According to the scholars of political science, a state is developed gradually in the following way. A society is first formed by the union of families. Passing through certain phases it develops into a nation. When that nations develops its political sense to the stage that all the individuals of that nation show obedience to a sovereign among them the state is formed.
A student intending to study the characteristics and traits of the state has to begin from analyzing the essence of the society and the nation built upon it. One must be able to understand fully the components of nation, the forces that bind different components of the society and the motives which unite and make them sacrifice for the benefit of the whole society. It would then help one understand the essence of the state, its components and the factors uniting these individual components. The state is related with the nation in the way a building is related with its foundations. If one is clear on the overall plan of the building he can fully and easily understand the kind and nature of the building. When strength and the purpose of the building have to be specifically investigated, the basic thing to be concentrated upon is the foundations and not the structure of the building. We therefore start our discussion from an analysis of the formation of nation and an examination of the factors that contribute to its creation and investigation into the role played by each of these factors in creating and maintaining it. We have to deal with the difference between the ancient and the modern theories on the formation of a nation. We also need to discuss the difference between Islamic and common concept of nation and analyze the difference between the nature and structure of states built upon these two independent concepts.
Many forces and factors are at work in the formation of a nation. Unity of race, religion, region, customs, culture and language has been identified as the ground of nationality.
A group of people united by these factors, the individual members of which are conscious of such a unity among them, is naturally inclined to help and protect their members. They understand the feelings of each other, share grief and happiness and discuss their approaches to the problems facing them in this worldly life.
Unity of descent is the most prominent cause of solidarity in a group. Common language is helpful both in expression, reception and transmission of the ideas and feelings. Living in the same geographical region generates the impulse for protecting and guarding oneself and the fellows from the foreigners. Common civilization and shared customs join the group in their manners of living and mental approach most affectively.
When these factors in a community work to hold its members together a sense of solidarity and mutual help develops in its members. The community tends to seek for itself a distinct unity and develops a sense of superiority over other communities. When all the above factors are found in a community it, quite naturally, wants sovereignty for itself and requires complete freedom from the influence of foreign groups. It wants to manage its affairs independently.
We do not mean that in presence of all these factors, working to unite the community, there remains no point of difference and conflict among the members of the community. In practical life personal and familial benefits of different people continue colliding. But a more superior authority always works to settle such disputes and people submit to its decisions. Such obedience before a superior power does not mean that the people are forced to subdue themselves before that power against their will. It, on the contrary, reflects that national and communal interests are protected against personal benefits. All the factions of a nation must remain ready to give up their interest for the protection of the national interests. If an individual is not ready to sacrifice his petty personal interests he would eventually be compelled to give up all his rights. This is a real political sense and it is this sense that lends a community the status of a political nationality.
The above mentioned factors have contributed towards the creation of a nation in human history. There is no denying the fact that these factors are only natural bonds of a nation. However, the scientific progress has rendered some of these factors obsolete. Now geographical boundaries are given primary credence. The concept of nationality based on geographical boundaries is more commonly referred to as nationalism. Though geographical identity has been a main factor of creation of a nation from the beginning but now it is considered sufficient factor of unity in a community. It is held that all other factors are important but the only thing that determines the origin of a nation is the single geographical boundary. Therefore, all the other factors, joined together, cannot found a nation in absence of the common country. Country is thus considered sufficient foundation for a nation. In the absence of other factors it is considered a foundation and others factors are created out of it artificially.
As mentioned above, common country is one of the basic natural foundations of a nation. However, the importance now generally attached to this factor, to the exclusion of the rest, is not justifiable. It is more of a product of necessity than a natural position. Scientific progress has indeed, in nations, rendered the feeling of security and protection more crucial than all other feelings. Consequently nations today attach more importance to their geographical boundaries. We see that, now, race, language and civilization are not as important as rivers, seas, mountains and other natural deterrent forces working to protect a nation from foreign aggression.
In earlier times nations would naturally consider it necessary to have a geographical region under their control as it helped them sustain their race, retain their culture and practice their customs. Only the extraordinarily courageous nations, aspiring to govern other nations, would go for annexing more territory. In these times, however, every nation determines it geographical boundaries keeping in consideration their economic and defensive needs. These nations want their occupation on the area they need to secure their economic and defence purposes no matter how small their original abode in relation to the territory they intend to occupy is. Instead of fashioning their attire corresponding with their body they tend to swell their body to the boundaries they have artificially designed for themselves. In order to enlarge its body to fit into the occupied region a nation has to assimilate the other nations living in that area. Thus the subjected nations are forced to part with their original identity. Their racial, lingual and religious ideals are curbed. They are forced to imbibe the ideologies of the occupant nation and revere them at the stake of their original ones. All these measures serve to force the oppressed nations to submit before the occupants ideologically and culturally.
As stated earlier the above mentioned are the natural factors contributing towards formation of a nation. However, a nation founded and built on these factors alone finds numerous faults in the national disposition of its people.
First and most prominent shortcoming in the nation emerged on the basis of these factors is its fortressed mentality; racial and national discrimination marks their attitude towards everything. Their attention is directed at a single line among the whole human kind. They think that no other race is human in the true sense. This inevitably makes them incapable of taking the whole mankind as single community in any respect, issuing forth from a single couple, Adam and Eve; parts and limbs of a single body; members of a single family; branches of a single clan. Instead of maintaining relations they, mostly, exhibit envious and antagonistic attitude towards the other nations. Any relations they maintain, at all, are directed by expediency and political objectives. In reality such a nation cannot wish good for any except themselves. Their feeling of envy and enmity for others is taken as a merit in itself, rather than a blemish. This attitude, to them, is the virtuous trait, nationalism.
Second marked deficiency of such a nation is that it gradually assumes the status of criterion of good and evil. Bias for the nation is augmented by the personal needs of its members to the state that one does not feel any qualm at declaring: “My county, right or wrong.” Whatever goes in their favour is considered the right. Whatever threatens their interests is an awful wrong. If seen expedient, the most outrageous lie, the cruellest form of oppression, and worst kind of disruption can turn out to be an excellent model of justice; if found in opposition to the national interest, the most manifest truth and clearest example of justice can be punished as recalcitrance and rebellion. No member from such a community dares to speak of and follow another criterion of right and wrong than this one. Those daring to go a little far meet the fate of Socrates.
