Muslim Unity

>> Monday, January 12, 2009

This is a Piece I wrote. InshAllah I hope people find this beneficial.

Muslim unity, what is it? Does it exist; if it does how can we accomplish it; is it by creating a universal Muslim state, such as the Caliphate again; or is it by having each separate Muslim nation cooperating with one another?

Before answering any of those questions we must first address the elitist mentality that many Muslims now have and from where or how it has come about. This elitist mentality has nothing to do with wealth, rather it stems from two sources: nationalism or ethnic elitism and religious elitism. Rather our elitist mentality is of two types, one type is of nationalistic or ethnic elitism and the other is religious elitism.

In Islam we believe that, “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 does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”[1] Unfortunately today we see that Muslims do not follow this. We have Muslim youth of Arab descent who believe that they know more about Islam than a non-Arab because “Islam is in their blood.” We have different moon sightings not because of difference in fiqh, because most of us do not know the evidences of all the opinions on moon sightings, rather we see our Muslim brothers from another descent do it one way and we have to be different and do it the other way. And this is not only limited to local domestic Muslim problems in the West; rather it is an international problem. Instead of people or mosque communities disagreeing on moon sightings you have entire nations disagreeing on moon sightings and the disagreement is not based in fiqh but rather on arrogance!

But this is just the crust of our problems. We have seen forced marriages of youth, specifically in Arabia you have forced marriages of youth to people of the same tribe or clan because parents do not wish their children to marry outside of the family. Or we have parents telling their children to marry people of the same “home country” they are from; a Pakistani marry a Pakistani or an Egyptian marry an Egyptian, when the family has not been “back home” for years! It goes so far that some parents want their children not only to marry someone from “back home” but also from the same cultural sect. This is a practice our Prophet (pbuh) specifically broke down. This racial pride amongst the Muslim is what led to our greatest fall; the fall of the Caliphate in the early twentieth century.

The fall of the Caliphate created the rise of secular Muslim nation states all around the world. This division gave rise to the nationalism movement and caused the Muslims to be deeply divided based on arbitrary, superficial borders. Today we see how this phenomenon of putting culture before Islam causes divisions that are so deep that we not only stopped calling ourselves Muslims first we do not know the suffering of our Muslim brothers from half way across the world, let alone feel the pain of the brother who lives in the nation-state next to us. It has gotten to a point where our brothers are being slaughtered next to us and when they run to us for help we not only refuse to help them from being slaughtered but also take part in the slaughtering! In the light of these observations we see why The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “People should give up their pride in nations because that is a Coal from the Coals of Hell-Fire."[2] And why The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "He is not one of us who calls for asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for asabiyyah or who dies for asabiyyah."[3] Nationalism has caused us to not have any compassion for our brothers and sisters in Islam.

Some might say, even if we do have nationalism or nation states, Muslims can still have love for their brothers and sisters. Even without the Caliphate we can still be human and feel the pains of others who share the same faith as us. This is true but is not the case. The Muslims have created the identity of “the other” towards their own brothers and sisters. With little to no knowledge and with no teacher to guide them, when a Muslim reads the hadith that states, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “My community will experience everything that the Children of Israel had experienced, following in their footsteps exactly, so much so that if one of their number had approached his mother publicly for sex, one of my community will do the same. The Children of Israel divided into 72 sects. My community will divide into 73 sects, and all of them will be in the Hellfire save one.” they misunderstand it to mean that they should start accusing others of wrong doing and not understand it as that they should always look at themselves to make sure they do not fall off the path. Instead of finding faults within themselves so they may benefit themselves they find faults in others and unknowingly slander. Because of their ignorance and the fact they have no teacher to guide them they not only are unable to appreciate the implications of the hadith but also call other Muslims deviants or outright claim that other Muslims are not really Muslims. Scholars do debate and refute and have disagreements however they have proper manners when doing so. However, the common Muslim, who has no teacher for guidance, does not have or know the proper manner of disagreements and debates that our scholars have. They forget the verses “(O Prophet and his followers), turn your face single mindedly to the true Faith and adhere to the true nature on which Allah has created human beings. The mould fashioned by Allah cannot be altered. That is the True, Straight Faith, although most people do not know. (Adhere to the True Faith and) turn to Him, and hold Him in awe, and establish Prayer, and do not be of those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity, those who have split up their religion and have become divided into sects, each party exulting in what they have.”[4] Because of this behavior amongst the common Muslim, we have lost love for our fellow brethren.

In the end we must see ourselves as Muslims first and not as a national identity or a certain school. Because Muslim is the name Allah has given us in the Quran. Leave the theological or law debates to the scholars who have wisdom, knowledge and manners. And lets not have their differences spill over to the masses. Pray to Allah consistently for our oppressed brothers and sisters no matter where they are or what differences they may have. And remember, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The Muslim Ummah is a unique Ummah among the whole of mankind: Their Land is one, their War is one, their Peace is one, their Honor is one and their Trust is one."[5]

[1] Prophet Muhammad, Last sermon delivered on the 9th day of the Islamic month Dhul Hijjah of the Islamic year 10 A.H. in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat in Mecca.

[2] Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi

[3] Abu Dawud

[4] The Quran Chapter 30 verse 30-32

[5] Ahmed