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Towards Achieving Unity in Islam

Towards Achieving Unity in Islam
Islam is what brings us together and should never be what tears us apart. Achieving unity is a goal that all Muslims should collectively strive for.

New Muslims find Muslim society divided on many different levels leaving them confused.

They are taught how there is a brotherhood/sisterhood, but after accepting Islam, and trying to find their place in society, they can’t find it.

Muslims need to work on unity at the basic levels in order to achieve the end result.

How do we do this?

Family First

Unity begins at home at the individual level. Everyone needs a sense of belonging, and family is the one place everyone should feel a bond with others. New Muslims usually loose this family support after accepting Islam; thus requiring them to develop a sense of family amongst their local Muslim community.

New Muslims are new brothers and sisters to us all and we should welcome them into our homes as such. Simply sharing meals with family helps bring families closer to one another. Social gatherings as well as private gatherings for meals, especially for new Muslims will help them find their place in society feeling welcomed.

Everyone wants their children and loved ones to be contributing members of society.  These basic concepts are taught to our children and they will grow into our leaders.  Help our new Muslim brothers and sisters grow to be leaders in society.

Building Strong Local Communities

“Whoever abandons the community one hand span and dies in that state has died as a person in the state of ignorance before Islam.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In the West, Islam is growing fast. New Muslims are popping up in remote areas as well as the larger communities. All great nations start small, and just as Islam is spreading in the West, the Muslim communities will grow. This doesn’t happen by itself though.

Usually a community starts with just a few Muslims who cling to each other as a support for one another. They gather for prayers in a shared location, and then their friends move to join them.

The Dallas/Ft. Worth community in Texas is an excellent example of how communities grow. They started small, grew, and then they opened a masjid for the few Muslim that resided there. Over time, while building strong networks, and developing programs and social events, they grew and grew, and now there are over 45 masjids in the surrounding area mashallah.

When I took my shahadah, the Irving community (part of the DFW area) had just built a fairly large masjid there, and in the past several years, they have had to expand and it is now double the size it was when I first became a Muslim. They have such a strong close-knit community that strives on events and lectures, and services they offer to the Muslim community. They offer classes and programs for new Muslims, and mashallah they have a high frequency of new shahadas taking place every day. New Muslims should always ask their local masjids if they offer things to help them learn and grow with the community.

I found that over time, guest lecturers were invited from all over the country to this area, and when these lecturers would visit the community, they loved it so much, that they later decided to move there as well. This is how strength builds in a community.

{The believers are but a single brotherhood.} (Al-Hujurat 49:10)

Culture and Sectarian Division

Islam is what brings us together and should never be what tears us apart. Achieving unity is a goal that all Muslims should collectively strive for. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated in his Farewell Sermon that not a single person of any race or ethnicity is better than another person except in righteousness.

New Muslims face these divisions from their very first days of trying to “fit in”. New Muslims arrive at a masjid often times to find cliques that are segregated by race or ethnicity. New Muslims almost never fit the mold, feeling like an outcast. When we see a new Muslim, or even someone we are not familiar with at the masjid, we should go up to them and welcome them.

If and when they find a place to “fit in” new Muslims are then challenged with cultural barriers. They are just starting their deeper understanding of the details in Islam. They usually find people telling them a million different “versions” of Islam, or various practices leaving them confused. When they mention they were taught something different by someone else, they quickly find themselves facing division, not knowing where they should be.

Many Muslims differentiate themselves based on cultural practices as well as the proper religious practices. How is a new Muslim supposed to benefit from this?

The problem lies in the fact that Muslims believe many of their “cultural” traditions are part of Islam when they are not. They teach these cultural practices to new Muslims, and then the new Muslim turns around and teaches it to someone else. If questioned about it, they say “That is what we are taught, and everyone does it”. This is very dangerous. God tells us:

{Follow what Allah has sent down.’ They say, ‘No! We shall follow what we found our fathers following. What! Even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?} (Al-Baqarah 2:170)

This travesty causes misguidance to thrive forever. A new Muslim doesn’t usually know it is something that needs further investigation, and those who spread misguidance will be held accountable for it.

Sectarian divides cause an even wider rift amongst Muslims worldwide. We see that Muslims are killing each other in the name of Islam, all claiming to be upon the right path. Stick to the Quran and the authentic Sunnah, and you will be rightly guided.

Another aspect of unity arises amongst our political leaders. Muslim nations should have a Shura Council that legislates laws according to Islamic teachings. We are a far cry away from this in today’s current situation. We see dictatorships everywhere leaving Muslims oppressed and divided. Shura helps us implement Islamic laws into society, giving us guidelines based on the Quran and Sunnah.

Although there are various opinions on matters, they reach a collective consensus after deliberating what the strongest arguments are, and after they agree on a decision that is based on the Quran and Sunnah it is passed onto the people. Sadly, this doesn’t happen as it should because dictators overrule and don’t allow the people to be ruled by Shariah.

Most Muslim nations only implement some laws, while neglecting others. If Muslims are divided amongst themselves within a nation, and between other Muslim nations, how can we ever expect to achieve a khilafa?

What can Muslims Learn from Malcolm X?

Malcolm Little, known today as Malcolm X, was a name he took from the tribalistic views the members of the “Nation of Islam” held, and felt he had to take a name that suited his “tribal” affiliation.

He became one of their most ardent speakers and supporters. The teachings of the Nation of Islam focused on a racial agenda to remove racism against blacks. Sounds good right? Not quite as it seems though. This group spread racism against anyone that wasn’t black, proving to be hypocritical at best.

Malcolm X had a falling out with the Nation of Islam, and then started his deeper spiritual journey that changed his life forever when he went for Hajj. While performing the hajj rituals, he observed something amazing.

He discovered the real equality of man, of all races, and ethnicities, and all social statuses. He witnesses millions of Muslims wearing the same thing, doing the same things, and observing the one and only God Almighty in unison. No one can tell who is rich or poor based on their clothes. No one had a work uniform on to show if they were a janitor or a CEO of a corporation. Everyone was at the same level.

Hajj brings people from all over the world for one purpose… to worship God. Men and women bow in prostration together, praying for the salvation of their souls as one massive unit. Congregational prayers tie the believers together as one.

Malcolm X later changed his name after accepting mainstream Islam to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz which symbolized his journey from darkness to light after understanding the true message of Islam and unity amongst mankind. Malcolm X gave many statements about his discovery and even expressed that all Americans could find the solution to racism in the true teachings of Islam.

Conclusion

Behaving how we are instructed in the Quran will help us build an unbreakable bond amongst Muslims, but Muslims must do their part first on the individual level, then on the community level, national level, then on the global level. We can’t achieve global unity if we don’t start with ourselves.

Get to know your neighbors, build a community, invite others to Islam, and welcome new Muslims, and erase the views you may have about people are different from you. We were created to know one another, and to embrace one another as our brothers and sisters in Islam. We are ONE!

{O mankind we created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of god is (he who is) the most righteous of you and god has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).} (Al-Hujarat 49:13)

This is the true message of unity in Islam.


About Shannon Abulnasr

Shannon Abulnasr: An American convert sister who accepted Islam in 2006, and since has dedicated her efforts as an advocate supporting new Muslims after their shahadah. You can read her reversion story here and visit her website created for new Muslims and non-Muslims.

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