Human Rights in Islam (A View on Racism & Assabiyah Problem)

Islam Concept On Country

Islam means “submitting our will to Allah swt” and the religion told all the followers to obey in total absolute all the command from Allah (swt) through His messenger Muhammad s.a.w. (Maududi).

Islam also means “peaceful” which for the believer, there will be peace among human from all harm. Islam also bringing peaceful to the country and other countries in this world by accepting the entire principal in teaching in Islam.

What is Racism?

What is racism? It can be define as the hatred from someone to someone else, or believe that the others more less than real human being, causing by color of their skin, culture, place of birth or any particular things on each of them. Usually there’s no racist will admit that they are racist except the person with serious mental illness.

In other definition:

Racism is the belief that a particular race superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Racial separatism is belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another.

1-What is Assabiyah and Nationalism?

The real meaning came from the Latin word, “natio” which means the birth. From the word “natio” itself, came the words nation (race), nationality, national, nation-state, and nationalization (ref: AC Kapoor, Principles of Political Science, New Delhi: S Chand. 1981, p. 126).

In Arab language, nationalism being called al-wathaniyah (spirit of loving the country)

2. Assabiyah

In Al-Quran, five words has been found which relates with assabiyah. Usbah (a group or descendant) being mentioned four times and asib (hazardous or dangerous) once. For example the verse 8 and 14 from surah Yusuf

“(The story begins) when the brothers of Joseph (Yusuf) said (to one another): “Joseph and his brother (his brother Benjamin (Bunyamin) (Their mother is Rachel (Rahil) while 10 other brothers are their half brothers of the same father) are dearer to our father than ourselves, though we are so many (That is, therefore, we have more right to be loved than those 2 who are still young). Truly, our father is clearly being unjust.”- (12:8)

And also in surah An-Nur verse 11:

“Indeed those who spread the slander were a group among you. Do not consider it (the slander) as a bad thing for you; in fact it is good for you. Each one of them shall be punished according to the sin he committed. As for him who had the greater share of the sin, His punishment (in this world and the Hereafter) shall be terrible indeed. (That is, those Muslims who were influenced by the slander and spread it shall be punished in this world, while the leader of the hypocrites who invented it shall be disgraced in this world and shall face awful torment in the Hereafter (Judgment day))”- (24:11)

From these (usbah) verses, borned the term of assabiyah (racist) and ta’assub (group of fanaticism)

Is Nationalism relates With Assabiyah?

Sheikh Mujaddid Nusantara, A. Hasan Bandung (w. 1958) in his very important book “Islam dan Kebangsaan”, Bangil: Persis, (3rd printed, 1972) explained, before Indonesia achieve the independence, theres’ few groups of people who fight to free Indonesia from the Dutch. 2 main group are, first: the pure nationalism, which fought for Indonesia just because of the Indonesian race without thinking on the importance of Islamic teaching, they also forbidden Islamic teaching became the policy of the struggle on nation-country. The incident of some Nationalist in our neighboring country, Indonesia can be good example during this modern era. Groups so called BENDERA prove it. Hopefully, Allah may give them hidayah to think. Insha Allah.

The second group, a group which took religion as the policy of their struggle and give aimed on the existence of nation and syari’at (Law and Rules). The true national struggle (without the spirit of religion) being denied and that the meaning of assabiyah being mentioned in many hadiths as the ugliness of assabiyah.

Conclusion: A. Hasan Bandung rejected any nationalist idea which never giving any attention on Islam as the policy, fighting on the spirit of nation and race are the struggle of assabiyah which it’s totally despised.

Human-Rights in Islam

In Islam, each person are different not because of their title, race, descent skin color from where they coming from. Islam more into the individual faith on the religion. Unfortunately, only God alone knows how deep the faith of each Muslim. We only can judge based on the outside without the power that can evaluate the high and low the level of faith on each person.

Responsibility to the citizens of Islamic countries

Islam ensures that all citizens under the ruler of the Islamic nation is secure on their property and lives from any external or internal threats. It also guarantees that people will not be on any aspect of harmfully physical, mental or spiritual. In Islam, a dzimmi (reject that submission under Islamic rule) cannot be killed and kill them is a bigger sin mi than killing a Muslim.

“For those who murder a mu’ahid (non-Muslim who involve in the peace treaty or a dzimmi), they will never smell the scent of heaven, the scent can be smell (within range) in 40 years of journey” (HR Bukhari)

In Quran: “Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither made war on (your) religion and nor driven you out of your homes. Indeed, Allah loves those who are equitable.”- (60:8)

Racism, Assabiyah and the rights of the Indigenous People

The question is whether in Islam, the rights of indigenous people being confine? What is someone who comes from a place where he can’t claim the rights and release it?

Before we explain more about this right, we should understand the concept of justice. Fair means “put something in place that it should be” and cruelty is just the opposite.

