The Correct Stance on the Issue of Composite Nationalism

[An Explanation of the Correct Stance on this Matter with Reference to the Hadiths of the Chapter]

Once you are aware of [the definition of] composite nationalism, and that all the arguments of the opposition to establish it are baseless, and its proof is weak in the Shari’ah and in the intellect, we will turn to explaining what the Shari’ah has come with, with respect to this subject, so we say:

The hadiths which we mentioned in the text indicate that Allah has removed the high-mindedness of Jahiliyyah, and that there is no superiority of a red person over a black person, and that Allah has appointed a caste for his creation and that is piety, and people refused but to appoint for themselves a caste besides this which is ancestry of forefathers. In all of this is clear evidence that ancestry, which has more influence in creating nations than does anything else, has no consideration with Allah; and it is only a pious believer or a wretched sinner.

“The similitude of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf and the seer and the hearer. Are they equal in similitude?” (11:24) Thus, the believers and the disbelievers will never be a single nation. Rather they are two different parties. Yes, there is no harm in their unity and agreement in worldly contracts and political affairs when the rule of Islam is dominant, and otherwise not. Since forming nations by ancestries is invalid, what is your opinion of forming nations based on colour, homeland and language?

He Almighty said: “The believers are but a single brotherhood.” (49:10) Hence, He considers all the believers brothers, whether they are Arab, non-Arab, black, red or white, from whichever land they are from, and with whichever language they speak. Verily, Allah does not look at your forms; He looks only at your deeds and your intentions. Hence the consideration is on faith and deeds; while ancestry, homeland, colour and language measure up to nothing with Allah except in some rules, like leadership being particular to Quraysh and the consideration of compatibility in marriage for interests the lawgiver has indicated to and the jurists have expounded.

The hadith: “Whoever resembles a people (qawm), he is from them.” The least of the states of this hadith requires the impermissibility of resembling disbelievers and idolaters, although its outward requires disbelief of the one who imitates them, as in His Almighty statement: “Whoever from you takes them as protectors, then indeed he is from them.” (5:51)

There is no doubt that composite nationalism in the meaning we outlined entails the removal of distinction between Muslims and idolaters, and that all of them are equal in social conduct and culture, and they are united in name, language, form and publicity, and it is not hidden what this contains of destroying the foundations of Islam, for avoidance of the conduct of the disbelievers of the scriptuaries (ahl al-kitab) and the idolaters, and opposing the scriptruaries and the [non-Muslim] non-Arabs is a great and comprehensive principle from the principles of the Shari’ah with many branches.

I do not think that one who delves into jurisprudence and examines the indications of the Shari’ah and its objectives and the rationales of the jurists and their juristic discussions have any doubt about this. Rather, I do not think that whenever one in whose heart faith has settled and the reality of Islam has become clear to him, and that it is the religion of Allah besides which He will not accept from anyone, is warned of this point, except the life of his heart and the soundness of his faith will necessitate his awakening with the quickest of attentiveness. Nevertheless, we seek protection in Allah from the rust of hearts and the desires of souls which prevent [one] from recognising the truth and following it.

Ibn Taymiyyah said in Iqtida‟ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim: “Allah has indeed sent Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) with wisdom which is his Sunnah, and it is the law and the way which He instituted for him. Part of this wisdom was that He legislated for him actions and statements by which the path of those angered upon [i.e. the Jews] and the misguided [i.e. the Christians] will be separated; so he instructed him to oppose them in external conduct [like dress and speech] for [a number of] reasons: From them is that commonality in the external conduct creates an affinity and conformity between the two resembling parties leading to a level of conformity in character traits and deeds and this is a professed phenomenon, since the one who dons the dress of the people of knowledge for example, finds in himself a kind of attachment to them, and the one who wears the uniform of the army for example, finds in himself a kind of acquisition of their character traits and his nature becomes demanding of that [character] unless an obstacle prevents this. And from them is that opposition in external conduct necessitates separation and distinction leading to a cessation of the causes of [earning Allah‟s] anger and the means to deviation, and sympathy with the people of guidance and pleasure, and the realisation of that which Allah has severed of the friendship between his successful army and his losing enemies.”

Till he said: “Commonality with them in external conduct necessitates outward confusion, such that the ability to distinguish between the beloved rightly-guided ones and those angered upon and misguided based on the outward is not possible. And there are other wise reasons for this. This is when that external conduct is only permissible if free from their resemblance; as for it being from the necessities of their disbelief, it becomes a branch from the branches of disbelief, so conformity with them in this is conformation in one type of their disobedience. Hence, this is a principle which should be understood properly. And Allah knows best.” (p. 8)

The hadith: “Everything from the matter of Jahiliyyah is laid under my feet [i.e. cancelled].” Ibn Taymiyyah said in Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim: “That which they were upon of rituals and customs like their call ‘O family of so-and-so and O family of so-and-so’ and like their festivals and other than that from their activities are [all] included in this [hadith].” (p. 53) It is not hidden what is incorporated in composite nationalism, of participating with the idolaters in many of their festivals and the matters of their idolatry.

The hadith: “Qays ibn Matatiyya attended a circle in which Suhayb al-Rumi, Salman al-Farisi and Bilal al-Habashi were present…” I say: In this is manifest evidence of the repudiation of composite nationalism, for Qays ibn Matatiyyah only denounced Suhayb, Bilal and Salman being in the circle of Muslims because they were from the tribes of non-Arabs and were not Arabs, so Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was angered by this, and said: “Verily, Arabic is not for any one of you a mother and a father; it is only a language,” i.e. so there is no reason for making this the basis of nationalism.

It should not be said: “In this [is proof] of nationalism being based on speaking in Arabic due to his statement ‘whoever speaks Arabic, he is an Arab,‟” because we will say: Its meaning is: Arabic is not a measure of virtue, and it is only a language related to speech and nothing else, and there is no doubt that speech alone contains no superiority, as proven by what has passed from Abu Sa’id raised [to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)]: “Verily, your Lord is one, and your father [Adam] is one. Thus, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or a red man over a black man, except by piety.” And this is an authentic hadith.

The hadith: “His statement ‘They do not witness falsehood (zur),’ (Qur‟an 25:72) „[meaning,] they do not support the idolaters with their idolatry and do not mix with them.‟” A group have said about His Almighty statement “They do not witness falsehood” that its purport is a “false witness” which is “lying.” This is questionable since He said “They do not witness falsehood (yashhadun al-zur)” and did not say “They do not witness with falsehood (yashhaduna bi al-zur)” and the Arabs say “I witnessed such-and-such” as in “I attended,” as the statement of Ibn „Abbas: “I witnessed the ‘Id with Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace),” and the statement of ‘Umar “The booty is for the one who witnessed the battle.” This is frequent in their speech.

As for “I witnessed with such-and-such,” its meaning is: “I gave information regarding it.” The reasoning behind the exegesis of the Tabi’in is that falsehood is a feigned embellishment, as in his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) statement: “The one who shows off more than he has been given is like the one who wears garments of falsehood (zur).” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim) And since Allah has praised not witnessing falsehood, which is merely attending by sight or audition, then what about conformity with what is more than this, of deeds which are the deeds of falsehood? And it is not hidden that composite nationalism with the earlier definition leads to supporting the idolaters and conformity with them in many of their festivals which is blameworthy in the Shari’ah.

The hadith: ‘Umar said: “Avoid the speech of the non-Arabs, and entering upon the idolaters into their temples on the day of their festival.” In this [is evidence of] the detestability of a man habitually speaking in non-Arabic despite having ability over it, for the Arabic tongue is a symbol of Islam and its adherents, and languages are the greatest of the symbols of civilisations by which they are distinguished. Ibn Taymiyyah said: “For this [reason] we say: It is required for everyone capable of learning Arabic to learn it because it is the worthiest language of being desired, although it is not prohibited for anyone to speak in non-Arabic. Al-Shafi’i disliked for the one who knows Arabic to be named in other than it and to speak with it mixing non-Arabic with it. And this, what he mentioned, was said by the imams and is narrated from the Sahabah and Tabi’in. And it was transmitted from a group of them that they would speak with a word of non-Arabic after a word [in Arabic] as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to Umm Khalid bint Khalid ibn Sa„id ibn al-‘As while she was young, having been born in Abyssinia, ‘O Umm Khalid! This [dress] is sana’ and sana in the Abyssinian language meant ‘beautiful.’

