Part Eight: Basis of Nationalism

From the Viewpoint of the Quran and Tradition

Unity of mankind or racial and national units?

Nationalism is based on giving authenticity to racial and national units. It divides human society into limited and independent units according to geographical boundaries or factors of race, language, history, political organization etc., and considers all others outside these units as aliens, and very often encourages hostility between them. Nationalism does not address the whole of humanity, but restricts itself to national units, and its goal is the establishment of national states, not a universal society.

But Islam addresses all of mankind as a single unit. Its system is not for a nation, a race, a special region, but for the whole human society. Those who accept this system are regarded as equals and brothers, and have equal rights and duties in devotion, politics, economy and social life. The ultimate goal of Islam is to establish a universal monotheistic society which goes beyond geographical, racial, lingual and cultural boundaries, and joins them all in one community. Islam condemns the division of mankind on the basis of blood and territory in national and racial units, and grants no authenticity to national and racial differences. Its only test of individual worth is chastity, belief, faith and good deeds.

A nationalist confines his vision to national interests, and believes in the limitation of others. He has two criteria, one for himself and his compatriots, and another for foreigners, and his treatment also takes two forms. He does not give those outside his nation the right to benefit from similar privileges.

But Islam gives her message to all mankind, and judges all impartially without the shortsighted tribal attitude of nationalists. Its mission is universal, not national, and it aims at setting free relations between all human beings, since the promotion of divine message, culture and spirituality depends on it. It desires the perfection of all mankind, and rejects selfishness and tribal egocentrism. Nationalism encourages one to serve one's own society, and to desire its greatness and seek its interests, even to the extent of sacrificing the rights and interests of other nations. But Islam teaches each individual to think in term of the whole humanity, and to even resort to self-sacrifice in its way or give up the interests of the group.

The Quran emphasizes the universal unity of mankind:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا


“O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same' kind, and spread from these two many men and women.”(4:1)

It says that differences in birth-place, homeland and education do not affect the essence, and cannot replace universal unity by limited units:

وَهُوَ الَّذِيَ أَنشَأَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ فَمُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمُسْتَوْدَعٌ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَفْقَهُونَ


“And He it is Who has brought you into being from a single soul, then there is for you a resting- place and a depository.” (6:98)

Differences in race, tribe, nation and family have no legal authenticity and they are not the basis of unity or criteria of superiority and inferiority. They are only the means of facilitating human relations:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ


“O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with God is the one among you most careful of his duty.” (49:13)

Thus, divisions into tribes and groups is for the purpose of knowing one another better, not for taking pride, showing love or hate, seeking superiority or engaging in disputes. The only criteria are faith, belief and chastity.

The Quran considers the division of mankind into political and national units a crime resulting in human misery and calling for divine punishment:

قُلْ هُوَ الْقَادِرُ عَلَى أَن يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابًا مِّن فَوْقِكُمْ أَوْ مِن تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِكُمْ أَوْ يَلْبِسَكُمْ شِيَعًا وَيُذِيقَ بَعْضَكُم بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ الآيَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَفْقَهُونَ


“... or to confuse you in sects and to make some of you taste the violence of one another.” (6:65)

It condemns the division of mankind and assumption of superiority on the basis of land, blood as a great crime of Pharaoh:

إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلا فِي الأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءهُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ


“Now Pharaoh had exalted himself in the land and had divided its inhabitants into sects...” (28:4)

There is not a single verse in the Quran concerning the authenticity of nationality and division of mankind on the basis of land and blood. The Quran calls all men to kindness and happiness, not to national and racial privileges.

The Prophet (S) has repeatedly declared that human beings form a single Ummah and there is no authenticity in territorial or racial superiority. He says:

“There is no superiority for Arabs over non-Arabs, or for non-Arabs over Arabs. All are sons of Adam.”

Or that the whole humanity is one unit and the only criteria are religion and chastity:

“There is no superiority for one over another except by religion and chastity. All people are sons of Adam and Adam is from earth.”

Another of the traditions quoted from the Prophet (S) says:

“There is no superiority for Arabs over non-Arabs, for non- Arabs over Arabs, for the white over the black and for the black over the white, except by chastity.”

After the capture of Mecca, in his first public discourse which was in fact a declaration of his ideological and political posture, the Prophet (S), addressing the Qureish said: “O people, all of you are from Adam and Adam is from the earth. There is no pride in lineage, no pride for Arabs over non- Arabs, nor for non- Arabs over Arabs. Your worth with God depends on your chastity.”

Thus the Prophet (S) declared explicitly that no blood relationship can be the means of pride or superiority. The only criteria are faith, conduct and proper behavior. The Prophet (S) always emphasized human unity and negated its division into limited racial and national units. It is reported in traditions and narrations that in his daily prayers after uttering, “Shahadatein” (there is no god but God and Muhammad is His Prophet), he repeated the sentences: “I testify that all servants of God are brothers.”

Nationalism or Internationalism?

According to Quranic dictates, Muslims have a universal mission, not a national one. Islam sets up a single society and rejects limited tribal and national units which only think of their own interests.

