Unity of Islamic Ummah, the Architect for Reviving the Divine Civilization

"And hold fast, All of you together, to the cord of Allah, and do not become disunited "(Al-i Imran 3:103)
Lo! Allah loveth those who battle for His cause in ranks, as if they were a solid structure.(As-Saff 61:4)
The believers are but a single brotherhood ; so make peace between your brothers ; and fear Allah so that you may receive mercy. (Al-Hujurat 49:10)
The Muslim Ummah today is 1500 millions strong and constitute one fourth of the entire mankind with diverse ethnic and linguistic origins. Their geographical location is stretched over the four corners of the globe with magnificent and unique Civilization heritage.
At present Muslim population is about 1.8 billion which makes roughly 30 per cent of world population. About 1300 million Muslims live in 56 Muslim states and are part of UN and OIC. The rest 500 million Muslim are spread in different countries. There is hardly any place on earth, which is not inhabited by Muslims. A significant number of Muslims (220 million) live in India. In Europe and America, Muslim population though insignificant in the past has now increased manifold. Widespread migrations at world level have introduced Muslims to those areas, which hitherto stood untended for centuries from the teachings of Islam. Numerical strength plus the Muslim states' geographical location have given Muslim a strategic position in today's world.
Seen in the geo-strategic outlook, the politically independent Muslim states virtually command one-fourth of the world; from Morocco to Indonesia and Kazakhstan to Turkey and Bosnia. Muslim bloc can be divided into two big geographical zones; one, a large chain starting from Morocco/Senegal and through Pakistan entering Central Asia, and two; the most important zone of Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The two zones are of strategic importance for all sea, land and air transport routes. Dead Sea, Red Sea and Caspian are in the center of Muslim states. A number of Muslim countries have seacoasts on Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The important sea gateways like Damial, Suez, Port Said, Djibouti and Aden are under Muslim control. Muslim world is impregnate with important economic resources like agriculture, oil, electricity, coal, iron, uranium, tin, rubber, copper, etc.
About 1/4th of the Muslim world is not simply in a position to achieve sustained economic growth and provide adequate education and other social infrastructure to their citizens, but can also play an important role in the economic and technological development of brother Muslim countries, e.g. Turkey has the skill to manufacture F-16 fighter planes; Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Kazakhstan have economic strength to help other Muslim countries financially; Pakistan, despite strong Western resistance, has successfully advanced with its peaceful nuclear energy agenda in a period almost half that other countries might take, and; the change in oil prices of 1972 and 1980 has tilted the balance of economic strength towards Islamic countries.
In nutshell, we can safely conclude that the strength and centrality which the Muslim Ummah enjoy today has no match in its history (a fact which should never be ignored. It is another sore subject why Muslim world could not take full advantage of its present powerful position on the world checkerboard.
Throughout the last fourteen hundred years of Muslim history, even in the extreme political slumber of the last few centuries, Islamic way of life has played the most influential role in shaping the human destiny. With its divine creed and superb natural codes of practices, Islam's dynamic and assertive appeal has the edge over all other faiths or man made ideologies.
The meteoric rise and enduring might of Islamic Civilization were the result of the birth of a "best community" (khaira ummatin, Al-Qur'an 3:110) or a "middle community" (ummatan wasatan, Al-Qur'an 2:143) which Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala, SWT) had raised for mankind.
However, that role has undergone a serious setback in the past centuries due to their own indulgence and negligence. The most devastating disease of the Ummah today is their disunity and discord characterized by political, theological, sectarian and tribal conflict. Thus the most important and heart-felt requirement of the Ummah today is the need for unity - the unity of mind and action as well as the unity of hearts and emotional feelings among its members. The Muslim hearts today are beating all over the world for their lost unity - the unity of belief, hopes and aspirations in order to seek the pleasure of Allah (SWT).

