Muslim Unity (Ittihad) is a term that refers to establishing good and peaceful relations among the various Islamic denominations. The primary objective of Muslim Unity or Islamic Unity is to unite all Muslims around the world. Although some divisions such as Sunni/Shia exist among Muslims, according to the proponents of Muslim Unity these divisions are negligible and Muslims from different countries should forge closer ties with each other. With all the differences Muslims were united and very faithful to their religion. Muslims were the superpower of the world. Muslims were the leaders in setting up the standards for the rest of the world.
It's become cliché to say that Muslims have reduced the religion Islam to rituals and forgotten other important tenets. While it is crucial to practice the main pillars of Islam, for instance, we cannot ignore other basic aspects of the faith that emphasize brotherhood and sisterhood.
Learn tolerance towards other points of view: Isn't it interesting that we can attend classes at college or speak with colleagues from work and discuss issues while being willing to disagree with them? But the minute some of us step into a mosque or Muslim community function, all that tolerance seems to go out the window.
Islam is very broad and wide, contrary to popular belief, and you can find a range of scholarly views on many different issues as diverse. If our scholars from the past and present have shown such tolerance towards differing views on various issues, who are we, the average Muslim, who do not have that level of knowledge, to express intolerance for another point of view? The difference of opinion, which Messenger of Allah, Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) called "Ikhtilafo Ummati Rahmah" meaning "The intellectual difference of opinion in my Ummah is a blessing."
Learn to criticize without hurting: The way some Muslims criticize each other, you'd think they were talking to an Islam-basher instead of a fellow brother or sister. This type of ignorant behavior is a sure way to create anger, hurt and dissension. We must learn the Adab (etiquette) of criticism, whether it is towards individual Muslims or our leaders. Knowing and implementing this will not only help solve problems in a practical manner, but it will also lead to a greater sense of brotherhood and sisterhood in the community.
If you feel that your criticism of someone in the past was rude or hurtful, please go back and apologize to them. Before you do that, pray for that brother or sister, since Messenger of Allah, Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) has said that Dua increases love between people.
Avoid taking a strong position on weak points: There is what's called a "Fiqh of priorities" and this essentially means that there are some aspects of Islam that are more important than others. For instance, it's more important to emphasize that Muslims establish prayer than whether or not there should be a curtain between men and women in mosques.
Dr. Allama Mohammed Iqbal describe the reality in the following Urdu couplet:
Masjid To Banadi Shab Bhar Mein Imaan Ki Hararat Walon Ne
Man Apna Purana Papi Hai Barson Mein Namazi Ban Na Saka
Do not call anyone a Kafir, Mushrik or Bid'atee: This horrible phenomenon of calling fellow believers Kafir, Mushrik or Bid'atee must end immediately, if we want to create a climate that is conducive to Muslim Unity. Calling Kafir is a sure way to isolate individuals from the Muslim community. If a person is expressing ideas that are not in line with Islamic values, s/he must be gently corrected. Calling Kafir will only fuel their ignorance, anger and stubbornness, not to mention humiliate and embarrass them.
Reaching out across ethnic boundaries: The ignorant practice of maintaining "ethnic mosques" is, Alhamdu lillah, slowly but surely disappearing in North America. But there is still a long way to go. All of our institutions, functions and communities in general must become more ethnically diverse and open to the needs and concerns of Muslims of all backgrounds. Muslim leaders and individuals have a duty to ensure that no Muslim, regardless of their ethno-cultural background, feels shut out of the community, ignored or neglected.
This can only be done by Muslim leaders and individuals taking the first step and reaching out to Muslims who may have been traditionally isolated because of ethnicity in mosques and other institutions. It is not enough to just open the door to all. A direct effort has to be made to solicit feedback, advice and support from all Muslims so that they feel a part of the community.
Another, more personal way of reaching out is to invite Muslims of diverse backgrounds to your home for food. Go one step further and extend this invitation to non-Muslims as well to break barriers and share the beautiful teachings of Islam.
Heed the advice found in Surah Hujurat: This 49th chapter of Noble Qur'an provides excellent guidance on the kind of behavior that Muslims should avoid to establish Muslim unity. For instance, Allah (SWT), advises us to avoid mockery, defamation, suspicion and backbiting. These are all things which serve to divide us and create hatred, hurt and dissension because one of the famous traditions of Messenger of Allah, Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) says, "A Muslim is the one from whose hands and tongue other Muslims are safe." [Tirmidhi]
Share the above mentioned tips with fellow Muslims in your community. Suggest the Khateeb during Friday and Eid prayers to use this article as a topic for his sermon. Or you can print this out and hand it out to worshippers or publish it in your local community newsletter. It's also important to discuss it in various Muslim settings to start the thinking and reflecting process amongst Muslims.