It invites all peoples of the world to unite under one flag:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

(110:آل عمران)

“You are the best of the nations raised up for the benefit of men: you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong.” (3: 110)

وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُواْ شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلاَّ لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلاَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ


“And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people” (2:143)

The Prophet's mission was not a tribal and national one, but a universal mission:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ فَآمِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ النَّبِيِّ الأُمِّيِّ الَّذِي يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَكَلِمَاتِهِ وَاتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

(158:الأعراف )

“Say O people! Surely I am the apostle of Allah to you all…. (7:158)

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ
(33:التوبة )

“He it is Who sent His apostle with guidance and religion of truth that He might cause it to prevail over all religions.” (9:33)

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلاَّ كَافَّةً لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لا يَعْلَمُونَ

(28:سبأ )

“And W e have not sent you but to all the men as a bearer of good news and as a warner.” (34:28)

As the Prophet's mission was not a national and tribal one, but one for all humanity, in his sixth year of emigration, he sent letters to Heraclius, Kasra, King of Iran, Najashi of Ethiopia and Maghighus of Egypt, inviting them to Islam.

The creed and school of the Quran is universal and for all mankind:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ


“And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” (21: 107)

وَمَا هُوَ إِلاَّ ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

(52:القلم )

“And it is naught but a reminder to the nations.” (68: 52)

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا

(1:الفرقان )
“Blessed is He Who sent down the Furqan upon His servant that he may be a warner to the nations. “ (25: 1)

The Shia belief in Mahdi's order is a reflection of the same Islamic international ideal. A day comes when with the advent of the savior of mankind, universal rule will be established, and under the banner of Islam and the leadership of God's chosen Imam, all human beings will be united and peace and justice will prevail throughout the world.

It is thus clear that Islam and its goals, mission and vision is totally opposite to nationalism.

Should God be the focus of the loyalty or the country?

While nationalism believes the country to be the focus of loyalty, Islam believes God and His religion should be this focus. As the Quran says:

مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلاَّ أَسْمَاء سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلَّهِ أَمَرَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ


“Judgment is only Allah's; He has commanded that you shall not serve aught but him;"
In nationalism, deep affection to' one's country is a basis, whereas in Islam, the basis is belief in God and absolute loyalty to Him.

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ


“Thee do we serve and thee do we beseech for help.” (1:4)
Nationalism aims at having man given the greatest share of his loyalty and affection to the country, and to even subordinate the loyalty to God to the love of the nation. This in itself is a kind of polytheism. Praise is only due to God and when given to anything else, it is idolatry, and a following of satan's line:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُواْ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُواْ إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُواْ أَن يَكْفُرُواْ بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَن يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلالاً بَعِيدًا


"Have you not seen those who assert that they believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They desire to summon one another to the judgment of the Shaitan, though they were commanded to deny him, and the Shaitan desires to lead them astray into a remote error.” (4:60)
Nationalism attaches more importance to the country than to belief, religion and God, whereas Islam does the reverse:

(50)فَفِرُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
(51) وَلا تَجْعَلُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ


“Therefore Fly to Allah: I am a plain Warner unto you from Him. And do not set up with Allah another god: Surely I am a plain Warner to you from Him." (51:50-51)

Nationalism believes nationalistic sentiments to be genuine when it is not disturbed by any other factors (apparently God and religion) whereas Islam holds the contrary to be true. Indeed Islam insists that a monotheist must show fanaticism only towards God.

It is an explicit Islamic order that: “one should by no means obey the people when this obedience is against God's orders.”

If God's orders contravene patriotism, it is contrary to the principle of Islam to give priority to the nation or country:

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the worlds;" (6:162)

To nationalism, what matters the most is national interests, whether from an individual or social point of view, but in Islam it is love of God and divine injunctions. Love and hate, friendship and enmity, war and peace are all for the sake of God and His religion. No other factor is of importance.

In nationalism, sovereignty belongs to the nation and the criterion is national interests. But in Islam, God is the sovereign, and no other factor is of significance before His laws.

وَقَالَ يَا بَنِيَّ لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ مِن بَابٍ وَاحِدٍ وَادْخُلُواْ مِنْ أَبْوَابٍ مُّتَفَرِّقَةٍ وَمَا أُغْنِي عَنكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلَّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَعَلَيْهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ


“Judgment is only God's.” (12: 67)

ذَلِكُم بِأَنَّهُ إِذَا دُعِيَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ كَفَرْتُمْ وَإِن يُشْرَكْ بِهِ تُؤْمِنُوا فَالْحُكْمُ لِلَّهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْكَبِيرِ


"So judgment belongs to God, the High, the Great.” (40:12)

وَلا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلاَّ وَجْهَهُ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ


“Judgment is His and all return to Him. ” (28:88)

ثُمَّ رُدُّواْ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَوْلاهُمُ الْحَقِّ أَلاَ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَهُوَ أَسْرَعُ الْحَاسِبِينَ


"His is the judgment and He is swiftest in taking account.” (6:62)

The Quran condemns those who give authenticity to anything like the nation and country instead of following God's commands:

أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حُكْمًا لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ


"Is it then the judgment of the times of ignorance that they desire? And who is better than God to judge?” (5:50)

They seek the rule of ignorance (which is anti- Islamic), whereas there is nothing better than God's judgment.

In Islam sovereignty belongs to God and His religion. The nation acts as His deputy within the bounds of that school. The last and ultimate source of reference is God:

مَّا أَفَاء اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ كَيْ لا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الأَغْنِيَاء مِنكُمْ وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ


“...and whatever the Apostle gives you, accept it.” (59: 7)

فَلِذَلِكَ فَادْعُ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَلا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَقُلْ آمَنتُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِن كِتَابٍ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ لا حُجَّةَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ


“And go on steadfastly on the right way as you are commanded and do not follow their low desires …” (42:15)

The Prophet (S) has emphasized that loyalty and love are for God and not for anything else. Thus he deals a vital blow to nationalism by saying:

“Make God the axis of your love and loyalty and nothing else.”

