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Muslim Views . June 2017

Seven scholars address the topic of Muslim disunity MAHMOOD SANGLAY

MASJIDUL Quds, in Cape Town, hosted a series of lectures on the theme ‘An ummah in disarray: seeking common ground towards the path of unity’, on Sunday, June 11. The speakers were Hafidh Advocate Abu Bakr Mahomed, Shaikh Muhammad West, Shaikh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowi, Mufti Ismail Menk, Shaikh Sadullah Khan, Former South African Ambassador to the USA, Ebrahim Rasool, and Shaikh Fakhruddin Owaisi. The following is an edited summary of the presentation of each speaker. Hafidh Advocate Abu Bakr Mahomed addressed the topic ‘Disunity: betraying the civilisational heritage of the ummah’. He said that our collective thoughts, intentions and actions ultimately determine our state, and that the basic creational principle of Allah is that the good we do benefits us and the harm we do injures us. He argued that unity and multiplicity are complementary dimensions of Allah’s creation. If we reject multiplicity in favour of uniformity then there is no basis for the existence of ihsan. The speaker said the Amman Message of 2005 recognises the validity of eight madhhabs, Sunnis, Shias, Ibadis, Asharis, Sufis and Salafis. The message forbids the takfir among these Muslims and constitutes most pluralistic consensus of the ummah. Mufti Ismail Menk’s topic was ‘The Quranic call for Muslim

Hafidh Advocate Abu Bakr Mahomed. Photo SHARIEF JAFFER

Mufti Ismail Menk. Photo SHARIEF JAFFER

Shaikh Muhammad West. Photo SHARIEF JAFFER

Shaikh Muhammad bin Yahya Photo ARCHIVE al-Ninowi.

unity’. He distinguished between unity and uniformity, saying unity is possible but not uniformity. He said our relations with people of other faiths are often better than that with fellow Muslims. The mufti said in his travels he observed that people in communities that do not speak ill of others are happier. Takfir is a sin and is likely to lead to conflict. The mufti added that social media is typically used to spread fitna.

He exhorted the congregation to avoid the kind of conduct that undermines unity. Quoting Surah Hujarat (49:10) he said we should desist from insulting others and disregarding the good work of people with whom we disagree. Shaikh Muhammad West spoke on the topic ‘Muslims are like one body’ and addressed the youth, saying that, firstly, from childhood, parents should develop the qualities of taqwa in their chil-

dren. Secondly, he emphasised the importance for youth realising their true potential in the face of exposure to radicalism and extremism. Conscious life choices will empower the youth to contribute to ideals such as the liberation of Palestine and addressing global poverty and discovering new sources of energy. Shaikh West says the realisation of these two objectives ensure a bright future for our youth. ‘Their taqwa of Allah will point them in the right direction while pursing their potential will give them the impetus to always move forward,’ he concluded. Shaikh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy conveyed a ‘message of unity’ based on the message in surah 49:10 which exhorts Muslims to make peace between each

other. The shaikh added that all the Prophet’s (SAW) wives are our mothers and that all believers are one family. He cautioned that we should avoid seeking conformity over unimportant differences between people but rather celebrate our diversity and not cause disunity. The shaikh said our differences were academic and reflected our diversity but, over time, some have developed into cults, undermining the deen. He argued that we need to counter the seeds of hate with seeds of love, unity and understanding. ‘We should attach ourselves to the Sunnah and not to figures,’ he concluded.

He cautioned that we should avoid seeking conformity over unimportant differences between people but rather celebrate our diversity and not cause disunity. The shaikh said our differences were academic and reflected our diversity but, over time, some have developed into cults, undermining the deen.

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