Friday, December 08, 2006

A United Muslim Ummah: Idealists' Vision, or Possible Reality?

Once I thought it could be a possible reality. Now, I think it more of an idealists' vision - and I am one of those idealists.

I guess it's both.

Right now, Muslims in one city - never mind a country - can hardly agree on anything; the idea of all the Muslims in the world truly united is almost laughable... that is, for those who are not already weeping because of it.

Last year, I spent many a night dreaming of how my friends and I would go around the world, giving Da'wah and uniting the Muslim Ummah, getting them to set aside their differences and just embrace each other with brotherly/ sisterly love.Now, I spend my nights trying to figure out how to unite our tiny little Muslim community on this island city. Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah! I couldn't believe it - such a small number of people, yet even so they have such differences between them, such division.

Honestly, it seems that we Muslims are just so... childish. Selfish and greedy and suspicious and argumentative. Constantly complaining, constantly fighting each other, about the smallest things. Whether you move your finger in tashashhud or not, how you move it, can lead to blood feuds (okay, I'm exaggerating there, but you know what I mean).

And, yeah, I know that differences of opinion are allowed in Islam (within reasonable limits, of course), and that they're a sign of Islam's flexibility as opposed to rigidity, and should be used as a way to progress in our thinking, and so on - but in today's times, differences of opinions are not used or taken advantage of in a positive manner, as a means of showing the tolerance of Islam, but instead as things that divide the Muslims rather than unite them.
And that's what's so frustrating - that there is a way that we are supposed to act and behave, but that we act in a manner almost totally opposite to the Islamic ideal.

Those who are trying to teach the people, trying to nudge them in the right direction, are having an extremely hard time of it, and - so it seems, anyway - little success. Yes, I know that insha'Allah they're being rewarded for their hardwork, but even so... for once, I would like to see some real results, something big, something solid, something that will matter in the grand scheme of things.

Unity is something that is heavily emphasized in Islam - the very foundation of al-Islam, Tawheed, means unity, the unity of God. The unity of Muslims as an Ummah is something that is extremely important, something that we're supposed to constantly work towards. Yet, is the unity of the Ummah something that is possible?
No, wait, perhaps I should rephrase that. The unity of the Ummah IS something that is possible, because we know that when the Mehdi and the Messiah come, when Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah and 'Eesa ibn Maryam appear, the Muslims WILL be united under them. So what I really mean to say is: Is the unity of the Muslim Ummah at all possible BEFORE the Mehdi and the Messiah arrive?

I really, really hope so. But I rather doubt it. Human nature ensures that each and every one of us has different opinions on different issues, and that we will often fight each other simply to prove how 'right' we are - even when we're wrong.

To be united on a single issue is possible - we have plenty of examples of that, amongst both Muslims and non-Muslims. However, to be united under the banner of Islam, which encompasses too many issues to count, is a different thing altogther. Different madhaahib, different personal opinions, different cultural and intellectual backgrounds: these all contribute to disagreements, which, in large groups, can result in furious and heated arguments; which in turn can become bitter feuds and create schisms.

Is this our fate, then? Are we destined to continually struggle and to continually fail? To try and unite, but even as unification is attempted the seeds of division are being sowed? Is our only hope that of the Mehdi and the Masih (Messiah)?

Yet even if it is so... that doesn't mean we can just give up and declare defeat. We've still got to keep working hard, keep doing whatever little we can to help the Muslim Ummah... because this is part of our great Jihaad, the Jihad of the Nafs (of the Self)... we need to fight the evil and wrongdoing within ourselves, and then within our families, and then our Muslim communities...

Thinking of this makes my heart ache... I like to be a person of action and results. Small victories please me, but it is the thought of the grand success at the end of it all that motivates me. Shall I have to learn to be content with small victories on this Earth, and look forward to grand success only in the Hereafter?

Rabbanaa aatinaa fid-Dunyaa hasanah, wa fi'l Aakhirati hasanah, wa qinaa 'athaab an-Naar!
Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire! (Qur'an 2:201)

Rabbanaa afrigh 'alaynaa sabran wa tawaffanaa muslimeen!
Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You! (Qur'an 7:126)

8 comments:

Sumera said...

We're too busy focusing on our differences (as minute as they are) rather than celebrating our similarities.

In an ideal world (overused phrase) we would use those similirities and work together, under one banner for one cause.

Seems like we've lost the collective identity as an Ummah (its only relevant on paper most of the time by pen pushers) and instead have begun to hone in some bizarre competitive spirit whereby its all about trying to win, not about learning.

Its an ideal - not a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Salaams sis,

I found your blog from Sumera's. Networking in action!

The subject of unity is close to the heart of every idealist. You are not alone!

I was also very saddened by the disunity in the Ummah but then i heard some very wise words form Shaykh Anwar al-Awlaki in his Seerah of our beloved Nabi sallalahu alayhi wa salam.

He was discussing the Battle of Badr. How many lessons there are to be learnt from this one blip on the timeline of Islam is amazing, subhanallah!

When the army was marching towards Badr, ONE THIRD of it broke away and went back to Medina - this was the group of hypocrites. Yet look at the amazing victory Allah granted the mujahideen against all the odds!