But nationalism worships the nation and country and thereby clashes with the basic principles of Islam, namely, monotheism and engages in a kind of hidden polytheism.

Islam as a means of goal?

A survey of the ideas and conducts of the so-called devoted nationalists who speak of both nation and Islam shows that their main ideal is nationalism or liberalism, and Islam is only a cover or a means. Instead of regarding Islam or religion as being a valuable religion by itself and for the sake of God, they consider it a means to realizing their patriotic ideals. Thus to them, Islam is a means, not a goal, and this attitude is in itself polytheistic.

They suppose that they can rouse nationalistic sentiments in the name of Islam, but their ultimate goal is independence, not the establishment of an Islamic order. That is why they try to encourage despotism and colonization in the name of Islam. But they suppress the true supporters of the Islamic order in the worst possible manner.

According to the injunctions of Islam, the ultimate goal, must be God, not freedom and independence or anything else. We should love freedom and independence for the sake of God and Islam, and not the other way round which would be polytheistic. If we study the writings of nationalists who speak of Islam, we see that their Ka'aba is independence, freedom or country and God and Islam are the means to attain that goal.

A genuine Muslim, too, loves freedom and independence and defends them firmly but he does so only for the sake of God and Islam, since they are his real Ka'aba.

Factor of Unity: Faith or Nationality

Nationalism believes that the factor behind nationality and unity is the co-existence in the same land of individuals comprising a special group. A common natural and geographical environment, community or race, language, history or political organization establishes the bond between individuals who feel bound in common as far as their interests go. That is where a distinction is marked between themselves and the foreigners.

Opposed to this, is the view of Islam where the bond between individuals is belief and school and from which attachment and separation results and by which interest and expediency are measured. According to Islam, an individual whose belief lies in the opposite pole, even if he is a compatriot, a neighbor, or a close relative, is considered an alien, whereas a community of belief brings the remotest people from various parts of the world close together. Salman was from Fars (Iran), but Muhammad of Arabia and Ali of Hashimi tribe called him a member of their Household. Bilaal of Ethiopia and Soheib of Rome became members of the Islamic government of the Arabian Peninsula. But Abu-Lahab, Abu-Jahl and Abu-Sufyan who were pure Arabs were banished from the new society and governments, and were considered aliens in spite of the national, racial, and tribal connections.

The Islamic view about nationality is wholly different from nationalism. The Muslims' nationality is not based on the unity of geographical, language and material factors. It is based on religion. The Islamic ummah is a party or society 'which is founded by God and the Prophet, and its membership depends on the unity of belief, world vision and an Islamic system. Islam rejects every territorial and materialistic limitation. Iqbal, the great Islamic thinker says:

“It is only God Who is the body and soul of our nation,
It is only God that makes the gamut of our instrument;
It is only God that is the source of our secrets,
And His tread binds our thoughts together.
The destiny of nations is related to the country,
And on lineage is founded the repair of nations.
But our nation has a different foundation,
And this foundation lies in our belief."

Islamic nationality depends on a common creed. Turkish, Iranian, Arab and Indian Muslims form a single nation, and an alien is he who has no share in Islamic privileges, even if he is a parent, a son, a neighbor or co-tenant. Here the frontier of thought and belief, not manmade conventional borders becomes important. Color, blood and territory which are natural phenomena or human conventions cannot be regarded as criteria. An Arab, an Iranian and an Indian are equals in Islam so long as they are true Muslims. In this way the extensive nation of Islam is created. From Tangiers to the Philippines, all the lands form a single nation. The universal congress of Hajj is an example of this Muslim unity of belief.

The emigration of the Prophet (S) is a symbol of a move from geographical nationality to an ideological one. Iqbal says:

“The knot of the Muslim nationality was opened by our master who emigrated from home-land."

The Quran says:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَا أَرَاكَ اللَّهُ وَلاَ تَكُن لِّلْخَائِنِينَ خَصِيمًا


“Surely We have revealed the Book to you with the truth that you may judge between people by means of that which God has taught you.” (4:105)

Islamic texts emphasize this point so clearly and since early Islam the conduct of the Prophet (S) and Imams has been so clear that no room remains for doubt. It is here that the course of nationalism separates from that of Islam altogether, and nationalism is negated in Islam, since its foundations are different.

The Quran declares explicitly that belief is the basis of unity, not nationality:

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

(103:آل عمران)

“And hold fast the covenant of God all together and be not disunited, and remember the favor of God on you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favor you became brethren.” (3: 103)

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ


“Indeed all believers are brethren.” (49:10)

إِنَّ هَذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ


“Surely this Islam is your religion, one religion only, and I am your Lord, therefore serve Me.” (21:92)

The Prophet, too, spoke of the Islamic ummah as a body, the members of which are vitally related together. He said:

“Muslims are like a body. If the eye or another part is hurt, the whole body will hurt.”

Members of this ummah reject the boundaries of land and blood, and worship One Beloved, and thus they benefit from the rights and duties of that society. From North Africa to Indonesia, from Egypt to Palestine, Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, all possess the same rights and duties.

