The reality today is that the Muslim ummah is faced with the great trial and fitnah of disunity all over the world. The strife within the Muslim ummah itself is a severe calamity that has yet to end since the fall of the ‘Uthmaaniyyah Caliphate in Turkey on the 3rd of March 1924. Since that day, the Muslims became weaker and strayed away from authentic Islamic teachings even though they are large in numbers. The calamity experienced today was mentioned by the Prophet in the hadith of Thawbaan, where he said:
“The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish.” Someone asked: “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied: “No, you will be numerous at that time, but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent, and Allah will take fear of you from the breasts of your enemy and place al-wahn into your hearts.” Someone asked: “What is al-wahn (enervation), O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “Love of the world and dislike of death.” [Narrated by Abu Dawood].
Rasulullah took serious attention regarding the unity of the Muslim ummah by taking several significant measures. Among them:
1. The Prophet repeatedly emphasized on the strengthening of the iman of the Muslims as the foundation for unity. This emphasis can be seen in various verses of al-Qur’an that commands the Muslim ummah to live in unity and prioritizing upon brotherhood, as Allah mentions in verse 10 of Surah al-Hujuraat:
“The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Hujuraat, verse 10].
The Prophet and his Companions had strengthened their bond of Islamic brotherhood (ukhuwwah) established upon firm ‘aqeedah and imaan by nurturing noble akhlaq and affection. For example, Bilal bin Rabah is of Ethiopian descent, Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq is from the Arabian tribe of Quraysh, and Salmaan al-Farisi is of Persian descent, where all were united upon the basis of Islamic creed that is firm within their souls.
2. The Prophet and his Companions would always hasten to repel elements that could lead to division within the ummah by reconciling the parties that are in conflict. This is because disputes that are not prevented immediately will incur the calamity of disunity and enmity within the Muslim ummah. Allah reminds us in verse 46 of Surah al-Anfaal:
“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Anfaal, verse 46].
In addition, the Prophet would always forgive all of the wrongdoings committed amongst humans, and he would never hold grudges. For example, during the Conquest of Makkah, the Prophet forgave all of the wrongdoings of the Makkans who had oppressed and harmed him and his Companions. Such a noble attitude displayed by the Prophet had actually subdued the arrogance of the Quraysh pagans that it melted their hearts into accepting and embracing Islam en masse.
3. The Prophet had strengthened the unity of the Muslim ummah by placing the unity of the Muslim ummah along with other nations existing in Madinah as the most significant pillar in the Charter of Madinah. Several clauses within the Charter of Madinah stated: That the citizens of Madinah, whether Muslims or non-Muslims are one nation (ummah), accepting Prophet Muhammad as the leader of Madinah and Allah’s Way (al-Qur’an) as the source of reference.
In realizing the unity of the Muslim ummah today based upon the guidance of Rasulullah that was mentioned earlier, then all forms of hatred must be extinguished immediately so that it will not further spread. Every Muslim individual must become determined in achieving unity of the ummah by striving to return to authentic Islamic teachings. This noble aspiration and desire can be attained when we frequent the mosques often. Aside from that, we must remain istiqamah (steadfast) in guarding our prayers in congregation, loving the circles of knowledge, and fond of our Muslim scholars.
Similarly, the Muslim ummah must revive the spirit of either (giving preference to others over oneself), which is mutual aid amongst Muslims such as supporting the economy of the Muslims and creating social and welfare network together.