Unity and convergence of views are to the benefit of human societies, in contrast to discord and differences that result in failure. In view of this fact, in ayah 103 of Surah Ale-Imran, the holy Qur’an stresses unity and holding fast to God’s rope. Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) was sent by God with the universal message of Islam to bring all humanity on a single platform.
The Prophet’s First Infallible Heir, Imam Ali (PuH) considers discord among the subterfuges of the Satan and says: The devil tries to sow discord among you. It is rather unfortunate that despite the emphasis of the Prophet, the holy Qur’an and the Infallible Imams on unity, the Muslim World present a sorry picture of division and discord. This has weakened the Ummah and made it succumb to the plots of the enemies of Islam.
Thus, it is essential to recognize the obstacles to Islamic unity and solidarity, and what better occasion than the birthday celebrations of the Seal of Messengers who was born in the month of Rabi al-Awwal, and the 5-day gap between the two dates of this month held as that auspicious occasion by Sunni and Shi’a Muslims were bridged to form the Islamic Unity Week, by that Sage of the Age, the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (God bless him).
The Islamic world has for long suffered from the domination of colonialists and the present day policies of the US and other western regimes. These powers left no stone unturned to try to undermine the unity of Muslims as part of their policy of divide and rule. They planted regimes in Muslim countries that are Muslim in name only but serve the interests of their masters in the West. These regimes thrive on differences amongst the Muslims, and they spare no efforts to further divide and splinter the Ummah.
A prominent example of such a regime is the Wahhabi clique of the British-created country called Saudi Arabia. The Salafis or Wahabbis are a heretical cult. They have no logic and resort to violence and other forms of extremism including massacres to impose their deviated thoughts on others. At the same time they spend lavishly to promote terrorism as is evident in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and other places. They pretend to be Sunni in order to deceive the Sunni Muslims and pit them against the Shi’a Muslim. The Saudi regime is in cohorts with the illegal Zionist entity and with US imperialism.
Today, Wahhabi groups have mushroomed across the Muslims world, with the financial support of the Saudis. Outfits like Daesh, an-Nusra, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Lashkar-e Jhangvi, Sipah-e Sahaba and Taliban, are among the Takfiri groups who not only intensify differences among Muslims but mercilessly kill Muslims.
These outfits have distorted the image of Islam and Muslims and the reason for the Islamophobia in the West. There is documented evidence that the leaders of Takfiri groups are closely allied with not just the Ale-Saud but with several western regimes, such as the US. These ignorant groups are far removed from the teachings of Islam and the Sunnah or behaviour and practice of the Prophet of Islam. Unawareness of each other’s thoughts and ideas usually leads to improper posturing and harms the unity of the Islamic Ummah.
The Late Iranian thinker, Martyr Ayatollah Morteza Motaharri believed that the misunderstanding among Muslims is more dangerous than the religious differences among them. It happens that the followers of a school think that another school has insulted their ideas, so they take position against it. Here the role of conscious and committed Ulema is very important for presenting facts and preventing emergence of discord and divisions among Muslims.
One of the factors of unity of the Islamic world is dialogue among religious thinkers in order to promote unity and solidarity of the Muslim Ummah. In the present conditions it looks that constructive and sympathetic talks among prominent ulema have reduced, and instead every often we witness controversial debates. These debates are not usually aimed for clarifying the truth, but for creating deliberate doubts. So what we should do is to rise above differences and sincerely strive to improve the situation.
Sitting together and discussing the issues of differences gradually lead to removal of misunderstandings. Insight and vigilance against the enemy and awareness of its plots is the need of the hour. In the present conditions, this insight is not seen among some Muslims. Islamic awakening is necessary for unity among the Islamic Ummah. The Islamic world is made up of people of various nationalities, races, languages and colour of skin. This does not hinder the Islamic unity, but could be called unity in diversity, in view of the harmonious framework of Islam. But excessive emphasis on each of these characteristics and putting them in priority to Islamic ideas would be detrimental to Islamic unity.
If all nations, people and races, prior to anything, consider themselves the servants of the One and Only God and followers of the Prophet of Islam, then differences will give way to unity and peace. This is one of the important lessons to be learnt from the annual Islamic Unity Week.