Western Nationalism and Islamic Nationhood

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Mon Aug 14 18:03:41 MDT 2000


      Western Nationalism and Islamic Nationhood

                    Murtada Mutahhari
        Translated from the Persian by Dr. Wahid Akhtar
                     Vol. V  No.3 and 4

    This article is an introduction (pishguftar) that Martyr Murtada
    Mutahhari wrote for his book Khadamat-e mutaqabil-e Islam
    wa Iran (The Mutual Services of Islam and Iran) first published
    in 1349 H.Sh./1960. The translation of this book is under way
    and will soon be published by the Sazman-e Tablighat-e Islami,
    and we hope to publish some parts of it in the future in

     In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    The relations, conflicts and clashes between various nations
    have in the present age become a daily issue which has acquired
    much greater significance than in any other epoch of human
    history. One of the problems related to it, or perhaps one of the
    most fundamental of them, is the problem of nationalism, its
    constructive elements, its scope and limits.

     During the last two or three decades many new nations, whose
    number exceeds fifty, have come into existence, or have
    acquired a new shape and name. In some cases, a country or a
    nation was divided into two or more parts, each pursuing a
    different path. In some cases nations with specific ideological,
    religious and geographical characteristics have completely
    changed their philosophical and religious conditions to replace
    them by a totally different system of ideas and social institutions.

    All these changes and the birth of new nations accompanying
    them, were preceded by years of struggle, resistance,
    endeavour and bloodshed, which consumed immeasurable time,
    energy and talents of peoples and called for many sacrifices,
    small and great.

     Did the nations that emerged during recent times have no
    existence in the past? Did the nations that were separated and
    divided not form a real, stable social unit in their previous state?

    Those nations that changed their system while preserving most
    of their specific traits such as language, race, ecological
    conditions and geographical boundaries, are they still what they
    were in the past? Moreover, all the main political, social, and
    military problems of our age are formulated in terms of nations
    and national interests. Nationalism is the most current and
    popular of all ideologies at present. Even those social and
    political ideologies that are opposed to nationalist tendencies, on
    initiating a movement, present themselves in nationalist garb and
    fall back upon nationalist slogans.

    From a different point of view, for us Iranians, too, the issue of
    nationalism has contemporary relevance, in spite of the fact that
    our nation and homeland have not been attacked or occupied
    by any foreign power, and we see much difference and many
    contradictions between interpretations given by various
    individuals to nationalism. At present two factors are at work:
    first, there is the racial and hereditary factor which is related to

    our history preceding the last fourteen centuries; the second
    factor relates to the ideological, religious, social and cultural
    traditions formed and developed during the last fourteen
    centuries. As for our physical and racial roots, we belong to the
    Aryan race, and with regard to our ideological and cultural
    constitution, traditions and social institutions we are linked to
    Islam, which came to our land through a non-Aryan race. If we
    give basic importance to the factors of race and heredity in our
    definition of 'nation', it will, under the present circumstances,
    take our nation on a particular course in the future. However, if
    the social institutions and the ideological structure prevailing for

    the last fourteen centuries are considered to be of basic
    importance in defining our nationality, our policy and our future
    course will be something different. If we give priority to the
    Aryan factor in determining and defining Iranian nationality, its
    consequence in the last analysis will be to make us closely
    related to the Western world. And this affinity and relation to
    the West would influence our national and political policy,
    whose main result would be to break our relationship with our
    neighbours and non-Aryan Muslim nations and incline us
    towards Europe and the West. In this case, the imperialist West
    becomes our kin and Muslim Arabs will become strangers. On
    the contrary, if the ideological system, religion, and social
    institutions of the last fourteen centuries are regarded as the
    deciding factor in identifying our nationality, it will lead us to
    adopt a different course and policy whose basis is faith. In that
    case Arab, Turk, Indian, Indonesian and Chinese Muslims will
    be our own kinsmen, and the non-Muslim West will be alien to

     Hence the issue of nationality is not a purely academic issue; it
    is a real issue of vital importance which determines the course of
    action and policy, the future and the destiny of a social and
    political unit known today as the Iranian nation. Hence it
    deserves to be taken up seriously and understood clearly.

     The Historical Background:

    Nationalism, in its present form and current sense, emerged in
    Germany, essentially as a consequence of and reaction to the
    French Revolution which overwhelmed entire Europe. The
    French Revolution itself was a reaction to and revolt against the
    old feudal thinking, which did not attach any value or
    importance to the masses and common people. It was from that
    time that 'nation' and 'masses', and individual's liberty and
    equality became central themes in the writings of authors, poets
    and philosophers. Liberty and equality, which the authors of the
    'Declaration of The Rights of Man' claimed to have brought as a
    gift for mankind, in themselves did not recognize any boundary
    or nationality. It was due to this universal appeal that the light
    the French Revolution, in the short period of a decade, crossed
    the frontiers of France and engulfed the whole of Europe and
    affected Germany in particular. In Germany, political
    philosophers and writers became so much enchanted with the
    ideas of freedom and liberty that they devoted all their energies
    exclusively to propagate those ideas. Fichte, the German
    philosopher, is among the forerunners of this new spirit.

     Soon the Germans came to realize that the liberty proclaimed in
    the Declaration of The Rights of Man meant in Germany
    something reserved exclusively for the French, and the people
    of Germany had no share in it. Fichte was the first man to raise
    his voice against this discrimination. In the course of his famous
    fourteen lectures delivered at the Berlin Academy, while giving
    vent to his protest against this discrimination, Fichte, as a
    reaction to the French character of liberty and equality,
    advanced the myth of 'the German nation' as a real and
    indivisible unit which on account of its racial, geographical,
    linguistic and cultural character and traditions was endowed with
    an innate genius and an exclusive status. In this way German
    nationalism, which later on emerged as the progenitor of
    nationalism in the world, was born.

     Nationalism, as conceived by its authors in the West, considers
    a people of a common race living together within particular
    geographical boundaries, with a common historical background,
    language, culture and traditions as a fundamental, indivisible unit.

    Accordingly, all that belongs to the orbit of the interests,
    advantages, status and worth of such a unit and contributes to
    them is considered 'friendly' and 'own', and all the rest is treated

    as 'alien' and 'hostile'.

     In the nineteenth century, three basic reactions or tendencies
    emerged from the maxims of the French Revolution: 1. the
    nationalist response; 2. the conservative response; and 3. the
    socialist response.

     The first two trends, in the view of political thinkers, are
    and opposed to the spirit of revolution, while the third trend is
    considered to seek the goals of justice and equality. [1]

    After Fichte, nationalism found its exponents among thinkers
    like Charles Moras (?) and Bares (?), who largely shaped and
    systematized the nationalist philosophy and beliefs of various
    European countries. Moras stretches the idea of indivisible
    national unit to the extent of advocating that the nation, as a
    collective entity, should govern all individual wills. He saw the
    embodiment of this collective personality in the State. It was this
    idea that proved to be the source of totalitarian regimes and
    provided a doctrinal basis to Nazism in Germany and Fascism
    in Italy.

