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13 December 2017 CE | 24 Rabbi al-Awwal 1439 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation


Lowlier than a Dung Worm


The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Undoubtedly Allah has removed from you the pride of arrogance of the age of Jahilliyah (Ignorance) and the glorification of ancestors. Now people are of two kinds: Either believers who are aware or transgressors who do wrong. You are all the children of Adam and Adam was made of clay. People should give up their pride in nations because that is a coal from the coals of Hell-fire. If they do not give this up Allah will consider them lower than the lowly worm which pushes itself through dung.” [Abu Dawud]

This hadith tells us that nationalism is one of the coals of Hell-fire. How can I boast about or even take pride in my skin colour, my language, my family history, my ethnicity, my country, or my ancestors, when I had nothing to do with which corner of the world or which family I was born into? These were Allah’s decisions that I cannot take credit for.

These things are not worth talking about since they are unrelated to Taqwa and have no bearing on whether I end up in Jannah or Jahannum. He who talks about these things is as though going through the excrement of animals.

Furthermore, if I feel proud of my ethnicity, ancestry or nationality, I will inevitably boast about them. The flip side of boasting is putting other people down. This will incite their resentment and might lead to Muslims fighting each other and invite Allah’s punishment on us all.

How can I boast about anything if I am going to end up in the fire of Jahannum? Those who take pride in their nationalities will end up in Jahannum because Allah says that it is a coal from the coals of Hell.

Nationalism is a construct of the 19th century. In it, one’s cultural heritage ranks higher than one’s religious affiliation. Unfortunately, Muslims also adopted this framework of allegiance despite Allah’s instructions to the contrary. It carved up the giant, powerful Ummah into little useless bits. If you cut an elephant into fifty pieces you don’t end up with fifty elephants. What you end up with is a bloody mess.

Even if nationalism could work for non-Muslims it will never work for Muslims because Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has set a higher standard for them. The answer a seventh grader writes to explain respiration may get him an “A” grade; but the same explanation offered by a student in graduate school will get him an “F.” Since Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has blessed us with divine guidance, if we fail to show proof of having received these instructions in our answers, we will not pass.

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