Nigeria At 58: The Love For One’s Country Is A Sign Of Faith (Iman), By Imam Murtadha Gusau
I Begin With The Name Of Allah, The Most Merciful, The One Who Bestows Mercy
Indeed all praise is for Allah; we praise him, seek His aid and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in ourselves and we seek refuge from our evil actions Whoever Allah guides none can misguide him, and whoever Allah misguided none can guide him.
I bear witness there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, He is alone and has no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final Messenger.
May the peace and salutations of Allah be upon him, his family and his enlightened Companions, and those who follow them up in goodness until the Day of Resurrection. To proceed:
Dear Brothers and Sisters! In Islam, speaking about one’s country progress and development and professing love for it is not a discussion which revolves around racism, bigotry or nationalism. Rather it is a discussion revolving around one’s life, place and growth; it is based on the depth of one’s values and principles.
Imam Al-Jurjani said:
“A person’s country is the place of his birth and where he resides.” [See At-Ta’rifat, page 327]
Imam Al-Asma’i said:
“I heard a Bedouin (an Arab man from the village) saying: ‘if you want to know a person, look to his affection and attachment to his country; his longing for his brothers and his weeping over the time which he has spent.” [See Al-Mujalasah by Ad-Dainuri, page 336]
Ibn Najjar Al-Baghdadi said:
“I heard Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Dawud say, ‘whoever does not drink from the water of loneliness and does not place his head on the pillow of sadness, he has not known the right of his country and soil; and neither the right of the people of knowledge and elderly…” [See Zail Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 16, page 207]
So loving one’s country and affiliating to one’s nation is something which is a natural human instinct; it is the nature which Allah has created people upon. When a person is born in a particular land, grows up in it, drinks from its water, breaths its air and lives amongst its people, his natural human instinct connects him to that land; he loves it and is loyal towards it. It is sufficient as an insult to a person’s feelings that it is said that he has no country. In the noble Qur’an, loving one’s country has been linked to loving one’s self. Allah, the Majestic and Exalted, said:
“If We had decreed upon them, “Kill yourselves” or “Leave your homes,” they would not have done it, except for a few of them.” [Qur’an, 4:66]
In fact, Allah linked the love of one’s country to the religion, He said:
“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” [Qur’an, 60:8]
In the following Qur’anic verse, had it not been for what a person’s country means to him, the disbelievers would not have threatened the Messengers of Allah to exile them from their country. Allah the Most High said:
“And those who disbelieved said to their Messengers, “We will surely drive you out of our land, or you must return to our religion.” So their Lord inspired to them, “We will surely destroy the wrongdoers. And We will surely cause you to dwell in the land after them. That is for he who fears My position and fears My threat.” [Qur’an, 14: 13-14]
Also in the story of the people of Prophet Lut (Alaihis salam). Allah the Almighty said:
“They said: “If you do not desist, O Lut, you will surely be of those evicted.” He said: “Indeed, I am, toward your deed, of those who detest [it]. My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do.” [Qur’an, 26:167-169]
Allah also connected between being exiled from one’s country and killing, He said:
“If We had decreed upon them, “Kill yourselves” or “Leave your homes,” they would not have done it, except for a few of them.” [Qur’an, 4:66]
Our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was tested with both of these difficulties on both sides. In Makkah, the Quraish threatened him using their tongues and hands, as well as the hypocrites in Madinah who also threated him. Allah, the Most High, said regarding the threat of the Quraish:
“And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” [Qur’an, 8:30]
And he said regarding the threat of the hypocrites:
“They say, “If we return to Madinah, the more honoured [for power] will surely expel therefrom the more humble.” And to Allah belongs [all] honour, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know.” [Qur’an, 63:8]
Anas, May Allah be pleased with him, mentioned that:
“When the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) returned from a journey he would, upon seeing the high pathways of Madinah, make his she camel proceed faster; and if it were another animal, even then he used to make it proceed faster.” [Bukhari]
In another narration:
“When he returned from a journey, and saw the walls of Madinah, he would make his riding camel proceed faster, and if he was on another animal he would move it [faster] due to his love of it.”
Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) said:
“This Hadith proves the virtue of Madinah, as well as the legislation of loving one’s country and showing affection for it.” [Fath al-Bari, vol. 3, page 621]
The most beautiful love towards one’s country is when Allah also loves the country as well as the person himself loving the country. This is what Allah gave to His Prophet (Peace be upon him) when He loved Makkah, however he tested the Prophet (Peace be upon him) by distancing him from it. Abdullahi Ibn Adiy Az-Zuhari, May Allah be pleased with him, narrated that he heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying whilst standing in Al-Hawza in the market of Makkah:
“By Allah, you are the best land of Allah, you are the most beloved land of Allah to Allah, the Majestic and Exalted. Had it not been for me being exiled from you, I would have never left you.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, with an authentic Isnad]
Al-Aini, May Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“Allah tested His Prophet though him having to depart from his country.”