In Islam, the rights of indigenous people are maintained. For example the right to be the caretaker of the Zam Zam water given to descendants of Al-Muttalib. Similarly, the rights of the land were owned by the indigenous people since long time ago. (A badwi people in Makkah consider as the indigenous people)

But there are also the rights of non-indigenous people should be given to them. The guidelines that can be granted or not is up to the righteous government and the Islamic guidelines.

Ukhuwah Is the Cure for Racism

Ukhuwah (brotherhood) is the drug to the racist and Assabiyah. Allah mentioned in surah Al Hujurat, verse 3:

“O Men! Truly we have created you from a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know (and be kind to) one another. The noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one most deeply conscious of Him among you (not in accordance with the nobility of lineage or ethnicity). Truly, Allah is Most Knowing, Most Aware (of your state and deeds)”. – (49:3)

According to Tafsir Ibn Khatir, man is created from the prophet Adam and Eve (a.s) as one race. But the man himself created the boundaries that differentiate between each other.

The cure for this racial problem is brotherhood. Allah also said in same chapter that: “The true believers are brothers”

When touching the subject on the Mu’min (believers), we touched on his faith to Allah swt and not skin color, race, ethnicity and so on.

Prohibition of Contempt and Ridicule of Other People (even Non-Muslims) 

Islam forbids the ummah (followers) to curse others and but encourage them to befriend other people to show qudwah (good character), which is good for taming them with Islam. Word of Allah in Surah al Hujurat: 11

” O believers! Let not some men among you deride others, who may perhaps be better than they. Nor let women mock others, who may perhaps be better than they are. Do not
defame one another, nor call one another with offensive nicknames (Those who do all these will become evil-doers). An evil thing indeed to be called by a bad name denoting evil-doing after embracing the true faith. And (remember), those who do not repent repent (from their evil deeds) are indeed wrongdoers”- (49:11)

Prohibition in this chapter includes Muslims and non-Muslims as long as they do not fight against the religion of Islam itself. In fact, Allah says that those who ridicule this will be label as wicked and should repent.

Policies of the Government and The Aqidah 

Some of us look at racist and assabiyah problem as normal and does not carry any implications. In fact, what is worse, there is the view that the racist and this assabiyah demanded in Islam? This is the view of the criterion and rejected.

There’s also some point of view that the racist started by non-Muslims, then we also have to “play the game” (involve in the idea). This is also a wrong understanding.

History has shown that Muslims, not count on their race, ethnicity and geographic region, are one. This is the strength of Muslims around the world during the reign of Caliph.

Then, there’s’ weak administration and one by one Muslim country being colonized. The geographical land of Muslim countries being divided either by the British, Dutch, Portuguese, French and others.

The colonial are also aware of one thing. The strength of Islam lies in the strength of their faith. But in every country that being colonized, colonial grows seed of racism and Assabiyah idea. So, theres’ what is called a policy of “divide and rule”.

The idea of divide and rule in Malaysia has divided people into races, socio-economy which classified people according to their social and economic development. The Malays in villages as farmers, the Chinese in the city as traders and the Indians in the estates as farm workers.

Malaya also divided according to the geography and administration. There’s no more the nature of one nation and one form of idea or thinking but there’s’ an individualistic idea among all the people.

Even after the colonial had gone, they want us to keep the idea as a habit. The future administrators were given western education and must follow the idea of westernization, until the emerged of the political party that stand under the name of race or tribes to divide nation (Malaysia) in a very smooth way. For the colonial, it’s not easier to colonize the nations that unite and it can become a major problem to them.

Therefore, even after 20 years of independence, the nation’s resources still sucked out by British-owned companies like Guthrie, Sime Darby and others. This occurred before these companies bought by locals (Malaysian) because of the realization of this colonial dirty tactics.

Although the colonial-owned companies has been successfully overthrown, and “pipeline” of their economy sources has been successfully blocked, but the seeds that planted before still remain inside the people’s head. So, one race alone always prejudice with other race. They still want to see other people as “immigrants” and “foreign” and have their hidden agenda.

Such prejudices that prevent non-Muslims coming to Islam and the needs for the Muslims must be Qudwah Hasanah (good example) will never work. In contrary, many Muslims are the loud voices for the racist idea.


We have been independent for over 50 years. The colonial attitude should being remove and be thrown away. But we also know, 53 years isn’t too long. We are just start to stand and walk like a baby.

If we want to become a progress nation, we need to move as ONE and not in racial groups or a political parties and different races. In this way, we can shows the beauty of Islam and remember Muslims not looking at the appearance and properties, but our faith (aqidah) and akhlak.

“He does not look your appearance or property, but God looks into your hearts,” HR Muslim

Happy 53rd Merdeka Day Malaysia sincere from my heart and may we all come together as ONE and back to the real teaching of the true faith (Please refer back to my previous entry here). Amen.

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