Unity, which is among the greatest and the most important duties of all Muslims, is one of the issues that I will stress today. The week leading to Rabi al-Awwal 12 was named as Unity Week at the beginning of the Revolution. That was because according to famous traditions narrated by our Sunni brothers, Rabi al-Awwal 12 marks the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet (S). But according to famous traditions narrated by the Shia, the Holy Prophet's (S) birth anniversary falls on Rabi al-Awwal 17.
At the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian nation and government officials named the period between these two dates as Unity Week. They wanted Unity Week to be a symbolic representation of unity among Muslims. But it is not enough to choose names and talk about things. We must engage in action. We must move towards unity. The world of Islam is in need of unity today. There will be obstacles and sources of discord, but we must overcome these obstacles.
All great aspirations require serious efforts. No great aspiration can be achieved in the absence of serious efforts. Unity among Muslims is not an exception: It requires efforts. It is our duty to make efforts to create unity in the world of Islam. This unity can solve many problems. It can bring about glory for Muslim nations and communities.
Consider the current situation of the Muslim countries in the world. Look at the situation of Muslims, who currently make up one fourth of the entire world population. However, their role in world politics, even in their internal affairs, is far less important than the role of foreign governments and superpowers with evil intentions. The fact that I constantly advise our people and my audience against foreigners is not just because superpowers are foreigners. Rather that is because they have evil intentions. They seek to dominate us. They seek to humiliate Muslim nations and force them into complete conformity.
There are over fifty Muslim countries in the world. How can these Muslim countries stand up to these gross and evil intentions of domination? Is there any way other than unity? We must get closer. There are two major obstacles to unity and we must think of a way to remove them.
Internal and external obstacles to Muslim unity
There is the internal obstacle that is the result of denominational bias. This bias affects all groups of people. We must overcome this bias. Having faith in one's creeds is laudable. It is also good to insist on these creeds. But this faith must not cross the line between logical argumentation and aggressive rejection of others' beliefs. Our brothers who are part of the Muslim Ummah must treat each other with respect. They have a right to adhere to their own beliefs, but they must respect others, their rights, and their beliefs.
Muslims must leave ideological debates to scholarly meetings. Ulama and scholars may engage in religious debates. But there is a difference between religious debates at scholarly meetings and an exchange of insults in public and in front of an audience who are not capable of scholarly analysis. Ulama and government officials must keep this under control. That is a duty that lies on the shoulders of all groups of Muslims, both Shia and Sunni.
Muslims must move towards unity. This ideological bias is an internal obstacle to unity. One external obstacle to unity is the efforts on the part of the enemies of Islam to foment discord. We must be totally vigilant against such efforts. These efforts are not a recent issue. They came into being the day the dominant political powers in the world realized that they could influence other nations.
But these goals are being currently pursued more vigorously than ever before. The modern means of communication have helped further their goals. These people try to foment discord. They coin incendiary slogans to create discord. We must be vigilant. Unfortunately, some people in Muslim countries act as a tool in the hands of the spiteful enemies who seek to harm us.
What happened in Lebanon and Palestine can teach us many lessons. Two years ago when the Lebanese resistance forces and the youth of Hezbollah inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Zionist regime, which was considered a victory for the world of Islam, the enemies immediately brought up the issue of Shia and Sunni and started to strengthen religious bias in Lebanon, in the Middle East, and in the entire world of Islam.
They pretended as if it was a new issue. That was because the Muslim Ummah had almost achieved unity thanks to that great victory. They sought to drive a wedge between Shia and Sunni Muslims. That goes back to two years ago.
Two months ago the Muslim Ummah gained another victory - that is, the victory of the Palestinian Resistance Movement over their Zionist enemies in Gaza. That was a great and glorious victory. What victory can be more impressive than defeating a powerful army that had managed to defeat three powerful armies between 1967and 1973? What could be more impressive than 22 days of futile efforts of a powerful army against the resisting youth and persistent soldiers of Gaza? The Zionist army was forced to retreat empty-handed.
In addition, the Zionist regime and its supporters, especially the US, were disgraced in the world. They were publicly disgraced. That was a great victory for all Muslims. It led Muslims to a kind of unity. This time they could not resort to the Shia-Sunni conflict. They brought up the issue of ethnicity this time. They started a debate, arguing that the Palestinian issue was an Arab issue and that non-Arabs had no right to get involved in the issue. The Palestinian issue is an Islamic issue. It is not peculiar to Arabs or non-Arabs.
If ethnicity was dragged into the matters of importance to the world of Islam, the greatest source of discord would be created. When ethnicity is dragged into the matters of importance to the world of Islam, Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, Indonesians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, and Indians will have to be separate from one another. What will remain of the Muslim Ummah if such a thing happens? Is it not a disaster for the Muslim Ummah and its collective capabilities?