     Henceforth, the period covering the entire nineteenth century
    and extending up to the first half of the twentieth century is
    marked as the age of the emergence and development of
    nationalism in European societies. Though in the social and
    political spheres the socialist and conservative tendencies also
    exercised much influence on the thought of European
    intellectuals, nevertheless, the nationalist tendency in European
    States became so dominant that all other kinds of tendencies,
    including liberalism, conservatism and Marxian socialism, were
    overshadowed by it. It was the same nationalist spirit of
    European States which in its extreme form appeared as the
    ideology of ethnocentrism and racism, and gave birth to the two
    great wars. Over and above this, it was the same nationalism of
    Europe, which in spite of all the slogans of freedom and equality
    of human beings, defended and justified colonization of the
    countries of Asia, Africa and South America. The nineteenth
    century and the first half of the twentieth, being the period of
    intensive and extensive colonial exploitation of Asia and Africa,
    was a period synonymous and concurrent with the appearance
    and spread of nationalist ideologies.

     Writers and historians of the West, in accordance with the
    same notions, call various movements in other countries
    nationalist movements. Intellectuals and thinkers of Asia and
    Africa, under the inspiration of Western culture and under the
    influence of Western education, apply this term to their own
    popular movements. They judge their own movements by the
    same criteria which were introduced by Western thinkers to
    differentiate and identify their own nations. Although since the
    end of the Second World War, nationalism and national
    interests have given way to regionalism and regional alliances -
    at least on the level of economic and colonial interests and to
    some extent in the social sphere - nevertheless, each of the
    countries of Western Europe and North America try to point
    out their national characteristics to Eastern and African visitors
    and students with a view to convince them that nationalism is still
    a revitalizing force which is instrumental in the advancements
    made by Western people and their culture. The aim is that on
    returning to their own countries they would follow nationalist
    ideas and preach and propagate them among their own people,
    so that the countries of the Third World should always keep
    themselves apart from one another under banners of separate
    nationalities, races, languages and ancestral legacies, and engage
    in perpetual conflict and rivalry against their own neighbours and
    other countries which have also been suffering from the same
    kind of malaise left behind by Western colonialism.

     While the Western countries, with all their power and cultural,
    political and economic domination, are united together to exploit
    other nations, the Third-World countries, with all their
    inadequacies and with all their political, cultural and economic
    backwardness, pursue separate paths isolating them from one

     Let us examine whether the principle of drawing lines of
    demarcation and distinction between different human social units
    has any real grounds in the world of concrete actualities. In case
    it has a real basis, we have to examine whether the criteria of
    actual demarcation are the same as taught to us by Western

     The Classical Criteria:

    We observe that the peoples of the world are different and
    distinct from one another, from Turkey, Persia and Arabia to
    the farthest corners of Africa, Europe and Asia. They are
    different not only in colour, features, language and physical
    characteristics, but are also different in their norms, traditions,
    cultures and even in their modes of thinking as well as their
    spiritual and psychological makeups. If we want to classify
    various kinds of people into independent social groups, we have
    to see whether colour, race, ecological conditions and
    geographical boundaries can suffice to serve as the sole criteria
    of differentiation, or if we have to take into consideration their
    traditions, historical backgrounds, cultural traits and other
    factors as well. The sense of nationhood, i.e. nationalism, is
    constituted by the existence of a common feeling, a collective
    consciousness, among a group of people bound together in a
    political unit forming a nation. This collective consciousness
    creates a strong internal bond and cohesion among the living
    members of a society and their ancestors and predecessors,
    determines the character of relations and associations among
    themselves as well as with other nations, and brings about a
    harmony in their aspirations and hopes.

    According to the classical Western definition, this collective
    consciousness is a product of the conditions determined by
    regional and racial characteristics, a common language, specific
    traditions, historical heritage and a common culture. A deeper
    understanding of the nature of individual and social behaviour of
    man indicates that the above-mentioned factors do not play a
    basic and vital role in the genesis of collective consciousness
    and are incapable of serving permanently as a cementing force
    and the bond of integrity among the members of a nation.


    It is evident that at early stages of the genesis of a nationality,
    common language and traditions contribute to bringing
    individuals together, inculcating in them a sense of shared
    identity, and serve as the channel that interconnects their hearts
    and feelings, and consequently leads to the emergence of a
    collective and national consciousness. But if we study the past
    of nations, we find that a common language is not a constituent
    element but a product of nationhood. None of these people had
    a common language from the early stages of their genesis. On
    the other hand, it was only after they had come together and
    become emotionally attached to each other in a particular region
    that they evolved a common language in the course of their own
    development. It gradually developed and evolved its
    grammatical principles in the course of centuries. In the process
    of interaction with the languages of other nations, their language
    underwent many changes and continuously evolved new forms
    until it acquired its present shape.

     If in particular epochs of the history of a nation, for instance
    during the period of a nation's freedom struggle, its language or
    specific traditions find more forceful expression, becoming the
    symbol of its national inspirations - as happened in the case of
    Hindi[2] during the Indian Freedom Movement or in the case of
    Arabic during the Algerian struggle for independence - such a
    phenomenon is always transitory. In these instances, language is
    used as an instrument to motivate the nation's masses to act


    Researches in history and sociology indicate that all human
    races, under favourable social and moral conditions, are
    capable of developing all human qualities. As we know, the
    pre-Islamic Arabs were plagued by all kinds of prejudices,
    tribal conflicts, quarrels and superstitions, which were products
    of bigotry; but after embracing Islam and being infused with its
    moral virtues, its revolutionary spirit of tawhid, and its passion
    for social justice, they acquired the qualities that characterized
    them as the most civilized and advanced of all human societies
    of the time. If after some time their old racial prejudices once
    again raised their heads and reasserted themselves, it happened
    because of deterioration in conditions conducive to the moral,
    social and monotheistic values nurtured by Islam. This indicates
    that there are no national traits that may be considered as
    permanent and unchangeable racial characteristics. As a matter
    of fact, all the traits and their influence can be modified under
    changed social and moral conditions. The Algerian people's
    example is a recent evidence of this fact.

    What are the factors and circumstances that can help in
    preserving the desired social and moral conditions and whether
    it is possible to preserve them at all, are questions that fall
    outside the scope of our present discourse. However, it is
    admissible that the factor of specific racial traits has always
    played a vital and effective role in the history of nations in
    shaping their development and progress or causing their
    degeneration and decline. But to admit the role of this factor
    does not mean that it is also effective in bringing together a
    people and cementing their individual minds to produce a
    collective consciousness.

