When I was researching Islam, in addition to reading I spent a lot of time talking to people on the internet. I came across some very nice people in Islamic chatrooms and many people who seemed to have good knowledge into the religion. Two Muslim sisters took it upon themselves to spend time explaining to me about the religion and answering my questions and concerns.
I made my decision to convert to Islam. The 2 girls made an appointment with me to meet them at the local Masjid (mosque). My first impression of the masjid was one of shock as I didn’t know it was that close to my home and never saw it before. I must have passed by it hundreds of times and never saw the massive domed building!
Anyhow, as I met them in the parking lot of the masjid, they gave me a prayer rug, Qur’an and some other gifts. They then instructed me to visit the Sheikh and told me what to expect.
I asked them a last minute question. “Is this a Sunni or Shia mosque?” They replied to me that it makes no difference. They said that they are both Shia, but most of the people at the mosque are Sunni, but the important thing is not to focus on the differences. It is more important that I am interested in becoming a Muslim.
Now, being an American, this resonated with me. We should learn to respect each others differences and come together as a Muslim community. It is something I felt was lacking in Christianity. It is also something that has created in me a deep seeded loyalty to the idea that Sunni and Shia must look past madhab (schools of thought) and unite on the pillars of Islam.
1) Islam does not require a Muslim to follow a particular Madh’hab (school of thought). Rather, we say: every Muslim has the right to follow one of the schools of thought which has been correctly narrated and its verdicts have been compiled in its books. And, everyone who is following such Madhahib (schools of thought) can transfer to another school, and there shall be no crime on him for doing so.
2) The Ja’fari school of thought, which is also known as “al-Shi’a al- Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah”(i.e., The Twelver Imami Shi’ites) is a school of thought that is religiously correct to follow in worship as are other Sunni schools of thought.
Muslims must know this, and ought to refrain from unjust prejudice to any particular school of thought, since the religion of Allah and His Divine Law (Shari’ah) was never restricted to a particular school of thought. Their jurists (Mujtahidoon) are accepted by Almighty Allah, and it is permissible to the “non-Mujtahid”to follow them and to accord with their teaching whether in worship (Ibadaat) or transactions (Mu’amilaat).
Mahmood Shaltoot. ~Al-Azhar University
What I often forget is that most Muslims do not feel that unity is as important as their tribal behaviour, politics or religious indoctrinations. Deep seeded hatred exists in the Muslim world and it isn’t just along religious “madhab” lines. Religious sectarianism, revenge, nationalism, racism, tribalism and many other components exist.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves. ~Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon
It’s important that we do not get caught up in the struggles of our brothers and sisters in politically volatile countries. We need to focus on perfecting ourselves and fixing out Ummah from the bottom up. We can’t build a house from the roof to the foundations. It must be built from the foundations up. Installing a Khilafah by using brute force and injustice, is contrary to the example and words of the Prophet Muhammad. In addition, it is not legitimate if the foundation of support does not already exist. The people must want it and it must be established in justice from the foundations up.
What ISIS has installed is purported to be the re-establishment of the Khilafah, but it is divisive, violent, sectarian and hateful. It is just another unjust system of control in which Muslims in the Muslim world are so familiar.
I’m afraid that our religious establishments are not fit to rule us any better than those people (secularists) who already rule us. Perhaps we won’t be fit to rule until the day we see al-Mahdi arrive. Allahu ‘alim.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead a prominent nose. He will fill the earth will equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years. ~Sunan Abu Dawud (The Promised Deliverer (Kitab Al-Mahdi) Book 37, Hadith 4272)
I long to see the day of the re-establishment of the Khilafah which establishes a foundation to fill the earth (all sects, tribes, religions) with justice not seen under any other system of power. I haven’t seen it yet.
“Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “There is a Sadaqa to be given for every joint of the human body; and for every day on which the sun rises there is a reward of a Sadaqa (i.e. charitable gift) for the one who establishes justice among people.“” ~Sahih Bukhari (Peacemaking; Book 53, Hadith 17)