< Previous | Next >

UNITY- A crying need of the Ummah

Written by: by M. Abdul Bari :: (View All Articles by: M. Abdul Bari)
UNITY IS A DIVINE REQUIREMENT    
MANKIND DIVIDED INTO TWO CAMPS    
UNITY IS THE MUSLIM WAY OF LIFE    
FOUNTAIN OF ISLAMIC UNITY    
DISUNITY : A DESTRUCTIVE DISEASE    
ATTEMPTS FOR UNITY    
WAY TO UNITY    
RECOMMENDATIONS    
CONCLUSION 
GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

UNITY IS A DIVINE REQUIREMENT

Say: He is Allah, the one! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. (At-Tawhid 112)

 The unity or oneness of Allah (SWT) means that everything on this earth is from the One and Only Creator, who is also the Sustainer of the universe and the Sole Source of its guidance. Thus unity is the law of nature. The universe and everything in it are the reflection of absolute unity, coherence and discipline. The cosmology, animal and vegetable kingdom - all of them testify the oneness of their Creator and work in harmony. All of their components have a common origin, a common purpose and a common end - for they are deliberately created by one absolute power. The natural phenomena in our solar system and the planet earth do also point towards an ever-vigilant Master of events.

In this supremely disciplined universe Allah (SWT) has created mankind with a divine purpose giving them the superiority and authority (Al-Qur'an 22:65, 31:20) over all other creation. He has equipped them with knowledge, wisdom and free will in order to see whether mankind pass the test of submitting to their Lord's command and represent Allah's (SWT) vicegerency on earth (Al-Qur'an 2:30).

I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. (Adh-Dhariayat 51:56)

These aim and purpose of man's creation give a unique relationship between the Creator and the human being, i.e., mankind ought to be united in total obedience to their Lord, the Creator.

Mankind, the progeny of Adam (pbuh), were in fact one community and originated from the same source, Allah (SWT), Who has given them the shape and the spirit. To Him everybody will return (Al-Qur'an 2:156) in due course of time.

Mankind were one community... (Al-Baqarah 2:213, Al-Yunus 10:20)

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad multitude of men and women. (An-Nisa 4:1)

MANKIND DIVIDED INTO TWO CAMPS

... Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are)...  (Al Maidah 5:48)

However, Allah's plan to test the members of mankind through free will led them to divergence among themselves. They differed about the way of life and became ever divided (Al-Qur'an 2:213). A major section misused their freedom of will and acted in contravention to their position of vicegerency. But Allah (SWT), in His infinite mercy, started sending Prophets so that the mankind, as a whole, could be guided towards fulfilling their mission on earth. No section of mankind was left in darkness from the Prophetic guidance. Muhammad (pbuh), the last in the chain of Prophethood, was sent to unite the entire mankind towards a common goal of establishing Allah's (SWT) order on earth.

The mission of all the Prophets being the same, their followers had formed a single community and were given the name "Muslims" (Al-Qur'an 22:78) which means those who submit and obey. But those who have chosen to become rebellious are divided into numerous groups according to their own whims, but together they belong to one camp, inimical to Truth. The former have been termed as "Allah's Soldiers" and the latter "Devil's Soldiers" in Al-Qur'an.

UNITY IS THE MUSLIM WAY OF LIFE

The spirit of unity is rooted to the Islamic way of life. The five pillars of Islam (Shahadah, Salah, Sawm, Zakah, and Hajj) motivate and train up the entire Ummah, individually as well as collectively, so that they can fulfil the will of Allah. Allegiance to the Testimony of Faith (Shahadah) and the performance of the four basic duties contribute to the spiritual and temporal power of the united Ummah.

 

Shahadah (Testimony of Faith)

The declaration of the unique and dynamic Faith unites the Muslims from all over the world on a common platform. Every Muslim, irrespective of race, colour and language, enters the blessed house of Islam with the same amount of right and authority through this Testimony of Faith. By rejecting all gods other than Allah and accepting Muhammad (pbuh) as their leader or guide, the Muslims become ever united as a divine community. The testimony of Islamic Faith is assertive and nurtured by the urge to invite more and more fellow human being to the world of Truth. Conceptually and philosophically it is universal, overwhelming and revolutionary. It is neither passive nor quiescent.

