Nationalism and Racial Superiority
God in the Quran asserts that no race or ethnicity of people is superior to the other and that recognition of diversity is to be appreciated.
“O’ Humanity! Without doubt We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into various nations and tribes, so that you may come to know and understand one another. Definitely the most honoured among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most Allah-Consciousness. Surely Allah has full Knowledge and is All-Aware.” [49:13]
From the beginning of this Surah to the present verse under discussion, God (Glorified and Exalted is He) has addressed the people five times with the phrase:
“O’ you who have true faith…”
However in this verse, the sphere of those being addressed has been widened from “those who have true faith” to “humanity” in general – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. As if to say that the origin of all people is one common ancestry.
In the sight of God, superiority is not granted by lineage which is beyond one’s control but by uprightness which is well under one’s control. The relationship of righteousness and the common ancestry can be seen in the following verse:
God says, “O humankind! Be mindful of your Lord who has created you from a single soul, and created from that soul its mate, and has brought forth from them multitudes of men and women [4:1].
It can be further inferred by the above verses that righteousness in the sight of God is not exclusive to particular ethnicity or race etc.
The Quran advocates the origin of the essential equality, human worth, and dignity of all people, is God:
We have honoured the children of Adam [ie. 'modern humanity']and carried them by land and sea; We have provided good sustenance for them and favoured them specially above many of those We have created. [17:70]
Again, no one should boast of their particular lineage, ethnicity, race or nationality; since essentially all people have a common ancestry, the ‘Human Race’.
Needless to say that God in the Quran does not condemn the ascription to a distinct ethnicity or nationality etc. as long as it is free from a supremacist (be it racist, nationalist or any other) world view. Since nations are part of the natural world we live in.
Every nation has a fixed term. When that term expires, they can neither delay nor hasten [their inevitable demise].” [7:34]
Whilst recognising the validity of, ethnic or cultural differences, people should view them as signs of God’s creative power, not as the basis of false pride, mutual hostility and destructive political agendas.
And among His Signs is the creation of Heaven and Earth, and the variation of your languages and your colors. Surely, in this are signs for those endowed with knowledge. [30:22].
And Allah knows best.
For Younger Readers
God teaches in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims that:
Nationalism is a form of racism and false pride
All human beings have a common ancestor
God honoured the Human race