{Allah is the One who brought their hearts together.} 8:63

One of the major challenges that the prophet ﷺ faced after migrating to Madinah was uniting Muslims among each other. The new community consisted of (Al-Muhajirun) the migrants, and (Al-Ansar) the welcomers. Al-Ansar themselves were of two main tribes: The A’ws and the Khaz-raj.

These two tribes had many wars between themselves in the past, and the last one was only three years prior to the arrival of the prophet ﷺ to Madinah. The prophet ﷺ knew that he needed to unite the hearts and minds first before he could unite the community. This challenge was not present when the prophet ﷺ was in Makkah for three main reasons:

Firstly, the small number of believers and the close personal relationship he ﷺ had with them made this model free from many of the differences that could cause disruptions within even with the diverse ethnic and tribal differences among them.

Secondly, the hardships that the companions endured such as the attacks, the torture, the siege and the two migrations forced upon them by Quraish to Abyssinia left no place for such differences to affect them. They were united through these hardships in a constant status of preserving their faith against such challenges.

Thirdly, the Quran revealed in Makkah was stronger in language, focusing on ethics and universal values that forged such concepts of brotherhood strongly in the hearts and minds of the Sahabah. The verses of Quran revealed in Madinah were directed more to a community who were already believers, setting regulations, matters of ruling, and what is Halal and Haram. And the prophet ﷺ in Madinah had to focus on maintaining a much larger community, their well-being, defending against enemies, and other community issues.

With that in mind, the prophet ﷺ received a revelation in Madinah that I believe summarized the idea that established the foundation of such unity among Al-Muhajirun and Al-Ansar, and all Muslims in general. Allah ﷻ said: {It is He [alone] who has strengthened you with His victory, and with [the steadfastness of] the believers. For [it is] He [alone] who has brought their hearts together. Had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together.  Rather, God brought them together. Indeed, He [alone] is overpowering, all-wise.} 8:62-63.

Some people might limit the idea of bringing the hearts together as a supernatural act of God while detaching it from the concept behind it! I believe, the verse where it said {He [alone] who has brought their hearts together} meant that since the ideology of believing in One God alone leaves no one else as a holy or sacred figure, this demonstrates that all people are equal under God. In other words, the more clear one is about the concept of Tawhid as God is One, the clearer one becomes in the conclusion that humanity is one too and equal under God.

This is backed up by other verses in the Quran where Allah ﷻ spoke about the creation of humans from one soul, and in the Sunnah where the prophet ﷺ said: “All of you are to Adam and Adam is of dust.

I believe the five pillars of Islam also came to strengthen this concept.

The declaration of (There is no God but God) means that all humans are equal under Him. The declaration of (Mohammad is the Messenger of God) means the prophet ﷺ demonstrated in his character the model of equality that people should follow.

The five daily prayers present a status of humility (Khushu’) where Allah ﷻ said: {The ones who attain humility in their prayers…} 23:2, which is the key for mercy in the hearts among people. Mercy gives one the ability to acknowledge the vulnerability of humankind, thus establishing unity among hearts and in the line of prayers as they pray together.

The charity, or Zakat, is a purification for the rich and the poor. The poor, on the receiving end of zakat, are given aid to ease their financial suffering, thereby purifying their hearts from hate or envy towards the rich. At the same time, the rich, on the giving end of zakat, feel that giving money to the poor purifies their souls from greed and arrogance thus establishing unity among Muslims. Allah ﷻ said: {Take from their wealth a charitable offering to cleanse them and purify them thereby.} 9:103.

Fasting the month of Ramadan is the foundation of the moral concept of patience, Al-Sabr. Patience is the key to cope and interact with others who are different than you on all levels. Fasting also makes one feel on some level what the less fortunate people go through when they are hungry and have no means for sustenance.

Hajj, or pilgrimage, is indeed one of the most important factors of unity as it demonstrates the rituals performed together by all Muslims from different ethnicities and cultures around the world.

When two young men from the tribes of Al-Ansar quarreled and both drew weapons to fight, the Prophet ﷺ said: “Is it with the call of Jahiliyyah that you are calling out, and I am present amongst you!” This reminder was enough for people to remember the period prior to Islam and after, and both reconciled and hugged each other.

In more recent times, Malcom X made a beautiful observation about the unity of Muslims in a letter he wrote during his own pilgrimage of Hajj.

He said, “Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures.

America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality, the Oneness of Man and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their “differences” in color.”

Sheikh Kifah Mustapha