Third shortcoming of such a nation is that it does not allow natural growth and expansion by winning others through force of arguments or beauty of character. It has only two choices, either to remain limited within its original shell or oppress the vulnerable. Having no third option, it falls into extinction; dies its death if it is, by nature, shy and passive or meets destruction if of aggressive and militant nature. It has no credit to win the hearts of others and conquer their minds, a power characteristic of ideas and principles based on nature and intellect. For people can be attracted to intellectual heritage of nations founded on sound ideologies. Only nations which possess good qualities and promote them attract others. How can a nation founded on mere racial basis attract other races? In response to its bias the others have nothing but prejudice to offer. Other nations cannot respond to the national pride of a nationalist people except through the same pride. Nobody can shower love in response to antagonism. Natural and rational principles, on the contrary, can conquer the whole world. All the differences of race, colour, language and culture give way to the powerful appeal of reason and nature. There is no reason why people should submit before a racist movement. Geographical nationality, because of this inherent problem, can never establish a state comprising of different races and cultures. Whenever such a nationalist state has, spurred by its national pride and excessive power, tried to conquer the world, it has spread like a storm and has vanished from the scene even quickly. How rapidly Alexander, Napoleon, Genghis Khan and Timor expanded their empires is a known fact. It is, however, no less known that their dominion receded into oblivion in the same pace.
Fourth shortcoming in such a nation springs from the fact that unity of origin and descent is not a very strong and lasting bond. It can actively work to create a nation as long as the people are conscious and aware of their common origin. Such awareness, no doubt, lives through a couple of races. However, it weakens and fades into mere phantom later on. It is hardly tenable to say that a certain race is perfectly guarded against any kind of mixture. Such a claim can only be laid regarding a few tribal races which are more conscious of preserving their racial identity and which put conscious efforts to keep such a sense alive in order to meet their parochial political motives. Apart from them, generally, this sense is a mere illusion. This makes it incumbent upon a people not to give much weight to this factor. It cannot engender a relatively stronger and larger nation.
Fifth shortcoming in such a nation is that it is largely indebted to the common race. Language, civilization, customs, literature and other factors are either absent or subjected to the major feeling of racial unity. Subsequently, religion can only play a subjective role, if any, in unifying such a people. Instead of correcting the inherent problems of a racial nation it adds to them. By religion, in this context, we do not only mean the man made polytheistic faiths. Such religions are, by nature, based on racial foundations. We, on the contrary, refer to religion in the true sense. A perfect religion too fails to maintain its intellectual and natural qualities when working subjectively under a racial environment. The most perfect example of such a religion is Judaism. Since the Jews never tried to look out of their racial shell they cut their religion, which was a revealed religion, to fit in their racial limits. The most frequent expressions found in the Torah like “Lord, God of Israel” and “O Israel, you are God’s firstborn” are expressive of such racial pride. Instead of treading in the light of the religion and removing their racial pride and prejudice, the Jews changed their religion to fit into their racial ideals. They made it biased and, in this corrupt form, it worked as invisible hand helping them show the evil racial discriminations as virtues.
Sixth shortcoming of such a nation is that its natural demands and necessary requirements are not in line with the dictates of reason and nature. Most of its demands collide head on with the interests of humanity, universal moral values and principles of justice and equity. The exponents of nationalism, in order to circumvent this objection, do not acknowledge these values and try to carve a unique philosophy of humanity, ethics and justice based on the interests of the nation. Such philosophies are not difficult to invent. Learned scholars and intellectuals in a group can do anything they target. But such philosophies are never appealing to people of sound nature and intellect. Writings of sixteenth century philosopher, Machiavelli provide the best example of the kind. Such philosophies no doubt serve as a means of fulfilment of temporary desires of some political figures but humans – who are not basically a species marked with its racial origin and who possess a stronger and usually dominant aspect of personality reflected in their intellectual and moral existence – generally feel averse to them. True nature of an idea of philosophy, disapproved by the more rational and intellectual factions of a society, cannot be kept hidden from the human eye.
We intend to devote a separate discussion to the evils of a nation-state because it contains unique problems. Before we come directly to the issue we think it indispensable to stress the difference between holding the common county a valid factor of founding a nation and founding a nation primarily on the basis of political boundaries. The former is only natural. We know that everybody loves his home and is attached to each and every corner of his abode. He is always willing to sacrifice all his possession in guarding his home. He maintains his right over it at all costs. It would be only just to consider this attachment with one’s home a virtuous act worthy of praise. Similarly, every nation loves its homeland. Nations call their country motherland and cradle of their civilization and culture. Different heroic works of their forefathers are seen imprinted on every inch of the land and it is taken as the original history book which contains memories of their great ancestors. Its rivers and mountains and its plains and steppes house and express their traditions and lore. Its mountains are sources of the national life. Its orchards and agricultural fields are their economic and financial resources. Its hills and the wadis are the springs of their happiness. They consider the country a collective asset. This feeling and common attachment with the country creates the sense of nationality in all the people. This sense, in turn, binds them together in protection of the common asset, the state, and also in sharing the benefits equally. This phenomenon is but natural. It goes neither against reason nor religion and ethics.
However, founding a nation only on the basis of a shared country and binding different nations in this manipulated nation is a different phenomenon marred with obvious flaws.
The united nationalism highlights the factor of common abode and founds the nation alone on it. It doing so, it naturally, targets curbing all other factors working behind formation of a nation like race, language, culture, customs and religion, which work to attach distinct identities to these different nations and lend to those people a sense of individuality. They are then forced to give up their identity of race, language, culture, customs and religion and to replace these with a mixed origin, a common artificial race, culture and religion. This superimposed idea of a mixed nation is absurd when stated as it is quite impossible to be materialized. This point is not lost upon the originators of this idea. They, therefore, put it differently as follows.
Different member nations can preserve their identity only to a certain limit. They have to emerge as a single nation at a large political and collective level. They may not let their individuality interrupt in the process of realization of a grand nation.
Before the eighteenth century, this ideal was possible for the dominant nations. For in those times such dominant powers were able to erase all the national identities of the subject nations which could keep their sense of individuality and national pride alive. After the Napoleon’s conquests, the First World War, dealt with elsewhere in the discussion in detail, strengthened the impulse of nations to retain their national identity and their individuality to the extent that the dominant powers were no longer able to deprive them of such a national sense. Now, though, it is an established theory that every nation has the right to retain their identity, language, culture and religion, and this seems quite appealing, yet, all its beauty is limited to the books on political theories. In practice it loses all its attraction and all the shortcomings in it spring forth clear and naked. Here we will allude to some of the shortcoming inherent with the theory of a geographic nation or a nation-state consisting of originally different national identities.
First, nation-state is a blend of mutually opposing components. These components are apparently forced together by a common binding force. Yet the individual identities of the components continue operating in the minds of the people who continue cherishing their original identity. A hidden battle between these factions goes on. In the face of these grave racial, lingual, civilizational, cultural and religious differences, common country, the only cohesive force, fails to keep the different peoples together as single national entity. Different factors of dispute and dissention among them continue to operate as opposing forces and never let the nation work for a national target with complete solidarity. Such a nation can be successful only in case when the above mentioned factors of opposition and dispute are very superficial and are curbed completely. Another situation when nationalism can survive is when the opposing factors are so insignificant that they can never rise against it and find it convenient to accord with its demands.