 

Salah (Prayer)

Prayer behind an Imam (leader) is the symbol of unity which, if followed in the social and political life, unites the Ummah to a common purpose. The purpose of obligatory prayer in congregation is to prepare the individual Muslim to think and act collectively so that the Ummah-feeling is ingrained in their hearts and mind. Friday prayer is the community prayer where Muslims from a locality get the chance of meeting each other. This facilitates the development of unity and cooperation among them. In an Islamic society the collective prayers are led by the leaders of the Ummah, as was the practice of the Madina society.

 

Sawm (Fasting)

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is the most effective Tarbiyah (Training Programme) for the Muslims that creates Taqwa (God-consciousness) and develops a compassion for the poor and hungry people. Through this practice of self-control, the Muslims rise above the carnal desires and unitedly create an environment of spiritualism within their society. The special prayers on the two Eids, the day of thanksgiving and sacrifice, remind the Ummah of their collective entity.

 

Zakah (Compulsory Charity)

Zakah purifies the heart of the rich and creates fellow feeling among the Muslims. The economic unity and prosperity of the Ummah, in fact, is based on Zakah which provides the opportunity of sharing excess wealth of a segment of the Ummah with the less fortunate section.

 

Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Hajj, the Annual World Assembly of the Muslims, is a vivid manifestation of Islamic unity in its objectives as well as practice. It is a unique and unparalleled collective action Allah (SWT) has so kindly granted for the Muslims. In this lifetime journey to the House of Allah (SWT), an individual Muslim is submerged in the ocean of believers and identifies himself as an indispensable unit within the coherent body of the Ummah. The dress, attitude, purpose, emotional feeling during the Hajj - everything demonstrates the symbol of homogeneity and oneness. The barriers of language, race and colour disappear within the bondage of faith and brotherhood. Equality of worldly status blends the unity among the pilgrims. Together they become the true servants of Allah (SWT) for a sublime purpose, for a noble cause.

 

Jihad (Struggle in the Way of Allah)

Jihad, the endeavour to establish Ma'ruf (right) in and remove Munkar (evil) from life and society, is associated with Jama'at (organisation) and thus inconceivable without unity and discipline. The five pillars of Islam prepare the Muslims for a collective Jihad. It is the lifeblood of the Muslim Ummah and the source of Islam's dignified world-role.

FOUNTAIN OF ISLAMIC UNITY 

The believers are but a single brotherhood ; so make peace between your brothers ; and fear Allah that ye may receive mercy.  (Al-Hujurat 49:10) 

This simple and straightforward declaration of the Qur'an determines the universal relationship between the followers of Islam. This concept of brotherhood among the Muslims is the cornerstone of Islamic unity and is the charter of worldwide Islamic Movement. Brotherhood is a notion based on faith, fraternity and equality without denying the reality of human differences in attitudes and values. It originates from mutual love, respect and emotional feelings for one another as in the case of a united family. It unites mankind on the basis of ideology and convictions. Anybody from any part of the globe, irrespective of racial or linguistic origin, can join the house of Islam through the testimony of Islamic faith and the needful actions. 

In his last sermon at Arafah Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) declared, 

    All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. 

Unity is a gift and blessing from Allah (SWT). The eligibility of early Muslims to gain this favour is a blissful event in the human history. With His immense mercy Allah (SWT) actuated to bridge the hearts of the once hostile people. 

... And remember Allah's favour unto you : how ye were enemies and He made friendship between your hearts so that ye became as brothers by His grace ; and how ye were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you from it. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations unto you, that haply ye may be guided.  (Ali Imran 3:103) 

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) emphasised the importance and magnitude of unity by stating that, "the believers are related to one another as parts of a structure, one part of which strengthens the other". The following Hadith speaks of a monumental illustration of mutual relationship within the Muslim Ummah, 

It is narrated by No'man bin Bashir that prophet (pbuh) said, "Mutual love, tenderness, and compassion among the believers work like a human body. When one part becomes sick the whole body gets weak through sleeplessness and fever."  (Bukhari and Muslim)  

History has seen an unparalleled transformation in the character of the Arabs during the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the blessed Khilafah al-Rashidah. In only a few decades a nation of "Jahiliyah" (ignorance) turned out to be the leader of a revolutionary, peace loving, God-conscious,  united and disciplined Ummah. It was the golden touch of the Faith of Islam based on brotherhood that united the Arabs and gave them the dignity and pre-eminence on earth. The light of that brotherhood took very little time to cross the frontiers of other nations of the East and the West, North and the South. 

