By Dr Auorang Zeib Khan
The quote ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ has been used umpteen times, in the history to instill a bond among several segments of the society to achieve grand collective aims. The phrase, in various forms, can be attributed to the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop, US Founding Father John Dickinson and many others. A similar phrase also appears in the biblical testament in verses 12:25 ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand’. It is more pertinent to Muslims, as Islam regards all the Muslims as a single brotherhood ‘Ummah Wahida’; it professes unity among Muslims and abhors division.
After coming into being the Islam spread in the vastness of Arabia and beyond just due to the unity it displayed in the early years. The Islam loathes any division among its followers or any discrimination on the basis off color, creed or status. Our beloved Holly Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in his famous sermon at Hajja-tul-Wida’ that Arabs have no superiority over non-Arabs and non-Arabs have no superiority over Arabs; you are all equal except by piety and good action. I am leaving behind me two things, the Quran and my example (the Sunnah) and if you follow these you will never go astray’. Till the time Muslims remained united they were the sole superpower and ruled the world. They set standards for the rest of the world and were intellectually, morally, economically and politically the leaders and role model for other communities and nations.
After humiliating defeat at the hands of inferior and ill equipped Muslims, the enemies soon realized the ‘Unity’ as the forte of Islam. Since then the enemies of Islam have tried to break this unity by planting the seeds of dissention among Muslim on one pretext or the other. The relentless efforts, of the enemies, have been to divide the Muslims on colour, creed, linguistic, ethnic and cultural etc basis. There are numerous occasions in the history, when the Muslims swallowed the bait and suffered horrendous consequences and weakened the Ummah as a whole.
The introduction of internet/ social media has given a lot to the mankind and given it an unprecedented reach. However, this excellent facility is also being utilized to create divisions among Muslims by sowing misunderstanding on trivial issues. The foreign based/ foreign funded think tanks, intellectuals and pseudo religious scholars are raising controversies on non-issues. They have coined various terms to brand Muslims in various groups and create mutual hatred to destroy their unity.
All the Muslims believe in oneness of Allah and finality of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). All four Imams had difference of opinion on certain issues; however these differences were purely intellectual and based upon Hadith which reached them at different times. Despite the difference of opinion the Imams or the scholars of early times always respected each other and never ever condemned each other or called the other Imam and his followers as wrong. The discussion on the differences in Fiqah was never made a topic of Friday Sermons and never the Muslims were asked not to follow the other Imams.
Islam has surpassed all the religions of the world with more than 23% of the world population as Muslims. The major deposits of natural resources of the world are mostly owned by Muslim countries, but the sad part is that in spite of such a great number of followers and the resources the Muslims are suffering. This suffering is the outcome of differences/ division among Muslims. Muslims are divided on the basis of languages, ethnicity, regional preferences, nationalism and above all sectarian beliefs in the name of Islam. Those who don’t want to see the Muslims gaining strength are bent upon dividing them to the roots. There appears a grand plan of widening the gulf between Muslims by organizing various conferences and seminars on controversial issues at international level by inviting select religious scholars, thereby embroiling the Muslims, all over the world in general and Gulf in particular, in sectarian strife.
Aforesaid in view, there is a need to create awareness among the Muslims. The religious scholars need to highlight the looming threats in their sermons and create unity among Muslims. In addition to the above following also need to be highlighted:-
Being Muslims we need to hold the rope of Allah’ Quran and Hadith’ tight and not get divided. We have to unite in the name of Allah and not fight, among ourselves, in the name of Allah. Islam ordains protection of non-Muslims simply to show the respect for the canons of divinity and humanity, then how can we afford to fight with our own Muslim brothers?
Islam is basically a religion of peace that lays great emphasis upon mutual understanding and love among the fellow Muslims. Great stress is laid upon the unity and development of brotherhood among fellow Muslim brothers.
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 we must respect others view points as well. The intellectual differences of opinions should not be considered as a dispute and should not be debated on streets or during Friday sermons. It should be discussed in the universities, and Dar-ul-Ulooms.
The Unity does not shun any one’s personal and substantial right of expression and will, but it means to have respect and honor for others’ thoughts. It means to show broadmindedness, respect, and avoidance of every sort of chauvinism. We must follow the esteemed companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who, at times, despite having academic differences among them remained friendly and respected each other.
All the enemies of Islam are united against Muslims; we need to be united now more than ever before. The lives of the companion of Prophet (PBUH) and early Muslims lead us to the conclusion that all Muslims are brothers and are like a single body and therefore, can never be indifferent towards one another. Among them should prevail the spirit of cooperation, goodwill, love, sympathy brotherhood and unity of direction and purpose, and they should always be united for the defense of Muslim Ummah.