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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The split within Islam must end

The split within Islam must end
5/13/2006 - Social Religious - Article Ref: IC0605-2994
Number of comments: 50
Opinion Summary: Agree:39 Disagree:4 Neutral:7
By: Abdullah Al Rahim
IslamiCity* -

What is it that makes people slaughter one another in the name of
religion? Which among all these warriors can claim the integrity to
dictate the terms by which God is to be venerated and who is to be
slaughtered in God's name? They call these sects Sunni and Shia. So I ask, which
one of these post Prophet innovations called sects did the holy Prophet
Muhammad belong to? Which of these slaughters will he approve of,
should he come back today?

We hear in mosques every time the word Bida'a [innovation] which is
used to fight anything new we come up with, even if it is positive. So let
me ask both, Sunnis and Shias, what are these sects, are they not
innovations [Bida'a]? The most dangerous of all innovations which have never
united but always divided the house of Islam.

When will those who point fingers at one another, call each other all
sorts of names and deny the Islam of one another understand the meaning
of these words from the Quran "O you who believe, Let not some men
among you ridicule others, it may be that the latter are better than the
former. Nor let some women ridicule others, it may be that the latter are
better than the former, nor defame nor call each other by offensive
nicknames..." (Quran 49:11). We ask the non-Muslim to respect Islam, and
rightfully so. Do we ourselves respect Islam?

Where are the religious leaders of Islam? Why this silence? Where are
the Muslims who should protest against the sacrilege that is happening
in Muslim countries around the world. Standing before the Holy Ka'aba in
Makkah, the Prophet is reported to have told the Ka'abah, 'Oh you
sacred Ka'abah, the blood of a human being is more sacred than you'. Do we
understand the meaning of these words?

This split must be done away with and it's time that we learn to
co-exist despite whatever dogmatic or historical differences of opinion we
might have. We agree on the roots of our faith; that there is a God above
us, that Muhammad is His last Prophet, that the Quran is His last
testament. We have differences of opinion over the branches. These
differences of opinion need not be the cause over which we fight but the
diversity of knowledge whose wealth we gain from. God in the Quran says, 'This
nation of yours is one nation, and I am your God, so worship Me'.
(Quran 21:92)

And as if already addressing the split that will happened later because
of the historical difference in the succession of leadership, we are
told in the Quran, 'That was a people that has passed, they shall reap
the fruits of what they did, and you shall reap the fruits of what you do
and neither will you be questioned about what they did'. (Quran 2:134)

Here we are, fourteen centuries later, fighting and killing each other
over how it all happened and who was who or who should have been the
political leader after the Prophet? Indeed, we will not be questioned
"about what they did". But we will certainly be questioned about what we

And what are we doing? Muslim lands are under occupation. Muslim
children lack proper schooling, most Muslim countries, despite Muslim wealth,
do not even have proper electric generation to light our homes or
hospitals to treat our sick or clean water supply to quench our thirst. When
earth quakes hit Pakistan or Iran or any other land, Muslims are the
least to reach out to those areas with aid. Count the aid that reached
the far-east after the Tsunami from Muslim countries. It's shameful.

The enemy we must fight is within our midst. He is called poverty,
mistrust, inequity, illiteracy, injustice, malnutrition, backwardness and
so on. This is the real enemy, not Sunni or Shia who are both Muslims.

It's time we summon the courage to take an introspective view of
ourselves, to honestly and sincerely revisit ourselves, both, at the
contemporary and historical levels, and to discuss matters in the spirit of
Islam. Its time we discuss openly whether we should abolish innovated
sects and replace them with original Islam. It is not a shame for us to
follow the example of the learned scholars of our middle ages who had the
courage to debate matters that we today, in our backwardness consider

To serve Islam we must have the ability to discuss issues openly within
the spirit and respect that Islam has taught us. It is not Islam that
is backward. It is our understanding of Islam that is backward. Islam is
the most revolutionary religion and way of thinking. But Islam requires
its adherents to be able understand the spirit of its laws as well as
the letter. Unless we are able to do that, our benefit from this great
religion will be lacking and our ability to take advantage of its
flexibility will be lost.

Islam started among Bedouins in the desert. Islam then integrated other
races and ideas and became a great nation and a world power. Islam is
still capable of doing that, perhaps more so now with the technology
available. The question is, can we measure up to the standard of Islam, or
are we still busy reaching for each other's throats in the name of
innovated sects.

Abdullah Al Rahim is a Yemeni political writer. He can be contacted
at rahim321@hotmail.com



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