     More often, the common elements produced by racial traits,
    instead of functioning as a factor of cohesion and integration and
    serving as a source of collective consciousness and national
    unity, either generate internal divisions and aversions, or render
    a nation weak, unstable and vulnerable. The nations which from
    the very beginning possessed martial qualities and engaged in
    constant wars, attacking and pillaging other nations, abided in
    conflict, either with others or within themselves, until they grew
    weak and exhausted, or some other factors, which were social
    and moral in essence, entered their lives in the course of history,
    providing them with ground for retaining their unity and

          And remember God's blessing upon you when
         you were enemies, and He brought your hearts
         together, so that by His blessing you became
         brothers ... (3:103)

    On the contrary, the nations that possessed the trait of
    peacefulness and adaptability, not only among themselves and
    with their living conditions and environment, but also in relation
    to all other peoples - even invaders, with whom they were
    inclined to mix, adjust and conform - such nations could not
    develop a feeling of nationhood or racial unity. In case they did
    develop such a feeling, it was colourless, ineffective, devoid of
    distinctive vitality and prone to weakness and decline.

     Basically, it is one of the basic characteristics of every human
    individual that he, in his rationally thought out or emotionally
    directed relationships, tends to establish relations with those
    who, by fulfilling and satisfying his inner urges and aspirations,
    are in a position to compensate for his individual shortcomings.
    The firmest bond of love is one in which the lover feels that his
    most basic and profound needs can find their fulfilment in the
    person of the beloved. Our day-to-day experience provides
    abundant evidence of this fact. Similarly, the strength of a
    group's internal bonds of social relationships and emotional
    cohesion is ensured only when various units constituting it are
    complementary and satisfy the needs of other units. It is in this
    context that the racial factor, with its fixed traits and
    characteristics, is of no consequence so far as unity and
    cohesion are concerned.


    In different nations we find various common traditions which, in
    the same manner as language and race, distinguish them from
    others. But here a question arises: How far are they effective in
    making a nation? Customs and traditions, even cultures, are
    products and results of the voluntary and conscious activities of
    individuals of past generations. If there were no relation and
    connection between past and present generations and social
    institutions, these traditions would never be transferred from
    generation to generation. Unless there is a collective feeling and
    consciousness of unity, tradition and culture cannot be inherited
    by succeeding generations. Hence all existing national traditions
    themselves are rather products of national consciousness and
    human beings' life and activity in that direction, rather than being

    their basis and source.

     Furthermore, the existing social traditions of a nation are of two
    kinds: firstly, those which emanate from higher moral values and
    sublime strivings and struggles of the past, embodying all sacred
    human virtues which are directed at establishing the rule of
    justice and good; secondly, those traditions that spring from
    ignorance and lust for worldly benefits and are derived from
    unjust social relations. The first kind of traditions are
    for the continuity of the life, advancement, progress and
    prosperity of nations, while the second kind of traditions result
    in retrogression, decline, slavery and deception of peoples and
    are tools and instruments in the hands of the rich and the ruling

     Since justice, piety, progress and development are the vehicles
    of life, good and healthy traditions are those that emanate from
    these values and are instrumental in strengthening the life and
    stability of a nation. On the other hand, undesirable or unhealthy
    traditions lead to the decline of a nation and even cause its
    destruction and death. For an evidence of this claim, it is
    sufficient to glance at history and study the fate of nations from
    the peoples of Lot, 'Ad, Thamud, ancient Egypt, Rome and
    Greece up to the present nations of the world.

     As a matter of principle, the evolution of living beings has been
    in the direction of attaining freedom from natural limitations,
    external environmental conditions and internal instinctive urges.
    The primitive man, who emerged at the end of a long
    evolutionary process, was the freest of creatures from the
    shackles of nature. Nevertheless, this freedom was never
    absolute; it was relatively greater than that of other animals that
    existed before the emergence of man. Primitive human beings
    were still governed by the forces of instinct and physical nature,
    forces at work from within and without. With the gradual
    development of man's consciousness and his volitional faculties,
    man could attain greater and greater freedom from the bondage
    of physical and instinctive determinants. In human society, too,
    at early stages of its formation and evolution, individuals'
    relations with one another were determined by inner urges as
    well as by physical and environmental factors. In primitive
    societies, first environmental and physical conditions and
    subsequently emotional, familial and tribal associations had been
    basically instrumental in constituting social consciousness. But in
    developed and advanced societies, in which new emergent
    factors participate in moulding social consciousness and in
    determining social relations among members of society, the role
    of physical factors - including the factor of environment -
    decreased gradually and these factors became of lesser and
    lesser significance.

     Today we find a large number of states and nations in a
    particular region and living under similar physical and
    geographical conditions that not only do not form a single
    national entity, but are at loggerheads and at times in a state of
    direct confrontation with one another. In the Indian
    Subcontinent, the Hindu and the Muslim communities, despite
    living under similar physical and environmental conditions, do
    not share similar national feelings, and lack the bond of cohesion
    essential for a nation's solidarity. A similar example is that of
    English and the Irish, who in spite of sharing the same historical,
    social and linguistic heritage, do not nurture the spirit of harmony

    and understanding that can make them a single nation. On the
    contrary, in our age we find many Third-World countries
    thousands of kilometres apart and peoples living in different
    physical and environmental conditions, with considerably vast
    differences of language, race and historical heritage, who have a
    profound sense of solidarity. For instance, the Algerians feel a
    sense of unity with the people of Cuba or Vietnam or with the

     All the above factors mentioned by Western authors as the
    constituent elements of nationhood may form the elementary
    criteria for defining existing nations and for distinguishing them
    distinct entities, in the same way as each of the hundred and odd
    elements found in nature are defined and differentiated
    according to their specific physical and chemical properties. But
    these properties which appear to be fundamental and innate at
    first on a superficial knowledge of things prove to be essential at
    a later stage. A deeper insight into the inner world of the atom
    discovers that the apparent differences of elements are
    manifestations of the number of electrons constituting the atoms.
    In fact, it is the number of electrons in an atom that is
    responsible for the emergence and manifestation of various
    kinds of elements. A similar probe is to be conducted in order
    to find out more fundamental factors at work beneath the level
    of various factors and elements - some of which have been
    discussed above - that identify, distinguish, and define a national
    unit. We should conduct this research at a deeper level to
    discover the more fundamental factors which are real
    constituents of collective consciousness, or at least are closer to
    them than the factor discussed above. It is always some more
    basic and latent factor which is alive and at work in the
    consciousness of people and manifests itself as a lifestream in
    external forms. It externalizes itself from time to time in
    particular language patterns and specific national traditions. The
    main aim and objective of all research and investigation is to
    lead us to this basic reality and the hidden meaning underlying all
    external phenomena comprising things and temporal events,
    which are mere appearances.

