Monday, December 08, 2003

By: Dr. Ali Zeiny

The importance of unity

It is well known fact that individuals can’t live alone by themselves and must live with others in communities. The needs of this life are too many for one individual to handle every thing by him/herself. He/she needs the expertise and help of others to live his/her life in an efficient way. We need the bakery man for bread, the carpenter for furniture, the farmer for food, the teacher for education, the engineer for construction, the physician for health care, and so on. One can’t handle all these areas by himself.

Allah S said in the Quran:
"It is we (Allah SWT is talking) who divided between them their share of life in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that they may use and employ one another." (34:32)

If we look to the world of animals, we see that animals, like human, live in groups or herds. Birds fly together in groups making a triangular shape so that they may reduce the air resistance and fly faster and longer. The strongest bird takes its position in the head of the triangle leading other birds and penetrating the air resistance. If a bird decides to fly alone, he will be subjected to strong air resistance and he will not be able to complete the trip by himself and he will eventually fall down and die.

Other animals also like sheep and buffalo live in groups and walk in groups, called herds, so that the wolf may not eat any of them. The wolf will not be able to attack them and eat one of them because of the strength of the group.

Prophet Mohammed S said:

"The wolf will eat the cheap walking alone by itself away from the herd."

So living in groups and communities is a must and unavoidable. Animals gather in groups and herds based on something. Something has to be in common between individuals in the same group. For animals, they all have to be from the same type; birds live together; cheap live together and so forth. You can’t find a group of cheap and buffaloes living together. You can’t find a group of donkeys and horses living together. No way, they gather in groups based on the type and ethnicity. But this is because they animals and they have no brain or spirit.

Unfortunately, humans sometimes gather in groups and communities based on ethnicity, color, race, and nationality, which is an animal like way of unity. They may also unite based on other things as well. For example, if we ask ourselves what unites the American people, they come from different colors, different races, different national origins, different religions and even different sexual orientations. What unites such a diverse population? The answer is materialism.

We American citizens are united on materialism. We are as American Citizens united over common materialistic interests and benefits that we are enjoying. We are enjoying various degrees of rich comfortable fulfilling life that we would like to maintain for ourselves and for the future of our children.

But this is not the Islamic basis of unity. It is okay to recognize ethnicity and nationality, this is something natural that Allah planted into us, but it is wrong to use ethnicity and nationality as the basis for unity like animals.

One of the good ways of introducing ourselves is to say “I am a born in Egypt Muslim”, for example. In this way, we are not taking any of the two extremes, neither the extreme of nationalism nor the extreme of denying our national origin, which is an essential part of our identity. By saying I am a born in x country Muslim, we are taking the middle path of identifying our national origin as part of who we are but at the same time emphasizing that we are all Muslims. An example of that is the way we identify our selves as American citizens. We say, Arab American, Japanese American, Chinese American, …etc. The prefix that comes before the word American is for the purpose of recognition only, but at the end, we are all Americans.

Islam has a unique basis of unity. The Islamic basis for unity is evident from our gathering today. Why are we gathering in this place in such large numbers at this particular time in this particular day of the week. What is the thing that should bring us together as one group and one Omah. It is the worship and commitment to Allah and his religion.

The Islam that was established by the Prophet PBUH is based on two Unities, the Unity of Allah and the Unity of Omah. Both Unities are essential to each other like a hours and a carriage because no one of them is possible without the other. Allah SWT has combined both unities as essential unities in the Quran in two different places.

This is your Omah one Omah and I am your Lord one Lord so worship (21:92)/fear me. (23:52)

And because we have two kinds of unities, we also have two kinds of Shirk. The violation of either one of the two unities is Shirk. The main shirk is to divide the worship, the submission and the love between different deities. And the other kind of shirk is to divide the Omah into groups and factions. Allah SWT clearly stated that by saying

And do not be from those who commit Shirk. Those who split up in groups despite their common religion, each party is so arrogantly proud of what they adopted for themselves and got united on. (30:31-32)

This verse of Surat teaches us three lessons, the first is that dividing up is a form of Shirk, and shirk is the opposite of unity. And the second lesson is what we always witness among divided groups. Each group claims to be the righteous group and the official representative of Quran and Sunnah and other groups are wrong and deviated from the straight path. The third lesson is that it is Haram for Muslims to be united on other than Islam. It is Haram for Muslims to be united based on race. It is Haram for Muslims to be united based on ethnicity, it is Haram for Muslims to be united based on language, it is Haram for Muslims to be united based on nationality, it is Haram for Muslims to be united on any target, objective or materialistic interest. In general, it is Haram for Muslims to be united on any thing except Islam.

