Home Oluwatoyin Yusuf JUMAT SERMON: Whither Unity Among Contemporary Muslims

JUMAT SERMON: Whither Unity Among Contemporary Muslims

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By Imaam Oluwatoyin Yusuf

Islam is a beautiful religion and its beauty lies in the unity of Muslims, which gives them strength. As long as we pray regularly together, fast during the month of Ramadan and distance ourselves from Allah’s prohibitions, we are brothers. We don’t have to probe into each other’s covert doings..

Ahuudhu Billahi mina Shaytooni Rrojeem, Bismillaahi Rrahmaani Rraheem

In the name of Allah, We thank Him, we appreciate Him, we seek from Him strength of faith. Whoever Allah guides is in the path to true guidance. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the soul of Prophet Muhammad.

Almighty Allah says in the Quraan: Hold unto the path of Allah, and do not segregate

The Prophet also underscores the beauty of this Islamic unity when he says: “A Muslim in a good relationship with a fellow Muslim is the similitude of layers of bricks, one strengthening the other.

Having nomenclature for the purpose of identification is not new in Islam. It started with Muhaajiruun, those who migrated with the Prophet from Makkah to Madeenah, and Al Ansaar, those who received the migrants in Madeenah and accepted Islam. The unity between the Muhaajruun and the Ansaariy pointed and still points to the fact that unity epitomizes strength. They accommodated each other, they married from among each other, they prayed and worked together despite the fact that they were from very different backgrounds. Makkah from which Muhaajiruun came was populated by pagans while Madeenah where AnsaarIy lived was inhabited majorly by Jews and Christians. Yet, the unity of worship and purpose in Islam brought them together.

When we were growing up, we knew societies such as Ansarudeen, Nawairudeen,  Anwaarul Islaam, Ahmadiyyah and much later, Mubaarakah. Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria activities were restricted to institutions of higher education, where members did a lot to change the plight and status of Muslims from that of second-class undergraduates to the same level with their non Muslim counterparts.

Children from Ansarudeen or Nawairudeen homes would attend Arabic schools founded and funded by Islahudeen for instance, and there were no grudges. Mosques were for Muslims not for members of a particular society. For several years, I observed Jum’at services at Ansaarudeen Mosque while I belong to Mubaarakah. Nobody scolded me for that, not even in the least, my Mallams.

Today, however, we have Muslims only when we complete forms or we are in the midst of non-Muslims. When Muslims come together these days, they do not see one another as brothers. They are not Muslims or they do not refer to each other as Muslims. Today, our brothers no longer hold fast unto the faith or five pillars of Islam, rather we hold unto sects: Tableeghi, Salafy, Soofiy, Ahlu Sunnah, MSSN, etc. Surprisingly, the societies of old, the Ansarudeen, Nawairudeen etc still maintain sanctity of Islam and sanity thereto attached.

Members of different sects are hoisting high the banners of their founders and leaders and folding those of Islam. We now separate mosques, we choose which Imam to follow. We see the path to Aljanat from the perspective of the leaders of our sect or the book they have written and not by the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet.

Once, an Arab went to the Prophet Muhammad and asked him: “Oh! Messenger of Allah, if I complete my daily prayers and I fast in Ramadan and steer clear of what has been prohibited and stick to that which has been sanctioned, will I make it to Aljanah?” The Prophet said, “Yes”.

This hadeeth no longer seems to have any relevance. Muslims now refer to one another as Kuffaar (non-believers) because they belong to different sects. To these brothers and sisters, the length of our beards and trousers, the colour, length and thickness of our women’s veils, the cap we don, the length of our rosary, the hours we spend at ‘ Saawi’, the length and firmness of our turban now determine who will make it to Aljanah.

An Egyptian academic observes, “We hold unto beards and veils. We have forgotten the Prophet’s large-heartedness, sense of forgiveness, and strength of character.”

The Prophet is reported to have said that whoever refers to a fellow as a Kaafir without any proof of Kufr, such a statement returns to him. Even when Allah is clear about some issues, we still have “scholars who dig and research further” to give their own opinions to their adherents. This is in sharp contrast to what the Prophet has said:

“Verily, Allah has decreed certain things as obligatory, do not hesitate to do them, and has set limits to certain things, do not exceed the limits, and has prohibited certain things, steer clear of them, and has kept quiet about certain things not that Allah has forgotten, but has made such merciful for you, so, don’t research into them.”

When we have left is what Allah has made clear about Islam and we decide to follow leaders of sects or sundry scholars, we welcome disunity and infighting gains momentum. The Almighty has warned elsewhere in the Quraan: “This is My Path (Islam), hold unto it, do not hold unto sects lest you disintegrate…”

Muslims are fast falling apart. Those who know, those who are seen as scholarly are harsh in their approaches to Da’wah and correcting people. Instead of using soft appeal, they rain curses and abuses on fellow Muslims because of ideological differences; ideologies outside the five pillars of Islam and the Articles of Faith.

How do you call a man who prays regularly and fasts Ramadhan, a Kaafir, simply because he barely puts a cap? How do you refer to a fellow Muslim as an extremist simply because he keeps beards? How do you refer to a fellow Muslim a mushrik because he bends to respect elders? And how do you call a Muslim a fundamentalist because he keeps his trousers above the ankles? Are we turning ourselves to Secretary of Allah when He doesn’t deserve any?

What does it take from us or cost us to hold unto what Allah has made clear about Islam to unite, clear and steer clear of divisive tendencies and elements? Islam is a beautiful religion and its beauty lies in the unity of Muslims, which gives them strength. As long as we pray regularly together, fast during the month of Ramadan and distance ourselves from Allah’s prohibitions, we are brothers. We don’t have to probe into each other’s covert doings. Doing so will result in saying what we do not know about the person, and consequently fall into backbiting, which Allah has likened to cannibalism:

” …stay clear of shrouded issues for part of it is a sin, do not backbite and do not probe into each other’s doing as to give false information, Or who among you would consume the flesh of their dead brother?…”

May Allah accept our ibaadah. May He make us firm in His path.

Wa sola Allaah ala sayyidna Muhammad, wa ala Ahalihi,wa as’haabihi aj’maiin.Subhaana robbie,robbil izzati amma yaifuun.

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