The Intra-Religion Conflicts Within Muslims
Syed B. Soharwardy
The current Muslims, especially the young generation, and the "potential new Muslims " in the western world are confused about the state of Muslim affairs. The intra-religion conflicts within the various denominations of Muslims are harming Islam. Although, Islam forbids the creation of denominations but unfortunately Muslim scholars created these denominations anyway. There are so-called Muslims in every denomination claiming that they understand Islam better than the others. These few Muslims raise their voices so loud that the voices of the majority die-down and what ordinary people listen are the voices of fanatics.
These fanatics justify their beliefs and actions through Qur'an and the Hadith. Therefore ordinary Muslims are puzzled. Muslims themselves are to blame for the troubles they are causing in the name of Islam. Muslims scholars, Imams, Muftis, etc must bear the responsibility of pushing away Muslims from Islam. Islam that some of us is practicing has never been practiced by the Muslims.
My heart cries when I see a son calling his own Muslim parents a "MUSHRIK" (Pagan). My heart cries when a young son leaves his Muslim parent's home in the name of Islam because his parents wanted to attend Eid Milad-un-Nabi program. It is so sad to see that some Muslims hate other Muslims in the name of Islam. What's going on? This religious fanaticism has deep roots. It is the responsibility of all Muslims to uproot this fanaticism. On one side Muslims are facing American aggression, and on the other side some ill-minded Muslims are spreading hate against Muslims in the name of Islam.
Let me share with you some of my recent experience in several programs that I attended recently. These are all true stories.
A "potential" Muslim, who is interested in Islam but has not accepted Islam yet, asked me what brand of Islam he should accept. Should he accept;
Imagine, if this person would have been during the time of Prophet (Peace be upon him) or his companions (May Allah's blessings upon them) time, would he be asking these questions? He told me that he agrees with the basic beliefs of Islam especially the belief of Towheed (oneness of Allah). But there are significant differences in details among Muslims. Wahabis call Shi'as as KAFIR (non-believers) and Shi'as call Wahabis as non-believers. Wahabis call Sunnis as non-believers and Sunnis call all others as Hell going Muslims. If I become Muslim I want to be considered a believer not a non-believer.
The "crime " of calling a Muslim, a BID'ATEE / MUSHRIK / KAFIR (non-Muslim) is not the issue of Muslims in Muslim countries anymore. Muslims have imported this horrible "crime" in North America as well. Criticizing Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and hiding his high honours is no more the responsibility of fanatic non-Muslims. Several self-claimed Muslim scholars have taken this "important" responsibility on their own shoulders.
In many programs there were questions and answers sessions. In these sessions, the most common questions / comments from ordinary Muslims were not related to the major current issues of Muslim Ummah. For example, what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan? What will be the future of Palestine? How the conflicts in Chechnya and Kashmir will be resolved? How can we save the honours and the properties of Muslims? How can we help to end the sufferings of human beings? But the most common questions were;
It is very clear that the Muslims are no more interested in the bigger interest of Muslim Ummah. As an Ummah we are trying our best not to fulfill our responsibilities. The individualism is flourishing among Muslims. Every Imam, Mufti, scholar, leader wants to unite Muslims around himself. This is what anti-Islam forces want from Muslims and we are happily and knowingly serving their purpose. The anti-Islam forces want that the Muslims should remain occupied with minor issues and does not find time to focus on the major issues.
Let me share with you some of the horror stories of deep division among Muslims. These are my personal experiences.
ISCC, Ontario invited a Shi'a scholar in its May 10th program at the Ontario Science Centre. Hundreds of Muslims attended this wonderful gathering. The idea was to show Muslim unity and send a positive message to all Canadians about Islam. But a handful Muslims did not like the idea. They not only boycotted the program but they also issued a Fatwa against inviting a Shi'a scholar in the gathering of Sunnis. One of them who claims that he can cure all kinds of magic wrote in an email to me " . invited rafidhi aalim in Ontario Science centre program? Did he not invited the killers of Sahaba and Ahle Bayt? "
You may see how careless this person is? First of all Sahaba and Ahle Bayt lived 1400 years ago. How someone now can be blamed in Toronto for their sufferings? This kind of behaviour from some Muslims who apparently look like big SHAIKHS (scholars) causes confusion and distress for the Muslim community. I have seen similar attitude of many Muslims in Muslim countries.
In Toronto, I met a Muslim brother who, very proudly, told me that he did not pray Friday prayers for 10 years when he migrated to Canada. I asked him, were there no mosques in Toronto at that time? He said, " there were several mosques but there was non belonging to his sect. ". I explained to him that he made a very grave mistake by missing Friday prayers for 10 years. This man not only insisted but he gathered few more similar minded Muslims. These Muslims when go to Makkah and Madinah, they do not pray behind the Imams of Grand Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. Although, I wholeheartedly disagree with the beliefs of Wahabi sect (most of the Imams in Saudi Arabia follow Wahabi sect) but I also know that it is a bigger sin to divide Muslims. Prayers are for Allah. He knows our intentions and He will accept or reject our prayers based upon our beliefs and intentions.
During a question and answer session a teenager boy who lived in Saudi Arabia for 15 years and recently migrated to Canada with his parents told me that " Muhammad is asking too much from us. How can I love him more than my own parents and brothers and sisters?" When I tried to explain to him the Right's of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) upon Muslims, he started quoting those verses from the holy Qur'an in which some misguided Muslims find, in their own opinion, the mistakes (A'oozo billah, I seek Allah's refuge from Satan) of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Soon, I realized that this young boy was not trained by Christians or any non-Muslims to dishonour Muhammad (Peace be upon him) but he was trained by the Muslims. Many times, I have heard similar disrespectful comments about Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) from " apparently "very learned Muslim scholars.
There is not a single verse in Qur'an that can be used to undermine the high honours of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him). In fact, the entire Qur'an praises Allah's beloved Messenger. However, the wicked hearts and eyes see the reflection of their own wickedness in the mirror of Prophethood and these Muslims do not realize their own shortcomings. They try to find any thing negative in Prophet of Islam and they still think that they are the best Muslims. What a mirage!
There are Muslims with huge grudge against the early Muslims especially the Sahabah (the companions of Prophet Muhammad, May Allah's peace and blessings upon them). These people have nothing but one goal in their lives - to dishonour the wives and the companions of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him). They create hate among present Muslims by using the conflicts of early Muslims. These conflicts were developed and dealt with 1400 years ago. Why we need to revive those conflicts in 21st century and further divide Muslims? Why we need to judge early Muslims? Why can't we leave this judgment for Allah? There are scholars from this sect who criticize the companions of Allah's Messenger while majority of Muslims sees these companions as heroes. It is in the interest of all Muslims to respect each other's beliefs and try to focus on the similarities instead of differences. Almighty Allah will decide what took place 1400 years ago among the companions of Allah's Messenger. We all will see Allah's Judgment on the Judgment Day (Insha Allah). Let's not destroy our peace now.
Causes of Fanaticism Among Muslims
Some well-off Muslims do not bother to learn the basics but they help others to learn Islam.
Some influential Muslim leaders including self-claimed spiritual leaders (PEERS) do not want that the ordinary Muslims get education including the basic Islamic education. They purposely keep their followers away from education in order to abuse them and misuse them.
Once a friend of mine asked a truck driver in rural Punjab (Pakistan) what is KALIMAH (Declaration of Faith)? This Muslim truck driver said, " I do not know KALIMAH only Murshad (leader) knows the Kalimah ". The lack of basic knowledge confuses Muslims and forces them to depend on someone else's knowledge.
Islam came to win the hearts of people not to break their hearts. But today's Islamic preachers insult, humiliate and condemn human beings.
A friend of mine is a neighbour to a Sikh family. Both families are good neighbours to each other. Once few preachers of Islam came to my friend's (Muslim) house to invite him to a mosque. The non-Muslim neighbour saw them. As a courtesy he approached them and invited them to his house. This was a perfect opportunity to these preachers of Islam to invite this non-Muslim fellow towards Islam. Instead of accepting his invitation one of the preacher said to him with rudeness, " we will not come to your house because we cut and eat what you worship (cow) ". Is this Islam? Certainly, not. Muslims were never like this. From where this kind of attitude is coming?
Muslims must stay away from any sect or group of people who are disrespectful towards Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the companions of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the family of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). But at the same time do not forget to educate them. The source of unity among Muslims is Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Only his personality and his message can bring Muslims together.
It looks like that the entire world has turned against Muslims. In media, Muslim and non-Muslim, most of the news items are always related to Muslims. The increased hostilities in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chchnya, Philippines, India, etc. is giving us a very clear message. The Muslims must unite now otherwise it will be too late for them. The chaotic situation in the Muslim world is not only putting the Muslims into danger but it is putting the entire world at risk. Why 1.6 billion Muslims are so helpless? It is very easy to blame and finger point at others but what Muslims are doing to themselves is more dangerous. Unless, internally, Muslims are strong and united, the external forces will continue crushing them. May Allah help us. Ameen.