The Prophet’s (s) role in creating unity and brotherhood amongst the Muslims

“Verily the believers are brothers so make peace between your two brothers.”

The first point that stands out in the Prophet’s (s) life is brotherhood and unity in which he practically implemented amongst his followers. He also mentioned it on various occasions. In the first years of the migration, when the numbers of Muslims increased when the people of Medina accepted Islam, he made the brotherhood contract between the Muslims of Mecca (muhajireen) and the Muslims of Medina (ansar). In order to emphasize this matter he repeatedly stated: “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim – do not oppress him and do not make him surrender to you.” He also stated: “A Muslim is for a Muslim like a building where every brick increases the overall strength of the building.” At this moment he would put his fingers together to stress the importance of what he is saying.

It seems as if the Prophet (s) saw what was going to happen after him in that the Muslims will form sects and the members of each sect would fight with the members of other sects. That is why he clearly explained Islam in that it causes unity amongst the Muslims by saying: “Whoever testifies to the oneness of Allah; whoever faces our direction of prayer; whoever prays like us; whoever eats the meat that was slaughtered by Muslims is a Muslim.”

In another tradition it states: “A person who tastes Islam is a person who is satisfied with Allah, his Lord. Islam is his religion and Muhammad is his prophet.”

Abdullah bin Umar also narrated a tradition from the Noble Prophet (s) which states: “I have been ordered to fight against the people until they bear witness to the oneness of Allah and the messengerhood of the Prophet (s); until they pray and pay religious taxes. When they act in accordance to these their blood and property would be respected, unless they are in opposition to a right that Islam has ordained. The account of all of this is with Allah.”

Even in the last years of the Prophet’s (s) life in Medina where the practical laws of Islam were completed and hordes of people accepted Islam a five-facet document was sent to all of the people who have a tendency for accepting Islam. This was the determining factor behind the practical method of Islam and Muslims and attacking the sanctuaries of a person who has accepted the five mentioned facets was prohibited.

This document which was announced through the Prophet and after him through the divine religious leaders (a) is as follows: The Prophet stated that Islam is secure under five foundations:

  1. Bearing testimony to the oneness of Allah and the messengership of the Prophet.
  2. Praying.
  3. Paying the religious dues.
  4. Performing the pilgrimage.
  5. Fasting in the month of Ramadan.

The Prophet (s), with utmost clarity, stated in regards to the importance of unity amongst the Muslims and refraining from creating sects: “Unison causes goodness and division causes punishment. Whoever distances himself from the unison will die the death of a person in the state of ignorance.” Referring to the words of the Messenger of Allah (a) shows that he invited the nation to unity.

The Prophet (s) did not consider there to be any merits over one’s tribe, language, race, or the likes – the only merit of a human over another human is by piety.

The Prophet states: “The person’s tribe and family relations whose actions cannot lead him anywhere will not lead him anywhere either.”

When everyone knows that their creator is one and when everyone knows that they came into existence from one father and one mother they will fall under the ruling in the verse: “Verily believers are brothers.” As a result, they will desire for their religious brother what they desire for themselves and they will not desire for their religious brother what they do not desire for themselves.

The Prophet (s) practically established brotherhood between the Muslims from Mecca and the Muslims from Medina in Medina. This pact was so valuable that the Muslims who partook in it took pride in being a part of it.

So, what happened in that over time divisions occurred? Is it not the case that those who are unaware of Allah and those who are the enemies of the time have used division to destroy Islam? Imam Khomeini (r) stated that the people who occupied Muslim lands and the people who sought power separated Muslims from one another forming numerous nations. When the huge Othmani government was established the occupiers divided it up. Russia, the countries surrounding Russia, and all of the other occupiers joined forces and fought against it. Each one of these countries took a part of it or, in the least, influenced a part of it. It must be said that most of the rulers of the Othmani government were not suitable for leadership and some of them were corrupt. But, this was the danger of occupiers – they would find the righteous from amongst the nation, use the people to put them at the head of the government, and strongly put up a nationalistic front. After the many battles of the First World War they divided up the Othmani government creating ten to fifteen small countries. Each small portion was given to one of their supporters.

