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Unity of Muslim Ummah?

By: Syed Soharwardy All Muslims know the value and importance of uniting the Muslims around the world. We have read and heard many times the famous verse from Surah Al-i-Imran, " And hold fast all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His grace ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that ye may be guided". (Verse 013, Al-i-Imran). Delivering long and long speeches about the Unity of Muslim Ummah does not tire our leaders, Imams and scholars. Every Muslim talks about the unity. However, as days are passing by Muslims are getting more and more divided. The division is multidimensional. Muslims are divided based upon languages, ethnicity, regional preferences, nationalism and above all sectarian beliefs in the name of Islam. The reasons of these divisions could be many. But in this paper I would like to focus on two reasons. 1. 2. Division among Muslims because of local nationalism. Division among Muslims because of sectarian beliefs in the name of Islam.

In spite of so many movements of unity why Muslims are getting further divided? This paper identifies the "source" of disunity and provides some suggestions in this regard. This paper briefly discusses the unity issues during the early period of Islam and in spite of extremely serious conflicts how Muslims remained prosperous and united till the fall of Khilafat-i-Islamiyah during early 1900s.

Challenges to Muslim Unity

In the previous section we discussed that the tribal / geographical nationalism has always caused problems for the unity of this Ummah, even during the period of Prophet (peace be upon him). But the physical presence of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) was the bounding force for all Muslims. The Muslims were united around Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The battle of UHAD, the battle of HUNAIN, the battle of KHAYBER, the agreement of HUDAIBIYAH and many other events have given us undisputed proof that the uniting force for Muslims was only the personality of Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam). After the death of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him), the same tribalism got ignited in some of the tribes. Some of the tribes refused to pay ZAKAT and six people of various tribes claimed that if Muhammad of Bani Hashim (Peace be upon him) can be a Prophet why can't they be Prophets of their tribes? The first Caliph of Islam, Sayyidna Abu Bakr us Siddiq (May Allah be pleased with him) saw this tribal rebellion against Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the religion he preached. He crushed this tribal rebellion with force and the unity of Muslim Ummah was kept intact. This also proves that the unity of Muslim Ummah has always been challenged by those who tried to bring themselves at the high levels of Muhammad (peace be upon him) by claiming Prophethood or by undermining the honour and the teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Although, during the period of Hadhrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) the Muslims were divided on the political front. Hadhrat Ameer Mua'wiyah (May Allah be pleased with him) was the ruler in Syria and Ameer ul Mo'mineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) was the Caliph of Islamic state in Madinah but they never considered each other as bad Muslim or weak Muslim. All Muslims were together as far the teachings, love and respect for Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) was concerned. However, during the rule of Yazeed ibn Muawiyah the unity of Muslim Ummah was destroyed by ignoring the respect and love for Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) and his family (Aal-e-Nabi). The Grand Son of our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him), Hadhrat Sayyidna Imam Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) scarified not only his own life but also the

lives of his family members and close friends to defend and protect the SHA'AER of Allah (Signs of Allah). Imam Hussain's (May Allah be pleased with him) martyrdom gave new meanings to the unity of Muslim Ummah. Muslims realize that Imam Hussain's martyrdom has very important message for the Muslim Ummah. The message is that the Muslims must be united and ready to scarify their own lives for the sake of Allah's DEEN and to protect the Honour of Hadhrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his family when challenged by the forces of evil. Throughout the Islamic history till the early 1900, the Islamic history is full with glory and turmoil but Muslims remained the superpower of the world and the leaders of the modern civilization. Beside many differences within Muslim community no outside power was able to undermine the strength of Muslim Ummah however these outside powers always have tried to destroy the unity of Muslim Ummah. During the period of Banu uma-i-yah and Banu Abbas, there had been many attempts to disintegrate and disunite Muslims. Many sects grew and died. For example, Khawarij and Rawafidh were born during that time. There were several other branches grew from these two sects but finally all of these sects died out because of the excellent and very sincere work of TRUE scholars of Islam such as Imam Hussain, Imam Ja'ffer us Sadiq, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'e, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Imam Muslim, Imam Bukhari, Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Baihaqi, Hadhrat Fuzail ibn Ayaz, Hadhrat Junaid Baghdadi, Imam Asha'ry, Imam Jozi, Allama ibn Kathir, Allama Jalaluddin Suyyuti, Mulla Ali Qari, Imam Ghazali, Imam Asqalni, Sayyidna Abdul Qadir Jilani and hundreds of other Ulema-e-Haq and Auwlia Allah. Because of the noble work of the above and many others scholars of Islam the Ummah rejected the beliefs of Khawarij, Rawafidh and their sub-sects and Muslims remained united. The intellectual difference of opinion always remained among the scholars of Islam but that should not be considered as a division.

