Dealing with the Sectarian Strife and Promotion of Unity
It is an analysis with regards to dealing with the sectarian strife among the Muslims, resulting from the differences or otherwise.
Muslims commonly believe in all the major issues, such as the pillars of Islam and belief in one God. They agree on about 90% of the issues, differing on 10% that are minor by any measure. So, theologically speaking, differences are not the serious problem. The problematic areas are the greed and selfishness, leading to the cultural/political/sectarian preferences over faith. And many even use the religion to advance their own agenda.
Here are some guidelines that, I think, may help deal with the prevailing chaos to some extent:
1) Follow the best possible manners in the religious discourses:
"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." (Qur'an 16:125)
2) Not only is it important WHAT you say, it is also important HOW you say it.
3) Do not join or attach yourself to any sect:
"And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help!" (Qur'an 22:78)
4) "Be the change you wish to see in the world." (Gandhi)
5) Promote non-sectarian organizations and noble works of other organizations.
6) Deal with the controversial issues with the qualified scholars privately instead of finding faults with them publicly. As the antagonists have, time and again, demonized Islam vehemently, giving them any opportunity, knowingly or unknowingly, would only add fuel to the fire.
7) Never assume that only what you think is right, and that everyone else must be wrong.
8) Adopt the principle of lifelong learning. That helps become better with each passing day.
9) Prioritize your concern. Promote commonalities.
10) The act of one's not listening to you has no bearing over whether you have done your job as long as you have done your homework and applied due diligence in the process.
11) The main objective is the pleasure of Allah. The way is to act as He wants us to act, exemplified by the final Messenger Muhammad (SAW).
12) Turn to Allah and seek His guidance to refine the ways of interaction and dealings with His creations in the best possible way, and seek His guidance and blessings for everyone.
I am sure there could be much more to it. But, it helps in dealing with the issues. Some religious denominations have far more differences than the Muslims have. Yet, they don't fight over differences, but rather support whenever they can over issues of common concern.
May Allah (Exalted is He) bless and guide us all.
Asad Latif is a writer based in Toronto, Canada. He writes on diverse issues. He can be reached at alatif2002yahoo.ca.