Scholar: brotherhood main focus of unity, solidarity
Iranian scholar Dr. Mohammad Ali Azarshab says brotherhood was the main focus of unity and solidarity. Islam refers to the brotherhood.
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Full speech comes as follows: In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Praise be to God, the Lord of Universe. Greetings to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his holy family and selected companions.
I am going to speak in this meeting about brotherhood [of Muslims] and its role in unity and solidarity among the Islamic Ummah. The term "brotherhood" is an important term that Islam and the Holy Quran have strongly emphasized. As you know, Islam emerged in the Arabian Peninsula at a time when the tribes were at odds and there was a disintegrated society. In other words, there was basically no society at that time, because the tribes and nomads were all separated from each other due to conflicts and differences. The great miracle of Islam was transforming the conflicting tribes into a united nation. Brotherhood was the main focus of the unity and solidarity. Islam refers to the brotherhood. Holy Qur'an says: "The believers are but brothers". The Holy Quran is the rope of brotherhood of believers. Muslims should quickly repair everything that harms this brotherhood. Almighty God has mentioned in the Holy Qur'an: "The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers." Based on this, everything that harms the unity and brotherhood between Muslims and believers must be corrected. This is what we need in Islamic societies today.
Today we are witnessing many conflicts in different parts of the Islamic world. Take conflicts in Sudan for instance. Where are the believers to stop these conflicts and establish peace among Muslim brothers? So, Muslims and the faithful need to re-establish their relations if their brotherhood is negatively affected. Indeed, brotherhood is a great blessing that God has granted to the Islamic Ummah. God reminds Muslims and believers of the blessing: "Remember the blessing that Allah bestowed upon you: you were once enemies." On advent of Islam, the enmity between the tribes of Os and Khazraj was institutionalized. Islam came and turned the enmity into brotherhood. God says in the Holy Qur'an: "Remember the blessing that Allah bestowed upon you: you were once enemies then He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessing you became brothers. You stood on the brink of a pit of fire and He delivered you from it."
“The brink of fire” means abandoning brotherhood and welcoming enmity. It was the Almighty God who, through Islam, saved the conflicting tribes from enmity and led them to brotherhood. As I mentioned, God said in the Holy Qur'an: " Remember the blessing that Allah bestowed upon you: you were once enemies then He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessing you became brothers. You stood on the brink of a pit of fire and He delivered you from it."
This was a great blessing that God gave to believers. The purpose was to turn the tribes that are in conflict with each other into a united nation. There should have been a main and fundamental axis for ending the separation and division of believers, and the axis is brotherhood. This is the same brotherhood that Islam has spoken about. It was Islam that created brotherhood between the Muhajir (immigrants) and the Ansar (Helpers of Prophet). Islam wanted to strengthen the spirit of brotherhood in the society. Here, it is important to know of realization of brotherhood in society. We need to stabilize and strengthen brotherhood in our society so that we can emerge as a single nation. But how can we establish the spirit of brotherhood in Islamic societies? To achieve this goal, it is necessary to remove the obstacles on the way of brotherhood.
What are the obstacles in the way of brotherhood in the society? Here I am going to talk about a noble verse in the Holy Quran. It is true that this honorable verse speaks about the people of heaven, but this statement also applies to the people of the earth. Almighty God says in the Holy Qur'an: "And We shall purge their breasts of all traces of rancor; and they shall be seated on couches facing one another as brothers.” This means that relinquishing bad temper will lead to brotherhood. Now the question is what are the bad moods? Today, we are witnessing some unpleasant things that prevent brotherhood. The first bad mood and the worst of them is selfishness and arrogance. That is, when selfishness and arrogance arise in a person; he looks at everything from this standpoint. It is natural that others also have their own selfishness and this is where a battle between selfish people takes place. Therefore, if the society is drowned in selfishness, the conflict in this society becomes widespread, because everyone tries to achieve their selfish goals. Through Islam, God Almighty was able to end the selfishness and arrogance [of the tribes].
Another bad mood which prevents brotherhood is the tendency to bigotry mixed with racism. These tribal and ethnic prejudices provoke conflicts with others who are also prejudiced against their own tribes and ethnic groups. It is these fanaticisms that cause nations to enter into conflict with each other. Islam strongly opposes this type of bigotry and racism. As you know, this bigotry was widespread in the Arabian Peninsula. We observe this bigotry well in the poems of the period of ignorance and in the poetry of those eras and we see how in these poems, the tribes mocked each other. Based on what has been said, the mission that the Messenger of God (PBUH) undertook was to eliminate fanaticism in the Arabian Peninsula.
Even today, we need the elimination of bigotry among different nations and ethnicities like Persians, Turks, Arabs, etc. Even today, there are evidences of prejudice as references have been made to them in many books on the history of literature, in many poems and in many speeches that are heard from here and there. All this means that tribal and clan bigotry still exists at this juncture. To overcome this bigotry and reach brotherhood, we need Quran’s guidance. If we be able to overcome bigotry, there will be brotherhood of believers. Tribal and ethnic prejudices prevent brotherhood in the Islamic society. Today, various ethnicities live in the Islamic society, including Arabs, Turks, Hindus, etc. If the tribal prejudices are to dominate these ethnicities, there will no longer be brotherhood among nations. Another bad mood that prevents brotherhood of believers is sectarian and tribal bigotry. Naturally, there are many schools of jurisprudence in Islamic thought and Islamic jurisprudence.
If these denominations move to bigotry, then many achievements which need to be created in them will be spoiled. The fact is that schools of jurisprudence and thought are considered a treasure for the Islamic society; Of course, it is only when there is unity and understanding between the schools. Otherwise, there will be conflict and tension between the schools. If so, it will be of no use to have such schools, because they will serve as a means for racial bigotry. The conflicts that we see today between some religions and schools of jurisprudence are naturally an opportunity for the enemies of Islam to move into the ranks of Muslims and prevent their brotherhood and eventually, destroy the spirit of nations’ love.
Another indecent mood is gender hostility of men and women, which removes brotherhood of Muslims and mankind: Man tries to dominate woman and abuse her. Sometimes, certain trends try to prevent men from fulfilling their role in the family and society. This causes a conflict between men and women. Naturally, such a situation is no less harmful than the conflict between nations and tribes. Today, we see diversity in the classes, tribes and ethnicities in the societies. The Holy Quran says: "Human beings, we created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another." What is the meaning of getting to know each other? The main purpose is that there should be scientific and knowledge exchanges between men and women, between ethnicities, between tribes and between nations. If the relations between the said parties are based on knowledge and information sharing, then conflicts will be replaced by peace and friendship between nations.
What’s important is the kind of measures which need to be adopted to eliminate the impediments to brotherhood. One of the moves need to be taken in this connection is holding relations based on kindness and friendship. Noble hadith says, "No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself". If relations among human beings and with God are based on kindness and friendship, conflicts will end and people will be kind towards God as they hold kind relations with each other. The kindness and friendship are emphasized by Islam so that society moves in a way to lift impediments to brotherhood.
Hence, brotherhood will be possible if obstacles on the way are eliminated. As said earlier, holding relations full of compassion and kindness are what needed in this respect. I pray God Almighty to help Islamic Ummah remove obstacles on the way of brotherhood. Furthermore, I ask God to grant us kindness and friendship to be able to lift impediments on the way of brotherhood.