Another factor behind division was the incorrect actions of the Muslims themselves. Ones actions has an effect on others – an effect that is different than speech. The effect of speech is short-lived while the effect of action is deep and rooted. Therefore, it has been said since ancient times that 200 sayings are not worth half of an action. According to this, Islam has ordered its followers to invite people to Islam with their actions before they invite them with their speech. Islam strongly prohibits one to invite someone to do something that they do not do themselves. This is considered a greater sin.

Since Islam is an international religion and all Muslims have the duty of trying to spread this grand message. Muslims cannot shirk the duty of guiding others. Therefore, it is necessary for Muslims to invite people to Islam through their actions before they invite them through their speech. It is self-evident that all people are not able to recognize the religion by only referring to the principle sources; rather, most people recognize Islam through the actions of Muslims. Therefore, each Muslim must become a speaking Quran; a walking Islam. Sometimes the humanistic action of a follower of a certain school of thought affects another human being more than a hundred times that of speeches or books. It attracts them to the specific school of thought. The opposite is also true. If you look at the complaints that people have with religion you will realize that the complaints are normally about the followers of religion and not about the principle religion itself. For instance, it has been seen many times that one would say if such and such religion brings about success then why is the follower of that religion unsuccessful? This religion did not guide him and did not prevent him from committing evil actions. God-willing we will witness Islamic unity in the society.

Islam Times


Recognizing the factors of division

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

By: Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi

One of the very beneficial and effective steps that the Islamic Republic took was unity and the week of unity. This week is a week which has the most suitable days for the issue of unity to present itself. It is the days of the birthday of the Prophet of Islam (s); the person who brought the best religion to the world; the seal of the prophets; the person who is the person of acceptance for all of the Muslims in the world.

The issue that I have chosen to speak about in this limited time is the factors behind division. It is self-evident that if we do not find the factors behind division the slogans of unity will not go anywhere. Unity conferences are great; slogans of unity are great, but what is important is that in these conditions the main factors behind division must be recognized and destroyed. As long as this is not accomplished all other activities will only have a small effect. Before I enter the discussion, I want you brothers and sisters to grant me the permission to speak a little bit about the definition of unity and the issue of coming together. Many mistakes stem from here. The issue of unity and coming together can be explained in many different ways, most of them being incorrect. One meaning from amongst all of these meanings is correct and acceptable. Unity does not make sense if it means that Shias or Sunnis should leave their beliefs and surrender to the other side. Unity does not make sense if it means that the Islamic sects should only accept the commonalities that they have with each other and reject all of the differences. Unity does not make sense if it means that we should sit with each other and make peace, for instance we have ten commonalities and five differences and we will make a compromise – two or three of out beliefs will be rejected and two or three of your beliefs will be rejected being replaced by a unified belief. Unity would not be practical if it meant that we should have conference attended by Shia and Sunni scholars where they would sit down and logically discuss their differences while normal people would calmly sit in the audience choosing which side was more logical. But, the unity that we are after and the unity that we spend all of our energy to obtain has two principles: First, we must respect each other’s beliefs and second, we must try to cooperate along a path in which we have the same goals. We have many similar goals – protecting Islam, protecting the Quran, expanding Islam in the world, rescuing Jerusalem from the Zionists, and protecting the sanctity of Mecca, Medina, the Ka’aba, and hajj. Therefore, we need to unify our efforts along a path where our goals are singular – this is the meaning of coming together and unity which we are after and which we invite our brothers and sisters to follow. This is a very short definition or unity and coming together. The principle discussion is to try to recognize the general factors behind division. We know that if a person’s body is hurt from the outside the inside of his body will work to heal it. But, if the wounds on a body are from the inside his blood will become polluted – the blood will have to be filtered for him to heal. The issue of division in the Islamic world is a wound that stems from the inside – the factors behind it are internal. These factors must be recognized and fought against so that the blood of the Islamic world can become clean and free-flowing throughout all groups of Muslims so that we can be unified.

There are a lot of issues in regards to the factors of division and enmity. We will mention five factors so that our brothers and sisters think about them. There are more factors, but these five are the most important factors. I am certain that if people work against these five factors and if they are able to uproot them then the issue of coming together and the issue of unity will not be difficult.

The enemies of Islam always cling to differences. They consider it better to become victorious over Islam in this way than any other way. The reason for this is because Muslims will fight wars against each other and the enemy will not have any loses. The international community will not cry in defense of the Muslims either. Muslims will kill each other. I heard this sentence in the news today: “South Africa, while being independent, is distancing itself from independence.” Nelson Mandela is the African leader of the freed South Africa, but the African tribes have started fighting each other. The leader announced that there is evidence in hand which shows that the reason the African tribes are fighting is because of the conniving works of the whites in that area. This was a nation that was on the brink of independence, but the enemy used division to negate their movement.

We should talk about Islamic countries. You know that Afghanistan is an Islamic country and is on the brink of independence and Islamic government. But, the enemy has spent millions of dollars and has used spies to make the Afghan political parties attack each other. Brothers started killing each other. Sunnis killed Sunnis; Shias killed Shias; Sunnis killed Shias; Shias killed Sunnis. A society that was on the brink of independence and Islamic government fell because division was created. Another example of this is Lebanaon. Lebanon can be transformed into another Islamic country with an Islamic government because it has spiritual and material potential. But, when it is on the brink of such an action the secret hands of the enemy start working. The murder that is happening in Lebanon is not found anywhere else in the world. Everyone is fighting everyone. This is the political strategy of divide and conquer working at its best. Recently, western scholars studied Islamic movements, the revival of Islam, and Islamic revolution in various countries. After this research was conducted they stated that the only way to prevent Islamic revolutions is by creating divisions amongst the Muslims. Therefore, they have started to do this. In Pakistan a secret group was found who state everywhere that Shias are disbelieves (kafirs). They write this on vehicles, in government offices, and on walls in the city. 200 books against Shiaism have been published in Pakistan in a very short period of time. Where is the money for this coming from? Who is behind all of this? The same people who fear an Islamic revolution.

The second factor is the failure of understanding the culture of unity. Unity needs a culture and will not be possible until we reach that culture. Unity needs an expansion of breasts and people need to concentrate on common goals. If we do not reach this culture we will not reach unity. If I am fanatic and consider what I believe in to be the only truth and if I do not respect your thoughts then the possibility of unity is not present. Our beliefs are certain and respectful for us and your beliefs are certain and respectful as well. If I abuse your beliefs and if you abuse our beliefs we will not reach unity. If we see someone eating poisonous food screaming at them will not have much effect – rather we must make them understand that their food is poisonous. When we work and make Muslims understand how dangerous the defeats due to division have been we will make them realize the importance of coming together. If Israel, a minority, was able to place itself in the heart of the Islamic world in six days (something that the crusaders were not able to do over a period of 200 years) it is time to realize that we need to be placed in the brink of unity.

The third factor is important. It is the factor of putting tribal or racial issues before Islamic beliefs and teachings. The enemies of Islam are trying to raise the issues of tribalism. They have worked for many years on the issue of tribalism and Arab nationalism. They have been able to separate some Muslims from all of the other Muslims in this way. There are 150 million Arabs in the world; they have separated them away from the one billion Muslims in the world. Palestine, which was a Muslim issue, was transformed into an Arab issue and defeat followed. If we allowed these tribes to become overshadowed by Islam; if we allowed Islam to come first the conditions of Muslims, unity, and coming together would be very different today.

The fourth factor behind division is the Islamic factors entering international political groups. Before the fall of communism, the world was divided into two poles; the east and the west. Some Muslims of the world, instead of creating a third pole for themselves, decided to go under the banner of the east and others decided to go under the banner of the west. They became toys for the political groups to play with. They could have become an important international factor. An important part of the world’s sensitive centers are in the hands of Muslims. Muslims have a very rich heritage which is taken from the Quran and the Noble Prophet (s). But, there have been some mistakes made or treasons committed by the heads of Islamic states which have caused some to fall under the banner of the Russians and some to fall under the banner of the Americans and English. These two poles used the Muslims in their war against each other. There are many examples of this type of politics in the modern day for us to examine. The scholars must wake up the Muslims in this regard. They must warn them that they should not leave the evil rulers alone and allow them to put themselves under the political banners of superpowers. They should want everyone to fall under the banner of unity. The factor behind division is that when so and so country is under the political banner of America and other countries are under the political banner of Russia it is impossible for these countries to be unified – no matter how much we scream UNITY UNITY.

