Allah says in holy Quran: And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.’
This verse holds true for Muslims throughout the year but its implementation is specifically witnessed during the Holy month of Ramadan. Muslims from all sects undertake fasting and worship in almost identical manner and maintain the same good conduct. Social bonds are strengthened in an environment of self reflection, communal worship and charity in this month.
And contrary to most media outlet portrays, in many countries it is quite common for Sunnis and Shi’as to intermarry, to pray together in the same mosques, to break their fast together during Ramadan, and to live together harmoniously. The Holy Month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for all Muslims to reach out across sectarian boundaries and build on a lasting unity.
Perhaps Muslims should pledge to each other to become united. Most people have friends that are from different Muslim backgrounds and have no problem mixing. However, the need for masajids to create the environment where people are made to feel welcome in the masjid of another is important to fulfill the vision of unity at a structural level. In Iran it is not allowed to have separate masajids for Sunnis and Shi’as. In Sunni majority areas the Shi’as have to pray behind a Sunni Imam and vice versa. Can we replicate that in the West?
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