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There is a famous Hadeeth concerning the unity of the Muslims, in which the community of the believers (ummah) is compared to the human body. The Prophet (PBUH) pointed out that any issue affecting a part of the body transforms it as a whole. If one is suffering a fever, his entire body will experience aches, fatigue, and weakness.
This analogy emphasizes how Muslims should always be together in every state. One’s joy is another’s joy, and one’s sorrow is another’s sorrow. It is unbecoming of a Muslim to disregard the state of his fellow Muslims.
Indeed, if a Muslim is oppressed or wronged, one should not turn a blind eye and undermine his predicament. Conversely, one must appreciate another’s success and share his joy, rather than harboring jealousy and resentment. Hence, it is of importance for every member of the Ummah to be unselfish and caring. Unity is a core component of the Muslim nation.
According to a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Muslims are like one body. When one part of it experiences pain, so does the rest. There is a Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim in which the Prophet (PBUH) hopes his followers will comprise half of the people in Heaven.
The Prophet PBUH was also known to cry My Ummah, my Ummah in his duas, as mentioned in Saheeh Muslim. This indicated how strongly he cared about the state of the believers, especially concerning the Afterlife.
The significance of the Ummah
All believers are included in the Ummah, according to Islamic belief. One of the primary facts about the Ummah is that we are united purely by our faith in Tawheed (Allah’s oneness). It is what distinguishes between those within our nation and those who disbelieve. Our physical distance and variation in appearance from fellow Muslims are of no relevance.
Observing unity as an Ummah is key to the overall strength and well being of the Muslims. As long as believers are all on the same page, they remain a force to be reckoned with. If the massive community of well over a billion believers is unified, any threats facing Islam can be nullified.
If we fail to support fellow Muslims, abandoning our brothers and sisters in Islam, we are severely weakened. It is due to this vulnerability and division that the disbelievers can get the upper hand. As Muslims, we cannot ignore the suffering of our co-religionists, or oppose them, for the sake of worldly gain. In Surah Al-Mu’minun, Allah says that the Ummah is one, and believers should fear none but their Lord and Cherisher.
Characteristics of the Ummah
Islam personifies monotheism in its purest form. Believers on the right path follow the Quran and Sunnah, and the way of the pious predecessors, without deviating. These are the people who comprise the Ummah.
In Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) said that a group of the believers will remain steadfast in showing obedience to Allah. These people will be unharmed by those who don’t assist them or are against them until the last day arrives without this group straying.
In Surah Al-An’am, we are informed that the path of the Prophet (PBUH) is the straight path, which we must follow, instead of other paths that lead us astray. This is required of Muslims so that they adopt righteousness.
A striking characteristic of the Ummah is its unparalleled diversity. People in the modern era unite on the basis of nationalism, ethnicity, or even support of a football club. The Ummah stands out from other communities, by virtue of its noble cause for uniting people. It is a testament to the supremely inclusive, unprejudiced nature of Islam.
Everyone in the Ummah is equal, except by piety
The unification of Muslims is especially evident during Hajj. Muslims from all walks of life, undivided by race, status, and nationality, circumambulate (Tawaf) Al-Kabah, dressed in identical clothing. There is no differentiation between these pilgrims. All are united by a common goal, which is the quest to attain Allah’s pleasure through their performance of a religious obligation.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, as narrated in Musnad Ahmad, that our we all have one Lord and one father. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab or vice versa, and no red man is greater than a black man or vice versa. Superiority is only based on one’s level of taqwa (piety).
In Surah Al-Hujurat, we learn that Allah created us from males and females and made us nations and tribes so that we can be acquainted with each other. The most honorable among us are those who are most righteous, and Allah knows everything.
There is no place for racism in Islam, and nobody can be considered superior based on race. Furthermore, there is no discrimination based on gender. Meanwhile, the rich and the poor stand shoulder to shoulder in prayer, without any privilege granted to the wealthy. Indeed, we’re all equal, according to Allah, and one is only superior to another by virtue of piety. As an Ummah, it is our responsibility to incorporate Islam’s pristine values into our lives.