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Disunity and Decline: A Direct Proportionality

by Dr. Gohar Mushtaq


Today, the Muslim ummah (nation) is passing through a critical stage in history. The decline of the Muslim nation has reached its lowest ebb. There are various reasons for it. Sheikh ul-Hind, Maulana Mahmood ul Hasan (died in 1922 C.E.), who was imprisoned in the Island of Malta by the British government in India, said that during his 4 years in prison, he contemplated over the cause of the decline of Muslim ummah and he reached the following conclusion:

“There appear to be two reasons for the decline of the Muslim ummah today: i) Muslims have forsaken the Qur’an, and ii) Muslims are disunited.”

Allah has sent down the Qur’an for the Muslims so that they would absorb and integrate the teachings of the Qur’an into their character just as the companions (sahaabah) of Prophet Muhammad ( - peace be upon him) did it. Maryam Jameelah, an Islamic scholar, once mentioned that one of the things she observed among the Muslims is that they can sacrifice their life for the Qur’an but they cannot live their life according to the Qur’an. This is a very profound observation. Today, Muslims have made the Qur’an as a ceremonial book, i.e. they use the Qur’an on special occasions for attaining blessings, but they do not use it as the code for their life. The sahaabah used to apply every verse of the Qur’an on their character.

The second cause, which is related to the first cause, is the disunity among the Muslims. The cliché that “Unity is Strength” is nonetheless true. The life history of nations shows that whenever there is disunity in a nation, it is a crystal-clear indication of its decline. The Muslim nation is not an exception to this rule. Allah’s “Sunnah” (way of dealing) is same for every nation. In Qur’an, Allah says:

“So no change will you find in Allah’s Sunnah (way of dealing).” (Surah Faatir - The Originator of Creation - 35:43).

Qur’an teaches us to learn from history and not to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. The following examples from history will elucidate the point:

When Muslims conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) under the leadership of Sultan Muhammad Fatih in 1453 C.E., the Christian popes and priests were disunited and, instead of becoming united and making military plans against Muslims, they were arguing about the following trivial issues in the royal court of Constantine:

i) Did Mary (peace be upon her) remain virgin after giving birth to Jesus (peace be upon him)?
ii) How many angels can fit on the tip of a needle?
iii) What kind of bread did Jesus eat in his last supper? Was it baked or not?

The consequences of this disunity among Christians were horrible. Muslims were easily able to conquer Constantinople, which was the heart of Christian empire.

When the British were attacking and conquering the different Muslim states of India around 1800 C.E., Muslims of the Indian sub-continent were disunited and they were busy in having debates among each other about such issues as:

i) Issue of “Imkaan-e-Kizb” which means “Can Allah tell a lie or not?
ii) Issue of “Imtinaa-e-Nazeer” which means “Can Allah create another person like Muhammad (peace be upon him)?”

The consequence of this disunity among Muslims was not different than it is for any other nation. The British were able to conquer all the Muslim states in India by the year 1857 C.E. Similarly, it was because of this disunity that the Western imperial powers were able to convert the united states of Middle East into the disunited states of Middle East.


(to be continued, insha-Allah)



Published: October 2004


Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756