     Frantz Fanon, an African writer and sociologist who has done
    penetrating psychological and sociological researches on the
    development of national consciousness among various African
    peoples, arrives at the conclusion that the factors of common
    history, language and cultural traditions, along with geographical
    conditions, play only a transitory role in the birth of national
    awareness; these factors are not of permanent significance. He
    cites the examples of nations engaged in the struggle for
    freedom and independence from imperialism, and points out that
    in these countries the really basic human ideals and aspirations
    sometimes find expression in such commonly shared factors as
    tradition, history and language. But these are means only of
    attaining the desired goals. With the dawn of independence the
    points of division and conflict appear again. The nation's rich
    who struggled for freedom until last night, part their way from
    the deprived masses of the nation. While the former take the
    course of occupying positions of power in order to consolidate
    their political and economic privileges and to cash in on their
    past deprivations and sufferings borne during the freedom
    struggle, the latter take the path of resistance and struggle
    against the former in order to attain their rights. Ultimately these

    divergent paths divide them causing a new social stratification
    and class conflict. As a consequence of this conflict, the nation
    is again divided into two or more classes pursuing conflicting
    ideals, though its members have a common language, common
    customs, culture and history. There is abundant evidence of
    class conflicts and religious discords within the present nations,
    which is sufficient to show that the factors of common language,
    history, culture and tradition do not have a permanent basis.

     Political independence, which has been the strongest impetus
    for the awakening of nationalist sentiments and has been the
    common ideal of all the nations of the world, has lost its meaning
    in the present situation - at least for the countries of the Third
    World - due to the presence of world imperialism. In a large
    number of newly independent countries, as well as countries that
    have been independent for a long time, political organizations
    and even the political structure, disguise themselves as
    champions of national interests while operating in reality as
    agents of foreign powers and serving their exploitative interests.
    These foreign agents, armed and equipped with 'independence'
    and 'national sovereignty', serve foreign interests, although their
    organizations, parties and governing bodies are formed of
    members of that nation and share with its people the same
    language, culture and history.

     Even in the advanced and powerful countries of the world
    today, the original meaning and import of political independence
    and territorial sovereignty have lost their former significance.
    Now these countries are realigning themselves in regional
    groups. This change in attitudes indicates that these countries
    consider their linguistic, traditional, cultural and racial
    to be inessential or insignificant in view of their present
    and goals. This unity expresses itself more prominently in the
    fields of economic, social and cultural cooperation. The
    present-day Western world, with regard to culture and
    economy, has emerged as a monolithic force against the Third
    World. As a consequence, Western countries have set aside
    their national identities and differences, at least in the area of
    common economic interests of the region. In the countries of the
    Third World (the developing and the underdeveloped
    countries), also, on the one hand, the economy and the ruling
    elite are in the grip and under the domination of economic
    superpowers of the advanced world; on the other, their cultural
    leadership is in the hands of the so-called intellectual class that
    blindly follows the dominant Western culture and imposes it on
    their people.

     The Role of Intellectuals:

    In underdeveloped societies under the yoke of imperialism, it is
    usually intellectuals who try to awaken national consciousness
    among the people of their country. Since, in their view, the
    linguistic and cultural traditions of their country are synonymous
    with and responsible for the actual conditions of the life of their
    nation - which is an amalgam of misfortunes, backwardness,
    difficulties and deprivations - they abstain from emphasizing
    traditional culture. Therefore, they ask the people to give up
    their past and to turn to the advanced and dominant countries as
    their ideal and model. They strive to inculcate those models as
    the ideal goal towards which the new national consciousness
    should evolve and develop.

     Frantz Fanon, an enlightened sociologist, in the chapter on
    national culture of his work of lasting significance The Cursed
    of the Earth (Les damn ees de la terre, de la culture
    nationale), considers the emergence of such an ethos among
    intellectuals of the countries affected by colonialism as a raw
    and initial phase in the crystallization of national consciousness
    this class. In this phase, in his view, the intellectual of a
    affected by colonialism, while earnest in his endeavour to
    awaken national consciousness, is himself totally submerged in
    colonial culture. In every respect his ideas are true copies of his
    counterparts in the imperialist countries.[3] In other words. at
    this stage, although the thought of the intellectuals of exploited
    countries belongs to the realm of ideas, it is nothing but a
    commodity imported from the other side of the frontiers from
    the dominant countries of the West. The intellectual, at this
    juncture, is capable only of translating alien culture into his own
    language and actions.

    His confidence in his information and the contents of his memory
    usually make him arrogant - an attitude strengthened by the
    general ignorance and backwardness of the people of his land
    that prevents him from closely and critically studying and
    analysing actual facts and events. It would take years, or
    perhaps centuries, of tragic events for such intellectuals and for
    the people, who have been spell-bound by them, to awaken
    from their complacent slumber and to realize the true worth of
    their ideas.

     Apart from this, intellectuals of this brand direct their
    and practical efforts towards the awakening of national
    consciousness only at the initial stages of national movement. In
    a short course of time, because of the nature of their thought
    and spirit, they adopt the Western style of life and develop
    fondness for superficial aspects of Western culture which urge
    them towards affluent and comfortable ways of European life.
    This compulsive inclination towards the West, of necessity,
    makes them maintain silence, or occasionally even prompts
    them to compromise with the agents of oppression, exploitation
    and corruption. As a result, they are assimilated in the
    institutions of imperialism and become its obedient tools.

     The second stage, in Fanon's analysis, comprises of a
    determined effort on the part of the intellectual to devote himself
    to the situation of his people with greater sincerity. But since the

    existing conditions of the nation present nothing but distress,
    anxiety, ignorance and backwardness, he turns his attention
    toward those epochs of the nation's past in which he sees
    grandeur, glory and greatness or at least pomp and pageantry.
    Thereupon, he at once breaks himself off from all relations with
    the present and leaps across centuries - which, with the people
    who inhabited them and their long chain of causes and effects,
    have shaped the present - to some point thousands of years in
    the past. If the actual history of his nation fails to provide such
    golden age, he takes recourse in myths and legends.[4]

    The only worth of the ideas and efforts of this class of
    intellectuals is that they should be confined to the pages of
    books or entertain and comfort a limited group of people for a
    short period of time. Since they do not emerge from the present
    sufferings of human beings, they are absolutely incapable of
    arousing national and popular awareness among people.

     The third stage of change commences when the intellectual
    liberates himself from fantasy and comes to terms with his
    people and acquaints himself with their hardships and sufferings.
    At this stage, the intellectual, having tasted the hardships and
    deprivations of the common people, shares with them their
    aspirations. He respects the beliefs and sentiments of the
    people, familiarizes himself with them and draws inspiration from
    them. It is at this stage only that an intellectual can play an
    effective leading role in making, arousing and moulding the
    national consciousness of his nation, provided he is sincere and
    free from blind imitation of his Western teachers. The more
    committed and flexible he is, the more rapid and far-reaching
    influence he can exercise in the realms of thought and action.