Those who divide this universal unity of Muslim by nationalism and racism etc. and separate their way from the course of belief are pagans according to the Prophet.

The Prophet (S) declared explicitly that anyone who follows any other factor than God and belief and endeavors in its way has abandoned Islam and turned to paganism. Thus in Islam, the basis of group and nation is not blood and territory, but belief. About the infidels the Holy Quran says:

فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَنُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ


“But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate they are your brethren in faith.” (9: 11)

Abu-Dawood in his book, Jihad, quotes the Prophet (S) as saying:

“God has commanded me to fight infidels so that they may confess the Uniqueness of God and turn to Qibla, and pray and fast as we do. Once they accept our belief, they benefit from all the rights and duties of other Muslims."

Religion is the true boundary of nationality. A co-religionist becomes a compatriot, and an unbeliever becomes an alien.

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاء عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاء بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا سِيمَاهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ ذَلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الإِنجِيلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهُ فَآزَرَهُ فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَى عَلَى سُوقِهِ يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا


“Muhammad is the Apostle of God, and his friends act as the enemies of infidels and as brethren towards one another.” (48:29)

قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَاء مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاء أَبَدًا حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ إِلاَّ قَوْلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَا أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ


“Indeed, there is for you a good example in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people: Surely we are clear of you and of what you serve besides God; We declare ourselves to be clear of you, and enmity and hatred have appeared between us and you for ever until you believe in God alone.” (60:4)

In the school of nationalism, all are brothers and equals, whether they are believers or infidels, pious or evil-doers. But in Islam, a person who does not hold the same belief, has no bond with the Muslims, is not considered an equal, even if he is a “compatriot.”

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ بِطَانَةً مِّن دُونِكُمْ لاَ يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالاً وَدُّواْ مَا عَنِتُّمْ قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَاءُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِي صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الآيَاتِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

(118:آل عمران)

“O you who believe! do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people.” (3:118)

Nationalism considers all people in a country as compatriots and those of other nations even if they are Muslims as foreigners. Islam believes in the contrary:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءَكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ خَرَجْتُمْ جِهَادًا فِي سَبِيلِي وَابْتِغَاء مَرْضَاتِي تُسِرُّونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِمَا أَخْفَيْتُمْ وَمَا أَعْلَنتُمْ وَمَن يَفْعَلْهُ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ

“O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends.” (60: 1)

All relationships, even that of a son, father, .wife, husband, are subordinated to belief, and those who do not believe in the school are aliens in spite of their close relationships:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ آبَاءَكُمْ وَإِخْوَانَكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء إِنِ اسْتَحَبُّواْ الْكُفْرَ عَلَى الإِيمَانِ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

“Do not take your father and your brothers for guardians if they love unbelief more than belief, and whoever of you takes them for guardians, these it is that are the unjust.” (9:23)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Surely from among your wives and your children there is an enemy to you.” (64:14)

لا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُوْلَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“You shall not find a people who believe in God and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to God and His apostle, even though they were their own fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk, these are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith, and whom He has strengthened with an inspiration from Him: and He will cause them to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein; God is well-pleased with them and they are now surely the party of God and are the successful ones.”(58:22)

The verses destroy the foundation of nationalism, since it is based on geographical boundaries, race, language, etc, and show clearly that belief is the basis of man's posture. There is only one party that is important and that is God's party.

This principle of belief has also been reflected in the jurisprudential system of Islam, and no non-Muslim can receive a Muslim's inheritance even as a son, as is explained in verse 54 of chapter Ahzab. It is also stated in traditions that an infidel cannot receive a Muslim's inheritance.

Difference of belief loosens the bond of marriage, and if one of the couple converts to Islam or becomes an apostate, their relationship becomes illegitimate. This is also supported by the Quran.

The society which was established by the Prophet (S) at Medina, was based on belief, in which all other attachments of territory, blood, race, etc. were negated. It was a society quite contrary in principle to nationalism.

In the battles of Badr, Ohod and Khandaq, the Prophet. Fought side by side with the Ansars of Medina who were considered aliens. In these battles, territory and blood were subordinated to belief. Hazifa attacked his father; Abu-Bakr drew his sword upon his son Abdo-Rahman; Abbas-bin- Abdul-Mottaleb, the Prophet's uncle and Aqil his cousin, and Abul-Aass were taken prisoner. Omar even proposed that all the prisoners whose guilt was proved and had not surrendered, should be killed, and every Muslim should personally kill the prisoner who was a kinsman. Omar himself killed his uncle in battle. That is how the bonds of kinship was broken for the sake of belief.

In the capture of Mecca, the Prophet (S) led the army of Ansars (i.e. aliens) to attack his own hometown, and many of his relatives were killed by these aliens. To make aliens friends, and kinsmen aliens was something unprecedented in Arabia.

In the battle of Bani-el- Mustalaq, a quarrel arose between a member of the Bani-Ghafar tribe and another of the Bani-Own clan. The former slapped the latter on the face. The latter belonged to the Ansars of Medina and the former from the Meccan emigrants. The man called upon the Ansars to help him and the other asked the emigrants for assistance. Both parties were about to rush upon each other with drawn swords, when the Prophet (S) intervened: “Woe to you that rise against each other for the sake of pagan kinship.”

In this battle, a well-known Medinan nationalist and a leader of the hypocrites, Abdullah-bin-Abi, was present too.

