What Price Unity?
We Muslims in America are seeking a unifying force to bring us together, beginning with our hearts, after which hopefully our bodies will follow easily. There is more often than not a sour taste in the mouths of many ordinary Muslims when the various organizations, bureaus, mosque committees and other groups which claim to represent Islam and the Islamic point of view, take on the methodology, image and practices of the countries which are all too famous for their oppression. Often we, the common Muslim in America are faced with direct opposition to human values as defined by Allah subhanahu wa ta`alahuquq al-`ibaadthe rights of Servants of Allah.
It is often seen that dissenting voices are not met with understanding and an open mind, but are met with vehement opposition and recriminations of "dividing the community." And too often from the back the dissenter is cut to pieces by slander, backbiting and ridicule. Too often, the ordinary Muslims voice is squelched by the "powers that be" at many mosques and Islamic centers, and in many of the organizations attempting to represent Islam in America. It reminds us of the oh-too-familiar squads in the countries of the "Muslim World" from which many Muslims have emigratedwhose sole function is to stifle any voices of dissent or even quiet difference. This politically-motivated desire to seek hegemony over the believers results often in nothing but alienation and estrangement.
The result has been to create a vacuum of love and good-feeling among Muslims in our centers and mosques and a rejection of the common Muslim. The Prophet (s) said, "religion is sincerity" They said "to whom Ya Rasulullah?" He said, "to Allah and His Book and His Prophet and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common people."1 If those who consider themselves activists and Islamically at the forefront of the common Muslims, it is to be feared that true religion will be lost in a series of maneuvers and grabs with this fixation on politicalization of Islam in the prayer-halls and mosques. It is my sincere hope that the many self-appointed and self-promoting leaders who jockey for position will remember the common Muslim. As Sayiddina Yusuf (as) said to his companion in the prison before he was taken to serve the king: "mention me to thy lord"2, we ask them to remember us, the common Muslims, holding fast to our traditional Islam, when they reach the stations and positions they so avidly seek.
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