Islam and Patriotism – Happy 64th, Pakistan!

Art and Photography by: Tehreem Iqbal

Art and Photography by: Tehreem Iqbal

Yesterday, after an Iftar party, I was discussing Pakistan’s Independence Day with my sister and sister-in-law and there seemed to be some confusion regarding celebrating it. This led me to research in detail on the topic of patriotism in Islam.

For those of you who are boggled by the same question, I am compiling my findings here. Hope this helps 🙂

These are excerpts from various articles over the Internet.

Skip to the end for a summary (in bullet points) and reference links. The quoted words are from Quran or Hadith.

[1] So can one be a Muslim and also a patriot? It comes down to interpretation. If loving and defending one’s country means supporting and overlooking its wrongs and defending its sins and aiding its aggressions, then absolutely NOT.

[2] If void of fanaticism and extremism and if held as an evidence of man’s faith or disbelief, patriotism goes in harmony with the Islamic notion and never contradicts it.

[3] Narrated by Abu Da’wud that the Messenger of Allah (saaw) said,

“He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyyah (nepotism), or who fights for `Asabiyyah or who dies for `Asabiyyah.”

[4]  Islam is a universal religion without territorial bounds and this teaching has profound wisdom and logic. The Holy Qur’an stresses on the obedience to authority in the following verse:

“O ye who believe, obey God and obey the Prophet and obey those in authority from among you.” (Chapter 4: Verse 60)

Prophet Muhammad has also said:

“He who obeys me, obeys God; he who disobeys me disobeys God. He who obeys his authority obeys me; he who disobeys his authority disobeys me” (Muslim, Kitab al Imarah).

Thus, the guidelines for obedience to authority and nation are clearly stated in the Holy Quran and elucidated by the Prophet. Commandments in this regard are very practical and rational … Muslims residing in various parts of the world have different nationalities… It is inconceivable and beyond logic to expect them to oscillate between different loyalties. It would only cause much disorder and disrupt the harmony of the society.

[5] Sheikh ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah: Majmo’ al-Fataawaa, Part 28, 201.:

“The one who judges without referring to the Quran is a taghut (means “false leader, liar etc” or believing an individual or any being or thing as a god.)”

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

“We made you into diverse peoples and diverse cultures that you may discover one another.”  [49:13]

[6] The Messenger of Allah (saaw) said:

“The believers, in their love, mutual kindness, and close ties, are like one body; when any part complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Muslim].

And: “The faithful are like one man: if his eyes suffers, his whole body suffers.” [Muslim].

[7] But our first loyalty is to Allah, creator of the heavens and the earth. This means upholding the truth and being faithful to our conscience. This should make us the most patriotic of all citizens, not simply blind followers of capricious politicians.

As Allah has said:

“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just” [Sura 60:8, al-Mum’tahina]

Sometimes, the most patriotic thing to do is to tell your leaders that they are wrong. Muhammad Ali, the boxer, did so when he refused to fight in Vietnam. He was called all sorts of nasty names. His patriotism was questioned, but later his stand was vindicated and he became an international hero. Nelson Mandela fought the unjust laws of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. He paid for that by spending 27 years in prison. He was accused him of being a traitor, being un-patriotic and un-South African. But today most South Africans treat him like their saviour, and his struggle inspires people who love justice and fair dealing, all over the world.


From all of these articles, I have deduced that:

  •  What we must realise is that our love for our country should not lead us to overlooking its wrongs.
  • We should refrain from nepotism (favouring our kin etc. for the sole reason that they are related to us), and promote justice instead.
  • We should understand that loving our birthplace and desiring to do some good for it (spreading positivity, working for the benefit of mankind, spreading Allah’s message in the land, promoting peace and fraternity) can be an ibadat as well.