Plato, the teacher of Aristotle, said that a leader is an asset of the state. Plato further says that a leader always is a philosopher, one who is devoted to truth. In this respect, Islam advises the Muslim community to work under the watchful eye of a just ruler. A leaderless community can never flourish. Other religious and non-religious scriptures also stress upon this fact. But if we talk of Muslims in particular, they have innumerable leaders. Why is it?
After the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he was not laid to rest until the leader of the whole Ummah was chosen. They, the companions of the Prophet, knew that they were advised by him to be aware about the fact that a leaderless community never finds rest. It keeps moving to and fro without any fruit. Such was the concern of the companions of the Prophet that they didn’t bury their leader but instead preferred to first choose a leader of the community. We can compare this with the present situation. Today, the Muslim Ummah is divided into 57 countries. Some countries are monarchies, some are democracies, some are Islamic States. But the common thing among them is that all are going in different directions. They have forgotten the lesson that the Muslim community is one body. If one part of the body aches, the whole body feels the ache. Today, there is no one Muslim body. It is a well-known fact that the most bloodshed happens in Muslim countries. Muslims are the followers of one of the most peaceful religions of the world but they are acting in a way that compels any person to think that they are the most dreadful persons in the world. Why does it happen? It is because we don’t want to assemble under a single authority. We want to keep our divisive shops open for materialism. We never bother to walk hand in hand with our Muslim brethren. It is the handiwork of our own. No one comes and disintegrates us. We like to live sectarian lives. In this way, the thread of unity is slit. The community becomes rudderless.
Sects always are harmful. Minor issues can be kept aside but the majority of the principles can act as a source of unity. But we let those persons speak who highlight minor issues and create sects. They deploy tactics that create a wide chasm and the best of the society is ruined. Everywhere, these preachers have brought more harm than gain. If in academics we look for highly qualified scholars, why in religion we follow preachers who don’t even know the meaning of one holy verse? They follow their whims and speak foul against others. It paves the way for intolerance. The result is that we become prey to division.
The second cause is that the sectarian books are provided free. They reach the remotest parts of any area. They create sectarian divisions in society. The person who dreams of unity is left clueless because we as a community almost worship preachers and orators. We never pause for a moment to think that these preachers are like us and are prone to mistakes. They can be wrong at any time. We, being narrow-minded, take everything as gospel truth.
The third cause in my opinion is the mushrooming of Masjids. It can be due to religiosity but these do not serve the real purpose of a Masjid. The concept of Jama Masjid means that we should assemble in a single place and live like brothers. Our Creator says, be faithful unto each other as brothers. But our walls of faith have foundations of sand. Any minor issue shatters our foundations and we are divided into parties. Then we construct our own Masjids. We can’t shun the examples shown by our beloved Prophet who advised his companions to offer congregational prayers so that the custom of being rich and poor, black and white, Arab and non-Arab, is erased from the lives of people. Today, when the world needs peace, we love violence. There can be many ways of offering Namaaz but the important thing is that one should bow his or her head. Pride should be erased. The created should know his or her Creator. It is the essence of Islam. We should also learn to accept dissent. Until and unless dissent is heard, only intolerance will grow and nothing will change on the ground. Let us like true Muslims ponder over our wrongdoings and vow that we will not create more sects that act as an obstacle in choosing a leader for the whole Ummah. Let us leave the minor issues aside and accept that which is common. Why the 57 countries can’t choose a single leader in the light of the Qur’an and the traditions of the holy Prophet Muhammad? Wisdom is the asset of the faithful. Let us find and love wisdom.