The Tashahhud is what one recites in the second and fourth raka’a (unit) after the second sujud (prostration) in salah (prayer).
5 Different Tashahhud
The Prophet (pbuh) taught 5 different Tashahhud to 5 different companions – Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn Abbas, Abdullah Ibn Umar (the son of Umar al-Khattab), Abu Musa al-Asha’ri, and Umar al-Khattab. They weren’t just any companions, but they were the leaders of the community.
All of these 5 Tashahhud were authentically narrated from the Prophet (pbuh).
Now this is the interesting part: All of those companions prayed in the same Masjid and they were all leaders of the same community.
If we are talking about unity, why would the Prophet taught 5 different Tashahhud to 5 different leaders of the same community? Wouldn’t that caused division within the community instead?
All of the 5 companions never argued with each other on this matter, not even a father (Umar al-Khattab) and his son (Abdullah Ibn Umar). No one was saying that the others were wrong for not following how he recited the Tashahhud.
There was only one criterion that they upheld: the Tashahhud must come from the Prophet (pbuh) himself. If that criterion is met, then nothing else matters.
Nothing else matters.
Unity or “Unity”?
The Prophet (pbuh) built his community without chanting the word “unity” left, right, and centre; a mere lip service. He built a united community through practice. He made unity real.
Today, we hear unity is being talked about like it’s a fairy tale. Unity this and unity that. But there’s no life to it; no content to it. Just a hollow word that is being thrown around.
So lets be real for a moment. Lets not cover up reality with fantasy.
How can we say we’re united when we can’t even pray together because we’re not of the same Mazhab (school of thought)?
How can we say we’re united when parents don’t approve of us marrying someone just because he/she is of a different race?
How can we say we’re united when we have mosques built right across from one another?
How can we say we’re united when we can’t be friends with someone who holds a different political opinion than us?
How can we say we’re united when we can’t be in the same room with someone of a different jama’ah?
The Prophet (pbuh) never taught us that we all have to be exactly the same. Unity is not uniformity. He taught us to be united in our diversity. He taught us to accept and love one another despite of our differences.
Unity in diversity.
But where do we begin? I think, this is an excellent first step: Respecting Differences of Opinion