How the Unity of Muslim Ummah can be achieved?

There is only ONE way to achieve the unity of Muslim Ummah and that way is the way of Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam). This way was used by the Companions of Allah's Messenger (May Allah be pleased with them) and the Muslim scholars during the 13 centuries of Muslim rule of this world. One may say that everyone follows Qur'an but we are still disunited. That's true. The dispute is not in the Qur'an. The dispute lies with those scholars and their followers who interpret Qur'an based upon their own sectarian beliefs and ignore consensus of Islamic scholars (IJMA'). Muslims must return to the consensus of Islamic scholars which did exist from the period of SAHABAH (Companions of Allah's Messenger) till the fall of Khilafat-e-Islamiyah just one century ago. Muslims must think as one nation and must overcome the linguistic, geographical, regional and ethnic differences. The agents of colonial empires have seeded the linguistic and regional nationalism among Muslims. Muslims must leave linguistic and regional nationalism behind and become one body. If any part of the body feels pain the entire body should feel it and find the cure for it.

But here is a verse from Qur-aan which tells us what is in store for us, if we remain divided and in dispute : "And be you not like those who (got) divided and disputed after the clear proofs had come unto them. For such there is an awful doom," (105) To the Muslims of the times when this verse of Qur-aan descended, this warning from Allaah was of no immediate concern, because they were all united. But today, we have to ask ourselves whether or not we come under the ambit of the threat which the verse carries; Are we not divided and in dispute? Then, are we not subject to the same threat of an awful doom? When would we open the eyes of our hearts to the reminders from Allaah?
Unity is strength. When the sand grains unite they become a vast desert. When the sea drops unite they become a boundless ocean. The conglomeration of stars in the firmament of sky soothes our eyes. The seven colors emerge in the shape of a bewitching rainbow. The unity of people makes an invincible strong nation. This is the reason Islam lays great stress on the importance of unity. The Islamic concept of Towhid is the other name of the unity of humankind. The corner stone in Islam is the unity of God. Allahs unity teaches us the message that we should not divide humans into sections and sects.

Almighty Allah in the Quran says that the division of people in the races and clans is only for their introduction. The best one out of them is the man of piety. Dr. Mohammad Ali Al-khuli is his book titled The Light of Islam writes. Islam is the greatest unifying force in the world. It is a religion to all humans regardless of color, race and language. It is a religion that tolerates other religions and orders its followers to respect and protect all humans. According to a Hadith of the Holy Prophet all persons belong to Adam and Adam was from soil. The racial discrimination has been strictly prohibited in Islam. In the last sermon from the Mount of Arafat the Holy Prophet had clearly announced that no Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab; or the white over the black. This is the reason that in Muslim countries we do not find racial discriminations. Islam gives clear injunctions for the respect, safety, security and prosperity of the non-Muslims as well. Unity teaches peace, equality and paternity. The absence of unity brings and breeds disruption, devastation and disputes. Islam ordains protection of non-Muslims simply to show the respect for the Canons of divinity and humanity. God is not only of the Muslims. God is the God of all human beings. The unity of all humans is the ultimate aim of the teachings of Islam. The doctrinal and ideological differences should not lead to war or bloodshed. Man is a thinking creature. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher introduced Rationalism in Philosophy. The Quran time and again asserts on the need of cogitation. Ijtihad is an analogical and analytical approach towards the matters of jurisprudence. Ashab-e-Suffa were the people of wisdom. They gave more time to cogitate on social and academic matters along with their saintly and spiritual practices. They were praised by the Holy Prophet for their involvement in intellectual pursuit. Once the Holy Prophet said: The juristic scholar who receives two rewards for every correct decision and even one for every incorrect one, for he is endeavoring with all his effort to reach the correct decision. The difference of opinion must be positive. It should not lead to prides and prejudices of priests. It should be decent difference on the bases of logic like the differences of Philosophers. Aristotle was the pupil of Plato. He differed from his teacher on many points but he never issued the edict of his assassination. Hegel and Bergson differed. Immunel Kant differed with Nietzche. None cursed or condemned the other. These differences were on principles; not personal. But unfortunately the so called scholars and clerics of different religions brought immense misery to mankind in the name of religion. The Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists and others had mercilessly shed the blood of each other in the name or religion. Each of these sects then killed the followers of their own religions on minor interpretative issues. Even to date the bloodshed in the name of faith is rampant. This is the greatest error and must be rectified. The Quran discusses the concept of unity on three levels. Foremost is the unity of humanity. The Quran in Sura Al-Hujurat (The Inner Apartments) says: O, Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who has piety. (49:13). The Quran no where addresses the Muslims. Either it addresses the believers (momineen) or the people (Annas). The Quran on second level refers to the unity of the people of the Books: the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims- In Sura Ale-Imran the Quran says: O, people of the Book! Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with him, and that none of us will take others as lords besides Allah. Then if they turn away, say; Bear witness that we are Muslims (3:64). The fifth verse of the Sura The Clear Evidence and the forty eighth verse of Sura The Table Spread also shed light on the unity of the people of the Book. Then on third level the Quran asserts on the unity of the Muslims. In Sura Al-e-Imran the Quran says; And hold fast, all of you together to the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves. (3:103). Then Quran condemns sectarianism and regards it shirk (polytheism). The Quran again in Sura Al-e-Imran says: O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam. This verse clearly ordains that instead of adhering to Sunnism, Shiasim or Wahabism we should strongly adhere to Islam. In Mishqat Sharife there is a tradition of the Holy Prophet which says; The Muslims are like a body; if one limb aches, the whole body aches. Then the Messenger of Allah says; whoever does not care about the affairs of the

