Unity of Islamic Ummah
Almighty Allah considers all Muslims to be a single community and He says:
إِنَّ هَذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَ حِدَةً وَأَنَاْ رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ
“Surely this Islam is your religion, one religion (only), and I am your Lord, therefore serve Me.” (21:92)
The literary meaning of Ummah is a group of human beings who have a single aim in life and they cooperate with each other to reach their common aim.
Since Islam is concerned with reform and perfection of individuals, it is also attentive to society and its well being and success. The most important and necessary factor in formation of a permanent and strong society is unity in aim and cooperation in achieving it. If among the people of a society, unity and perfect cooperation is maintained, they can protect their social identity and independence and live in the world with confidence and self respect. But if they are disunited and dispersed, they would become humiliated, weak and wretched.
The Holy Prophet (s) said: A believer in relations to another believer is like a structure, whose different parts strengthen each other.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) said: By Allah, a believer is not a true believer, except that he is like the organ of the same body to another believer brother, in such a way that if one of the nerves is in pain all the other nerves also raise their cries.
The Messenger of Allah (s) said: The example of believer in love and kindness with each other is like the example of a body; whenever one of its organs is in pain, all the other organs support it through sleeplessness and fever.
The Messenger of Allah (s) was so concerned with the unity of Muslims that just after migration to Medina he established brotherhood between Muhajireen and Ansar and drew a memorandum of understanding beginning with the following:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is a memorandum of understanding from Muhammad (s) between the believers and Muslims of Quraish and Medina and those who may follow them and perform Jihad; all of them are one entity before other people.
He did not rest content with this alliance and in order to strengthen unity between them he established brotherhood between every two persons. Ibne Hisham writes:
The Prophet of Islam (s) established brotherhood between the Muhajireen and Ansar. In this way, every two Muslims became brothers of each other. Then he held the hand of Ali (a) and said: Ali is my brother. In this manner, brotherhood was formed between all companions, which helped in the unity of Ummah. More importantly he declared that all Muslims, in every time and place are brothers.
The Holy Quran says:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
“The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you.” (49:10)
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) said: A Muslim is brother of another Muslim. He is his guardian and guide. He is not dishonest with him and does not oppress him. He does not lie to him and does not backbite him.
Commands and laws of Islam have been framed in such a way that they should assist and strengthen unity of the Ummah. For example, it emphasizes presence of Muslims in congregation prayer and Friday Prayer so that they may come together a number of times everyday and each of them becomes aware of the circumstances of others.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) said: One who leaves the congregation prayer without any legal excuse, in such a way that he has become aloof from congregation prayer and congregation of Muslims, his prayer will not be accepted.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) said: If one separates from the congregation of Muslims to the extent of even a span, he has forsaken the relationship of faith.
Once in a year, Muslims of different Islamic countries of the world participate in the great and universal rituals of Hajj, so that they may become aware of the circumstances and conditions of the Islamic countries and that they may find solution for their difficulties.
A great part of moral problems are arranged in a way that the spirit of cooperation and relationship between the Muslims is strengthened.
It is concluded from these lessons that Muslims are a single nation (Ummah) and individual Muslims are parts of that nation. Therefore, racial, lingual, communal, occupational, national and even religious differences are harmful to this unity.
That which makes the individual Muslims related to the great Islamic Ummah is follows: Faith in oneness of God, belief in resurrection and life after death, faith in the Prophet of Islam (s) and Quran. One who testifies to these points is a Muslim and is considered as a part of the great Ummah of Islam.
Muslims have same belief in many aspects of Islam. On the basis of this, if they have differences in some problems, it should not be a cause of discord and dissension between them.
The Quran says:
وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً وَلَا تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَآءًفَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَ ناً وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَى شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ الْنَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ءَايَتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts, so by His favor you became brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it, thus does Allah make clear to you His communications that you may follow the right way.” (3:103)
All the power and glory that came into the fortune of Muslims in the early period of Islam was as a result of unity of word and single leadership.
Decadence and decline of Islamic Ummah started when they became disunited and got divided in different ways. Discord and opposition is one of the great calamities of nations. In form of a single nation, it can reach its possible perfection and achieve its aims as there is unity in it. On the contrary their power will be wasted and the community would not achieve its objectives.
The Holy Quran says:
وَأَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَزَعُواْ فَتَفْشَلُواْ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ وَ اصْبِرُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّبِرِينَ
“And obey Allah and His Apostle and do not quarrel for then you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart, and be patient; surely Allah is with the patient.” (8:46)
The greatest problem and calamity, which still afflicts the great and powerful Ummah is discord and opposition. These difficulties have come into being due to the appearance of different Islamic schools of thought and sects. Self defeat and absence of independence of Islamic countries and domination of the enemies of Islam is only because of these differences. The great Muslim nation can escape these regretful circumstances only if it sidelines all differences and all Muslims unite into a single independent and powerful entity, which can solve its own political, economic, administrative and cultural problems.
Reformers and well wishers also should know that solving the general problems of the Muslim world is not possible, except through creating solidarity. Therefore, they must confront with factors of discord and should focus their views on one aim.
But unity of Ummah does not imply that followers of Islamic schools of thought and sects should give up their theological beliefs and jurisprudence and become followers of a single sect, because even though this is expected from them, it is not possible in the present circumstances, but its aim is that they should be true Muslims, observe common problems and overlook secondary differences. The following instances can be taken to be as common aims:
1. Promoting and propagating Islamic culture.
2. Propagating monotheism and confronting polytheism.
3. Defense of Islam, Quran and Islamic sanctities in front of the attack of international tyranny to weaken Islam.
4. Confronting the invasion of western culture, like the culture of materialism, sensuality and moral corruptions, absence of Hijab, unrestrained sexual freedom, profligacy and dishonesty.
5. Defending the usurped Islamic territories.
6. Confronting hegemony and domination of enemies of Islam in Islamic territories.
7. Defending the independence of Islamic countries.
8. Efforts to achieve economic, academic, technological, administrative, cultural and artistic self-reliance of the great Islamic Ummah.
9. Making effort to regain the greatness and power, which Muslim Ummah has lost.
The aim of the unity of Muslims and closeness between Islamic sects should create cooperation, concern for achieving common objectives and survival of the Islamic world. Muslim scholars are duty bound to guide the Muslims. It is through such unity that difficulties of the world of Islam would be solved and the greatness and independence of Islamic Ummah would be secured.
 Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4, Pg. 1999
 Biharul Anwar, Vol. 74, Pg. 233
 Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4, Pg. 1999
 Seerah, Ibne Hisham, Vol. 2, Pg. 147; Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 3, Pg. 273
 Seerah, Ibne Hisham, Vol. 2, Pg. 150
 Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 16
 Wasailush Shia, Vol. 8, Pg. 292
 Wasailush Shia, Vol. 8, Pg. 294