Second, the different components of such a geographical nationality are forced to abandon rich heritage of their national customs, literature and religion from their social and political life. They are forced to let this heritage die its own death and replace it with a superficial one. It is not only these oppressed minority components which have to give up these things. Rather, the majority which has overpowered the small and minority factions too has to sacrifice its customs, culture, literature and language in order to appease the minority. Literary tendencies change, language is jeopardized, customs are amalgamated, traditions are mixed, history takes a new turn, mere figures are considered heroes, and heroes of the past are erased from not only the books but also minds of the people. This confusion exposes the religion to the gravest kind of distortion. Religion, we know, is one of the most powerful factors of founding a nation. It seldom bows before the threatening temporary and superficial benefits of its adherents. Therefore, it has been considered the most stubborn hindrance in the way of a nation-state. However, a cure has been devised. Religion is to go into exile from the social and political life of a people. It has to be limited to the temples, churches and mosques. For without toppling the religion the edifice of nation-state cannot be erected.
Third, if religious and racial feelings have firm roots in the dominant nation, it, even after disguising itself in the garb of a nation based on country, continues to guard its interest in all spheres of collective and political affairs and to dominate the other minority partners in the national alliance. If the minority groups try to protect their rights, give importance to their language, preserve their civilization or adhere to their religion, their pleadings are considered dissension, discrimination, and rebellion against the interests of the nation while the dominant nation goes on doing all these things without impunity. No one is allowed to criticize it.
Fourth, in some cases the dominant nation too gets hurt. This happens when the dominant nation, though great in terms of number, lacks inner unity and organization and suffers from economic crisis and political dissonance. Its political leaders are purblind and timeserving. With the emergence of many political parties, with divergent interests, the political power of the nation is greatly injured. Such parties, in order to secure their short interests and to get to power, can even work as quislings collaborating with the enemies of the nation. In this state of affairs the dominant nation can easily work as a puppet in the hands of a courageous and well organized minority nation of the country. A united and politically well organized minority can exercise influence over the dominant nation through political manoeuvres and can attain its goals through them which it cannot attain on its own. It can do so with great convenience when the dominant nation is docile and can be influenced and blackmailed at the time of national election.
Fifth and the worst shortcoming of such a nationality as composed of different small nations is that it proves extremely weak and hollow in the face of difficulties and crisis. Generally a national crisis proves to be the most powerful factor uniting small nations and binding them together as a nation. But it can work only when all the participant nations are ensured equal share in the intellectual and material gains of the county. If it is not possible (we have already pointed out that such an example is a rarity) oppressed factions consider this common crisis a blessing and at times do not hesitate to join hands with the foreign powers. If the foreign powers are clever and apply mind they can take great advantage of the inner dissension and disruption of the state. Therefore, we see that, when during the First World War, the coalition forces declared that their war was a war against oppression fought for the oppressed people, they secured great benefits. However, after successfully using this slogan they disregarded what it entailed altogether. Seen in this perspective a nation founded on the notion of common country is awfully hollow and weak and cannot fulfil the basic purpose of its creation. It however, proves to be an optimal place of growth for the fifth column, namely the hypocritical factions. We would here reiterate the fact that, if all the components of such a nation are kept satisfied being granted equality of opportunity whereby they have share in the national assets and resources and are given chance to participate in the national affairs, this limitation can be easily mended. However, this limitation is inherent in the nation formed of different small nations bound together merely by their common habitation and this makes removing the limitation a practical impossibility.
Let us now proceed to study and analyze the Islamic stance on the role and importance of the common foundations of nations and states. We can begin with the question whether Islam recognizes contribution of these factors in the formation of a nation and, if yes, to what extent.
Islam, we believe, does not reject the role of these factors in the process of founding a nation. Nor does it accept that only one or more of these factors could be valid foundations of a nation. Islam has not only adopted those among these factors as are consonant with the dictates of human nature and reason but has also considered them part of the religion. However, when unchecked role has been given to these factors in defiance of the dictates of nature and reason Islam points out the problem and seeks a correction. Islam has clearly explained that this practice, in reality, amounts to transgressing boundaries set by the Almighty, something which borders with causing corruption in the society and creating disorder in the land, ultimately affecting the whole system of collective life. Now we proceed to discuss Islamic stance on each of these factors as basis of nationality.
The racial link among humans has always been considered a very important social connector. In Islam, too, common descent has been considered the basis of the institutions of family and society. The Qur’ān says that severing the blood ties is creating corruption in the society. It is a major sin. At the same time Islam targets at purifying the bond of descent of narrowness and discourages partisanship on its basis. To this end Islam stressed the following facts:
First, all men are offspring of a single man, Adam. They all are creation of a single creator, Allāh. Therefore, though many rights are allotted and fulfilled on the basis of relation, the interests of one’s family or tribe may never be considered the criterion of good and evil. One may not be blinded by the tribal or familial affiliation and led to show discrimination and abandon truth and virtue in the interests of one’s family and tribe.
Second, human institutions of family and tribe as well as language and colour do not serve as a mark of distinction and superiority. They only serve the purpose of identity. It may also not be taken as an indicator of the degree of one’s nearness to God. In the sight of God only the most pious, the God-conscious and law abiding men are superior. They command respect and reverence in the society.
Third, only those laws and regulation are worthy in collective and political life of Muslims which have been enacted by God and which are completely in accord with the human nature, not those which are devised by humans on the basis of racial and tribal affiliation.
The above mentioned facts have been explained in the Qur’ān and the prophetic traditions in different styles. For our purpose we will restrict this discussion to only two verses and a relevant ḥadīth narrative. The Qur’ān says:
O people, fear God who created you out of a single entity. He created his wife from the same entity. Then He scattered many men and women from these two. Fear God by whose sake you seek help from one another and respect blood relations. God is indeed watching over you. (Q 4:1)
This verse lays out the principles of foundation of an Islamic society and, in other words, an Islamic nation. Two things have been mentioned as the basis of mutual help and sympathy. First of these things is human relation with God, the creator of all. The second thing is the blood relation. Though blood relation works within a certain limit and recedes in a broader context yet it is the thread that binds all humanity. Another important fact highlighted in this verse is that woman too has been considered equal partner in such a society though her role is quite different than that assigned to man.