Muslims is not one of them. From the above Quranic facts we deduce the result that Islam believes in the unity of all humans and preaches peace, justice and equality. Religion is to serve humankind. Religion has come to reform and unite humans, not to divide them. We must condemn extremism and terrorism in the name of religion and unite humankind if we believe in the unity of God.

Good one
"And hold firmly to the rope (His covenant or the Qur'an) of Allah all together and do not become divided." (3:103) Allah (SWT) makes it clear in the Qur'an that unity of the Muslim Ummah is very important. He tells us not to be divided and to hold tightly to the teachings of the Qur'an. Unfortunately we Muslims have divided ourselves into different sects. We bicker over trite issues that hold no meaning and do not benefit the Ummah in any way. Muslims have forgotten what Allah says in the Qur'an about unity and its importance. Today, if the Muslims look at themselves they will see a group of people separated from one another. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "Believers are like the parts of a building, each one supporting the other." (Sahih Al-Bukhari) How can we support each other if we are not united? How can we love each other like brothers and sisters in Islam if we hold misconceptions about each other in our hearts? The answer is simple: We, as the Muslim Ummah, have to overcome the minor and irrelevant differences that separate us. If we are able to do that we will notice that all Muslims believe in the same things: Tauheed (the oneness of Allah), all the Prophets (peace be upon them all), all the holy Books, all of Allah's angels and the day of judgement. Not to mention that every Muslim tries to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah. Muslims should understand that unity is what will make us move forward in this world. Today the Muslim Ummah is behind in everything. Education, technology, trade and, most importantly, our faith. Non-muslims may not believe in our faith but their unity has made them come very far. Remember the era when the Muslims were united and held on to Allah's rope tightly? The Islamic empire spread from the east to west and Allah blessed them with wealth, fame, victory and honor. Muslims need to be united now more than ever. We have to think about what we will and we can do to make our lives in this world and the hereafter better and blessed.
The basic reality of ***ual relation between man and woman is most clearly established by human nay, even animalnature; Islam being the religion of nature, confirms it without any doubt. Procreationthe goal nature wants to achieve with this union is the basic factor and the only reason, which has transformed cohabitation into marriage, and raised it from mere carnal relation to a durable union. That is why we see that the species of animals in which both parents jointly bring up their offspring - like the birds in their guarding the eggs and feeding and bringing up the chicks, and those animals who need a den or lair for giving birth to and bringing up their offspring and for preparation and protection of which the female needs cooperation of the male - have opted for a constant attachment and exclusive relationship between the male and the female. In this manner they come together, and

