Quran and Muslim Unity
By Dr. Mansoor
are supposed to work together towards a common goal set by the Quran and shown
by the Prophet (PBUH) through his Sunnah. They are brothers and sisters because
they are bonded by the common ideology of the unity of God and the unity of
the foundational principles of Islam. The Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet
(PBUH) require Muslims to work for the unity of the Ummah. Muslims are required
to be merciful towards each other (The Quran (48:29)) and be like the body where
if any part hurts the whole body should feel the pain (Hadith). But, are Muslims
practicing this injunction of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH)?
Muslims and various Islamic organizations are working hard but it is frustratingly
obvious that the above goals are ever so illusive. Instead of Muslims being
united in mercy towards each other, they are, on the whole, far from it. Instead
of feeling the pain and misery of other Muslims (Chechens, Palestinians, Kashmiris,
for example), most of us are happily enjoying our material comforts of life.
Is Muslim unity only a dream that cannot be fulfilled? Many argue that all this
talk of Muslim unity is out of date. Islam may have once united Muslims but
present reality makes it impossible. They say it is nice talk, which makes Muslims
feel good but an unrealistic goal that cannot be achieved. Muslims spend (and
have spent) a lot of their time and emotional energy debating this issue.
come back to this fundamental question- is Muslim unity possible, and if it
is, then how to achieve it? But first, let us find out the present state of
Muslims and compare it with the Iqbals visionary diagnosis of their problems.
and suffering is as common today as it was in the days of Iqbal. Every day that
passes brings more death and destruction to Muslims, only at a much wider scale.
It is sad to see Muslim governments collaborating with non-Muslims to inflict
damage and suffering against fellow Muslims. Many Muslim groups are also engaged
in fighting against each other in many parts of the Muslim world. And in some
countries where Muslims are in minority, their condition is even worse. As a
minority they are systematically being subjected to discrimination, humiliation,
persecution, torture, and rape. One wonders: is it ever going to end?
attacked Turkey in 1923 (at the behest of the British) Iqbals heart started
crying. He knew that it was not just an attack on Turkey, but it was an attack
on Islam itself. He tried to free the Muslim mind from the prevailing colonial
mentality and from Muslims own narrow self-interests. He wrote the poem
"Tolu-e-Islam" which later became one of his classic works. [Copies
of this poem were sold and all proceeds were sent to Turkey.] He said:
ne tukre tukre kar diya hay nau insan ko
ka bayan ho ja mohabbat ki zaban ho ja
wo Khurasani, ye Afghani, wo Turani
sharmindayeh sahil uchhal kar bekaraan ho ja"
has torn apart humankind. You (Muslims), become role models of love and brotherhood.
Get beyond the narrow boundaries of nationalities (like Indian, Khurasani, Afghani,
and Turkish) and jump into the limitless ocean (of Islam)."
the present situation in which Muslims find themselves today, Iqbals soul
must be feeling extremely restless. Alas! There is no Iqbal today among Muslims
who can guide the Muslim Ummah against the forces that are bent on its destruction.
But the Muslim Ummah can also be torn apart due to internal conflicts.
this is what is happening to Muslim Ummah today. Probably, there are no people
in the world today who have been as divided as Muslims. They are divided along
religious, political, ethnic, cultural, racial, linguistic, and sectarian lines.
These divisions extend further into subdivisions. Status, wealth, fame, and
fortune have also created social differences among Muslims.
are divided at the root into Sunnis and Shias. Sunnis are further divided into
Hanafi, Maliki, Shaafai, and Hanbali. Shias too are divided into Kesania, Zaidia,
Imamia or Ithna Ashari, Ismalia, etc. Sunnis are also divided into Ahle-hadith
and Ahle-fiqha. In the Indian subcontinent (at least) Ahle-fiqha are further
divided into Deobandis and Barelwis. Similar differences exist in other places
as well. Are all these divisions and differences schools of thought as many
Muslims claim? Whether or not we admit it, these differences and divisions do
create physical, emotional, and psychological barriers amongst us. Iqbal says
that these differences create prejudice in human beings:
hay firqa arayee, taassub hay samar iska
ye wo phal
hay jo jannat se nikalwata hay adam ko"
divisions are the branches of a tree; its fruit is prejudice. This is the fruit
which gets Adam (man) expelled from Jannah (peaceful life)."
in North America we do try to work together (despite our religious differences)
in a civilized manner, but our brothers and sisters back home are not that fortunate.
