, Islam being a dynamic faith for all the universe allows that this one "Ummah" or community to live in it's appropriate "nations".

When Muslims go to Mecca, they are usually mixed together for the most part, however during time in their "camps" they are usually divided (not by race) but by their "nation" or homeland.  For example, Iranians would normally be in the Iranian camp, the Americans in theirs, the Pakistanis in theirs, the Sudanese in theirs and so on.  Now, this is during peace in Mecca...however if there is war between Muslim countries or countries with Muslims in it, there are "fiqh" (Islamic Law / Shariah) rules.

As an American Muslim, if any country attacks America (be they Muslim or not) you have the duty to defend your "Watan/Vatan/Nation".  So, for example after 911, it became incumbent for every Muslim who is an American Citizen to defend their nation from the mostly Saudi Muslim Extremists who committed the 911 attacks.  Essentially it would become the duty of every American Muslim (for the lack of a better word) to "Jihad" against the Terrorists.  This is something that many new Muslims or those of other countries do not understand when it comes to the issue of Islamic Law and American Muslims.  One of the biggest fears of these extremists is for true American Muslim Scholars to come into the picture from American Islamic Universities.  Some currently developing schools of Islamic Law in the United States are that of the traditional Sunni "Zaytuna Institute" now Zaytuna College in California headed by Imam Hamza Yusuf Hansen and it's Shia counterpart called "Islamic Center of North America" and other Sunni, Shia, and Sufi developing communities and schools. 

So, this same concept of Islamic Law or "Shariah" that is abused by people like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban or who is defamed by the Christian and Jewish Right Wing Fundamentalists here in America in reality teaches that an American Muslim has the right to defend their nation (The United States of America) against all enemies foreign or domestic.  However, because we in America do not have enough Islamic Schools and Islamic Scholars of high levels, they can't come out and announce these things so easily.  Fortunately, this is changing.  There are new Islamic Schools and Scholars developing here in the USA .

If you would like to read more about American Muslim Soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces, this is a great place to visit: MUSLIM AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION -


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