 

DISUNITY: A DESTRUCTIVE DISEASE 

If ye go not forth He will afflict you with a painful doom, and will choose instead of you a folk other than you. Ye cannot harm Him at all. Allah is able to do all things. (At-Taubah 9:39).   

What happened next ? The old Jahiliyah of Nationalism and Tribalism erupted like volcanoes in the Muslim political life and destroyed the coherence of the Ummah. The institution of Khilafah became secularised by hereditary succession. The Ummah gradually disintegrated and fragmented into weak Caliphates and later on independent Sultanates.  

   Despite the notion of a united and consolidated community, as taught by the Prophet, violent differences arose among the Muslims within a few years after his death. These differences were in the first instance political, arising out of the question of leadership of the community. [The Encyclopedia Britannica, 5th Ed., Vol.9, 1977, p.915]  

After a period of internal political and theological muddling for a few centuries, the Ummah witnessed the savage assault by the united force of European Christendom for two centuries (11-12th centuries of CE). Although the gallant soldiers of Islam defended the Muslim holy places, the broader unity was not achieved. As a result, the immense calamity that befell on the Ummah in the 13th century CE was the Mongol onslaught led by Chengiz Khan. This "Scourge of God" [A Short History of the Saracens, Syed Amir Ali, New Delhi, 1981, p.383] routed the Muslim empire with inhuman cruelty and barbarism. The Mongol invasion culminated with the historic fall of Baghdad, the centre of Muslim intellectual and cultural life, and its total destruction in 1258. 

As the Muslims recovered from this calamity and the Mongols themselves turned to Islam later on, the Muslim Ummah could not unify themselves under a strong Khilafah. The rise of the Turks and the establishment of the Ottoman Caliphate was marred by the fall of Spain and the extermination of Muslims from the historic land of their 800 years rule. While the central authority of the Ummah was gradually fading away, the Renaissance (14-16th Centuries of CE) and Industrial Revolution (17-18th Centuries of CE) were creating a secular and expansionist Europe with their hatred turned against anything divine. By the time Europe started colonising Muslim lands, the individual Muslim Sultanates were totally unprepared to defend themselves. Muslim political and religious leaders were more fragmented and lethargic than ever. "The best Ummah" forgot its world-role and succumbed to humiliation and collective disgrace. 

By the beginning of 20th Century CE the Muslim world was virtually under the mercy of the European colonisers who plundered their lands and de-stabilised the Ummah in every aspects of their life. The effect of colonial intrigue, particularly the Orientalist onslaught, and the creation of a westernised class of Muslims shattered the confidence of the Ummah. When the Ottoman Caliphate, the last thread of Muslim unity, was formally abolished by the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1924, The Muslim world was left with nothing but anguish and frustration. It was hard for the Ummah to conceive their existence without the institution of the Caliphate, whatever form it might have. But they were politically too weak to organise even their efforts under a forceful leadership. 

By the middle of 20th century CE the Muslim world managed to drive away the colonisers from their lands, but the creation of "Muslim nation states" based on the western philosophy of nationalistic Jahiliyah has erected the major barrier to real Islamic unity. How can genuine unity be attained among these states where most of them are ruled by autocracy, tyranny and dictatorship? How can the Ummah be united on the basis of Islam where their hopes and aspirations are constantly being trampled over by their secular rulers? 

While the political leaders of the Muslim countries have chosen to undermine Islamic unity, the ignorance of the Ummah and the incompetence of their religious leaders have added salts into injury. The disease of internal strife and division has weakened the Muslim people, the bleeding wounds of which can be observed in the form of tribal, ethnic, nationalistic, sectarian, linguistic, geographical and other hostilities. The dissection of the largest Muslim country (Pakistan) in 1971 is a dreadful example that reminds the evil consequence of linguistic Jahiliyah. As 21st century is approaching, the enemies of Islam in the East and West are constantly conspiring to aggravate the disunity and dissension among the Muslim Ummah. The inhuman torment of the Muslim people and the resulting sense of impotence and frustration have their response in the form of deafening silence from the Muslim capitals. The Ummah today remains afflicted by degradation and humiliation, ignominy and powerlessness. The occupation of Kuwait by Iraq and the latter's destruction by the western powers is a blatant example of the Ummah's humiliation. The shameless indifference of the Muslim governments in the recent genocide of Bosnian Muslims should be taken in that context. 

