Unity in Islam means, uniting the hearts of Muslims in the heart of one man, and that a spirit of familiarity, love and cooperation will spread among them. It also means uniting Muslims on specific goals and objectives, and that the Muslims’ sole concern is to achieve those goals and objectives. It also means that Muslims in the East and the West of the earth cooperate culturally, civilly, economically, politically and militarily. Hence, the unity of Muslims is the unity of hearts, the unity of the word, the unity of concern, the unity of goal, and the unity of end.
Some elements of Muslim unity:
Unity among Muslims is not a slogan that is raised in forums, meetings and conferences, but rather, it is a method and a culture based on certain foundations, including:-
- Feeling that Muslims, no matter how far apart their countries and their boundaries are, they are all brothers in religion.
- Harmony among Muslims, which means closeness, mixing, healing, psychological and emotional cohesion between Muslims and each other.
- Warning against division and differences, notably that division here does not mean the division of the earth and the tongue, but rather the division of hearts and their differences, and the difference of the nation among themselves.Therefore, unity is a drive towards social stability of a country. Any society and the nation as a whole might be ruined, if the issue of unity is not solved intelligently and with wisdom. The glory of Islam’s past civilization clearly demonstrates the bond of brotherhood in a multicultural society that is sustained for such long periods of time. Such glory is a manifestation of the great messenger’s determination, the Prophet Muhammad and his companions who advocated righteousness and forbid evil based on the guidance from God. The concept of brotherhood and harmony commanded by the Almighty Allah is well understood by them. The question is whether that methodology is understood by today’s society, specifically among Muslim leaders.
This article therefore, briefly explores the concept of unity in Islam based on the guidance of the holy Quran, Hadith, and the views of academicians who debated this issue. All Muslims must know the value and importance of unity among the Muslims around the world. In the Holy Quran, the Almighty Allah stated that: “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” (Quran, 3:103).
Islam is a religion of peace, love, and unity, that is why its emphasis on mutual understanding, love, and respect for each other. Great stress is laid upon the unity and development of brotherhood, among Muslim brothers. In the sight of Almighty Allah, all Muslims are equal and no superiority is given to anyone, on the basis of race, gender, color, status, position or profession. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) related the Muslim community with the human body, and according to Him all the Muslims are like one body. When even a single part of the human body suffers for any reason, the restlessness is felt in all parts of the body. The stress that has been laid upon unity among Muslims, makes it compulsory for all the Muslims to respect and care about the comfort of their Muslim brothers and sisters. The Almighty Allah said in the Holy Quran: “The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islam). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.”(Quran, 49:10).
Muslims should treat their fellow Muslims with love and respect, so that they may receive Allah’s mercy as mentioned in the above verse, and they should also, keep in mind the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), in which He said: “… Arabs have no superiority over non-Arabs and Non-Arabs have no superiority over Arabs, You are all equal except by piety and good actions. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray”. Unity teaches peace, equality, and lineage, and that is why Islam laid great stress on it.
Another important concept of unity among Muslims, is the concept of Ummah, which today represents the unification of all Muslims around the globe. Islam preaches that, all people are equal regardless of their religion, culture, race or gender. The holy Quran is important for Muslims, in order to achieve Unity and brotherhood among themselves. If we start following the teachings of the holy Quran, we will stay united and achieve prosperity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said about unity in one of his Hadiths: “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, and fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” (Sahih Muslim). He further said in another Hadith: “a Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, he doesn’t oppress him, neither does he hand him over to the enemy, he doesn’t disappoint him, nor does he humiliate him”.
From the above sayings of the holy Prophet (PBUH), we can conclude that, the holy Prophet put more emphasis on unity, love, respect, and brotherhood among fellow Muslims. Therefore, Muslims, should follow the prophet’s traditions “Sunnah”, so that they can achieve success in this life and hereafter. It is important to note that, unity bring people together; create love, harmony and generosity between them, regardless of their religion, and therefore as Muslims, we can use unity as a platform to spread kindness to others, as well as an opportunity for our spiritual growth to become closer to the Almighty Allah.
