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Islam Q&A say that:

"Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah are unanimously agreed that the Arabs are superior to others in terms of descent and lineage, and that regarding the Arabs as superior is in general terms, and does not apply at the individual level."

Link: https://www.google.com/amp/s/islamqa.info/amp/en/answers/182686

Well nationalism or love for the nation doesn't mean love for individuals, it mean love and pride for whole nation and its particular culture, language, descent and lineage.

Today Arab nationalists use such scholarly opinions to prove their superiority as a nation over non-Arab muslims such Persians and Turks.

On the other hand anti Islam groups use such scholarly opinions to create doubts in the minds of non-Arab muslims.

From the fragmentation of Abbasid Caliphate till WWI it were mainly non-Arab nations who carried the flag of Islam and today Arabs don't even make 1/4 of total global muslim population.

So why should non-Arab muslims consider their nation, their descent and their lineage lesser than Arabs? Why shouldn't they feel pride over their nation?

To sum all this in one question,

Why non-Arabs are considered lesser than Arabs as a nation and how can we justify this to non-Arab muslims?

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This is the sentence right after the one you quoted:

So a non-Arab who is pious and righteous is better than an Arab who falls short in his duties to Allah, may He be exalted.

Although, this is referring specifically to individuals, the same concept applies to individual countries. Each country is as good as the actions it does. If a nation does more for Islam, it is better than a nation that does less.

The only superiority is in terms of lineage. The lineage is superior because it was the lineage of the Prophet (SAW) and they were the first nation to receive Islam. There is no more superiority, neither in culture nor in prestige (beyond what is earned).

This is similar (but on a much smaller level) to how the Ahlul-Bayt (the family of the Prophet (SAW)) has a superiority than everyone else regarding lineage. It is more responsibility than privilege.

If some Arab nationalists use this to claim that their nation is superior regardless of what they have done for the Ummah, they are wrong and are misusing this.

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  • The lineage argument stems from this Hadith... But how can Prophet's lineage be superior when his own mother and father are disbelievers and will burn in hellfire for eternity? Same is the case with his grand-parents! Same is the case with his uncle Abu Talib who will recieve the lowest punishment in hellfire which will burn his brain!
    – user45050
    Jul 25 at 13:09
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Shaykh Ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

The Arabs deserve love and loyalty more than the other races from the children of Aadam, and this is, of course, the opinion of the majority of the scholars may Allaah have mercy upon them who consider that the Arabs are of excellence over other races and that the Quraysh are of excellence over other Arabs. This is indeed the view of Imaam Ahmad and the texts prove this.… However, the people of theological rhetoric are of the view that there is no excellence or preference of one race over another, and this is the view of Abu Bakr Ibn Al-Tayyib and others. This is also the doctrine of 'Ash-Shu'ubiyah' (a group who hate and oppose the Arabs) but this is a weak view, and it is a view of the innovators.

And

The Arabs are more intelligent than those other than themselves and are more capable in ‎delivery and expression Verily, what the people of the sunnah are upon is the belief ‎‎(i’tiqaad) that the Arab race is better (afdal) than the Non-Arab race. Whether (the Non-‎Arabs) are Hebrews, Aramaic, Romans, Persians and other than them . . . not simply due to ‎the fact the prophet peace be upon him is from them – even though this is [a point] of ‎superiority – but instead, they themselves are superior within themselves . . . [for] Allah the ‎Most High has designated the Arabs and their language with rulings that are peculiar and ‎unique.‎

And here is the link to the fatwa of Islamweb whose conclusion is:

To conclude, people are of different descent, there are those who are good and those who are bad, however, the Arabs are of excellence and preference that is not paralleled by others.

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