These are the machinations of arrogant powers and, unfortunately, some people in the world of Islam have fallen for these machinations. They do not want to let the sweet memory of the victories in Lebanon and Gaza remain in the minds of Muslims. They found that situation unpleasant and, therefore, they thought up a source of discord to separate Muslims from one another.
The Important responsibility of the leaders, outstanding personalities
And intellectuals of the world of Islam to confront the machinations that
Are designed by the arrogant powers
The Muslim Ummah must be vigilant. It must stand up to these enemies. The most important duty lies on the shoulders of Muslim politicians. Government officials and heads of Islamic countries must be vigilant. Some of the politicians of the world of Islam may act as the mouthpiece of the enemies, but we must not make a mistake in this regard. We will not make mistakes in detecting the major causes of discord. The politicians of the world of Islam may shout the slogans of the arrogant powers.
It is the arrogant powers that are opposed to Islamic unity. Even if such divisive slogans are shouted by the members of the Islamic Ummah, we have to believe that these Muslims have fallen for the enemies' machinations. Those slogans do not belong to Muslims. They belong to the arrogant powers. We can recognize their slogans. The most important duty lies on the shoulders of politicians and government officials of Muslim countries as well as Muslim intellectuals and those who can influence the hearts and minds of the people - namely, religious scholars, intellectuals, writers, journalists, poets, men of letters, and the scholars of the Muslim world.
These people have to shoulder the major portion of the responsibility to inform the people of the causes that may disrupt the process of achieving this unity or take this firm divine handhold away from Muslims.
The Quran tells us clearly to "hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited." It is possible to "hold fast by the covenant of Allah" one by one, but the Holy Quran has told us to do it "all together and be not disunited".
We have been ordered to stick together and even when adhering to the divine covenant. The Holy Quran has advised us against adhering to this divine covenant one by one, let alone choosing to let go of the covenant or adhering to a satanic covenant.
Muslims have to stay together and preserve their unity even when they are supposed to adhere to the divine covenant. That is the greatest issue for the world of Islam. 2
Human minds and tongues have expressed numerous things about Be’that which is in fact a vast area, and it will not be possible in the foreseeable future to delineate the aspects of this great event. As time passes and as man goes through numerous experiences and gains a better understanding of the problems and flaws that plague his life, the different aspects of the Holy Prophet's (S) appointment to the divine mission reveal themselves more and more clearly. This Be’that was in fact a call that invited people to the arena of moral, intellectual, and legal education. These are the things that are needed for a peaceful and developing life.
1. Rational lessons
Intellectual education is the first priority. Intellectual education - that is, extracting man's reason and making it dominant over his thoughts and actions, or giving man the beacon of wisdom and enabling him to find his way by its light - is of primary importance. Regarding the Holy Prophet's appointment to his divine mission, reason and wisdom are the primary issues that have been raised.
Similarly, throughout the Quran and the Holy Prophet's teachings, you can see that the main focus has been placed on such things as reason, wisdom, thinking, reflection, and pondering. Even on Judgment Day, the Quran quotes sinners as saying:
They say, "The reason we came to suffer from hell fire is that we did not refer to our wisdom, we did not listen, and we did not pay attention. Therefore, today on Judgment Day we have to suffer from this everlasting, bitter destiny."
Inviting people to reason was the first priority for all divine prophets, and this was not peculiar to the Holy Prophet (S). Of course, the call to reasoning is stronger and clearer in Islam.
Therefore, regarding the appointment of prophets to their divine missions, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) says in Nahjul Balaghah: "To ask them to keep the promise that has been built into their nature ... and raise what has been buried deep in their wisdom." 4
2. Ethical lessons
Prophets have been sent down to dig out the treasure of wisdom. This treasure is our hearts. The problem is that we are sitting on the buried treasure, but we are not aware of it. As a result, we cannot benefit from this treasure and die of hunger. Our situation is something like that. When we do not refer to our wisdom and do not use it in our judgments, we cannot engage in genuine intellectual education. As long as we do not harness our passions with our wisdom, the situation will be like this.
We can have access to this treasure, but we choose not to use it. Then ignorance and lack of wisdom and the numerous consequences of these two create many problems for our life in this world and the hereafter. In a tradition by the Holy Prophet of Islam (S), wisdom has been described as a leash. "Wisdom is the leash of ignorance." 5
Then the tradition continues, "Human passions are like extremely unruly animals ... Unless there is thinking, they will go astray." 6
That is what human passions are like. When you do not curb these passions, they will go astray. Human passions will go astray like a wild animal that does not know where it is going. Then human beings and human societies will face problems in their individual and social life. That is what wisdom is.
Provoking thoughts and strengthening the ability to think were the first things that the Holy Prophet (S) did. That is the panacea for all problems. It is wisdom that can lead man to religion. It is wisdom that forces man to serve God. It is wisdom that prevents man from engaging in stupid and ignorant actions and from being allured by the material world. That is what wisdom is. Therefore, strengthening the ability to think is the first thing that has to be done in a society. That is our obligation.
