Sheikh ‘Abdul Bari ath-Thubayty               Part (I)

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ [آل عمران: 102]

”O you who believe, fear Allah, as He should be feared, and let not yourself die save as Muslims.” (Aale ‘Imraan:102)

Amidst all these dreadful calamities and trials that have befallen the Muslim nation, the enormous differences of opinion, and the widespread bloodshed, one can only wonder, “What is the way out of all these disasters? How can we extinguish the raging fires of trials, put an end to the escalation of hate, and safeguard the possessions gained by the nation?”

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَى شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ [آل عمران: 103]

”Hold fast, all of you, to the cord of Allah, and be not divided. Remember the blessing of Allah upon you: When you were enemies to each other, and He brought your hearts together, so that, you became brothers through His blessing. You were at the brink of a pit of Fire, then He saved you from it. This is how Allah makes His signs clear to you, so that you may take the right path.” (Aale ‘Imraan:103)

Holding fast to the Quraan, the Book of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and the Sunnah of Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) is the greatest obligation and most sublime pillar in Islam. The Muslim Ummah (Nation) can only obtain virtuousness and gain salvation by holding fast to the Quraan and the Sunnah, just as a drowning victim would hold on to a lifebuoy for fear of death. Islam alone can reconcile discordant hearts, extinguish the fiery sparks of enmity and remove grudges from hearts. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:

وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ لَوْ أَنْفَقْتَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مَا أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ [الأنفال: 63]

“and (He) united their hearts. Had you spent all that is on earth, you could not have united their hearts. But Allah did unite their hearts” (Al-Anfaal:63)

Holding fast to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s strong handhold is a shield against deviation and misguidance, as it unites the entire Ummah under the banner of true monotheism:
“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

It fosters solidarity, dispels greed, and brings down false slogans. It also helps us face the cunning evil and conspiracies of the enemies.

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllao Alaihe WaSallam) said: “There are three things that Allah likes for you and three things that He disapproves for you. He likes that you should worship Him Alone, without associating anything with Him (in worship), that you hold fast to the Rope of Allah and not be divided among yourselves, and that you offer advice to your rulers. He disapproves for you useless talk, asking too many questions, and squandering wealth” (Muslim)

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:

وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ [آل عمران: 103]

”Remember the blessing of Allah upon you: When you were enemies to each other, and He brought your hearts together…..” (Aale ‘Imraan:103)

The war between the tribes of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj in Madinah al Munawwarah had raged for one hundred and twenty years even though they shared a common ancestor. However, with the advent of Islam, people’s souls were refined, the arrogance and enmity among themselves prevalent in the days of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance before the advent of Islam) were put to an end, and people became brothers, thanks to Islam.

When the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) delivered the sermon about the war booty before Ansar (the natives of Madinah al Munawwarah who helped the Muhajirs i.e. Migrants from Makkah al Mukarramah) in the Battle of Hunain, he said: “O people of Al-Ansar! Did I not find you astray, but Allah guided you to the right path through me? Did I not find you destitute, but Allah made you free from want through me? Did I not find you divided, but Allah brought you together through me?”

Every time the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) asked them in this way they said: “Allah and His Messenger are more benevolent.”

It is for this reason that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says: “. . . but Allah has united them . . .” (Al-Anfaal:63)

Hadhrat ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas said: “Ties of kinship may be severed and Allah’s favors may be denied, but if Allah brings hearts together, nothing can ever disunite them.”

Then he recited: “. . . If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them. . .” (Al-Anfaal:63)

Once a man asked Hadhrat ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood: “What has become of you?”

He answered: “By Allah’s grace, we have become brothers.”

Why should we not then become brothers when we worship one Lord, have one Prophet, and face the same Qiblah (Direction in Salaah)?

To affirm the importance of this general rule, Islam has made available for us all the means that consolidate the basis for union and reinforce the bonds of solidarity among us. Performing Salaah (Prayers) in Jamaa’ah (Congregation), for example, affords people a chance to get together five times a day. They stand in rows wherein their bodies, feet and shoulders draw near each other. The same gathering takes place during Salaatul Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) every week and on the ‘Eid Salaah twice a year. By the same token, Zakaah represents a form of social solidarity and reflects a form of compassion and sympathy. Fasting during the month of Ramadhaan also unites the nation through the good deeds that a Muslim does in the day and the night. In addition, Hajj provides an annual opportunity for people from different countries and nationalities to meet together. During the Hajj, when a Muslim meets his fellow Muslim from a distant or a neighboring country, they greet each other and both can enjoy the glorious feeling of brotherhood and love.

However, the distressing disunity and deep discord that pervades the large body of the Muslim Ummah today makes the heart of the observer ache and causes it all the more pain. Hadhrat Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah narrated that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllao Alaihe WaSallam) said: “Indeed, the devil has despaired of being worshiped by those who offer Salaah, but he retains hope of setting them against each other.” (Muslim)