What is Islamic Unity?
Why did the Muslim Ummah, the architect of the longest and most powerful as well as divine Civilization in human history, lost that unity? How can this be regained in the context of the complex internal and external factors that are dominating the Muslim world?
Moreover, isolated examples of cooperation, Islamic brotherhood and unity at times of necessity between the Muslims and their rulers had always occurred throughout the history. Military assistance to the Sultan of Granada by the Ottoman Sultan in 1483 CE. [History of the Ottoman Turks, E.S. Creasy, Beirut, 1961, p.122] and the unique military help to the Indian Muslims by the ruler of Afghanistan in 1761 are exemplary events of mutual assistance among the Muslim leaders, even in the decadent period of Muslim history.
The most outstanding attempt for global unity of the Muslim Ummah in the last century CE was led by Jamal al-Din Asadabadi famous as Afghani (1838-97 CE ), a leader of towering personality. His Pan Islamic Movement created a political sensation and psychological whirlwind in the Muslim world which was by then the underdogs of the world community.
Asadabadi considered Islam the potential source of Muslim unity and political strength and to this end devoted most of his life. [The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 5th Ed., Vol.10, 1977, p.20]
Afghani was a pragmatic leader who realized that, at that particular time, a single government for the whole Ummah would not be acceptable. He expounded, I am no pleading that a government of one single ruler should be accepted by all (these countries), because to accomplish this is probably very difficult. But I do really expect the predominance of the Qur'anic rule over all of them, and they should make Islam a means of their unity. [Al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Jamal al Din Afghani, Cairo, 1957, p.72]
The other pioneering Movement was launched in British occupied India for the demand of the restoration of Khilafah when the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished in 1924. The Khilafah Movement, as it was called, was based on the spirit of Islamic unity under a universal caliphate. It was an important historical event for the Muslims of India, but had little impact outside.
The conference of 1926 in Cairo by the Muslim religious and political leaders from a number of countries was an emotional attempt to revive the Caliphate. As they were non-governmental delegates, they decided to hold a Grand Assembly of the Ummah
" in a country which shall be chosen by the delegates of the Islamic peoples - in which the delegates of the Muslim people shall meet to discuss the measures to be taken with a view to the establishment of the Caliphate fulfilling all the conditions prescribed by the Shari'ah (Islamic law)" [OIC, Abdullah al-Ahsan, IIT, Herndon, VA, USA, 1988, p.11-12].
However, the gifted Muslim leaders continued their strenuous effort to construct a common platform for the Ummah. By then, the idea of creating a separate Muslim state on the Indian subcontinent was growing. It was not an ideal way to unify the Ummah as Allama Iqbal, the most accomplished thinker of the modern Muslim world, emphasized. [Atlas of the Islamic World Since 1500, Francis Robinson, UK, 1982, p.149]
Our essence is not bound to any place;
the vigor of our wine is not contained
in any bowl ; Chinese and Indian
Alike the shard that constitutes our jar,
Turkish and Syrian alike the clay
Forming our body ; neither is our heart
Of India, or Syria, or Rum,
Nor any fatherland do we profess
Except Islam.
(Rumuz-i-Bekhudi, 1918; trans. Arberry)
However, he came to terms with the reality of the Indian situation and started campaigning vociferously for the creation of Pakistan where the "Islamic Shari'ah could be enforced".
The recent works on regeneration of the Ummah and thus realization of global Islamic unity through going back to the pristine purity of Islam were initiated by two towering personalities in 1928 and 1941. Sheikh Hasan al Banna's Ikhwanul Muslimin in the Arab world,Imam Musa Sadr in Lebanon,Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baquir al-Sadr Shaheed in Iraq, Maulana Sayyid Mawdudi's Jama'at-e-Islami in Indian sub-continent and finally Hadrat Imam Khomeini(R.A.) in Islamic Republic of Iran have been instrumental in molding the characters of millions in modern Muslim history. The glorious Islamic Revolution under the dynamic leadership of Hadrat Imam Khomeini(R.A.) has strengthened the Islamic Ummah and the Islamic Revivalist Movements throughout the world.
The necessity of unity was only felt by the Muslim leaders when, after the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel in 1967 war, Al-Aqsa mosque was desecrated under Zionist occupation on 21 August, 1969. A Summit Conference representing 24 Muslim countries was held in Morocco on 22-25 September, 1969 with a view to "promoting among themselves (Muslim governments) close cooperation and mutual assistance in the economic, scientific, cultural and spiritual fields, inspired by the immortal teachings of Islam".
This is the forerunner of OIC (The Organization of Islamic Conference) whose membership has increased to 46 countries. But apart from being an ornamental body, the OIC has so far failed to exhibit any ray of hope for genuine Islamic unity the Ummah is so eagerly waiting for.
So if we aspire to be united we should have that ideal in our mind. We might never attain to that high level, but we should at least keep it as a goal, and as a criterion by which we judge how far towards the unity we have gone.
The characteristics of that community are:
First, `Imaan'(beliefs)
Secondly, `ibaadah(worship)
Third is akhlaq(moral behavior) and this is the fruit of eemaan and `ibaadah.
The fourth point is defending Islam
The last point is that of political unity and following the Ulil Amr Muslimeen and without any doubt Hadrat Ayatullah al-Uzma Sayyid Ali Khamene'i is the Ulil Amr Muslimeen.
The solution for the cause of disunity would be to grab a hold of the righteous path and live by it. That path is the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and his Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.).
A perception of one-Ummah feeling is to be created among the Muslim people all over the world. As burning of a finger aches the whole body, so should be the sensitivity of the Muslims. The sufferings of the Palestinians, Afghans and Iraqis, for example, should be so felt by them that the whole Ummah cry out together and come up with realistic help.
Equality and justice need to be established within the Ummah on the basis of Islamic brotherhood.
The Holy Qur'an says:
... Lo ! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)
But Iran has already dealt with the above issue and so can we. The solution that is adopted by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran after the glorious Islamic Revolution of 1979 is workable all over the Muslim world. It is clearly stated in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the law of the land in Iran would be based on Fiqh Jafari, but the followers of all other schools would be free to practice their own Fiqh in their private and personal affairs. This highly ingenious but equally simple and uncomplicated approach represents a really enlightening lesson for the entire Muslim Ummah.
In 1990,the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatullah al-Uzma Sayyid Ali Khamene'i established "The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought" to carry out extensive ecumenical research to explore the practical ways and measures in bringing about the proximity and understanding between all the Islamic schools of thought. This unique organization which belongs to the Islamic Ummah regularly issues the journal "Risala-tul-Taqrib" in Arabic and has published many books to bring about proximity and understanding in the Islamic Ummah.
"The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought" has established the "Islamic Schools of Thought University" in Tehran, which is first of its kind and unique in the world where the Ulama from all the leading Islamic schools of thought teach the Islamic seminary students belonging to all the leading Islamic schools of thought hailing from various countries.
Every year on the auspicious occasion of the Birthday of the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.) which is celebrated as the "Unity Week" (12-17 Rabi al-Awwal) between the Muslims of the world an international seminar is regularly conducted by this organization in Tehran to bring about better understanding between the 1800 millions strong Muslim Ummah.
The mass-involvement in the socio-political and cultural affairs of the Ummah need to be the part and parcel of the Muslim world. The power of a nation lies on its people. A nation can only prosper when the hopes and aspirations of those people are in harmony with those of its leaders.
Exhortation of patience and tolerance is to be practiced by the Ummah in matters of mutual affairs. The Holy Prophet's affirmation that "Diversity of opinion is a blessing, while disunity a curse" must be accepted by the Ummah with sincerity and broadmindedness. The Holy Qur'an also says
... And help one another unto righteousness and pious duty, but help not one another unto sin and transgression... (Al-Maidah 5:2)
The political spirit of the institution of Hajj needs to be restored so that it works as a platform for mutual understanding and cooperation between various Muslim groups and communities as well as Muslim countries. This will also help forging a global link among the Ummah to collectively fight the evils of modern Jahiliyah.
Inter-Governmental bodies OIC and other governmental agencies, global or regional, should initiate to strengthen the cause of Muslim unity by increasing their commitment to their own declared objectives and charters. Economic cooperation, science and technology exchange as well as information and cultural cooperation should be strengthened between the Muslim countries.
These should include cooperation in the promotion of the features and history of Islamic Civilization, academic and research link in various areas of mutual interest as well as information-related and humanitarian activities. Cooperation in defending Muslim rights and Islamic values in Muslim-minority countries can lead to a better understanding among the Muslim countries.

