Chapter

Patriotism, Nationalism, and Group Spirit in Islam

Rashīd Ridā

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Patriotism, Nationalism, and Group Spirit in Islam

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He studied at the Ottoman government school and at Shaykh Husayn Jisr's school, both in Tripoli, Lebanon. Here he made his first contact with Muhammad Abduh, and later, in 1897, when he took refuge in Egypt, he became Abduh's faithful disciple and guardian of his ideas. In 1898, Rid founded the periodical al-Manr, which was the most important voice of Islamic reform in the Arab world. The following selection is a fatw (legal opinion) given by Rid in response to an inquiry from an Indonesian Muslim.

In this fatwa (authoritative religious opinion by a qualified jurist), which appeared originally in 1933, Rida cites a sound tradition (one of the authentic hadiths) of the Prophet in which he rejected group spirit, where group originally meant relatives who are heirs. Its meaning had since broadened to mean ones people. Rida seems to be saying that if group feeling is used narrowly on behalf of ones relatives, ones people, or ones fatherland, it is to be rejected, because it is bound to betoken prejudice. But group spirit in the defense of the Islamic community against invasion is commendable. Rida defends patriotism on grounds that it involves by and large the same principle that applies in Islamic law regarding defense and protection of the non-Muslim who enters the territory of the Muslims. If this is a categorical duty for Muslims in regard to non-Muslims, then it also applies in the case of a territorial state that consists of Muslims and non-Muslims. Patriotism implies that Muslims band together with non-Muslims to advance and protect the interests of the state.

Chapter.  1351 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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