Islamic unity and
Sayyed Fadlullah: All conscious and open-minded religious scholars
whether Shiites or Sunnis should hasten to meet and start making every
effort to circumvent this escalating sectarian discourse.
Asked in his
weekly seminar the following question: How
does Islam view the issue of unity, especially in this difficult
The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad
Hussein Fadlullah, said:
Islam has always been concerned to protect
the Islamic nation from division. It also wants humanity in its
entirety to seek to build civilizations on the basis of a
general unity that agrees on common principles, since one of
Islam’s major goals is to provide favorable political social
and economic atmospheres for humanity to progress,
scientifically. And this in turn will provide prosperity and a
feeling of safety to all nations on earth.
On the Islamic level, Islam has viewed
Islamic unity as one of the sacred issues that no one should
tamper with, or even hurt the Islamic societal solidarity
whether in his discourse, practices or actions.
Islam also called to demonstrate all signs of
unity in the Friday prayers as well as in pilgrimage and other
Muslim occasions which ought to reflect the image of Muslim
unity despite the differences of sect and race.
Islam even gave the higher interest of the
nation precedence over other interests, and called for freezing
the demand for any major right to preserve Islamic unity. That
is why Imam Ali (a.s.) opted for peace as long as it was in the
interest of Islam and Muslims. And that is why we used to say to
all Muslims that they have to learn the lessons of that
experience in which Imam Ali (a.s.) rose above all personal
rights and became the first champion of Islamic unity.
But the problem is that we have not, and for
hundreds of years, upheld this unity that safeguards the
interests of all Islamic sects. Instead, every party was
concerned with his own interests paving the way for the
foreigners to exploit the situation by claiming to support
certain parties against others. In the end, they were able to
dominate us, since they acted on the basis of a well organized
plan while we were driven by our divisions and factional
We believe that this is one of the most
dangerous things that has led us as a nation to where we are,
for we do not have the mentality of dialogue which the Quran
wished to educate Muslims on. The problem is that Muslims have
ignored the Quran when it came to their political, social and
Therefore, we have to change our mentality of isolation and
exclusivism to one of opening up and embracement.
The Arabs and Muslims in general are raised
on a devastating education and an exclusivist mentality that
does not recognize the other; and consequently it tries to
present arguments that aim at destroying the other.
Therefore, we call for a fresh start of
laying the appropriate foundations of accepting the other in the
Arab and Muslim world.
Let us start from square one in the
educational sphere and try to build a mentality that accepts the
other as he is and discuss with him his vision as he sees it…
Shiite Muslims should discuss their own internal differences and
so should the Sunnis do, before they would all engage in a
general dialogue workshop that alone could reach a common ground
that promotes unity and stop this attitude of throwing
accusations of deviation and unbelief.
Such an attitude gains more vigor as the
international axis creates more catastrophes. This is what is
happening now in Iraq with the aim of extending the state of
division to the entire nation.
We feel that these sectarian and subjective
arguments, and these articles in the papers, on the net or
through TV talk shows are not only counterproductive but also
They review history in a biased and
instinctual way, and make comprehensive and decisive judgments
in a way that makes the follower feel that they are either
knowingly or not knowingly about to destroy the nation to the
benefit of the American occupier and Zionist usurper.
Thus, I consider that these debates and this
jumping over what the occupier wants in the region in a way that
serves its interests...This intentional or unintentional
concealment of the occupier’s role, and this bringing to the
fore the so-called Shiite and Sunni threats, is one of the
greatest crimes against Islam and the nation, especially that it
is taking place at a time the occupation is threatening several
Islamic states with war or siege.
I would like to repeat the call to all
conscious and open-minded religious scholars whether Shiites or
Sunnis to hasten to meet and start making every effort to
circumvent this escalating sectarian discourse, and to diffuse
the mines the proponents of this discourse are planting and
presenting, as a free, or paid for, prize for the occupier. I
call on Shiite scholars in particular to turn the occasion of
Ashoura into an occasion that serves Islamic unity. It is
unlawful to use the Ashoura sermons in a way that undermines
We are in the midst of one of the most
difficult stages in our history, in which we are desperately in
need of our unity and solidarity at least to preserve whatever
position we are left with among nations.