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Ideas on Proximity

Oct 2, 2009, 5:20 AM | Article By: Alhaji Ousman M. Jah

In the communiqué there is also a discussion about hands involved in changing the course of natural differences of opinion in to blind and harsh bigotries that have often led to bloodshed and discord within the Islamic Ummah, which had always been a deep concern for the Holy prophet (PBUH).Allameh Sheikh Abdul- Majid Salim praises Almighty Allah (SWT) for having granted him the great luck of witnessing the era of solidarity among the followers of Islam's four greatest schools of Thought. He also prays to the unique God to keep him alive to see the day of unity among the entire Islamic faiths.

Those are all the cases approved by Allameh Kashef Ul- qita, a, in his comments on that historic communiqué, of course with some more details on the most important dispute case, Imamate ( Divine leadership), where he stresses his full agreement with sheikh Salim of Al- Azhar.

Allameh Mazandrani, one of the Iranian Alims of the time, too, has a discussion about the issue of Imamate, arguing," Disagreement over that issue is not a convincing reason for disputes and discord among Muslims." It seems as if he, too, follows the golden rule, "Let us cooperate in cases of our shared beliefs, and forgive one another in cases that we have difference of opinion."

Thus, we notice that in the first communiqué issued by Majma, a at- taghrib (Proximity Forum), too, the emphasis is on ticking to the Glorious Quran and the Prophetic tradition, as the main essence of Islam for the entire Islamic Ummah, also stressing that the gate for issuing religious verdicts should be left open in order to witness the blossoming of the Islamic jurisprudence.

Yet, unfortunately the storms of bigotry sow the seeds of discord among the Islamic nation, leading them into an era of passivism and backwardness.

It is very likely that some of the official objectives of Jama,at Taghrib are stated in Article two of their communiqué, in which the following points are stressed:

- Need for Efforts to be made aimed at proximity among leaders of Islamic Schools of Thought;

- Propagation of fundamental tents, and foundations of Islam in various languages;

- Tying to end disputes and enmities among various Islamic nations and tribes.

   In literature of this group, (World Forum for Proximity), while repeating the phrase " Prophecy of Proximity", the signs for proximity, its distance from" full merging of the Schools", and other issues of that nature a thoroughly addressed. It goes without saying that expecting for presentation of comprehensive strategic schemes at the beginning era of the proximity movement would be unrealistic. 

2.  Allameh Mohammad- Mahdi Shameddin, s "Founders, Covenant"

In the prelude to that covenant, after mentioning the first experience in that regard in Cairo and the records of relations founded by Master Hassan al- Banna with Shi, an Alims, there is is a discussion on unity in beliefs and the fundamentals of religion. Then it is stressed that calls for "the elimination of the others" is an unnatural call that can never serve the proximity process. In addition, emphasis is made in that article's prelude that the main goal of pro- proximity forces should be promoting proximity among followers of the entire Islamic Schools of Thought, the same way that the followers of all Ashari Schools have already done. That is all by itself one of the greatest objectives of the proximity movement, and a tangible and at sight perspective for if.

Among the guidelines mentioned in that covenant we can refer to advice for the entire Islamic Society to refrain from Tabshir (propagation for supremacy of any particular Islamic School of Thought over the rest); to avoid blocking the path for the followers of any certain school for converting into another Islamic School resorting to Tabshiri methods; and not to block the path for the enrichment, expansion and perfection of the contents of various schools.

Meanwhile, the covenant encourages opening the gates for jurisprudential discussions in the science of discourse, to expand the span of issuing jurisprudential verdicts through the establishment of a delegation, or a foundation, commissioned to promoters of Islamic proximity and unity, and to publish an international magazine in various languages for the purpose.

It meanwhile encourages efforts aimed at inviting the civilizations and religions to hold dialogues in order to solve political disputes with tribal roots, to end issuance of zealous verdicts, asking the founders of new science of discourse to credit discussions over the following issues:

- Unity is meant to be among indisputable Islamic obligations;

- Practical and tangible aftermaths of abidance by fundamental of Islam should be highlighted;

- Attention has been drawn to the fact hat calls for Islamic unity are not equal to the annihilation of the total merge among the entire Islamic schools of thought, but rather emphasis over the need to highlight commonalties among them;

- Noting that there is no significant difference between the disputes between  shi,a and Sunni Schools; 

- Emphasis on the necessity of comparative studies and research works in various Qur'anic and Islamic  sayings fields;

- Noting that political disputes among governing systems have tainted and dictated the religious differences of opinion to resemble political problems, and therefore, the Islamic beliefs and ideals should be depoliticized.

The covenant emphasizes that Islamic unity is not equal with denying the necessity of existence of any particular foundation, and that such a unity is no obstacle in the way of political and administrative pluralism, reiterating, "Such an approach is among the characteristics of the Holy Household of the Prophet (PBUH)."

Similarly, a new interpretation and elaboration on Taqiyyeh (dissimulation) is presented, in which the practical efforts aimed at safeguarding unity and promoting its foundations are considered as Taqiyyaeh. The author then considers the foundations of Islamic unity as follows:

Firstly, The main and indisputable foundations of Islam that can unify the Muslims and define the identity of the Ummah;

Secondly, popularity of religions among world nations is a natural phenomenon that should not be regarded as extremism. The entire Islamic schools of thought, too, whether they comprise the majority or the minority of a society, are fully legitimate and their beliefs and faith have to be respected and understood;

Thirdly, The main sources for judging any school are its Alims, its jurisprudence, and its main books, not the odd viewpoints expressed by some of its insides, or the quotes of the others about that school;

Fourthly, Sectarians propagations among the Muslims is not permitted, since converting from one school due to a heartfelt belief, into another is quite alright, and such decisions should be fully respected.

In this respect, the late master Shaseddin used to approve of such conversions.

Fifthly, "Majority versus minority" is not an appropriate criterion. Under this title the author points out the unity-oriented approach adopted by JA, fari  Shi, a School. The matter is elaborated more clearly, more harmoniously, more bravely, and more candidly, with the presentation of definitions and concepts on proximity. (As unity, understanding and harmonization needed between Islamic Schools of Thought, is also needed between the followers of the founders of Tarihas (Muridia, Tijania and Khadiria). Likewise militants from different political parties in any country, they do it for the sake of brotherhood unity and sharing the major objectives and common goals. That's the only way to establish peace, prosperity and development} for any civilized nation.
To be continued