Now consider another Qur’ānic verse:
O People, we have created you from a male and female and have made you clans and tribes so that you know each other. Indeed in the sight of Allāh the best among you is the one who is more God-conscious among you. Indeed God is all-knowing, omniscient. (Q 33:13)
The following prophetic saying emphasizes the importance of blood relation. Abū Hurayrah narrates:
The Prophet of God said: God created all his creation. When he had created them all, raḥm (blood relation) stood up and said, “Is it the place of a person who seeks your refuge against falling into severing blood ties?” God Almighty said, “are you not pleased with that (I ordained) that I sever (ties with that) who severs you and attach to the one who maintains you?” He said, “I am satisfied.” God Almighty then said, “You have been granted this.” [The Prophet of God then said]: You may recite the following Qur’ānic verse if you want. [It will establish this theme]: “So, you can only be expected to do this if you continued turning away, sowing corruption in the land and severing ties. Such are the people cursed by God, their ears made deaf and their eyes made blind.” (Q 22:3) (Muslim, No: 2554)
This ḥadīthtestifies to that fact that severing blood ties is a crime that incurs God’s wrath. He curses those who do not maintain blood ties and makes them deaf and blind.
Islam recognizes the role of language and literature in the formation of a people. It does not reject the legitimate political role of these factors. Islam, however, does not accept that they alone are considered unharnessed factors of founding a nation. It gauges them on ethical values and differentiates between what is sound and unaffected and what is pure and contaminated. It would therefore, not be correct to accept whatever comes in our hand dubbed as national literature. We may not gather all pure and impure pieces of literature, considering them of equal level, and respect all good and evil part of it as a national asset. It would also not be possible to religiously protect and guard all good and bad elements of literature reckoning it a national duty. Unfortunately some people spend millions merely in preserving and passing on folk songs and traditional lore. Islamic view, as hinted above, in this regard is decidedly moral and rational. It gives the status of national literature only to those things as are springing forth from pure moral and religious sources, are productive for minds and cultivate right attitude. If this issue is seen in purely literary and nationalistic view then Amānat Lakhnawī, Shawq, the author of Zehr-i Ishq, Hālī and Iqbāl, in the Indian Subcontinent, would equally be respected and revered. However, in Islamic view the works of the first two poets would rather be considered an evil mark on the literary heritage of the nation. It would never be considered a literary contribution.
Imr’ al-Qays was given the lofty title of Poet of Poets in the pre-Islamic Arabia. However, the Prophet referred to him as Poet of the Poets and their leader on the path to Hell. Had the Prophet seen him as a national poet he would have declared him as the most exalted and famous poet. The Prophet would never take the matters that casually. He always gauged things on moral and religious scale. That is why he rejected the status attached to such a poet and disregarded his literary contributions. Literary contributions of Imr’ al-Qays were no doubt unparalleled. But he was also a model of indecency and immodesty. Poetry of other poets however, was recited before the Prophet which he liked. He praised the works of great poets and orators of the pre-Islamic period. While commenting over works of some of the orators he said that they had almost reached the truth. ‘Umar particularly liked the poetry of the famous jāhilīpoet Zuhayr because his poetry does not contain immodesty and indecency like of which is abundantly found in Imr’ al-Qays’s works. Zuhayr’s poetry, on the contrary, is marked by profound wisdom. He expresses wise sayings in such beautiful manner that they directly strike the hearts and minds of the listeners. This fact provides the most pronounced evidence to that Islam recognizes the role of language and literature as a factor of founding a nation with the clear condition that the literature is pure and productive. Mere otiose literary activity is denied recognition.
Islam also recognizes the role of culture and customs in the formation of a nation. However, just as it recognizes the literature only after scrutinizing it on the yardstick of morality and accepts only productive material and rejects all evil, it also gauges the cultural customs and traditions on the criterion of morality and ethics. After such an examination of the contents it adopts whatever of the customs and traditions is found good and casts off whatever part of it is proved evil. The Qur’ān repeatedly enjoins its adherents to follow the ma‘rūf (what is good and customary). The most clear meanings and implications of the verses commanding this is that the customary practice of the audience is acceptable to Islam. That is why Islam has raised the status of ma‘rūf from merely being customary and included it among the religious rulings. On the contrary the unfounded and immoral practices and customs of the Arabian society were declared munkar (evil) and were banned. Similarly the Qur’ān positively mentions the names of the pious personalities among the famous historical figures of the pre-Islamic Arabia like Luqmān and his son. The Qur’ān considers them role models and exemplars for the young and old members of the society. Islam honours the wise advices of Luqmān by quoting them in the revealed text of the Qur’ān. We know that Luqmān was not a Messenger or a Prophet. (At least I do not find anything in the Qur’ān which proves otherwise.) He was only one of the wise sages of Arabia. Similarly the Qur’ān mentions Dhū al-Qarnayn as a just and God-fearing king despite the fact that he belonged to a foreign nation. This proves that Islam does not advocate adhering to the cultural customs and traditions merely because they are national customs. On the contrary it wants us to follow what is right and well founded. Islam has, therefore, its own criterion of accepting or rejecting a custom. The criterion it applies has moral and rational basis. Mere nationalism is not acceptable in Islam. Nationalistic view, with regards to national customs and traditions, sometimes tends to shows extreme bias. Nationalists in Egypt, for example, are blind enough to accept Pharaoh as their Leader merely because he belonged to their nation. They would not see that he was a despot and a tyrant. It was only his oppressive and biased nature that ultimately caused his nation to face the wrath of God which in turn brought them to destruction. Such people would reject Moses only because he did not belong to them and was a foreigner. They would disregard the fact that Moses was justice incarnate. It was he who saved his nation from the oppressors.
Islam attaches great importance to the homeland. Those killed in defending the country are considered martyrs (shuhadā’). However, here again it wants the interests of one’s country subject to the moral and religious rulings. Nothing, according to Islam, can govern truth. According to Islam the real worth of man lies in his ability to reason and see good from evil. It does not lie in his nationality. Islam gives preference to the dictates of human’s moral and rational self over all other things. Therefore, in a given case, while deciding between national interests and dictates of reason and morality, a believer has to go for what reason and morality demands from him ignoring the national interests. When, in a county, a man is not able to fulfil his religious and moral obligations, is forced to disregard his religious ideologies, is made to kill his moral self and cross the bounds he has vowed not to surpass, he has to migrate from the county. If a believer remains indifferent to this state of affairs considering that his material needs are satisfied in that county he commits ill-treatment of humanity. In such conditions a true believer has only two options before him. He should either try his best to straighten the state of affairs in the country he lives in and turn the society conducive to his moral and religious life or migrate to some other state where he can save his religious self. He should not hesitate to take the latter step if necessary even he is forced to abandon material benefits and is compelled to live a poor life. If he fails to do so and prefers to live in those parlous circumstances he may ultimately let himself abandon his faith. The Qur’ān states:
Surely to those whose souls are taken by the angels while they are wronging themselves (by remaining content under the rule of unbelief) they (the angles) ask: “In what state have you been lying?” They respond, “We were weak and oppressed in the land. They (the angels) say to them: “Was not Allāh’s earth spacious, so that you could have migrated therein?” Such are the people whose abode is Hell, and it is an evil resort. (Q 4:97)
According to Islam, religion is the most powerful and the most effective factor involved in the process of formation of a nation. However, it must remain clear, that Islam does not recognize manmade unfounded religions. A religion, for example, based on polytheism is not recognized nor is the nation developed on the unity of adherents of such a faith. Similarly Islam does not recognize religious traditions which, though divine in origin, under the excessive influence of national prejudice and bias, have abandoned principles of justice and equity and do not teach determining the rights and obligations of people on the basis of sound moral and religious foundations. It also rejects the originally divine religions which have receded to an expression of whimsical desires of a people. Such religions admit of all evils characteristic of the nations formed on the basis of a particular race, language or colour. A careful study of all the polytheistic religions would reveal that they have been originally found to protect the national biases and prejudices of the adherents. Jewish religion, though monotheistic in nature and divine in origin, was changed into a national religion. It no longer remained a universal divine religion after passing through excessive Jewish manipulation. This evil is rampant inflicting almost all the religions. Islam does not, therefore, consider any of these religions a valid basis of a balanced nation.