Despite our inherent flaws and weaknesses compared to the Holy Prophet (S), we decided to build a modern society following the example set by the Holy Prophet's (S) Islamic community. In this society, like the early Islamic community, rationality must be the standard. Moral education is the second priority in education. "I appointed you as prophet to complete moral virtues." 7
Morality is the pleasant air that human beings could breathe and have a healthy life if it were present in human societies. Life will become difficult when there is no morality, when immorality becomes dominant, and when such vices as greed, carnal desires, ignorance, love for the material world, spite, envy, and suspicion step into man's life. Then the atmosphere will become stifling, and it will be difficult for human beings to breathe normally. That is why in several places in the Holy Quran the word "purification" namely, moral growth has preceded the word "teaching". "Reciting to them His messages and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom."
In the tradition about wisdom by the Holy Prophet which I cited earlier, when wisdom is mentioned, it is pointed out that wisdom leads to patience and patience leads to knowledge. We must pay attention to the order of these items. First, wisdom creates patience and endurance. When this state of patience is present, it will prepare the ground for increasing the society's or the individual's knowledge.
That is to say, knowledge comes after patience. Patience is a moral virtue. Similarly, in the Quranic verse "Reciting to them His messages and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom", Allah has placed "purifying" before "wisdom". That is an instance of moral education. Today we desperately need this moral education. The Muslim Iranian community living in this specific geographical location, the Islamic Ummah, Muslim societies, and the entire world need this moral education. These are our most urgent needs.
3. Legal lessons
Legal education or legal discipline is the next priority. The Holy Prophet of Islam (S) was the first person to practice all Islamic teachings. When asked about the Holy Prophet (S) and his behavior, Aisha who is known as "the Mother of the Faithful" has been quoted as saying: "It looked as if his behavior was the incarnation of the Quran." That means he never preached what he did not practice.
These are all lessons for us. These are all lessons. This is not to suggest that I want to compare the greatness of the Holy Prophet (S) with our own flaws. The Holy Prophet (S) was the peak, and we are just moving along the mountainside. But we are moving towards the peak. The peak is the standard for us.
The Holy Prophet (S) was a leader.
And the believers followed him. People look at his actions and find their way. This is the role that luminaries, leaders, and elites play in a society. We should not limit ourselves to words only. There are many government officials present among you. Each of you can be an example to those around you.
Mab'ath is not only a religious celebration. It is an Eid and a turning point. An Eid is a turning point at which one realizes a reality. We should look at Mab'ath, the Holy Prophet (S), and his great efforts. And then we should think about the great influence which he had on the life of humanity. In only ten years, which is like a single moment compared to the life span of a nation, this great man did great things. The ten years of the Holy Prophet's (S) rule cannot be compared to any other period.
He created such a great movement in the history of mankind. He created a great change. He led humans to peace and tranquility amidst those storms and led them onto the right path. The Holy Prophet (S) lived sixty three years. We live much longer, but we expect to follow his path - as far as possible - with our immature moves. When a movement is carried out with sincerity and in a devoted manner, and is rooted in divine guidance, the result is what happened during the ten years of the Holy Prophet's (S) rule. 9
Today is a very auspicious day for Muslims because the day on which the Holy Prophet (S) was born into this world was a beam of light in the heart of absolute darkness.
Describing those days and the gloomy conditions of mankind, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) says: “The world was devoid of brightness, and full of open deceitfulness.” 11 The light of human values had been taken away from the hearts of people and from human communities, not just in Arabia but even in great empires and civilizations of the time, namely ancient Iran and Rome. Misinterpretation of the truth was obvious in every aspect of the lives of people. Human beings did not know the right path. They did not know what the goal was. Of course, there were certain believers at that time who were following the right path.
The Urgent need to recreate Islamic truths
These were the general conditions of the world, but not all human beings were sinners at that time.
In general, the world was filled with darkness. It was filled with oppression. It was a world in which all the signs of human values had sunk into oblivion. In such conditions, the light of the Holy Prophet’s (S) existence started shining with the permission of Allah the Exalted. This was an unforgettable day in human history. Commemorating that day does not mean that we want to re-create its effects in the world. Whether we like it or not, this amazing and great event has had its effect on the history of mankind.
If there is still a trace of human dignity, moral virtues and outstanding human characteristics, it is because of the existence of the Holy Prophet (S). It is because of his Be’that, which is the perfect Be’that and Holy Prophet (S) is the embodiment of the virtues that all divine prophets enjoyed.
We members of the Islamic Ummah should learn lessons from this event. We should evaluate ourselves before trying to evaluate others. Today there is a serious need in the Islamic Ummah to re-create Islamic truths, to re-create those amazing and great events. Today we members of the Islamic Ummah are in urgent need of the Holy Prophet’s (S) beacon of guidance. The Islamic Ummah is outstanding in terms of its population.
