By Kamoru Sodiq, Osun

AND hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves and remember Allah’s favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but he joined your heart together, so that by His Grace you became brethren (in Islamic faith)…
(Q3 VS 103)

“Believers to believers are like moulding structure, one supporting another.”

Fellow brethren, the holy books are littered with the parables of the indispensability of unity. The principle of unity in Islam lies in the doctrine of supremacy of brotherhood. Brotherhood in Islam can do no wrong. The prophets actually frown at anyone riven division among the people. Unity is considered supreme, transcendental and absolute everywhere. This is why it is treated as delicately as egg. It is second to none and cannot be compromised on whatever grounds. Even in war situations. Everything is usually done to protect the tenderness of unity. Every year in the lunar calendar, the month of Dhul-Hijjah is divinely set aside when Muslims all over the world symbolically gather at Mecca to demonstrate the unity of Islam and perform the hajj-rites in unison.

United we stand, divided we fall goes a saying. Unity, we are told is indivisible and invincible. Anyone saying otherwise is either lying or pretending like a rattlesnake and there are many scorpions around ready to mislead every society and move on effortlessly when things fall apart. The bitter reality staring our face those days as Muslims is that, we are dividedly united and unitedly divided. The heart of the ummah (Islamic community) is ideologically, associationally and idiosyncratically bleeding like non-stop. The cord of Islamic brotherhood is broken beyond recognition and the souls of Muslims palpitates! However, the long and short of my concern is that, our dear beloved ummah is dangerously hemorrhaging and this perfidious drift must be halted before we all end up in perdition. For the sake of this publication, I will analyze three principal issues stoking mutual disunity, disharmony and hostility in the Islamic world.

Islam is an open book and it has become even more so since the technology turned the world into a global information minefield. Islamic knowledge is now commonplace, but that does not give a green light for causing confusion and division. Its resultant effect is the trending and vicious classification of people, defamation and demolition of eminent Islamic scholars, throwing of verbal rockets and missiles at fellow Muslim brothers in public and the suffocating questions rocking the da’wah-centers like thunderbolt. These days, you hear remarks like suufi is hellfire! Tableeq is perdition! Ikhwaani is kufr! Tijaaniyyah is heresy! Among others. It should be noted that, we must emphasize our unity and de-emphasize our differences. Let bury those judgmental assertions and face our responsibility as unity agents. Islam is one religion and we must allow it to flourish. Quran 23 v 52 says: “And verily, this your religion (Islam) is one religion and I am your Lord, so keep your duty to me.”

Secondly, the denominational bias and it cut across all groups. True, having faith in one’s creed is laudable but this faith must not cross the line between argumentation and aggressive rejection of other’s beliefs. Leave ideological debates to scholarly gathering and stop throwing tantrums in front of audience who are not capable of scholastic analysis. Islamic creed is one and Allah is the evaluator of our faith and deeds. Please, know your onion inside out before mounting podium. Quran 88 vs 21 and 26 provide: “So remind them (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)), you are only a one who reminds.” And “Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.” Respectively.

The third reality threatening the corporate existence of our unity is external and it is predicated on the effort of enemies of Islam to foment discord. No doubt, the so called super-powers are masters of divide and rule. They coin incendiary slogans and engage in macabre plots to create defeat and division among the Islamic states. Although, the actions and inactions of those ‘herdsmen from hell’ is trite. It has been uncovered even from the days of the prophets and their companions. Unfortunately, some Muslim countries have fallen for their evil machinations and intentions. Don’t forget, the dark and tragic memories of ‘Arab spring’, Syrian war, Palestinian massacre, tussle and tension in the middle-east among others still remain fresh in our heavy-hearts. However, despite the damage done, it is not too late to retrace our steps. Allah sternly and expressly warned in Quran 4 v 118 as follows: “O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers etc.) those outside your religion (Pagans, Jews, Christians and Hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouth, but what their breasts conceive is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat (proofs and evidences, verses) if you understand.”

Furthermore, just as they usually say, all great aspirations require serious effort, unity among Muslims is not an exception. Against all odds of utter wonderment and befuddlement as regards how things are unravelling and spiraling out of control and it seemed the center could no longer hold, we must put our house in order! Because, if united, we stand proudly but if divided , we fall miserably. Such is the sad reality I foresee if members of the same family (Islam) find it impossible to present a united front. Now is the time to douse the tension and extinguish the embers of division which is being dandestinely fanned within the ummah like never before. Unity is our fundamental responsibility and doctrine, the dearth of which is undeniably the cause of many of our problems today. Take it or leave it, the burden of blame and responsibility heavily lies upon our shoulders as a community, most especially, those who can influence the minds and hearts of the Muslims, even from behind the scene.

We should shun unnecessary labelling like Wahabi, Sufi, Salafi, Ikhwaani, and others, because, it ferments friction and segregation from within. Also, whenever the intruders are trying to dictate terms to us, we must show unity and resist oppression. Likewise, certification and ratification guides should be put in place to checkmate and obliterate the abuse of Islamic knowledge and ethos. Above all, our unity as muslims is under the sacred shade of Quran and Sunnah, whoever accepts the truth therein is inside this fold and whoever is outside will remain solo in denial! Quran 8 vs 46 says; “And obey Allah and His messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are patients.”

On a final note, Quran 49 vs 10 declares; “The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” A house divided against itself cannot stand. It is not too late to reclaim the lost Eldorado (unity).We are one indivisible nation (brothers) and we cannot afford to go the way of ‘Brexit’. Quran 3v110 says: ” Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah…”

It shall be well with our Ummah.

KAMORU SODIQ is a part-two student studying law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

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