Month 8: Unity


Unity is the bond of harmony between people. It involves love, tolerance, kindness, and joining hands with others. Usually, people unite with those with whom they have something in common. In a beautiful statement, Imam Ali (a) removed all restrictions on unity by saying, “People are of two kinds; either your brothers in faith, or your equals in humanity.”

This unity becomes even more important amongst the believers. Imam Ali (a) addressed the Muslims in particular by saying, “Indeed, you are brothers in faith. Nothing would separate you except wickedness in your intentions and evil in your hearts.”

Islamic unity does not mean merging all the different sects into one, or adopting points of agreement and laying aside differences. This approach is neither reasonable nor practicable. What it means is the unification of Muslims in their common objectives, and standing against their common enemies.

Muslims have more beliefs in common than those that set them apart. All Muslims worship the same God and believe in the prophethood of the Prophet (s). Their Book is the Qur’an, and the direction of their prayers is the Ka’bah. The Heaven and Hell that they strive for is the same. Their prayers and fasting, their dealings, the manner in which they bring up their children and bury their dead are all alike. The differences that do exist in some matters can be managed by mutual love and tolerance without disturbing their unity.

It was for the sake of Islamic unity that Imam Ali (A) did not rise against those who deprived him of his right. He practically demonstrated verse Q59:10 which states:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا 

غِلًّا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ

[They] say, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brethren who were our forerunners in faith, and do not put any rancour in our hearts toward the faithful.

True believers not only wish to remove rancour from their own hearts, but they also wish to see divisiveness and conflicts disappear amongst the believers.

So let us bring about unity, to prepare for, and hasten, the reappearance of the Imam (af) by using the easy-to-remember acronym IMAM!

I – Internal unity

This is where one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects are all aligned; this means that what we believe (Aqaid), what we say (Shahadah), and what we do (Actions), are all in uniformity with each other, rather than being disjointed. This will allow our emotional and spiritual health to flourish, and permit us to truly ‘live’ Surah Fatihah [Q1:5] by only worshipping Him, and only turning to Him for help. The one common factor for all these different elements is servitude of Allah, with the care that He deserves. Q3:102 states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ…

O Believers! Have taqwa of Allah with the care which is due to Him…

It is through this connection to Allah that there will be internal unity. This will in turn bring about true contentment in every life situation.

M – Making my words and actions unified

By definition, a Muslim is someone who has fully submitted to the will of Allah, and through this submission enjoys internal peace and contentment. 

It is not enough to claim to be a Muslim; one has to fully submit to God at all times. An important test of this is to constantly check whether one’s thoughts, words, and actions are in harmony, and dedicated solely to God. Q 6:162 states:

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Say. Indeed, my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

A – Ahl (family) 

A constant connection to Allah not only maintains internal unity, it also leads to external unity within the Muslim nation, which is as one family.  All those who hold onto the rope of Allah, connect themselves to Him and are therefore united through Allah. Q 3:103 states:

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا…

And hold fast to the rope of Allah all together and do not be disunited…

M – Mankind 

The unity of the ummah is a duty and obligation on all of us. It is a duty shared by the entire  nation and only when every individual Muslim plays his role can unity be achieved. Q21:92 states:

إِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ

Indeed, this ummah of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord. So worship Me.

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