The Islamic Ummah consists of one and a half billion people. The regions that are inhabited by this massive population are among the most sensitive and important regions in the world in terms of geographical location, natural features and vital resources. Although the Islamic Ummah does not have any shortcomings in terms of human and natural capacities, it is currently aimless, and you know the reason why this is the case. The greatest afflictions in the world have mainly plagued Islamic countries. The Islamic Ummah is suffering from poverty. It is suffering from injustice and discrimination.
It is suffering from scientific and technological backwardness. It is suffering from cultural decline and weakness. Global powers are easily and openly trampling on the rights of the Islamic Ummah. And the Islamic Ummah is not able to defend its rights. 12
Mab’ath is the greatest historical event in the sense that it gave rise to an extremely sensitive stage in the history of mankind and it has also opened up a path in front of humanity, a path that will lead to the fulfillment of all innate and historical needs of human beings, providing that human beings follow that path. Humanity has been complaining about lack of justice throughout history.
That is to say, justice has been the big need of all human beings throughout history. Today if somebody raises the flag of justice, he is in fact highlighting an innate historical need of humanity. Justice has been the primary goal of Islam, the Islamic movement and Be’that. Justice was also the goal of all divine prophets.
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.
- 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.
Basis for Unity
On what principles Muslims should be united? You may say the obvious answer. We are all Muslims, we believe in one God i.e. Almighty Allah, we believe in one Prophet i.e. Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe wa Aal-e-hee Wasallam) and we all have the book of Allah i.e. Qur’an. With due respect to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, this sentence is nothing more than a lip service. The conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Algeria, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Bangladesh, South Africa (within Muslims), UK (within Muslims), USA (within Muslims), Canada (within Muslims) and many other Muslim and non-Muslim countries were created in the name of Islam. The conflicting Muslim parties fight against each other in the name of Allah. The reason is clear. In all conflicts if we review the conditions of compromise/ unity, we will find that our leaders, Imams, scholars, governments and Islamic organizations want to unite Muslims based upon their “own” principles and beliefs. Although, there is no dispute in Qur’an but nowadays every sect / organization / government / Imam / leader has it’s own interpretation of Qur’an and Hadith. Every sect / organization / government / Imam / leader is struggling for control and power in order to implement their own sectarian beliefs and policies. We talk a lot about unity but we want unity based upon our own conditions. Religious groups and sects claim that they are killing or declaring Muslims as KAFIR, MUSHRIK, BID’ATEE, etc. in order to please Allah. How could we achieve this unity?
Difference of Opinions during the best of times
During Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) time whenever Muslims were divided on issues, Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) used to bring them together. All the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) used to accept his final decision from their hearts. For example, after the battle of Hunain, the hypocrites among Muslims tried to divide the Muhajir and Ansaar on the issue of distribution of GHANEEMAH. Muslims were very close to fight among themselves. Allah’s Messenger was informed about the situation. He came and talked to them, and brought them together. The division disappeared. Similarly, once two companions of Prophet (peace be upon him) were engaged in a dispute. Both of them belonged to two different tribes of Madinah. The hypocrites saw a perfect opportunity to ignite tribal rivalry. They started singing tribal songs on both sides. Muslims got divided into two groups and were very close to start a fight. The news reached to Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), he came and presented himself to the both groups. Both groups realized that for few minutes they had completely forgotten that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) was among them. As soon as they listened Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), they realized their mistake and repented immediately. The unity of Muslim remained intact.
After the death of Allah’s Messenger, Muslims were divided on the issue of who would succeed the Prophet (peace be upon him). But as soon as the issue was resolved peacefully, all the Muslims were united behind Hadhrat Abu Bakr Al Siddiq, the first Caliph of Islam (May Allah be pleased with him). This unity of Muslims continued till the Martyrdom of third Caliph of Islam, Hadhrat Uthman ibn Affaan (May Allah be pleased with him). The first major division of Muslims occurred over a political issue of whether the murderers of Hadhrat Uthman should be captured first OR the law and order situation in Madinah should be handled first. This difference in approaches on purely a political issue divided the Muslims permanently. However, there were no differences among Muslims regarding Islamic Jurisprudence and worshipping (Ibadaat). All the Companions (Sahabah), the Family (Aal-e-Nabi) of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and later TAB-E-EEN (Muslims who followed the companions of the Prophet, Peace be upon him) used to pray together and only ONE way. If some differences occasionally appeared among them, they never considered it as a difference that could divide Muslims. Although, after the Martyrdom of Hadhrat Uthman, Muslims were divided in to two groups but neither history nor other Islamic literature tells us that they had differences in IBADAAT or Islamic Jurisprudence (FIQAH) OR they declared each other as Kafir, Mushrik, etc. like our Imams and scholars do nowadays.
