Huzyfa Anjum Hussaini
"Verily, you are one Ummah. I am your Lord, worship me." 21: 92 Al-Quran
Unity has become a critical issue for the Muslim world today. Unity precedes and for right reasons all needs and priorities of a Muslim nation. Taking lessons from the recent history, there is undeniably greater need for unity in the backdrop of divisive forces at work like narrow sectarian gains, ethnic discriminations and prejudiced views. The West that has been shaped by the imperialistic regimes of the past have never given up on preventing Muslims to be united. Muslim states with sound economic and political systems firmly rooted have been marginalized and exploited by the Western nations. Lack of unity accompanied by lag in the scientific, technological and intellectual domains mainly stem from mutual differences and intolerance that further can be attributed to the lack of intra-faith dialogue and institutions committed to Muslim unity.
We are witness to the recent sectarian strifes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria mainly due to the regrettable interventions of foreign nations, like the US and its allies. They are partly responsible for creating divisions along sectarian fault lines. To achieve their foreign policy objectives in conformity with their economic interests they have completely ignored the sensitivities by abetting different groups and pitching them against each other. We should learn from these recent examples on how sectarian organizations have been bringing death and mutual destruction. This is exactly what the enemy of the Muslim world wants – to decimate the Muslim unity and spread chaos in the regions dominated by them.
The rising sectarian ethnocentrism has blemished true Islamic teachings. Today Muslims are suffering from many troubles, and the main reason is their division. This division is exploited among members, individuals and groups who crave for power and self-centered communities. It is due to these inherent weaknesses in the Muslim world that nations have been falling like a pack of cards. The tactic of divide and rule in Muslim world is an old one with the predecessors of the present Israel state having used it for centuries. The seeds of disunity and therefore disintegration have been sown throughout the history. That is why there are special instructions to the Muslim world to be watchful of those create such an atmosphere.
Holy Quran warns us to be united and to remain aloof from befriending those who attempt to divide people. God also commands Muslims to observe patience and retain unity among them by following the principles of piety and brotherhood. It is possible only when Muslims would involve in “faith based fraternity" and approach issues with an open mind. At the same time, it remains the core responsibility of the Muslim rulers, intellectuals, journalists and students to play their role towards this end.
Although eminent Islamic fuqaha are not responsible for the division among Muslim sects, the fault often lies in the misinterpretation of universal messages. Because of these differences or deviations in perceived meanings, soft wars are waged by the Islamophobes to further weaken the unity among different communities. Distinguished jurists try to comprehend and interpret the guidelines given in the Holy Quran for which they deserve to be highly respected. While the jurists can have differences in interpreting, no one can claim to be absolutely right. From the beginning Islamic scholars have been enlightened by their leaders. The disciples have been influenced by great scholars. But there is difference now as earlier there used to be more assent on views and interpretations but now and under the wrongful influence of the exploitative powers there is more dissent and attrition among the sects. Unity and brotherhood has been lost and instead radicalization often with political overtures has been belittling the great aspects of the faith. The bigotry is in the character of the people and not due to any teaching. Unfortunately Muslim communities and leaders are diverging so much instead of converging that they reached the point of no return.
Instead of forging better relations and strengthening the unity by taking into account points of agreement the communities begin with disagreements and differences. Consensus has become increasingly difficult to arrive at. All this happens despite the knowledge of where it is leading us. Therefore there is a need to pause for some time and introspect. Is this the path we want to walk upon, the one that leads to chaos and mutual destruction? Or should we correct our course and set it to one based on brotherhood and mutual respect? The sooner we realize it the lesser damage we will do to ourselves.