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What is Islamic View on Nationalism?

*Understand Islam *

*What is Islamic View on Nationalism?*

Simple patriotic sentiments, so long as they do not contravene the higher conviction of man is permissible in Islam, like the affection one feels towards one’s father, son, and family. But as already shown, nationalism does not stop at simple sentiments. It is a socio-political creed and an actual way of life which aims at a full control of man’s individual and social conduct. Islam, too, being a school having its own independent, spiritual, practical, political, and social system and comprising a particular set of beliefs, it naturally comes into conflict with the school of nationalism.

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Unlike other religions such as Christianity, Buddhism etc, Islam is not confined to religious rites and metaphysical convictions. Had Islam been only a religion of devotions, it might have agreed with nationalism. But Islam is a religion with asocial and philosophical worldview and provides for economic and political principles. Nationalism, too, has its own social and political principles based however on different beliefs and criteria. Therefore, conflict between Islam and nationalism is inevitable.

The Islamic ideology is not compatible with any other ideology on the question of sovereignty over the private and social life of Muslims.

Quran has explicitly rejected the basis of nationalism, and states that language, color and race are no criteria for unity and privilege. The only criteria are belief and virtue. A common ideology is the basis of the unity of the Islamic ummah, not race, country, language or even culture. The goal of nationalism is to create national units, whereas the goal of Islam is universal unity. Nationalism gives authenticity to geographical boundaries and racial distinctions, whereas Islam negates them. Nationalism inclines to limitation and race, but Islam assumes a universal outlook.

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Nationalism attaches value only to the historical traditions, culture, civilization, ideas, and historical figures of its own nation, but Islam’s vision goes beyond the frontier, race, tribe, and nation. Moses, Jesus, and Prophet Muhammad are considered as belonging to all mankind. Islam wishes all nations to regard the Quran as their Book, and the Ka’aba as their Qibla, and true leaders of Islam as their leaders.

It is very hard for nationalism to accept this view. According to its limited vision, it considers the entry of Islam as a transgression or as something dangerous. It intends to revive its ancient past which Islam calls paganism. Islam curses the Pharaoh, but Egyptian nationalism makes him a national hero to be worshipped.

Islam says that all the Muslims in the world are members of the same body and all Islamic nations, Arab, non-Arab, Turk, Afghan, Indian, black, white, and yellow must belong to one ummah in their belief. But nationalism considers the religious solidarity of a country with other nations as a danger for national and tribal identity.

Thus, nationalism’s vision about society and politics is quite opposite to that of Islam, and these two cannot go together. That is why the nationalists of other Islamic lands regard separation from Islam a condition for nationalism to succeed, even if they do not utter it. Their acts reveal their hatred towards those who seek Islam.


At the advent of Islam and the Islamic revolution, the only social and political organizations of the pre-Islamic Arabs were the tribe, race and language which were used as measures of superiority or inferiority. The progress of the Islamic revolution did away with this idea and with tribal organization; with the tempestuous slogan of “There is no god but God”, it made conviction and ideology prevail over all attachments to blood, territory and language.

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