As-Suhaili, May Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“In this is an evidence for loving one’s country, and the severity upon a person due to departing it.”
Al-Hafiz Az-Zahabi, May Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned the things which were dear and beloved to the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), he said:
“He used to love his wife Aisha, her father Abu Bakr, Usamah Ibn Zaid, his two grandchildren Hasan and Husain, sweet food, honey; he used to love mount Uhud and he used to love his country.” [See Siyar A’lam An-Nubala, vol. 15, page 394]
This is what our role model and example, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was like; in his pure heart he held a sincere love for his country. Today, as Nigerians, in our time, we have a great country which is precious in our hearts. However we need to purify our hearts, and hearts are not purified except with love, but this love will never be fulfilled unless it is according to what Allah has legislated for us.
Ali Ibn Abi Talib – May Allah be pleased with him – said:
“When we came to Madinah we tasted some of its vegetation and became ill and tired…” [Ahmad]
Ibn Abdul-Barr, May Allah be pleased with him, said:
“In this Hadith is an explanation of what is normal to people’s custom even today, that when a person moves to another land which he is not accustomed to its environment and has neither drank from its water, he finds difficulty and denial…it also shows the love and yearning that most people have for their country and the emotional longing and grief they have due to them leaving their country in which they were born and grew up.” [See Al-Istizkar, vol. 26, page 48]
Bilal Ibn Rabah, May Allah be pleased with him, said:
“O Allah curse Shaibah Ibn Rabi’ah, Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah and Umayyah Ibn Khalaf because they exiled us from our lands to the land of illness…” [Bukhari]
Ibn Al-Mulaqqin, May Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“As for Bilal, he yearned to return back to Makkah, his country in which he was accustomed to and remained healthy therein.” [See At-Tawdhih, vol. 12, page 579]
Amir Ibn Abdullah said:
“I find myself regretting [leaving] Basrah for four matters: not being able to answer the call of its Mu’azzin, [the feeling of] its extreme thirst; because my brothers are there and because it is my country.” [See Az-Zuhd, by Imam Ahmad, page 227]
Ibrahim Ibn Adhama (died 162 AH) said:
“I have not severely suered for leaving anything than the suering of leaving my country.” [See Hilyatul Awliya’, vol. 7, page 370]
Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, May Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“Humans love their lands due to what it contains, a person is able to find comfort by remaining there, and if he is away from his land he finds himself yearning for it, he defends it if it is attacked and becomes angry if it is belittled.”
The great Islamic scholars authored independent books on the issue of loving one’s countries such as the book: “Yearning for one’s country” by Imam Abu Hatim As-Sijistani; and the book: “Loving one’s country” by Amr Ibn Bahr Al-Jahidh. In addition to this the innumerable verses of poetry that were authored regarding this. As-Subki mentioned in the biography of Imam Abu Muhammad Al-Muzani, “that he authored a book regarding loving one’s country. He then became ill after authoring it by a week and then died. He became known as: ‘The one who was killed due to his love of his country!”’ [See At-Tabaqaat, vol. 3, page 19]
Therefore it should be known that the Arabic word “Watan” is not repulsive nor is it evil as some people think. Rather it has been mentioned upon the tongues of many of the Imams of knowledge and religion – as has preceded.
According to Islam, affiliating to one’s country symbolises a form of unity to the Jama’ah (main body of Muslims); the teachings of Islam emphasise and reiterate the importance of this. This is as long as loving one’s country is according to the guidelines of Shari’ah and within the limits that should be considered. It is also worth mentioning that affiliating one’s self to a country is a means of security and safety; we are able to protect the minds of majority of our youth against destructive thoughts and ideas, deviant methods, oppressive onslaughts and malicious rumours which are propagated by people of malice and spite in order to undermine this country, its capabilities and resources, and more so to undermine the people of authority in this country as well as its trustworthy sincere scholars. This country has religious, political, security, intellectual, cultural and economic distinctions which other countries do not have.