The rationale for this is very simple, if we are united on any thing other than Islam, then we will end up excluding other Muslims from our unity. This is for sure. For example, if we are united based on race, then we will end up excluding Muslims from a different race, if we are united on a language, then we will end up excluding Muslims who don’t speak the same language, and so forth. This is why the only legal unity in Islam is belief in Islam. Uniting on other than Islam is not called unity, it is rather called ganging up, or ganging up on illegal principles, and such a united group is not called Omah, it is called something else.

The Prophet PBUH also wanted to educate us about the objectives of the Satan. He told us the satan has an ultimate objective of destroying either one of the two kinds of unites. The first one, which is the unity of Allah, is deeply rooted in the hearts of Muslims and it is very difficult to destroy, but the second one is very easy for the Satan to destroy, and he did.

Satan has given up the hope that Muslims will worship him, he gave up the hope that the Muslims will fall into the first kind of Shirk, the Shirk of worshiping the Satan instead of Allah. He gave up this hope because Muslims will never worship the Satan, they will never commit this kind of Shirk, the Shirk of worshiping the Satan instead of Allah, but he is successful in making them fall into the second kind of shirk, the shirk of disunity by inspiring hatred and animosity between them.

The Satans of man kind are also targeting the same kind of unity. They know that the first unity is deeply rooted in the heart of Muslims generation and it is protected by the power of the second unity. Therefore they decided to target and destroy the second unity first before they can get the unity of submission to one God.

This is why there is no other religion so strict about forbidding disunity and so strict in emphasizing the importance of unity like the religion of Islam. And at this point, we may ask ourselves a question here, we understand why we did not receive good Islamic education in our original countries. We received good education in Math and science and other things to the level of learning things in math and science that we never used or will use in our professional life. This is good, but why the Islamic education was so poor and inadequate as compared to materialistic sciences? We understand the reasons very well and let us not talk about it now. But the puzzle that we do not understand is why so much emphasizes in the Islamic education was placed on the unity of God, even though it is so simple to understand and so natural to follow, while very little attention, and almost no attention at all, was placed on the unity of Omah even though it is very complicated issue and very hard to achieve. This is why you almost find no Muslim who does not understand and believe in the supreme divine word No deity but God while millions of Muslims don’t understand the other supreme divine word “This is your Omah one Omah and I am you Lord one Lord”

We understand why the Islamic education was taken out from the school system or marginalized. But why did we spend years and years studying the Tawhid of Allah and never studied the Tawheed of Omah. I will not answer this question and I will leave it to you to think about.

There is absolutely no religion so strict about forbidding disunity and so strict in emphasizing the importance of unity and making disunity equal to Shirk like the religion of Islam. There is an overwhelming evidence from Quran and Sunah to support this understanding.

From Quran

There are many verses. The one that I will pick is very touchy one because it explains exactly the reasons behind the miserable condition of the world today

The Unbelievers are united and protectors of one another, unless you believers do the same, be united and protectors of one another, there will be a big tribulation (Fitnah) on earth and big corruption. (8:73)

And this is exactly what we witness today. Non believers are united on materialism. It is so easy to unite on common materialistic interests because it is so tempting to do so. This is why it is so natural to find non believers united on materialism. On the other hand, because of the disunity of Muslims, there is a big fitnah and a big corruption. The fitnah comes because if non Muslims are united and cooperating with each other while Muslims are fighting and slandering each other, then people will be attracted to non Muslims.

What is more fitnah than the situation when the people of truth are divided while the people of falsehood are united. What is more fitnah than the situation when the non believers (Kufar) are helpful to each other and the believers are negative, passive and divided. Not to mention the big corruption because when non Muslims are united while Muslims are divided, non Muslims will then rule over Muslims and become the leaders of the Caravan of humanity, and they will enforce their materialistic values and ways of life. And we will end up with what we witness today, double standards and injustice in the distribution of wealth. The wealth is accumulating in the hands of few who live in obscene luxury while the rest of the world population is starving in the third world. Not to mention the century of mega death where 180 million humans were killed.

The second evidence also is very well linked to reality. It explains clearly the reasons for Muslims to be in such a miserable shape

Don’t fall into disputes that will result into an immediate failure as well as loss of power and strength. (8:46)

This clearly explains why Prophet Mohamed was able to establish a super power in 23 years, while we Muslims today not only we seized to be a super power, but we also seized to be of any significant weight or value in today’s power structure. And we will continue in the same miserable shape unless we go back to the way of Allah.

From Sunah

There are massive number of Hadeeth Articles that forbids disunity and order unity. I have divided them into groups and picked a sample Hadeeth from some of the groups.

• The first group is declaring fighting among Muslims to be Kufr. The Prophet Mohamed PBUH said:

"Do not go back to be Kufar after me, each group is fighting against the other."

