In the name of Allah who states “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah An excellent exemplar For him who hopes In Allah and the Final Day, And who remember Allah much” Q33: 21
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His chosen servant, our master Muhammad and his pure purified progeny.
Of blessed memory, the annual unity week initiated by the father of Ummah, leader of Islamic revolution and founder of Islamic republic of Iran, late Imam Khomeini (may Allah shower His mercy on him) was successfully held impressively, in its usual trend. In Nigeria, the annual Maulud processions were peacefully observed last Tuesday, 12th Rabi’ul-awwal, in most parts of the country. In addition, the Islamic Movement held the weeklong unity week at the nation’s capital, Abuja, where Muslim scholars and educationists from different angles converged to stress issues bordering unity, brotherhood and ethno-religious tolerance. The conference has reviewed the unfortunate state of the Ummah stressing the significance of much needed unity as a solution.
Sequel to that, Muslims were strongly warned on the dangers of disunity promoted by the enemies in whichever name especially the Sunna/Shi’a citing the statement of George Curzon, the British secretary of state for foreign affairs, 1911-1921 to frustrate such effort, as example; “we must put an end to anything which brings about Islamic unity between the sons of the Muslims. As we have already succeeded in finishing off the caliphate, so we must ensure that there will never arise again unity for the Muslims, whether it be intellectual or cultural unity”. The Movement also used the occasion to promote ethno-religious tolerance for a better Nigeria. Thus, it was open for Christians wishing to attend just as it was held in similar trend at other areas. The move is evidently, very significant to the peaceful coexistence of the society. At this juncture, it is imperative to remind the world at large of the respect accorded the messenger of Allah by the unbiased Western philosophers who were mostly Christians based on judicious study of Islam.
i. Alphonse de La Martaine, ‘Historie de la Turquie,’ Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 276-77
“If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls. The forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma.
This dogma was twofold, the unit of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with words. Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of 20 terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?”
ii. Reverend Bosworth Smith in ‘Muhammad and Muhammadanism,’ London, 1874.
“Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope’s pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life. In Mohammadanism everything is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history. We know of the external history of Muhammad. While for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation on the substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt”
iii. Michael Hart in ‘The 100; A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons In History,’ New York, 1978.
“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the secular and religious level. It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history”.
iv. Mahatma Gandhi (added to them) in the ‘Young India,’1924.
“I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind. I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life”
With the historical evidences sampled above, we can refute the attempt of anybody from whichever angle who might attempt to demonise the message of this unique personality. No doubt, such are the real enemies of humanity that no rationale mind can ever accept. Allah says “Surely, We will suffice you against the scoffers” Q15:95
Unity As Solution To Predicament Of Ummah
Back to our subject, it is very clear that Muslims were deliberately thrown into the unfortunate crises from within and outside. Look at Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Yemen. Besides hitherto physical attacks of the enemies and creation of terrorist groups that blackmail Islam and massacre Muslims, most unfortunate, Muslims are incited against one another. The world is fully aware of the unfortunate bombardment of Yemen, the poorest Arab nation by its sister, neighbor, richest and somehow most influential in the Middle East, Saudi-Arabia. For the past three years now, tens of thousands have been killed, mostly women and children, beside millions forced to migrate! In fact, the UN has described the Yemeni situation as the worst humanitarian crises on this planet! We may ask, under whose fatwa is the three years’ bombardment? Could such military strike solve the problem? What is the cost benefit analysis?
And what a profitable arms trade for the West in such unending crises! Unfortunately, most leaders of Muslim lands are willingly subservient to West while others look for solution where it is not. Allah states “You are the best community raised for the good of mankind. You enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong, and you believe in Allah” Q3:110. With this exalted position, we may ask, why can’t the Muslims reconcile themselves in the event of any crisis? What is the role of their respected scholars and intellectuals? What role have their local and international organisations like the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) played? If at all there is misunderstanding between the Muslims what did Allah say? “And if two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them. And if one party of them doeth wrong to the other, fight ye that which doeth wrong till it return unto the ordinance of Allah” Qur’an: 49:9
The question is who can help the Ummah out of this quagmire? Is it Saudi-Arabia, the global centre of Islam? With its unfortunate role, the Saudi kingdom loses its respected position within the Ummah and its Sheikhs lack the moral capacity to tell the bitter truth. So, we should not be confused with one of several instances. Nonetheless, the obvious points to emphasise are unity, good understanding and proper awareness campaign. “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves” Q3: 103. Muslims must practice the real teachings of Islam and embrace one another in the interest of Islam and social justice.
We should pray and donate for the oppressed anywhere anytime and expose the stooges of the enemies who are used directly and otherwise to undermine Islam and Muslims. This is the obvious solution as stressed and emphasised by great Muslim personalities like Imam Khomeini (QS) and Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut (RA) among others.
While emphasising the need for unity and broader understanding within the Ummah, peace and ethno-religious tolerance across the globe, I reiterate the call for the unconditional release of Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky (H) and his disciples.