`Asabiyya or asabiyah (Arabic: عصبية) refers to social solidarity with an emphasis on unity, group consciousness, and social cohesion, originally in a context of “tribalism” and “clanism”, but sometimes used for modern nationalism as well, resembling also communitarism. `Asabiyya is neither necessarily nomadic nor based on blood relations; rather, it resembles philosophy of classical republicanism. In the modern period, the term is generally analogous to solidarity. However, the term is often negatively associated because it can sometimes suggest loyalty to one’s group regardless of circumstances, or partisanship.
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.
Linguistically, asabiyyah comes from the word asabah, which is the relatives of the person from the father side. These relatives are called asabah because they strengthen and defend the person that makes him/her stronger.
Idiomatically, asabiyyah is man’s supporting his people to whom he belongs, whether they are right or wrong, oppressing or oppressed. The belonging to these people can be due to kith and kin, ethnicity, color, birthplace, citizenship, school of thought, or a group of people with common interest.
This kind of thinking is corrupted, and it is in fact a kind of arrogance that comes from the mentality of Iblis, which led him to disobey the command of Allah when He ordered him to prostrate to Adam. Iblis said,“I am better than him, You created me out of fire and you created him (Adam) out of clay.”
This is a jaahili call, and it is not permissible to join it or encourage those who promote it. Rather it must be put an end to, because Islamic sharee’ah opposes it and rejects it. We should refute their specious arguments and claims with that which makes the truth clear to those who seek it.
It is a well known principle of Islam, that no Muslim has any excuse for not knowing, that the call for Arab nationalism or any other kind of nationalism, is a false call, grave error and blatant evil; it is a bad jaahili attitude and a plot against Islam and its followers.
- Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him)
Undoubtedly this is the gravest insult to Islam and a denial of its principles and wise teachings. How can any sound mind compare between nationalism and Islam when, if Abu Jahl, ‘Utbah ibn Rabee’ah, Shaybah ibn Rabee’ah and other enemies of Islam were alive, they would be among the most prominent supporters and greatest proponents of nationalism, whereas the proponents and supporters of Islam in every time and place are Muhammad the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib and other Sahaabah, the supporters and heroes of Islam, and those righteous people who followed their path? No one would justify comparing nationalism of this ilk, with these men as its supporters, and a religion of such standing, with such supporters and proponents, except one who is deranged, or is a blind follower, or a bitter enemy of Islam.
And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.
The kinds of ‘asabiyya can take forms such as as;
- ethnic descent
- madahib/ Schools of fiqh
Islam rejects all kinds of asbiyyah as one is supposed to consider themselves a muslim first, slaves of Allah swt first and then any thing else.
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.
Moreover, RasulAllah sws said,
Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for ’asabiyyah (partisanship and party spirit), or calling to ’asabiyyah, or assisting ’asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah.