Sectarianism stands for supporting one’s people, family, or homeland on bases in violation of the law, right, and justice. Islam has fought against sectarianism and warned Muslims from its vices.

The Prophet (S) said: “Whoever has the least amount of fanaticism in his heart shall be raised by Allah on the Day of Resurrection together with the pagan Arabs of the pre-Islamic times1.”

“By means of Islam, Allah eradicated the fanaticism of the pre-Islamic times and the taking pride in fathers. Certainly, all people belong to Adam who was created from dust. The best of you in the sight of Allah is the most pious2.”

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “As for him who behaves fanatically, Allah will bind him with a fire band3.”

Imam al-Baqir (a) narrated:

Salman al-Farsi -the Persian- and Omar were among some companions who began mentioning their tribes and lineages proudly. Omar asked Salman: “What is your tribe?” Salman answered: “I am Salman the son of God’s servant. I was astray, but God guided me through Muhammad. I was poor, but God made me rich through Muhammad. I was slave, but God set me free through Muhammad. This is my lineage, Omar.”

As he was told of the previous discussion, the Prophet (S) commented: “People of Koreish! A man’s lineage is his religion, personality is his moralities, and origin is his intellect. Allah says:

“People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you (49:13).”

He (S) turned to Salman and said: “Salman! No one of those is preferable to you by any means except piety. You are preferable to him whom you are more pious than he is4.”

The best evidence on the credibility of Islam in its denial of the confessional feud and deciding faith and piety to be the criterion of preference is the fact that Abu Lahab who was the real Arab and the uncle of the Prophet (S) was declared as disbeliever and that he would be punished and tortured in Hell because of his atheism:

“May the hands of Abu Lahab perish! May he too perish! His property and worldly gains will be of no help to him. He will suffer in a blazing fire. (111:1-4)”

Salman, on the other hand, was Persian and away from Arabism, but the Prophet (S) granted him that immortal Medal of Honor:

“Salman is one of us the Ahlul-Bayt.”

This was for nothing other than his high faith, genuine honesty, and wholehearted devotion to God and His Messenger.

Reality of Sectarianism

The dispraised sectarianism against which Islam has warned is supporting one another in fields of wrongness and taking pride in the non-Islamic values.

Conversely, there is the fanaticism for the right as well as the support of one another on achieving the public interests of Islam, such like defending the religion, guarding the Islamic homeland, and protecting Muslims’ dignities, souls, and fortunes. This sort of fanaticism is praised since it results in uniting the aims and efforts and achieving dignity and poise for Muslims.

Imam as-Sajjad (a) said: “The fanaticism for which one is offended is to prefer the evil individuals of one’s clan to the righteous people of another. To love one’s clan is not a sort of fanaticism, which is to support one’s people on evildoings5.”

Calamities of Sectarianism

A survey into the Islamic history, as well as the reasons of the collapse of Muslims, proves that the confessional feuds were the main reason that resulted in the disagreement, disunity, and crumbling of Muslims and their powers that led to such a gloomy destiny. Muslims were humiliated only when the disuniting tendencies of fanaticism found grounds in their mentalities and caused their handles of mutual affection to be broken and their ties of fraternity to be split up. Hence, they became the example of retardation, separation, and humbleness after they had been the symbol of superiority, cohesion, and pride. They did not take heed of God’s saying:

“All of you united hold fast to the rope of Allah, and recall how He favored you when your hostility to each other had torn you apart. He united your hearts in one faith and through His grace, you became brothers. You were on the verge of falling headlong into the abyss of fire, but Allah saved you. (3:103)”

  • 1. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 99 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
  • 2. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 14 page 48 (as quoted from al- Faqih).
  • 3. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 14 page 48 (as quoted from al- Faqih).
  • 4. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 15 part 2 page 95 (as quoted from Sheikh at-Tusi’s al-Amali).
  • 5. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 149 (as quoted from al- Kafi).