     The Real Lines of Demarcation:

    Now that the factors supposed to be effective, according to the
    classical definition of nationalism, in giving rise to national
    and collective consciousness have lost their relevance today,
    shall we assert that there are essentially no real lines of
    demarcation between various social units of mankind and, such
    being the case, all nations can, or rather should, merge together
    to form a single nation?

     The experience of human history and the evidence provided by
    social conflicts and upheavals show that the human world has
    been divided into many groups and classes different and distinct
    from one another, each following a different path, and,
    therefore, the possibility of such a merger does not exist. Social,
    political and cultural changes taking place in the contemporary
    age are leading the Western world every day further away from
    the Third World in respects of understanding and unity. Despite
    much talk about coexistence, world peace and unity, the hard
    realities of the present situation and dynamics of change make
    such ideas appear far-fetched and impracticable. As long as
    there exist wolves and sheep in the world, there is no possibility
    of any unity between them. As soon as a group organizes itself
    in the form of a political entity, whatever its basis, it attracts
    greed of other groups and becomes prone to encroachment and
    aggression. Hence, it is compelled to protect its territorial,
    political and economic interests and defend its culture and
    ideology from its enemies' onslaughts.

     We are not interested here in discussing the present
    differentiation of nations; our aim is to discover the elements and
    factors that form national awareness among a group of people
    and fuse them emotionally with one another in a way that a
    nation comes into being.

     We have already seen that the factors usually known to be
    responsible for national integration, viz. Language, cultural
    heritage, historical background and race, although, of initial
    effectiveness in the formation of a nation, fail to serve as a basic

    and permanent ground for national unity. For this reason, we do
    not consider them to be essential; they are rather accidental.
    The people who once fought together against foreigners for
    independence and dignity were, after reaching this goal, divided
    again into rulers and the ruled, into privileged and
    underprivileged, in accordance with their expectations, claims,
    interests and objectives. As a consequence of this, the national
    struggle against alien domination is transformed into an internal
    class struggle. The people sharing a common culture, language
    and race become divided and wage war against one another.
    The same people and the same individuals who were earlier
    united by a collective awareness now lose the sense of
    togetherness due to changed social relations. The question
    raised earlier still remains unanswered: What is the real basis
    and source of the formation of a national unit or a nation? What
    is the nature of the bond that cements together the hearts and
    feelings of various individuals, as a consequence of which
    common aspirations and ideals emerge?

     As in the case of the Algerian people when they started their
    struggle against French colonialism, or as in the case of the
    Palestinians' struggle for regaining their legitimate right and
    human dignity, or as in the case of the Vietnameses, we observe
    that the commonly accepted factors of nationhood that is
    common language, historical heritage and territorial and
    economic interests - were effective in creating a sense of affinity
    and mutual understanding among the individuals of a nation. But
    at the same time we also see that there are other peoples in
    various parts of the world whose sympathy with the cause of
    Algeria, Palestine or Vietnam is as intense as that of an Algerian,
    a Palestinian, or a Vietnamese. A strong sense of unity and a
    deeply-felt bond of sympathy for these people joins the peoples
    of different nations and regions. This sense of unity sometimes
    prompts a group of individuals to forget their women and
    children, environment and country, and to join the ranks of
    those struggling thousands of miles away from their homeland.
    They even sacrifice their lives for others with whom they have
    nothing common - neither language nor culture, nor historical
    heritage. If you study the history of these freedom movements,
    you will see in their midst many individuals of "alien" nationality
    who fought for their cause, even performed heroic deeds, and,
    after the victory, became part and parcel of the freed peoples,
    merging with them to build a new nation.

     On the other hand, we find diverse groups within a nation
    sharing a common language, tradition, culture and geographical
    conditions who are not bound to one another with a sense of
    oneness. Their ideals and aspirations for the future do not
    conform and are contradictory. If there is some semblance of a
    bond of unity, it is merely superficial and mechanical, contrived
    to meet the needs of their day-to-day life. Many a battle is
    fought by their governments and ruling cliques, of which their
    own people remain totally unaware or to which they show
    complete indifference. In our own history there are ample
    instances of such an attitude of indifference on the part of the
    people. On the contrary, it happens very often that the people
    of Africa or India express great interest, warmth and intense
    enthusiasm for the victory of the people of Palestine or Algeria
    or Vietnam. Hence, it may be concluded that neither the
    historical, geographical, political, racial and linguistic frontiers

    constitute any barrier between members of human species, nor
    do these factors constitute a bond of unity between them.

     Common Sufferings:

    How do the people scattered in different parts of the world
    evolve strong emotional ties and common ideals? What is
    common among them that unites people far away from one
    another and breaks them off from their own neighbours and
    even compatriots? The factor under question may be described
    as the experience of common sufferings, the common anguish
    arising from the oppression and encroachments of imperialism.

     Incidentally, the birth of nationalist movements in various
    nations coincided with the period when the masses had a strong
    feeling of common suffering and a commonly shared sense of
    vacuum. German nationalism was born out of the discrimination
    practised by the French and their interference, which were felt
    painfully by the Germans. Nationalism in Italy, Hungary, India,
    Indo-China and Algeria also emerged as a movement at a time
    when these nations, or at least the majority of their people, were
    seized by a common feeling of pain and vacuum.

     Western scholars of Iranian history say that nationalism or
    awareness of national unity in Iran came into existence since the
    beginning of the Tobacco Movement, that is at the time when a
    section of the Iranian people felt the pinch of colonialism.
    Hence, a collective consciousness, a sense of nationhood or
    nationalism, is born among a group of people when they are
    possessed by a sense of common suffering combined with a
    common aspiration. The common aspiration gives rise to the
    common ideal, for attaining which a movement is initiated among
    the people, who strive and struggle together and are prepared
    to endure all kinds of injuries and deprivations. It is this
    aspiration which further strengthens their collective awareness at
    later stages, integrates them emotionally, and ultimately results in

    the nation's unification.

     Factors of Unity:

    If we study the sufferings that have been instrumental in the birth
    and emergence of nations up to our times, and compare them
    with each other, we find a common factor at work among all

     For instance, when we examine the circumstances that were
    responsible for the German philosopher Fichte's intense and
    enthusiastic campaign for arousing German nationalist
    sentiments, or the circumstances that compelled a Gandhi or a
    Garibaldi to struggle for the freedom of India or Italy, or the
    conditions under which the people of Vietnam and Palestine
    started their crusade for independence and liberty as remedies
    for the maladies afflicting them - these, and many other such
    instances, will show that whenever a people, or a group of it,
    arose in revolt and launched a struggle for freedom, two factors
    have been common in all the cases: firstly, a feeling of injury
    caused by the tyranny and domination of rulers and their
    institutions; and secondly, an urge to negate this domination.
    Fichte wanted to liberate the Germans from the political and
    cultural domination and influence of the French; Gandhi fought
    for freedom from British political, cultural and economic
    exploitation of his people and country; Algeria struggled against
    French occupation. Hence, the factor common among the
    sufferings and aspirations that lead to the emergence of the
    world's nations has been, on the one hand, the sense of suffering
    itself, and on the other, the will to eradicate injustice and
    establish a just order.

