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The Role of the Elite in Realization of Islamic Unity

But what role do the elite play in the realization of “unity” within the Islamic Ummah? First of all, it should be noted that according to the statement of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, unity does not mean “religious unity” or “geographical unity.” Rather, it means “unity in safeguarding the interests of the Islamic Ummah.”

The emergence of a “new Islamic civilization” is a big dream that cannot come fully about except with the base of a “united Ummah.” A united Ummah (Islamic nation) will be achieved only when Islamic societies become familiar with and understand each other and not only do they believe in “monotheism,” but they also believe in “unity” allowing them to be able to create an “Islamic society.” The vanguards to take this major step within Islamic societies are “the elite.” They are capable of carrying out the duty of directing and guiding people by creating movements among the different strata within Islamic societies and leading them to the desired path.

The “social power” of the elite is to such an extent that they can take control of “public thought” by using this power. They influence the masses and make them flow like water in any direction they want so as to reach their intended destination, which can be either a mirage or a sea full of peace and a sense of life. With the growth of “collective wisdom,” they can determine the real priorities for each society and prevent deviations and digressions.

But who are the “elites in the Islamic world”? According to Imam Khamenei, “Religious scholars, intellectuals, university professors, the enlightened youth, sages, writers, poets, authors, and press managers” are among the elite. Groups and personalities that can be brought under the three titles of “thinkers,” “artistic people,” and “media people” are also among the elite. Intellectuals are actually thinkers who deal more with “thinking” than “thought.” Therefore, these people can easily be in a position of being a “reference” for the majority of “consumers” in the market of thought, especially if this thought is presented as new and friendly thought to the youth and if it suits the audience’s need.

But among the most important factors for the thinkers to become a reference in the arena of knowledge is the “media.” Today, the people in the media have a great “mission.” They are the messengers who have become the people in the “field of culture” in the “war of narratives.” As an intermediate link, they convey the “meaning of monotheism and unity” based on the explanations of thinkers for the different strata in Islamic societies. But the explanations of these thinkers is usually not accessible to all individuals in society, and it is rare to be able to create a general interest in the theoretical works of thinkers unless it is drawn with the magic brush of “art.” “Artistic people” are well able to paint the color of eternity on the theoretical works of thinkers by recognizing human beings’ taste and turning the “knowledge” of scientists into a valuable, lasting product in the media sphere.

But what role do the elite play in the realization of “unity” within the Islamic Ummah? First of all, it should be noted that according to the statement of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, unity does not mean “religious unity” or “geographical unity.” Rather, it means “unity in safeguarding the interests of the Islamic Ummah.” A correct, timely realization and prioritization of the “Ummah’s interests” is one of the Ummah’s expectations from the elite. If the elite, instead of seeking “racial, political, and even scientific tribalism,” seek the interests of the “Ummah,” and if they prefer the interests of the “Ummah” to “personal, family, clan, and ethnic” interests, the culture of empathy and brotherhood will replace spite and hatred. Furthermore, hearts will become connected based on “good behavior.”

“Islamic ethics” is a universal topic for all Muslim ethnic groups and sects who live together as “brothers and sisters in faith” in the vast expanse of Islamic lands. “The Quran” as “the Book of Allah” is the common language of the Muslims, which connects their thoughts. It is a book that was revealed in the “clear Arabic language.” It is the duty of the elite to reintroduce the Arabic language to today’s people as the “language of science” upon which the realization of the “new Islamic civilization” depends. Of course, explaining this matter would require writing a separate article.

As the Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), is a great example for all Muslims who see a manifestation of love for monotheism and unity in his good, blessed existence. These are a common heritage that the elite can rely upon in bringing about the great structure of a united Ummah and connecting Islamic societies together. This “united Ummah” can be a manifestation and a central, main core in the vast geographical area including Central Asia to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

The intellectual unity of the elite in safeguarding the interests of the Islamic Ummah within Muslim societies will give Muslims such strength that even British colonialism and American arrogance will not be able to confront them. Against such a strength, sectarian and ethnic rhetoric will lose color, and the “British Shia” and “American Sunnis” will no longer be effective in misleading the “public opinion” of Muslim societies.

But the prerequisite for achieving such intellectual unity among the elite is struggle and resistance. This Jihad, struggle on the path of God, and resistance is possible by going beyond the “self” to reach “God.” Of course, God’s hand of power is with the people. The elite will be able to play their special role in bringing about unity within Islamic societies only through collective work as one united body.

The elite’s organic view toward Islamic societies, instead of their current mechanical view, will cause the smallest problem for a Muslim minority, whether Sunni or Shia, to be painful for all Muslims. This is similar to the way that if the smallest harm is inflicted upon the body, all of the body’s forces rush to treat it.

Human beings are members of a whole

In creation of one essence and soul

If one member is afflicted with pain

Other members uneasy will remain

(from Saadi’s Gulistan)

Now, if this harm is inflicted upon a vital heart such as the first Qiblah of the Muslims, Holy Quds, people’s duty will be clear.

But the most important organization in Iran that has been tasked with creating links between seminary and university thinkers from the elite in the Islamic world is the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, which holds the International Islamic Unity Conference annually. The creation of the International University of Islamic Denominations is another big step toward carrying out the great mission of training and educating an outstanding generation of the youth in the field of unifying the Islamic schools of thought. These youth will assume the role of the elite in the not-so-distant future in the Islamic world.

If we look at this matter optimistically, training and educating these intellectual elites as ambassadors for bringing unity in the international arena can lead to the production of knowledge and theorizing in the field of unity and unification in the end. Of course, after that there will naturally be a need for a think tank or think tanks, which based on these theories and with a future-oriented approach, will provide strategies and solutions to move from the current situation to the desired one. Of course, all of this will be achieved by paying attention to the unification of knowledge, which is related to the level of the “thinkers.”

Engaging “artistic people” and “media people” will be the next two necessary steps to be taken. Unfortunately, no serious measures have been taken in this direction yet in terms of organization and organizational work. Holding festivals to encourage the elites in the arts and media and awarding special prizes to the winners can be a first step taken in this direction to actualize a united Ummah and bring about the emergence of a new Islamic civilization.

The article was written by Abdullah Farrahi –Researcher and Professor of Islamic History and Civilization, Univ. of Islamic Denominations- and first published in Khamenei.ir.

About Ali Teymoori

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