There, these differences sometimes lead to violence and killings. Why is that
despite clear warnings of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) against
it? Is it due to the prejudices that are the inevitable results of our divisions,
as Iqbal mentions in the above poem?
these divisions and differences, can we progress in the world? Iqbal does not
bandi hay kaheen aur kaheen zatein hain
mein panapne ki yahee batein hain"
are religious divisions and somewhere are differences based on caste. Is this
the way to prosper in the world?"
syed bhi ho Mirza bhi ho Afghan bhi ho
kuchh ho batao ki musalman bhi ho"
are Syed; you are Mirza; you are Afghan. You are everything. Tell me, are you
uses the word "Syed" to represent the caste system that has penetrated
Muslims (especially in the Indian subcontinent because of Hindu influence).
He uses the word "Mirza" to represent the ruling elite and the word
"Afghan" to represent the differences in Muslims based on region,
language, and race.
differences are anti-Quranic. When Iqbal poses the question, "Tell
me, are you Muslim too?" he implies that those who feel proud and superior
compared to other fellow Muslims because of these labels attached to their names
(and not because of Taqwa), they are not entitled to be called true Muslims.
says that those who create differences in the Deen (Islam) are among the Mushrikun:
not among the Mushrikun i.e., those who create differences in Deen (Isalm) and
become sects. Each (sectarian) party quite content with itself (that it is following
the correct path)." (30:32)
those who create division in Deen (Islam) and become divided into sects, O Prophet
(PBUH)! You have no part in them in the least." (6:159)
(PBUH) is reported to have said:
who gets even one feet away from the Ummah has taken out the Islamic yoke from
his neck, even if he prays and fasts."
why Quran calls upon all Muslims to be united and hold on steadfastly
to the rope of Allah (i.e. Quran) and gives a stern warning to them not
to create any divisions (3:103) amongst themselves.
If we look
at the global picture as a whole, we find that the number of Muslims has grown
steadily to more than a billion today. Muslims possess the richest resources
of the world and the most fertile lands of the earth. In spite of this, how
ironic that the most vulnerable and the most dependent people on earth are also
the religious level, we find that the number of mosques is growing everywhere.
The number of Muslims going to mosques is also increasing. The number of Muslims
performing the annual pilgrimage increases every year, and in fact, has to be
controlled to restrict the number. The number of Muslim organizations has been
growing steadily. Whenever some differences arise among Muslims in one organization,
they create another one and build another mosque. Noticing such an abundance
of religious fervor among Muslims, Iqbal was led to say:
to banadi shab bhar mein imaan ke hararat walon ne
purana papi hay barson mein namazi ban na saka"
with fervor in their faith built the mosque in a night, but the heart is sinful
and did not prostrate in years."
us come to the real question. In spite of all the speeches and the sermons exhorting
Muslims to unite, we see that the result is disappointing, to say the least.
Why is that? The only way to diagnose this problem is to find the root cause
according to Iqbal.
have to go deeper into our hearts to find out the root cause of our problems.
If we look only at the outside, then just like a tree, we will see its trunk,
the branches, and the leaves. And if the roots have become infected with a disease,
no matter how strong the rest of the tree is, sooner or later it is going to
die. Actually, its demise may be hastened even by a moderate wind. No amount
of nourishment given to the branches and leaves will help prevent its final
the source to which we must turn to find out the root cause of the problem must
provide the necessary guidance to diagnose it. According to Iqbal, the necessary
guidance to diagnose all our (not just Muslims but entire humanitys)
ills is contained in the Quran:
derina bimari wahi namuhkami dil ki
iska wahi aabe nishat angez hay saaqi"
is the same old disease, the same psychological problem of the heart. The cure
is also the same, Aab-e-Nishat i.e., the Quran."
mankind! There has come to you a guidance from your Lord and a cure for the
disease in your hearts." (10:57)
to Quran and Iqbal, the disease of all our problems lies in our hearts
and therefore, the cure should also begin there. Iqbal says:
se kah bhi diya la ilaha illah to kya hasil
Musalman naheen to kuchh bhi naheen"
can you accomplish by saying la ilaha with your tongue? If your heart is not
a Muslim, then it is nothing."
the Iman should enter the depths of the heart. Simply saying that I believe
is not enough, according to the Quran (49:14).
human beings are those who say We believe in Allah and the Last day;
but they are not among the Momins." (2:8)
in Muslim families cannot claim to be Momins (just like the bedouoins of Arabia)
unless Iman has entered their hearts.
bedouins say, We believe, (O Rasool) Say to them that you dont
believe, but you have accepted to surrender (to Islam) and Iman has not yet
entered the depths of your hearts." (49:14)
is not blind faith. The Quran clearly says that Iman becomes strong only
that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may know that (Quran)
is the Truth from your Lord, so that they may believe in it and their hearts
may be made humbly (open) to it." (22:54)
the heart must be kept humble and open, so that Iman acquired by the mind (knowledge)
may enter the heart. Iman cannot enter those whose hearts have disease and those
who have sealed and hardened their hearts (22:53).
says the Momins have dignity and power over others:
you are Momins, then you will have dominance and power." (3:139)
will never be able to subdue and dominate Momins:
never will We grant to the unbelievers victory and domination over Momins."
if we as Muslims compare ourselves with these very clear verses of Quran,
then we have to come to only one conclusion that we are not among the Momins
which the Quran talks about. Majority of our hearts are not open and humble.
