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19. Patriotism

 

 

19. Patriotism
Islam appeared as a protest against idolatry. And what is patriotism but a subtle form of idolatry; a deification of a material object. The patriotic songs of various nations will bear me out in my calling patriotism a deification of a material object. Islam could not tolerate idolatry in any form. It is our eternal mission to protest against idolatory in all its forms. What was to be demolished by Islam could not be made the very principle of its structure as a political community. The fact that the Prophet prospered and died in a place not his birthplace is perhaps a mystic hint to the same effect.

* This entry was incorporated into the paper ‘The Muslim
Community’ the same year (1910). The passage read: “To my
mind the feeling of patriotism which the national idea evokes
is a kind of deification of a material object, diametrically
opposed to the essence of Islam which appears as a protest
against all the subtle and coarse forms of idolatry.” The very
next lines embody the substance of the previous reflection,
‘Fanaticism.

 

 

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