Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Importance of Unity
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

A Persian poet writes: "A hundred times have I fought with my beloved; a hundred times have I befriended her. She knew nothing of my fighting or of my befriending."

This statement may seem to belong to the world of poetry, but it also has enormous relevance to the real world. It gives us an insight into the type of people needed to achieve any great purpose in life, that is, those who possess the quality, mentioned in this verse, of being able to bury within themselves the grudges that they feel towards others.

No great objective can be attained by lone individuals. Several people have to strive together if even the simplest things are to be achieved. But united effort, besides having many advantages, also presents one great problem- the problem of people differing among themselves.

Whenever people work together, it is inevitable that various disagreements and grievances should arise. Sometimes one will receive a smaller share of the credit, while another receives a larger portion. Some attain to high positions while others have to be satisfied with lower ranks. At times, it is something which has been said which offends another; at others it is some ill-considered action which seems to hurt another's interests. Whatever the bone of contention may be, there are bound to be repeated occasions which lead to resentment. There will always be times when one feels anger, jealousy, vindictiveness and animosity towards some colleague.

There is only one practical solution in such situations. That is, every individual has to turn himself into a self-correcting machine. He must defuse within himself the antipathy which he feels towards another. The grudges which he harbors have to be forgotten. Only then will people be able to work and struggle on together.

This is what Khalid ibn Walid did when the Caliph of those days, Umar ibn Khattab, removed him from his post as commander of the Muslim forces in Palestine. At the time, he felt extremely aggrieved. But then he thought: I am fighting, not for Umar, but for the sake of Umar's Lord, it is from Him that I hope for reward, so why be angry with Umar. Instead of airing his grievances, he settled them within himself.

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