PRESS RELEASE: MALAYSIA – Breeding Disunity Among Muslims

PRESS RELEASE: MALAYSIA – Breeding Disunity Among Muslims

Forwarded press release
Citizens International

26th January 2011

Y.A.B Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Prime Minister’s Office
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62502 Putrajaya

Assalamu’alaikum wr wb

Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri,

REF: Breeding Disunity among Muslims

I am deeply concerned about the recent persecution of Shia Muslims by law enforcement officers from certain state Islamic religious affairs departments. Their actions constitute not only serious violations of the human rights of Shias but, more serious, disobedience to Allah s.w.t‘s command to Muslims to remain united. The Qur’an teaches: And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among your selves… [Surah Al Imran 3:103]

On 15 December 2010, during the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) officials raided the ceremony and arrested 200 people including a local scholar and a visiting scholar from Iran. I understand two of them are to be prosecuted in the Shariah court. I cannot imagine how commemoration of the martyrdom at Karbala can constitute a crime.

Muslims all over the world, both Sunnis and Shias, commemorate that historic event, and Imam Hussain’s courage and commitment to truth has, ever since his martyrdom, been an inspiration to all those who oppose tyranny, oppression and injustice.

On 17 December 2010, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Sunni Muslim, attended a ceremony in Istanbul organised by the Jafaris to commemorate the tragedy at Karbala. In his speech he said: We have been feeling the pain of Karbala for 1,370 years. We have to feel that pain in our hearts. We remember Imam Hussain whenever an innocent person is killed. JAIS should be organising events to commemorate Imam Hussain’s martyrdom instead of persecuting those who do.

I am simply astounded at the lack of understanding and prejudice of JAIS officials regarding Shiah Muslims. They consider Shias as deviationists and, according to a news report, JAIS is planning to establish a detention camp for rehabilitating deviationists including Shias. Mohamed Rais Rasid told Malaysiakini that the followers of the Shiite branch of Islam pose the most concern to JAIS.

The consensus among the most learned and respected Ulamas is that Shias are Muslims just like us who belong to Ahl As-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. In July 2006, International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Islamic world’s leading judicial body, adopted Resolution 152: Islam and the one ummah, and the schools of Islamic jurisprudence which states:

• Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence {Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali), the two Shi’i schools of Islamic jurisprudence {Ja’fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible.

• There exists more in common between the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence than there is difference between them. The adherents to the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam.

• All believe in Allah (God), Glorified and Exalted be He, the One and the Unique; that the Noble Qur’an is the Revealed Word of God preserved and protected by God, Exalted be He, from any change or aberration; and that our master Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him, is a Prophet and Messenger unto all mankind.

• All are in agreement about the five pillars of Islam: the two testaments of faith shahadatayn); the ritual prayer (salat); almsgiving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (saivni), and the Hajj to the sacred house of God (in Mecca). All are also in agreement about the foundations of belief: belief in Allah (God), His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and in the Day of Judgment, in Divine Providence in good and in evil.

• Disagreements between the ‘ulama (scholars) of the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are only with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu) and some fundamentals (usul) [of the religion of Islam]. Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu) is a mercy. Long ago it was said that variance in opinion among the ‘ulama (scholars) “is a mercy”.

This opinion has been endorsed by over 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide including Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Mufti Taqi Usmani, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Grand Ayatollah Khamenei, Ayatolla Sistani, Prof. Dr. Kamal Hasan and grand muftis from several Muslim countries.

There are extremist elements among both Shias and Sunnis who, in some countries even resort to violence, sometimes even inside mosques. Such elements must be exposed and isolated as they breed disunity among Muslims and defame Islam. There is also no need for proselytisation among Muslims. Dialogue between Shias and Sunnis must be promoted and encouraged, and differences discussed in an environment of brotherhood.

We need to be aware that sectarian conflicts are being promoted by enemies of Islam who want to impose their hegemony on Muslim societies and control the resources in Muslim states. We see that in Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan. Imperialist forces are working to partition Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan along sectarian or tribal lines; instigating ‘moderate’ Arab states to join with the United States and Israel to destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine and bring about regime change in Iran. Regrettably some ulamas have allowed themselves to be used as tools by imperialists and despots for creating disunity among Muslims.

I appeal to you to take steps to promote unity among Muslims. I urge you to:

• Move the Rulers’ Council to discuss and endorse Resolution 152: Islam and the one ummah, and the schools of Islamic jurisprudence adopted by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in July 2006

• Take steps to educate the officials from the state Islamic religious departments, the media and the public on sectarian differences, Resolution 152 and the imperialist strategy to create disunity among Muslims

• Get the National Fatwa Council to issue a fatwa endorsing the opinion embodied in Resolution 152

• Promote dialogue between Shias and Sunnis.

Kind regards

Yours truly,

S.M. Mohamed Idris
Citizens International

Forwarded by IHRC solely for informational purposes, please contact source website for more information.[ENDS]


IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter: @ihrc

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