Ayatullah Sistani on Shia Sunni unity

The Statement of Ayatullah al-Udhma Sistani(HA) on the Subject of Islamic Unity and Against Sectarian Strife

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; ”
(Quran, Surah Aal-i-Imraan (#3), Verse 103)

The Islamic nation is going through difficult circumstances, and facing major crises and enormous challenges affecting its present and threatening its future. Everyone is aware of this situation and needs to close ranks and reject those who fan the flames of sectarianism and we must avoid stirring sectarian differences.

Those differences that have existed for centuries, and no completely satisfactory resolution – pleasing to all parties – seems to exist, and hence should not be pursued for the sake of creating controversy and strife, but only within the framework of scientific research in a sober and in particular in a manner that does not affect the fundamentals of Islam.

Everyone believes in One God, and the message of Prophet Mustafa(S), may Allah shower His blessings upon him and his family, and in the concept of Ma’ad (Resurrection/Judgment), and the fact that the Quran – which is guarded and protected by Allah from distortion – along with the Honorable Prophetic Sunnah (Tradition) which is the source for the Shari’a (Islamic Legal) rulings and the affection for the Holy Ahl al-Bayt(A), peace be upon them, and so on; these basics are shared by the Muslims in general, among which are the pillars of Islam: Prayer, Fasting, Hajj and so on. These common concepts form the basic core for Islamic Unity. We must focus on them to establish closer bonds of love and affection between the people of this Ummah, and indeed do no less than work on peaceful co-existence amongst each other, and move away from bickering and communal and sectarian rhetoric under whatever guise or title.

So every effort must be exerted by all those concerned about the elevation and glory of Islam, and it must be promoted to the Muslims to do everything in power in order to bridge the gap between them, and alleviate the repercussions (effects) of the tensions caused by the political pressure, in order to obliterate any chance of further dissention and division. That dissension – if left untended to – would inevitably give way for the enemies aspirations – to dominate the Islamic Countries and seize their wealth – to be fulfilled.

However, sadly and regrettably it is evident that certain people and parties are working on a completely contrasting agenda. They have been seeking to perpetuate and increase the division and foster deeper sectarian differences among Muslims. They have increased their efforts lately, especially after the recently increasing political conflicts in the region and the intensification of the fight over power and influence.

They have exerted serious efforts to elucidate and disseminate the ideological differences among different Muslim sects, going so far as to even adding their own made-up differences by methods of tucking and slander, in order to achieve their purposes of discrediting a certain sect and disrupting its followers, and intimidating others against them.

And in pursuit of this scheme, they have published in the media – from satellite and internet web sites, magazines and other means – strange rulings (opinions) which are offensive to some Islamic Schools and Sects. They have attributed these made-up rulings to His Eminence (Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyed Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani(HA)), in an apparent attempt to defame his authority for the sole purpose of increasing the sectarian tensions, leading to their specific goals.

The opinions of the Esteemed Sayyed (Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyed Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani(HA)), can only be taken from the reliable sources, such as books of his rulings documented and bearing his signature and seal; and they do not contain anything defaming to other Muslim sects or parties from other schools of thought. And anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of Ayatullah(HA)’s rulings can detect the outrageous lies within what is being said and published.

We can also point out to the stance and statements of His Eminence (Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyed Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani(HA)) during the past years on the issue of the plight of wounded Iraq, as well as his commandment to his followers and imitators (muqallideen) in dealing with their brethren from the people of the Sunnah with love and respect. Also, he has recurrently stressed on the sacrosanctity of the blood, honor and wealth of all Muslims, be they Sunnah or Shia; and that anyone who kills unjustly is to be abjured.

All of this clearly discloses the methodologies followed by this religious authority in dealing with the followers of other schools of thought, and in what light these followers are viewed. Had everyone followed the footsteps of this religious authority, things would have been different from what we are witnessing today in terms of blind violence hitting everywhere, and horrendous murders that do not exclude even young children or old people or pregnant women; and unto Allah do we complain!

We ask Allah, the Mighty, the Most High, to take the hands of all to that which is good for the Ummah and for its best interests, verily He has power and authority over all things.

The Office of Ayatullah al-Udhma Sistani(HA),
an-Najaf al-Ashraf, Iraq
Muharram 14, 1428 / February 3, 2007

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