Could you please explain the concept of nation according to Islam?

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Could you please explain the concept of nation according to Islam?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The concept of nation refers to religion and shariah in Islamic literature. It does not bear a meaning which is similar to the concept of nation that is widely used today and defined as “the whole people who live on the same territory and who descend from the same origin and who have history, traditions and language in common”.

The Qur’an defines the meaning of the word nation in Islamic literature. The word nation used in the following verses are used referring to the religion and shariah as the word suggests: “Who (therefore) shrinks from the Way of Abraham, save him who makes himself a fool?” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:130)

“Say (to them, O Messenger): "Rather, the Way of Abraham of pure faith (is what we choose, the Way free from unbelief, associating partners with God and hypocrisy, that we may be rightly guided. )"” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:135)

“Say (O Messenger): "God speaks the truth. " Therefore, follow the way of Abraham as people of pure faith (a faith free of unbelief, of associating partners with God, and of hypocrisy).” (the Qur’an, Aal-‘Imran, 3:95)

 “Who is better in religion than he who has submitted his whole being to God (seeking only His good pleasure, as one devoted to) doing good, aware that God is seeing him, and who follows the way (millah) of Abraham being of pure faith (free of unbelief, of associating partners with God and of hypocrisy).” (the Qur’an, an-Nisa, 4:125)

According to the Islamic scholars acting upon the usage of the word in the Qur’an, nation means the same as religion and shariah. In other words, the word nation reflects the social aspect of the religion. However, it does not refer to the society but the religion whereby society gathers together.

In figurative usage, the defining factor is not ancestry, history or language etc as in the concept of nation but it is naturally the religion. That is to say, the word nation is used to refer to those who believe in the divine religion. For this reason, the expression “Islamic nation” as the word suggests literally refers to the religion of Islam and figuratively refers to the whole nations who are Muslim. On the contrary, the word nation cannot be used to either literally or figuratively to refer to the Arab nation or Turkish nation because, the words Arab or Turk do not represent a religion but a race.

Islamic nation does not only refer to those who believe in Muhammad (pbuh) but also to all the Muslims beginning from the very first prophet. 

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