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The Supreme Leader’s View of Unity Between the Shia and the Sunni

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Today, one of the main goals of the arrogant powers and the US is to foment discord. And the best way to do so is to foment discord among Shia and Sunni Muslims. You can see what the mercenaries of the arrogant powers say today in regard to the issue of Iraq and what propaganda they spread. They think they can sow the seeds of discord this way. It has been many years that the arrogant powers and the Western expansionist powers have been following such policies. We should stay vigilant against these policies. We should be vigilant at all times and on all fronts. The conflict between the Shia and the Sunni is what the US truly desires.

Muslim nations should stay vigilant and should not underestimate the enemy, its plots, or even its small moves. They should stay vigilant and awake. Today, Islamic nations and governments must get united and develop unanimity among themselves. I deem it necessary to warn our own nation, the Iraqi and Pakistani nations, and other Muslim nations that they need to act against religious conflicts and the conflict between the Shia and the Sunni. Today, I notice some groups who are – through an organized plot – trying to cause splits among Muslims in the name of Shia and Sunni. The massacres that take place, the explosions which happen in mosques and hussayniyyahs and during prayers are undoubtedly organized by the evil Zionists and arrogant powers. Such incidents are not organized by Muslims. We have information which indicates that the Zionists and the mercenaries of the enemies of Islam are either directly or indirectly involved in all the incidents which happen in different parts of the Muslim world – in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.


Of course, I do not mean to say that Shias should convert to Sunni Islam or Sunnis should convert to Shia Islam. I do not intend to say that all religions should be amalgamated into one religion. Rather, what I intend to say is that Shias and Sunnis should not make scientific efforts only to lend credence to their own beliefs. Making scientific efforts is a very good thing. There is nothing wrong with getting involved in such efforts. There are some people who reject all denominations in order to create unity among Muslims. However, this is not an appropriate solution. The solution is to prove the truth of the existing denominations. The followers of different denominations must continue doing their duties, and they must maintain friendly relations with the followers of other denominations. They ought to write scientific books within scientific settings, not non-scientific ones.

We do not oppose those who can logically prove their arguments. But those who try to foment schism through their words, actions, and plots serve the enemies’ interests. Both Sunnis and Shias should stay vigilant against such efforts. Everyone follows his own denomination and shows respect for his beliefs and moral values. This is a right that everyone deserves. However, respect for one’s beliefs does not mean that one could offend against others’ moral values. We all believe in Islam, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), and Kaaba. We all say prayers, go to Hajj, and believe in jihad and Sharia. The matters over which we disagree are much less than those we agree upon. The enemies of Islam are trying to foment schism among Shia and Sunni Muslims not only in Iran, but also in all parts of the Islamic world.

Let me add a point here. You should not consider the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as a cause for disagreement among Sunni and Shia Muslims – or among the different Islamic sects. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is the cause of unity and not discord among Muslims. Our brothers and sisters from across the country should believe in the fact that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is the axis of unity among all Muslims. All Muslims are respectful towards him – whether they are Sunnis or Shias. There was a small group by the name of “Navasib” who were the enemies of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Throughout the history of Islam – both during the era of the Umayyad dynasty and the Abbasid dynasty – there were groups of people who opposed Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.). But the Majority of those who believe in Islam – both Shia and Sunni Muslims – praise the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). If you take a look, you will see that the Sunni Imams who were experts in Islamic jurisprudence praised the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) in their poems. Some of the famous poems about Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) have been composed by Al-Shafi’i. Al-Shafi’i has praised Imam Ali (a.s.) in his poems. Of course, this is not limited to Imam Ali (a.s.) only. Sunni Imams are respectful towards all the Imams. The high position of these prominent figures is known to us – Shia Muslims.

Unfortunately, there are some people in the Muslim world who are ready to commit any crimes in order to form bonds with the US and other arrogant powers and foment schism among Shia and Sunni Muslims. Today, I can see some people in our neighboring countries who have planned to foment schism among Sunni and Shia Muslims, and followers of other religions, in order to pursue their own interests. Their efforts are aimed at pursuing their illegitimate interests in Muslim countries. We should stay vigilant against such efforts.

Those who provoke Sunni Muslims against the Shia and Shia Muslims against the Sunnis support neither the Shia nor the Sunni. They are opposed to Islam. “Compassionate among themselves” [the Holy Quran 48: 29]. This means that Muslims should act kindly and mercifully towards one another. On the one hand, they advocate “Ghulat” and “Navasib” and say that Shias and Sunnis are enemies – unfortunately some religious fanatics believe such claims – and on the other hand, they tempt Shia Muslims to offend against the moral values and beliefs of the Sunnis. The enemies’ plots are aimed at fomenting schism among Sunni and Shia Muslims. The enemies might follow plots which you are unaware of. Therefore, you should be aware of the enemies’ plots and identify your enemies at all times. “And certainly thou canst recognize them by the tone of (their) speech.” [The Holy Quran 47: 30]. You could even identify your enemies through their words.

We take pride in the fact that our people avoid ethnic quarrels and conflicts where there are ethnic or religious differences in the country, and where there is a possibility for such ethnic conflicts. This is what the enemies do not like. The conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims is very important to the enemies of Islam. Differences and conflicts among the Islamic Ummah would undermine the spirituality, purity, power, grandeur, and national unity of Muslims, and as it is cited in the Holy Quran: “And [lest] your power depart.” [The Holy Quran 8: 46].

One factor that could play a central role in this regard is the holy being of the Prophet (s.w.a.). Muslims and Islamic intellectuals should pay attention to and rely on the character and teachings of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) as a focal point.The issue of unity among Muslims should be taken seriously by all Islamic sects – Shias, Sunnis, and followers of different Shia and Sunni sects. Today, Muslims should take the issue of Islamic unity seriously. The meaning of Islamic unity is evident. Unity is a vital need for all Muslims. It is not a trivial matter or a slogan only. All Islamic communities should get united and act as a unified front. Of course, unity is a complex issue. Creating unity is a complex process as well. Unity among Islamic communities means that Muslims should be tolerant of religious differences, the differences in their traditions and ways of life, and the differences in fiqh. Unity among Islamic nations signifies that Muslim nations should act as a unified front in regard to issues related to the Muslim world and assist one another. It also means that Muslim nations should not use their resources against one another.


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