Saturday, 10 September 2016 10:14
The blessed months of hajj have once again dawned upon us as millions of people from around the globe mobilize and travel to Makkah Mukarramah and Madeenah Munawwarah to fulfill their ‘journey of a lifetime.’ These Hujjaaj who hail from an array of countries, from diverse backgrounds, identify with different ethnicities and speak different languages – all traverse to the Holy lands with a singular purpose to fulfill the obligation of Allah Ta‘ala upon them.
Whether rich or poor, black or white, educated or uneducated, Arabic speaking or otherwise, all these differences will not matter and will not even be noticed once the Haajis don their ihraam and now stand on the plains of Mina, ‘Arafah and Muzdalifah. At this point, every single individual is dressed identically, in two simple pieces of white cloth, and is fulfilling the exact same rites of hajj. Here there is no ‘First Class’, ‘Business Class’ and ‘Economy Class’. Instead, everybody stands side by side and cries to Allah Ta‘ala to forgive him and fulfil his needs. Among the greatest lessons depicted at this point of the Haaji’s journey is undoubtedly the lesson of unity, the lesson that under the veneer, polish and exterior, we are all Muslim brothers and together form one Ummah.
This lesson of unity, however, should not be such that it merely makes an annual appearance. Rather, the importance of unity needs to be realized by all around the globe and become an objective and goal which we all strive to achieve. Creating unity between Muslims is not just an effort which will result in an improved, more prosperous society. Rather, it is an injunction of deen which will earn one very great reward. In this regard, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) once asked the Sahaabhah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), “Should I tell you of an action that will earn you a rank greater than that of fasting, salaah and sadaqah?” When the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) replied in the affirmative, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Reconciling between people.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4919)
In another hadeeth, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) told the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) that the key to cultivating harmony and love for one another is making salaam (Saheeh Muslim #194). Hence one of the causes of our unity being lost, as an Ummah at large and even as communities on a smaller scale, is due to our greeting only those people whom we know and whom we are familiar with. Sadly, this behaviour indirectly sends out the message that ‘only these people are my brothers, nobody else.’
Bonding by Text!?
From unity on a community level, let us enter the home and examine the scene prevalent in the domestic environment. In today’s corporate, fast paced, secular world, it is not unlikely that the family rarely get a chance to sit together – as a family – and bond with one another. Each enters the home at his own time, adheres to his own hectic schedule, and remains glued to his cell phone. Sometimes, the dependence on the cell phone for companionship reaches such shocking proportions that often family members feel more comfortable ‘texting’ each other than even speaking to each other! In a home which is completely bereft of even basic bonding and communication, is it any wonder that many children have no love for their parents, and parents have no inkling as to what their children are going through and what challenges they face? When even meals are eaten separately, will there be any chance of this family sitting together and creating a deeni atmosphere by reciting the Quraan Majeed, making zikr and du‘aa and carrying out ta’leem? Sometimes this lack of unity and bonding when children are much younger results in almost total isolation and estrangement when they have grown up and living their own lives.
Give More — Take Less
Enter the marriage arena and the complaint is the same – the lack of unity and harmony between spouses, resulting in years of discord and unhappiness and ultimately divorce or abuse. Among the vital ingredients in the recipe for unity are humility, selflessness and sacrifice. Essentially, the relationship of a married couple will have to entail some give and take on either side. Each spouse, however, should focus more on the ‘give’ and less on the ‘take’. In this way, their spirit of generosity and sacrifice will sow the seeds of happiness and joy. After all, marriage is a relationship of love. In the journey of love, one does not charge his beloved for the petrol he burns, but rather takes pride over the mileage he covers for the sake of his beloved.
Wealth is undoubtedly a test and if the test of wealth is failed, it can drive an unbridgeable divide between people. The test of wealth is failed when a person values the wealth of the world more than he values his deen. One of the solutions to creating unity between parties who have a common interest in some wealth is to ensure that, among other aspects, there is always complete transparency and a clear record of all affairs. If this is not done, the number of unsolved estates will simply increase and heirs who were once closer than brothers will be at each other’s throats, fighting for money.
Whether with our relatives, neighbours or even people in general, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has taught us that exchanging gifts is a practice which encourages love for one another. As with other practices in deen, the practice of exchanging gifts also has certain conditions and one of these conditions is that of sincerity. In order for the gift to be given with sincerity and happiness, it is essential that the person giving the gift does not do so on account of feeling pressurized, and also that he gives a gift that is within his means. A small gift, given solely to enhance muhabbat only for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala, will insha-Allah become a means of bonding hearts, whereas an expensive gift given for show or just to “save face” — so that one may not be regarded as miserly or uncaring — will not bring any positive outcome to the relationship.
The sad reality is that the Muslim Ummah, despite numbering more than a billion and wielding formidable financial power, stand disunited and is thus powerless to progress. If we strive to bring about this unity, in every sphere of our lives, Allah Ta‘ala will shower his mercy upon us and grant us divine assistance. The issue is that how do we bring about the unity of the entire Ummah? That appears to be something which is way beyond our reach and capacity. It may be so. However, making efforts to create unity on the level that we can — between spouses as well as between parents and children, among family members, between colleagues and business partners, among members of the community, etc. This will be a major contribution towards the unity of the Ummah.
Limits of Unity
One last point to bear in mind is that the effort to create unity also has its boundaries. Unity can only be on a common basis — the basis of the Quraan and sunnah. Thus if someone insists on doing something against the Quraan and sunnah, such as rejecting the Quraan or hadeeth for instance, or denigrating the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), or hosting a function that tramples upon the laws of deen (e.g. intermingling of males and females, music, dancing, photography, etc.), then in such a case one should remain united with the Quraan and sunnah and refrain from joining with those who are opposing it. Our greatest priority is to remain united with our Creator, Allah Ta‘ala, by remaining united with His deen.
May Allah Ta‘ala unite the hearts of the Ummah for His pleasure and bless all with serenity and peace. Aameen.