Importance of Unity
The strength of any group or nation lies in unity. If they unite, they will be capable of facing challenges with ease. Our beloved Nabī sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam has greatly emphasized unity and strove to unite the Ummah throughout his blessed life. Once during a journey, whilst Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam was in his tent, he heard the cries of two Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhumā, one calling out to the Muhājirīn and the other to the Ansār; each one was looking for help against the other. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam fearing disunity amongst the Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhum, immediately got up and quickly reached the place of argument and said, "What is this that I am hearing? The calls of the era of ignorance? Leave it aside, because it is filthy." (Al-Bukhārī) During the period of ignorance, the people were divided on the basis of tribes, and they would support each other only on that basis; who was right and who was wrong did not matter to them. After the advent of Islām they had all become brothers through the Grace of Allāh ta'ālā. Allāh ta'ālā says:
And remember the Favour of Allāh ta'ālā upon you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brothers. (3:103)
Love Leads to Unity
For unity to come into existence, love is necessary. Where there is love there will be unity and where there is hatred there will be disunity. This is why Nabī sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam encouraged all those things that create love and discouraged everything that leads to animosity and hatred. A few examples are:
"Do not deceive each other. Do not hate each other. Do not show your backs to each other. And O Servants of Allāh! Become brothers to each other." (Al-Bukhārī)
"Stay away from jealousy, because jealousy eats away good deeds just as fire burns away dry wood." (Abū Dāwūd)
"The one who severs (ties of kinship) will not enter Jannah." (Al-Bukhārī)
Six Steps to Creating Love
In order to create love between ourselves, we need to do the following:
1) Follow the whole Dīn of Allāh ta'ālā. Allāh ta'ālā says in the Glorious Qur'ān:
"Those people who accept Īmān and carry out good deeds, Allāh will create for them love (in the hearts of other people)." (19:96)
Loving others and not having hatred for them is part of 'good deeds' too. So when people carry out good deeds, they will entertain love for people and as a result people will love them too.
2) Adorn ourselves with good character and from them a very important one is humbleness. Nabī sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said:
"The one who humbles himself for [the Pleasure of] Allāh, Allāh will elevate him." (Al-Bayhaqī)
In order for a person to become elevated, others must have love and respect for him. Moreover, a person with humbleness will respect and love people and will surely be immune from hatred.
3) Help each other remaining within the boundaries of Dīn. Allāh ta'ālā states:
"Assist each other in good works and taqwā." (5:2)
It is human nature that when someone confers a favour upon us, we experience a feeling of love and admiration for them in our hearts.
4) Become abstinent and do not desire what Allāh ta'ālā has given to others. Nabī sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said:
"Refrain from desiring what is in the possession of other people, (as a result) other people will love you." (Ibn Mājah)
5) Exchange gifts. Nabī sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said
"Give gifts to each other, as a result you will begin to love each other." (Muwatta Imām Mālik)
6) Spread salām. Nabī sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said
"You will not be able to enter Jannah until you become complete believers. And you will not be able to become complete believers until you love each other. Shall I not show you something which if you practice, you will love one another. Spread salām amongst you." (Muslim)
Unity is something we must strive for at all levels, from our personal lives in terms of family and friends; on a local community level such as within our masājid, workplace etc; and on a national and international level with brothers and sisters throughout the world. Let us try our best to carry out the above mentioned six points and Allāh ta'ālā will enlighten our hearts with love for each other inshā'allāh. Once this happens, unity will automatically follow.
May Allāh ta'ālā safeguard us all from disunity and everything that leads to disunity and grant us all the ability to inculcate love for one another so that we can remain united. Āmīn.