Intolerance among the Muslims has reached an unbearable level. A mere variation in the interpretation of Ahadith or Quranic verses, ignites a never ending discussion. Lately, on Facebook, futile discussions were going on, whether to celebrate MILAAD or not. While so doing, the main messages and commands of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) were sent to oblivion. Moreover, numerous people posted videos where pseudo Islamic Scholars criticised vehemently those against their opinion, so much so, that they excluded them from the pail of Islam, as if Islam is their personal private property.
In the present conjecture, Muslims need to follow in the path of our Beloved Prophet’s path and start condemning intolerance within, even as we demand tolerance from without, and develop the culture of unity and maintain the bonds of Islamic brotherhood intact to fulfill our goals as an Ummah. As an alternative, we need to develop and refine our thinking and lay aside our concern with the Subtleties of religious sciences, because that kind of concentration on petty details has kept the entire community from performing its more important duties and is therefore being deprived of divine Bounties.
- Understand that Muslim unity is not an option
It's become cliché to say that Muslims have reduced Islam to rituals and forgotten other important tenets. While it is crucial to practice the five pillars of Islam, for instance, we cannot ignore other basic aspects of the faith that emphasize brother and sisterhood.
Muslim unity is an obligatory duty according to the Quran and Traditions of the Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w). Consider the following references below:
“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two contending brothers; and fear God, that ye may receive Mercy.”
“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God stretches out for you, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God's favour on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.”
From the Hadith: Show love, kindness and compassion for each other, the believers are like a human body: when one part of it is hurt, the rests sympathizes with it in wakefulness and fever.
Islam is very broad and wide, contrary to popular belief, and you can find a range of scholarly views on issues as diverse as how to place our hands during prayer to whether or not Muslims should participate in the American political process. If our scholars from the past and present have shown such tolerance towards differing views on various issues, who are we, the average Muslim, who do not have that level of knowledge, to express intolerance for another point of view?
The way some Muslims criticize each other, you'd think they were talking to an Islam-basher instead of a fellow brother or sister. This type of ignorant behaviour is a sure way to create anger, hurt and dissension. It is no route towards unity.
We must learn the Adab (etiquette) of criticism, whether it is towards individual Muslims or our leaders. Knowing and implementing this will not only help solve problems in a practical manner, but it will also lead to a greater sense of brother and sisterhood in the community.
If you feel that your criticism of someone in the past was rude or hurtful, please go back and apologize to them. Before you do that, pray for that brother or sister, since the Prophet has said that Dua increases love between people.
There is what's called a "Fiqh of priorities" and this essentially means that there are some aspects of Islam that are more important than others. For instance, it's more important to emphasize that Muslims establish prayer than whether or not there should be a curtain between men and women in mosques.
Knowing what our priorities are will help us avoid making secondary issues of the faith factors of division in our communities. Muslim leaders, especially, must not only understand this, but implement it in their communities across North America so that small differences do not kill Muslim unity.
This horrible phenomena of calling fellow believers Kafirs must end if we want to create a climate that is conducive to unity. Kafir-calling is a sure way to isolate individuals from the Muslim community. If a person is expressing ideas that are not in line with Islamic values, he must be gently corrected. Kafir - calling will only fuel their ignorance, anger and stubbornness, not to mention humiliate and embarrass them.
The Prophet warned that if one person calls another Kafir and the person called that is not one, the individual who made the accusation is a Kafir.
The Holy Quran (Surah Hujurat) provides excellent guidance on the kind of behaviour that Muslims should avoid to establish Muslim unity. For instance, Allah, advises us to avoid mockery, defamation and suspicion. These are all things which serve to divide us and create hatred, hurt and dissension.
Whenever you recall that you have done backbitten someone against a Muslim or non-Muslim, you should remember that you need to seek that person's forgiveness. Doing this is a prerequisite to washing off that sin.
All Imam should emphasize unity as an Islamic duty in their Khutbahs and suggest practical ways it can be achieved in the country or Islamic organizations’ and to make special Dua for Muslim unity.
Finally, make sure that you as an individual are not only working for unity but making Dua for it as well, since results are all in Allah's Hands.