By the efforts of Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Qummi an institute, Darul Taqreeb, was founded in Egypt in recent years. It can be considered a starting point of this movement.1
We pursue the movements – scientific, intellectual and those of research since then. We come across irregular and contradictory views and outlooks. Taking into consideration originality and purity of thought, they can be classified into two categories.
First Tendency: Outlooks which desire to create ability and achieve Islamic unity. However they ignore to maintain the rule of originality and purity. They believe:
“We must not immediately pass judgment that this is right and that, wrong. We must rather control and check differences. We should specify its limits.”2
“We do not say this is right and that is wrong…”3
“It should not be the concern of one who calls for unity among religions to say which one is right and which wrong or which one is correct and which erroneous. Of course, deviation from Islam can serve a reason for him to put in a word as was the practice with men of sagacity like Sayyid Jamaluddin and some of his pupils and fellow thinkers.
We have witnessed the climax of such an invitation launched by Jama’atul Taqreeb Bain Al-Mazahab Al-Islamia (i.e. Society for Reconciliation of Islamic Sects). We must point out that the two obligations should not be combined. One: Invitation towards unity and two: protection or support to religion. Books and articles written in this regard have little to do with unity. Generally, their motive is to prove their religion is right while the others’ is wrong. They add to confusion and block the way of unity.”4
They also believe:
“Nearness has its own demands...that is this distinction should always be kept in view in order to protect it from a decree (Fatwa) someone might issue against it…in all activities of culture, intellect, scholastic theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, traditions and study of narrators (Rijaal) this distinction should be above all.”!5
Therefore the basis of thought of our predecessors was established on conjecture that reality can always be sacrificed for sake of unity.
Second Tendency: The outlooks have paid utmost attention to the rule of maintaining originality and sincerity as well as seeking truth. This is in addition to creation of ability, belief and adherence to necessary Islamic unity. In view of these two tendencies, it can be said that Islamic unity has two meanings – one, correct and the other, wrong.
Islamic unity in the correct meaning: It is to create a political unity, which is good and useful against common enemy. This keeps any type of dispute or war from taking place. Religious beliefs would not stand as a reason for bloodshed among Muslims.
There is no controversy between this type of Islamic unity, which should correctly be termed as Islamic unity and discussions of Shia beliefs. Therefore, limits of right and wrong shall remain as they are. They cannot be abolished. However, it gives ground for distinctly sketching the existing limits between right and wrong. Drawing of limits carries two benefits:
Firstly: The union overruns political boundary and that of interests. As such, it becomes real.
Secondly: In future – in a long run – protection of this political unity for the sake of interests cannot become a cause to forget or neglect right and wrong besides any deviation from beliefs from correct Shia faith. In addition to this, correct Islamic unity cannot give rise to any possibility of taking a wrong meaning to itself; that is Shia beliefs to melt into Sunni beliefs.6
- 1. The thought of nearness among Muslims and an invitation to it took ground in Egypt by the proposal of Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Qummi. The scholars of first category of al-Azhar besides Shia head of clergies. The late Burujardi supported the idea. A great number of writers joined the movement.
- 2. Muhammad Waizzaada Khorasani: Nida-e-Wahdat (Call of unity) Pg. 121.
- 3. Ibid: Nida-e-Wahdat, Pg. 123.
- 4. Ibid: Article: ‘Elements of Islamic unity and its handicaps’ quoted in Book of Unity Pgs. 25 & 52-53.
- 5. Interview in ‘Haft Aasmaan’ (Seven Skies) Magazine, Issues 9 & 10, Spring & Summer 80, Pg. 10-11.
- 6. Tazweeb = melting.