At a time when Muslim youth are torn apart from each other on the basis of race, nation and skin colour, it is easy to forget the punishment Allah promises us for these sins. Race riots in Sydney, and Bradford, England, bring to the fore the burning issue of nationality and patriotism. Brother Faraz Amin (Australia) explores…
Nationalism is one of those things that everyone goes through at some stage, unless Allah's will favours him/her. It’s a fad, a cool fashion, because its supposedly meant to give you identity and some sort of connection to those of a similar background.
That statement certainly holds true for me, someone who was proud of being an Indian at one stage in my life, to the extent that I would take a Indian flag to my school and wave it around during the 2003 Cricket World Cup, may Allah forgive me and prevent others from doing the same! You soon realise why nationalism and patriotism are completely ridiculous notions. Next year, in 2004, our brothers and sisters in Gujarat were butchered by Hindu-Indian mobs. Sisters were burnt alive, brothers castrated, babies doused and torched. At such times, one really begins to wonder how one can have any connection to such people, whose actions were justified by revenge and for the sake of “national interest”.
However, not every Muslim youth’s country goes through such turmoil, and so not everyone begins to question the notion of patriotism through his or her own thought process. Often, it isn’t civil war that makes us realise, but a simple consideration of what Islam has to say about this issue.
If you think about it logically, there is no way that nationalism can EVER be an adequate way of organising society. It is based ENTIRELY on secularism, and the nations that were created by the UN since its inception. It isn’t natural, but artificial and imposed. Man-made desires and flaws show when, despite this connection apparently being a “strong one” (as we are constantly told), nations erupt yearly into civil wars, people within nations have no sense of REAL brotherhood and stab each other (metaphorically) over the smallest of things, and when self-interest comes first beyond all else. There is no sense of real responsibility to each other (other than at war, a lame and rare excuse for a common feeling of patriotism), and this supports the fact that you judge a connection’s effectiveness when there is peace. THAT is when the real effectiveness of any connection will become apparent. Loose ideas of moral goodness aren’t comprehensive and don’t lead to unity in society. And as we all know as Muslims, we care about our brothers and sisters from other countries whether oppressed or not; we cry for them and fight for them; and the strong in us would even die for them, peacetime or not. All these point to one undeniable fact: Islam is the only suitable and strong enough creed to be used as a way to connect with others. The brotherhood and sisterhood it engenders in us is far stronger than allegiance to a lame piece of cloth. It is far stronger than the token singing of a national anthem at sporting events and assemblies at school, where many students, born and bred in that nation, give it respect by playing with their phones and mutating it to see how many f words can be fit into it.
Nationalism isn’t only a weak connection, but its impact on the world has been devastating. In the case of wars caused by nationalistic feeling, literally tens of millions have been killed over the last century, if not hundreds (as some historians claim). The patriotic feeling leaves people with little care about the rest of the world, other than that which they experience naturally, as seen in the case of poverty in Africa. While people over the world are often nice enough to donate to charity and make what difference they can, an act we must appreciate as a truly generous one, the oft-heard nationalistic-economic sentiments of these being “other countries that we have no imperative to help” simply goes to show that this connection also rears its ugly head when it comes to helping the rest of the world (a time which truly tests how good such a connection is for human beings!)
While we can go on talking logically forever, it is clear from Allah’s holy book, the Quran, and the sayings of the prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that patriotism and nationalism are big no-nos. Whether we WANT to be patriotic or not doesn’t even come into consideration – once Islam forbids it, we naturally reject the idea.
The Prophet Muhammad SAW said, as collected in the books of Abu Dawood:
“He is not one of us who calls for ‘asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for ‘asabiyyah or who dies for ‘asabiyyah.”
Another rather scary Hadith on the matter is recorded in Mishkat al-Masabih, where the Prophet SAW says:
“He who calls for ‘asabiyyah is as if he bit his father’s genitals”
Islam, they say, is the natural, logical religion. As we’ve just seen, logic dictates that nationalism can brings harm to the world, while benefit is restricted to small groups of people and prosperous nations. Islam tells us to look beyond all this, and to unite as one, based on Islam. The Messenger of Allah (saw) also said:
“The Muslims are like a body, if one part of the body hurts, the rest of the body will also suffer”
The problems of the Muslims today can be put down to a lot of things, the chief among them being a lack of spiritual awareness and the lack of unity. We should ALL realise that there is no way our Ummah can be united again while we are patriotic to Lebanon, Pakistan or Iraq. Our responsibility in life is to carry out Allah’s orders, and the order to connect with others on the basis of Islam is much stronger than any other method attempting to give cohesion to society.
We are the Muslim youth. It is our time to stand up and be counted for, Insha Allah. Brothers and sisters, leave your pride for the land of your birth, for your colour, for your tribal lineage, and embrace Islam in your lives. Love your brothers and sisters for the sake of Allah and Allah only.
As I said earlier, we all experience it some way at some stage. It is hard to comprehend the above ahadith; they are shocking indeed, but go to show just how severe a sin patriotism is regarded to be. We pray that Allah gives us the sense and Hidayah to make a change in the way we think. AMEEN!
Brother Faraz Amin is an 18 year old resident of Sydney, Australia. He is soon to start University, Insha Allah.