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Islam and Sectarianism ( 16 Apr 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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OIC should Bell the Sectarian Sunni-Shia Cats to Remain Islamic

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

17 April 2016

The Conference of OIC held in Istanbul-Turkey-April 2016 refers.

The recently ended conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul was significant in ONE particular aspect befitting its numinous name.

The President of Turkey RecepTayyip Erdogan’s inaugural speech set the tone with a call for unity of the Muslim nation in accordance with the strict commandment of the holy Book Quran that the nation with its hand on heart says it believes in.

"I believe the greatest challenge we need to surmount is sectarianism. My religion is not that of Sunnis, of Shiites. My religion is Islam," Erdogan said in his opening speech translated from Turkish to English.

Any Muslim of Sunni or Shiite faction worthy of his/her name and of any hue and colour would immediately recall some verses in Quran that Erdogan is referring to, for example:

5-3…this day have I perfected your Deen, (the Code) for you, completed my favours upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your Deen.

As the theme of the conference was also the nation’s ‘security’ from terrorism, in the context of unity, it is appropriate to also to quote:

24-55…God has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them rulers in the earth and He will establish for them their Deen which He has chosen for them and that He will surely give them security in exchange of fear.

Erdogan, in establishing his credentials as a believer of God’s command for unity and eschewing sectarianism, must have had the following verse foremost in his mind:

6-159 As for those who divide their Deen and breakup in sects, you (Oh messenger) have no relation with them in the least; their affair is with God. He will show them in the end the outcome of all that they did.

So, the Messenger breaking all relations with them, then they are out of the fold of Islam.

42-13 … We (God) enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus—to establish the Deen and not to be divided in it.

Thus a message it seems is universal as there were other messengers sent before to all peoples of the world, not just for Muhammad’s followers.

Is it not astonishing therefore that most of those attending the conference were politically and militarily involved in actions on behalf of the factions of their choice. Turkey itself being one of them!

Turkey's policies in the region are controversial. Its support for the rebels in Syria based on religious (Sunni) pretext, yet fully in compliance with its regional political strategy – being a member of NATO- seems to be what is driving its actions. The Saudis are alleged to be the leader of this camp.

Iran- an Islamic Republic of Shia faction, on the opposite side of this murky sectarian mess, in collaboration with Russia is also bogged down in support for the Syrian government.

All enacting unprecedented Muslim on Muslim slaughter, in the name of sectarianism and naming it Islam, yet all are commanded by their God:

49-10 The believers are brethren so make peace between them and keep your duty to God that mercy may be had on you.

Oh, but it refers to believers! Are all those attending the conference believers?

The factions in conflict—a polite word for acrimony and divisions—under the umbrella of the very Deen that instructs them that they are committing shirk by rejecting the commandment of God, in whom they believe, that is, they have Iman:

30-31…do not be of those who are polytheist-mushrik.

President Erdogan’s reference to the PKK- the Kurdish Workers Party, raises a question when he classified PKK, along with others, as a terrorist organization. Some other nations of the world have also branded it as such, yet the UN and many other countries have not?

Kurds for all intents and purposes are separate people, ethnically, culturally and linguistically. Yet they profess to the same faith as the Turkish majority does, from whom they are seeking separate identity.

When, within a family the mature grownup son or a daughter wishes to establish a separate home within the bond of the family; fairness, justice and commonsense dictates that they are assisted and supported by the family in building and establishing a separate home and live comfortably and happily to build their own lives. Does that make them terrorists?

Did not the Arabs fight, with the help of the outsiders, to seek independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire, and not very long ago? Religion played its part there too. No doubt the outsiders had their own vested interest in assisting the Arabs achieve their goal. The Arabs too were different ethnically, culturally and linguistically from the Turks. Were the Arabs not terrorists then?

To struggle for freedom is a virtue and a human rights demand. Just over the last few decades the world has seen this phenomenon over and over again. The ‘terrorists’ of those days were at the end knighted, bestowed with honorary doctorates and some even awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

So to see the president of Turkey now warmly shaking hands with the Saudi King during the conference is indeed a good omen for the Muslim world, but it gives further importance to find the answer to the question as who is terrorist or what is  terrorism—that which causes Fitna, mischief, misery and pain to non- combatants.

85-10 Those who persecute believing men and believing women then repent not, theirs is the chastisement of hell—The description fits the myriads of movements that have sprung lately under the name of ‘Islam’ doing exactly that. Causing untold misery to most of the world- fitna!

So according to the verse above to terrorise humanity is akin to shirk, inviting severe punishment of God. That is what the multi headed venomous snake of mythology and of the scriptures, the beast of ISIS and its poisonous many offshoots are causing mischief in the world merely for greed and for acquiring territory to rule and exercise power; all in the name of some religion, which it does not see it as Fitna.

Their actions in the name of their own sectarian religion are Fitna. They are not struggling- waging jihad for freedom or for human rights. In fact the contrary!

President Erdogan quite rightly said that the Muslims nations gathered there must feel shame at witnessing the multitude of refugees, men, women and children, majority from Muslim countries trudging to seek refuge in Europe and not to Muslim countries!

Annihilation of families, homes and hearth, cities and wanton destruction of monuments of historic value of human heritage by this beastly animal is Fitna and contrary to Islam’s teaching. Come out you all against them, for you are commanded to heed the call of the oppressed, 4-75

If the nations gathered at OIC were sincere in the call to eliminate sectarianism and their handshakes were not just for duplicitous photo opportunity, then there is no reason why the venomous Hydra of terrorism cannot be killed to save the humanity from the hell it is facing. But such scenes have been and are repeated constantly as well in all international forums, including the UN; resulting in nothing but news headlines, which disappear in few days.

Some of President Erdogan’s practical suggestions deserve action by the OIC if it is to live up to its name of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, free of sectarianism, or else it is not Islamic, 6-159.

A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer


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