by Ruman Hossain
Nationalism emerged as a pseudo-creed phenomenon of political, social and ideological school of thought just after the French revolution though it may be witnessed in the tribal system of the Greek city-state many thousand years ago. The main components upon that nationalism based on are common territory or geography, blood, language, history, civilization and race. The history of nationalism showed that it breaks the ideological believes, spiritual bondage and religious brotherhood in the name of unity considering hematic, racial, tribal and territorial fanaticism. It postulated the interest of the native in the name of patriotism whether it is legitimate or not. The history of nationalism may have some phases to understand clearly that era of colonization, decolonization, Islamic world and aftermath. The colonization phase includes the Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s contribution to candle the flame of the stimulation of emotions towards the flag and country, the glorification and worship of national heroes, the composition of the national anthem, the emphasis on the sanctity of the French language and race. Creed of Nationalism was steadied by Darwin’s view about the survival of the fittest, Ernest Haeckel in Germany, stating: “Only strong and powerful nations have the right to live and to swallow weak and retarded nations”. Karl Pearson considers the survival of the fittest as the natural law of the relationship of nations. The rise of Napoleon Bonaparte quickened its pace in the West and also in Islamic world. In Germany and Italy, this spirit rose rapidly, and in the name of nationalism, horrible crimes were committed and a desperate fight for power was started. As being inspired by nationalism French England Spain Portugal etc started to colonialism the Asian and African countries.
The English imperialism was so large that a popular adage about England was tuned in the air that the sun never sets in England. Some of the rising European countries captured the whole world within their torturous imperialism. Some capricious aggressive leaders and staunch believers of nationalism were rose like Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany, Peron in Argentina, Franco in Spain and Salazar in Portugal as a result two world wars were held for being over fanatic in nationalism.
In the de-colonization phase at the mid of the 20th century Nationalism made its appearance in the Third World. The colonial masters realized that the western culture and domination were not compatible with eastern religion, culture, mentality and local traditions. Rebellion against colonization was inevitable in these eastern regions. After the Second World War when the colonialized countries were independent the previous master pushed the nationalism concept into the new born countries as the new countries could not be able to revolt against the prior dominators. The nationalism impacted more on the most unified and strongly bonded faith base Islamic khilafat. The pan-Islamismof Sayyid Jamal-al-Din and Sultan Abdul Hamid was divested by the conspiracy of nationalism. It is noteworthy that nationalism rose first, not in the Muslim lands which were under British and French domination, but in regions which formed part of the Ottoman Empire. And Iran was not inspired by national glory because it was not a part of Ottoman Empire.
Napoleon and some Frenchmen were the pioneers of Egyptian nationalism. Sylvestre de Sacy and other French scholar wrote a book named “Magnificence of Egyptian civilization” to raise the voice of Egyptian nationalists against the Ottoman Empire. Yaghoub Zow’e whose father was a Jew and mother an Italian. He lived in Paris for a long time and was a French agent. In Paris, he published the journal, ‘EI-Vatan-el-Mesri’ (Egyptian homeland) to propagate nationalism. Tahtavi discovered the splendor of their ancient civilization and cultural independence through De Sacy’s book, “Nationality”. Muhammad Ali declared his independence from the Ottoman Empire and for the first time raised the question of Arab unity. Najib Azouri, a founder of Arab nationalism. He was an agent of both France and England. In 1904 in Paris, he published a book named “Le Reveil de la Nation Arabe”. He further formed a society by the name of “Ligue de la Patrie Arabe”, and published a monthly journal named, “L ‘independence Arabe”, as an organ of the union.
The Turkish nationalism incepted and accelerated by some Jews who wrote books and inspired the Turkish to their national heritage and glory. As Lumley David (1811-1832) was an English Jew who traveled to Turkey and wrote a book called, ‘Preliminary Discourses’ in which he tried to show how the Turks were a distinguished and independent race, superior to the Arabs and other oriental races. In 1869, another writer, Ali Savi, published a treatise in Turkish which was an imitation of David’s, speaking of the glorious past of the Turkish race.David Leon Cohen, a Jewish French writer was another man who greatly contributed to the expansion of Turkish nationalism. In 1899, he published a book called “Introduction Generaleal’ Histoire de L’ Asie. Arminius Vambery (1832-1918), the son of a Jewish Hungarianpriest. He published many works on the necessity for the revival of Turkish nationality, language and literature.
The main aim of these Jews in their eulogy of the Turkish race was to rouse theirracial prejudices and weaken their bond with other Muslim nations. These plots of colonialism and Zionism gave birth to the ‘Young Turks’ movement which resulted in the revolution of 1908 and deposal of Abdul-Hamid. The “Young Turks” who executed the Zionist scheme, embarked on a ‘Pan- Turkish’ policy based on a belief in the superiority of the Turks. The result of such inspiration of nationalism was that Turkish young like Kamal pasha latterly known as Ataturk emerged and break the last sign of Islamic khilafat in 1924 and remove the Tahzib- Tomaddun (cultural values) of Islam from the society. He tortured the Islamists, imams and women as well as violate the human rights, divested the Islamic values from Turkey. Other Muslim countries were colonialized by several European countries such as France occupied Algeria, Tunis and Morocco by inciting anti-Turkish feelings. Italy made Libya its colony, while Russia occupied parts of Armenia; Britain occupied Egypt, Cyprus, Aden, and the Sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf, and then Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, culminating in the creation of the cancerous tumor, “Israel”, in the heart of the Arab world.
The consequence of the nationalism culminates in racism and results in a desire to dominate and colonize seeking domination and colonization are due to three factors: 1- Strong prejudice, 2- Superiority complex, 3- Self-interest (and disregard of others interests).
The bondage of relationship in Islam is based on nothing of above but only allegiance to Allah. No Arabs over non Arabs, white over black, rich over poor, powerful over powerless, burgeons over proletariat, haves over have not’s. At a gathering of three Muslims from three countries were namely Salman from Pars, Soheib from White Romans and Bilal from Black Ethiopia. Allah calls the human being to define them as one community in nature.
“O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with God is the one among you most careful of his duty.” (49:13)
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, Muhammad (SM) and Ali are considered as belonging to all mankind. Islam wishes every nation to regard the Quran as their Book, and the Ka’aba as their Qibla, and true leaders of Islam as their leaders.
Allama Iqbal subtlety defined the heart of nationality of a Muslim community as he says
l “It is only God who is the body and soul of our nation,
l It is only God that makes the gamut of our instrument;
l It is only God that is the source of our secrets,
l And His tread binds our thoughts together.
l The destiny of nations is related to the country,
l And on lineage is founded the repair of nations.
l But our nation has a different foundation,
l And this foundation lies in our belief.”
In this era of knowledge based civilization it is a vital question to human kind for accepting the way of life. Whether they accept the Freudian sexuality, marx’s communism, territorial based nationalism or perpetual peace and freedom based Islam as their way of life.