     Why does it happen so often that nations are born during
    periods of unjust treatment, deprivation, oppression, aggression,
    exploitation and colonialism? It happens so because it is in
    difficult times, in deprivation, under denial of dignity and
    inhuman treatment and during endeavour and struggle for
    liberation from such circumstances that man's true nature is
    revealed to him; then he discovers his real identity and realizes
    the significance of sublime human values and merits. When man
    stands against tyranny, crime, oppression, unbelief and
    corruption and is moved to anguish and pain by them, the
    yearning for justice and truth is awakened in the depths of his
    being. These are the values that unite and integrate humanity.
    Man is a being that is a lover of justice, piety and truth in the
    depths of his conscious being. This passion has been manifesting
    and expressing itself in all forms and colours at all points of
    space and time.

     On this basis I feel inclined to say that it is the sense of
    deprivation, the realization of the gulf between the rulers and the
    ruled, which is the factor that demarcates human groups from
    one another and draws the real barriers between them.

     Tiburmund,[5] a Western writer and researcher, also divides
    the present nations of the world into two camps, the deprived
    and the privileged, or the backward and the industrially
    advanced countries. This division and distinction, though it
    corresponds to the reality of our times, is not the whole truth. If
    we agree to divide humanity into the ruled and the ruling nations,
    we have to see if all the deprived nations stand in one camp.
    Frantz Fanon says in this matter: [6]

         Black chauvinism in Black literature is an
         emotional - if not logical - antithesis of the
         indignities that are heaped up on humanity by the
         White man. A revolt against the white man's
         contempt, it is, in some cases, the best means of
         overthrowing the restrictions and insults imposed
         upon the Blacks. As the intellectuals of Guinea and
         Kenya have more than anything else seen
         themselves face to face with total rejection and all
         round humiliation by the dominant power, their
         reaction is that of self-praise and self-glorification;
         the unquestioned justification of the African culture
         takes the place of un-conditional affirmation of the
         Western culture. The poets of the Black
         movement array the old and worn-out forces
         against the young Africa, morbid reason against
         poetry, and oppressive logic against ebullient
         nature. On the one side is violence, hostility and
         skepticism, and on the other purity, fervour, unity,
         freedom and the fertility and bounteousness of the
         earth, but also irresponsibility ...

    The irresponsibility pointed out by Fanon results from the fact
    that the common suffering and aspiration that have emerged in
    African society are still weak in respect of perception of goals
    and objectives. The anti-imperialist movement of the Black
    continent against the injustice and oppression of the Whites, so
    far as it aims at uprooting injustice and discrimination and
    winning human rights, is sacred; but when it assumes the form of
    vengeance, pride and ambition and seeks privileges of a new
    kind, it also, in its own turn, lays down the foundation of a new
    injustice which has not yet found any outlet.

     Hence the question of objectives also gains importance with
    regard to deprivation and slavery of nations. If the Black
    movement were to mature into devotion to truth and justice,
    then a rightly directed and blossoming movement will be its fruit.
    Therefore, the movements and struggles motivated by common
    sufferings and aspirations are to be judged by their objectives:
    Whether they are governed by righteousness, justice, and
    freedom, or their objective is domination, new privileges and
    acquisition of benefits and advantages. This is something which
    is derived from the ideology, faith and outlook of the leaders of
    a national movement.

     The Western culture excludes the above-mentioned factors
    from those which constitute collective consciousness and
    national awareness. The Eastern intellectual, too, be he a
    Muslim or an African, drenches his nationalism in the same
    colour and sees it with the eyes of the West. That is, with the
    same tools and weapons that are sold to him by the enemy he
    wants to build his nation and defend it. What a foolishness to
    buy one's weapons from the enemy!

     Fortunately, in all nationalist movements and class struggles we
    witness another factor at work along with the awareness of
    common suffering and aspiration, and that is a yearning and love
    for justice, truth, and freedom. These two factors combined
    together can provide the criterion of a movement's rightfulness
    and legitimacy. German nationalism could not inspire and
    influence the people of other countries because it emerged with
    the objective of racialism and expansionism. Zionism, which
    appeared in its beginning as a movement for the liberation and
    freedom of the Jews from homelessness and international
    humiliation, has now assumed the form of an aggressive, racist
    and oppressive ideology. This movement, despite being the
    expression of the common suffering and aspirations of the Jews,
    due to its imperialist and exploitative objective of promoting the
    interests of twelve million Jews at the cost of the deprived
    people of the world, not only has no sympathizers but also
    invites the hatred of the freedom-loving people of the entire
    world. The nationalist resistance in France, with all its heroic
    tactics, not only failed to build any ideology or movement of
    liberation due to the source of its inspiration, which was French
    chauvinism, but also justified aggression against Algeria, its
    exploitation and the ruthless suppression of its liberation
    movement. The more prominent and dominant the elements of
    justice and righteousness in a nationalist movement, the greater
    was its universal appeal and the more did it contribute to the
    sources and foundations of universal human thought and

     Hence, for determining and distinguishing different human
    societies with a view to determining their national identity and its

    boundaries, we should take into consideration all the factors;
    that is, their sufferings, the degree of their consciousness of
    deprivation, the intensity of aspirations awakened by them, and,
    at last, their ultimate objective in its proper perspective. Then
    we will find that these are the factors which constitute the
    fountainhead of the life of a group of people and their movement
    and dynamism.

     It is evident that these fundamental and essential factors, once
    they inspire the collective psyche and feelings of a people,
    prepare the foundation and the spirit of a nationalism. This
    foundation and spirit need a form and a body, which of
    necessity constitute the conventional natural and physical
    frontiers of a nation. The safeguarding of these fundamental and
    essential factors depends on the security of those frontiers
    against the infiltration and encroachments of the foreign elements
    that are opposed to the very essence of a nation and either do
    not understand its sufferings and objectives or are hostile
    towards them.

     The Birth of a New Nationality:

    In our search for the basic factors that produce collective
    consciousness, we arrived at two points: common suffering and
    common aspiration in the face of domination and exploitation of
    man by man or his institutions. We also observed that these
    factors are not permanent unifiers unless infused by the yearning
    for justice, righteousness and piety (in the terminology of
    Western writers, the human and progress objectives). It is this
    vital essence which like life itself is living and is the augmenter
    life, the élan vital. When this essence is injected into the body
    of a people or a group, it stimulates a collective movement,
    dynamism and evolution, resulting in the creative development of
    its culture and traditions, which are manifestations of a nation's
    independence and its distinct character.