share the tasks of guarding and hatching the eggs, and this cooperation continues till the chicks grow up and go their own way; then the parents separate (if they separate at all), then a new cycle begins. It shows that the real cause of marriage and the rationale for matrimony is the instinct of procreation and bringing up the children. As for the satisfaction of ***ual urge or joining hands in struggle of life, like earning and saving money preparation of food and drink, obtaining household effects and, in short, managing the domestic lifethese things are not a part of the goal of nature; they are mere preliminaries of, or benefits accruing from, marriage. It is clear from the above that: Freedom and licentiousness shown by the coupleshusband or wife cohabiting with other than his or her spouse without any restraint whenever and wherever he/she desires, like animals world where male mounts female wherever he gets the chance - as is the norm of the day in civilized countries, likewise fornication and particularly adultery; Treating the marriage as a permanent union, and prohibition of divorce and separation, not allowing either party to dissolve the marriage and marrying another spouse - as long as the couple is alive; Elimination of procreation and refusal to rear children; laying the foundation of marriage - tie on sharing the domestic life, as is prevalent in advanced countries; and consequently sending the newborn children to public nurseries established for their nursing and bringing up; All this goes against the laws of nature. The nature has equipped human being with instincts and organs, which totally oppose these modern habits, as we have mentioned above. Of course, there are animals in whose birth and rearing males continued presence is not needed. Once the female becomes pregnant, she takes on herself all the duties of pregnancy, and of nursing and rearing the offspring. In such cases there is no natural need of durable union between male and female. Such animals are free to cohabit as and when they feel the urge, to the extent that does not disturb the natures aim of preserving the species. It would be a folly to think that it wont harm man to disturb the system ordained by creation, to go against the dictates of nature, provided one compensated for the resulting defects with thought and deliberation; and that in this way he would freely enjoy the life and its blessings. But such thought is nothing short of madness. These natural structures including the human personality - are composites made of innumerable parts. When each part is kept in its proper place, following the laid down conditions, it creates an overall effect agreeable to the goal of nature, the aim of creation. This effect leads the species to its perfection. It is not unlike the medical mixtures and compounds, which require particular ingredients with especial qualities and prescribed measure and weights, and are dispensed with laid down process; and if changes are made even slightly in its weight or quality it will lose its effects. Man is a being, naturally created of various parts compounded in a particular way; this especial process results in some inner qualities and psychological characteristics, which in their turn produce various actions and activities. If some of these actions are changed from their natural position, it will badly disturb the alignment of those qualities and characteristics, which in its turn will dislocate all the intrinsic characteristics and qualities from their natural position, will deviate the whole being from the

path of nature; this would severe mans link with his natural perfection, and turn him from the destination the nature was urging him to reach. If we look at the general calamities mankind is submerged in nowadays, which render peoples endeavors to achieve comfortable and happy life null and void, and which are threatening the humanity with downfall and ruination, we shall find that it has been caused, in the main part, by the total absence of piety, and by the mastery that stupidity and cruelty, violence and greed, have got over human psyche; and the biggest factor in this mastery is this licentiousness and permissiveness, this discarding of natural laws concerning marital responsibilities and rearing of children. The system adopted nowadays for domestic life and for bringing up the children, kills the instincts of mercy and kindness and erases the traits of chastity, modesty and humility from mans psyche, from the first moment of his awareness to his last breath. Cant we compensate for these deficiencies through our reason and contemplation? Forget it. Reason and understanding, like other faculties of life, is a tool acquired by nature as a means to bring the deviating factors back to the natural path. It is not meant to negate the endeavors of creation and dictates of nature; otherwise it would be tantamount to killing the nature by the very sword it had given in mans hand to defend himself. Moreover, if the reason (a tool of nature) is used to support the depravity and decay of other natural faculties, this tool also would be damaged and misaligned like those others. We are witnessing today that whenever man tries to remove, through his thinking, one of the catastrophes threatening the society, he opens the gate of a greater and more disastrous calamity; and sufferings and travails extend their tentacles some more. Someone among these people might say: The psychological traits like chastity, generosity, modesty, kindness and truthful - ness, which are called spiritual virtues, are relics of the era of superstition and barbarity; they are not good for the modern advanced man. Chastity puts fetters on mans many desires. Generosity negates mans endeavors for gathering money, and disregards all the troubles he had undergone in earning it; more- over, it encourages the poor to remain idle and degrade himself by begging here and there. Modesty is a bridle that prevents man from freely expressing his ideas or demanding his rights. Kindness weakens the heart; and truth does not agree with demands of todays life.