Is there any need for unity in Islam? - FARUK BEŞER

Is there any need for unity in Islam?

Every one knows that Islam is a religion of unity and unification. That is to say, Muslims are not allowed to split into groups, sects or camps through fights or disputes. The meaning of this, of course, is not having the same idea on every issue. However, they have to meet on the fundamental issues, the obligatory fundamentals (ad daroorah ad deeneyyah), which constitute the basics of the religion. If anyone separates from this basic principle, as the prophet – peace be upon him - said, he or she "separated for the hellfire".

However, the basic issues are not out there as a ready package for use. It may be that everyone is holding on to different sides of it and pulling it towards himself or herself. Everyone agrees on unification, but no one has a clue how to do so, nor do they have any preparation for it. Some make conditional invitations like "if we will be unified, join us". It is clear there won"t be such unification because apart from everything, the age of our ignorance, the lack of intellectuals and profound scholars is quite an obstacle to this. It looks like this situation will continue for a longer time.

Alright, so how do religious communities or groups integrate into each other? Like a snowball? Well, there is no such visible option. It has never existed in history, either. Then what shall we understand from unification? We shall understand it under the light of a verse. God almighty says in the holy Quran:

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and the best way for finding the accurate interpretation. (4:59)

There are two important points that we would like to point out in this verse. The first is that in no human way can the dispute end among Muslims. It is possible only through the Quran and its true interpretation, Sunnah. The second is that it is contingent upon the authority to execute this principle.

The Authority or "olo al almr" is one of the key concepts of Islam. It means the executives of affairs. The Affair or "amr" has two meanings. The first meaning is the executive authority. This also means cultivation. The second is being the executive – of the affair of a situation or circumstance— who has the intellectual capacity for resolving an issue. Thus, a complete meaning of the term applies to executives who hold both the qualities and knowledge. According to the verse, they have to be "among you". That is, they must be believers and people living among you so that they can deserve the executive status for obedience. The reason why the term is used in plural throughout the Quran may imply that there is no room for a monarchy or kingdom or sultanate in Islam.

However, there can be times when there is no one who may hold the essential criteria above. In that case, the right of "olo al amr" turns to scholars. The meaning of this is: either you will accept their arbitration on rulings, which are agreed, on the Quran and Sunnah or, if you cannot do it, then you will take the issue to scholars and will simply follow him. According to the verse, this is the commandment of God and Muslims have to follow this procedure.

In that case, we may confront another problem. Everyone can take their own scholars as authority and do not recognize others. In that case, what must be done is the establishment of a high scholar council. In this high council, each community and group that did arose from the main framework of Islam will appoint a representative that will be equally represented with others in the council and will meet periodically to resolve the matters of disagreement and differentiation. There can be cases when scholars do not agree. In that case, the majority opinion will be effective. The minority, despite their fairness, will have to sacrifice their rights, just as Hasan, the Prophet"s grandson, did in his case. Even though the caliphate was his right, he sacrificed it for the benefit of the ummah, or community, and avoided the disagreement for a while.

It is not so hard to go into a process like this. We can start it tomorrow. The only obstacle is the cooperation with egoism, arrogance, selfishness and Satan. If we simply overcome these, it will be a fruitful end.

It seems that we should work on the concept of "community" for more.


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