    In a considerably large part of our world, we see different
    nations with different languages, traditions, racial descent and
    living in geographically diverse conditions, which have formed
    numerous political units and separate and independent states.
    These are the world's Islamic nations. The classical Western
    criteria see them as different nationalities as alien to each other
    as they are to other nations and countries. Accordingly, these
    criteria require them to retain their separate identities and remain

    alien to one another. The consequences of this separation and
    alienation are observable for all. But despite the apparent
    differences they share certain elements that unite them. Among
    these people, the most prominent common factor is their faith,
    Islam, which is a world in itself, rich in culture and specific

     We have to see how their attachment to Islam serves as a
    ground of common consciousness and unity; that is, what are
    the common goals and objectives which are taught and inspired
    by Islam as a creed and a world-view. Secondly, we have to
    find the common malaise that affects these nations despite their
    adherence to Islam. Let us review the teachings of the Quran in
    this regard:

          That which you serve apart from Him, is
         nothing but names which you have named, you
         and your fathers; God has sent down no
         authority touching them. Judgment belongs
         only to God, He has commanded that you shall
         not serve any but Him. This is the right
         religion; but most men know not. (12:40)

         O Men, a parable is set forth, so giue you ear
         to it. Surely those whom you call upon, apart
         from God, shall never create a fly, though they
         banded together to do it; and should a fly
         snatch away from them aught, they would
         never rescue it from it. Feeble indeed alike are
         the seeker and the sought! (22: 73)

         And struggle for God as is His due, for He has
         chosen you, and has laid on you no impediment
         in your religion, the creed of your father
         Abraham, He named you Muslims aforetime
         and in this, that the Messenger might be a
         witness upon you, and that you may might be
         witnesses upon mankind. So perform the
         prayer, and pay the alms, and hold you fast to
         God; He is your Protector - an excellent
         Protector, an excellent Helper. (22:78)

         O mankind, We have created you of a male and
         a female, and made you races and tribes, that
         you may know one another. Surely the noblest
         among you in the sight of God is the most
         God-fearing of you. God is All-knowing
         All-aware. (49:13)

         And hold you fast to God's bond, together, and
         do not scatter; remember God's blessing upon
         you when you were enemies, He united your
         hearts, so that by His blessing you became
         brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of
         fire, then He saved you from it; thus does God
         make clear to you His signs that you may
         follow the right way. (3:103)

         You are the best nation raised up for men; you
         enjoin what is good and forbid the wrong and
         believe in God. Had the people of the Book
         believed, it were better for them; some of them
         are believers, but most of them are

    Those who have studied the history of liberation movements
    know that the independence of nations and peoples essentially
    depends upon an individual or a group, howsoever small it may
    be, that has completely liberated itself from the bondage of
    worldly temptations and attachments; these are the men who tell
    the people that if they wish to be dominated and ruled by the
    worldly powers they shall remain under their subjugation, but if
    they resolve to be free, all the rich and the powerful shall melt
    like ice and be destroyed. The basis of liberation is the
    conviction of the oppressed in their rightfulness and deprivation
    on the one hand, and the weakness and vulnerability of the
    forces of untruth on the other. What ideology can teach
    humanity the fundamentals of freedom in clearer and more
    evident terms? Tawhid and Islam mean liberation and freedom,
    freedom from all chains and bonds and opening of the avenues
    of man's evolution and upliftment towards the Divine.

    Islam tells its followers that all the distinctions of colour, race
    and language that are observed among the nations of the world,
    and which have been made the criteria of their separation, are
    accidental, having no essential reality. On the whole, those
    people are noble and honourable who are advancing on the
    path of human perfection. The plurality of colours, languages
    and traditions in human society, and all the other differences
    observable in nature, are manifestations of the richness and
    variety of being and forms of a single reality. Every flower has
    its own colour and odour, its own properties and uses. But all
    are to be evaluated and measured according to the criterion of
    their contribution to man's advancement towards his Supreme

     These differences and distinctions cannot be regarded as
    divisive factors; rather it is their coming together and getting to
    know one another (ta'aruf) that gives birth to material and
    spiritual development.

    Whatever your race, territory or language, you share a common
    Law (Din), and it is your duty to safeguard this Divine Law with
    firmness and not to let yourselves be divided. Always remember
    God's blessing that earlier you were enemies of one another but
    after the spirit of Islam and tawhid was infused into you, you
    were united together. The fruit of this unity was a world full of
    knowledge, merit and moral excellence, which you brought as a
    gift for entire humanity. If you preach and defend virtue and fight
    against evil and corruption, you shall be the best of all nations.
    Either this material and social existence of yours will lead you to
    commit aggression against one another and oppression and
    exploitation of one another, or the same material and social
    existence of yours will become the source of your life,
    development and growth:

         O men your insolence is only against
         yourselves; the enjoyment of this world's life,
         then unto Us you shall return ... (10:23)

    On the other hand, this very material existence is the source of
    your life and its development and evolution at both the individual
    and collective levels.

          The likeness of this world's life is only as water
         which We send down from the heaven, then the
         herbage of the earth, of which men and cattle
         eat, grows luxuriantly thereby, until when the
         earth puts on its golden raiment and becomes
         garnished ... (10:24)

    Now since this worldly existence of yours in society is an
    admixture of evolution and transgression, in order not to give
    injustice and aggression any chances of growth, your remedy
    lies in this: With complete and perfect faith in the Unity and
    Sovereignty of God, with self-denial and willingness to sacrifice,
    take up arms and wage a perpetual, unceasing struggle against
    the sovereignty of wealth and against egoism.

          O believers, shall I direct you to a commerce
         that shall deliver you from a painful
         chastisement? You shall believe in God and His
         Messenger, and struggle in the way of God
         with your property and your lives. That is
         better for you, did you but know. (61:10-11)

    In this way, the basis of your nationhood and the constituent of
    your collective consciousness is, firstly, faith in God (the
    objective), and, secondly, your jihad (the common anguish,
    which at the level of action is translated into insurrection against

    untruth and preparedness for self-sacrifice).

         And (as for) those who believe, and have
         migrated and struggled in the way of God, and
         those who have given refuge and help, those in
         truth are believers they shall have forgiveness
         and generous provision. (8:74)

    Study the history and fates of past and present nations;
    whatever they were and whatever they became was a result of
    their own individual and collective endeavours; you, Muslims,
    are also governed by the same law.

          This is a nation that has passed away; they
         have what they earned, and you shall have
         what you earn, and you shall not be called
         upon to answer for what they did. (2:134)

    In the end your destiny as human beings depends upon your
    efforts made in the way of sublimation towards your Lord, who
    is the highest representative of justice and truth, virtue and
    beauty. It is only after effort and endeavour that you will achieve
    the ultimate success of attaining His vision:

          O Man! Thou art labouring unto thy Lord
         laboriously, and thou shalt encounter Him .