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that he said to someone who caused him pain in his stomach: ‘Is shakm in durd?’ [i.e. ‘is my stomach in pain?’] Some narrated it raised [to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)] which is unsound. As for the habit of speaking in [a language] besides Arabic, which is a symbol of Islam and the language of the Qur‟an, until it becomes a habit of the city and its inhabitants and for the households and for a man with his companion and the people in the marketplace or the rulers or those in charge of the register or the scholars of jurisprudence, there is no doubt that it is disliked, as it is part of resembling non-Arab [non-Muslims], which is disliked as has preceded.

This is why the early Muslims, when they resided in the land of Syria and Egypt and the language of its people was a Roman language, and the land of Iraq and Khurasan and the language of its people was Persian, and the land of West Africa and the language of its people was Barbarian, they accustomed the inhabitants of these lands with Arabic until it became dominant in these lands, for their Muslims and their non-Muslims. This is how Khurasan was previously, but then they became relaxed in the matter of language and gained the habit of conversing in Persian, until it became dominant over them and Arabic was forgotten for many of them, and there is no doubt that this is disliked.

The desirable way is to be accustomed to speaking in Arabic so that the youngsters will pick it up in the homes and schools so the symbol of Islam and its adherents becomes dominant, and that makes it easy for Muslims to understand the meanings of the Book and Sunnah and the speech of the predecessors, as opposed to the one accustomed to a language and then wants to change to another as this is difficult. Know that being accustomed to a language influences the mind and characteristics and religion in a strong and clear way, and also influences resemblance with the earlier part of this religious community (ummah) of the Sahabah and Tabi„in, and resembling them increases intellect and religion and good characteristics; and also, Arabic language itself is part of religion and its knowledge is an obligation, since the understanding of the Book and Sunnah is an obligation and they are not understood but by [understanding] Arabic, and whenever an obligation is not fulfilled except by means of something else that becomes obligatory; and thereafter, from it [i.e. Arabic language] is what is obligatory on individuals and from it is what is obligatory communally.” (p. 98)

Once you know this, from the severest of what the Muslims are afflicted with in India is that their predecessors who conquered these lands left the habit of conversing in the Arabic language and they showed preference to the Persian language and then they founded a language composed of Arabic, Persian and Hindi called Urdu which is the dominant language in these lands, their Muslims and non-Muslims, and it is today a symbol of Muslims therein, from the remnants of the traces of their predecessors who had control over it and conquered it; and it is the language to which most of the sciences of Islam of the Qur’an, hadith, jurisprudence and the speech of the predecessors, in translation and commentary, has been transferred.

Thus, the Congress stood to eliminate this language from the land of India and popularise the Hindi language therein. It is not hidden that Hindi in relation to Urdu here is equivalent to Persian in relation to Arabic in the lands of the Arabs, so it is not permissible for Muslims to prefer Hindi over Urdu just as it is not permissible for the Arabs to prefer Persian over Arabic, due to what is in this of abolishing the symbol of Islam, since Urdu is the closest language to Arabic in the land of India and the easiest of them to learn and teach and the strongest of them with a connection to Arabic and the most widespread of them in the lands of Islam in speech and conversation, for there is no land from the lands of Islam except there is in it a group who speak it or understand it.

Hence, it is obligatory on the Muslims of India to preserve this language and maintain it, and refrain from the Hindi language which is the language of the idolaters and their symbol. And it is binding on the scholars to try hard to encourage the spread of the Arabic language in their schools, in speech, conversation and writing so that this Islamic symbol is not erased from the land of India as is the hope of the Congress and its devotees.

