When Muslims resorted to group think and a hive mentality as a result of external threats, that’s when Islaam was lost. Sectarianism is just that ; group think. It undermines Islaam because it puts one’s focus externally, on the other/s, whereas Tawheed is an internal focus. It’s only through the individual that the collective can unify because the collective is nothing but unity between individuals.
What you see now of Muslims is pathetic. Just now the reason for that. We fell for the bait of colonialism by trying to defeat it and we remain in the clutches of a defensive ego ever since. We were given to protecting empires and power instead of integrity and reformation. We feel we can’t reform until we become established, but it’s the other way around ; we have to break it all the way down before we can build up again.
You’ll find people talking for and about Allaah with absolute conviction but they’re really using His authority as a veneer and veil for a frail ego. It’s understandable that we’re undergoing an existential crisis and we have no idea what we’re doing. That’s why I find it absurd when people rile against haraam police or what the “ummah” does that is problematic because that’s assuming “they” are conscious. They are not. Anyone conscious doesn’t stagnate and they don’t inflict suffering. They sure don’t create hegemonies where gatekeepers filter people out based on their identity.
The ethos of Islaam is to stick to the body of Muslims. But not so for this era. It’s one where the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wasallam said to stick to seclusion because of the chaos and conflict that is taking place in the collective. And it’s one where the Prophet said our numbers won’t avail us, and in fact there will be a plentiful of polemical speakers void of substantive knowledge.
And as a curious aside, the Mahdi is said to be guided overnight literally, and Isa alayhissalaam will come who was the black sheep of his time. Again, reformed individuals bring reformation. This is a divine tradition.