become cliché to say that Muslims have reduced
Islam to rituals and forgotten other important
tenets. While it is crucial to practice the five
pillars of Islam, for instance, we cannot ignore
other basic aspects of the faith that emphasize
brother and sisterhood. Muslim unity is a Fard
duty) according to the Quran and Traditions of
the Prophet Mohamed (peace and
blessings be upon him). "
10 Things You Can Do To Develop A Culture Of
by A. M. Mujahid
The sight is always amazing.
Pilgrims standing shoulder to shoulder-- all
shades and races-- dressed in simple white
covering, stripped of all worldly barriers--
wealth, profession, geography, class, education
This enduring image of Hajj has become a
hallmark of Ummah's unity in its diversity.
But as we head towards the journey of a lifetime
or watch loved ones leave the challenge remains:
how do we retain this culture of unity that
How do we keep the bonds of Islamic
brother/sisterhood intact to fulfill our goals
as one united Ummah, especially in North
America, because of a remarkable diversity
compared to other parts of the world?
Here are ten practical steps for you and your
community to help build unity:
1. Understand that Muslim unity is not an option
It's become cliché to say that Muslims have
reduced Islam to rituals and forgotten other
important tenets. While it is crucial to
practice the five pillars of Islam, for
instance, we cannot afford to overlook the other
essential part of faith which emphasize
brotherhood and sisterhood.
Muslim unity is a Fard (obligatory duty)
according to the Quran and Traditions of the
Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon
him and his family).
Consider the following references below:
>From the Quran (49:10): " The Believers are but
a single Brotherhood: So make peace and
reconciliation between your two (contending)
brothers; and fear God, that ye may receive
Also from the Quran (3:103): " And hold fast,
all together, by the rope which God (stretches
out for you), and be not divided among
yourselves; and remember with gratitude God's
favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined
your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye
became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the
pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth
God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be
From the Hadith:
" In their love, kindness and compassion for
each other, the believers are like a human body:
when one part of it is hurt, the rests
sympathizes with it in wakefulness and fever. "
2. Reflect on Hajj as a time for Muslim unity
Use this time on a personal basis, as well as
within your family and community to remind
Muslims of how the Hajj is a unifying factor for
Muslims. Hold a family meeting about this topic.
Organize a seminar at your mosque about how Hajj
is a beautiful symbol of Muslim unity. Make sure
your speakers are those who have performed Hajj
and can attest to this fact. Also brainstorm
practical ways the lessons of unity from Hajj
can be implemented in your community throughout
the year and come up with an action plan in your
While you're planning, make Dua for unity
throughout this period (the first 10 days of Zul
Hijjah, which is a blessed time). Say the
Masnoon Takbirat and add Talbiyah to it which is
Labbayk, Labbayk la sharika laka Labbayk, Innal
hamda wanni'mata laka walmulk La sharika lak".
The translation of the Talbiyah is: O my Lord,
Here I am at Your service, Here I am. There is
no partner with You. Here I am. Truly, the
praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is
the dominion and sovereignty.
There is no partner with you."
Say it with your children and family and think
about its meaning, remembering that you are at
Allah's service and we cannot serve unless we
3. Learn tolerance towards other points of view
Isn't it interesting that we can attend classes
at college or speak with the colleagues at work
and discuss issues calmy while they may disagree
with us ?
Then why in a mosque or a Committee Meeting or
in another Muslim community setting, all that
tolerance goes out of the window ? Have we ever
thought about it ?
Islam is very broad and wide, contrary to
popular belief, and you can find a range of
scholarly views on issues as diverse as how to
place our hands during prayer, or whether or not
Muslims should participate in the American
political process. If our scholars from the past
and present have shown such
tolerance towards differing views on various
issues, why can't we, the average Muslims, not
on their level of knowledge, show tolerate
another point of view ?
4. Learn to criticize without hurting
The way some Muslims criticize each other, you
would think they were talking to an Islam-basher
instead of a fellow brother or sister. This type
of ignorant behavior is a sure way to create
anger, hurt and dissension. This is no way to
help create unity.