If we read the Islamic history and the development of Islamic Jurisprudence (The science of Fiqah), we will realize that the four Ahle Sunnat Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’e and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (May Allah shower His mercy upon them) had very high respect and love for the family of Prophet (Peace be upon him). They learnt Islamic Jurisprudence from Imams of Ahle Bait (family of Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him). Imam Abu Hanifa was not only a student of Imam Ja’ffar us Sadiq but he was also his stepson. It is very difficult to believe that Imam Abu Hanifa would have compiled the Fiqah that is very much different than Imam Ja’ffar us Sadiq’s Fiqah. It is hard to believe that Imam Abu Hanifa would have prayed (Salat) behind Imam Ja’ffar differently like Shi’a and Sunni pray (Salat) differently today. There is a possibility of minor differences but if we look today’s Fiqah Ja’fariyh and Fiqah Hanafiyah, there is a huge difference. Obviously, the people created these differences after these noble Imams. These noble Imams never created these differences.
The major division among Muslims in Jurisprudence occurred when the Science of Fiqah (Islamic Jurisprudence) became a formal subject, the Sunni Muslims were divided into four Madhahib (ways), HANAFI, MALKI, SHAFI’E AND HANBALI. The Shi’a Muslims separated their Fiqah and called it JA’FARIAH (from Imam Ja’ffar us Sadiq, May Allah be pleased with him). However, beside the differences in Fiqah the Sunni Muslim scholars and Imams always respected each other and never ever condemned each other. The discussion on the differences in Fiqah was never made a topic of Friday Sermon (KHUTBAH). One never called the other Imam and his followers as wrong. They never asked the Muslims not to follow the other Imams. Their differences of opinions were purely intellectual and based upon the Hadith of Prophet (peace be upon him) which reached to them at different times. This was the difference of opinion, which Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) called “IKHTILAFO UMMATI RAHMAH”, “The intellectual difference of opinion in my Ummah is a blessing”.
The local nationalism was never preferred over the worldwide Islamic brotherhood. Imam Muslim, Imam Bukhari, Imam Trmidhi and many other Imams and scholars of Islam were non Arabs but no one felt that they were from non Arab parts of the world. Every Muslim knew only one criteria of brotherhood, which was the love, and the following of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). With all the differences Muslims were united and very faithful to their religion. Muslims were the superpower of the world. Muslims were the leaders in setting up the standards for the rest of the world. Muslims were educators, scientists, doctors, engineers, commanders, etc. Intellectually, morally, economically, politically and spiritually Muslims were the leaders and model for other communities and nations. Muslims knew and practiced that ” AL MUSLIM-O-MAN SAL-I-MAL MUSL-E-MOON-A- MILLI SANIHI WA YADIH “, a Muslim is a person from whose hands and tongue the other Muslims are safe (Al Hadith).
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.
Movements of Disunity
The struggle between HAQ (right) and BAATIL (wrong) has always been part of human history. Started from Hadhrat Adam (May Allah’s peace be upon him) this struggle is still going on. The forces of evil have never accepted the truth of Islam and they have always used their wicked ways to destroy this TRUTH (HAQ). The only way these forces could undermine this Truth (Islam) was to disunite its followers. The disunity among Muslims could only be achieved if some of the Muslims disconnect themselves from the following and obeying of Hadhrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Druze, Bahais and Ahmedies
The anti Islam forces have always supported the ideologies of those Muslims who tried to give “new” meanings to the Qur’anic verses or tried to undermine the honour of Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Al-Hakim bi-amr Allah in 1022 broke away from Shi’at Muslims and created his own religion which was later recognized as Daruzism. Al-Hakim bi-amr Allah had full support from the Jews and the Christians. They helped him in organizing and establishing his dynasty.
During early 1900 in Iran when Bahá’u’lláh claimed that the God has manifested in him and founded the religion of Bahaism. The western governments supported him. Many of his followers broke away from Islam and followed him. However, both of the above breaks from the Muslim community were not considered as major disunity among Muslims because both the followers of Druzism and Bahaism did not claim themselves as Muslims any more. They were considered as the followers of different religions. The entire Muslim Ummah remained united except few hundreds who converted to Druzism and Bahaism.
One of the most recent attempts by the anti Islam forces to disunite Muslims was the establishment of another religion within the Muslim community called Ahmedism or Qadyanism. During 19 century in India a Muslim scholar, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani claimed that he is the Prophet of Allah as well. Mirza Ghulam Ahmed and his patrons from the British Empire had learnt the lessons from Bahai religion. They saw that Bahá’u’lláh made a mistake by disassociating from Islam. The disassociation from Islam created a roadblock to convert Muslims from Islam to Bahaism. Bahá’u’lláh was able to attract only few hundred Muslims and most of his following came from the Christians, Parsees and Hindus. Therefore, anti Islam forces were not very successful in achieving their goal. They were expecting that Bahá’u’lláh will attract thousands upon thousands Iranians to follow him. Instead of this Bahá’u’lláh converted thousands of Christians, Parsees and Hindus towards Bahaism.