The above discussions evidently prove that in the eyes of Islam all the traditionally recognized factors of founding a nationality involve notable limitations and flaws. It, therefore, does not accept any of these as a primary basis of a civilization and a society. It negates their role as a basis of political system too.
What is then the basis of the Islamic nation? What would replace the traditional factors that are denied unmediated role here? In Islam, the foundational principle of a nation is Islam itself. With embracing Islam one becomes the part of the Islamic community. And no unbeliever is admitted into the Islamic nation.
This is an indubitable fact. It does not call for much debate. However, modern nationalism has gripped the minds to the extent that even the Muslims (not to say of the non-believers) have come to doubt the fact that basis of an Islamic nation is the religion; until and unless a person pronounces the formulaic expression, “there is no god but Allāh”, he is not recognized as a member of the Islamic community. Even the Arabs who were selected to carry the last divine religion to the world have lost sight of these teachings. They were expected to be the first to declare to the world that, in Islam, the basis of nation are beliefs and principles and not race, language, county, etc. Islam does not differentiate between man and man except on natural and rational principles it teaches. But, to our dismay, now, we see that some factions of the Arab people have actively opposed the division of the Arab nation, precisely the Arab race and Arabic speaking people, on the basis of religion.
This situation is very grave. It demands that we, in order to make plain the reality, furnish sufficient arguments to prove why Islam does not recognize an unmediated role for the conventional factors in this regard. These arguments are grounded both in revealed knowledge and rationality in order that they can, on the one hand, serve to satisfy the Muslims and, on other, remove the concerns of those who reject the role of any religion in founding a nation. We therefore draw upon the following facts.
All the divine Prophets including the Prophet Muhammad have set the best examples in this regard. The entire salvation history, starting from Noah to the Last Messenger, as recounted in the Qur’ān evidently proves that though all of the Messengers were raised among nations founded on races, countries, cultures and languages, yet they never accepted these factors as valid foundation of their nation. Rejection of the role of these factors does not imply that the Messengers totally negated the natural and positive role of these factors altogether. Natural role of these factors is fully recognized. Rather Islam attaches to them more importance than the other theories. Love and sympathy for the people of one’s race and country is only natural. The Prophets of God always loved their countrymen and race most of all. They were exemplary well-wishers of their national brothers. They have always addressed their nation in expressions like: “O my people”. This and the similar expressions are more loving and reflect great care. However, none of them ever claimed that his nation was limited only to the people of his race disregarding differences between the adherents of different religions among his race. Similarly the Prophets never propagated that such and such people are a single nation because of their common language. They should organize themselves against the interests of those who speak different languages. The Prophets of God never identified their people with a given geographical boundary. They never proclaimed that creating dissension between people living within that geographical limit and boundary would equal creating disorder in the society. None of the Prophets ever showed such nationalistic views. Neither did any Prophet raise slogans such as: “My country, right or wrong.”
A nation is attached emotionally with their great personalities, language and race. This makes them feel for everything ascribed to and associated with these objects. The Prophets of God were aware of such natural feelings of a people. They have indeed made use of these feelings in their propagation at some point in their preaching mission. However, they always observed ethical and moral limits. For example, they used national feelings of their addressees to call them to independently proven intellectual and moral precepts. We know that a moral and intellectual fact obtains added importance when it involves national character. The Messengers have, it must remain clear, never considered national attachment or national history of a thing as the basic quality and criterion of judgment on its worth. For example, while calling the Arabs to Islam, the Qur’ān claimed that it was the religion of their progenitor Abraham (millata abīkum Ibrāhīm, the faith of your father Abraham). (Q 22:78) Regarding the Prophet Muhammad the holy Qur’an says that he was of Arab origin; that he was among the unlettered ones (ummiyyūn). The Qur’ān itself has pleaded to its language. It said that it was the Arabic Qur’ān (Qur’ānan ‘arabiyyan). There is no denying the fact that all these things have been referred to in order that the Arabs may feel inclination to their own millah (nation), their own Messenger, and their own language, not merely because of their affiliation with these things but on independent grounds. They were not thus required to follow Islam because it was the religion of their progenitor or that Muhammad who presented it was one of their own leaders or the Qur’ān was their own literary masterpiece. The credentials and validity of the religion have been explained elsewhere in the Qur’ān in most decisive fashion. All the arguments for the veracity of the religion were sound and natural. It was only to reinforce the appeal to these natural and intellectual pieces of evidence that the attention of the Arabs was drawn to the fact that they should consider these things because these commanded their respect and care on the basis of national feelings too.
Not only did the Messengers of God avoid seeking to unite and organize their people on the basis of common race, country or language etc, they also tried actively to dismantle the national organizations which called for unity on the basis of race and language etc. They, after successfully dismantling such forces, tried to organize their nation on the basis of religion and creed. If, however, they did not succeed in achieving this goal they abandoned their countries and nations and migrated to other places and looked for opportunities to found a community, a nation on the basis of religion and faith. This fact is evidenced by the life of almost all the Prophets and Messengers of God. Here we will discuss few examples from the lives of three great Messengers of God, Noah, Abraham and Muhammad.
According to the Qur’ān the Prophet Noah called his people in the following words:
He said, “O My People, I am an open warner to you, inviting you to worship and fear God alone, and listen to my advice.” (Q 71:2-3)
The Qur’ān depicts the warmth, care, and zeal which this call was made and gives us a clear picture of the response of his addressees.
