By on August 31, 2016

MERDEKA IMRAN-01 final-01

Can nationalism spur from different origins, at various times or in different places?

Can it be placed or served for different purposes?

Can we find a compendious definition of ‘Nationalism’ that encompasses all the elements?

The answer is a definite YES.

However, with some described nationalism as a ‘contingency’, while others provide inconsistent definitions of the term itself, nationalism has now become a controversial and yet vital concept to be understood.


Defining ‘Nationalism.’

If nationalism means to feel proud of the past achievements of our ancestors by following their footsteps and glories in building the all-time greatest, respected and exemplary civilisation thus it is a worthy, fine goal which we should encourage and advocate.

Prophet Muhammad once said:

“Those of you who were best in Jahiliyyah, are the best among you in Islam if they ‘understand’.”

(Narrated by Bukhari)

Therefore, we can see that Islam does not reject nationalism if it carries such virtues and noble qualities.

However, if nationalism means to spark ignorance to an extent, dissolving Islamic principles for materialistic gains, then this version of nationalism deserve condemnation and is reprehensible. Fanaticism and racial self-aggrandisement to a degree which leads to aggressions and violence against others for the sake of self- glory as preached by Italy and Germany before and during the World War 2 should be prevented. The consequences are destruction and catastrophe. It will not benefit Islam nor contribute to the victory of Islam. However, it will not dishonour Allah – at all.

As mentioned in the Al-Quran:

“And if you turn away (from the Path), He will replace you with another people; then they would not be like you!”

(Muhammad: 38)


The Malay Muslims and Nationalism.

The independence of Malaysia is not an automatic result, nor magical occurrence as well. It is a result of series of struggles, sacrifices and devotions – of the Prophet, his companions, Mujahid and the Syuhada’. It began with the spread of Islam throughout the Southeast Asia in the 15th and 16th century, contributing to the development of the Islamic empire in Malacca. It then started to decline when Portuguese colonised Malacca, followed by the Dutch, British and the Japanese. Disunity, treason, corruption and ignorance were rampant in those days, diminishing the power, we once had in the land.

British regained its power after the Japanese were defeated in the World War 2. The Malays began to unite with a strong identity; the essence of Malay and Islam against the British. Dato’ Maharajalela in Perak, Dol Said in Naning, Tok Janggut in Kelantan and Abdul Rahman Limbong in Terengganu are some of the great Malay fighters during that time. They faced series of brutal wars and prosecutions, but the Malays stood solidly behind their leaders. These awakenings gave new impetus to the Nationalism within the Malay community throughout the Peninsula.

We then saw a change of scene when the Malayan Union entered the political climate of Malay Kingdom. The Malays throughout the peninsula was uniting against the Malayan Union leading to its dissolution in a short period. The latter posed an alarming question to us, “If events as such the Malayan Union occur in the future, will the Malays unite once again?” or “Will we be able to gain our independence if we were placed in their shoes?” We are so divided with various sentiments, political interests and ideologies, even though being a Malay will automatically bond us through the aqidah of Islam.

The greatest disaster for the Muslims are separatism and disagreement, and the basis of victory should be love and unity of the Ummah. The current generation could only be ‘fixed’ and prosper through the same means as used by the early Muslim generation

Yes, there are differences amongst the Muslims, and some are unavoidable. It is impossible for us to be united in the subordinate aspect of the religion such as opinions, schools of thought and other related matters. We should never let these differences to stop us from having loving relations, strong co-operations for good causes and a united Ummah. The Prophet’s companions used to have differences in opinion, but it did not create huge differences between them or sunder their solidarity. They excelled in both their faith and worldly responsibilities, building a great civilisation with people around the world accepted their people, culture and Islam.

Dear Muslims in Malaysia, we should be united and strong as an Ummah. Together we rise and continue the struggle of the Prophet, his companions and our forefathers to achieve the absolute victory – the blessings of Allah. Let this 59th Independence Day be our uprising point, to be the role nation to Muslims all over the world and to spread the truth on Earth – Islam.


This article is an extraction from Majmu Ar- Rasail (Hassan Al-Banna) and the personal thoughts from the writer



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  • Zulhairi Mamat

    …after the Japanese were defeated in the World War 1…

    Should be WW 2