    The different Muslim nations, with all their present separation
    from each other, live under the influence of this kind of teaching
    so far as their world-view and objectives are concerned. And it
    is this teaching which forms the common culture of these
    peoples. It is this Islamic and tawhidi culture that has produced
    their heroes and martyrs, and has preserved the legacy and
    memorable epics that were woven into the fabric of their
    collective Islamic consciousness.

    In the first century of the Islamic era the principles and
    objectives of Islamic tawhid were conveyed to the world in
    such clear and unambiguous terms that all the civilized people of
    those days, with all their fervour and awareness, embraced
    these teachings. Very soon the Islamic nation or rather the
    Islamic cosmopolitan society came into being. But this unity
    disappeared soon and divisions emerged, because the men who
    wielded power could not or did not wish to understand the real
    meaning of Islamic objectives. The Islamic international
    movement was perceived as an Arab empire and caliphate - a
    perception which was a flagrant violation of Islamic objectives.
    Because of this, the unity which was achieved was soon
    squandered, a defeat in whose wake appeared many upheavals,
    weaknesses and deviations, until, subsequently the Muslims
    went into a long and deep slumber.

    Concurrent with this slumber was the awakening of the Christian
    West. By making abundant use of the Islamic traditions in
    culture, social life and science, the West laid the foundations of
    its own culture, a culture which, apart from its indebtedness to
    the traditions and the scientific endeavours of the Islamic world,
    was motivated by worldly ambition, greed for wealth, urge for
    aggression and quest for worldly power. As a consequence, a
    few centuries ago the Islamic world came under the attack and
    exploitation of the enemies from the West. At first their cultural,
    moral and religious existence was threatened; then their material
    and economic resources were pillaged and plundered. The
    prolonged state of slumber, on the one hand, and the colonial
    onslaughts on the other, intensified the captivity of Muslim
    nations producing a defeatist mentality in them.

     Now it is a hundred years that the cultural, social and political
    changes in the world have been shaking these nations and
    ringing the bell of alarm for them. They are, on the one hand,
    understanding the import of tawhid, Islam and its objectives
    from a new angle, and a new world of fresh truths is dawning
    upon them; on the other hand, the observation of the present
    conditions of Muslims and their misery, deprivation and
    backwardness is generating a fresh urge and aspiration among
    the Muslim masses. We are witnessing an awakening and
    movement in the captive Islamic countries. The liberating
    slogans and objectives of tawhid and Islam inspire and
    stimulate not only Muslims but also every oppressed people
    who become acquainted with Islamic teachings. Both in the
    newly-formed African countries and the Arab countries under
    the yoke of imperialism, Islam has emerged as a militant
    ideology of revolt and struggle for the oppressed people of the

    Western civilization, which for centuries has been waging war
    openly as well as covertly against Islam, has sprung to its feet at
    the emergence of this phenomenon. As a result, the bourgeois
    imperialist West has adopted the stance of peaceful coexistence
    with the Marxist Eastern bloc. With its innate affinity with
    Zionism, it established a Zionist state in the heart of the Muslim
    world. On the other hand, it endeavours to win the hearts of the
    followers of other faiths, such as Buddhists and Zoroastrians.
    Today it appears that the West is busy in uniting all the forces
    opposed to Islam and justice and equipping them against the
    Muslims. It is for this reason that every now and then we see
    steps being taken and conspiracies being hatched, in every nook
    and cranny, to weaken the impact of Islamic slogans and
    teachings. As a consequence of all these conspiracies and
    unholy alliances, the sense of common anguish is growing
    amongst Muslims, strengthening further the fabric of their
    collective consciousness.

     The Islamic outlook and the sense of suffering is expanding
    today and the Islamic nationhood is in the process of a rebirth, a
    nationhood that transcends the conventional age - old frontiers
    and embraces all Muslims, or rather all free and God-loving
    human beings. It is a nationhood which negates the sovereignty
    of every nation, tribe and family and is founded upon the
    freedom and liberty of man from every kind of intellectual, social
    and political bondage and upon his ascent to the heights of the
    abode of the Divine.

     Men like 'Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi, Sayyid Jamal al-Din
    Asadabadi, Muhammad 'Abduh, Na'ini, Iqbal and Bashir
    Ibrahimi are the pioneers of this new outlook of tawhid and
    Islam. They were the first to feel the new anguish and to spouse
    the Islamic aspiration; they were the founders of a new
    nationhood based on tawhid. It is the lament of Iqbal Lahuri
    which like morning breeze awakens the slumbering hearts and
    unites the divided consciousness of the Muslim world, reminding
    it of its mission of magnanimous service to God's creation and
    bringing the good tidings of man's freedom and liberation:

         O sleeping bud, wake up to a narsissus-like
         vigilance over the world,
         Rise, for griefs have devastated our haven;
         Let the lament of the morning fowl and the dawn
         call of prayer wake you up;
         Rise, the fire-eaters are at work and the fire-balls
         hang in the air.
         Rise from heavy slumber, from heavy slumber
         What an ocean is thine that is silent like a desert?
         What an ocean is that which swells not and falls
         like a lake?
         What an ocean is it that knows no storms and
         Rise like a tidal wave from the split breast of the
         Rise from heavy slumber, from thine heavy
         slumber arise!
         Beware of the West and its bewitching coquetry!
         Beware of its disloyal charm and its Michiavellian
         The world lies desolate from the savagery of the
         O builder of the Sanctuary, take up the task of
         building a new world!
         Rise from thine heavy slumber, from thine heavy
         slumber arise!
         From thine heavy slumber arise !


       1.J. J. Chivallier, les grandes oeuvres politiques troisieme
       2.Translator's note: Martyr Mutahhari has referred to the
         common Indian language as 'Hindi', but what he really
         means here is the expression of nationalist sentiments in
         Urdu during the Indian Freedom Movement. Usually no
         distinction is made in the Middle East between Urdu and
         Hindi. By 'Hindi' the people of this region mean the
         'Indian language'.
       3.In this context, refer to the writings of such intellectuals as

         Mirza Salih and Fath 'Ali Akhundzadeh from the early
         days of the Constitutional Movement and then those of
         Faridun Adamiyyat, or the steps taken by the government
         of Ataturk in modern Turkey.
       4.Refer to such works as: Parwin, dukhtar-e Sasan, Az in
         Awesta, Do qarn-e sukut, Mah-e Nakhshab,
         Majmu'ah-ye Iran-e bastan, and Majmu'ah-ye Iran
       5.Triburmund, Jahani miyan-e tars wa umid (Persian
       6.Frantz Fanon, Les damn'ees de la terre: de la culture

                Index of articles from Al-Tawhid


Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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