By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
Does Islam allow us Muslims to be patriotic, proud nationalists while also being good Muslims? Arabs seem to think so, as do Persians, Turks, Indonesians, Malaysians, Bangladeshis, Punjabis, Pathans, Sindhis, Balochs, Tajiks, and so on. Would it be a good idea then for Indian Muslims, for instance, to develop a sense of pride in Indian nationalism?
Ancient India was a land of several prophets through whom God sent revelations of remarkable beauty and grandeur; it excelled in practically every field of Endeavour including religion and philosophy, art and architecture, mathematics and astronomy.
Indian Muslims’ pre-Islamic Indian heritage is unparalleled. Is there something in Islamic ideology that would stop us from feeling nationalistic Indians at the same time as we feel pride in being Muslims? If so, are other Muslims right in being so fiercely nationalistic? Arabs, for instance, are nationalistic to the point of being racists. You live in their land a hundred years, serve them with utmost diligence, adopt their language, religion, culture, way of life: they won’t even give you so much as a Green Card, not to speak of citizenship. Why should an Indian Muslim’s Indian history then begin with Mohammad bin Qasim’s invasion of Sindh and his world history begin at the point Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) arrived on the scene in Arabia ? Is it time for us to claim our Vedic Heritage, while still being good Muslims, indeed trying to be better Muslims than we are?
Let us try and debate these points in the light of following revelations from God in the Holy Quran:
And for every nation there is a messenger. And when their messenger (prophet) cometh (on the Day of Judgement) it will be judged between them fairly; and they will not be wronged. (Surah 10, verse 47)
And there is not a single people to whom a warner (prophet) has not been sent. (35:24)
Say (O Muslims): We believe in God and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus revealed, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord: we make no distinction between any of them (Prophets) and unto Him (God) have we surrendered. (2: 136)
Those who believe (in Islam) and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans – whoever believeth in God and the Last Day and doeth good – surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (2: 62)
Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they revile God wrongfully through ignorance. Thus unto every nation have we made their deed seem fair. Then unto their lord is their return, and He will tell them what they used to do. (6:108)
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