Islamic Movements
After the victory of the glorious Islamic Revolution in Iran the determination and dedication of the most gifted section of the Ummah have produced a rich blend of a cluster of Islamic Movements around the world.
The open aggression on the Muslim people by the global Kufr, with their powerful politico-economic and propaganda weapons, and the persecution of Islamic workers by secular westernized Muslim rulers have augmented the strength of the Islamic Movements. What is seriously needed from these Islamic Movements is realistic strategy and their effective implementation.
The first target of the Islamic Movements is, thus, to build an Islamic state through which they can work for global Islamic reunification of the Ummah.
Organized and comprehensive Tabligh of Islam is an obligatory duty for the Ummah, individually and collectively.
Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. (An-Nahl 16:125)
And who is better in speech than him who prayeth unto his Lord and doeth right, and saith : Lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Him). (Fusilat 41:33)
Absence of tabligh or an ineffective one reduces the Ummah to an introvert community who gradually become sluggish in all walks of life. For the light of Allah, al-Islam, to be transmitted to four corners of the globe, the active members of the Ummah must open their illuminated hearts to the millions of His servants, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Greater Islamic unity is not only in the interests of the majority but also of most of the rest of the world as well. As the contemporary Muslim world is passing through a phase of self-analysis and internal reawakening, Islam is becoming more and more relevant as well as guiding light (Sirajam Munira) for the reconstruction of individual and social life of the Ummah. The reality of Islamic unity now lies on the Ummah's firm resolve to build a universal society on the foundations of Islam.
The concept of universal relationship brotherhood among the Muslims is the cornerstone of Islamic unity and is the charter of worldwide Islamic Movement. Brotherhood is a notion based on faith, fraternity and equality without denying the reality of human differences in attitudes. It originates from mutual love, respect and emotional feelings for one another as in the case of a united family. It unites mankind on the basis of ideology and convictions. Anybody from any part of the globe, irrespective of racial or linguistic origin, can join the house of Islam through the testimony of Islamic faith and the needful actions.
Global reunification of the Ummah is neither a myth nor an impossibility, as the western theorists or secularized Muslim leaders tend to describe it in order to dampen the spirit of the Muslim people. It is a divine requirement. However, its attainment depends on two conditions - Allah's (SWT) favor and the Ummah's turning back to Islam.
However, the yearning for unity and the ideals of Islamic brotherhood had always persisted in and kept illuminating the hearts of the Muslim masses throughout the history, in spite of political and theological trauma that the Islamic Ummah have passed. The target to unify the Ummah remained a guiding factor for the Islamic Revivalist Movements that emerged later on.

