In the modern world, the idea of nations and nationality is widely acknowledged. After the end of World War I and with the establishment of the League Of Nations in 1920, the idea that all the nations should have their separate states had become a fundamental right. This concept, however, was not always understood. There are primarily two factors which were responsible for the rise in these modern nation states:
i) decline of feudalism
ii) decline of church power
During the Medieval period of Europe which lasted from 9th to 15th century, most of the Europe was under the influence of feudalism. Feudalism is the system of government based on land ownership. The Monarchs played a vital role in weakening the feudal system and Europe soon became feudal free. The monarchs introduced the concept of taxation. Coupled with the decline in feudalism, the 15th century Europe also experienced a decline in the power of Church (authority of the Church over the affairs of the state) which paved the path for the modern nation states.
What is a nation state?
In simple words: "A nation state is a state of well-defined territory with an independent and sovereign government made up of people sharing a common culture, tradition, history and language."
This concept of nationhood is practiced in the modern world up to the present time.
The reason I am writing on this issue is that we, the Pakistanis, suffer from the effects of an identity crisis. Most of the people in our country try to associate themselves with the Arab culture and traditions with the assumption that they would become more pious Muslims while doing so. This attitude is causing a lot of damage to our people and our country. We are becoming more and more unaware of our own culture, history, language, traditions and are more inclined towards the Arabic culture.
Factually, the religion or the beliefs of a person is his very personal affair. He is never judged by his dogma or cult. Wherever we go, our identity will be nothing else but Pakistani. If an Indian goes overseas, he will be recognised as a Hindustani. A German is first German, then anything else. The primary purpose of religions is to tell the people how to live a happy and successful life. A religion is not meant for granting identity to people and especially not in the modern era. It is the land not the religion that gives people their identity.
This proposition that the identity of all Muslims in the world is "La Ilaha il Lalah" and that the Muslim Ummah is like a single body, is very weak and baseless. History tells us that Pan-Islamism never got materialized and it doesn’t seem particularly probable in the future either.
You cannot unite an Arab and a non-Arab just on the basis of same faith. They have different languages, different culture and a different way of living their lives. Arabia forms the identity of an Arab and Pakistan forms the identity of a Pakistani.
Even if we refer to the Holy Quran , It itself says, " 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 (Verse 49:13).
Therefore, the Holy Quran itself made nations and tribes as the basis of recognition or identification of a nation.
Subcontinent produced many resilient Muslim scholars who focused on nationalism rather than Pan-Islamism .Some of these include Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani , Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi, etc. They were right in their belief that recognition or the identification of a nation, in the modern world, depends on the place where it lives and not on ethnicity or religion.