Positive and negative nationalism


We have made you into tribes and families so that you may know one another (49:13). In other words, so that you may know one another and therefore help and love one another, not so that you may remain strange to one another and be enemies to and transgressors against one another.

Just as a private soldier has a specific duty and bond in relation to the squad, platoon, and the entire hierarchy of an army, so everyone has a chain of bonds and duties in society. If these bonds and duties were not named and specified, mutual acquaintance and assistance would not emerge.

The awakening of nationalism is either positive – it revives and develops through human compassion and concern that comes from fellow-citizenship, which in turn leads to mutual knowing and assistance – or it is negative and rises through racist passions and tendencies, which causes mutual rejection, resistance, and enmity. Islam categorically rejects this negative nationalism.

(From Sunuhat [“Occurrences to the Heart”])

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi