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The Need for Harmonization Between Madhahib (Islamic Schools of thought)

May 8, 2009, 6:05 AM

The coming together of the different Madhahib (Schools of Jurisprudence, theology, or thought) within Islam and the unification of the ranks of Muslims against enemies of unity. Has been the aspiration of many visionaries and concerned individuals within the Islamic world, and has been one of the most important goals of unity advocators.

Undoubtedly, there are those who hold that the attempt to bring together the different thoughts within Islam is tantamount to the spread of an intellectual and ideological form of liberal pluralism and something which leads to the censoring and revision of various historical and recorded realities; however, this is far from the case. The principle objective in pursuing this endeavor is to unite the various Islamic groups and communities. {and has no ulterior agenda apart from this}.

This noble aspiration is dependent on a number of different factors which include: 1- ensuring the well-being of the individual and society, by being firmly rooted in the Quran and the traditions of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

2- Avoiding division within the ranks of Muslims, 3- preventing the loss of Divine favor and the weakening of faith, 4- putting a stop to the subjugation of Muslims and the dominance of the evil powers.

Today, in the wake of many peace makers, and unity advocators within the Islamic nations it have become aware of the existence of a common enemy and its malevolent intention; it has become imperative, therefore, for the concerned Muslim to struggle and devote himself in order to defuse the divisive plots of the enemies and to return to Islam its former glory and grandeur. With a single and united voice, Muslims should take steps towards the dissemination of Tawhid or monotheism, which is the greatest and most apposite of man's divinely mandated destinies.

It is only with the growth of intellectuality, under the guidance of religion, that one may remove any inhabitations and be able to lay the theoretical framework for the proper conduct of the individual and society. This effort - as well as the acquisition of a common language of discourse - can then act as the basis through which internal relations may be furthered between Muslim nations. This will forester interaction and replace the current state of miscommunication and its unfortunate consequences.
In the light of calling all Muslim Ummah to unite and try to have mutual understanding between the Muslim groups and followers of different Schools of thought, many conferences were held in: the holy City of Mecca, Amman, Tehran and Cairo where Muslim scholars, intellectuals meet and sign the Charter of Islamic Unity which says:

(Whereas Islam is a trust placed on the shoulders of Muslims and defending its sanctity and honor is obligatory for all; and

Whereas Islam has emphasized all issues which lead to Islamic unity; which lay the foundations for brotherly relations between the nations; which spread reasons, good sense and a language of communication; and which enable cooperation, interdependency, consensus, and the maintenance of the sublime interests of Islam; and

Whereas the enemies of peace and unity have waged an extensive onslaught on the culture, values, interests and independence of the Islamic Ummah, therefore, calling for efforts to confront this enmity ant antagonism.)

This was the Islamic unity charter sign and endorsed by the Scholars and Islamic unity advocators in the conferences mentioned earlier. This charter was based on the following principles:

Principle 1: Islam is the seal of religions, the only path which elevates mankind, and is a trust placed on the shoulders of Muslims. Therefore, it is incumbent on Muslims to employ it in all spheres of life, to defend its sanctity and honor, and to place its sublime interest above all other interests.

Principle 2: The Holy Quran and the noble prophetic Sunnah are the principle sources of legislation in Islam, as well as in all its teachings. The truthfulness and authenticity of these sources, as well as the dependency of all other secondary sources of legislation upon these ones, are agreed upon by all the Islamic Madhahib (Schools of Thought).

Principle 3: Accepting the following Pillars and beliefs forms the criterion through which one may recognize a Muslim:

1- Belief in the oneness of Allah, the Most High (Tawhid)

2- Belief in the Prophethood of Muhammad {PBUH}.and in his being the seal of the prophets, and acknowledging that his Sunnah forms one of the two principle sources of religion.( Nubuwwah)

3- Belief in the noble Quran, and acknowledging that its concepts and decrees form the principle source of religion.

4- Belief in Resurrection.(Ma ad)

5- Acceptance of the indisputable and agreed-upon tenets of the faith while not denying any of its foundational supports such as the canonical prayers, charity, fasting, pilgrimage and Jihad.

Principle 4- True Islam- while officially recognizing the principle of {Ijtihad} within the framework of Islamic sources-acknowledges differences of opinion; for this reason, it behooves Muslims to consider the diversity in ijtihad as a natural element of Islam and to, therefore, respect the opinions of others.

Principle 5- The Unity of the Islamic Ummah and safeguarding the interests and well-being of all Muslims is an important principle; moreover, Islamic brotherhood must be counted as the basis of any sort of collaboration, interaction and solidarity among Muslims.

Future Outlook

Principle 6- It is necessary that the Ulama {Islamic Scholars} and Islamic thinkers aspire towards the following:

1. To engage in efforts uniting modern- day Islamic communities, with the hope of returning them to a condition similar to the early period of Islam in terms of: spreading collaboration, cooperation and a sense of spiritual brotherhood; calling for God- consciousness "Taqwa"; persevering against arrogance; encouraging truth and patience; and avoiding division, schisms and all things that lead to the weakening of Muslims.

2.To emulate the interactions that the leaders of the Islamic Madhahib had with each other, and to convey the nature of this interaction to their followers today.

3.To spread the culture of solidarity among Muslims to the point where they accept differences of opinions and realize that they are a natural result of the legality of ijtihad.

Principle 7- It is upon the Ulama and Islamic thinkers to guide deepen and strengthen the Islamic revival movement; to insist on Muslims becoming acquainted with each other in order to bring together the followers of the different Madhahib or Ideologies; and to encourage religious familiarity and Islamic Brotherhood based on firm principles and a common understanding of Islam.

Our next edition will discourse two more principles and the Scope of the Proximity and harmonization.