I still remember my first day of MSA in High school. We had just formed the group and it was our first meeting. We decided to play an icebreaker game to get to know everyone. It was a predominantly white community, so there were literally about 6 Muslims in all together. Everyone was stating their name and their nationality (yeah, now I realize there really was no point in stating this part). I stood there, eagerly awaiting my turn. The girl on my left side had just finished her introduction and turned to look at me. I smiled and started,
“My name is _____ and I’m half Pakistani and half Indian.”
I turned to look at the guy next to me. He had an odd look on his face. A ‘wow that’s what you are’ kinda look. He held up his face, stuck up his nose, and looked at me right in the eyes and said,
“My name is _____ and I’m Pakistani. [with a proud smile] …PURE Pakistani.”
We may not realize it, but small comments like these show nationalistic pride and/or prejudice towards other nationalities. Some Muslims may think, ‘well, what’s wrong with having some pride in where you’re from?’ We have to stop, look at the big picture, and seriously think about it.
There was once a time when Muslim lands were united. During this time, the Islamic state was the most influential and powerful rule. The Muslims didn’t suffer from oppression, disunity, and stagnation in technology and science. Why is it that we’re suffering from all these things today? Why are Muslims constantly fighting each other? What has made them so weak?
One of the answers is an extremely poisonous disease…a disease that enters your heart, causing your head to swell up with pride. This disease is the disgusting concept of nationalism. Long ago, when the Europeans could not defeat the Islamic state by force, they attacked the hearts and minds of the Muslims. They successfully enflamed national and patriotic sentiments in the Muslims and thus fulfilled their job of disuniting and keeping Muslims apart.
“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam. And hold fast together all of you to the rope of Allah, and BE NOT DIVIDED among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favors on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace you became brothers; and you were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His signs clear to you that you may be guided.” [Qur’an 3: 102-103]
Today, Muslim lands are divided into over fifty pieces. Muslims are separated by invisible boundaries and each ‘nationality’ has been brainwashed into thinking that it is superior/inferior to others. Muslims identify themselves as a “Turkish Muslim”, “Arab Muslim”, “African Muslim”, “American Muslim”, “Egyptian Muslim”, “Palestinian Muslim”, “Indian Muslim”, “Pakistani Muslim”, etc. If this isn’t bad enough, we have subdivisions such as Pathan, Sindhi, Punjabi, etc.
“And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer and to practice Zakat; and this is the deen right and straight.” [Qur’an 98: 5]
Our allegiance, devotion, and loyalty are to Allah (swt) and Him alone. Not to a race, not to a certain nationality, and not to a piece of land.
In order to revive the Ummah today, we need to break the chains of nationalism. We need to forget about race, language, and nationalities. I remember when our sister Aisha Khan disappeared, there was a huge uproar. The uproar that was caused when Aisha Khan disappeared should also be seen for the atrocities that occur to our Muslim brothers and sisters overseas. A Muslim living in America is just as dear and important as a Muslim living in Palestine or Pakistan or Africa or anywhere else. It is Islam that runs through our hearts and veins and joins us together. The day that all Muslims realize we must come together as ONE UMMAH and hold the rope of Allah TOGETHER with JOINED hearts will be the day we take a giant step towards revival.
Au revoir…AsSalaam ‘Alaikum