Love of one's country is an instinct which man knew since the most ancient times. It was known to nomads as well as to the inhabitants of cities and the owners of cultivated lands. Arabic poetry, composed centuries ago, shows the ancient Arabs' longing for their homelands despite the long periods of time they passed without re-visiting the familiar places and despite the absence of all means to do so.

But nationalism, in its modern sense, is different from that earlier love and affinity for one's homeland. Modern nationalism combines in itself number of rights and cultural and spiritual relations. This sort of nationalism man developed recently after the 18th Century approximately. There is a difference of view about nationalism and that natural craving and longing for one's own home land which is equally felt by man and domestic animal alike. Even the beasts do not like to forsake their familiar haunts and here man and beast share in that natural urge.

It was not easy for nationalism to develop in its modern sense before the 18th Century or before the stages in social development which preceded it. But the ground was already paved for its emergence. It was to leave the circle of a common natural relations which human beings alone can have. Different stages of social development were not conductive to the growth of the modern sense of nationalism. Sometimes the conditions even worked to conceal it. In any case, it was necessary that society should pass certain stages before moving in the direction of the modern form of nationalism.

Man had to pass a stage in which feudal lords ruled supreme before attaining a sense of wider and inter-attaining interests. People in the feudal period owed allegiance in one single country to a number of chiefs. They were tied to many alliances and disputes and the winner or the loser were sometimes groups and bands which overcame the entire nation or sometimes subdued the state.

It was necessary that the religious brotherhoods develop before nationalism, because people can only accept a ruler of foreign descent if the two have bonds of common faith and spiritual values.

A religious society refuses to accept a ruler who, although a native of the country, professes a different faith. This is what makes it difficult to administer different lands by means of one governing authority with its seat far removed from these lands. The difficulty arises out of the differences in social structure, rights and services which vie with each other in different lands despite strong ties.

With the development of feudal life and the religious society, there came a period of despotic monarchs who could subdue other lesser kings, chiefs and feudal lords by means of brute force. These despots ruled supreme, they enjoyed over all authority over the throne and the state in a way which enabled them to force their will on their subjects. They made themselves, or their families, the center of all authority. The state had priority over the nation or over the rights which are the natural outcome of the recognition of the nation's sovereignty over its territories. The homeland cannot be considered to belong to the entire nation without the latter being able to exercise sovereignty over its affairs and without the king becoming a servants of the state and an administrator of its affairs on behalf of the people. Therefore, the stage of nationalism had to follow emergence of a middle class which could take over from the feudal lords and the kings after curtailing the powers. This is the view which is the product of a series of periods ranging from the Renaissance to the French Revolution. It could not take form before the completion of the time factor.

Of all the nations, the Arabs were supposed to be most favorable to nationalism in its modern sense after its shaking of itself in the wake of the French Revolution. The Arabs believed that the earth belonged to Allah and that the king was a servant of the people who ruled on the basis of the people's mandate given to him. The Arabs had faith in this view before it took its grip on European nations. But no phase of history can take place before its time. Similarly, the religious brotherhood too had to pass through a stage to reach its zenith. When the zenith was reached, nationalism was waiting for its time and when it came finally, it was strange to see that the Eastern nations were borrowing the idea from the Westerners, sometimes unwillingly and sometimes willingly. The East had to adopt nationalism in this manner because it had to be done by means of education, or by way of imitation.

It was through successive revolutions that the East adopted nationalism. The call for human rights was the forerunner of recognition of the rights of the homeland. The Europeans were constantly attacking the Eastern homelands that incited the Easterners to put up a demand for the rights of those homelands. They were angry against the colonialists who degraded them (dishonored their faith and disregarded their interests. They did not wish to put up with those who came from different lands, had different languages, religions and also deprived them of their livelihood. They disapproved sharply of the colonialists' attitude in honoring human rights in their own lands and denying the same rights in Eastern lands.

The conquered and the subdued have always been revolting against the conquerors even before the call for human rights. But these revolts were staged due to a sense of honor, self-respect and an ill-feeling arising out of deprivation of means of livelihood. They had nothing to do with nationalism or to the denial of the right of conquerors to subdue the fallen nation. Actually, the motive in these revolts was hatred of cruelty and an urge to face aggression with a similar aggression. The nature of the struggle between the usurper of a right and the one who demands it is entirely different, although they were totally agreed on the right of a citizen in his homeland. The early rebels revolted because the overlord enjoyed better life than the obedient slave. Man can never be expected to forgive his claim to his means of livelihood, or forsake his prestige as long as he is able to exert himself. But the modern rebel takes the position of one who demands back his own inheritance and his different from the hated law of subjugating others.

Nationalism continued to be mixed up in matters of politics and for a time with religious sentiments. This was after the recognition of the sovereignty of the nation and the appearance of the idea of a homeland with reference to sovereignty. The Europeans' attitude in this respect was not much different from that of the Easterners. Italy and Greece revolted to get independence while both of them had a glorious past in culture, arts and other forms of civilization. But the popular European enthusiasm in support of the Italian cause was far greater than the support given to Greece which was in revolt against the Turks, while the Italians were rising against Austria or the Papal Church. While the Balkan nations had the greatest possible support of other European nations, the Polish issue was being treated with carelessness or agreement to the division of Polish territory between Russia, Austria and Germany. Knowing that some of these countries were infested with corruption and had despotic methods of administration they had denied human rights and the rights of the homelands.

The emergence of nationalism in Europe coincided with the demand for independence from the religious sovereignty or caliphate among the Eastern Muslims. It happened that the Ottoman Caliph appointed a governor to assume power in Egypt. But the Egyptian Muslims selected someone else for the job, this happened in the days of Muhammad Ali
the Great. The lovers of freedom raised the banner of «Egypt for the Egyptians» in the middle of the 19th Century. They adopted this slogan for the freedom movement, although the Ottoman sovereignty was there and disappeared only after fifty years of the movement. This sovereignty continued to be talked about, sometimes by one political party and sometimes by the other either because of religious feelings or due to the desire to oppose the British occupation on legal grounds which could not be disputed. This mixture of religious and nationalist feelings was not strange in the world of reality, since new sentiments do not take shape among nations all of a sudden without the necessary preliminaries.

Both the East and the West had to wait for some time before realizing that denial of freedom to them meant aggression against their sense of honor, no matter whether the aggressor belonged to their own faith or spoke the same language.

It would be more appropriate to say and to explain the fact that modern nationalism is an outcome of modern civilization, and not the European mind or the nature of the Westerners. Europe as a continent had existed for ages, but modern nationalism was unknown to her. Now, when social changes took place and modern civilization saw the light of day, Europe became the stage where history played its role. Credit must go to the Eastern nations which could understand the real meaning of nationalism and adopt it with a sense of discretion.

The East did not have to undergo the same experiences which the Europeans had to suffer before necessity forced the idea of nationalism on them.