UNITY OF MUSLIM UMMAH?

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Ever Merciful!

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. Let us focus on two reasons.

  1. Division among Muslims because of local nationalism.
  2. Division among Muslims because of sectarian beliefs in the name of Islam.

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 Wa Sallam) 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 (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) time whenever Muslims were divided on issues, Allah’s Messenger (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) used to bring them together. All the Companions (RadiyAllahu Anhuma) 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 (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) 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 (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), he came and presented himself to the both groups. Both groups realized that for few minutes they had completely forgotten that Allah’s Messenger (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was among them. As soon as they listened Allah’s Messenger (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), they realized their mistake and repented immediately. The unity of Muslims remained intact.

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After the death of Allah’s Messenger, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, Muslims were divided on the issue of who would succeed the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). 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 (RadiyAllahu Anhu). This unity of Muslims continued till the Martyrdom of third Caliph of Islam, Hadhrat Uthman ibn Affaan (RadiyAllahu Anhu). 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 (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and later TAB-E-EEN (Muslims who followed the companions of the Prophet, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) used to pray together and in 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 (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). They learnt Islamic Jurisprudence from Imams of Ahle Bait (family of Prophet Muhammad, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). 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 (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) which reached to them at different times. This was the difference of opinion, which Allah’s Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) called “IKHTILAFO UMMATI RAHMAH”, “The intellectual difference of opinion in my Ummah is a blessing”.

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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 (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). 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}.

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”.

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