Mus­lim unity in the 21st Century

Daily Trust - - JOBS & CAREER - By Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D

In this 21st century, Mus­lims are so looked down upon, and they are treated with dis­re­spect and they are sus­pect for ter­ror­ism. Mus­lims are also the most op­pressed people any­where in the world. Every­where Mus­lims are bul­lied, de­tained, bombed and mas­sa­cred with im­punity. The Mus­lim coun­tries are weak and are un­able to do any­thing to de­fend them­selves, their people and their fel­low Mus­lims any­where in the world.

Com­mon sense dic­tates a Mus­lim coun­try needs guns and rock­ets, war­ships and war­planes, ar­mored cars, etc to de­fend its sovereignty. A Mus­lim coun­try can­not de­pend on im­ported mil­i­tary equip­ment, par­tic­u­larly from coun­tries that are op­posed to us. Mus­lims should in­vent, de­sign, pro­duce and test their own weapons of de­fense.

This goal can­not be achieved un­less one has sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal knowl­edge and skills. Ac­quir­ing knowl­edge and skills is manda­tory in Is­lam. Those who learn sci­ence, math­e­mat­ics and ac­quire tech­no­log­i­cal skills are there­fore obey­ing and ful­fill­ing the in­junc­tions of Is­lam.

There was time when Euro­peans had to learn from Mus­lims new knowl­edge as well as those of the Greeks and oth­ers, which the Mus­lims had stud­ied, trans­lated into Ara­bic and en­hanced. The Prophet Muham­mad (pbuh) brought only one Deen from Al­lah (SWT) that is al- Is­lam. But to­day there are many Is­lamic sects. They are the re­sults of dif­fer­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tions about Is­lam by dif­fer­ent schol­ars through the cen­turies.(1)

Some of these in­ter­pre­ta­tions and teach­ings are so dif­fer­ent from each other that their fol­low­ers ac­tu­ally ac­cuse each other of not be­ing Mus­lims. In­deed, they re­gard many who pro­fess to be Mus­lims as in­fi­dels.

Be­cause of the thou­sands of dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Is­lam and very many dif­fer­ent sects, each claim­ing to be the true fol­low­ers of Is­lam, the Mus­lims are thor­oughly con­fused and dis­united. Dis­united, con­fused about Is­lam, fight­ing each other for power, lack­ing in es­sen­tial knowl­edge and skills, mis­ap­ply­ing their God-given wealth, the Mus­lims of to­day have reached the low­est point in their de­vel­op­ment.

Is­lam has been mis­in­ter­preted and de­lib­er­ately ig­nor­ing the teach­ings of Is­lam. It is be­cause of this that Mus­lims of to­day are back­ward, lack­ing in knowl­edge, un­able to de­fend them­selves and their re­li­gion, and some Mus­lims are forced to re­sort to ter­ror in or­der to seek re­venge.

The Qur’an clearly states that Al­lah (SWT) will not change our fate un­less we strive to change it our­selves. And so we will come to be op­pressed, to be at­tacked, bombed and killed, while our re­li­gion, Is­lam, is con­demned as false by the Chris­tian elite in the West (1).

Mus­lims are re­quired to work to­gether to­wards a com­mon goal set by the No­ble Qur’an and shown by the Prophet (PBUH) through his Sun­nah. They are broth­ers and sis­ters be­cause they are bonded by the com­mon ide­ol­ogy of the unity of God and the unity of mankind.

These are the foun­da­tional prin­ci­ples of Is­lam. The Qur’an and the Sun­nah of the Prophet (PBUH) re­quire Mus­lims to work for the unity of the Ummah. Mus­lims are re­quired to be mer­ci­ful to­wards each other (The Qur’an (48:29)) and be like the body where if any part hurts the whole body should feel the pain (Ha­dith). But, are Mus­lims prac­tic­ing this in­junc­tion of the Qur’an and the Sun­nah of the Prophet (PBUH)? In­stead of feel­ing the pain and mis­ery of other Mus­lims (Chechens, Pales­tini­ans, Kash­miris, for ex­am­ple), most of us are hap­pily en­joy­ing our ma­te­rial com­forts of life.

Is Mus­lim unity only a dream that can­not be ful­filled? Some may ar­gue that all this talk of Mus­lim unity is out of date.

Prob­a­bly, there are no people in the world to­day who have been as di­vided as Mus­lims. They are di­vided along re­li­gious, po­lit­i­cal, eth­nic, cul­tural, racial, lin­guis­tic, and sec­tar­ian lines. These di­vi­sions ex­tend fur­ther into sub­di­vi­sions. Sta­tus, wealth, fame, and for­tune have also cre­ated so­cial dif­fer­ences among Mus­lims. Dr. Man­soor Alam says: “Mus­lims are di­vided at the root into Sun­nis and Shias. Sun­nis are fur­ther di­vided into Hanafi, Ma­liki, Sha’fi, and Han­bali. Shi’as too are di­vided into Ke­sa­nia, Zaidia, Imamia or Ithna ‘Ashari, Is­mailia, etc. Sun­nis are also di­vided into Ahle-ha­dith and Ahle-fiqha.

Sim­i­lar dif­fer­ences ex­ist in other places as well. Are all these di­vi­sions and dif­fer­ences schools of thought as many Mus­lims claim? Whether or not we ad­mit it, these dif­fer­ences and di­vi­sions do cre­ate phys­i­cal, emo­tional, and psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­ri­ers amongst us. Iqbal says that these dif­fer­ences cre­ate prej­u­dice in hu­man be­ings.”

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.

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