When he heard of the incident, he instigated the Ansars of Medina, saying: “We invited these foreigners to our country, and now that they have become powerful, they assault us. They are like dogs that you fatten to attack yourselves. By God, when return to Medina, those who have honor (meaning the Medinans) will expel the dishonored (meaning the Prophet and his emigrants).”

He then turned to his compatriots and said:

“How stupid you were to let these share your wealth and property. By God, if you leave them alone, they cannot last a moment.”

When these words of the Medinan nationalist were reported to the Prophet, he summoned the son of Abi-Abdullah and said: “I have heard that your father had uttered these words.” Abdullah though he loved his father greatly and was proud of him, said without hesitation: “O Prophet of God, if you give permission, I will cut off his head and throw it at your feet.” But the Prophet (S) forbade this. And when the Muslim Combatants returned to Medina, Abdullah stood at the gate of the city, drew his sword upon his father and cried: "You cannot enter Medina (his home) if the Prophet does not permit you. Now we will see how the honorable ones expel the dishonorable ones.”

This is the basis of Islamic nationality, and thus the nation of the faithful believers takes shape, a nation in which blood relationship is nothing as compared to belief.

When Banu-Qaynaqa of the Jewish tribe of Medina rose in revolt against the Muslims and were suppressed, the Prophet (S) sent Ebada-Ibn-e- Samet as arbitrator. He was of the Khazraj tribe and he unhesitatingly issued the verdict that the Banu- Qaynaqa must be banished from Medina.

After the treachery of Bani-Qurayda who were confederates of the tribe of Owss, the Prophet (S) sent as arbitrator Sa'ed-bin Moaz, a general of Owss. He condemned to death all the men of Bani-Qurayda for their great treason.

These show that in an Islamic society, only belief and school are important. Nationalism and Islam cannot exist together in the same society, and emphasis on one of them means negating the other.

Attachment to territory

In nationalism, authenticity lies with land and country, but in Islam it lies with the creator of land and country. Nation in Latin means birthplace. The co-existence of a special group in a single land gives form to nationality. That land belongs to that group and no other group has a right and claim upon it, and all individuals must protect it even with their lives.

But in Islam, territory belongs neither to this group nor to that, but to God and all human beings are deputies. And those who perform this duty and believe in His school have a greater claim upon the territory of God, and its management. Frontiers are frontiers of belief, not geographical ones.

The Quran emphasizes this point in various verses, stating that no nation has the monopoly of any territory and the whole world belongs to God:

قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَن تَشَاء وَتَنزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّن تَشَاء وَتُعِزُّ مَن تَشَاء وَتُذِلُّ مَن تَشَاء بِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ إِنَّكَ عَلَىَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

(26:آل عمران)

“Say: O God! Master of the kingdoms.” (3:26)

قُل لِّمَنِ الأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (84) سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ قُلْ أَفَلا تَذَكَّرُونَ


“Say whose is the earth and whoever is therein, if you know? They will say: Allah's. Say: Will you not then mind? (23:84-85)

قُلْ مَن بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ يُجِيرُ وَلا يُجَارُ عَلَيْهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (88) سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ قُلْ فَأَنَّى تُسْحَرُونَ

“Say Who is it in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things and Who gives succour, but against Him succour is not given. If you do but know? They will say: This is Allah's. Say from whence are you then deceived?” (23:88-89)

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مُنذِرٌ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَهٍ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفَّارُ

“There is no God save Allah. the One and Absolute, Lord of the heavens and the earth...” (38:65-66)

As He is the Owner of the whole world, He has made man His deputy; therefore the world belongs to all human beings, especially to believers:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلائِفَ الأَرْضِ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ سَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And He it is Who made you successors in the land...” (6:165)

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً قَالُواْ أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاء وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

“I am going to place in the earth a khalifa ” (2:30)

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الأَرْضِ وَالْفُلْكَ تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَيُمْسِكُ السَّمَاء أَن تَقَعَ عَلَى الأَرْضِ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Do you not see that God has conquered everything on the earth for you?” (22:65)

Thus, all the abundant resources of the earth belong to all men and not to a special group or nation.

Geographical boundaries should not create limitations for human beings, since the world belongs to God and to man as His deputy:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنفُسِهِمْ قَالُواْ فِيمَ كُنتُمْ قَالُواْ كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُواْ فِيهَا فَأُولَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا

“Why did you become abject in your dwellings? Was not God's earth wide enough for you to emigrate?” (4:97)

Every human being has the right to benefit from the wealth of the. Various parts according to his needs:

وَمَن يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيرًا وَسَعَةً وَمَن يَخْرُجْ مِن بَيْتِهِ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

“He who emigrates for God from his lands, will find wealth and abundance there.” (4:100)

The whole world belongs to the followers of divine ideology and His good servants:

وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِي الزَّبُورِ مِن بَعْدِ الذِّكْرِ أَنَّ الأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ

“God's good servants will be the heirs of all the world.” (21:105)

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُم فِي الأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا يَعْبُدُونَنِي لا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

“To all those who follow the divine school and endeavor in the way of goodness. God has promised sovereignty in the world.” (24:55)

This godly view of Islam enables a true Muslim not to think in terms of attachment to territory and nation, but to consider the world as belonging to God and His servants:

Scholar Iqbal says: "Every land which belongs to God is our land.”

