Allah says in the Quran:
“O ye who have believed,obey Allah, and obey His messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best (way) and best result.”
–Soorah Al-Imran, 3:59
Also, Abu Hurairah reported that the prophet has said:
“Whoever obeys me, obeys God and whoever obeys the ruler, obeys me. Whoever disobeys me disobeys God and whoever disobeys the ruler, disobeys me.”
–Ibn AbiShaybah, No. 32529
Also, Ibn ‘Abbaas narratedthat the Prophet of Allah said:
“Whoever finds something detestable with his ruler, he should observe patience. For whoever detaches himself from state system an inch and dies in this state, indeed dies a death of the age of ignorance.”
–Bukhariy, No. 6645
During a session at my hall mosque, the Imam narrated an event that occurred in another hall of residence. He explained to us that rain fell one day when they were in the mosque and so someone from the congregation in the mosque asked that Jam’u (joining of two solats) be observed. The Imam of the hall declined for some reasons, which he stated and yet the brother, with some other brothers, stepped to the back of the mosque and offeredJam’u. This is but complete disobedience to the order of a ruler. And Islam has frowned at this really much. This is just one of the countless ways through which we ignorantly and unnecessarily contravene the orders of our rulers. This is an evil that has caused great disagreement and disunity among Muslims today.
Some of us do not know that it is in our coming together that we find strength as Muslims. Because of pride, we feel we are too big to be corrected. We desert Muslim gatherings because we were told that our trousers are too long or that keeping the beard is better for Muslims. If someone tells you that the way you stand in prayer or raise your hand for the Takbir is wrong, you should embrace the person with a sincere hug. You should be happy that someone is concerned about your Akhira. You should never look at them contemptuously or for that, keep malice with them.
To a large extent, our rulers have right to order us to do (or not to do) certain things, so far these do not mean to disobey Allah. It is not right for anybody to deviate when a Muslim gathering has agreed upon something. An example of this is if the Muslims have agreed (or our leader tells us) to vote for someone in an election, it is not right for any of us to carry this news to the people of opposite faith. The harm this can cause is immeasurable. Such an action is even detested in Islam. It is complete hypocrisy which is punishable.
In order to forestall disunity amongst us, we should be happy to be amongst our Muslim brethren. If someone comes to visit you, do not hide your food from them. Remember that the earlier Muslims would prefer to sleep with an empty stomach than to feed it, when a fellow brother is hungry. We should be concerned about ourselves and be ready to offer sincere help. If it has been long you saw a brother or sister at the gatherings, please knock on his/her door one day to ask why he/she has not been coming. Sincerely, it may be that knock on his door that will save him/her from apostasy. What a great reward that is for you.
Brotherhood is what Islam encourages amongst the Muslims. Islam is not after an organisation claiming to be better than the others. Allah even said that on the day of judgement, what men shall be judged with will be on (or from) what he put forth in worship while on earth. If sincerity is lost in what we do, if we are after confiscating resources to our side in favour of members of our group, we are not calling to unity among ourselves. And Allah will punish whoever does this.
In our campus, we have an Amir to lead us. Whatever he says counts and whatever he orders us to do (which must conform to the rulings of Islam) must not be rejected. When the Amir says we are cleaning the mosque today, it will not be right for anyone to stand and leave except for valid reasons whichmust be stated to the leader in charge before leaving. It is also not right to leave a gathering as a Muslim until after informing the moderator or leader in charge.
Following all these will help the Muslim Society in maintaining order and unity. It will increase the level of respect we have for ourselves and will cause us to fear Allah and the torment He can measure on anyone who fails to fear Him.
Lastly, the prophet, as reported by ‘Abdullah, said:
“To listen to and obey (the rulers) is the duty of every Muslim, whether he likes what he is commanded or detests it, as long as he is not commanded to do some sinful act. When he is required to do some sinful act, he may not listen to (the rulers) or obey (them).”
–Bukhariy, No. 6725
I pray that may Allah overlook our shortcomings, especially those involving disrespect for and disobedience of our rulers. May He keep us firm on the path of Islam, resurrect us as true Muslims and admit our souls into Jannatul–firdaus (Amin).