In the case of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed the anti Islam forces were very cautious. Therefore, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed claimed himself as a Prophet but under the Prophethood of Muhammad ibn Abdullah (Peace be upon him). This way he tried to keep himself and his followers associated with Islam and at the same time establish a new religion within Islam. This tactics worked very well and thousands of Muslims of Punjab (India) were deceived. They thought that they could get the worldly benefits by following Mirza Ghulam Ahmed and still remain Muslim. The British were the rulers of India and these poor Muslims wanted to get some benefits from these patrons of Ahmedism. The British were relatively successful this time and created disunity among Muslims of India. But this new religion, Ahmedism remained in India and Pakistan. Slowly Muslims of India and Pakistan were getting aware of the motives and beliefs of this new religion and the following of this religion started declining. In 1970s after a long struggle, the Ahmedism and Qadyanism were declared as non-Muslim faiths. At that time, the Ahmedees and Qadyanees started mass migration towards the western world where they received full protection. Although, the Muslim Ummah do not considers Ahmedees and Qadyanees as Muslims but Ahmedees and Qadyanees themselves still claim that they are Muslims. After the declaration of Ahmedism as a separate religion, the Muslims are united and they did not see Ahmedism as a part of Islam.
The Start of Real Disunity
After almost 13 centuries of Muslim rule, the focus of Muslim Ummah changed. What Qur’an describes the attributes of Muslims as, “They (Muslims) are very kind among themselves but very hard on Kuffaar”. Muslims slowly adopted the opposite attributes. They became very kind to KUFFAAR and very hard and cruel to Muslims. Our religious leadership started focusing on minor issues. Instead of healthy intellectual discussions, our religious leadership started emphasizing on resolving the differences through force. Some Muslim scholars intentionally used Qur’anic verses and misinterpreted their meanings. Those verses which Allah had revealed in Qur’an to inspire Muslims to fight against Kuffaar, these scholars used those verses to create animosity among Muslim brothers. They made a Muslim an enemy of another Muslim by using Qur’an and Hadith.
The Colonial Era and Unity of Muslim Ummah
For the last 13 centuries Muslims were the superpower of the world. Khilafat-e-Uthmania (Ottoman Empire) was a thorn in the eyes of anti Islam forces. They wanted to destroy this Islamic Empire at any cost. They were trying for the last 13 centuries to destroy it but did not succeed. These forces saw the shift in focus of Muslim scholars and took full advantage of it. They planted a very dangerous seed of nationalism among Muslims. Muslims started fighting against their own Muslim brothers because either they were not from the same region or they were speaking a different language. When the Muslim superpower, Ottoman empire (Khilafat-e-Uthmania) was fighting against the European colonial powers, the English, the Dutch, the French, the Italians, etc.. at the same time they had to defend themselves from their own Muslim brothers because Ottoman forces were TURKS and were not local. To create HATE for TURKS the local so called scholars of Islam used religion in order to get support from all local Muslims. The tactics they used to get support from local Muslims in order to destroy Ottoman Empire was simple. Keep Muslims busy in fighting on minor issues. Make small issues as big issues and fight against those Muslims who do not accept the ideology of these local nationalist scholars. Since these nationalist scholars of Islam were fighting against Muslim Turkish Ottoman Empire the Western Christian governments loved them and supported them in their struggle. Now, these Muslims were very friendly with Kuffaar and very hard on other Muslims. After a long series of events during 1800 and early 1900 most of the Muslims countries became colonies of European governments. These so-called nationalist scholars received big rewards from their Lords in the West and they were successful in destroying the unity of Muslim Ummah while still claiming the title of “Islamic Scholars”.
Strategies of Europe’s anti Islam Forces
In late 1700s and early 1800s century the European powers realized that there is no way that the Christian forces can break the strength of Muslim Ummah. The West had seen more than 13 centuries of Muslim rule. The only way the anti Islam forces could weaken the unity of Muslim Ummah was to use and nourish some of the Muslims within the Muslim community who could divide the Muslims. Europeans especially the British were studying the Muslim society for many years. They were working hard to develop a wicked strategy which could not only divide Muslims but also help them in controlling the Muslim land and resources. The strategy of European anti Islam forces was based upon the following principles.
- Muslims believe in one God and they worship only one God. This believe in one God was not considered as a threat towards European Society and governments. The Christian and Jews also believed in one God, therefore, this would be common point of discussion and communication.
- Muslims do love their Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) from their hearts. It is possible that a Muslim may not completely practice his / her religion but it is impossible to find a Muslim who does not love Muhammad (peace be upon him). As long as Muslims remain in love with their Prophet (peace be upon him) it is very difficult to penetrate in their lines and change their thinking. Therefore, develop and support few Muslims who are willing to challenge the honour and authority of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Once, Muslims get into dispute about their own beloved Prophet, it will be very easy to disintegrate them.