The Quran, all the time talks of the whole world, not of Arabs, non- Arabs, or of Mecca and Medina. If the Muslims were to have an attachment to a particular land, it would be of Mecca, but even about this sacred city, the Quran says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ الَّذِي جَعَلْنَاهُ لِلنَّاسِ سَوَاء الْعَاكِفُ فِيهِ وَالْبَادِ وَمَن يُرِدْ فِيهِ بِإِلْحَادٍ بِظُلْمٍ نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

“We have made it the Sacred Mosque equally for all men for the dweller therein and for the visitor.” (22:25)

Consequently many jurisprudents consider Mecca as the land of all Muslims and regard private ownership in this city as unacceptable. 'History narrates that Omar did not even allow the Meccans to close their doors, so that any pilgrim would enter whenever he wished. Omar bin Abdul-Aziz forbade taking rents from pilgrims, since the land belonged to all Muslims. Other jurisprudents have not gone so far in their view, and have said that a person who had built a house with his own capital in Mecca can receive rent for the main building but not for the yard and garden which belong to all.

The Prophet (S) is quoted as saying:

“The sale and rent of houses in Mecca is forbidden.”

On the one hand the Prophet (S) made Mecca the property of all Muslims, and on the other hand he regarded unbelievers even Meccan inhabitants as aliens to be expelled from there. The Quran says about infidels:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ فَلاَ يَقْرَبُواْ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ بَعْدَ عَامِهِمْ هَذَا وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ عَيْلَةً فَسَوْفَ يُغْنِيكُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ إِن شَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

“The idolaters are nothing but unclean so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year.” (9:28)

This is then the view of Islam which rejects the idea that citizenship depends on birthplace. Islam asserts that it depends on belief, and by this assertion, it destroys the basis of nationalism.

Emigration, a symbol of leaving territory by belief unlike nationalism, Islam teaches man not to attach himself to land but to belief, and if necessary, he should leave his home and land and country for the sake of it. Emigration is a fundamental principle in Islam.

Emigration is the equivalent of Jihad (Crusade.) leaving one's home and country is for the sake of belief and ideology. Most prophets emigrated, and the Holy Prophet's emigration marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar and history.

In Islam, unlike nationalism, one leaves his homeland for the sake of belief and thus emigration is not only a duty, but refusal to emigrate for the sake of belief is a treason and quilt to society on the part of the individual. Attachment to a particular land and confining one's activity and loyalty to it is in Islam a futile life and act when one's religion and ideology is being threatened. Such a conduct is anti- Islamic and liable to condemnation:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنفُسِهِمْ قَالُواْ فِيمَ كُنتُمْ قَالُواْ كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُواْ فِيهَا فَأُولَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا

“Surely as for those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say; We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not God's earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort.” (4:97)

The phrase 'was not God's earth spacious' shows that national frontiers have no validity and Muslims should not be bound them in the promotion of Islamic goals and in their own evolutionary course:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَواْ وَّنَصَرُواْ أُوْلَئِكَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَلَمْ يُهَاجِرُواْ مَا لَكُم مِّن وَلاَيَتِهِم مِّن شَيْءٍ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُواْ وَإِنِ اسْتَنصَرُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ فَعَلَيْكُمُ النَّصْرُ إِلاَّ عَلَى قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُم مِّيثَاقٌ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

“Ant those who believed and did not fly, not yours is their guardianship until they fly.” (8:72)

Emigration for God and giving up the home and nationality for the sake of belief is the equivalent of crusade and self-sacrifice:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ يَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Surely those who believed and fled their homes, and struggled hard in God's way, they can hope for the grace of God and God is Forgiving, Merciful.” (2:218)

الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللَّهِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ

“Those who believed and fled their homes and strove hard in God's way with their property and their souls, are much higher in rank with God; and those are they who are the achievers of their objects.” (9:20)

وَمَن يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيرًا وَسَعَةً وَمَن يَخْرُجْ مِن بَيْتِهِ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

“And whoever goes forth from his house flying to God and His apostle, and then death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with God.” (4: 100)

فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لاَ أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ فَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَأُخْرِجُواْ مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوذُواْ فِي سَبِيلِي وَقَاتَلُواْ وَقُتِلُواْ لأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ ثَوَابًا مِّن عِندِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ

“They therefore, who fled and were turned out of their homes and persecuted in My way and who fought and were slain, I will most certainly cover their evil deeds and I will most certainly make them enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; a reward from God and with God is yet better reward.” (3: 195)

The high worth of emigration in Islam means an emphasis on the negation of land and attachment to religion which is in total contravention with nationalism.

The conduct and emigration of the Prophets, too, proved the above idea that belief is the axis of Islam, not land. After the conquest of Mecca, the Ansars were anxious lest the Prophet (S) would settle in Mecca. But he called them and said:

“I have no attachment to territory. I am God's servant and His messenger. I have emigrated for His sake to you and henceforth my life and death are by your side.”

Although the problem for which he emigrated was now solved, yet the Prophet (S) left Mecca after capturing it and returned to Medina to prove that he had no attachment to land or home.

Attachment of blood and race from the Islamic viewpoint

Nationalism gives utmost importance to kinship and this culminates eventually in racism. Nationalism further resorts to race and historical heritage when trying to point out the differences and similarities which exist between two nations and account for their compatibility and incompatibility.