He [Noah] prayed, “My Lord, I have called my people night and day, but my calling them has only made them flee [from me] all the more; and every time I called them that You might forgive them, they put their fingers into their ears, and wrapped close their garments around them, and showed arrogance and pride. Then, I called them openly and then preached to them in public, and appealed to them in private. I said, “seek forgiveness of your Lord; for He is the oft-relenting.” (Q 71:5-10)
The Messenger made this call to faith in profound sympathy and ruth. The prophetic speech, every word of it, is evidently full of love and affection. The nation rejected the message and responded to love and care with renunciation and disavowal. The Messenger was, then, forced to dissociate himself from the affairs of the nation. He let them face the divine wrath. He set up a community of his followers united by faith in God. This newly set community inherited his intellectual and religious heritage after the Noachian flood. All the subsequent nations find their origin in this community.
The Qur’ān says:
Noah prayed saying: My Lord! Do not let any of these rejecters walk upon the earth, for surely if you leave them they will lead astray your servants, and will not beget any but immoral, ungrateful children. My Lord! Forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house believing, and the believing men and the believing women; and do not increase the unjust in aught but perdition! (Q 71:26-8)
The nation of the Prophet Noah had all the elements of a territorial and racial nationality. All the people had common descent. They spoke one language and lived in a distinct country. Their economic and political interests were common. They believed in their ancestral religion, based on the worship of the deities like, Wadd, Suwā‘, Ya‘ūq and Nasr. There were many influential leaders among them possessed of great wealth. They had powerful families on their back. Sūrah Nūḥ, in the Qur’ān, shows that they were experts in political strategies. Noah’s people were, in brief, a perfect specimen of a nationalist community united by the necessary elements nationalism. The words the Prophet Noah used in his call to his people reveal his profound love for the nation. Here a question arises. Why did he cherish ideals unachievable for his nation? If he truly loved them then why did he follow a course that led to the destruction of his nation? Why would one work for the destruction of one’s people?
We believe that he did not consider nationalism important. Had he aimed the material progress and prosperity of his people as a nation he would have incited and manipulated their national feelings. He could have easily appealed to any of the national ideals his people loved most. After all, his opponents among his national brothers employed all these tactics. They would tell their fellows that Noah was creating dissension among them by dissuading them from worship of gods of the nation including Wadd, Suwā‘, Yaghūth, Ya‘ūq and Nasr. Thus they pleaded to their religious affiliation against the call of their Prophet. Noah too could have opted to similar tactics if he willed. He, on the contrary, quite straightforwardly called them to the religion of God. When a few gathered around him and agreed to follow the new religion, he adopted the believers and abandoned the rejecters.
Abraham belonged to a nation founded on common race, descent, language and habitation. He, quite naturally, felt emotional attachment with his people. However, he was not overwhelmed by his love for his nation to the point of ignoring the call of his faith. He did not continue living among them seeking to become a leader. He, on the contrary, endeavoured to remove these mundane foundations of the nation and remodel his nation and found it on monotheism and service of God. When his nation did not pay heed to his call he abandoned it. He did not hesitate to migrate to another land. He settled one of his children, Ishmael, in the barren Arabian Desert. He beseeched God to raise a God-obedient nation from among his progeny which could be founded on pure monotheism and service to God instead of race, descent, language or habitation. The words he uttered before leaving his nation have been recorded in the Qur’ān. 60:4 reads:
In the attitude of Abraham and his comrades is a best example for you. When they said to their nation, “we denounce you and the idols you worship. We reject your religion and permanent enmity between you and us has fully manifested [and this will remain] till you believe in God alone. (Q 60:40)
Abraham not only repudiated the religion of his nation but renounced the nation itself. He made it very clear to them that the only way of their reunion was that his nation believed in God. This makes it abundantly clear that neither did Abraham have any regard for a nation which is founded on common race and common country to the exclusion of religion nor did he think it right to found a nation on such an erroneous religious tradition.
The nation in which the Prophet Muhammad was raised rightly boasted of their racial solidarity. They took pride in their language and country and loved their customs and religious tradition, idol worship. These were the main elements of which the nation was composed. All these things were deeply rooted in every Arab. No reformer could introduce any good for the society unless and until he pleaded to these affiliations. But we see that the Prophet Muhammad, despite his great love for his people, never pleaded to these ideals in his call. Contrarily his very first call threatened the very foundations of the Arab nationalism.
The religion of his nation was idolatry. The role of this religion was central to their national identity. By declaring “there is no God but Allāh and Muhammad is his Prophet” he falsified their religion and put serious blows to it.
His nation took pride in their noble descent and pure language. These things too greatly contributed towards the building of their nationality. Through various proclamations the Prophet ripped into this belief. We have already presented Qur’ānic verses dealing with this issue. Here we confine ourselves to some prophetic traditions.
No Arab has any superiority over any non-Arab and no non-Arab has any such supervisory over an Arab. All of you are equal, progeny of Adam.
No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does any non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Neither does a white have any superiority over a black nor does any black have any superiority over a white. If someone has any excellence over the others, that is only on the grounds of their taqwā (i.e. God-consciousness).
O Quraysh, God has brought to naught your jāhilī (belonging to the age of ignorance) sense of honour and your pride in your ancestry.
The nation of the Prophet loved their country very much. Their national identity owed much to their common habitation too. He himself had great love for his country. However, he left his country for the sake of Islam. While leaving Makkah he said:
O City of Makkah, you are dearer to me than any other place on the earth. But alas, your sons would not let me live here.
This self-imposed exile for the sake of the religion was a practical expression of the fact that though the country means a lot to one, yet, however, it must not be loved on the price of one’s religion and faith. One must not subject the faith and religion subservient to one’s love for country by preferring living in the homeland and endangering one’s faith.
Similarly the nation of the Prophet loved their national customs which too had a great role in their national unity. The Prophet dismantled this attachment by the following declaration on the occasion of the last pilgrimage:
Bear in mind, all the expressions of pride and the claims of nobility of blood and opulence, characteristics of the time of ignorance (jāhiliyyah), are under my feet. (Abū Dāwūd, No: 4588)
Nationalities founded on bloodline, race, language and countries attach all importance to these things. Every nationalist cherishes love of these ideals to the extent that he is never ready to tolerate even a slight expression of dislike for their nation. Whenever he sees something encroaching walls of this parochial nationalism he is ready to kill in order to defend his nation risking his life. In Arabic this quality is called ‘aṣbiyyah (esprit de corps, group spirit). Strength and prosperity of a nation state is dependent on this ‘aṣbiyyah. But the Prophet put a decisive blow to it by declaring that:
Whoever fights for the cause of ‘aṣbiyyah(ignorant group feeling) is not from among us. Whoever dies showing ‘aṣbiyyahis not one among us. (Abū Dāwūd, No: 5121)
It needs to be appreciated that the Prophet’s opponents, the advocates of the racial and territorial nationalism, were greatly upset by such prophetic declarations. They continually charged the Prophet with that he created dissension among them. They declared him a traitor. They warned him of the possible unpleasant consequences of his stance. The Prophet did not listen to their warnings. He continued his struggle to found a new community on the basis of creed and faith.
