On Saturday, 21 October 2006, an initiative of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) brought together prominent Muslim Sunni and Shiite clerics from Iraq and eight other Muslim countries to discuss and approve a declaration demanding an end to sectarian feuds in Iraq. The proceedings were broadcast on al-Jazeera. They were signing this with the backdrop of a large picture window looking over the Kaaba in the Great Mosque in Mecca as hundreds of thousands circled about it. It was really quite moving. Although the U.S. and Western media have largely ignored this event, it got a lot of press in the region, and many political and religious leaders have given their support to it.
The declaration (attached) categorically states that bloodshed motivated by sectarian considerations is haram (forbidden) and its perpetrators regarded as individuals waging war on Islam as a whole. The Makkah gathering represents the first major effort by Sunnis and Shiites towards the mutual recognition of one another as acceptable versions of the same faith, since 1947.
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[ MECCA -- October 21, 2006 ]
Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahimi
In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
MAKKAH AL-MUKARRAMAH DECLARATION
ON THE IRAQI SITUATION
Praise and Glory be to Almighty God, and May His Peace and Blessings be Upon His Prophet Mohamed and all his Kin and Companions
In view of the present situation in Iraq, where bloodshed is widespread, and where aggression on assets and property, perpetrated under the guise of Islam, is daily occurrence, and in response to the invitation of the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and under the umbrella of the OIC International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA),
We the scholars of Iraq, from both the Sunnis and the Shiites, having met in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in Ramadan of the Lunar Hijra year of 1427H (2006) and deliberated on the situation in Iraq and the disastrous plight of the Iraqi people, issue and proclaim the following Declaration:
I. The Muslim is he who professes his faith by bearing witness that there is no God but Allah and that Mohamed is His Prophet. These fundamental principles apply equally to the Sunnis and the Shiites without exception. The common grounds between the two schools of thought are many times more than areas of difference and their causes. Any difference between them are merely differences of opinion and interpretation and not essential differences of faith or on the substance of the Pillars of Islam. From the Islamic Shari'a viewpoint, no one follower of either schools may excommunicate, hereticate, or in any other way cast aspersions on the faith and fidelity of a follower of the other school, on the grounds that God's Prophet (PBUH) said:
"If ever one of you calls his brother: You infidel, one of them shall come out the
infidel and bear the onus thereof!".
II. The blood, property, honor, and reputation of Muslims is sacrosanct on the grounds of the noble verses of the Holy Quran, in which Almighty God says:
"And whoever deliberately and with premeditation kills a believer, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of God are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him";
and the Immaculate Tradition of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), which says:
"Everything pertaining to the Muslim is sacrosanct, including his blood, property, honor, and reputation".
Therefore, no Muslim, whether he or she is Shiite or Sunni, may be subject to murder or any harm, intimidation, terrorization, or aggression on his property; incitement thereto; or forcible displacement, deportation, or kidnapping. Moreover, no member of his family may be held hostage on grounds of religious or sectarian belonging. Whoever perpetrates such acts shall fall from the fold and grace of the whole Ummah, including all Muslim authorities, scholars, and all believers.
III. All houses of worship are sacrosanct, including mosques and the non-Muslim houses of worship of all faiths and religions. Therefore, these places of worship may not be attacked, appropriated, or in any other way used as a haven to perpetrate acts in contravention of our Magnanimous Shari'a. Instead, they should remain entirely at the disposal of their owners who should regain total and unfettered access to them in application of the Muslim jurisprudential rule adopted by all Islamic schools that:
"All religious endowments and Awqaf shall be subject to the terms and conditions established by their owners"
"a condition stipulated by the Donor shall be treated just as a Shari'a rule";
"That which is part of practice and custom shall be deemed as a contractual provision".
IV. The crimes committed on sight on grounds of sectarian identity or belonging, such as those now being perpetrated in Iraq, fall within the ambit of "wickedness, and mischief on the earth", which was prohibited and proscribed by Almighty God when He said:
"When he turns his back, His aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loveth not mischief."
The espousal of a school of thought, whatever it may be, is not a justification for killing or aggression, even if some followers of that school commit a punishable act since:
"A bearer of burdens cannot bear another's burdens".
V. Any provocation of sensitivities or sectarian, ethnic, geographical, or linguistic strife should be shunned and averted. Similarly, any name-calling, abuse, or vilification and invectives uttered by any one party in attack on another should be avoided in view of the express prohibition by the Holy Quran, which labeled such conduct as "blasphemy":
"Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by offensive nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness used of one after he has believed: And those who do not desist are indeed wrong doers".
VI. Certain things and principles should never be forfeited, including in particular the unity, cohesion, cooperation, and solidarity in piety and righteousness, which should all be preserved and protected against any attempt to tear them asunder, for Almighty God said:
"The Believers are but a single Brotherhood" and He also said:
"Truly! This Ummah of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me".
Necessarily therefore, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to adopt caution and vigilance against all attempts to sow division among them, break their ranks, or incite sedition, strife, and hate to corrupt their divine spiritual bonds with each other.
VII. Muslims, both Sunnis and the Shiites all in unison champion the cause of the persecuted and unite against the oppressor and the unjust, as they act in application of Almighty God's words:
"Verily, God enjoins justice, righteousness and good deeds, charity and assistance to kith and kin and He forbids all shameful deeds, injustice, and oppression. He admonishes you, that you may take heed".
Accordingly, our endeavors should seek to put an end to all injustices, including most particularly by ensuring the release of all innocent prisoners and hostages, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, and the return of the displaced to their original homes.
VIII. The scholars remind the Iraqi Government of its duty to provide security, protection and means of decent livelihood to all categories and sections of the Iraqi people and to uphold justice among them, principally, by ensuring the release of innocent detainees, by bringing to speedy and fair trial, and executing the ruling against, those indicted of crime, while observing strictly the principle of equality among all citizens.
IX. The Sunnite and Shiite scholars support all efforts aimed at achieving comprehensive national reconciliation in Iraq in accordance with the words of the Almighty God:
"Reconciliation is best" and "Help ye one another in righteousness and piety".
X. Muslims, whether Sunnite or Shiite, will thus stand united in protecting the independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq; realizing and consecrating the free will of the Iraqi people, contributing to the military, economic, and political capacity-building of their country in order to put an end to occupation and restore and reinstate Iraq's Arab-Islamic and human cultural and civilizational role.
The scholars who have signed this Declaration appeal to all Muslim scholars to support its provisions and urge the Muslims of Iraq to pledge adherence to it. They pray to Almighty God, on this sacred soil and blessed grounds, to protect and preserve the faith of all Muslims, ensure the safety of their homeland, and bring the Arab-Muslim country of Iraq out of its plight, end its trials and tribulations and reinstate Iraq as a fortress and pillar of the Muslim Ummah in the face of its enemies.
Our final and eternal prayer is always that Praise and Glory be to Almighty God, the Lord of the Universe and all worlds therein.