Thaqalayn Foundation-Kerala, inaugurated

By VA Mohamad Ashrof,

Kochi: Thaqalayn Foundation- Kerala, intended to promote intellectual endeavors among Muslim scholars by way of cultural intervention, was inaugurated on 12 February, 2012 at Kochi, by Sayyid Hamid Ali Shihab Thangal. The inauguration ceremony was conducted by holding a Muslim unity seminar which was attended by well-known Shia and Sunni scholars.

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Sayyid Hamid Ali argued that Muslim unity is a basic Islamic norm and in the contemporary context it is most significant. “When the enemy of Islam is determined to create confusion with concerted efforts, our duty is to unite setting aside our small differences” he said.

TA Ahamed Kabeer, Member of Kerala Legislative Assembly, illustrated so many historical anecdotes to prove that imperialism’s major agenda is to create rift among Muslims: “US supported Saddam Hussein to topple Iranian revolution, they provoked Iraq to invade Kuwait, and then they invaded Iraq to “save” Muslim countries. Imperialism finished Ottoman Empire through exacerbating internal schism; Kabeer exhorted Muslims to learn lessons from these historical experiences.”

M.P. Faisal (JIH) explained that Iranian revolution was instrumental in causing Arab spring. The major message of Hajj is unity and the main objective of Abrahamic ethics is human unity, Faisal continued.

Dr.Sheikh Mehdi Mehdavipur (representative of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to India), Maulana Sayyid Thaqi Naqvi (New Delhi) and Maulana Gulam Muhammed Mehdi khan ( Qazi, Tamil Nadu) stressed on the urgency and significance of Shia-Sunni unity and fraternity emphasizing its vivacity in confronting global imperialism.

Dr.Sheikh Mehdi Mehdavipur said: “The very fact that the ideal of Islamic unity is present in the heart, soul and mind of Muslims is due to the diligence of the effect of the message of the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet and the reason why unity is not fully realized on various levels, including the outward, is because there are obstacles and hurdles, both inward and outward, which prevent its full realization. The most profound obstructions to unity lie within the mindset of Muslims. The mindset of most of us is not integrated into its centre and is usually scattered in many directions, pulled by the passions which manifest themselves outwardly as actions that bring about division and discord.”

Sayyid Thaqi Naqvi argued: “The absence of unity brings and breeds disturbance, devastation and disputes. Islam ordains protection of non-Muslims simply to show the respect for the Canons of divinity and humanity. God is not only of the Muslims. God is the God of all human beings. The unity of all humans is the ultimate aim of the teachings of Islam. The doctrinal and ideological differences should not lead to war or bloodshed.”

Maulana Gulam Muhammed Mehdi Khan opined, “Hajj ceremony should become a manifestation of firm resolve of the Islamic Ummah (community) against any divisive move. The carnages which take place in a number of Muslim states, including Iraq, Pakistan and some parts of Iran are aimed at sowing discord among Shia and Sunni Muslims. So, the issue of Muslims’ unity should be given much attention.”

C. Hamza, an eminent Islamic scholar of Kerala, in his presidential address stated: “Before turning to the more external obstacles in the path of the realization of unity, it is important to make clear that unity in the Islamic context does not mean uniformity. If God had wished to create a single nation or people, He would have done so. He went on further: “Historically, Islam has been able to achieve this goal of unity to a large extent inwardly and even outwardly without destroying that diversity which belongs to the richness of God’s creation. But today many Muslims feel quite rightly that they have fallen below the norm achieved earlier and hence seek to understand the obstacles which prevent the realization of such a norm. Now, putting aside the inward obstacles and turning to the more outward causes, it must be said that Islamic history itself displays a gradual falling away from the unity achieved by the Prophet and the Madinian community.”

Two books were released at the function. “The 40 ahadith of Imam Khumaini” and “The Orientation of Life (authored by Murtada Mutahari and translated by C.Hamza) were released by M.P.Faisal and T.A. Ahmed Kabeer respectively. Jasbeer Musthafa welcomed the gathering and Dr. Arshad expressed the vote of thanks.

[VA Mohamad Ashrof is a writer on Islam and Contemporary Issues and receives his mail at: [email protected]]