Make Dua for Muslim Unity: Ask your Imam to emphasize Muslim Unity as an Islamic duty in his Khutbahs and suggest practical ways it can be achieved in your country or Islamic organizations. Also, suggest to Muslims going for Hajj Pilgrimage to make special Dua for Muslim unity.
Understand that Muslim unity is not an option. In other words Muslim unity is a Fard/Wajib (obligatory duty) according to Noble Qur'an and Traditions of Messenger of Allah, Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him). Consider the following references given below:
Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Qur'an: "And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves." (3:103)
Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Qur'an: "The believers are but a single brotherhood. Make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers and fear Allah so that you may receive mercy." (49-10)
Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Qur'an: "As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah. He will in the end, tell them the truth of all that they did." (6-159)
Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The Muslims are like a body, if one part of the body hurts, rest of the body will also suffer." Meaning that the Muslims, whether they are of Chinese, African or Arabian or European origin, are one Ummah and they cannot be separated from each other.
Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Believers are brethren, their lives are equal to each other and they are as one hand against their enemy."
Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "It is not permissible for two Muslims to be annoyed and angry for more that three days."
Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "When Muslims are angry with each other for three days. If they do not compromise then they go away from the limits of Islam and the one who compromise first will enter Jannah (Paradise) earlier."
The utmost important duty for every Muslim is to preserve and protect the Muslim unity (Ittihad) and not to cause any division in the Muslim rank. O Muslims: Know that union is strength and division is weakness. A building will not be strong except by the cohesion of its bricks. A tower will not arise except on correct foundations and solid principles. So, there are not sects in ISLAM, we should always call ourselves as Muslims, follower of Islam.
You will be shocked at the unity of the Iranian nation. There is no such thing as Shia or a Sunni in their school of thought. In fact the founder of Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (ra), said one who calls himself such a name is not in fact Muslim. The Shia and the Sunni go to the same mosque and are allowed to teach their own school of thought to their followers. All are united under the same leader, the same religion, the same Noble Qur'an, the same Prophet, the same Kaabah and the same Qiblah.
SHIA + SUNNI = UMMAH OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (S)
Finally, make sure that you as an individual are not only working for Muslim Unity but making Dua for it as well, since results are all in Allah's Hands.
Sectarianism serves the purpose of enemies of Islam
islamicoccasions.com condemns and denounces activities that slander the wives of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his noble companions.
We believe that such actions are executed in service of the enemies of Islam who wish to exploit sensitivities and incite sectarianism amongst Muslims.
In this regard, islamicoccasions.com feels obliged to warn the community of obscure persons and organisations that intentionally take advantage of religious symbols in order to provoke tension and hostility, all the while neglecting the major challenges that face by the Muslim Ummah.
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (as) has said: "Is it sufficient for one to associate himself with Shiaism and say that, I am a lover of Ahlul Bayt (as)? By Allah (SWT), our Shia is not, but the one who fears Allah and obeys His Commands."
"If you wish to see one of our devotees then look for that person who abstains from sins and fears more His Creator and remains hopeful of His reward. Whenever you find such an individual then take it for granted that he is one of my devotees." (al-Kafi)
Wa Min Allah Al-Tawfiq.
Supreme Leader, Sayyid Ali Khamenei: Insulting Symbols of Sunni Brothers Forbidden
World Shia Leader, Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa, declared unlawful the insulting Prophet's wife Aisha, and any of the Sunni Islamic symbols.
Islamic World widely welcomed the fatwa of Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei.
The leader of Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei in response to question announced: "insulting the symbols of the Sunni brothers, including the Prophet Muhammad's wife [Aisha] is forbidden. This includes the women of all prophets and especially the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)."
Imam Khamenei's Fatwa and Islamic Solidarity (Sunni Shia Unity)
Chancellor of al-Azhar University of Islamic sciences welcomed Fatwa (verdict) issued by the World Shia Leader, Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei, which bans any insult to the companions of Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.) as well as his wives.
Such insults have always been a source of controversy and dispute between Shia and Sunni Muslims and barred them from forging a robust unity against their common enemies, unlike a multitude of commonalities between the two sects.
Ahmad al-Tayyib wrote in a statement that the fatwa was prudent and timely and would help ram the door shut to seditions.
"I received the blessed Fatwa with appreciation," he wrote.
He said it was incumbent on all Muslims to try to keep inter Muslim unity and no dispute between different Islamic sects should be allowed to harm the unity of Islamic Ummah.
Tayyib also noted that Egypt has ever been at the forefront of every initiative for Muslim unity.