- Muslims believe in their Holy Book, Qur’an. They also believe that Qur’an is the word of God and can not be changed. Muslims rely on Qur’an for guidance and religious beliefs. However, Qur’an is the major threat for non-Muslim society. No Muslim would accept to modify or change the Qur’anic verses. All major interpretations (TAFSEER) and Translations of Qur’an are similar. Therefore, develop and support those Muslims scholars who will be able to provide “new” meanings to the Qur’anic verses and interpret them “differently”. These kinds of scholars are those who are;
- Nationalist and against Ottoman Empire because of its Turkish heritage.
- Leaders in their local communities and want to be recognized as big leaders
- Looking for better living but can not afford it.
During late 18th century the European governments were desperately working to disintegrate Muslim Unity. On one side British were breaking the unity of Muslims of non-Arab world by supporting Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani and on the other side they were creating Arab nationalism among Muslims of the Arab World. They found several Muslims who were willing to fight against the Turkish Ottoman Empire. They found two local Muslim leaders in Najd area of Arabian Peninsula who were willing to fight against Khilafat-e-Islamiyah provided that the British give them power to rule the land. One of them claimed to be a reformer of Islam and the other was a tribal leader and wanted to be the King of Arabia. The British saw a perfect opportunity to destroy KHILAFAT-E-ISLAMI (Ottoman Empire) and used these two leaders of Najd to destroy the unity of Muslim Ummah. These two leaders made an agreement among themselves that the reformer whose name was Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab would use Islam as his slogan and the tribal leader would provide men and weapons to fight against Muslims who support KHILAFAT-E-ISLAMI (Ottoman Empire). Since, the self claimed reformer knew that the Turks and the Muslims of Hijaz love Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) more than any thing else he decided to undermine the high levels and honour of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). He used the beliefs of Khwarij to undermine the authority of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). He did not openly preach hate against Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) but presented Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as an ordinary person who “was” Allah’s Messenger but died 1300 years ago.
He used little different approach from other self-claimed reformers. Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani, Bahaullah and Muhammad Daruze all claimed that they were Prophets hence proclaiming that they were at the same level as Muhammad (Peace be upon him). But Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab instead of claiming high levels for himself as the other did he brought down the levels of Muhammad (peace be upon him ) so low that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab both looked at the same level (I seek Allah’s refuge). He presented Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a dead person who does not have any more links with his Ummah and Ummah does not need him anymore (I seek Allah’s refuge). He destroyed all the historical sites and objects which had any connections with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) or with the companions of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon them). He killed thousands of Muslims in Arabian Peninsula in order to establish the government of his partner who promised him to give him a fair share in his kingdom. Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab did not follow the consensus (Ijma’) of Islamic scholars and considered himself as the final authority in giving the interpretation of Qur’an and Hadith. Since, he claimed himself as a Muslim reformer he used force with full backing of British government and his partner to occupy the entire Arabia. Finally, he was able to capture the control over Makkah and Madinah, the two holy cities of Islamic faith.
The Europeans were very happy with the disintegration of Ottoman Empire. These so-called scholars of Islam did what the entire anti Islam forces couldn’t do in 13 centuries. After the disintegration of Ottoman Empire most of the Muslim countries became European colonies. Muslims were oppressed all over the world. All the glory of Islamic superpower vanished and Muslims were completely disunited.
Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab founded a new sect in Islam called Wahabism. The ideology of Wahabism was based upon the beliefs of Khwarij. In other words, the Wahabism was a revival of Khwarjism. Two very important factors played very important role in the success of Wahabism. First, the Makkah and Madinah both cities were in the control of Wahabi Imams who used the two holy mosques to spread their ideology on worldwide basis. They preached to the pilgrims and the visitors of these two holy cities. Muslims who did not know that the Wahabism is a product of the destruction of Ottoman Empire consider the Imams of these two holy mosques as sacred persons and followed whatever they preached. On the other hand the wealth of oil in the Arabian Peninsula brought job opportunities for worldwide Muslims and non-Muslims. When Muslims went to work in the region they thought that all of the residents of the Holy Land are true followers of Islam. They did not know that the present religious authorities of Makkah and Madinah follow a school of thought, which is against the consensus of Islamic scholars. This kind of so-called Islamic thinking in the Arabian Peninsula is different than the thinking of the Islamic scholars throughout the history of Islam. Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab organized and established this school of thought in the name of Islam that contradicts with the consensus of Islamic scholars such as; 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.
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.
The intellectual differences of opinions should be not be considered as a dispute but it should not be discussed on streets or during Friday sermons. It should be discussed in the universities, and Dar-ul-Ulooms. A disputed matter or issue is that matter / issue in which the Muslim scholars are divided. Therefore, instead of condemning each other, calling names and killing Muslims we must follow whichever Muslim school of thought we want to follow but respect others.
Following are some DOs and DON’Ts to help in building the unity of Muslim Ummah.
- Whenever we discuss a disputed matter we must be civilized, open minded and kind to other Muslims.
