Unity at all Costs

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Soulveda |   March 28, 2017

There is no greater source of strength in the world than unity, and no greater source of weakness than disunity. That is why Islam teaches one to maintain unity at all costs, no matter how much one has to sacrifice in the process.

When Moses was rescued from the Pharaoh he visited Mount Sinai for 40 days. While he was away, Samiri lured the Israelites into worshipping a golden calf. Moses’ brother Aaron had been left in charge of the people during Moses’ absence. He did his best to discour­age them from worshipping the calf, but with no success. When Moses returned to see his people worshipping an idol he took his brother Aaron severely to task. “What stopped you”, he asked his brother, “from putting the people right when you saw that they had gone astray. Why did you disobey me?” This is how Aaron excused himself, “Son of my mother. Do not seize my beard or the hair of my head. I was afraid that you might say: ‘You have sown discord among the Children of Israel and did not wait for my orders.'” (Quran 20:92-93)

Aaron was responsible for the Israelites while Moses was away. When he saw that the people have been led astray by one person’s deception, he did his best, by verbal admonition to make them change their ways, but his words fell on empty ears. Aaron was a prophet like his brother. In the answer that he gave to Moses, he told him why he had not taken practical steps to arrest this dangerous trend. He had made do with verbal admonition because he feared that to go further and take practical measures would, far from having the desired effect, cause irreparable division among the Israelites, with some people tak­ing his side, and others Samiri’s. Such division would have led to inevit­able conflict. Better, Aaron thought, to refrain from taking practical measures until his brother Moses returned. Then the matter would be settled without the seeds of discord and fratricide being sown among the people.

The fact that Moses accepted Aaron’s excuse shows that both prophets saw the importance of maintaining unity at all costs. Solidar­ity in a community is so important that the greatest prices can be paid in order to maintain it. In the life of a community, everything else comes after solidarity. Solidarity is the first priority. There is no point bringing in other reforms when the unity of a people is sacrificed in the process.