A July, 6 1959 fatwah from Al-Azhar made great strides towards healing and reconciliation in the historic divide between Sunni and Shi’a.
After 9 years of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq which allowed the Shi’a government of Iran to make significant political gains in the Middle East, Al-Azhar saw a massive increase in Salafist influence. The Salafi movement is a Saudi Arabian based movement, a nation that is Iran’s historic enemy. Consequently, in 2012, the 1959 fatwah was reversed.
As a consequence of both of these events, we have a proxy war raging between two Muslim nations in multiple third party nations while their leaders vie for public support among Muslims worldwide for their cause against each other based on religious grounds.
As Muslims we need to remain committed to following Allah’s command. Our struggle, fisabilillah, is to remain a united community and resist the dividers.
“Hold fast to God’s rope all together; do not split into factions. Remember God’s favour to you: you were enemies and then He brought your hearts together and you became brothers by His grace; you were about to fall into a pit of Fire and He saved you from it- in this way God makes His revelations clear to you so that you may be rightly guided.” – Qur’an 3:103