UNITY: Does It Exist Amongst Muslims Today? How Can We Achieve It?
Our responsibility regarding the unity of Muslims
We are commanded to be united, and condemned from be divided.
"And hold fast to the rope of Allah, and do not be divided amongst yourselves." (3:103)
"And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them." (3:105)
The rope is the Qur’an and Sunnah. Division obviously comes from groups straying away from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
"O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you who are in authority. If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. This is better and more suitable for final determination." (4:59)
"And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with each other), lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are patient." (8:46)
Division Amongst The Muslim Ummah
Despite the fact we know we have to be united, Muslims seemingly are more disunited now more than ever.
Abu Hurayrah (R) relates, "The Prophet (S) said, ‘The Jews divided into 71 sects, the Christians into 72 sects, and my ummah will divide in to 73 groups." (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi) - In other ahadeeth when asked about who the saved sect is, Muhammad (S) replied that it was what he and his companions were upon. (Tirmidhi, Nasa’i)
This is easy to see with the Muslims of today. There seems to be a trend to call somebody towards their group’s interpretation of Islam, rather on calling them to Islam based solely on proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
There is an example of a young man who accepted Islam through information on the internet. After coming to the musjid he found Muslims seemingly competing against each other to get him to their group, instead of cooperating with one another. He was even reluctant to go to the masjid based on his experience.
We also have a big problem with nationalism. It seems it is not just sufficient to say, "I am a Muslim" anymore, rather we find people saying they are a "<Insert Nationality Here> Muslim". We seem to overlook major faults with somebody of our own nationality, race, group, etc., but are quick to criticize others. "Those <Insert Nationality Here> are extremists or are too relaxed, etc.
Muslims Amongst The Non-Muslims
The disunity which exists amongst ourselves is having far reaching consequences.
We know that Jews and Christians have a strong bond, and are often the strongest in opposition to Muslims. Allah says (what means):
"O you who believe, take not the Jews and Christians as protectors and helpers, they are but protectors and helpers of one another. And if any among you take them as protectors and helpers, then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are wrongdoers." (al-Maida: 51)
We can see the following ahadeeth happening to us now. Abu Hurayrah (R) reported Muhammad (S) said, "Islam started as something strange, and it would go back to being strange, so good tidings for the strangers." (Muslim) Abdullah Ibn Masood (R) narrated, "While we were in the company of the Prophet (S) in a tent, he said, ..."I hope that you will be one half of the people of paradise, for none will enter paradise but a Muslim soul, and you people, in comparison to the people who associate others in worship with Allah, are like a white hair on the skin of a black ox, or a black hair on the skin of a red ox." (Bukhari)
Our condition today is like Muhammad (S) said, "The nations will summon each other against you as those eating summon each other to their dish." A man asked, "Is it because we will be few?" He (S) said, "You will rather be many, but you will be like the foam of the stream, and Allah will take out from the hearts of your enemy fear of you, and He will put weakness into your hearts." He (the man) asked, "O Messenger of Allah, and what is the weakness?" He (S) said, "Love of this world, and hatred of death." (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)
We can see not only do Jews and Christians oppose us, but we also see Hindus, Communists, etc. opposing us all over the world. Since Muslims are divided, less fortunate Muslims continue to be persecuted and oppressed all over the world.
Ways to Achieve Unity
How can we change our situation. These are things which Insha’Allah we can implement to bring the unity which we are commanded to have amongst ourselves.
"And whosoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers." (Al-Imran:85)
In some places it seems the Qur’an has just gone to a center piece in homes. Verses are often hung as decoration in homes but are not reflected upon. Sometimes the verses are so small that we can not even read them. What is the purpose of this? What basis does this have in Islam? We need to ponder over the word of Allah, reflect, and act upon them.
"Do you then believe in part of the Scripture and reject part of it? What is the recompense of those who do so among you except disgrace in the life of this world and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do." (al-Baqara: 85)
Now we know that the Qur'an is the Book of Allah. There are so many things in the Qur'an that have just been 'discovered' by people 20-40 years ago. Allah talks about how there is a barrier between fresh water and salt water, and people just discovered that in the 1960's. Allah describes the stages a baby goes through in the mother's womb, how mountains have pegs, how soil is affected with rain, etc.
We can not just pick and choose from the Qur’an what we like. We should not say, "Oh, but if I don’t take and give interest, how am I supposed to get that house on the hill?" By going into such things we are sacrificing our Hereafter. We should know by staying away from such things, we will Insha’Allah get the best house in Paradise.
We need to be effected by the what is in the Qur’an, so when we hear about the descriptions of Paradise we long for it, and we he heard words about the Hellfire we long to stay away from it.
"Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is no less than revelation sent down to him." (53:3-4)
"But no, by your Lord, they can have no (real) faith until they make you (Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction." (4:65)
Irbaad ibn Saariyah reports that the Messenger of Allah(S) gave the companions (Sahaba) an exhortation one day after the Fajr Prayer which caused their eyes to shed tears and their hearts to quiver So a man said, "This is as if it is a final exhortation, so counsel us, O Rasulullah(S)." He(S) said, "I counsel you to fear Allah and to hear and obey even if an Ethiopian slave becomes your leader, since he who lives will see much division(many differences). So keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided successors after me, cling to that with your teeth. Beware of novelties for every novelty is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray" (Tirmidhi)
"Let those beware who oppose the Messenger’s order! In case some fitnah(trial) should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted upon them." (24:63)
And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, and transgress His Limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein, and he shall have a disgraceful torment." (4:13-14)
"This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (Maidah:3)
"The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say, "We hear and we obey." And such are the successful. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, fears Allah, and keeps his duty, such are the successful." (24:51-52)
Everyday actions which promote Unity
Ibn Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger said, "Establish your lines [straight], for indeed the angels [pray] in lines. Align your shoulders, close the gaps, yield your hands to your brothers, and do not leave any gaps for Shaytaan. Whoever connects a line, Allah maintains him, and whoever breaks a line, Allah cuts him off." (Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa`ee and others)
An-Nu’maan bin Basheer said, "...So I saw a man clinging his shoulder to his companion’s shoulder, and his foot to his foot, and his ankle to his ankle." (Bukhari)
Muhammad (S) said (about), "By the One in Whose Hand my soul is, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Spread the grettings of peace (As Salaamu Alaikum) among yourselves." (Muslim)