Today, whenever we Muslims discuss our problems, we touch on many topics: the situation in Palestine , Kosovo, Iraq, Algeria, Kashmir; the weakness of Muslims; the arrogance of the West; and the scheming of the Zionists. Whatever the topic of the day, the one issue we never miss, implicitly or explicitly, is the lack of Muslim unity. In the past year, I have had the good fortune of visiting India, Morocco, Canada, and South Africa. I found that Muslims everywhere still share this same common concern: If only we had!
The Ummah today comprises more than one billion Muslims. Islam is considered to be the world’s fastest growing religion. Muslims are the majority in a swath of countries from Morocco to Indonesia and from Turkey to Sudan. Muslim lands cover a strategic area of the world’s oil and mineral resources, as well as its major trade routes. There are significant Muslim minorities in most countries in the world, and there is hardly a place on this planet where Islam does not have a presence. We have no shortage of numbers. Often, our number far exceeds that of other religious minorities. But when you consider our influence on world affairs today, it is very small. At every level, Muslims are aware of this, and we are calling for unity.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur’an) and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah’s favor on you for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes his Ayat clear to you, that you may be guided. (3:103)
We Muslims are reasonably well aware of our history. But how much have we learned from it? The above verses remind us how our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) united the tribes of Arabia, whom the Byzantines and Persians considered to be so savage, warlike, and backward that they were unworthy of conquest. The Prophet (peace be upon him) molded the Arab tribes into a nation of supermen. When we Muslims served Allah and subdued our vanity, we became masters of the world. We swept over North Africa, across Spain and southern France, and eastwards to China. Then we argued among ourselves over who got what. As soon as we started indulging in our vanities and forgot Allah, we lost everything. This happened over many centuries. Although our numbers increased, our influence on world affairs declined.