Unity is to recognize the need for diversity and multiplicity and to foster a free environment where talents and differences of opinion are able to flourish. Unity is NOT conformity. Greater, true unity implies diversity… Real unity, tawhid, is recognizing that the Source is ONE, and THAT One Source has purposefully, knowingly creates this amazing tapestry of different colors, tribes and understandings… The reason we have so many different meeting places is that we all tailor to different needs. This is to be celebrated. For example, there are about 50,000 Muslims in the Orlando area. We have 20+ mosques and centers. Think about it. At most, all in all, about 5,000 people come through the doors of these places in a year. What about the remaining 45,000? Why can’t we reach them? That means we need EVEN MORE places that meets THEIR different NEEDS and WANTS…
One of the most amazing examples of wisdom in Islamic history is how the great imams have recognized and accepted the four schools of thought (mazahib) as all legitimate. They did not get stuck on the technical differences but celebrated the unity of the core beliefs. Can you imagine the rifts that would have resulted if they acted with their egos and rejected ‘the other’ and insisted on THEIR own version ONLY? What unnecessary feelings of division and enmity would have emerged…
Unity is NOT conformity. We are all entitled to our opinions and understandings. Alhamdulillah, we are given this freedom by our Creator, and so no one, with any title or degree, can take that away from us and DICTATE his version of beliefs on us.
When someone comes to me and complains about what such and such organization is doing “wrong”, I stop them and tell them this: THEY are free to do as they please. And YOU are free to do as you please. Isn’t God’s earth vast? Find a place where you and your soul’s needs are met. It is between you and GOD alone. You cannot and should not dictate on them how they do things. And vice versa.
We are here, serving, to the best of our abilities, to God’s people. I love you all, for the sake of God, and I AM SO THANKFUL Alhamdulillah that you are doing what you are doing. Whoever seeks our services, we are insha’Allah filling some part of their needs. We are complementing each other. Not depleting each other.
I seek refuge from my own ego and the satan from ever seeing any other person or organization trying to serve people for the sake of God as competition. May God forgive us if somewhere deep in our hearts we do see each other as competition, and may He forgive us if we bad-mouth each other or gossip about any other person or organization. May God purify our intentions in working for His sake and His sake alone.
Dr. Eren Tatari