We must learn the Adaab (etiquettes) of
criticism, whether it is towards an individual
Muslim, leader or organization. Knowing and
implementing it will not only help solve many
problems facing us, but it will also lead to a
greater sense of brotherhood and sisterhood in
If you feel that your criticism of someone in
the past was rude or hurtful,
please go back and apologize to them. Before you
do that, pray for that
brother or sister, since the Prophet (s) has
said that Dua increases love between
5. Avoid taking a strong position on smaller
There is what's called a "Fiqh of priorities"
and this essentially means that there are some
aspects of Islam that are more important than
others. For instance, it's more important to
emphasize that Muslims establish prayer than
whether or not there should be a curtain between
men and women in mosques.
Knowing what our priorities are will help us
avoid making secondary issues of the faith
factors of division in our communities. Muslim
leaders, especially, must not only understand
this, but implement it in their communities
across North America so that small differences
do not diminish Muslim unity.
6. Do not call anyone a Kafir
The horrible phenomenon of ' takfeer ' (calling
fellow believers Kafirs )must end if we want to
create a climate that is conducive to unity.
Kafir-calling is a sure way to isolate
individuals from the Muslim community. We must
remember that Muslims in North America come from
all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds,
whether they were born and raised in the faith
or reverted to
it. If a person is expressing ideas that are not
in line with what you as an Islamic value, you
must exercise tolerance. Kafir-calling will only
fuel ignorance, anger and stubborness. You
cannot humiliate or embarrass them.
The Prophet warned that if one person calls
another Kafir and the person called is not one,
the individual who made the accusation is a
Kafir, Given this warning, isn't it sad that
there is an organization in Egypt which calls
itself the Party of Declaring Others Kafirs (Jamat
Takfeer wa Hijra)? What a pity ?
7. Reaching out across ethnic boundaries
The ignorant practice of maintaining ethnic
mosques and centers is, Alhamdu lillah, slowly
but surely disappearing in North America. But
there is still a long way to go. All of our
institutions, functions and communities in
general must become more ethnically diverse and
open to the needs and concerns of
Muslims of all backgrounds. Muslim leaders and
individuals have a duty to ensure that no
Muslim, regardless of their ethno-cultural
background, feels shut out of the community,
ignored or neglected.
This can only be done by Muslim leaders and
individuals taking the first step and reaching
out to Muslims who may have been traditionally
isolated because of ethnicity in mosques and
other institutions. It is not enough to just
open the door to all. A direct effort has to be
made to solicit feedback, advice and support
from all Muslims so that they feel a part of the
Another, more personal way of reaching out is to
invite Muslims of diverse backgrounds to your
home to share maels with them. Extend this
invitation to non-Muslims as well, to break
barriers and share Islam.
8. Heed the advice found in Surah Hujurat
This 49th chapter of the Quran provides
excellent guidance on the kind of behavior that
Muslims should avoid to establish Muslim unity.
For instance, Allah, advises us to avoid
mockery, defamation and suspicion. These are
things that divide us by creating hatred, hurt
Discuss the themes of Surah Hujurat relating to
Muslim behavior in family meetings, study
circles and classes for young and old Muslims,
Khutbas, talks, etc. in your community to share
this Divine wisdom with all.
Whenever you recall that you have done Gheebah
(backbiting) against a Muslim or non-Muslim, you
should remember that you need to seek that
person's forgiveness. Doing this is a
prerequisite for washing off that sin.
9. Share these tips with a wider audience
Share the above-mentioned tips with fellow
Muslims in your community. This can be by asking
the Khateeb during Friday and Eid prayers to use
this article as a topic for his sermon. Or you
can print this out and hand it out to the
participants or publish it in your local or
mosque newsletter. It's also
important to discuss it in various Muslim
settings to start the thinking and reflecting
process among the Muslims.
10. Make Dua for unity
Ask your Imam Masjid to emphasize unity on
Islamic duty in his Khutbahs and suggest
practical ways by which unity can be achieved in
your country or
Also, ask Muslims going for Hajj to make special
Dua for Muslim unity.
When the Hajis return from pilgrimage, the
Prophet has encouraged us to go forward to
receive them and when we receive them, to
request them for Dua as well. This is another
opportunity to seek Duas for Muslim unity.
Finally, make sure that you as an individual are
not only working for unity but making Dua for it
as well, since results are all in Allah's
This article has been slightly
edited for Al-Huda.