In fact, Quran tells us that instead of making the heart open and humble,
there are some who let their emotions and ego control them. It says:
you seen the one who has taken his own emotions as his god." (25:43)
regarding this type of person:
se gar kiya tauheed ka dawa to kya hasil
bute pindaar ko apna khuda tu ne"
is the benefit if you claim with your tongue in oneness of God? You have made
your emotion an idol and taken it as your god."
of us (besides practicing the five pillars) are willing to go deep down in our
hearts and honestly admit that we follow our emotions more often than we follow
Allah (i.e. Book of Allah)? Allah demands total and complete surrender of our
you who believe! Enter in Islam completely." (2:208)
the problems which we Muslims are facing today are the outward symptoms of the
root cause, i.e., the internal friction in our hearts between obedience to Allah
and obedience to our own emotions and egos. And it is this internal conflict
that is referred to as the disease of the heart by the Quran. Iqbal too
espouses this same theme of the Quran when he says:
du-ee pasand hay haq la sharik hay
haq-o-batil na kar qubool"
(as opposed to Haq; the Truth) likes to compromise but Haq is uncompromising.
Do not accept the middle ground between Haq and Batil."
as long as we Muslims keep compromising the TRUTH contained in the Quran, there
is no hope for a cure of our collective mental, psychological, and emotional
ills. We do not know how many psychological, emotional, and mental forms of
idols we carry all the time in our hearts and minds. Quran demands us
to cleanse and purify our hearts from all kinds of Ilah. These subtle forms
of shirk are addictive and like a slow poison have a deadening effect on our
hearts and minds. Iqbal in his unique God given style says:
murda dil naheen hay ise zida kar dobara
hay ummaton ke marge kuhan ka chara"
deadened heart is not a heart. Make it alive again. This is the only way to
cure the age old diseases of nations."
How to revive
and resuscitate the dead heart; Iqbal says it is only possible through Quran:
tu mi khahi Musalman zeestan neest mumkin juz ba Quran zeestan"
you wish to live the life a Muslim, then it is not possible except by the Quran."
(R) said: "The Prophet (PBUH) was a walking Quran." Thus the
Sunnah is to live by the Quran and not just read it for earning reward for the
about our Sahaba (R):
muazziz they zamane mein Musalman hokar
aur tum khwar
huey tarike Quran hokar"
had dignity and power in the world because of Islam. And you are suffering humiliation
and defeat because you have left the Quran."
that our Prophet (PBUH) will complain to Allah:
the Prophet (PBUH) will say: "O my Lord! Truly my people took the Quran
for just foolish nonsense (i.e., they left the message of the Quran)."
also emphasizes that there are plenty of roadblocks in the path of the Quran.
No less is the roadblock presented by some religious scholars in the name of
Islam. Iqbal says:
badalte naheen Quran ko badal dete hain
darja faqeehane haram be taufiq"
people dont change themselves but they change the Quran (by their
interpretations). How unfortunate are these custodians of haram (Islam)."
tere haq hain magar apne mufassir
Quran ko bana sakte hain Pazhand"
Allah! Your guidance is no doubt The Truth. But our interpreters can turn Quran
into Pazhand by their interpretations."
is the book compiled by the followers of Zoroaster which according to them is
the interpretation of Avesta, the book of Zoroaster in which his followers inserted
their own thoughts.]
Muslims should always keep in front of them the following verse, which describes
the law for change:
is a fact that Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they bring
about change in their own selves." (13:11)
exactly the same message of the Quran in his own God given style when he says:
ne aaj tak us qaum ki haalat naheen badlee
jisko khyal aap apni haalat ke badalne ka"
Let us conclude
with the folowing message of Iqbal:
ek hai is qaum ki nuqsaan bhi ek
ek hi sab
ka nabi deen bhi iman bhi ek
bhi Allah bhi Quran bhi ek
bari baat thi hote jo Musalman bhi ek"
is one common gain and one common loss for all Muslims. (Remember the Prophets
hadith that all Muslims are like a body.) One Prophet (PBUH) for all and one
Iman for all. One Kaaba, one Allah and one Quran for all. How great
it would be if Muslims also were one!"
Let us pray to Allah to
unite our hearts in the path of Islam. It is Allahs promise that if we
do that, then we will regain our dignity, power, and glory (24:55). And Allah
does not break His promise (2:80).