The image of one brotherhood

 Verily the believers are one brotherhood. (48,10). If they seek help from you in a matter of the religion, then it is your duty to help them. (8,72). Hold fast all of you together to the rope of Allah, and do not be divided. (3,103). This nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord, so worship me and no other.” (21,91). And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, if you, Muslims do not become allies, there will be wars, battles and oppression on the earth, and a great mischief and corruption”,  says the Holy Quran.

The strength of the Muslim Ummah depends on the unity of Muslims. For centuries, Muslims have been divided. Division is fostered by a number of differences of opinions and misinterpretations of our beautiful and perfect religion, Islam. Among the things that have caused much confusion is whether or not we should follow a particular school of jurisprudence. Another source of conflict remains undoubtedly, the interpretation and support of certain hadith. Until today certain main issues, source of division in Islam have not been solved yet, viz. Hazir Nazir, intercession, visibility of the moon to celebrate certain festivals, etc.

The pride we take in being the best of People chosen for the benefit of mankind (3:110) and for having been blessed with a religion that Allah has perfected and completed His favour upon us by giving it to us (5:3) is entirely justified. But, just like how power without responsibility is more harmful than beneficial, so too our religion that comes to us with a promise of Paradise but does not exclude us from being severely tested and held accountable for not living up to the responsibility reposed on us by the Creator, both in this World and the Hereafter.

There is a need for us to stop and reflect. It is easy for us to feel victimised and develop a siege mentality. We feel so frustrated at the unfairness of it all and as a result we tend to fight back with all our might in an effort to dispel the wrong notions people have about our great religion. There are many from among us who have taken to writing articles, organising seminars and creating platforms for interfaith dialogue and a lot more. One has to say this is good and I am sure it is also helping somewhat in offsetting the stereo typing of the Muslims. Awareness about Islam is growing by the day and statistics show there are more and more people embracing Islam. Amazingly this is happening at a time when Islam is at its weakest and is generally perceived as a backward and unorganised community.

We have to admit that as a Muslim community, we have seldom felt the need to question ourselves. We are rarely willing to look inward and certainly unwilling to give the benefit of doubt to others for their erroneous perceptions about Islam and Muslims. The best of our efforts today are directed towards explaining how we are not any of those things that they perceive us to be, rather the need is to show why we are none of those things people associate with us.

When we say, we are the best of people; we argue that it is so because Allah has said so, whereas the need is to demonstrate our superiority by emitting an Islamic character that is based on Islamic values, namely, honesty, integrity, truthfulness, uprightness and trustworthiness.

When we say, Islam is a religion perfected by Allah, hence the best religion; we again make the point that Allah has said so, whereas the need is to show the world the enormous benefit there is in Islam.

In this age of Information Communication Technology, there are more and more people who have become aware of Islam as a religion. Unfortunately, the reasons of Islam being a superior religion has become a cause for more and more people embracing Islam but at the same time leaving a larger number of otherwise unconcerned people with a hostile attitude towards it.

Bashir Nuckchady