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Islam and Nationalism

by Dr. Ali Muhammad Naqavi

Nationalism is incompatible with Islam, both schools having two opposite ideologies. The Quran has explicitly rejected the basis of nationalism and states that language, colour and race are no criteria for unity and privilege. The only criteria are belief and virtue.

The goal of nationalism is to create national units, whereas the goal of Islam is universal unity. To nationalism what matters the most is loyalty and attachment to the homeland, whereas in Islam it is God and religion.

Nationalism is closely linked with secularism in view of the necessity of separation between government and religion, and politics from creed. Nationalism leads indirectly to secularism and it changes the meaning of minorities. In a government founded on religion, the followers of other creeds and schools are regarded as minorities, but with nationalism and secularism there are only racial, political and regional minorities.

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

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'.

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.

Islam rejects the idea that citizenship depends on birth-place. Islam asserts that it depends of belief.

Unlike nationalism, Islam teaches man not to attach himself to land but to belief, and if necessary, he should leave his homeland and country for the sake of it. Emigration is a fundamental principle in Islam. Emigration is the equivalent of 'Jihad' (Crusade).

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. 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.

The idea of a 'nationalist' Muslim is as absurd as that of a 'religious communist' or 'capitalist Marxist'.

When the ideology of Islam expands, nationalism is destroyed, and when nationalism grows, Islam is annihilated.

 

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