Friday, 13 April 2018

Iqbal and Honor of Country

بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتقين

The cancer of nationalism, both in its civic and ethnic forms, is literally tearing the Muslim world apart. The number of ethnic based separatist insurgencies presently being waged in our civilization certainly eclipses those of both the non-Muslim West and East. Consider the Kurdish and Baloch separatist movements, both unmistakably Marxist and radically secular. Iqbal, in his pitiful attempt to apologize for the kind of ethnic nationalism and authoritarian secularism unleashed by Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, claimed: “his Pan-Turanianism is only a political retort to Pan-Slavonism, or Pan-Germanism or Pan-Anglo-Saxonism.” (Islam and Ahmadism pp. 51-52) For all the hype about Iqbal being some kind of exceptional visionary, he obviously lacked the foresight to realize that whether or not Kemal’s own nationalism was merely a “political retort”, the present day ethnic separatism of the Kurds is certainly a reaction to Kemalist Turkey’s ideology and harsh policies. Likewise, the Kurds of Iraq and Syria, presently waging armed struggles for a “Kurdistan” is a phenomenon that can reasonably be said to be a reaction to the Pan-Arabism and Baathism of the Saddam and Assad regimes. Undoubtedly, it was Kemal who opened this Pandora’s Box. Next, Iqbal alleges: “Nationalism in the sense of love of one’s country and even readiness to die for its honour is a part of the Muslims’ faith” (p. 52). The truth is that there is absolutely no part of the Islamic faith which enjoins Believers to die for the honor of their country. Rather, such is condemned as Jahiliya “barbaric ignorance”. True, the Prophet (peace be upon him) highlighted the necessity of protecting life, property and honor, but the concept of a country possessing its own honor which must be protected and faught for is alien to our Religion. One wanders what Iqbal thought of the Sassanid soldiers who faught for the “honor” of Iran against the foreign Arabs who conquered and ruled them in the name of Islam. It is not difficult to see how this notion of dying for the honor of one’s country, which is fundamentally different from the virtuous readiness to die for one’s own personal honor and property, is in fact a kind of idolatry. It is impossible to be simultaneously loyal to both God and country. One has to be subordinated to the other, but when the question of fighting to the death arises in connection to this kind of metaphysical loyalty, it is clear that what one fights and dies for is ultimately his supreme object of loyalty and allegiance.

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