Who is dissatisfied with unity between Shia and Sunni?

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SHAFAQNA-

The issue of concord and harmony among the Islamic Ummah, during our time, is an important point. Not only in the years after the revolution, but also many years before the revolution, we were making efforts to bring about concord and harmony between Shia and Sunni to indicate the significance of Islamic unity to all Muslims.

 

During the years before the revolution, when I had been exiled to the Baluchistan Province, I sent a message to the late Mowlavi Shahdad, a knowledgeable scholar and one of the renowned ulema of Baluchistan, suggesting that we get together in order to lay the foundations of a practical, feasible, and real model for unity between Sunni and Shia. He welcomed my suggestion; but, later the issues surrounding the [Islamic] revolution came up. At the first Friday Prayers Congress, that we convened after the revolution, a number of Sunni scholars, including the late Mowlavi Shahdad, were also present. While in that congressional hearing, there were some discussions about the above issue [Unity].

 

The differences of opinion between followers of the two Islamic schools of thought are something that naturally happen. There have been differences of opinion, among various Shia denominations and among various Sunni denominations, over the course of decades: such differences at the level of non-scholars have led to confrontations. But the case is different with regard to ulema and scholars, as they usually try to iron out their differences through discussions and debate. The ulema and scholars, and those who are characterized by goodwill and benevolence, have always tried to prevent the people from engaging in conflict and confrontations.

 

Another factor that later entered this equation [on uniting Sunni and Shia] was colonialism. We are not implying that all differences between Shia and Sunni have only been fomented by the colonial powers; their own sentiments [that of Muslims], as well as in certain cases of ignorance, prejudice, and misconception, have also contributed to their differences. However, the fact of the matter is that when the colonial powers emerged on the scene, they took the utmost advantage of these differences.

 

This is the reason why the prominent Islamic personalities, who are renowned for their struggle against the colonial powers, have all placed great emphasis on unity of the Islamic Ummah. Sayyid Jamaluddin Asadabadi, his disciple Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, and others; Shia scholars such as the late Sharafuddin Ameli and others; they made every effort to prevent the differences of opinion from turning into a weapon, in the hands of colonial powers, against the Islamic world. The late magnanimous Imam Khomeini always stressed the need for Islamic unity.

 

The colonial powers have capitalized on and taken the utmost advantage of their differences, among them [those who take advantage] Britain is more skilled at doing so than others. The reason is that the British have been present in Iran, Turkey, the Arab countries, and the Indian Subcontinent for many years, and they know how to turn the Sunni populations against Shia, and they know how to turn Shia against Sunni. They know, very well, how to do this, and they have done it!

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