Jahangir Mohammed delves into the importance of a person’s name in light of Mak Chishty’s comments on extremism and radicalisation.
What’s a name? In Pakistani culture a name means a lot. It is often said that one’s name reflects their personality. My mother once told me that when I was born the midwife (dai) fell in love with me, and asked her permission to name me. She told my mother that she knew the most appropriate name for me; so my mother agreed and I have been stuck with the name Jahangir ever since. I can’t say I have lived up to the name or my midwife’s expectations for that matter!
So what do I make of the name Mak Chishty? A strange combination indeed. A cross breed between a high street burger chain and a renowned Sufi order. Chishty certainly looks as if he enjoys a burger or two! The “Chishty” are a prominent Sufi order from the sub-continent. Descendants or followers of the order usually name their children Chishty.
The two dominant ideas of the Chishty Sufi order are: a total rejection of materialism – I guess that would include MacDonald’s and buying goods from Marks & Spencers, as well as Christmas festivities, all symbols of modern materialism and capitalism! Mak appears to love it all.
The other key feature, like that of all traditional Sufi’s is a rejection of colluding with rulers and the state for fear of polluting ones purity of values, ideas and spirit.
Clearly, Mak is fully integrated into the state apparatus and he has adopted the ruling ideology’s notions of “Islamic extremism”.
Given the ideas that Britain’s most senior Muslim police officer espouses, and the process of integration he seems to have undergone, it appears that the UK has produced a new brand of “Muslim” – one that follows a kind of “MacDonalds Islam” – Islam lite even. Full of re-constituted Islamic ideas, just like the re-constituted potato in McDonalds’ fries.
So in honour of Britain’s Muslim top cop, I hereby name this new Muslim product…the “McChishty”! 100 percent halal certified by the Met Police themselves!
But beware of the usual health warnings: junk ideas, like junk food, are bad for your health, and more importantly for your spirit and soul.
Any guesses what my latest jokes are going to be? What do you call a Sufi who enjoys MacDonald’s? Or, maybe, what do you call bad anti-extremism ideas?
There was a good reason why traditional Sufis all around the world shunned contact with rulers and states. It was because it leads you to adopt new notions of Islam – the “McChishty” being a prime contemporary example.
Jahangir Mohammed is the Director of the Centre for Muslim Affairs.