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Curses of Nationalism: An introspection!

By Shazia Banoo

The current situation of our nation is alarming, and it’s obvious that we are divided due to the concept of this nationalism and therefore weak. The Quran talks against the disease of Nationalism spreading like wild fire around the nations.

Nationalism is a way of disuniting the Muslims. As currently seen in the world, there are over 55 Muslim countries in all and still growing separately. We are too busy in being proud Kashmiri, Palestinian, Pakistani, Jordanian, Yemeni, Turkish, Iranian, Iraqi, Saudi Arabian, Syrian, Bengali and so on. How many more nationalities are we going to see? How many more divisions? How many more separations?

Grouping the Muslims on tribalistic lines is clearly forbidden in Islam. Allah’s Messanger (SAW) once said, the one who calls for nationalism, fights for nationalism or dies for nationalism is not among us.

People should give up their pride in nations because this is a coal from the coals of Hell fire. If they do not give this up Allah will consider them lower than a lowly worm which pushes itself through khur (feces). [Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi]

For most of this century, the Muslim World continues to walk along a treacherous path that has been constructed for us by others. The destination for this course is one that has led us to believe in Nationalism, which they talk is beneficial and worthy for striving.

The fuel which has been used for this journey is extracted from the false concepts that Imperialist implanted in the Muslim World.

Before moving further, First of all it’s very important for us to know the Origin of Nationalism?

Nationalism is one of the poisonous concepts that has stigmatised Muslims today. It is a dangerous concept that has become the emotional basis for Muslims and which visibly fortifies the division among those who profess to believe in the same ideology.

Furthermore, the Muslims identify themselves as Arabs, Kashmiris, Africans, Pakistanis, and so on. If this is not enough, Muslims are further sub divided within each country. For example, in Pakistan they are classified as Punjabis, Sindhis, Baluchis and Pathans. This fragmentation continues to gain momentum amongst the Muslims.

Our Ummah was never confronted with such a dilemma in the past during Islamic rule. They never suffered from as much disunity, widespread oppression, and stagnation in science and technology. And, certainly not from the internal conflicts that we have witnessed and still witnessing during this century like the Syrian war, Kashmir conflict, Burma genocide, Allepo killings, Ghouta genocide, Iran-Iraq war and so on.

Islam & Nationalism2I don’t understand what has gone wrong with the Muslims today? Why are there so many feuds between them and why are they seen to be fighting with each other? What has caused them weakness and how will they ever recover from the present stagnation?

There are many factors that have contributed to the present state of affairs of Muslims, such as the absorption of foreign cultures and thus the abandonment of Islamic beliefs, the gradual loss of central authority over some of the provinces and the rise of nationalism since the 19th century.

Nationalism did not arose in the Muslim world naturally, nor did it come about in response to any hardships faced by the people, nor due to the frustration they felt when Europe started to dominate the world after the industrial revolution. Rather, nationalism was implanted in the minds of the Muslims through a well thought out strategy by the European powers after their failure to destroy the Islamic State by force.

“Nationalism” is a bond between people that is based upon family, clan or tribal ties. Nationalism arises among people when the predominant thought they carry is that of achieving domination. It starts from the family, where one member asserts his authority to achieve leadership in the affair of the family. Once it is achieved, the individual extends his leadership to the wider family. The next stage is that of tribes competing with each other, all trying to dominate others in order to enjoy the privileges and the prestige that comes with this authority. This breeds arrogance and ignorance along with extreme pride.

=> Nationalism can never unite the people because it is based on quest for leadership. This quest for leadership creates a power struggle between the people and this leads to conflicts among various strata of society.

=> Another drawback of nationalism is that it gives a rise to racism. This is expected if people are allowed to compete with each other on the basis of their race. Some whites, for example, may see themselves as superior to the blacks and leading to polarisation of the races & a divided society.

=> The spiritual bond among non-Muslims is a grouping of people based on their ‘religious belief’ which is not a comprehensive belief covering every aspect of life. An example of a spiritual bond is when people identify with each other on the basis of being a Christian, a Hindu or a Jew.

But Islam is not classified as such among these as it is a Deen rather than a religion. The term Deen comprehensively takes on the meaning as “A complete way of life”. This spiritual bond does not unite people on issues other than matters of belief and worship, and hence it is limited and cannot be the basis of any complete unity. In Islam, love and hate is only for the sake of Allah. Our faith and Taqwa form this basis.

Islam & Nationalism1It is mentioned in the Glorious Quran: The believers, men and women are helpers, supporters, friends and protectors of one another, they enjoin on the people good and forbid evil, they perform Prayers and give the Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have his Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All Mighty, All Wise. [Quran 9:71]

From this verse it is clear that, It is Islam only that provides the set of rules, regulations and instructions according to which man lives and which he refers to in order to solve his problems. This bond only takes into account “Aqeeda” and nothing but belief. Colour, Race and Gender are irrelevant. This is the type of bond found within Islam. Islam calls for this type of unity.

After the coming of Islam, Nationalism was eradicated. The nationalistic structure of the pagan Arabian society which existed for centuries was diminished by its arrival. Islam invites people to believe in one God and to follow His commands. It asks us for loyalty to the Deen of Allah rather than to the tribes.

Nationalism is a concept alien to Islam because it calls for unity based on family & tribalistic ties or land and soil, whereas Islam binds people together on the Faith and Emaan. That is belief in Allah and His Messenger. Therefore grouping together on tribalistic lines is clearly forbidden in Islam.

There are so many examples from the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) where he rebuked those who upheld tribalism and Nationalism. Muslims are thus commanded to stick together and not to disassociate themselves from each other just because they come from different tribes or backgrounds.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also said, “The Muslims are like a body, if one part of the body hurts, rest of the body will also suffer.” [Muslim]

It means that the Muslims whether they are Chinese, Syrian, Kashmiris, Arabian, Yeminis or of Pakistani origin are equal and they cannot be separated from each other.

Therefore, no nationalistic ties should ever break the unity of the Believers. This is the beauty of Islam. And the rulings according to Islam leaves no room for “Nationalistic constitution” whatsoever, because what is applied and what forms the criteria for judgement is the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Since Islam has prohibited nationalism, it becomes a duty of every Muslim in today’s world to work towards tearing down the nationalistic boundaries that are artificially created in Muslim lands and to remove any obstacles which allow its propagation. And those who still uphold nationalism, remember what Allah says: “Those who oppose Allah’s order have to be warned that a calamity may strike them or a painful doom may fall upon them.” [Quran 24: 63]

And, anyone who wishes to call to this ignorant belief think exactly what we are proud of? Every nation today is a failed nation, Even our own. Our country is nothing, We are all nothing. Who can be proud of their country and what is to be proud of?

Every nation has poverty, every nation has crimes, corruption and killing of innocents. So before we claim to be proud of our tribe or country, reflect on what we are actually proud of?

So, don’t be proud of your country, they are only failed attempts & unity which breed division.

The only success is a nation which adheres to Islam in loyalty to Allah on the right faith and practice, And, even in such nation a Muslim is not proud, they are more humble and generous.

And not only this, Islam forbids people from grouping on nationalistic ties, it also prohibits the establishment of more than one state, whether these states are based on nationalism or otherwise.

[Shazia Banoo is pursuing Degree course in Law from Jammu University, J&K. She can be contacted at [email protected]]

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