The most recent manifestation of the way in which conflict and domestic turmoil can lead to civil war in societies in which a monopolistic and exclusive sectarian mentality that believes it alone is on the true path is the situation we are now witnessing in Syria. Although sectarian conflicts are not the sole cause of the events that have fragmented the country, in which differences are seen as grounds for the most ruthless discrimination, the failure to establish a society based on mutual love, respect and brotherhood among people who share the same faith is the primary factor encouraging disaster.
Not only Syria, but indeed the entire Middle East, birthplace of the monotheistic faiths and regarded as the heart of the world, has been the epicenter of sectarian conflicts, war, bloodshed and tears ever since the last century. Although the problems in the region cannot be neatly summarized under a single heading, the main reason for the current atmosphere in the Middle East is that despite sharing the same faith and believing in the same book and prophet, the countries and people of the region are distanced from and even inimical to one another.
This spirit of conflict is now so ingrained that the people of the region are apparently quite unaware that brother is killing brother; moreover, they have even forgotten that they are brothers. Instead of setting aside their differences and embracing one another with love and living together in peace, they are badly fragmented and scattered.
Be they Sunni or Shiite, all Muslims can still be reconciled under one monotheistic roof; they can still regard Muslims who do not think like them as brothers; they can still come together and join forces and thus prevent further fragmentation in the region and be instrumental in stopping the ongoing bloodshed. Of course there may be various ethnic, sectarian or regional and culturally-based differences in thought and practice; after all, it is no secret that there are different schools, different interpretations and different ideas among Muslim communities, but none of this requires them to be mortal enemies with one another. No difference in thinking or practice should prevent Muslims from being friends just as no difference should prevent Muslims from acting as one at a time when such troubles are afflicting the Islamic world. For one thing, it is incompatible with the Qur’an for one Muslim community to be hostile to another on the basis of such differences, or to regard that community as too foreign to form a consensus on a common ground, or even for one community to regard another as an enemy. There is simply no place in Islamic belief for declaring members of another sect to be apostates, unbelievers or enemies, not to mention the mass murder of those who happen to hold different opinions.
Therefore, the unlawful acts committed by those who cause the deaths of innocent people in suicide bombing, with no regard for women, children or the elderly, or those who attack mosques and burn the people in them alive and yet simultaneously claim to be perpetrating these atrocities in the name of the faith can be brought to an end and the evil and strife in the Muslim world can be brought to an end by means of peace and unity among Muslims.
The duty of Muslims who fear God is to treat everyone with affection and compassion in the knowledge that they are manifestations of God, to regard people who share the same faith, believe in the same book and the same prophet and pray toward the same qibla as them as brothers in this world and in the hereafter, and to love them with the love and passion of God. All Muslims have a duty to avoid despising their brothers because of various cultural and traditional differences and to adopt the principles of union, unity and alliance rather than concentrating on differences and laying the foundations for division and to disseminate peace and brotherhood among Muslims.
All Muslims must support one another in alliance, encourage one another to be unified and united and discourage one another against division. All sincere Muslims who grasp the importance and urgency of this must take action to construct a union based on love, respect, compassion and understanding in the Muslim world and do good works on the path of peace.
If the Islamic world wishes to be strong and to free their Muslim brothers who are living under persecution and repression and are currently being subjected to genocide and maltreatment in their own lands in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, East Turkestan, Moro, Rohingya, Afghanistan, Pathani, Crimea and far too many other places, then it has to be united. The course of action of which God will approve is for all Muslims to come together, irrespective of differences of sect or opinion, and to work together to stop the bloodshed, put an end to anarchy and terror and bring peace and security to the world.
It is long past time for the Islamic world to be united. When Muslims establish an alliance and act in union and unity they will all be saved and, by the will of our Almighty Lord, the Islamic world will attain peaceful and bright days, and the current strife afflicting it will evaporate.
We hope that with the realization that our faith is a religion of peace and brotherhood, all differences and enmities can be set aside, that the lovelessness, distance, hostility and conflict caused by differences will come to an end and that a time of enlightenment and prosperity similar to the Age of Bliss will dawn across the Islamic world.
Adnan Oktar's on Iran Daily: