By Catherine Shakdam
Ever since the United States intervened in Iraq following claims Saddam Hussain had acquire weapons of mass destruction, the Middle East, and to a greater extent the Islamic world has suffered a series of overlapping and protracted crises – all of which have been more or less pinned down to sectarianism: this eternal schism within Islam in between the Sunnis and the Shiites.
For well over a decade now, experts, media, officials and politicians have built a narrative of hate and social fragmentation in the Middle East, offering the world a vision of the region and the Islamic world as one of violence, intolerance and utter chaos – which chaos and brutality they only too kindly offered to remedy through “democracy-building” and other neo-colonial niceties.
In truth, the Middle East has indeed burnt bright … in truth, War has become a rationale countries across the region have yet to escape and stop. But sectarianism has absolutely nothing to do with anything!
Do understand that I am not denying the fact that factions and powers have exploited and played sectarianism and ethno-centrism as weapons to further their agendas – I am only postulating that such nefarious dynamics were imported and engineered, and thus are in no way, shape or form central to the region’s socio-political gravitational pull.
A rainbow of religions and people have lived together in the Middle East for thousands of years …. History was built in the sands of Arabia … History remains still over and under the sands of Arabia. If violence and sectarianism were in fact inherent to Islam, the Middle East would have long been buried under its own fire, and much of what we call Western civilization would not exist today.
If not for the Islamic world the work of Socrates and Aristotle would not have been preserved and passed down so that it could illuminate generations of men to the genius and beauty which was Ancient Greece. If not for the Islamic world much of what we call the foundations of sciences, maths, medicine, poetry and astronomy would still be rudimentary.
The Islamic world, the Middle East and Islam have all contributed to the common growth of humanity’s collective intellectual heritage – denying such a reality flies in the face of logic and pragmatism. The West is not the intellectual, and social holy grail. The world needs not saving from Western nations.
What the world needs is a little less arrogance and more humility before others’ differences and ability to discern different truths.
So, if not sectarianism what is eating away at the Middle East?
Quite simply: Wahhabism!
At every turn, and for each horror committed in the region, Wahhabism has sat at the centre of it all, a malignant parasite, and a suffocating plague of infamy and pain.
Where Sunnis and Shiites, and all denominations in between have managed to live in cohesion and harmony for centuries, Wahhabism has single-handedly managed to tear at the fabric of society by spewing ethno-sectarian hatred – advocating a grand religious cleanse of the Islamic world, and the world in general in the name of a twisted ideology which claims itself Islamic, when in fact its practices aligns more with paganism and Satanism.
Wahhabism could not be further removed from Islam … actually scholars of the status of Dr John Andrew Morrow have argued that Wahhabism stands in very negation of Islam since it recognizes not the Covenants the Prophet Muhammad signed with the people of the Book – ALL of the people of the Book.
A faith of tolerance and pluralism, Islam needs no cleansing to stand in its own truth – in fact Islam needs not even Muslims to Be as its essence and source remain with the Divine.
Wahhabism speaks not of God or faith, but blood and enslavement.
The Middle East today is at war with Wahhabism – Christians, Jews, Muslims and all people of faith stand to be disappeared under the blade of the Black Flag Army and its many sisters in hate.
Shiites and Sunnis do not stand on opposite side of a fence, and they seek not to destroy each other. Why would they? Why would they purposely disobey one of God’s foremost command that no innocent soul should ever be killed – if not for the perpetrator to carry the weight of killing the whole of humanity. Quite a burden to bear I would say …quite a difficult theory for religious leaders to rationalize ….
Sunnis and Shiites are not enemies, they each have chosen a path … the former refuse still to admit to the Prophet Muhammad’s last command: that all should pay allegiance to AhlulBayt, while the latter embraced the prophet’s wishes in their absolute love and devotion to the keepers of the Word of God.
Shia Islam speaks of loyalty to the Word, the prophets of God and the House, while Sunnis have withdrew behind the Quran, and the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis and Shiites are brothers in faith nonetheless.
Sunnis and Shiites stand under the same Book, and pray under the same sky, as do all people of faith.
When all is said and done, would it not be more righteous to choose tolerance over vindictive bigotry? Sectarianism serves not God, but those powers which wish to deny Him, and deny you the right to live in Him.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna