I fully support the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's call for unity recently. Everyone knows the outcome of disunity and enmity among humankind. It results in chaos and misery.
The "Islamic world" is known from almost time immemorial to be characterised by disunity and enmity. There are several reasons, among which are vested interest, sectarian differences, and intolerance of differing views.
The Middle East is a hotbed of conflicts, oppression of human and individual rights, dictatorial regimes and corruption. The Middle East is a living example that common language and religion alone cannot unite the people. A sense of humanitarian values and the willingness to adhere to basic universal values of Islam is equally necessary.
One cannot be faulted to say that the Middle East may be full of religion but largely lacking in spiritualism. So much form but little substance. Too much emphasis on form breeds hypocrisy and Allah condemns hypocrisy as a most evil trait. Let us come closer to our own home - Malaysia.
Malaysian Muslim political leaders often deliver speeches calling for unity of the ummah especially during so-called religious festivals. Any Muslim will welcome such calls. However, a call for unity which is not accompanied by consistent programs and deeds towards the call is useless. It portrays the leader as a man of form and not of substance. The leader becomes an insult to the people.
Even worse is when a leader calls for unity and yet he condones or does every act that further perpetuates disunity. This is hypocritical and despicable in the eyes of Allah.
I believe that calls for unity in Malaysia among the Muslims is not totally genuine. It is merely a political call. If it was genuine, Muslims will accept Muslim wholeheartedly in all spheres of their lives. Only recently, a christian Indian converted to Islam and the registration department found it completely important that his race column be written as "keturunan India" - is this necessary? Where is the implementation of the principle that Islam supersedes race? where is the implementation of article 160 of the Federal Constitution that this Indian Muslim is now a constitutional Malay? Why are civil servants allowed to override the clear provisions of the Constitution?
I have many experiences with converts (Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli) into Islam from other races. The convert still is treated as a non-Malay despite the constitutional guarantee that he is a Malay upon conversion and fulfillment of the article 160 of the Constitution. Further, over the years, I have come across cases where quite a number of Penang Malays who have their name changed from "bin" to "a/l" in their nric without their knowledge by the civil servants. Why is this done? Has "bin" become the domain of the Malay and where is this "ukuwaah Islamiah" that many political and religious leaders are so fond of talking about?
There are so many real life examples that I can show to prove that we are still far away from this "Islamic unity" in the country. Political leaders make speeches without serious follow ups and the ignorant civil servants do what they wish. Thereafter, everyone goes to the Friday prayers pretending that all are united.
Let us not play with God for His wrath is unimaginable.