Using the power of Unity to change lives:
There is so much Muslims can gain, just by uniting in good faith. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a man of unity. He ensured that he spread love and kindness wherever he went, and just through these actions, he attracted millions of people to join the religion of Islam. The power of unity, is so vast, that just by coming together, we can change people’s lives and attain prosperity. We can uplift those who are feeling down, and we can create a sense of belonging to those vulnerable and those who feel alone. Here are some ways, on how we can attain unity as Muslims in Uganda, to better ourselves and improve our interactions with others:-
1. Unity teaches people to be selfless:
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [al-Bukhari]. Quite beautifully, this narration includes both Muslims and non-Muslims in relation to maintaining brotherhood. Imam An-Nawawi comments that, here our Prophet (PBUH) was directing us about dawah, and how a Muslim should invite a non- Muslim to Islam. This is the essence of unity; bringing together people from all walks of life and making them bond through love and respect.
2. Knowing that people are like a structure:
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Verily, the believers are like a structure, each part strengthening the other,” and the Prophet clasped his fingers together. [al-Bukhari]. This hadith highlights the importance of supporting one another during times of need willingly and sincerely. It also involves expressing a sense of joy and pleasure when helping one another, seeing it as an honour to be able to fulfil someone else’s need. This strengthens bonds between people. Attaining unity is therefore, not restricted, notably that, just by viewing the believers as bricks that come together to build a structure, allows us to understand and visualize that, so much good can come out of just supporting one another and being aware of each other’s conditions.
3. Uniting through creating bonds
Unity is key, but it involves effort from every individual, just how the Almighty Allah mentioned in the holy Qur’an “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers.” [3:103]. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a true inspiration in living the above verse. Being in a leadership position, he faced immense criticism to the point that he was pelted with stones, drenched in dirt and dust, and even his life was put in danger many times. Yet, He showed nothing but kindness and respect back to his enemies. He used kindness to change the world and create legacies that continue to live with us todate. It was his kindness that made one of his worst enemies, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, to be one of his closest friends, companions and a successor “Khalifa”, and one of the ten companions who were promised paradise by the Almighty Allah before his death. Therefore, such is the power of kindness, in which unity can be achieved and love can be spread far and wide.
4. Unity through giving to Charity:
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body, when any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” [al-Bukhari]. The love that a Muslim harbours in his heart, should be so sincere, that it makes him give towards those in difficulty. He feels the ache of another person and he reacts in the kindest of ways. This brings forth affection, mercy and compassion naturally towards others. In a tough world which holds obstacles of conflict, natural disasters and millions of less fortunate people, it is vital we spread love to unite in goodness. It is in these times that the Almighty Allah commanded us to help those who are in desperate need. It is in these times where we can unite to uplift others and bring good to the world, notably that through unity, we can make a huge difference and a lot can be achieved.
In short, from above Quranic verses and hadiths, I would like to conclude that, Islam believes in the unity of all humans and teaches peace, justice, love, and equality. The Islamic religion is basically to serve humankind, and that is why Islam criticizes extremism and terrorism of all kind and forms in the name of religion. Therefore, if Muslims in Uganda (in particular) believe in the unity of the Almighty Allah for them to have a good Islamic society, they should unite and follow Allah’s and His Messenger’s Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teachings.
Finally, Muslim brothers and sisters in Uganda, let us genuinely reflect on the virtues of unity, to allow us spread sincere kindness to our families, friends, humanity and the precarious world we inhabit, and one of the ways through which, we can do this, is by embracing the prevailing initiatives introduced by the Muslim leadership in Uganda and supported by this country’s leadership, spearheaded by His Excellency Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, notably that, by doing so, Muslims in Uganda will excel in improving their livelihoods, togetherness, love amongst themselves, harmony and generosity between themselves and other religious denominations in the country. Hence, it will bring prosperity to all.