The Century of Islamic Revivalism
This century can rightly be termed the century of Islamic revival; political and economic aspects being mere parts of it. The enemies of Islam assumed that by politically dominating the Muslims; dividing them into small states, nationalities and tribes; imposing secular system through secular rulers; and by crafting Western political, economic, educational and cultural agendas, Muslim Ummah can be neutralized for ever. But the ultimate prudence of God Almighty was different.
Equally important aspect is the rational which is the real force behind this comprehensive revival movement. In fact, it is this force, which have played the most significant role in changing the ideological and cultural pattern of Muslims virtually on entire globe. In the Indian Sub-Continent, movements led by Syed Ahmed Shaheed, Shah Ismail Shaheed and in Bengal the movement of Haji Shariatullah and then the efforts of Altaf Hussain Hali, Shibli Naumani, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi and Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar reactivated Muslims on intellectual, moral, cultural and ultimately on political fronts. Revival movement of Allama Iqbal, Syed Abul Aala Maududi's literary and intellectual work and the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, all converged on a nation-wide political movement and ultimately resulted in creation of separate Muslim abode in 1947.
This nascent yet strong movement of the early half of 20th century gained ground in the later half and gradually spread all over the Islamic world. The Muslim nations started fighting for freedom from colonial powers with principle motive to protect and promote their Islamic identity. Some times it appeared as if nationalism was the fighting force for freedom, yet it is an acknowledged fact that even behind nationalism the one and the only force was resurgence of Islamic thought. K.Smith in Islam and Modern History (Princeton University Press, 1957, p.77) admits: "Muslims have never accepted any concept of nationalism under which the principles of loyalties are outside the jurisdiction of Islam." He says: "besides (as far as Muslims are concerned) in the past only and only Islam has been the driving force which has provided to Muslims the discipline, strength, and desire for freedom."
Jamalud Din Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, Muhammad Rashid Raza and the founder of Ikhwanul-Muslimoon, Shaykh Hasan-al-Banna Shaheed, Imam Musa Sadr in Lebanon, Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baquir al-Sadr Shaheed in Iraq, led and promoted the revival movement in Arabic World. In Turkey, in the depressed secular state, Saeed Nursi, Adnan Mandres and Najmud Din Arbakan have kept alive the Islamic movement. In Iran, the religious and popular movement of Imam Khomeini(R.A.) has started a new era for the Islamic world.

Future Perspective
The Muslim Ummah entered into the 21st century. Now, when we review the past 100 years' political conditions of Muslims, we find signs of hope since revival and the struggle of the Muslim Ummah has set in all spheres of life. This resurgence has no other explanation but what the Holy Qur'an Says: "and (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah." (Al-i Imran-3:54).
The colonial powers had planned to make Muslim Ummah ineffective forever. But history stands witness that if Muslims retreated at a front they demonstrated strength at another.
This important feature of Muslim history has disrupted in the recent past. But just as a day follows the night, the Muslim Ummah during the past five decades have, to a large extent, overcome the miserable conditions of the past and started reform at world level.

