Dear Friday Jemaah
The message that was brought by Rasulullah supports the messages revealed to the earlier communities. It is a message that is beneficial to all those who follow the teachings of the Prophet – a message that calls upon us to continue to be taqwa to Allah, and obey His commands and avoid what Allah has prohibited upon us.
My dear brothers,
If we reflect deeply, the purpose of the Syariah ordained by Allah is a call upon unity and solidarity. The basis of the Syariah must be understood and appreciated. The more we appreciate and practise Islam, the more it will strengthen the unity among us. On the contrary, if we do not seek to understand Islam, or if we do not appreciate the beauty of this religion as much as we should, then the possibility of discord and animosity amongst us will increase.
Hence, today I want to share with you three ways by which Islam can strengthen the unity among Muslims and all people. They are:
First, the call to believe in One God.
What is the similarity between yourself and the brother sitting next to you now?
There are in fact several important similarities, among others. We all hold on to the belief that there is only One God, that there is no God but Allah, that we believe in one Quran, we pray facing one Qiblah, and the fact that we are all followers of the same Prophet.
The nature is such that humans need to have a relationship with a higher power. Just look at how humankind through the various ages and civilisations try to establish that relationship, which led to the birth of various forms of religion. In fact, it is innate in humankind to turn to Allah and to place our hopes on Him when a catastrophe or disaster occurs. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran, in surah Al-‘Ankabut verse 65:
Which means: And when they board a ship, they supplicate Allah, sincere to Him in religion. But when He delivers them to the land, at once they associate others with Him.”
Therefore, when we face any challenges and hurdles in interacting with our fellow brothers and sisters in Islam, reflect upon this verse before we retaliate by insulting or belittling them.
Second, our worship is for Allah, the One and the Almighty.
Our faith is in the One God, just as our worship is only for Allah, the One and the Almighty. We pray, fast, perform our haj and carry out other forms of ibadah solely because of Allah. Allah says in surah Al-An’aam verse 162:
Which means: “Say, ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.’ ”
Let us remember, whatever the differences are in our practices, for example the differences in the way we perform our ibadah – whether or not we recite the Qunut, or if we move our index finger during the tasyahhud or otherwise, reciting the Basmalah (Bismillah) softly or loudly – remember that the most important thing remains the same.
That is, we perform our solat only for Allah s.w.t. The One God. The one God that I believe in, they believe in, and all of us believe in. Do not our disagreements in a matter of differences in opinion cause us to lose sight of the common intention that we all hold on to, which is to perform our prayers only to Allah s.w.t.
Third, Islam brings about unity through good character and noble values.
The basic ethical values that are brought by Islam, such as preserving lives, ending hostility, to not lie and to not be cruel to others are universal values accepted by all, and not just Muslims.
Notwithstanding the differences in our orientation, school of thought (mazhab) and religion, and no matter how big the differences in opinion among us might seem, we must not forget that we are, after all, fundamentally we are all Allah’s creations, and we are all very special in our own ways.
It is nearly impossible to unite the different ideologies among men. But we can definitely unite our hearts and souls. Our hearts belong to Allah, and it can unite with Allah’s will. Allah s.w.t. says in surah Al-Anfal verse 63:
Which means: “And brought together their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together; but Allah brought them together. Indeed, He is Exalted in Might and Wise.”
Thus in our dealings with one another, we should always hold on to this principle, and we should remember what Rasulullah s.a.w taught us on how to interact with one another:
“Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah.” [Sahih Muslim]
These universal values remind us that Islam desires for us to exist together, peacefully as one ummah. These values remind us that it is important for Muslims to be the source of unity and cohesion for all mankind, and not the opposite.
My dear brothers,
This is the unity that exists in our Syariah. This is the understanding that we need to inculcate within us. It is called ‘Fiqh Tauhidi’ or ‘Fiqh of Unity’ which has to be understood and appreciated by every Muslim.
Why is it important for us to understand the concept of ‘Fiqh Tauhidi’?
This is to always remind us that the foundation of the teachings of Islam is unity and consensus. We start to build relationships on the basis of similarity and unity. We do not begin by looking for differences, khilaf and conflicts. And when differences in opinion arise, reflect upon them and give our advice in a gentle, loving and friendly manner.
Differences in opinion should enrich our thoughts and our lives, not to worsen things. Let us reflect upon the advice of Rasulullah s.a.w during the event of Haji Wida’ or the Farewell Haj.
“O people, verily there is only One God, and all mankind are from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; white has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Hopefully, through our unity as Muslims, every interaction and relationship we develop is based love and affection, and at the end, we are all brothers and sisters in Islam, which is the ummah of Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon – 12 April 2013 / 1 Jamadilakhir 1434
Fiqh Tauhidi – Building the Unity of the Muslim Ummah