OPINION

Unity - The way forward

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By: Sameer Fida Hussain

A video evoked a mixed feeling of joy and remorse in me. On one hand the video was utterly humorous but on the other hand the five minute long video conveyed a deeper meaning, the analysis of which gave me a wince. All of them were bursting each other’s balloons. Not for a transient second was anyone trying to save his/her set of balloons, which was the ultimate goal. Consequently, all of them ended up in losing their set of balloons and the visibly distraught contestants stared sheepishly at each other. This is a vivid narration of a short video in which a group of contestants were instructed to save the balloons which they held aloft from bursting.

The contestant who managed to save his/her set of balloons would have proven to be the winner. No sooner the announcement was made, the participants started to target each other’s balloons and eventually all of them ended up on the losing side.

Strong parallels can be drawn between this situation and the predicament in which the Muslim world is finding itself in. The infighting between various Muslim sects is a cause of serious concern. Everyone holds his or her sect high and in the process belittles all other sects. This sectarian bias is a canker which will eat away the future generations and strengthen the hands of the oppressors.

Today the primary cause of bloodletting in the Islamic world is because of the conflict among Muslims. Contrary to the very spirit of the Quran and Hadith, some Muslims have come to regard each other as enemies. At a time when the Muslim world is beset by a whole lot of problems, eruption of disunity and discord among various sects is appalling. We create a wedge amongst ourselves by creating differences on the basis of race, sect, pre-Islamic culture, political opinion, ancestry and even on the Imams we follow. History bears testimony to the fact that whenever there is disunity in a nation, it is a crystal clear indication of its decline and the Muslim nation is not an exception to this rule.

Targeting each other’s sect on social networking platforms is an ominous signal. Day in and day out social networking platforms like facebook and watsapp are flooded with intimidating and provocatory messages. Hate speeches, allegations and counter-allegations have the propensity to snowball into something very serious. Hate mongers and divisive agents keep searching for opportunities to flair sectarian tempers.Religious differences, like the Shia-Sunni issue and other related issues, have always been used by the enemies of Islam to foment discord and animosity. Shia-Sunni divide is a manufactured one with vested interests garnering political mileage out of it. These vested interests use various cards to create or widen the fissures between the two sects. One major area of concern has been the extremist leaders from both sides who draw their political power by perpetuating these differences. Spewing venom by any group in the name of Islam is pure mystification sponsored for purely ideological reasons and political gains as in the case of fundamentalist groups who use Islam to gain power in an undemocratic way.

Discord between Muslims is a handiwork of the West. Anti-Islam countries are constantly working to decimate our identity. Instead of the words “Shia” or “Sunni”, the word “Muslim” torments them. In a strategic way these countries through their mercenaries are propagating their beliefs in the Muslim world. Cultural indoctrination and divisive machinations are potent weapons used by these Zionist forces to weaken our foundations. Islam is the religion of peace and brotherhood but some forces are trying to prove it otherwise. We should not forget that anti-Islam and terrorist forces are stronger than Muslim forces. Hence if Muslims do not formulate a counter-strategy and do not get united they will seldom come out of the dangers that they are confronted with. Both Sunnis and Shias – drawing their faith and practice from the Quran and the life of the prophet Muhammad – agree on most of the fundamentals of Islam. The differences are related more tohistorical events, ideological gaps and leadership issues. People ignore the 99 per cent commonalities that their faiths share but make the 1 per cent difference as the bone of contention. We magnify insignificant differences while at the same time undermine all the things that are common between us. We are busy in the discourse that whether praying with outstretched arms is correct or with folded arms and on their part the anti-Islam and Zionist forces are contemplating to amputate our arms. The root cause of conflict between the two sects is ignorance and negative propaganda by the west vis-à-vis Islam. Experience tells us that differences do creep up even between siblings but in the wake of an adversity the same siblings gel together to present a valiant face to the adversity.

The joint celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) from 12th Rabi-ul-awal to 17th Rabi-ul-awal as Hafta-e-Wahdat (Week of solidarity) as propounded by the architect of Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ayatullah Ruhullah Musawi al-Khmomeni  is a blessing and an important unifying factor. Imam Khomeni (r.a) broke the statues of hatred by ending the difference of date and all his life worked for the unification of different sects of Muslims. Likewise, the celebration of the last Friday of the holy month of Ramzan as International Quds day in order to send a strong message to the world about the atrocities being meted out to Muslims in different parts of the world especially Palestine is an encouraging trend. Iran hosting the 32nd International Islamic Unity Conference is an answer to those divisive forces who want to foment trouble between the various sects of Muslim ummah.

Muslims are the ambassadors of peace and unity. We should realize that working towards unifying various sects is a collective responsibility on all of us. We need to focus our efforts to purify ourselves and eliminate from our communities all those problems that cause division and disunity. We have to rise above the politics of division. There are far more serious issues confronting us and getting united is indeed the need of the hour.

La Sharkiya La Garbiya – IslamiaIslamia (No East, No West --- Only Islam, Only Islam)

Sameerfida2011@gmail.com

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