ATTEMPTS FOR UNITY

 

After the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when the authority of the first Caliph, vis a vis the unity of the Ummah, was challenged by tribal identities, it was restored back by quick suppression of the revolt. The four blessed Caliphs remained the "Commanders of the Faithful" (Amir al Muminin). The assassination of Imam Ali brought an end to the golden era of Islam's central authority on the Ummah, inviting confusion and inhomogeneity.

However, the yearning for unity and the ideals of Islamic brotherhood had always persisted in and kept illuminating the hearts of the Muslim masses throughout the history, inspite of political and theological trauma that passed after the blessed Khilafah. The target to unify the Ummah remained a guiding factor for the Islamic Revivalist Movements that emerged later on. The attempt made by Imam Hussain during the early stages of Umayyad monarchy to unify and lead the Ummah on the purity and ideals of Prophet's (pbuh) mission had been the greatest source of inspiration for those Movements.

Numerous attempts in political and theological fronts had been made afterwards by the inspired Muslim leaders towards that goal. Among them Sultan Salah al-Din Ayubi during the European Crusade (1181-93 CE) and Imam Ibn Taiymiah during the Mongol invasion had left outstanding footsteps in the history of the Muslim efforts for unity. Moreover, isolated examples of cooperation, Islamic brotherhood and unity at times of necessity between the Muslims and their rulers had always occurred throughout the history. Military assistance to the Sultan of Granada by the Ottoman Sultan in 1483 CE. [History of the Ottoman Turks, E.S. Creasy, Beirut, 1961, p.122] and the unique military help to the Indian Muslims by the ruler of Afghanistan in 1761 are exemplary events of mutual assistance among the Muslim leaders, even in the decadent period of Muslim history.

The most outstanding attempt for global unity of the Muslim Ummah in the last century CE was led by Jamal al-Din Afghani (1838-97 CE ), a leader of towering personality. His Pan Islamic Movement created a political sensation and psychological whirlwind in the Muslim world which was by then the underdogs of the world community.

    Afghani considered Islam the potential source of Muslim unity and political strength and to this end devoted most of his life. [The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 5th Ed., Vol.10, 1977, p.20]

Afghani was a pragmatic leader who realised that, at that particular time, a single government for the whole Ummah would not be acceptable. He expounded, I am no pleading that a government of one single ruler should be accepted by all (these countries), because to accomplish this is probably very difficult. But I do really expect the predominance of the Qur'anic rule over all of them, and they should make Islam a means of their unity. [Al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Jamal al Din Afghani, Cairo, 1957, p.72] 

The other pioneering Movement was launched in British occupied India for the demand of the restoration of Khilafah when the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished in 1924. The Khilafah Movement, as it was called, was based on the spirit of Islamic unity under a universal caliphate. It was an important historical event for the Muslims of India, but had little impact outside.

The conference of 1926 in Cairo by the Muslim religious and political leaders from a number of countries was an emotional attempt to revive the Caliphate. As they were non-governmental delegates, they decided to hold a Grand Assembly of the Ummah

".. in a country which shall be chosen by the delegates of the Islamic peoples - in which the delegates of the Muslim people shall meet to discuss the measures to be taken with a view to the establishment of the Caliphate fulfilling all the conditions prescribed by the Shari’ah (Islamic law)" [OIC, Abdullah al-Ahsan, IIT, Herndon, VA, USA, 1988, p.11-12].

The attempt failed and no such Assembly was ever held to discuss the Caliphate issue. However, the gifted Muslim leaders continued their strenuous effort to construct a common platform for the Ummah. By then, the idea of creating a separate Muslim state on the Indian subcontinent was growing. It was not an ideal way to unify the Ummah as Allama Iqbal, the most accomplished thinker of the modern Muslim world, emphasised. [Atlas of the Islamic World Since 1500, Francis Robinson, UK, 1982, p.149]

Our essence is not bound to any place;
the vigour of our wine is not contained
in any bowl ; Chinese and Indian
Alike the shard that constitutes our jar,
Turkish and Syrian alike the clay
Forming our body ; neither is our heart
Of India, or Syria, or Rum,
Nor any fatherland do we profess
Except Islam.
(Rumuz-i-Bekhudi, 1918; trans. Arberry) 

However, he came to terms with the reality of the Indian situation and started campaigning vociferously for the creation of Pakistan where the "Islamic Shari’ah could be enforced".

The recent works on regeneration of the Ummah and thus realisation of global Islamic unity through going back to the pristine purity of Islam were initiated by two towering personalities in 1928 and 1941. Sheikh Hasan al Banna's Ikhwanul Muslimin in the Arab world and Maulana Sayyid Mawdudi's Jama'at-e-Islami in Indian sub-continent have been instrumental in moulding the characters of millions in modern Muslim history. But the lack of state power by any of these Movements has so far constrained their potency to achieve global unity.

After the second world war the creation of a number of Muslim nation states has changed the situation. The process of unity or even cooperation was undermined by many Muslim rulers who, being secularised by European thought, did not subscribe to the very concept of Islamic unity. Some of them even ridiculed the idea [OIC, Abdullah al-Ahsan, IIT, Herndon, VA, USA, 1988, p.16]. The necessity of unity was only felt by the Muslim leaders when, after the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel in 1967 war, Al-Aqsa mosque was desecrated under zionist occupation on 21 August, 1969. A Summit Conference representing 24 Muslim countries was held in Morocco on 22-25 September, 1969 with a view to "promoting among themselves (Muslim governments) close cooperation and mutual assistance in the economic, scientific, cultural and spiritual fields, inspired by the immortal teachings of Islam". [OIC, Abdullah al-Ahsan, IIT, Herndon, VA, USA, 1988, p.18]  This is the forerunner of OIC (The Organisation of Islamic Conference) whose membership has increased to 46 countries. But apart from being an ornamental body, the OIC has so far failed to exhibit any ray of hope for genuine Islamic unity the Ummah is so eagerly waiting for.

WAY TO UNITY

O ye who believe ! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly ; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one... (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

The unity of the Muslim Ummah is only possible if Muslims, individually and collectively, return back to Islam with sincerity and decisive effort. In his farewell sermon on Mount Arafah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) passionately urged the Muslims to follow what he said

I leave behind me two things, the QUR'AN and my example, the SUNNAH, and if you follow these you will never go astray.

As the concept of Islamic unity is based on the Qur'an and Sunnah, the method is also derived from those two sources. The perception is inherently linked with the establishment of the worldwide Khilafah (Khilafah ala Minhaj an-Nabuwat) and, as such, very much different from that upon which the UNO, EEC, RedCross and organisations alike have been established. These organisations have been created with the following main objectives [Networks of Interdependence : International Organization and the Global Political System, H.K. Jacobson, 2nd Ed, New York, 1984]

  1. to maintain security and certain regimes of political order, 
  2. to exploit the potential of technological developments for greater commerce, and 
  3. to advance humanitarian goals and to promote social welfare and human rights. 

But the methodology for global Islamic unity should cater for  the spiritual, psychological and ideological homogeneity of the people while allowing the identity of individual community to be retained. The unity in diversity is the plan of Allah (SWT), as mentioned in the Qur'an

O mankind ! Lo ! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another... (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Achieving unity has always been a challenge to the Ummah which, at this state of affairs, cannot be realised in a single stroke or by mere wishful praying. The present Muslim governments and their representative organisations, such as OIC, are not in a position to materialise the demand of a universal Islamic Khilafah. The existence of 46 Muslim "nation states" has itself erected a mountainous obstacle against real unity. However, as the state of affairs cannot be denied or ignored, the approach must be to Islamise individual Muslim countries, whose Islamic governments can then initiate successive steps towards ultimate unity.  

Union of two or more Muslim states, separated by artificial divisions, can easily reduce the number of the "nation states" lowering the number of barriers. This also diminishes the undue hostility between them. Recent reunification of two Yemens is an encouraging phenomenon, which has proved that the goodwill and pragmatism can overcome artificial hurdle.   

Once Islamic governments are formed in a good number of Muslim countries, mass participation and enthusiasm will find the way to global unity. The cherished unity can be attained in phases. In the introductory phase, a Confederation of Islamic countries can be formed, giving them the opportunity and time to work-out methods and strategies for the realisation of the ultimate unity under one supreme authority, the Khilafah ala Minhaj an-Nabuwat. Global reunification of the Ummah is neither a myth nor an impossibility, as the western theorists or secularised Muslim leaders tend to describe it in order to dampen the spirit of the Muslim people. It is a divine requirement. However, its attainment depends on two conditions - Allah's (SWT) favour and the Ummah's turning back to Islam. The establishment of the chain of Islamic governments need requisite conviction and dedication on the part of the Ummah. Whether the Islamic Movements around the globe can employ these potentialities of the Muslim people by overcoming the contemporary problems remains to be seen. A number of general guidelines for the way to unity are outlined below ; 

  1. A sense of deeper and constructive confidence, pride and hope in the distinctive Islamic civilisation is needed to be instilled within the Ummah. This must be devoid of any prejudice and bigotry so that the Ummah knows how to step forward with a universal outlook. The Muslim masses need to be imparted proper socio-political awareness so that their potentialities and energy can be utilised for the welfare of entire human being.
     
  2. A perception of one-Ummah feeling is to be created among the Muslim people all over the world. As burning of a finger aches the whole body, so should be the sensitivity of the Muslims. The sufferings of the Palestinians, Afghans or Kashmiris, for example, should be so felt by them that the whole Ummah cry out together and come up with realistic help.
     
  3. Equality and justice need to be established within the Ummah on the basis of Islamic brotherhood. The idols of sectarian, tribal, linguistic and other chauvinism are to be annihilated from the hearts of the Ummah. The Qur'an says:

    ... Lo ! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

    Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) declaration that "none is higher than the other unless he is higher in obedience to Allah. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab except in piety, nor a non-Arab superior to any Arab" is a guideline which is applicable not only for the Muslims but for the entire mankind as well.
     
  4. The mass-involvement in the socio-political and cultural affairs of the Ummah need to be the part and parcel of the Muslim world. The power of a nation lies on its people. A nation can only prosper when the hopes and aspirations of those people are in harmony with those of its leaders.
     
  5. Exhortation of patience and tolerance is to be practised by the Ummah in matters of mutual affairs. The holy Prophet's affirmation that "Diversity of opinion is a blessing, while disunity a curse" must be accepted by the Ummah with sincerity and broadmindedness. The Qur'an also says

    ... And help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty, but help not one another unto sin and transgression... (Al-Maidah 5:2)
     
  6. The spirit of the institution of Hajj needs to be restored so that it works as a platform for mutual understanding and cooperation between various Muslim groups and communities as well as Muslim countries. This will also help forging a global link among the Ummah to collectively fight the evils of modern Jahiliyah.

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

As every concerned member of the house of Islam is now crying for the lost dignity of the Ummah, realistic recommendations to achieve Muslim unity are vital. Given the volatility of the Muslim world, their effective application demands utmost sincerity, conviction, commitment and caution from every relevant person or authority. Although there has been gross political deviation within Islam, this can be rectified easily - because, alhamdulillah, the Islamic framework is still alive and Al-Qur'an, the eternal constitution of the world, is ever present in the Muslim hearts. Repentance for the past negligence and pledge for the present, these two things being acceptable to Allah (SWT), are the pre-requisites for any success. Following broad recommendations are mentioned here - some for the inter-governmental bodies of the Muslim world and others for the Islamic Movements.

 

A. INTER-GOVERNMENTAL BODIES

OIC and other governmental agencies, global or regional, should initiate to strengthen the cause of Muslim unity by increasing their commitment to their own declared objectives and charters. OIC has, in fact, devised some commendable schemes to promote mutual assistance and cooperation among Muslim countries in various fields. But the lethargy of the member states and incompetence of the OIC administration have made these programmes ineffectual. Lack of consensus as well as Islamic spirit are the main reasons behind these apathetic situation. Methods and ways need to be found so that the relevant Muslim states can work positively on matters of common interest and avoid those that create dissensions. The following areas of cooperation and mutual help by the governmental organisations are now more demanding than ever.

 

Economic Cooperation

These include Food, Agriculture, Energy, Trade, Basic Industry, Transport, Communication, etc. Economy is the backbone for the self-reliance and prosperity of any country, but unfortunately no Muslim country has any economic infrastructure of its own. As Muslim countries are plagued either by affluence or extreme poverty, sharing of wealth, skill and expertise can improve their collective economic predicament.

 

Science and Technology Exchange

As Science and Technology are fundamentally important for a nation to keep pace in the race of development, Muslim countries should promote cooperation and interaction in these areas. Muslim countries should put their joint efforts in order to develop their technological know-how in the productive areas of their economy and initiate some basic research if possible. This will help reducing the brain drain of the talented scientists from their countries.

 

Information and Cultural Cooperation

These include cooperation in the promotion of the features and history of Islamic Civilisation, Academic and Research link in various areas of mutual interest as well as Information-related and Humanitarian activities. Cooperation in defending Muslim rights and Islamic values in Muslim-minority countries can lead to a better understanding among the Muslim countries. Serious and practical steps should be taken to promote Arabic, the language of the Qur'an and of eternal paradise, throughout the Muslim world with a view to making it the common language of the Ummah. This will definitely increase the psychological and spiritual bondage between the Muslim people. 

 

B. ISLAMIC MOVEMENTS

For the last few decades the determination and dedication of the most gifted section of the Ummah have produced a rich blend of a cluster of Islamic Movements around the world. Understandably they have ushered new life and enthusiasm in the whole body of the Ummah and succeeded in rekindling the confidence to re-establish Islamic Khilafah. Whatever the problems and shortcomings these Movements have, they are the part of Allah's design on earth and, as such, they remain the only hope of a glorified Islamic revival.  

Their full scale Jihad (Jihad-fi-Sabil-Allah) to bring about revolutionary changes in their own territories has already awakened the inner dynamism of the Ummah as well as invited the wrath and animosity of the enemies of Islam. The open aggression on the Muslim people by the global Kufr, with their powerful politico-economic and propaganda weapons, and the persecution of Islamic workers by secular westernised Muslim rulers have augmented the strength of the Islamic Movements.  

What is seriously needed from these Movements is realistic strategy and their effective implementation. Needles to mention that these must be based on the guidelines of the methodology of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) establishment of the Islamic Republic in Madina as well as its defence mechanism and expansion procedure.  

However, these Movements should not be self-complacent by claiming that they are the sole representatives for the establishment of Islam. In fact, the absence of an Islamic state makes all the genuine and strenuous efforts ineffectual. The first target of the Islamic Movements is, thus, to build an Islamic state through which they can work for global Islamic reunification.

 

Organised and Comprehensive Da'wah

"All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again", instructed the holy Prophet of Islam in his famous farewell sermon. Tens of thousands of his companions obeyed this injunction literally and thus committed their life and possessions to expand the house of Islam to all corners of the globe. Exhortation of Islamic da'wah is an obligatory duty for the Ummah, individually and collectively.

Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. (An-Nahl 16:125) 

And who is better in speech than him who prayeth unto his Lord and doeth right, and saith : Lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Him). (Fusilat 41:33 

Absence of da'wah or an ineffective one reduces the Ummah to an introvert community who gradually become sluggish in all walks of life. For the light of Allah, al-Islam, to be transmitted to four corners of the globe, the active members of the Ummah must open their illuminated hearts to the millions of His servants, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Da'wah through lips and hands, writings and actions transforms a Muslim to a real soldier of Allah (SWT) and his faith and deeds become dear to his Lord. An Islamic Movement can only hope to receive Allah's help if it employs its full energy for this cause.

 

Mass Participation

The key to accelerate an Islamic revival in a country is to set out mass-oriented and down-to-earth Programmes and involve the general Muslims in the organisational processes. An Islamic Movement can only initiate a successful revolution when the passion for Islamic rule runs high among the common people and "Islamic state" becomes a popular demand. Islamic Movements should not just concentrate on the elitist or academic group for its success. Rather, they should try to win the hearts of a significant section of the people, through their sincere and dedicated services to the people.

 

Muttaqi (God-conscious) Leadership

A chain of Muttaqi and capable leadership who possess deep Iman (Faith), knowledge and wisdom should be established at all levels of Islamic Movements. Leadership in the socio-political affairs of the Ummah is analogous to the "Imamat" in congregational prayers and thus the symbol of unity and of theological importance. Strong leadership has played the most influential role in the history of successful nations. In Islam, a leader represents the vicegerency of his people and thus accountable to Allah (SWT) for his position.  

The leadership of this stature can only originate from the religious schools which are intimately linked with the mosques. To lead a collective life on the archetypal model of Prophet's example in Madina, Islamic Movements should start their activities by re-establishing the dignity and purpose of mosques as the socio-political centre of the Ummah. The essence of Islamic leadership of the Ummah, for all the stages, lies in its being rooted to the mosques.

 

Shoora (Consultation)

An Islamic Movement must ensure that the practice of `Consultation' is established at all levels. The institution of Shura guides a Movement through spiritual environment and, as relevant persons take part in the decision-making processes, saves it from potential mishaps and possible misunderstanding. Consultation with the relevant companions was the practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), although he was guided by Allah (SWT). 

... So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs... (Ali-Imran 3:159) 

... And whose affairs are a matter of council... (Ash-Shura 42:38)

 

Coordination and Mutual Assistance

This is very important in the present context of world affairs where the global enemies of Islam and their puppet rulers have declared war virtually on every Islamic Movement around the world. In order to sustain their activities and bring about the establishment of Islam in their territories by defeating the enemy conspiracy, the Islamic Movements must coordinate their activities and devise inter-Movement strategies. The institution of Hajj, which is the global platform for understanding and cooperation among the Muslim people, should be fully utilised for this purpose.

CONCLUSION

The unity of the Ummah is a necessity not only for the Muslim people but also for the entire humanity. Although Islam, as a message and a model, was completed 1400 years ago, the main task of bringing all mankind into its fold has not yet materialised. Islamic unity is a major step towards achievement of the universal brotherhood of mankind. A peaceful world based on human dignity, equality and justice can only be established if the Muslim Ummah forcefully play their global role and guide humanity on the basis of the immutable constitution, Al-Qur'an. This is unthinkable without the unity of those people who possess this divine book. This urgency is rightly echoed by a modern scholar on Islam  
Greater Islamic unity is not only in the interests of the majority but also of most of the rest of the world as well. ["Thoughts of Islamic Unity", W.M. Watt., The Islamic Quarterly, Vol. iii, No.3, London, 1956, pp.193-4]

As the contemporary Muslim world is passing through a phase of self-analysis and internal reawakening, Islam is becoming more and more relevant as well as guiding light (Sirajam Munira) for the reconstruction of individual and social life of the Ummah. The reality of Islamic unity now lies on the Ummah's firm resolve to build a universal society on the foundations of Islam.
 

Ahmad, Khurshid.:  (Ed.)Islam : Its Meaning and Message, London, 1977.
Asad, Muhammad.:  Islam at the Crossroads, Lahore, 1955.
Haykal, Muhammad H.:  The Life of Muhammad, Indiana, USA., 1976.
Iqbal, Muhammad.: The Reconstruction of religious Thought in Islam, Lahore, 1944.
Mawdudi, Abul A'la.: Tafhimul Qur'an, Dhaka, 1980.
Mawdudi, Abul A'la.: Fundamentals of Islam, Lahore, 1978.
Mawdudi, Abul A'la.: Khilafah and Kingship, Dhaka, 1975.
Nadwi, Abul Hasan Ali.: Islam and the West, IIFSO, Kuwait, 1983.
Qutb, Sayyid.: Milestone, IIFSO, Kuwait, 1983.
Shariati, Ali.: Hajj, Ohio, USA, 1977.

Listing Information

This link is listed for Free.Learn More about featuring your site.
Link Actions:
Addition Date:Added on Nov,23,04 :: Last modified Nov,23,04
Title:UNITY- A crying need of the Ummah  
Author's name:More Articles by M. Abdul Bari
Link's Owner:admin :: Visit Profile
Contact Owner:This owner does not wish to be contacted.
Description:No Description specified.
Keywords:No keywords specified.
Listed in Category:Home: Islamic Virtual Library: Islamic Books And Literature: Social Issues eBooks: UNITY- A crying need of the Ummah
Number Of Votes:0 Total Votes.
Current Rating:0 out of 10 stars :: Rate Now
Number Of Hits From Our site:78
Number Of Recommendations:No recommendations yet. :: Recommend Now
Number Of Reviews:No reviews yet. :: Write a Review
Guestbook:No Guestbook entries yet. :: Sign Guestbook
Top Sites Banner:The counter below counts the actual hits that this site and this page have gotten so far. For this counter to be accurate the link owner must insert the MuslimsCounter code on their page, if not then it only represent this page total hits.

Bookmark Us - Set as Home - Terms Of Use
Other Sites: Know The Prophet campaign - Discover Islam - Links SQL Plugins
Copyright 2003-2013 Islamic Education & Services Institute: Murfreesboro, TN