- Whenever we discuss a disputed matter we should acquire in-depth knowledge of both side’s point of view.
- We should be positive and respectful towards other Muslims regardless of difference in opinions.
- We must be preaching and spreading Islam not our own sectarian beliefs.
- If a dispute arises on the interpretation of a verse in Qur’an OR Hadith OR about a certain action we must follow the consensus of the scholars of Islam. If we find that the scholars are split on the issue then one can follow who ever he / she likes to follow but must not consider the others as wrong.
- Friday’s Sermons of our Imams should be on the common issues and teachings. The Imams must try to bring Muslims together. They must stay away from the disputed topics.
- Muslims must love, respect and follow Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) did.
- Muslims must adopt all those ways which increase the love of Allah, His Prophet (peace be upon him) and His book, Qur’an.
- Muslims must be very careful in listening, reading and following of those scholars of Islam who were responsible for the destruction of KHILATFAT-E-ISLAMI during 1800 and later.
- Muslims must focus on the major issues of Muslim Ummah such as Palestine, Al Quds, Chechnya, Kashmir, Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, Macedonian, Albania, etc.. rather than wasting time on minor issues.
- Muslims must focus on education, technology and science, moral and spiritual vales, economical and political stability in Muslim countries.
- Imams in mosques and scholars of Islam must not interpret verses of Qur’an from their own opinions and preferences. They must follow the consensus of Islamic scholars about an issue.
- Imams and scholars should not be condemning Muslims of other sects in their speeches and Friday sermons.
- Muslims should not be spreading hate for other Muslims who disagree with them as long as both groups follow the interpretation of Qur’an and Hadith from an authentic scholar of Islam.
- Muslims should not follow those Imams and scholars who undermine the honour of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and consider themselves as the final authority on Islam.
- Muslims should not follow those Imams and scholars who are disrespectful towards the consensus of scholars of Islam.
- Muslims should not follow those Imams and scholars who ignore their own innovations in Islam but keep Muslims busy in small disputes.
- Muslims should not follow those scholars who are very eager to issue Fatwa against Muslims and declare them KAFIR, MUSHRIK, JAHANNAMI, BID’ATEE, etc.
- Muslims should not follow those self claimed Imams and scholars who spread nothing but hate against those Muslims who do not belong to their sect.
- Muslims should not follow those Imams and scholars who intentionally dual on minor differences among Muslims.
- Muslims should not follow those Imams and scholars who divide Muslims rather than uniting them.
Druze, Bahais and Ahmedies separated their faith from the mainstream Islam therefore, they are considered as an out side communities. However, the followers of Wahabism always claimed that they are the true followers of Islam and their claim got strength from the fact that they have occupied the two holy cities of Islam, Makkah and Madinah. Some of the followers of Wahabism are the richest people and they are using the power of petro dollars to convert innocent Muslims towards Wahabism. What Wahabis have done is un-parallel in Islamic history. They used the verses of Qur’an and the text of Hadith to create animosity among brothers. All those verses of Qur’an which Allah has revealed to inspire Muslims against KUFFAR, these Wahabis used those verses to inspire Muslims against Muslims. Just like Ahmedies, Wahabis consider all those Muslims who do not follow them as “MUSHRIK” and “KAFIR”. Therefore, in Wahabism it is allowed not to obey Muslim parents and fight against your own Muslim brothers and sisters if they do not follow the Wahabi sect. They use Allah’s order of Amr bil Ma’roof wa Nahi A’nil Munkar (order good and stop evil) to spread their own ideology and sectarian beliefs. THIS IS THE MAIN SOURCE OF DISUNITY AMONG MUSLIMS OF THE PRESENT TIME.
A very important commonality between Ahmedies and Wahabis is the hidden jealousy for the high levels of Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam). Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani by claiming Prophethood tried to bring himself at the level of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam). While, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab tried to bring the high levels of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) so down at his own level that he looked like at the same level as Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam). (I seek Allah’s refuge from Satan). But Allah, the Creator of Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) has given Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam so high levels that if all the human beings and all the force of this world try to undermine the honour of Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) they will never succeed. WA RA FA’NA LA KA ZIK RAK.
The Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) foretold about the coming of such people in the Hadith narrated by “Abu-Yaa’li” on the authority of “Huzaifah” who said:
The Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “What I fear most for you, is a man who reads the Qur’an until such time when the blessing of Qur’an is reflected on him and he takes Islam as his Cloak … he then turns around and strips himself off from Islam and then tosses it away behind his back, then he heads quickly towards his neighbour with his sword unsheathed and he calls him a ‘MUSHRIK'” I said: “O, Prophet of Allah! Who is more worthy of being called a MUSHRIK the one being attacked or the attacker”. He replied, “It is indeed the attacker.”
May Allah keep us on the right path, the path of SALEHEEN and keep us with the SALEHEEN. Ameen
Remember; the true knowledge is with Allah and His Prophet ((sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).