OP-ED

Division Cannot Bring About Strength and Liberty

National Yemen

By Harun Yahya

One of the common features of all those states that have played important roles on the stage of history is that they have established societal unity and integrity. Not one single country has ever managed to be stronger than it previously was after breaking apart. Those that have broken up have either lost their strength or withdrawn entirely from the stage of history.

Germany and Italy are two important examples of this. Both countries established national unity out of small principalities and states, after which they became two of the strongest and most influential European states.

We see the same thing when we look at the history of Islam. It was the unification of different nations under a single banner that made the Umayyad and Abbasid states possible. After the Ottomans had united the statelets spread across Anatolia, they became a force that spread across three continents.

The Islamic world today consists of separate states founded by Arabs, Turks, Iranians and other nations. The Arabs as a people do not belong to one single state; there are many different Arab states, all opposed to one another and in addition, several Arab states today are facing internal upheaval and the risk of fragmentation. One such state is Yemen.

Yemen’s national integrity is threatened by the Houthis based in Sa’dah. Faced by protests endangering the stability of Yemen, President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is striving to ensure order by stating that legal measures will be taken against the individuals involved.

Those people protesting on the streets of Yemen every day – and those trying to stop them – are all Muslims: The Houthi militants and soldiers shooting at one another are also Muslims. If you ask where they are from, they will all say they are from Yemen. They all speak Arabic, all say, “Allah is One” and all say, “Our Prophet is Muhammad (saas) and our kiblah is the Ka’aba.”

Houthis’ beliefs are of a Qur’an-based and therefore supra-sectarian character. The movement holds supra-sectarian and pan-Islamist beliefs. In other words, many Houthis believe in the unity of all Muslims and in the need to build Islamic union; simultaneously, they also lose no opportunity to speak of the virtue and superiority of being Zaidi. They of course say, “We are in the right, and other beliefs are all false.” When the same approach also exists among Sunnis, conflict between the two is inevitable, even though they have many features in common.

Conflict in the political arena is not limited to that between the Houthis and the Yemeni government. It also involves Iran, Saudi Arabia and even America. With the intervention of other countries in the fighting, the Houthi problem in Yemen has become an element of a broader power struggle in the international arena in the Islamic world involving Shia and Sunni. When al-Qaeda also became involved, the fighting in Yemen turned into an international danger threatening to spill over to all the countries of the Gulf and that demands the intervention of other global players. It is thought-provoking that these even include those countries that occupied Yemen and divided the Middle East up under artificial borders under the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

The spirit of union and unity has been lacking, not only in Yemen, but in the entire Islamic world. This not only makes it more difficult to find a permanent problem to existing problems, but also constantly prepares the ground for new problems.

In order for this state of affairs to come to an end and for Muslim communities, Zaidi or Sunni – and all the other communities as well – to achieve peace and security, it is essential for these artificially created divisions in the Muslim world to be eliminated. Muslims are brothers, and it makes no difference whatsoever if they are Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds or Arabs. For that reason they must act out of an awareness that they are brothers and be united in love, respect and honesty, like members of a family. The Islamic world can only attain the enlightenment and peace for which it longs if all Muslims are united as one single heart.

The times when Islamic civilization enlightened the whole world and acted as models in science, art, architecture and commerce were times when Muslims acted in unity and union. It is the climate of peace and trust created by a spirit of unity that lay behind Muslims spreading understanding, reason, science, art, beauty, cleanliness and prosperity wherever they went and that underlay the Islamic world being the most modern civilization in the world. If the Muslim world wishes to regain its former power and prosperity it has to eliminate its internal ethnic and sectarian divisions.

All Muslims are brothers in this world and the hereafter. Allah approves of and wishes Muslims to be united, to stand in the same lines, to support and assist one another under all circumstances, to love one another for His approval and always to be forgiving of one another. Everyone who believes in the existence and oneness of Allah, who believes in the hereafter, who feels a deep love and respect toward the prophets and who confirms and scrupulously abides by the Qur’an is a Muslim. There is no room in the Qur’an for divisions among Muslims.

Divisions are a cunning ruse of satan intended to weaken Muslims. Conflict, fighting, constant hostility and envy wear down the mind and particularly the conscience; they pollute a person’s character and weaken him physically and psychologically. Almighty Allah warns believers as follows in the Qur’an:

Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappear. And be steadfast. Allah is with the steadfast.” (Surat al-Anfal, 46)

It is therefore imperative for Muslims to be united and put aside the artificial divisions that have plagued the Islamic world for so very long. When Muslims are united as brothers, then we can take our place in the world and be a beacon of civilization, modernity and moral values for all mankind.

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com