Call for Muslim unity at Iftar dinner: - Is it even possible?

Call for Muslim unity at Iftar dinner: - Is it even possible?

CONTEMPORARY writer and commentator on Muslim affairs, Dr Abdulmalik Mujahid, has often posed the following challenge;

“It’s always an amazing sight! Muslim pilgrims standing shoulder to shoulder—of all shades and races, dressed in simple white, stripped of all kinds of worldly barriers, be they of wealth, profession, geography, class, education or other. This enduring image of Hajj is the hallmark of the Muslim Ummah’s unity in its diversity.”

But Dr Mujahid proceeds to ask—If Muslims the world over can show unity during Hajj, why NOT express the same unity in other spheres of their religious obligations?

It is in view of the foregoing that a section of prominent Muslim leaders in Kenya converged on the Jaffery Islamic Centre in Nairobi on 18th May, 2019 where they were hosted to an iftar dinner whose goal was to call for unity among various Muslim communities.

The iftar dinner, hosted by prominent businessman and chairman of Unique Group of Companies, FS Abdullah, brought together Muslim faithful from the Sunni, Shia and Bohra communities. The Christian and Hindu communities were also represented.

Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), Amb Muhammad Mahat, urged Muslims in Kenya and the world over to pay attention to the Quranic teachings on tolerance and brotherhood.    

“While it is crucial to practice the five pillars of Islam, we cannot ignore other basic aspects of the faith that emphasize brother and sisterhood,” Amb Mahat said.

He cited chapter 49:10 of the Qur’an which says—“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear God, that ye may receive Mercy.”

Sheikh Nur Mohammed, a guest speaker from Birmingham, UK, reminded Muslims of the importance of unity and being each brother’s keeper. He cited chapter 3:103 of the Qur’an which reads as follows;

“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God’s favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.”

Also cited to emphasize the need for unity and brotherhood among Muslims is the Hadith of Bukhari, Muslim which reads as follows;

“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 sympathizes with it in wakefulness and fever.”

Mr FS Abdullah called upon Muslims in Kenya to unite and assist each other in promoting and improving their socio-economic status without discrimination on grounds of creed, race or ethnicity.

The key message of the iftar dinner was that Muslims should learn to tolerate each other’s views and beliefs even when such views and beliefs are different from theirs.

“Isn’t it interesting that we can attend classes at college or speak with colleagues from work and discuss issues while being willing to disagree with them? But the minute some of us step into a mosque or Muslim community function, all that tolerance seems to go out the window!”, Sheikh Nur posed.

It was acknowledged that Islam is very broad and wide, and one can find a range of scholarly views on issues as diverse as how to place their hands during prayer to whether or not Muslims should participate in secular political process and government.

Despite these divergences, Muslims were urged to learn the etiquette of criticism, whether it is towards individual Muslims or our leaders. Knowing and implementing this will not only help solve problems in a practical manner, but it will also lead to a greater sense of brother and sisterhood in the community.

“If you feel that your criticism of someone in the past was rude or hurtful, please go back and apologize to them. Before you do that, pray for that brother or sister, since the Prophet has said that Dua increases love between people,” Amb Mahat said.

In attendance was SUPKEM chairman, Dr Yusuf Nzibo, the chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi.

Newspaper Categories

Recent Publications

Connect with Us