The hadith: ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr said: “Whoever builds in the lands of the foreigners and performs their Nayruz and their Mahrajan, and resembles them until he dies while he is like this, he will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” In this [is proof] of the prohibition of building in the lands of the idolaters and he only mentioned that – and Allah knows best – because in the time of ‘Abd Allah ibn „Amr and others of the Sahabah, they [i.e. the idolaters] were banned from displaying their festival in the land of Islam and the cities of the Muslims, and none of the Muslims would resemble them in their festival; and they would only be able to do that if it was in their land. Ibn Taymiyyah said this.

I say: This is just as you see in the land of India, that the houses of the Muslims and the idolaters are not mixed in the old lands, rather they are separate and distinct, so the idolaters are not able to display their symbols except in their lands and their areas, not in the lands of the Muslims. So whoever from the Muslims builds his house in an area of the idolaters to resemble them in their festivals for example, and avoids the area of the Muslims, his ruling is what ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr mentioned, and its outward entails that it makes him a disbeliever by participating with them in the totality of these activities or it makes that [practice] from the enormities necessitating hellfire, although the first is the outward of its wording. Hence, the participation in some of these [activities] is a sin. It is not hidden that composite nationalism leads to complete participation which is more severe than all of this, so there is no doubt it is a great sin from the enormities of disobedience.

The hadith: “Gain understanding of the Sunnah and gain understanding of Arabic, and understand the Arabic of the Qur’an, for it is in Arabic.” Gaining understanding in Arabic is from the communal obligations on the Muslims like gaining understanding of the Sunnah because understanding Arabic is the means to understanding the Qur‟an and Sunnah, and it is not hidden that that will not come about for the people of India except through the medium of Urdu for it is the language that facilitates the teaching of Arabic and learning it, as is manifest and obvious.

His statement, “understand the Arabic of the Qur’an, for it is in Arabic,” indicates the obligation of maintaining the Arabic of the Qur’an i.e. the Arabic of its words and letters, and it is not hidden that that will not come about for the people of India except by means of Urdu due to its comprising of all Arabic letters, and if they were accustomed to Hindi, they will never be able to Arabise the Qur’an due to it not having tha, sad, „ayn, za, dad and qaf. So understand.

The hadith: Muhammad ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas heard a people speaking in Persian, so he said: “What is the matter with this Zoroastrianism after pure monotheism?!” Speaking in Persian in Arab lands has been compared to Zoroastrianism after pure monotheism, and likewise speaking in Hindi and avoidance of Urdu in India is like becoming Hindu after being Muslim, since Urdu is the language of Muslims and Hindi is the language of the idolaters.

The hadith: “Whoever is proficient at speaking in Arabic must not speak in non-Arabic, for indeed it causes hypocrisy in him.” In this [is evidence] of the permissibility of speaking in non-Arabic for one not proficient at Arabic. As for one who is proficient at it and the addressee understands it, it is not permissible for him to speak in non-Arabic and become accustomed to speaking in it due to what is in this of preferring Arabic over non-Arabic which is a sign of hypocrisy. This ruling is specific to the Arab lands or the lands in which its inhabitants are accustomed to speaking in Arabic. Hence, it is not permissible therein for those proficient in Arabic to speak in other than it.

As for lands in which its inhabitants are not accustomed to speaking in Arabic, it is permissible there for those proficient in Arabic to speak in non-Arabic as the addressee does not understand Arabic, but if there are two languages there, one having a speciality with the Muslims and another having a speciality with the idolaters, it is not permissible for one proficient at the first to speak with the second due to what is in this of preferring the symbol of idolatry over the symbol of Islam. This is something indicated by the purport and meaning of the hadith as is not hidden. It is apparent that composite nationalism which the Congress advocate will lead to Urdu being erased from India which is from the symbols of Islam therein, so it is not permissible for Muslims to support it in this and participate with it in such wrongs. Allah is asked for help.

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