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Refutation of Extremist Ideology Inimical to Patriotism (Hubbul Watani) is urgently Required

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

23 April 2019

The radical Islamist groups believe that the concept of homeland (Watan) is against the Islamic belief system. They describe a homeland as “worthless dust.” They hold the view that patriotism (Hubbul Watani) is a desperate human passion and a sin that should be resisted. Concept of patriotism, according to them, is a part of ignorance (Jahiliyyah) and should be rejected because it goes against the ideology of Khilafah (Caliphate) and Ummah (global Muslim community). A country, they believe, is nothing but a name of geographical boundaries created by colonial powers; therefore, they do not have any sanctity for them. They impose a lie and say that the homelands are places of dwellings which the people like but Allah has condemned them and that the hadith about the Prophet’s love towards his homeland (Makkah) is specific only to Makka. Therefore, they think they should not apply this patriotism to any other countries.

Sayyid Qutb has repeatedly expressed such extremist ideas in his book of Tafsir “Fi Zilal al-Quran”, describing all concepts of patriotism as Jahiliyyah. (Fi Zilal al-Quran, Arabic version, vol.2, P.708)

These concepts of Sayyid Qutb are completely wrong, because the homeland cannot be described as ‘worthless dust’. In fact, it consists of nation, culture, civilization, history, politics, intellectual tendencies, organizations, geographical borders and the citizens including dignitaries.

His declaration of patriotism to be a sinful act amounts to mixing right with wrong. Love of a country exists in every good human being. Even an animal loves its homeland and makes all possible effort to construct and develop the place in which it lives.

Patriotism is not a concept antithetical to religion or community. The country where a citizen enjoys religious rights, security, liberty and freedom is a beloved place for him. For Muslims, a country where they freely bow down before God Almighty in five-times prayer and have freedom to devote all their time to remember God and His Prophet (peace be upon him) is indeed their beloved homeland, the safety and security of which is their responsibility.

Patriotism (Hubbul Watani) is not a part of Jahiliyyah. Love of country is a tendency which naturally resides in citizens and increases when they continuously feel secure and have full freedom to practice their religious rituals. On the contrary, Jahiliyyah is a personal shortcoming which can be repelled by education, good deeds, piety and adherence to rights of Allah (Huquq Allah) and human rights (Huquq al-Ibad). A country, which gives equal opportunities to its citizens to become good human beings in all walks of life, is not responsible for Jahiliyyah.      

The meaning of patriotism could not be clear to the terror organizations because they did not utilize correct sources of understanding the Quran. The indications of patriotism are mentioned in the Quran and its commentaries written by several exegetes of the Quran (Mufassirin). The concept of patriotism has also been encouraged in the books of Ahadith and their commentaries, the Sharihin-Ahadith. 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.

Being away from the homelands, according to the Muslim scholars, is extremely difficult moment equal to pain of losing one’s life. Allama 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”.

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)

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”

Out of many these are just few examples extracted from the books of jurists, Ulama and scholars which speak of love of country (Hubbul watani).

Classical Muslim scholars set a jurisprudential maxim that “In principle all things, of various categories and types, are permissible” for human beings until they violate Islamic injunctions. In other words, everything which is not forbidden is permissible in Islam. The scholars comprehensively apply this maxim when ruling on issues faced by people. In terms of patriotism, there is nothing anywhere in Islamic injunctions which might be the case for declaring patriotism ‘forbidden’. Therefore, love of country or patriotism is not a forbidden act. Instead we see at several occasions in the biographies of the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and the pious people that they feel the pangs of homesickness when away and encourage patriotism.

We should continue to love our homeland and take part in its progress and development. Our love of our country should not be confined merely to slogans, but rather this love should practically reflect into our daily activities. Additionally, we should take necessary steps to refute and defeat extremist thought which declare ‘patriotism’ (Hubbul watani) to be anti-Islamic. 

A regular Columnist with, 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).


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