His teachings and preaching in Makkah were dubbed by the opponents as dissension and discord. When he migrated to Madīnah, the Quraysh declared him as a traitor who, according to them, had left his people and joined the enemy rank. Whoever abandons his nation gets cut off from roots. This is why the Quraysh would call him abtar (cut off). To this the Almighty responded saying that whoever leaves his nation for the sake of God is not abtar. Only those are really abtar who abandon God for their nation. Later on, at the occasion of Battle of Badr, the Quraysh could see that the question of faith had indeed separated the tribe apart. The Quraysh were facing the Quraysh. Abū Jahl, the most prominent advocate of Qurayshite nationalism felt perturbed at this sight. It was then he asked God to defeat the man who had created dissension among the Quraysh. As stated above God does consider the blood relations but only to some extent. For the rights of God are far more important than the rights of the blood relations. Therefore, God granted victory to those who had ignored their blood and other national ties for the sake of God. Those who fought for their race in the name of national pride and ignored God faced exemplary defeat.
To conclude, the Prophet Muhammad, even on the face of all the measures of his opponents, succeeded in a setting up a society, which relied on, as its foundation, the religion and faith instead of race and country. This society allotted a Negro slave the highest rank if he adopts the religion of God and ejected out the nobler, such as the Quraysh, if they disbelieved God. In the foundations of this society, belief, faith, ḥijrah (migration in the way of God) and nuṣrah, (help for the religion of God) were in force in stead of race and country. Those who were not allowed to discharge religious duties in their motherland were directed by God to migrate to some other country where they could practice the religion of God freely. Those who had accepted religion, illuminated their hearts with the light of faith and shaped their community in accordance with this divine light were directed to welcome their oppressed brothers seeking refuge with them. They were required to help the Emigrants in every manner. The Emigrants had left their beloved ones, near relatives, and their homeland where they had become strangers merely because of adopting the new faith. They took their co-religionists as their brothers and friends. The Helpers too dissociated themselves from those of their relatives and families who adhered to the unbelief. They lovingly made all kinds of sacrifices for those who had now united with them on the basis of belief in Islam even though the latter were not their relatives or countrymen. Religion worked as the unifying force. Bloodline and country lost their role as foundation of a nationality.
This migration by one group and the help by the other founded a new community. A very strong bond of mawākhāt (mutual help and brotherhood) was established between the Emigrants and the Helpers. The Helpers set such unparalleled examples of sacrifice and support for the Emigrants that could hardly be found in the people of common country and descent. People shared their assets and businesses with their Emigrant brothers. Those who had more than one wives volunteered to separate one so that their Emigrant brother could take her in marriage. This brotherhood was not merely an expression of moral excellence rather, in a certain time period, it was a legal requirement. The Emigrants were granted a share in the inheritance of a deceased helper.
Muslims who were besieged in surroundings unfavourable for their religious life were required to abandon their abode and join the newly formed righteous community. Those facing such situations, if refrained from migrating to the Muslim community without any compelling reason, were considered hypocrites. Muslims were not religiously and legally obliged to lend help and protection to such delinquents. Some related Qur’ānic directives follow:
Believers, do not befriend and endear your fathers or your brothers if they choose unbelief in preference to faith. Those that befriend them are but wrongdoers. Say, “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your tribes, the property you have acquired, the merchandise you fear may not be sold, and the homes you love, are dearer to you than God, his Apostle and the struggle for his cause, then wait until God fulfils his decree. God does not guide the evil-doers. (Q 9:23-4)
Those that have believed and left their homes, and fought for the cause of God with their wealth and with their persons; and those that have sheltered them and helped them, are friends to each other. Those that have believed but have not migrated, shall in no way become your friends until they have migrated. (Q 8:72)
Even the Quraysh who had intimate kinship with the Prophet and who shared a common country with him were not admitted in the new community until they corrected and reformed themselves and declared their commitment to the principle teachings of Islam.
However, if they repent and establish the ṣalāh and pay the zakāh they are your brothers in the religion. (Q 9:11)
The Muslim community attached all importance to values based on belief and faith. It did not accept everyone trying to enter it for any other reason than faith. It admitted only those people who were truly attracted to the faith and who were ready to offer their lives for the sake of it.
Believers, when believing women migrate to you, test them. God best knows their faith. If you find them true believers, do not return them to the disbelievers; they are not lawful for the disbelievers, nor are the disbelievers lawful for them. But hand back to the disbelievers what they spent on them. It would not be an offence for you to marry such women, provided you give them their dowries. Do not maintain your marriages with unbelieving women. (Q 60:10)
The community founded on the basis of religion awarded a tradable believing salve girl a status higher than the free infidel woman.
And do not marry polytheist women until they embrace the faith. A believing slave girl is better than a free polytheist woman however she may attract you. And do not marry your women to polytheist men until they accept faith. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist however he may attract you. (Q 2:221)
This society set up by the Prophet founded the relations of brotherhood and mutual help on the basis of Islam and faith instead of tribe or country.
Believers are brothers to one another. (Q 33:10)
Believers are defined by the characteristics of mutual love, compassion and sympathy for each other. For the disbelievers, however, they are strict. They do not let any to enter into the rank and spoil it neither do they befall to the intrigues of the infidels working for their cause.
Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. (Q 48:29)
Islam was impressed on every stone placed in this construction of love and brotherhood. Un-Islamic stones or pebbles did not find a place in it.
A Muslim, in relation with another Muslim, works as each stone in a wall strengthens the others.
The Islamic community has been held analogous to a body. The parts of the community are the building blocks of the body. Each part shares the feelings of the rest.
Muslims are like a body in mutual love, care and sympathy. When a part of the body suffers, the whole body feels the hurt and catches fever and sleeplessness. (Muslim, No: 2586)
When this community acquired political sovereignty and the state was established, those enjoying the rights of citizenship were called muslim. The word muslimhas been used in the Qur’ān and the Ḥadīth to connote two meanings, a, for someone who completely and unconditionally surrendered before the will of God and the command of the Prophet and b, for a citizen of the Islamic state regardless of his sincerity to the religion.