The fifth factor of division is that Muslims do not have enough knowledge about each other. Sometimes Muslims use books that are published by the enemy in order to learn about each other. Sunni brothers, if you want to learn about the beliefs of Shias learn them from Shias. We are better than anyone else to speak about our beliefs. Why do you try to learn our beliefs from the mouths of the enemy? Likewise, the beliefs of Sunnis must be learned from Sunnis – not from the enemy. If we did this many of our problems would be solved.

There is an example of this that whenever I remember I become terrified. One of the times that I visited Hijaz I met with the Saudi Arabian minister of religious issues. When introductions were being given in the meeting the first sentence mentioned was: “I heard that you have a scripture different than our scripture.” He heard this from our enemies; not from us. I had an answer prepared and said: “If you come to Iran to see it would be great. If you cant come you can send a representative – we will pay the expenses of the travel. We will arrive at the airport in Tehran and from there we will go into the streets of Tehran. We will stop at whatever mosques you want and you can look to see what Quran they have. We will stop at any house you want and we will examine their Qurans. If our Quran is different, even by one letter, with the Qurans in other Islamic countries then you will have a right to say what you are saying.”

When people stay away from each other and listen to the enemy this will be the result. As must as a say that the stone that the Shias place in their mosques is because prostration must be performed on the ground they say that in so and so book it was written that they are idol-worshipers. We scream and say that the first-tier scholars of the Shia have believed that the Quran has not been distorted from the beginning of Islam until now. If one believed in distortion it would be very rare. The first-tier scholars of the Sunnis believe the same thing, but there are rare scholars of both sects that claim the Quran was distorted – these words should not be listened to. Whatever we say they say that it was written in so and so book that the Shia believe in distortion.

Islam Times

Islamic Scholars and Unity

Sayyid Jamal al-Din Asadabadi: Two important factors, unity and I’tila’ are counted as two great pillars of the Islamic faith. Rather, they are definite duties for a person who has accepted Islam.

Shaykh Muhammad Abduh: Differences and weakening the religion is an evil plan of the foreigners. The foreigners try to weaken the various Islamic sects by causing disputes. They want the people’s hearts of those sects to hate one another and to keep them away from clear Islamic commandments.

Ayatollah Burujerdi: One of the huge marja’s of the Shia world, who is highly respected as well, was Ayatollah Burujerdi. He worked very hard to create unity amongst Muslims and even cooperated with Dar al-Taqrib in Egypt. His opinion in unifying the Muslims was referring to the unanimously accepted tradition of thaqalayn and for the non-Shias of the world to look at the amazing amounts of knowledge that the Shia Imams have – which was given to them by the Prophet (s). He wanted them to come closer to Shiaism and to create the groundworks for Islamic unity.

Imam Khomeini: The society in which divine prophets and the Quran worked to establish was a unified society. This is a concept which surpasses tribes, nations, and governments. We must return to our roots and the Islamic culture without adding anything to it. We must put forth effort to protect and strengthen unity – starting from within ourselves. Disunity is from Satan and unity is from the Merciful. Is it possible for one to have a monotheistic ideology, believe that there is only one God, believe that divine will encompasses all things, but have disunity in his practice and in his relationship with other creations?

Ayatollah Khamenei: Islamic unity is an important issue which will be achieved by creating relationships between Islamic spiritual leaders. I open my arms up to people who follow an Islamic organization with the purpose of serving Islam and protecting the benefits of Muslims.

Shaykh Mahmoud Shaltut: Islam has not forced any of its followers to follow are particular sect. Rather, each Muslim can correctly choose any sect and observe the laws that are derived from it. Therefore, a person who follows one of the four sects can easily change to follow another one. The Ja’fari sect, famously known as the Twelver sect, is permissible to follow just as it is permissible to follow any one of the other four sects. Therefore, it is suitable for Muslims to recognize this and to leave all forms of fanaticism directed at a particular sect.

Sayyid Abd al-Hussayn Sharaf al-Din: Division is political and unity is political. Politics divided Sunnis and Shias from the beginning and now, politics must unite them.

Shahid Murtada Mutahhari: It is self-evident that what the scholars mean by unity is not making all Muslims follow one particular sect or accepting what is similar in all sects and rejecting what is different. This would be impossible. Rather, what they mean is putting all Muslims in one line together standing up to their enemies.

Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Hussayn Tabatabai: The Shia of the first century never left the lines of the majority. They aided the general Islamic society in progression. Now, it is also necessary for Muslims to be united and to refer to the principles of Islam. They must leave their disunity and face all of the problems that were caused by the foreigners during the past few decades.

Ayatollah Shahid Muhammad Baqir Sadr: I have spent my whole life in trying to bring about unity and brotherhood between Shias and Sunnis. I have made many pro-unity statements. I am the brother and the son of the Sunnis just as I am the brother and the son of Shias.

Imam Musa Sadr: Solidifying the lines of Muslims is not something that was ordained only by the Prophet (s). Rather, the necessities of life and the intellect also advise us to do the same thing. This is an issue which our existence depends on. I do not mean, by mentioning unity, that we should just blindly mention it over and over again. Rather, I mean that unity, in its complete meaning, is what we are striving for.

Islam Times

Prophetic Unity

If one looks with precision into the life of the Prophet of Islam (s) they will see that love and unity played extremely important roles in his message and in the spread of the Islam.

 Allah introduced the Noble Prophet (s) as the Prophet of Mercy and Prophet Muhammad’s (s) life is full of live for Allah and His servants.


The author of this article tries to point to the heights of this unity and this mercy. The article is as follows:

The Prophet’s (s) entrance into Medina was coupled by the pacts made with various groups. These pacts can be considered as the clearest pieces of evidence of Islamic love and unity in the society and that time.

 The general pact with the people of Medina is one of the most important pacts. It was the first pact that was made between the Prophet of Islam (s) and the tribes that existed in Yathrib at that time. Some of what is written on it is the first written fundamental laws of the world.


This was the best opportunity to bring about religious unity because unity amongst the fighting tribes would ensure the social rights of the Jews and the Muslim immigrants as well. From another angel, these pacts were the prelude to the establishment of a unified political theme and government.


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Imam Khomeini and Islamic Unity

O’ Muslims of the world! O’ followers of monotheism! The secrets behind all of the problems in Islamic countries are disunity and a failure to cooperate. The secret of success is unity and cooperation. Allah, the most high, said in one sentence: “And hold on to the rope of Allah, everyone, and do not divide.” Holding onto or clinging to the rope of Allah is a way of stating the cooperation of all Muslims with each other. Everyone should be working for Islam, be moving towards Islam, and be working for the interests of Muslims by escaping disunity which is the foundation of all failure. I ask Allah for the greatness of Islam and the Muslims and for the unity of Muslims in the world.

 Sahifah Noor, v.9, p.226, 1979

  I am hopeful that the Muslims of the world who are facing the new century will look into their problems and what causes their problems. I am hopeful that they will take themselves up from under the flags of imperialism by creating unity and moving towards Islam. Muslims who are facing the new century have felt nothing but pain from the countries of the Great Satan – they have seen nothing but crime. They must join together with Allah and think about what to do with Islam.

 Sahifah Noor, v.10, p.79, 1979

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Rare show of Islamic unity in Saudi Arabia

Qatif: In a rare gesture of unity and amity with their brothers in Islam, a delegation of Sunnis performed Juma prayers at one of the Shiite Mosques in the eastern city of Qatif, the only part of Saudi Arabia where Shiites are a majority.

Observers see it as an unprecedented move to soothe the feelings of alienation among the Shiite minority in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The delegation, headed by Shaikh Mukhlef Bin Daham Al Shamri, were attentive to the Friday sermon delivered by the well-known Shiite Shaikh Hassan Al Safar, in which the preacher underscored the
significance of strengthening Islamic and national unity and closing ranks among followers of Islam.

“This is part of our duty to promote virtue and prevent vice,” he noted. The new initiative on the part of Sunnis and Shiites to close their ranks received wide media coverage and some foreign media such
as BBC also covered it extensively.

Shaikh Al Shamri is one of the shaikhs of Shamr tribe, which spreads over a vast area in various regions of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. In yet another gesture to express the significance of national unity, Shaikh Al Shamri and those accompanying him, covered their shoulders with the Saudi flags while they were praying at the mosque, according to witnesses.

During the talks with the Shiite community, Shaikh Al Shamri proposed that a similar delegation of Shiites would come over to one of the Sunni mosques in Al Khobar next Friday. This move was regarded as a bold initiative from the part of the majority Sunnis to bury the hatchet and show their reciprocal respect to fellow members of the community.

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