Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

A Word to the Wise in the Islamic Community | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Since we have not been able to resolve the centuries-old dispute between the Sunnis and the Shias, we have to admit that the dispute exists and that it is our duty not to transform it into a bloody conflict.

The Community of Islam has suffered enough wounds, painful divisions, and calamities. World Zionism is lying in wait for us and scheming to uproot us. What is the use of resurrecting insults, vituperation, defamation, and instigation? What is the use of arousing animosities and highlighting the faults and defects of the two sects? What is hoped to be achieved from shedding the blood or a Sunni or a Shia? Both the Sunni and Shiite sects believe that their sect is the correct one and that the other is false.

One cannot change the convictions of people even if they are invalid. We the Sunnis believe that our path is the correct one. If the Shias believe that we have been remiss and have not done everything we should toward Ahl al-Bayt [The Prophet’s Household] we proclaim strongly and frankly that we seek God’s protection from anyone that has belittled the stature of Ahl al-Baytor that has insulted them. At the same time, we ask the Shias to stop belittling, insulting, and finding fault with the Companions of the Prophet. The defense of Ahl al-Bayt and the prophet’s companions is the duty of every single male and female Muslim.

The wise elders of the Sunni and Shiite sects should seek to nip the sedition in the bud. They should stop the escalation and avoid the use of the language of threats, lying in wait, and considering others as traitors. O Sunni and Shiite wise men, defuse the bearing of malice and grudges and extinguish the fire of sedition. Do not add to the woes and calamities of the ummah [community of Islam]. O Sunni and Shiite wise men, let each one follow his path and road until God is our judge. O Sunni and Shiite wise men, do not give the enemies of Islam the pretext to destroy the edifice of the ummah, rob it of its presence, eradicate its message, and insult its holy places.

O Sunni and Shiite wise men, ban the fatwas that advocate killing and bloodshed and that ignite the fires of animosity, division, and hatred. We Sunni and Shiite Muslims call for peaceful co-existence and for dialogue with non-Muslims. Are we not able as Sunnis and Shias to live together in peace? The one that is unable to fix his home cannot fix the homes of others. In whose interest are rash and reckless voices rising and saying O Shia, kill a Sunni and you will enter paradise? In whose interest are other voices rising and saying O Sunni, kill a Shiite and you will be saved from fire? What logic is this? What reasoning is this? What argument is this? What proof is this?

We say: O Sunni, it is prohibited to shed the blood of a Shia and we also say O Shia, it is prohibited to shed the blood of a Sunni. Is it not high time for us to wake up and listen to the call of conscience, reason, and Shariaa?

There should be no aggressions, no injustice, and no instigation. We should not satisfy the enemy by giving it the chance to divide our ranks. We should not demolish our homes with our own hands and kill ourselves with our own daggers. The best way to solve the dispute between the Sunnis and the Shias is to do what the Bedouins do. If one’s car hits another by accident, they say: Let each one fix his own car. So the problem ends there and then without any traffic policemen or fines or tickets or imprisonment.

So O Sunnis and Shias, let each one fix his own car. God Almighty has ordered us to treat non-Muslims well as long they do not fight against us or evict us from our homes. God Almighty says, “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for your faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for Allah loves those who are just” [Koranic verse, Al-Mumtahinah (The Examined One), 60:8]. And this is with non-Muslims and justice in this context means not harming others and peaceful co-existence with them. So how about with the sects of Islam even if they have differences and are in dispute? What would others say about us if they hear us insulting, slandering, and ridiculing one another? If the brothers and sons of the same man do not resolve their problems and close their ranks before outsiders they will remain subject to animosity, division, failure, and defeat. Let us put aside fiery and hateful speeches and hollow, silly, and rash words. “And holdfast, all together, by the rope that Allah stretches out to you and be not divided among yourselves” [Koranic verse, Al-Imran (The Family of Imran), 3:103].