By Ali Bulac
May 24, 2015
The greatest disaster that Muslims can ever experience is division by internal disagreements.
Unfortunately, the Muslim world is experiencing widespread unrest, which has led to a division among Muslims. The divide takes a graver dimension on a daily basis, disrupting social harmony. The divide among Muslims means a weakening of Islam and Islamic communities, leading to total collapse.
History shows that even first generation of Muslims had disagreements. Why did the companions who were educated by the Prophet Muhammad resort to violent measures against each other? I do not believe that the leaders of the Umayyads, who acquired control of the central bureaucracy in the second half of Caliph Osman's term, were sincere. They never internalized the message of Prophet Muhammad; they just waited for an opportunity to seize power. But there are also some respected companions including Ali, Aisha, Talha and Abdullah ibn Zubair. Their fight did not stem from tribal identity or considerations. A total of 20,000 people died in the Battle of Jamal alone. Some of them were companions. Thousands of women were widowed and thousands of children were orphaned. For what?
Our Sunni approach discourages any comment on these events. The stance of the early Islamic school of Marjiah on this matter, which basically states that Allah handles this grave sin, has become part of our political culture. Of course, Allah will handle this grave sin that caused the death of thousands of innocent Muslims. There is no doubt about it. But should not we be critical of this?
When I think about the Battles of Siffin and Jamal, I am able to better understand current political developments. If the companions fought against each other, it is only normal that at the present time, Muslims want to destroy each other. When we try to explain the developments with reference to the parameters of the social sciences, we could conclude that there are some determinative factors contributing to the incident. And this can be a relief for us. But aside from social and economic factors, there is another factor that served as a source of clashes in the past and remains so now as well.
The companions behaved under the guidance and protection of the revelation of the Prophet Muhammad in the period between 610 and 632 C.E. A divine script was performed in Mecca and Medina. Everything was done in line with the revelation the Prophet Muhammad received. When there was a mistake or a crime, the Prophet Muhammad settled the dispute. However, after his demise, there was no revelation and no divine protection. People were by themselves. There was no longer a prophet who would do things right. In other words, when the companions committed mistakes, they were not warned by the Prophet Muhammad. They had a tough test. They were motivated by external social and political reasons and factors, but they were mainly driven by their worldly and divine aspirations. And today, maybe there are many external factors behind the current division, but we all are motivated by our own selves. The entire Muslim world is in a state of Jamal or Siffin. Muslims massacre each other every single day. Sectarian and ethnic clashes undermine our power; we cannot find a remedy for even our own problems.
We need to go through a process of self-criticism by taking lessons from the test of the companions. We need to be willing to be bound by the boundaries of Allah. If Turkey does this and we find a solution to our problems, we will serve as guide for the Muslim world as well.