Western media have kept mum on the Fatwa. Source: rohama.org
Statement of Ayatullah al-Udhma Sistani (HA) on the subject of Muslim Unity (Ittihad) and against Sectarianism
In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
"And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;" [Noble Qur'an, Surah Aal-e-Imran (#3), Verse 103]
The Islamic nation is going through difficult circumstances, and facing major crises and enormous challenges affecting its present and threatening its future. Everyone is aware of this situation and needs to close ranks and reject those who fan the flames of sectarianism and we must avoid stirring sectarian differences.
Those differences that have existed for centuries, and no completely satisfactory resolution - pleasing to all parties - seems to exist, and hence should not be pursued for the sake of creating controversy and strife, but only within the framework of scientific research in a sober and in particular in a manner that does not affect the fundamentals of Islam.
Everyone believes in One God, and the message of Prophet Mustafa (S), may Allah shower His blessings upon him and his family, and in the concept of Ma'ad (Ressurection/Judgement), and the fact that the Quran - which is guarded and protected by Allah from distortion - along with the Honourable Prophetic Sunnah (Tradition) which is the source for the Shari'a (Islamic Legal) rulings and the affection for the Holy Ahl al-Bayt (A), peace be upon them, and so on; these basics are shared by the Muslims in general, among which are the pillars of Islam: Prayer, Fasting, Hajj and so on. These common concepts form the basic core for Islamic Unity. We must focus on them to establish closer bonds of love and affection between the people of this Ummah, and indeed do no less than work on peaceful co-existence amongst each other, and move away from bickering and communal and sectarian rhetoric under whatever guise or title.
So every effort must be exerted by all those concerned about the elevation and glory of Islam, and it must be promoted to the Muslims to do everything in power in order to bridge the gap between them, and alleviate the repercussions (effects) of the tensions caused by the political pressure, in order to obliterate any chance of further dissention and division. That dissension - if left untended to - would inevitably give way for the enemies' aspirations - to dominate the Islamic Countries and seize their wealth - to be fulfilled.
However, sadly and regrettably it is evident that certain people and parties are working on a completely contrasting agenda. They have been seeking to perpetuate and increase the division and foster deeper sectarian differences among Muslims. They have increased their efforts lately, especially after the recently increasing political conflicts in the region and the intensification of the fight over power and influence.
They have exerted serious efforts to elucidate and disseminate the ideological differences among different Muslim sects, going so far as to even adding their own made-up differences by methods of tucking and slander, in order to achieve their purposes of discrediting a certain sect and dis-reputing its followers, and intimidating others against them.
And in pursuit of this scheme, they have published in the media - from satellite and internet web sites, magazines and other means - strange rulings (opinions) which are offensive to some Islamic Schools and Sects. They have attributed these made-up rulings to His Eminence (Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyed Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani (HA)), in an apparent attempt to defame his authority for the sole purpose of increasing the sectarian tensions, leading to their specific goals.
The opinions of the Esteemed Sayyed (Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyed Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani (HA)), can only be taken from the reliable sources, such as books of his rulings documented and bearing his signature and seal; and they do not contain anything defaming to other Muslim sects or parties from other schools of thought. And anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of Ayatullah (HA)'s rulings can detect the outrageous lies within what is being said and published.
We can also point out to the stance and statements of His Eminence (Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyed Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani (HA)) during the past years on the issue of the plight of wounded Iraq, as well as his commandment to his followers and imitators (muqallideen) in dealing with their brethren from the people of the Sunnah with love and respect. Also, he has recurrently stressed on the sanctification of the blood, honor and wealth of all Muslims, be they Sunnah or Shia; and that anyone who kills unjustly is to be abjured.
All of this clearly discloses the methodologies followed by this religious authority in dealing with the followers of other schools of thought, and in what light these followers are viewed. Had everyone followed the footsteps of this religious authority, things would have been different from what we are witnessing today in terms of blind violence hitting everywhere, and horrendous murders that do not exclude even young children or old people or pregnant women; and unto Allah do we complain!
We ask Allah, the Mighty, the Most High, to take the hands of all to that which is good for the Ummah and for its best interests, verily He has power and authority over all things.
The office of Ayatullah al-Udhma Sistani (HA), an-Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq - Source: sistani.org
Muslim Ummah is like a Tasbih/Tasbeeh
A Tasbih/Tasbeeh is used to keep count of Dhikr. It is usually made up of 100 beads which are held together in a necklace form by a thread. As long as the Tasbih/Tasbeeh remains in its original form, it can be used for doing good deeds. However, what happens if the thread rips? The beads fall all over the place and create a mess. Similar is the example of this Muslim Ummah. As long as the Muslims remain united together (Sunni Shia Unity), good results will come out of them. However, as soon as they are divided, they will create a big mess, which is clearly visible in these days.
"We Muslims are busy bickering over whether to fold or unfold our arms during prayer, while the enemy is devising ways of cutting them off." Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (ra)