The point about unity is this. Numbers do not matter when it comes to success. It is unfortunate, but even if 90% of the Ummah are too absorbed with their differences to unite on any issue, the remaining 10% that actually want to serve Allah will be more than sufficient to conquer the evils of this world.

It only takes a handful of God-fearing people to make things better because Allah is the only One who grants success.

Also as you say differences are something to be appreciated. Take Abu Bakr Siddique and Umar radiallahu anhum. They disagreed on virtually every matter but that is why they were so useful as advisors to Muhammad sallalahu alayhi wasalam. That is the whole point of shura. To make oneself aware of different opinions so the best one can be chosen.

So do not be disheartened my little sis. Just keep working at it.

May Allah grant you success.

Wa'salam

Anonymous said...

As salaamu alaikum dear sister,

Yes, I remember you and I both used to discuss this idealist vision :) It was nice thinking about it and all but in practice, I think we can do our best but it will never happen if it's not the will of Allah.

and about the ummah being united before 'Eesa alayhis salaam and the Mehdi, I really don't know about that--if it's a yes or no. Is there a hadith about that or does the hadith which mentioned the ummah being united in the future mention that the Ummah will not be united before?

it really does seem however, at the moment at least, that the ummah is actually getting more and more divided. subhaan Allah.

I think having institutions with dynamic scholars who can relate to many people and who are broad minded helps a lot. think about the works of Al Maghrib Institute mashaAllah! To me, it feels like a wave across North America! The scholars know abotu true Islam according to the Qur'an and sunnah and do not hide knowledge and are not apologetic of this Deen, but at the same time, they can relate to this society and the youth and you see youth coming in mass numbers! Allahu akbar. I think instituions like these are greatly needed and beneficial.

I look at Islamic centers these days and the Average Joe...wait...i should say, Average Muhammad Islamic centers (lol) have so much hypocrisy in them. even the imams sometimes may be giving a khutbah warning against backbiting but a minute later they might criticise or backbite another scholar, etc..

Seriously, the ummah is at a bad state. but some of us don't take the solution part seriously. some of us think the solution needs to overnight, there needs to be a miracle & clearly, it is up to Allah to help this ummah ultimately. but while complaining so much, we sometimes forget the great influence each and every one of us hold individually.

think about it:

-if all the people in the world who have ever complained about the ummah declining, weakening, and dividing up, if these people:

-started improving themselves
-changed their manners to
conform to the beautiful
Qur'an and sunnah
-started small projects in their own communities to try to help the Muslims nad help themselves
-if practicing muslims
didn't look down on non-
practicing muslims as equal
to kuffar or what not and
actually invited them to
their gatherings and
dispelled myths about
themselves that they
are ''extremists'' etc...
and if they actually just
encouraged non-practicing
muslims without deeming
themselves as better
-if these muslims themselves truly were dedicated to this cause and not just half heartedly
-if they were less after the money $$$ and worldly desires
-if their ultimate goal became what Allah has defined their goal as, ie. to worship Him alone.....

if....if all this happened....if WE did all of this and encouraged the Muslims around us, our families and friends and acquaintances and people,...think about it.....

we could change the Ummah. subhanAllah.


so let's do this. let's all try to improve our own eeman and communities and then see how much difference that makes.


and in the end, Allah ta'ala knows best.

may He help our ummah, may He help us all, may He forgive our sins and keep us far from the Hell-fire and may He give sincerity to us in everything we day. and may He grant us Jannah, ameen.


your sis,

RoH04

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Assalamu'alaykum,

Personally, I don't believe that things such as differences of madhaahib and culture are problems in themselves; I think it's only natural that given the differences in people, there will be differences in approach. I don't believe unity means everyone does the same thing; in the case of the Muslim ummah, I believe unity is more about sharing a vision and mutual love, irrespective of any other differences.

Basically, I don't care about what your finger is doing in tashahud so long as we share a kalimah.

meee said...

there is actually a hadeeth that said he (SAW) used to move his finger

so there! i challenge u to a duel (which i shall win =D)

AnonyMouse said...

As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

JazakAllahu khairan for all your comments… as always, I truly appreciate them… :)

Sis Sumera – too true, unfortunately… :( But I cling to the hope that insha’Allah, one day we WILL be able to make it a reality…

Sis Imuslim – glad to see you here, al-Hamdulillah! :) Jazaakillaahi khairan for the reminder… I love Sheikh Anwar al-‘Awlaki’s lectures, masha’Allah…

Sis RoH04 – Haha, when I was writing this post I thought about our discussions on this very subject… ah, how time and experience swiftly disillusion us! (Says the one who has had very little experience is anything… lol :P)
“Is there a hadith about that or does the hadith which mentioned the ummah being united in the future mention that the Ummah will not be united before?”
I honestly don’t know… when I asked my father, he said that he himself isn’t sure… so Allahu a’lam…

Subhan’Allah, the things you pointed out (how things would become so much better if we all just started working on ourselves first and then worked from there) is something I was planning to write another post on… heehee, the twin minds strike again! :D

Faraz – Yep, I agree with you… I’m not saying that everyone should have the same madhaahib or whatever; just that we shouldn’t make those differences of madhaahib/ culture/ whatever such a big issue… we need to focus on the more important stuff…

Meee: Pffffft, whatever! :P I’ll duel you in an email… ;) And I am the one who shall win! Muahahaha! :D

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