A friend of mine has just had a "scandal" hit her family. This scandal has caused much anger...tears....and division between members of the same family. What is this scandal that has got everyone up in arms ready to abandon someone they are supposed to love? Well, simple really, one of the female members of the family has fallen in love...bad I know...love is such a horrible emotion...makes us do some unusual things...things we might never think twice about doing during our more rational moments. Actually, this young lady falling in love is not what has everyone so heated up and ready to riot....she is a from a Sunni family....the one her heart has been captured by is from a Shiite family...a modern day Romeo and Juliet...but with an Arab twist.
Anyone that knows anything about Sunnis and Shiites will appreciate the ramifications this revelation has caused to both families concerned...a death in the family couldnt have affected them more I dont believe. Long story short...Sunni girl and Shiite boy have loved each other for 5 years...secretly. Both were terrified to tell family members knowing exactly what the reaction would be...but love is what it is...and rarely do we abandon it just because it isnt with the "right" person. Eventually tho...fear gave way to a determination to either get married with everyones blessing...or get married and go it alone...which is basically what it boiled down to. His family are refusing to talk to him...many of her family have abandoned her. All of this hate and anger for what...cause he is Shiite and she is Sunni...arent they both Muslim tho?
I have lived here for over 20 years and I have heard Sunnis and Shiites refer to each other as if beings from opposing planets...hateful and angry words spit out between clenched teeth....wishes of death and destruction to each sect a constant lament. How dare these two young lovers try and change what apparently is encoded in the genes of Sunni and Shiites alike...equal hate towards the other and definitely no mingling. Arent they both Muslim tho?
I am constantly amazed at this life long animosity felt between these two sects of Islam...so much anger and resentment and claims that the other is not living Islam the proper way...far as I can see...the moment each became a "sect" each was not living Islam properly. Islam was meant to unite Muslims...to unite the community into a common understanding and belief. To make Muslims feel safe among each other at least if not among non Muslims. God gave us the Quran as a source of guidance to bring us together and live peacefully with each other...justice always in our thoughts and actions...and yet most Muslims spend all their lives tearing Muslims apart....but they do it with culture. It is culturally not acceptable for Sunnis to marry Shiites and vice versa...God does not forbid Muslims from marrying each other...hell if we can marry Ahal al Kitab(people of the Book) then we can damn sure marry fellow Muslims...and yet Muslims themselves have made "laws" that forbid Muslims from marrying Muslims...the ego of man knows no limits. Arent they both Muslims tho?
Now the ironic twist to this whole fucked up scenario...is that the one man who the girls family assumed would go ballistic and do something apparently violent to her(or maybe the boy) turned out to be the most level headed and genuine Muslim of the whole lot....both families included. When her mother approached him(as her husband is dead so the uncle is the guardian) with this "devastating" news...shaking with assurity that this tragic news would cause fire to explode from his eyes and some sort of mini Jihad of death to automatically take over his thinking skills...he said something quite astounding to everyone who heard it. He quietly commented that if his neice loved this boy...who was he to deny her her choice of a husband? The proverbial pin dropping couldnt have echoed louder among family members near and far. His assumption being that, while he would prefer she marry a Sunni...he has no right to forbid her from marrying this man...no human right...and no Islamic right. Arent they both Muslim then?
I am in awe of this Muslim man that, while professing his identity as a Muslim with his tongue...also professed it with his actions. Something few Muslims are prepared or willing to do. I find this equally inspiring because he lives in a country in which culture is king and true Islamic practice is quite often just a theory.
The end result being that he blessed this marriage while many of her family did not...nor did the boys family. I can only pray that many many more such marriages take place whether the girls family or the boys accept it...because in the end nobody should choose who you marry....or prevent you from marrying who you want....and one way to get "enemies" to reconcile and unite...is to marry among each other...just ask our Prophet...he made alliances with other warring tribes by marrying into them. People often ask why the prophet was allowed more wives then other Muslim men...its because most of his marriages were political...his one desire was to bring the tribes together...to unite them...united tribes become united Muslims eventually. Maybe instead of spending all thier lives trying to tear Muslims apart...Sunnis and Shiites can try bringing Muslims together. A strong ummah will never be realized as long as Muslims are intent to divide themselves with petty hatred and culturally held beliefs that do nothing but bring us down and hold us back...while all God wanted was to raise us up.
I wish these two newly weds much success in life and may they have a happy and long love filled marriage that many Sunni/Sunni or Shiite/Shiite marriages do not...may God bless their marriage...even if their fellow Muslims do not.