Friday, September 20, 2019 | 5:04 AM

Towards the path of unity

Friday, February 3, 2017

One of the biggest challenges faced by the Muslims in the contemporary world is how to forge unity amongst them. One of the manifestations of disunity is the division on the basis of fiqh (jurisprudence) and schools of thought. This has resulted not only into the segregation of the worshipping places and the educational institutions but also into the blood shedding of one another. There is no denying the fact that the phenomenon is not new but a continuation of an unfortunate series of historical events.

Islam is a religion of knowledge and can live with the changing situations only when Islamic scholars continue to conduct research work to keep its relevance in tact. Obviously, this sort of work cannot always culminate into uniform results on each and every subject. The interpretations and the understanding of the issues will go on showing contrasts. It should never become a matter of concern for those who believe in scientific approaches and rationale.

The situation, undoubtedly, becomes disturbing when the Muslims divide themselves on the basis of the varying shades of opinion and start hurling decrees of infidelity against one another. The Muslim jurists who are the fathers of different schools of thought never intended to conduct research for forming conflicting sects among the Muslims. They were sincere in their works and wanted to provide common people the real knowledge of different issues. The research process, if continued, will automatically rectify mistakes, improve understanding and explore points of convergence.

Unity of Ummah is inherent in Islam and the relevant verses of Quran stand testimony to it. The people who believe in oneness of Allah and Muhammad (SAW) as his last messenger form one entity. Muslims are bound with one another by the Kalimah of Towheed and not by race, nations, geography and language. They share common characteristics of outlook regarding the universe, its creator and the life hereafter.

The hatred amongst different sects has evolved due to ignorance, the amalgamation of subsidiary issues with the basics and also in result of the attitude of insincere and selfish so-called ulema. The fact needs no debate that there has been no dearth of such people who have been making their fortunes by dividing Muslim Ummah.

The difference of opinion on various subjects needs to be recognized and cannot be skipped. However, the proper way of sorting out differences is to institutionalize the interaction between the sincere scholars of Islam. Still a single opinion on the interpretation of each and every issue may always remain a dream. There is no reason that such differences should tear one Muslim apart from the other.

The unity amongst Muslims is not a matter of tactics but of faith. As such the basic commitment of the Muslims should necessarily lead them to harmony and not to discord. They should learn to build on convergences and interact on divergences.

Unfortunately, the religious organizations among the Muslims are almost sectarian. The Muslims across the globe should be led by the people who position themselves above the sectarian levels and do not subscribe to parochial mentality. Let the fiqh of every Muslim be his personal matter and let all Muslims unite for the objectives of Islam.

Just with slight modification of the words of J.W. Goeth, each of our schools of thought has become like a man who has been talking to himself for a hundred years and is delighted with his own mind, however stupid it may be