Posted by Timige, On 16 Aug, 2023 | Updated On 16 Aug, 2023 No Comments »
I consider as apt and important the theme of this year’s Islamic Vacation Course (IVC) which is “Recapturing the Socio-political Unity of the Muslim Ummah: The Role of the Muslim Youth.” Today, the Muslim Ummah – not only in Nigeria but in different parts of the world — is faced with a myriad of challenges ranging from sectarian hatred, prejudices, ego, lust for attention and power, intolerance and several materialistic interests as well as external influences that have caused disunity and disintegration among Muslims. As Muslim youths, we represent the hope and promise for a brighter future within the Muslim Ummah. Our role in fostering socio-political unity is indispensable. Disunity is a great problem of our time and has caused marginalisation and lack of progress for the Ummah. We must, therefore, know that establishing unity among Muslims is critical to the growth of the Ummah. It is our duty to make efforts to create unity in Islam. I will proceed to suggest ways Muslim youths can work towards recapturing the socio-political unity of the Muslim Ummah especially here in Nigeria.
Deep Understanding of the Deen and Commitment to Taoheed: Today, it is unfortunate that there are a lot of Muslim youths who do not even have a basic understanding of their religion. As young people who want to recapture the lost unity within the Ummah, it is important that we must have deep understanding of the Deen and know what our responsibilities are as Muslims. Having a proper understanding of the Deen is our first responsibility as Muslims. Commitment to Taoheed is a top priority for Muslims. As stated by one of the renowned Islamic thinkers and revolutionists, Imam Khumeni “The Unity of the Muslim Ummah is possible only under the flag of Taoheed.” Toaheed is the foundation of our religion. By upholding the principles of Taoheed and brotherhood, we will be able to foster unity among ourselves. Focus on and Promoting Common Issues: One of the ways we can recapture the lost unity in the Ummah is by emphasising and focusing on common issues, that is, things that we share as Muslims. These days, we Muslims tend to dwell on differences and completely ignore common beliefs and principles we share as Muslims. Belief in Allah, in the Prophet, Solat, fasting, Zakat, Hajj, Qur’an, and many other subjects are common to Muslims.
Focusing on these common things instead of the few differences we have can lead to the unity of the Ummah. In addition, we must avoid taking a strong or extreme position on minor issues. Exercising self-restraint in attacking others: We must show respect for others in discussions and dialogues. Whether on or offline, we must avoid unnecessary ideological debates and embrace scholarly engagements devoid of exchange of insults and unpleasant remarks. Let us learn to criticise or correct others without hurting them. Harsh criticism or attack on fellow Muslims could create anger and disintegration. Avoid labelling fellow Muslims as Kafirs: As Muslims striving to recapture the lost unity of the Ummah, we must halt this ugly phenomenon of labelling fellow Muslims as Kafirs over minor differences or perceived disagreements. 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.
Building bridges across ethnic boundaries: As Muslims, we must consider ourselves as One irrespective of our ethnic differences. We shouldn’t identify as Yoruba Muslims, Hausa Muslims or Igbo Muslims, but as Muslims. We must show concern for the needs and plight of Muslims from all backgrounds. We must ensure that no Muslim, regardless of their ethno-cultural background, feels shut out of the community, ignored or neglected. The glorious Quran refers to all Muslims as brothers and sisters; this is one of the most important factors that can result in fostering unity in the Muslim Ummah. Let me also remind you of the hadith of the holy Prophet that goes thus: “In their love, kindness and compassion for each other, the believers are like a human body: when one part of it is hurt, the rests sympathises with it in wakefulness and fever,” reported by Bukhari & Muslim. While it is important that we practice the five pillars of Islam, we must not ignore other basic aspects of the faith that promote brotherhood. We can cultivate the habit of inviting Muslims of diverse backgrounds to our homes for food and functions for bonding. Such invitation can also be extended to non-Muslims to promote Islam and dispel misconceptions about our religion.
Promoting Inclusivity and Dialogues: In today’s interconnected world, communication is key to fostering understanding and unity. Muslim youths, with their familiarity with modern communication tools and platforms, can lead the charge in promoting cross-cultural dialogue and breaking down stereotypes that hinder unity. This dialogue has the potential to create a more harmonious socio-political environment, where diversity is celebrated rather than feared. Championing Education and Leadership: Education is a powerful tool for empowerment, and Muslim youths can leverage it to revitalise the socio-political unity of the Ummah. By pursuing higher education and acquiring knowledge in fields such as politics, law, and governance, they can occupy leadership positions that enable them to influence policy decisions and advocate for the interests of the Ummah. Moreover, by mentoring and inspiring younger generations, Muslim youths can create a sustainable cycle of leadership that transcends time and ensures the continuity of their socio-political interests.
Knowing that Unity of the Ummah is our Obligation: The success of any nation or association is dependent on the mutual unity and harmony among its members. A strongly united nation becomes an indivisible force and has the capacity to overcome any hinderance that comes its way. As Muslims, we must know that the unity of the Ummah is our obligation which we must fulfil. The Qur’an in Surah Imran vs 103 tells us to hold on to the rope of Allah altogether and do not become divided. This is a powerful message that speaks to the importance of unity in Islam. As such, we must always prioritise our unity over any difference. The enemies of Islam understand quite well how powerful the Muslim Ummah can be when united. This is why they are making ceaseless efforts to cause disunity among us. As Muslim youths, we must organise ourselves to be vigilant and thwart the conspiracies and efforts of the enemies to create rift and disunity among Muslims.
- Being an excerpts from the paper delivered by Omipidam at the opening ceremony of the 27th edition of Islamic Vacation Course (IVC) of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Benue State Area Unit, held in Agatu, Benue State, on Sunday, August 13, 2023.
You will all agree with me that extremism and radicalisation pose significant challenges to the unity of the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, as Muslim youths, we must do our best to expose and counter extremist ideologies, and promote balanced understanding of Islam.
Utilising social media for Positive Change: In the digital age, social media has emerged as a powerful tool for communication and advocacy. Muslim youths can leverage these platforms to promote unity and solidarity among their fellow Muslims, regardless of geographical boundaries.
As I conclude, I encourage us all to always propagate good virtues, and also promote love, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, regardless of geographical, ethnic or religious boundaries. I believe this is one good way we can use to correct some of the wrong notions or misconceptions people hold about our religion. As we gather for this camping exercise, I encourage you to seize this platform to intensify prayers for the sustained peace, unity and development of Islam and our country, Nigeria.
We must strive to pray for and support the current administration. After 1993, this is the first time we will be having another Muslim/Muslim ticket. Their performance or otherwise in four years will go a long way to determine the fate of Muslims in Nigeria’s politics.
I thank you for listening.
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Source: State Oyo - Tribune
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