By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
23 May 2020
The first online edition of India-specific propaganda magazine ‘Voice of Hind’ dedicates an entire page to highlight the “disease of nationalism”. The objective of this propaganda magazine is to provoke and recruit Indian Muslims against their own homeland. This is not just a matter of rejecting this objective by calling it Un-Islamic but as a part of Muslim community it is our collective responsibility to refute the whimsical arguments of this anti-national objective as well. This magazine is published by a pro-ISIS group through its Al-Qitaal Media Centre of Junudul Khilafah al-Hind.
Describing nationalism as ‘disease’ and ‘transgression’, the pro-ISIS group says, “And there is no doubt that the call to nationalism is a call to ’Asabiyyah (partisanship and party spirit) and it is a call to becoming angry for the sake of ’Asabiyyah and fighting for ’Asabiyyah. And there is no doubt also, that the call to nationalism is a call to transgression, pride and arrogance, since nationalism is not a divinely revealed way of life which prevents its people from oppression and proud boasting. Rather it is an ideology from the time of Jahiliyyah which leads its people to boasting about it and having ’Asabiyyah for it even if they are the oppressors and the others are the oppressed!” (Voice of Hind, 1st issue, p.8)
The pro-ISIS group does not mention the source of this anti-national ideology. However, one can find it out that this entire quotation was taken from the article “The Evils of Nationalism” written by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Baaz, a prominent Saudi Wahhabi scholar and published in ‘Nuqdul Qawmiyyatul Arabia (pp.39-44). This again shows that the idea of anti-nationalism is inspired by radical Wahhabism.
To support this anti-national ideology, the pro-ISIS group quotes one hadith that in fact does not support anti-nationalism. In this refutation of ISIS, we will analyse that hadith and check how Islam deals with the idea of nationalism and how it can rebut anti-national ideology in the context of India.
Nationalism is a sentiment pursuing objectives associated with national interests. Nationalism in Indian context is based on patriotism, pluralism, diversity and common national characteristics that bind Indian population with the feeling of unity and brotherhood for the sake of achieving national interests. The notion of Indian nationalism that can be rightly understood through the constitutional rights given to Indian citizens regardless of differences in religion, faith, culture and race. There is no place for compulsion in terms of religion. Each individual has equal opportunity to practice religion, grow in spirituality, advance in terms of career and other necessities of life. Any act of oppression and injustice committed towards any Indian individual is punishable in the Indian court of Justice, the disloyalty of which is also an act against Indian nationalism.
This is the intrinsic notion associated with Indian nationalism that definitely does not go against Islam at all, if we talk about it from an Islamic perspective. Therefore, the understanding of the pro-ISIS group, with regard to Indian nationalism, is flawed and that the call to Indian nationalism is not the call to transgression and arrogance. The following are some evidences taken from the Quran and Ahadith that make this point very clear.
A part of Indian nationalism is patriotism substantially supported by Islam. India where a Muslim is endowed with religious rights, security, liberty and freedom is a beloved place for him. For Muslims, India is a country where they freely bow down before God Almighty in five-time prayers and have freedom to devote all their time to worship Allah Almighty and obey the Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him). These are the religious rights given to Muslims, which make them embrace patriotism.
The indications of patriotism are mentioned in the Quran, Ahadith and their commentaries. According to a hadith, whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) came back from journeys, he used to see the wall of Makkah with love. In the commentary of this hadith, Imam Asqalani and Imam Aaini etc have written that this hadith justifies patriotism or love towards country. Additionally, jurists (Fuqaha), saints (Auliya), the wise (hukama), and Muslim authors have expressed their affection for their respective homelands. A number of Ulama have written books on patriotism, for instance, “Al-Hunain ilal Awtan (Love towards the homeland)” authored by Jahiz.
It is narrated by Hazrat Anas that “whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) returned from a journey and observed the walls of Medina, he would make his Mount go fast, and if he was on an animal (i.e. a horse), he would make it gallop because of his love for Medina” (Bukhari, 1886, Book 29, Hadith 20).
The same hadith is also mentioned in Jami al-Tirmidhi. In the commentary of this hadith, Allama Ibn Hajar Asqalani says, “This hadith is evidence of the virtue of Madina and permissibility of love to country/Hubbul Watan” (Fathul Bari commentary on Sahih Bukhari, Arabic version 3/621). Allama Aini has also made the same interpretation of this hadith. (Please see, Umdatul Qari –commentary on Sahih Bukhari 10/135)
Mulla Ali Qari, in his book “Mirqatul Mafatih (commentary of Hadith book – Mishkatul Masabih)”, says, “Being away from the homeland is one of the most painful situations”. Allama Ibn Jawzi says in his book “Muthir Al-Gharam Al-Sakin Ilá Ashraf Al-Amakin p.75”, “homelands are always beloved”. Imam Abu Nuwaim said in “Hilyatul Awliya 7/380”, “Being away from the homeland was the most painful experience of all that I felt”.
Patriotism is a tendency which naturally resides in citizens and increases when they continuously feel secure and have full freedom to practice their religious rituals. This tendency is a part of Indian nationalism. Then how can the call to Indian nationalism be the call of transgression?!!
Another part of Indian nationalism is pluralism. The Quranic verses are the calls from God Almighty towards all mankind for believing in one God, His books, prophets, angels and the Hereafter. God Almighty know that there would be division among His creatures in the sense that some would believe Him and some would disbelieve Him. He kept faith as a matter of free will and heart, as force cannot establish faith in one’s heart. The Quran makes this point very clear that since the faith of Islam is clear for all mankind, “There is no compulsion in [matters of] Religion” (2:257).
The mankind are not united in one faith and one culture, yet they are encouraged to know one another through a humane ethos. The Quran says, “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49:13). Here we get the idea of pluralism which can also be derived from a number of other Quranic verses such as 5:48, 11:118, 22:67 and 30:22.
Allah Almighty says, “Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.” (5:48)
“And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ.” (11:118)
“For every religion We have appointed rites which they perform. So, [O Muhammad], let the disbelievers not contend with you over the matter but invite them to your Lord. Indeed, you are upon straight guidance.” (22:67)
“And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.” (30:22)
The Quranic message on pluralism and diversity was also implemented through the Charter of Medina formulated by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This Charter brought together different ethnic and religious communities, granting them equal rights and responsibilities. The treaty made with the Christian monks of Najran for the protection of monastery and freedom of religion was one of the examples of testimony to pluralism.
It is clear now that Islam encourages pluralism and that Indian nationalism involves pluralism which gives equal opportunity to each Indian citizen for knowing each other and residing peacefully despite differences. Then how can the call to Indian nationalism be the call to transgression?! The Pro-ISIS group must change its baseless claim and stop calling Indian nationalism a ‘transgression’, otherwise it is a transgression to call what is not transgression a ‘transgression.’
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).