The Conflict with Modern Jahiliyah
Essence of Islamic movement and the general revival of Islam at world level are the real forces which are shaping the future of Muslim Ummah. This is an era of conflict as a result of which a new epoch is emerging. But, certainly the Islamic movements are going to succeed in the future unlike the remains of colonialism which do not possess spark to revive. The Western nations and their friends consider Islam a danger primarily for this trait.
Muslim Ummah has no territorial conflict with the West rather it seeks its inherent right to develop individual and social life in accordance with its own set of religious doctrine, culture and history where family is central to real target for bringing change. But, this change is presented as a threat to the West.
Modern Jahiliyah which is leading mankind far away from Truth and Justice. This has, in effect, robbed peace from the surface of the earth. Man has downgraded himself from the position of his Creator's vicegerency to a status which is unworthy of human dignity. Humanity is suffering from an unparalleled identity crisis.
However, like all the empires of the past, the West has invented its own monster, the adulation of extreme materialism. The melting pot is becoming too hot to maintain one's exclusive characteristics.
The proliferation of consumer culture and entertainment industry is eating away the spirit of innocence from the younger people. The display of erotic adverts in public places and the mass circulation of pornographic tabloids are inviting people towards promiscuity. Radical feminism, modeling, glorification of extra-marital sex and homosexuality have become the tools of modernity. The effect is the erosion of morality, the disintegration of family structure, child abuse and other social ills.
The reason behind this expertly crafted notion is West's inability to guide humanity in the right direction; its lack of knowledge and bigotry towards Islam. The experiment of secular culture has failed. Despite West's total command over the world for about 500 years it could not establish an equitable and just system. There has certainly been a tremendous industrial growth and increase in wealth in the West but it was unable to provide welfare, justice and peace to mankind. Even now 1/4th of the world population is without basic food. The West possess in itself the poverty problematic 14-15 per cent population. On average the unemployment is above 10 per cent.
Despite spectacular achievements in the medical science, humanity confronts new and complex diseases. Western family structure has totally collapsed. The number of single-parent children (born without formal marriages) has exceeded above legal children. The number of single family parent has reached 40 per cent and 30 per cent in USA and Europe, respectively. The rise in crime has seized the freedom of society and the younger generation is in particular morally corrupt. Material growth cradles mental-sickness and suicide which is on the rise. The historians hypothesize with fear that a civilization born of material growth is not conducive for human beings. Famous poet Iqbal says: "In spite of significant findings about Universe and control over nature through scientific development, the West could not eradicate the evils plaguing humanity."
In fact it is the weakness of the West which is making it fearful of the potential strength of Islam, otherwise, Muslims militarily, politically or economically pose no threat to it. The real conflict lies in ideology and moral values. This is an area where West is like a spent force with no new system or message for the humanity at hand.
It is here that Islam has the potential to bring the humanity light and fresh thinking. Islam has a message for humanity; a live message for their present living, a promise for attractive destiny and a glorious future. The spread of this message had neither been due to violent force in the past nor it needs such force today. In fact it is filling the gap where humanity is trapped. This is the real danger for the West, otherwise it is a total blessing for the humanity making no distinction between East and the West.
Under the conditions explained above, it is quite obvious that Islam is the only constructive force for the future. Indeed much has yet to be done. It has to strengthen its moral values, gain intellectual creditability in order to motivate the masses.
The realization is growing that Islam is, in fact, the only solution to the evil remains of Colonialism and the only answer to the threat of New World Order.

Conclusion
The unity of the Ummah is a necessity not only for the Muslim people but also for the entire humanity. Although Islam, as a message and a model, was completed 1400 years ago, the main task of bringing all mankind into its fold has not yet materialized. Islamic unity is a major step towards achievement of the universal brotherhood of mankind. A peaceful world based on human dignity, equality and justice can only be established if the Muslim Ummah forcefully play their global role and guide humanity. Thus, the unity of Islamic Ummah is the chief architect for reviving the 'Divine Civilization' in human history.
I pray to Allah (S.W.T.) to join our hearts and unite Muslim Ummah to revive the 'Divine Civilization' in human history. Ameen

Haider Reza Zabeth

Source: Imam reza network

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