By Sheikh Ahmad Ash-Sharbasi
THE Prophet (peace be upon him) united the Muslim Ummah by various ways, which represent the means for the unity of Muslims in all ages. Such means include that the Muslims should be faithful to their message and to their religion. They should establish the doctrine firmly in their hearts, seek knowledge and science, abhor injustice, and realize that their glory and supremacy lie in getting close to Allah, looking forward to Allah’s satisfaction and Paradise, giving least importance to worldly pleasures and basing all their mottos on their belief. In short, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gathered his Ummah and united its stances because he is the Seal of the Prophets and the leader of the Messengers sent by Allah. He is the leader of all who fight for the sake of Allah and he was sent as mercy to all humanity who enjoyed the support and care of Allah Almighty.
And to explain this, let me say briefly that the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) was able to realize this unity and solidarity thanks to many devices and means, such as by the strength of his character, his sincere devotion to his message, as well as his dislike of idol-worship that prevailed at that time; and, moreover, he enriched the hearts with a creed that was superior to the false and trivial pagan beliefs.
He illuminated the hearts with the light of belief in the Glorious Creator Who owns all that is in the Heavens and the Earth. He firmly entrenched this faith, practically and continuously, by the acts of worship his Lord revealed to him, such as prayers, fasting, Zakah, Haj, and other kinds of good deeds.
In addition to this, he purified the souls of his people of grudges and hatred; there was no room for aggression or injustice, no room for pride or insults, but rather brotherhood, love and equality because they were from one common ancestors, and there was no privilege of an Arab over a non-Arab except through piety.
Besides, he taught them that they have no real power or might; that when they are self-conceited they will lose, but when they are proud of their Creator they will succeed and prosper; and that glory belongs to Allah, His Messenger and to the believers. This is why the Qur’an states: “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e, this Qur’an), and be not divided among yourselves” (Al-Imran, 3:103)
Through such ways, also, the value of the worldly life and its pleasures was minimized in their eyes. As long as one does not attach much importance to this life, his humanity increases, and he is able to gather all human beings under the roof of love and faithfulness. He also made them look forward to a marvelous Heaven and to live for an eternal life to come after this transitory life. And since for such causes competitors must work together and diverse people must cooperate, how will be the case with those with a common identity?
Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) dyed the patriotic motive with a religious theme and stated that to love your homeland is part of one’s belief, and to defend the property is part of good religion. Such a strong heavenly bond joined all parties with a bond of solidarity and agreement. They could not have authority over their lands and defend their sovereignty to please their Lord unless each and every one of them was of help and support to his brother, for one Muslim to another Muslim is like a solid wall (of bricks) supporting each other.
Finally, the Prophet (peace be upon him) succeeded in uniting his Ummah and people because he turned them into a pious and faithful nation that works for this life as if it will live forever and works for the Hereafter as if death will end it tomorrow. Therefore, this religion will only prosper by what caused its prosperity at the very beginning. As for those who are lagging behind, if they want to come forward, they have the way right in front of them.
– The writer is professor of Aqeedah and Philosophy at Al-Azhar University, Cairo.