Sometimes it speaks of blood as the basis of unity. There has always appeared extreme or semi- extreme racism at different periods and places. Like the Greeks who called others than themselves barbarians, or ancient Jews who scornfully called others foreigners, or extreme Italian and German nationalists who were bent upon exterminating the Jews, or American nationalism which even now causes the blacks to suffer.

But Islam rises to strongly fight this king of nationalism, and is opposed to race and historical nationality. It says that men and women, black and white, civilized and uncivilized, African and European, Aryan and Semitic, all have the same root in creation and are from the same parents; blood relationship is no criterion for superiority:

“O people ! fear your God Who has created you from a single soul.” (4:1)

The Prophet (S) says:
“There is no superiority of Arabs over non- Arabs, or non-Arabs over Arabs, for they are all descendants of Adam.”

“No one is superior to another except by religion and chastity. All men are descendants of Adam and Adam was created of earth.”

The Prophet (S) says to the Arabs:
“Obey and entrust the rein of affairs with anybody who is superior from the point of view of Islamic commitment and brilliant records, no matter his race, color, country, territory, even if he is a black Ethiopian.”

“There is no privilege in relationship, neither for Arabs over non- Arabs, nor for non- Arabs over Arabs. Superiority lies only in chastity.”

In Islam the color of the skin is no criteria for superiority or inferiority:

“(Receive) the baptism of Allah and who is better than Allah in babtising? and Him do we serve.” (2: 138)

The Prophet (S) says:

“There is no superiority of the white over the black or the black over the white.” unless due to the criterion of virtue.

The Prophet (S), addressing the tribe of Bani-Hashim said:

“O Bani-Hashim, love the people for their deeds, not for kinship.”

Imam Ali (a) says of the abolition of racial and national privileges in Nahjul Balagha:

“The Prophet (S) abolished class and racial superstitions and made all Muslims equal before the sacred law of the Quran without any exception.”

The powerful combat of Islam against racism can be understood from this fact that the Prophet (S) appointed Usamah-ibn- Zayd, an Ethiopian slave, as commander-in- chief and as superior to such generals as Obeydollah- al- Jarrah and other Qureish and Ansar leaders which meant the casting aside of racial and tribal criteria. Giving authenticity to kinship creates division, and it is for the same guilt that the Quran condemns the Pharaoh:

“Surely Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made people into parties, weakening one party from among them; he slaughtered their sons and let their women live; surely he was one of the mischief- makers.” (28:4)

The Quran severely condemns giving authenticity to blood attachments as a barrier in the way of truth:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُواْ بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ

“When they are told to follow the way of God they say: We are firm in the way of our fathers, whereas their fathers were misled and ignorant.” (2:170)

Of course, soon after the Prophet, paganism became the order with the creeping coup d'etat of the Omayads, resulting in the encouragement of chronic racism and blood attachment on which the foundation of modern nationalism rests. But many learned, ranking Sunni ulama reject these two ideas, such as Abu Bakar Baghlani and Imam-al- Haramein. The Mo'etazela and Khawarej sects also refused to accept it.

Fanaticism of Ignorance

Nationalism is accompanied by a fanaticism which considers others inferior, and boasts only of its own history and ancestors. This extreme sentiment causes one to love one's country and nationality, and discourages one to be benevolent towards others. One feels that one is perfect, while others are imperfect and useless.

Islam and the Prophet (S) violently fought and condemned this fanaticism.

Explaining fanaticism, the Prophet (S) said: “Simple attachment to the tribe is not fanaticism. Fanaticism is supporting kinsfolk and compatriots in goodness or badness, in right and wrong and in all cases. Such a person is involved in the wrath of God.”

After the capture of Mecca, the Prophet (S) said in his first discourse:

“O Qureish leaders! God has condemned pride and fanaticism of ignorance and boasting of ancestors, and the time for this is over. Remember that today I trample upon all these means of pride.”

It is this fanaticism of ignorance which makes people and nations seek domination out of their ego- centrism. The history of Western nationalistic countries in the last hundred years shows this fanaticism of the 20th Century. A German shouts: “Germany above all”; and Mussolini declares: “Love of Italy is the highest religion.” America claims: “The United States are selected by God,” and an Englishman believes that «ruling the world is the God- given right of the British.”

The Quran rejects these ideas. It talks about the Jews and Christians who had turned into nations, not religious groups:

وَقَالُواْ لَن يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلاَّ مَن كَانَ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَى تِلْكَ أَمَانِيُّهُمْ قُلْ هَاتُواْ بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ بَلَى مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَلَهُ أَجْرُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ وَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

“And they say: None shall enter the garden of paradise except he who is a Jew or a Christian. These are their vain desires. Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful. Yes whoever submits himself entirely to God and he is the doer of good to others, he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him nor shall he grieve.” (2: 111-112)

Fanaticism of ignorance also results in pride in the past and in ancestors and the Prophet (S) called it, 'a contaminated state'.

“Those who take pride in their nation and ancestors, should abandon it and remember that such sources of pride are nothing but fuel of hell. If they do not abandon it, they are worse before God than the filth they carry with them.”

It is quoted from the Prophet (S) in Kafi:
“Islam has done away with the pride of paganism and boasting of forefathers. All people are from Adam who was of earth, and none has superiority over another except in chastity.”

A special peculiarity of contemporary nationalism is this same pride in one's past history. which Islam calls paganism. For example, Iranian nationalism boasts of the Sassanids and Achaemenids whereas these are considered as banner-bearers of paganism by Islam.