Allāh’s Apostle said, “Whoever prays following our way and faces our qiblah and eats animals slaughtered by us is a Muslim and is under the protection of Allāh and his Apostle. So do not betray Allāh by disregarding the protection he has granted (them).” (Bukhārī, No: 384)
Maymūn b. Yassār asked ‘Anas b. Mālik, “O Abū Hamzah! What makes the life and property of a person inviolable?” He responded: “Whoever declares that there is no God but Allāh, faces our qiblah(in prayer), prays like us and eats flesh of animals slaughtered by us is a Muslim citizen of the Islamic state. He will enjoy the rights granted to Muslims and will be burdened with obligations similar to the ones put on them.” (Bukhārī, N0: 385)
The Islamic State raised the status of a Muslim to the extent that on being appointed as the head of the state, he has to be obeyed regardless of his caste, tribe, consanguinity or country. He drives the command of all as far as he commands good and virtue. Non-Muslims however noble and exalted in social status can never rise to this status in Islam.
Listen and obey (those in authority) even if a Negro slave, like a raison, is made your commander. (Bukhārī, No: 661)
The above mentioned clear and conclusive arguments prove that Islam does not consider anything but itself as the only valid foundation and basis of nationality. No reasonable person is left with solid grounds to contest this position. However, an undisciplined mind can still doubt this stance. He may be led to hold that this position ascribed to Islam is an expression of religious bias common to all the creeds. Adherents of any religion cannot even think of a political set up which guarantees basic rights to all its citizens without discrimination. All the religions promote discrimination. The adherents of the other religions are always denied the rights enjoyed by the followers of the state religion. Since, in the present age, religious and political dualism has been fully impressed on the minds of the people many Muslims, needless to mention the non-Muslims, entertain such doubts. We therefore feel it necessary to explain why does Islam not consider any other factor as valid basis of founding a nation. There are, in our opinion, three reasons for it:
First, Islam does not believe in the dichotomy of religious and worldly affairs. It does not, consequently, differentiate between religion and the state. Islam has not left any sphere of human life, individual or collective, unattended. It directs our personal as well as communal and political life. The latter, however, has to be implemented in certain circumstances. Once the conditions which activate these directives are met they instantly become as much important religious obligations for Muslims as are the directives commanding personal life. A religious tradition, of such universal and comprehensive nature, of necessity considers itself and only itself as valid basis of founding a nation. If collective life of a people professedly following Islam is based on worldly principles that would clearly mean that the collective conscience of the community is disinclined to the religious rulings pertaining to their communal and political life.
Second, Islam does not allow any kind of differentiation between human beings except on the natural and rational principles. Family of Adam may not be treated discriminately merely on the basis of colour, race, language, or country. Therefore, according to Islam, there is no difference between black and white, German and Greek, Turkish speaking and Arabic speaking, native and foreigner. Why after all, arbitrary and superficial factors of human classification, which are either circumstantial or product of climatic conditions, be imposed over the progeny of Adam while all of them cherish similar intellectual and natural ideals, possess similar tendencies and inclinations and have similar goals both at individual or collective level? Reason and intellect is the defining characteristic of human beings. They have been blessed with a marked nature by the Creator. Islam claims to be perfectly congruous with the human nature. This is why it maintains that its adherents are on the straight path. Those who divert from this path are stray folk, deviants from the dictates of reason and human nature. They are indeed following their whimsical desires and are utterly biased. It is also on this very reason that Islam binds in unity and brotherhood all those who accept it as a code of life, regardless of their race, bloodline, language and country. It places them quite distinct from those who reject it. It does not recognize any measure of differentiation between humans other than their response to the faith. Islam recognizes only this classification as reasonable and true one. It rejects any other criterion employed for the purpose.
Third, due role of all the ordinary factors of founding a nation including bloodline, country etc have been recognized by Islam. It affirms their natural role in this process of nation building. Islam fulfils the rights based on these factors in most befitting manner. All such human rights as derived from these factors have been in fact made part of the rulings of the religion. A true believer, for example, is supposed to fulfil these rights diligently in the same spirit as he fulfils duties owed to the Almighty Allāh like prayer and fasting. Those who want to attach to these things more than what is naturally due to them in fact fail to recognize their natural role and intend to attach to these things the rights exclusive for God. To make the factors like ancestry and country the basis of nationality warrants unreasonable classification of human beings in different groups and parts. This leads them into irreconcilable differences. Bias and prejudice distance them. Enmities and antagonism surge up. Then every nation considers fighting with the other nations a corollary of their love to the county and feelings of patriotism. Every race considers it their most compelling national duty to prove its superiority over other races. Speakers of every second language consider it their birth right to group together as a distinct nation. Geographical boundaries marked by mountains and rivers not only set apart two different regions they rather insulate humans from humans. Islam on the contrary is the religion of peace and tranquillity. It aims at drawing together the human kind and not to disintegrate them. A religion espousing such ideals cannot tolerate nuisance in the world merely on the basis of illusionary biases. Islam, in order to organize the human kinds, suggests excellent rational and natural principles. It invites the humans to transcend parochialism, a product of racial and regional differences. It calls them to unite on these principles so that the world of God is populated with loving members of a household. It should shelter the entire human race. It should not look like a chaotic abode of opposing factions. The community envisaged by Islam excludes only those who are in bondage of racial and regional parochialism and who are out to sacrifice the wellbeing of the entire human race in order to protect their group interests.
The above discussion abundantly proves that non-Muslims can never get an entry into an Islamic nation. It has also been explained that this differentiation is not based on religious bias. Rather the basic reason of the exclusion of the non-Muslims from the Islamic nation is that they reject the all-encompassing and universal principles promulgated by Islam and insist on adhering to parochial principles. These parochial principles instead of causing peace to prevail create nuisance and confrontation. Islam intends to draw them out of such narrow racial and regional tubes. It sets them on the vast highway of unicity of God and human nature. When they insist on their narrow-mindedness and parochialism, Islam lets them follow their path and unfetters itself from the chain of such mundane limits.
If non-Muslims are not admitted in the Muslim nationality what place does Islam awards them in the Islamic State. This question takes us to the next chapter.
 The author has mentioned that this narrative is found in Bukhārī and Muslim but both the books do not contain this narrative or its variants. Nor is it mentioned in any other famous ḥadīth work in this wording. (translator)
 Ibn Qayyim Jawziyyah, Zād al-Ma‘ād, 28th ed., vol. 5 (Al-Kuwayt: Maktabah al-Manār al-Islāmiyyah, 1995), 158.
 Ibid., 407.
 Shiblī Nu‘mānī, Sīrah al-Nabī, 1st ed., vol. 1 (Lahore: al-Faiysal Publishers, 1991), 170.
 The author has claimed that this narrative appears in the Ṣaḥīḥ of Muslim. He has not provided full reference. I have not been able to find the narrative in the referred to book. The book, however, contains the following narrative which the author may have intended to refer to:
Believers are like a building, each part strengthens the rest. (Muslim, No: 2585) (translator)