Nationalism: A Political Concept Part 1

Nation: A Political Perspective by Allama Iqbal

Explanation by Maulana Ghulam Rasul Meher
Translated into English by Muhammad Faizan Chaki

Wherever Allama Iqbal has denounced Nationalism, people have always misunderstood it. There are 2 meanings  of the word Nationalism:

Firstly, the national of a particular country. Where the person was born, where he was brought up, where he lives, he has a special love for that soil, he works his utmost for it's betterment and well being. He bares all difficulties to save it from enemies and even sacrifice his own blood and money for his land, because it's in his own, his family, his relatives and his fellow countrymen's interest to save his land from any kind of danger whatsoever. Iqbal has never protested to this idea of Nationalism.

On the other hand, there's this concept of Nationalism adopted by the West. Meaning, in the west every country's foundation in on his nationality. For example, English are the people living in England, French are the people living in France. Similarly, German are the people living in Germany, Irish are the people living in Ireland. This meaning of Nationalism divided the people into pieces. It lead to wars and bloodshed. And because of the same notion Europe has to face 2 World wars, and there are now dangers of a 3rd one today.

To raise his voice and protest against this idea of Nationalism was one of the achievements in the Iqbal's life. He saw that Europe controlled the world, and the Muslims have become weak politically. They're being inspired by the knowledge and ideas of the West, and some of those Muslims nations has already adopted Europe's concept of Nationalism, which was the main cause of war in the West, was now coming to the Muslim lands.That's exactly why Iqbal made it his life's mission to save Muslims of this danger and worked for the same cause extensively. This poem is also part of that mission.

Sorry to say, but Muslims did not understand this idea well, and that's exactly why Iqbal clarified it for the Muslim in his various works.

It's necessary to say give some points on the concept of Nationalism which is embraced by the West:

1- The people of the West make nation the basis of their establishment.
2- If there is a conflict between Religion and the State or State and The People, then they'll leave truth and justice aside and give their Nation the upper hand in everything.
3- Because of this idea of Nationalism, there came about a wave of un-religiousness and a big part of Europe gain freedom from all the rules and regulations.
4- The same notion has destroyed every possible goal of a person's life and everything shrunk into a small piece of soil which is called a Nation.

Islam denounces all of these concepts, ideas and notions outrightly, the concept of Nationalism in the West is about to destroy the basis of Islam's unity, and Iqbal was unable to stand it anymore and hence this poem came about.

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