"Cursing or calling a Muslim bad names is transgressing and fighting with him is an act of Kufr"

"Watch out for the shaver, the companion asked, what is the shaver prophet of Allah, he said it is the disputes among Muslims, it doesn’t shave ones hair, it shaves one’s religion."

Among the miracles that Prophet Mohamed was given is the miracle of choosing the words. He S was given the miracle of "jawami'ul kalaam" the ability to choose very few words that will precisely and accurately describe a very complicated situation. Today we will clearly see this particular miracle in the Ahadeeth that deals with the subject and let us start with this hadeeth of the shaver. What is the similarity between the shaver and disunity:

1. Just like shaving in the morning does not leave any hair behind, the shaver of disunity does not leave any religion behind for obvious reasons. Among them are backbiting and gossiping. It is very difficult to avoid backbiting and gossiping. It is so tempting then to backbite and gossip and only very few can fight such a strong temptation.

2. After you shave, your hair starts to grow back lightly, so is the religion starts to grow back because of prayers, fasting and other acts of worship. Then as son as you get some hair back. The shaver will hit again and completely wipe it away, and so forth as long as the shaver of disunity is active. The shaving will never stop as long as the fight is going.

• The second group of Ahadeeth provide us with the tools to avoid disunity. Indeed Isalm, the complete and perfect religion made by Allah, will never leave such an important target without showing us the way and providing us with the tools to achieve it. Every time Allah mandates something or forbids something, he SWT, the supreme in wisdom and knowledge, provides us with the tools necessary to achieve what he ordains or forbids. Let examine the following Ahadeeth and find out what tools are necessary to achieve unity.

Prophet Mohammed S said in the Hadeeth Narrated in the correct book of Muslim by Aboohoryra R:

"Do not envy one another, do not conspire against one another, do not hate each other, do not turn away from each other (do not avoid each other do not boycott each other do not cut of the relation of each other) do not compete in commercial transactions against one another, and be you servants of Allah brothers. The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. The Muslim should not transgress against another Muslim brother, he should not look down to him or say things about him that make people look down to him, and he should not let him down in a crisis. Piety is hear (and he pointed to his chest). It is enough of a sin to get somebody to hell fire for a Muslim to look down to his Muslim brother or say things that will make people look down to him. All the rights of a Muslim, including his properties, blood and honor are totally unlawful (Haram) to be transgressed against by another Muslim."

The other Hadeeth is also a very good example of the miraculous way Prophet Mohamed PBUH chooses his words. He PBUH said describing how believers should communicate with each other

"The believer is the mirror of his brother/sister. "

Again to see the miracle the miracle of "jawami'ul kalaam" the ability to choose very few words that will precisely and accurately describe a very complicated situation. Let us compare the properties of the mirror with the lessons that Prophet Mohamed wants to teach us

1. The job of the mirror is to reflect the image, in the face or behind the back? In the face of course. The mirror will never stab in the back

2. The person looks at the mirror to examine his image and make sure it looks nice in public or in privacy? In privacy of course. The advise in privacy is mercy and guidance but in the public it is a dishonor and scandal

3. The mirror reflects both the good image and the bad image. The mirror will not hide any thing and will not reflect the good and hide the bad or reflect the bad and hid the good. It is an act of hypocrisy to reflect the good and hide the bad and it is an act of dishonor to hide the good and reflect the bad. The mirror is very fair and honest in reflecting both

4. The mirror will reflect the defective image in its exact and precise magnitude without any exaggerations and will also reflect the good image the same way

5. The mirror will not assume something that does not exist. The mirror will never make good or bad assumptions.

6. The mirror is quite and does not talk. Once you walk away from the mirror, it will never reveal your image to the next person

7. The mirror reflect the outside image and will never reflect the intension. It is Haram in Islam to judge the intensions. All creations of Allah, including the angels are ordered to take things for their face value. The intension is an absolute secret between the human and Allah, the angels on the right and on the left have no idea what the intension is. All what they do is to write deeds for the face value and Allah is the one who takes that deed and reward or punish for it. The reward could range from 10-700 times based on the sincerity of intensions, based on the effort made to perfect the deed, and based on the amount of sacrifice and pain one has to go through to perform the good deed.

8. No wonder we all trust the mirror and we all believe it is the most sincere and accurate image device in the whole word and so should be the believers with each other

9. We can clearly now see the miracle of the miracle of "jawami'ul kalaam" the ability to choose very few words that will precisely and accurately describe a very complicated situation. In three words only that take a second and half, the prophet taught excellent and deep lessons not like us where we give 50 minutes Khotbah and we barely do an adequate job

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