It is a mistake to think there is a contradiction between having a sense of patriotism– according to its natural meaning – and between Islam. In fact perceiving a contradiction between them is nothing except a deceptive avenue to insult Islam, and trying to manipulate and exploit people’s natural intrinsic love for their country. This paints a picture in the minds of people that the legislative laws of the Shari’ah somehow obstruct and cripple the interests of the country because Islam contradicts and negates a person’s patriotism and loving one’s country! One of the alien concepts that have been deliberately associated with this is by the Harakiyyun (political activists in the clothes of religion) who have a despised partisan narrative upon which they try to cultivate young people. This alien concept of theirs is that there is only one global Muslim state which does not have any countries nor borders.
Due to this concept, allegiance to the country of Tawhid, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is disputed in fact completely absolved. Their anger and rage increases when this blessed country is mentioned, or one of its qualities and merits is praised; this blessed country in the shade of which its citizens live, in fact the whole Islamic world benefits from it. And the essence of patriotism towards it is: having the correct Aqidah, a binding pledge of allegiance, fulfilling our responsibilities, supporting and obeying its leaders, not rebelling against the main body of Muslims and feeling a sense of belonging to it.
Respected Brothers and Sisters! In Islam, loving one’s country is shown by fulfilling our responsibility towards it and its people, and preserving its security.
Loving one’s country is shown by defending and respecting it, its religion, sanctuaries and citizens.
Loving one’s country is shown by remaining within its laws, and rectifying its people and not corrupting them in any way.
Loving one’s country is shown by respecting the elderly, having concern for the youth, respecting the neighbour, having respect for its laws, keeping the towns and streets clean and not annoying the fellow citizens.
Loving one’s country is shown by protecting its assets and resources, and by every sincere Muslim interacting with each other with the correct Islamic manners and etiquettes.
Loving one’s country is not one day in a year only, neither is it displaying photos and flag only, rather loving it is fulfilling rights and responsibilities every day, in every situation.
My Dear Respected Brothers and Sisters! Love for one’s nation and country is natural. Consider the following Hadith:
“A woman named Fasilah narrates that she heard her father saying: I asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) “O Messenger of Allah, is love for one’s nation considered chauvinism?” He (Peace be upon him) replied: “No, chauvinism is partly to help one’s nation in perpetrating injustice.” [Ibn Majah]
However, the important point is how and where to channel the love you have for your country. True love for one’s country demands that one wants the best for his country. He cannot bear seeing his country unsuccessful. The true success is the success of the hereafter. In Surah Yasin, Allah speaks of Habib Najjar. When his country denied the message of the Messengers, his love and concern for his country made him restless. He was aware of the grave consequences of denying the message of Allah. Allah said in the Qur’an:
“A man (Habib Najjar) from the far end of the city came running. He said: “O my people! Follow the Messengers! Accept the message of those who do not ask for any remuneration and they are guided.” [Surah Yasin, 20-21]
Therefore I advise all of you to channel your love in the right avenue. Work towards bringing your country/community towards those practices that will bring them goodness in the hereafter.
In the end, I ask Allah to protect our country, its leaders and its people from every evil, calamity, tribulation and difficulty; May He bring about safety, peace and security to our country. May Allah save us from divisions, disunity, differences, disobedience, corruption, terrorism and all evils.
May Allah protect our country, Nigeria, and it’s people, and May He the Most High protect all the Muslim countries, the Muslims and all the Humanity, ameen.
O Allah, bless Nigeria with continued peace, progress, strength, unity, and development.
O Allah, unite our country around the principles of justice, peace, love and faith.
Put peace and love in our hearts for the diversity that makes our country so beautiful.
Allah, the Most Merciful, we pray for our country to remain tolerant and loving, remove prejudice from our hearts, and allow us to love our brothers and sisters in humanity.
O Allah, allow our Governments to remain accountable to the people, give them vision and wisdom, as they take decisions affecting peace in our world so that they may uphold peace in the world, advance the welfare of our country and deal kindly and justly with all our communities.
O Allah, Most Strong, give us the strength to protect and care for our neighbours.
Make our hearts and minds aware of our heritage, fulfilling duties and responsibilities as a citizens.
O Allah, Most Merciful, allow us to show kindness to those most vulnerable in society.
Protect us from evil, inspire and guide us in defending those open to abuse.
O Allah, Most Generous, allow us to give in charitable activity, and to help those most in need.
Make us more conscious of what is not good for us.
O Allah, Most merciful, Most Generous, please give us the patience to continue to learn from one another and work towards a more peaceful and kind world.
Make our hearts generous so that we may treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Help us to share that which we have with others, for your sake. Strengthen us, love us and be kind to us all, ameen.
All praise is for Allah the Lord of the Worlds, and May peace and salutations be upon the most noble of Prophets and Messengers.
Your Brother, Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, writes from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.