In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
In reply to a question directed to him from Morocco during the live broadcasted communication gathering programmes, Sheikh al-Habib presented his view in gathering the Muslims and unifying their word by adhering to the five practical principles he mentioned, and which represent the frame of salvation for the Islamic nation if it seeks to unite on one word, gather themselves and unite their rows.
The following is a summary of these principles:
1. Guarantee for freedom of thought and freedom of expression:
If we truly seek to gather, we must, firstly and before everything, guarantee to every side its freedom of thought, and for there not to be tyranny or silencing against the people. In this manner, everyone has his freedom to present his idea on the table of research. Moreover, he must have freedom of expression with regards to what goes on in his mind and with regards to his doctrine and sect, and for this positive discourse between two conflicting sides to be for the sake of reaching a common word.
In this manner, none can climb the pulpit in a mosque and give a speech in which one praises Aisha – for instance – and on the other hand, prevent the opponent from climbing the pulpit and criticizing the character of Aisha and express a different view. This goes against freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
Therefore, one must acknowledge ideological diversity, the fact that the Islamic nation is disputed on these characters and that it is of not just one opinion on them. It is not possible to unite as long as there is prevention to the freedom of the other part.
2. Honesty and non-concealment, not flattery or courtesy:
If we seek to unite and gather, we must at first be honest with each other. Therefore, when sitting on the table of discussion and dialogue, the opposing sides must be honest with one another, where each one is honest in expressing what he believes in.
As for to begin with flattery, courtesy, cajolery and sugar-talk, it will not lead the opposing parts to a conclusion. This is because it is supposed that the parts that are going to gather, must discuss the disputed matters without courtesy, and then reach a common word.
What is occurring of this kind of conferences of bringing Muslim sects together, is that they do not discuss the disputed matters, but rather they discuss commonalities! Hence, we do not see any real effect for these on the Islamic nation.
3. To seek the truth, not victory:
What is occurring in most ideological discussions and debates is the aim to defeat the counterpart however it may be, and not to seek and establish the truth.
4. Cooperation in national, domestic and civil commonalities, and the non-allowing for religious disputes to become a reason for a boycott:
Those who gather must excuse each other in religious disputes if they do not reach a common word, and they must gather on practical commonalities to build the community and nation and to not allow those disputes to become a reason for a boycott.
Allah (Exalted is He) says:
So, you are only a reminder, you are not over them a controller.
5. Equality in rights and obligations:
Just as how there is a right for the ‘Sunni’ sect to establish a mosque that accords with its doctrine, similarly, there must be for the Shi’a sect a right to establish a mosque that accords with its doctrine. And so forth with the rest of all other rights and obligations, so that everyone feels equality and justice, by which affection and brotherhood diffuse amongst them.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib