Dr. Bilal A Bhat, Intizar Ahmad
Islam is a religion of peace, love, and unity that’s why its emphasis on mutual understanding, love, and respect for each other. Great stress is laid upon the unity and development of brotherhood among Muslim brothers. In the sight of Allah Almighty, all Muslims are equal and no superiority is given to anyone on the bases of color, cast, and profession. Islam means complete submission to the will of Allah Almighty. As a Muslim, it’s obligatory for us to follow the rules and guidelines that Allah (SWT) described in Holy Quran. In this regard, Allah (SWT) stated in Holy Quran: “O’ who believe! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly, and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy” (Quran, 2: 208). Unity is primitive to Islam so it should be to Muslims as well. Unity among all Muslims must follow two things: Quranic teachings and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). All Muslims must know the value and importance of unity among the Muslims around the world. In Holy Quran Allah Almighty stated in a way, “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” (Quran, 3:103). Unity is strength. When the sand grains unite they become a vast desert. When the sea drops unite they become a boundless ocean. The conglomeration of stars in the firmament of sky soothes our eyes. The seven colors emerge in the shape of a bewitching rainbow. The unity of people makes an invincible strong nation. This is the reason Islam lays great stress on the importance of unity. The Islamic concept of Towhid is the other name of the unity of humankind.
The corner stone in Islam is the unity of God. Allah’s unity teaches us the message that we should not divide humans into sections and sects. Almighty Allah in the Quran says that the division of people in the races and clans is only for their introduction. The best one out of them is the man of piety. Dr. Mohammad Ali Al-khuli is his book titled “The Light of Islam” writes. “Islam is the greatest unifying force in the world. It is a religion to all humans regardless of color, race and language. It is a religion that tolerates other religions and orders its followers to respect and protect all humans.” According to a Hadith of the Holy Prophet all persons belong to Adam and Adam was from soil. The racial discrimination has been strictly prohibited in Islam. In the last sermon from the Mount of Arafat the Holy Prophet had clearly announced that no Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab; or the white over the black. This is the reason that in Muslim countries we do not find racial discriminations. Islam gives clear injunctions for the respect, safety, security and prosperity of the non-Muslims as well. Unity teaches peace, equality and paternity. The absence of unity brings and breeds disruption, devastation and disputes. Islam ordains protection of non-Muslims simply to show the respect for the Canons of divinity and humanity. God is not only of the Muslims. God is the God of all human beings. The unity of all humans is the ultimate aim of the teachings of Islam. The doctrinal and ideological differences should not lead to war or bloodshed.
Man is a thinking creature. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher introduced Rationalism in Philosophy. The Quran time and again asserts on the need of cogitation. “Ijtihad” is an analogical and analytical approach towards the matters of jurisprudence. Ashab-e-Suffa were the people of wisdom. They gave more time to cogitate on social and academic matters along with their saintly and spiritual practices. They were praised by the Holy Prophet for their involvement in intellectual pursuit. Once the Holy Prophet said: “The juristic scholar who receives two rewards for every correct decision and even one for every incorrect one, for he is endeavoring with all his effort to reach the correct decision.” The difference of opinion must be positive. It should not lead to prides and prejudices of priests. It should be decent difference on the bases of logic like the differences of Philosophers. Aristotle was the pupil of Plato. He differed from his teacher on many points but he never issued the edict of his assassination. Hegel and Bergson differed. Immunel Kant differed with Nietzche. None cursed or condemned the other. These differences were on principles; not personal. But unfortunately the so called scholars and clerics of different religions brought immense misery to mankind in the name of religion. The Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists and others had mercilessly shed the blood of each other in the name or religion. Each of these sects then killed the followers of their own religions on minor interpretative issues. Even to date the bloodshed in the name of faith is rampant. This is the greatest error and must be rectified. The Quran discusses the concept of unity on three levels. Foremost is the unity of humanity. The Quran in Sura Al-Hujurat (The Inner Apartments) says: “O, Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who has piety.” (49:13). The Quran no where addresses the Muslims. Either it addresses the believers (momineen) or the people (Annas). The Quran on second level refers to the unity of the people of the Books: the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims- In Sura Al-e-Imran the Quran says:” O, people of the Book! Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with him, and that none of us will take others as lords besides Allah. Then if they turn away, say; Bear witness that we are Muslims” (3:64). The fifth verse of the Sura The Clear Evidence and the forty eighth verse of Sura The Table Spread also shed light on the unity of the people of the Book. Then on third level the Quran asserts on the unity of the Muslims. In Sura Al-e-Imran the Quran says; “And hold fast, all of you together to the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves.” (3:103). Then Quran condemns sectarianism and regards it shirk (polytheism). The Quran again in Sura Al-e-Imran says: “O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam.” This verse clearly ordains that instead of adhering to Sunnism, Shiasim or Wahabism we should strongly adhere to Islam. In Mishqat Sharife there is a tradition of the Holy Prophet which says; “The Muslims are like a body; if one limb aches, the whole body aches.” Then the Messenger of Allah says; “whoever does not care about the affairs of the Muslims is not one of them.”
From the above Quranic facts we deduce the result that Islam believes in the unity of all humans and preaches peace, justice and equality. Religion is to serve humankind. Religion has come to reform and unite humans, not to divide them. We must condemn extremism and terrorism in the name of religion and unite humankind if we believe in the unity of God. In short, Unity teaches peace, equality, and lineage that’s why Islam laid great stress on Unity. Another important concept of unity among Muslims is the concept of Ummah. Today, Ummah represents the unification of Muslims all around the globe. Islam preaches that all people are equal regardless of culture, race or gender. Quran is important for Muslims in order to achieve Unity and Brotherhood among Muslims. If we start following the teachings of Quran we will stay united and can rule over the world again. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said about unity in one of his Hadiths: “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, and fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” (Sahih Muslim) Holy Prophet (SAW) said in another hadith: “The Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, he doesn’t oppress him, neither does he hand him over to the enemy, he doesn’t disappoint him, nor does he humiliate him.” From these sayings, we can conclude that our beloved Prophet (SAW) emphasis on unity, love, respect, and brotherhood among fellow Muslims. We should follow the Sunnah of Prophet (SAW) so that we can achieve success in this life and hereafter. Quranic verses and hadiths, guide us that that Islam believes in the unity of all humans and teaches peace, justice, love, and equality. Religion Islam basically is to serve humankind. We must criticize extremism and terrorism in the name of religion and unite humankind if we believe in the unity of Allah Almighty. For having a good Islamic society we should follow Allah’s teachings and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
(The authors write regularly on Islamic topics exclusively for “Kashmir Horizon”. Views are their own)