Islamic Renaissance

A Voice for the Muslim Freedom Struggle

Muslims Can’t Unite – Get Over It!

muslim unity

Yes, we’ve all heard it many times before, as a community, our biggest weakness is that we can’t unite on anything to save our lives! And no, that’s not an expression; we literally cannot unite to save our lives.

We can’t decide how to fold our hands in prayer, we can’t decide whether or not our Prophet is dead or alive in his grave, and we certainly can’t decide on which day we’re celebrating Eid!

But have we really attempted to solve this issue from an objective standpoint? We are quick to point our fingers at each other, we blame “Muslims” for not uniting, but if you ask any Muslim what the Ummah needs most, they will all say: “unity”.

Can you think of a single Muslim that doesn’t want unity? You probably can’t, and if that is so, this begs a question: If we all want unity, then why are we so divided?

Maybe the answer lies closer to home. What if the greatest obstacle to our unity is you? Yes you, but not just you – each and every one of us. In our obsession of wanting unity, we have never stopped to think that our own behaviour prevents unity.

We are the only community that has become so obsessed with their own theological beliefs, that we condemn any one who differs with us to hell. And if that’s a bit of an exaggeration, (even though I don’t think it is), we can safely agree that we want to rip each other’s heads off.

But here’s the thing, if that’s your definition of unity, it’s not about to happen, so get over it! We will never ever unite upon one sect, follow one interpretation, and agree on every little theological debate. It’s a dream you shouldn’t even have in cuckoo land. We need to get over ourselves, the world doesn’t revolve around us, everyone will not agree with us.

If we really want unity, we need to learn some important lessons from the past. In the history of Islam, we have never united on one theological belief, apart from the time of our Prophet (pbuh). And that’s because whenever the Ummah was confused about an issue, the Prophet received divine revelations from Allah. So unless you have a direct line to God, I think it’s time we recognize that those days are behind us.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, you see after the Prophet (pbuh) passed away, the first four caliphs had disagreements, they didn’t always agree on policies, forget agreeing on small issues, they had disagreements on major issues that impacted the future of Islam, but they learnt to accept their differences, they learnt to consult each other and then accept what was mutually decided. They learnt to stick together.

Even after our caliphs, the four imams and the schools of thought that followed them differed. We have always had disagreements, our history is proof of this, and if we had disagreements at the time of our Caliphs and Imams, why are we surprised that our disagreements have only increased? Surely this was to be expected?

As time passes, we will only become more diverse as a community, so if we truly hope to achieve unity, it’s time we understand what unity requires. You see, unity comes from accepting our differences, not condemning them. You can’t blame anyone for not following the same version of Islam as you, none of us can.

But what we can unite on is the fact that we all want what’s best for our Ummah, we all want to see our Ummah free from oppression, we all want to see Islam represented as the great faith it actually is and we all want to co-exist peacefully.

Imam Khomeini once said, “Muslims are busy bickering over whether to fold or unfold our arms during prayer, while the enemy is devising ways of cutting them off.” This quote really summarises our state as an Ummah, and unfortunately, despite everything I have said in this article, I know that some of you are having a hard time dealing with the fact that I have just quoted a Shia Imam.

But let me explain something to you, I don’t agree with everything that Imam Khomeini believes, and I don’t think I will find anyone I can completely agree with, but what I can appreciate is the things I do agree with, and I won’t shy away from quoting someone when they speak the truth just because I can’t agree with them on everything. And the sooner the Muslim Ummah develops this form of tolerance, the better it will be for all of us. Because if you can’t live amongst Shias/Sunnis/Brelvis/Salafis – just remember you will be killed with them.

It’s time we get over our differences. It’s time we leave the job of condemning people to hell to the greatest of all Judges and start doing the job we were entrusted with. It’s time we unite in a global struggle for our freedom.