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Comment by Bilal Mahmud المكافح المخلص on August 25, 2019 at 11:33am

Perhaps one of the leading problems in many Muslim communities is that they are made to believe in a black-and-white monolithic understanding of Islam. A big problem occurs when they are exposed to the wide range of (legitimate) differences historically and contemporarily.

According to a 2014 Pew Poll, 23% of Americans raised Muslim leave the religion by adulthood. A monolithic understanding of Islam may have a significant role in the loss of faith of these Muslims. Although sectarianism is thought to be a rare occurrence in many American Muslim centers, sectarian sentiments still linger in the hearts of many Muslims. 

As previously mentioned,  40% of Muslims shared that they have experienced sectarianism, and that’s no negligible number. Intolerance towards other Muslims is draining our time and energy. There is a clear misallocation of resources: instead of addressing the doubts in faith in our Muslim youth with the wide range of legitimate opinions, many resort to using sectarian rhetoric.

Sectarianism is not an intellectual disagreement. Instead, it is marginalization, alienation, and bigotry towards other Muslims from (legitimate) different schools of thought. This could range from excluding minority-school Muslims from Muslim student organizations to declaring other Muslims to be unbelievers (Takfir).

The Amman Message: Efforts to Reject Sectarianism

 The 20th and 21st century saw a lot of highs and lows in inter-school Muslim relations and cooperation. The Amman Message was a great effort where reputable scholars from all Muslim countries came together to clearly define what schools of thought are legitimately Muslim. They signed and agreed on three main points: First, they specifically recognized the validity of all 8 Mathhabs (legal schools) of Sunni (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, and Thahiri), Shi’a (Zaydi and Ja’fari) and Ibadhi Islam. They also recognized Ash’arism, Sufism, and true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim. Second, based upon the definition of Muslims, they forbade Takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims. And third, based upon the Mathahib, they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam. 

The Amman Message was a positive development that accurately presented what the legitimate differences amongst Muslims are. Other significant developments that concluded that Sunnis, Shia, and Ibadis are all Muslims include Al-Azhar’s Fatwa and Al-Sistani’s famous declaration that Sunnis are “not [only] our brothers [in Islam] but ourselves.” These attempts at promoting tolerance and pluralism came from the heart of traditional Islamic scholarship and should be adhered to and revered.

Sectarianism in Islamic History

The attempts at fostering brotherhood are also reminiscent of our history as Muslims, which was, for the most part, is a history of inter-school tolerance. Mecca and Medina under the Sharifs allowed for various schools to practice their jurisprudence freely, as the Sharif family itself eventually was comprised of Sunnis and Shia. Yemen is yet another example of Sunni Shafi’is and Zaydis living together in peace and cooperation. Yemen is unique in that it never developed the notion of a Sunni or Shi’a mosque.

It is well-known that the only way you could tell a Shafi’i from a Zaydi was by the placement of their hands in prayer. Intermarriages between the two schools frequently occurred, among the Zaydi elite and Shafi’i scholars like the Ba’Alawis, as well as among laymen. This is a well-referenced fact: even the famous Yemeni Shafi’i spiritual educator, Al-Habib Ali Al-Jifri, dedicated a speech to explaining the above phenomenon and highlighting that the civil war in Yemen is actually purely political and that sectarianism was previously foreign to Yemeni culture.

The alternative is not pretty. A devastating example of the sectarian downward spiral occurred during the Shafi’i and Hanafi wars, as narrated and recorded in Ibn Abi Hadid’s Sharh Nahjul Balaghah. The people of Isfahan, in 633 AH, were of two groups: the Hanafis and the Shafi’is. They engaged in perpetual wars and displayed conspicuous bigotry (against each other). So, a group of Shafi’is, in an effort to eradicate the Hanafis, went to the Tatar warlords and invited them to enter the city and obliterate the Hanafis. The Tater warlords then began by mass murdering the Shafi’is and enslaving their women, then did the same with the Hanafis.

This is the unfortunate outcome of sectarianism, which cultivates a culture of continuous divisiveness. Even among Sunnis, these divisions found a place to lead one Sunni group to seek to destroy another. The sectarian mentality does not stop by marginalizing people of different sects; it finds ways to divide and pit a man against his brother as soon as they eradicate the proverbial cousin.

Full article:  https://themuslimvibe.com/faith-islam/what-is-sectarianism-and-why-should-muslims-reject-it?fbclid=IwAR0Vwy5K5wFel6eW1XZqByRB5TV3E9mGG2_JBdGRaS8LYTcSUIXqCsZbLCs

Comment by Bilal Mahmud المكافح المخلص on August 25, 2019 at 11:37am
Abu Ruyaa
November 2004
Ramadan 1425 
ammanmessage.com
The Amman Message | The Official Site
Comment by Bilal Mahmud المكافح المخلص on August 25, 2019 at 11:39am

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