The same fanaticism of ignorance causes nationalists of Egypt to glorify the Pharaoh who is damned by God, and boast of him.

Can an individual be both a Muslim and a nationalist?

Nationalism and Islam have two opposite ideologies, schools and ideas and independent goals and programs.

Man by his nature can follow only one ideology and stick affectionately to it. If a person believes that he has two ideologies, one of them will be active and living, while the other, passive and dead. A German nationalist cannot be a true Christian, since it is his nationalism that is active and living, and his religion is passive and dead. An Italian cannot be at the same time a committed fascist and a true Christian.

Islam has a special ideology, and nationalism has another. A human being cannot follow two living ideologies at one time, unless one complements and supports the other.

A person may consider it expedient to conceal his ideology or even be unaware of it, not knowing whether it is his patriotism that is dominant or his belief in religion. He cannot be said to have two ideologies, since only one of them is active and directs his conduct. If a person who supposes he has no ideology or has more than one, is asked to abandon them, a time will come when he feels that the ideology he holds forms part of him and is impossible to give up, and that he is ready to sacrifice his life for it. This is his active and living ideology.

Now it must be seen whether such a person is prepared to sacrifice himself for Islam, or for freedom, democracy, communism or nationalism. That for which he is willing to give up all, is his ideology even if he is not aware of it.

It is the love for this ideology that determines his conduct, his ways and policy, and his other affections will be subordinated to it.

Some nationalists suppose that they can follow both nationalism and Islam at the same time. Tahtavi and Mustafa Kamal in Egypt, Namek Kamal in Turkey, Abol-Kalam Azad and Hossain Ahmad Madani in India were among those who thought that one could follow both ideologies at the same time, believing that they were compatible. Abdo Rahman Al-Bazazz, former prime minister of Iraq, too, in his book, “Islam and the Arab People”, claims that one can be both a Muslim and an Arab nationalist.

But these two are incompatible and an inclination in the direction of one of them will mean moving away from the other. We cannot mingle water with fire:

وَجَاءَهُ قَوْمُهُ يُهْرَعُونَ إِلَيْهِ وَمِن قَبْلُ كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ هَؤُلاء بَنَاتِي هُنَّ أَطْهَرُ لَكُمْ فَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُخْزُونِ فِي ضَيْفِي أَلَيْسَ مِنكُمْ رَجُلٌ رَّشِيدٌ


“Is there not among you one right- minded man?” (11:78)

We are Muslims only when in all aspects of life we have an Islamic vision. But if we adopt another vision socially and politically and abandon a part of Islam, how can we call ourselves Muslims?

ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَؤُلاء تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَارِهِمْ تَظَاهَرُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِالإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَإِن يَأْتُوكُمْ أُسَارَى تُفَادُوهُمْ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِخْرَاجُهُمْ أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ فَمَا جَزَاء مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

“Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in the other? What then is the reward of such people among you as do this but disgrace in the life of this world and on the day of Resurrection, they shall be sent back to the most grievous chastisement.” (2:85)

No one can follow an imported foreign school and claim to be a Muslim too. The idea of a 'nationalist Muslim' is as absurd as that of a 'religions communist' or 'capitalist Marxist', or a 'pagan monotheist' or a 'nationalist internationalist'.

They are opposites. When the ideology of Islam expands, nationalism is destroyed, and when nationalism grows, Islam is annihilated. One cannot stay aboard two ships going in different directions. Making such a claim means either ignorance, or hypocrisy and inability to understand the true nature of both schools.

Iqbal, the great contemporary theoretician on Islam, addressing Mowlana Hossein Ahmad, a renown ‘Alim and nationalist leader of India, has composed a poem in which he says that he who calls the nation and country the basis of unity has no knowledge of the Prophet's Islamic teachings.

One should abandon nationalism and all imported isms and turn to Islam. If he cannot do so and if he mingles both, then he has in fact broken with Islam and become anti- Islamic. Islam is a generality which must be accepted either as a whole or rejected altogether. We cannot be partly this and partly that.

Iqbal says in his poem:

It was declared on the pulpit that
the nation is derived from the country.
How ignorant is he, of the rank of Muhammad of Arabia.

Join Mustafa since it is he who is the whole faith,
If you do not join him, then you are Abu-Lahab.

We should break all the idols of all isms including racism and nationalism, and introduce an ideology in which all monotheistic Muslims believe, and regard God as the only criterion, not land, blood and language:

رَّبَّنَا إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي لِلإِيمَانِ أَنْ آمِنُواْ بِرَبِّكُمْ فَآمَنَّا رَبَّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّئَاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الأَبْرَارِ

“Our Lord surely we have heard a preacher calling to the faith saying: Believe in your Lord. so we did believe; Our Lord forgive us therefore our faults, and cover our evil deeds and make us die with the righteous.” (3: 193)

It is the duty of Muslims to fight unyieldingly against every other ideology and school including nationalism, communism and liberalism, politically and intellectually and they should not rest until the school of God comes to dominate over the personal, social, political, economic, intellectual and religious life of man:

وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّه فَإِنِ انتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

“Fight with them until there is no mischief left and only the religion of God remains in the world.” (8:39)

Nationalism and communism are by no means the remedy to the sick and unbalanced societies of today. The only way out is the establishment of a monotheistic society and creation of beings with a monotheistic worldview and that is only possible through the Quran.