Friday, May 23, 2008

Arent they both Muslim though?

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.


Susie of Arabia said...

What a great story! If only all Muslims would think like the uncle.
I love your blog - I can see that your logic will really help me learn a lot more about Islam, and in a really interesting way that makes sense.
Thanks! And I've added you to my blog also under "Other Worldly Blogs."

Aalia of Abu Dhabi said...

Hi! I came here by way of your comment that you left on my Blog. I just read your post and it was very interesting, and I am proud of the reaction of the girl's uncle. In Islam, you cannot force a woman to marry someone she does not choose, and even if they do end up getting married, you cannot force them to divorce UNLESS he is hurting her.

I heard of such a case in Saudi where a girl's family tried to obtain a divorce from her husband, just because he was from a "lower" tribe. ?!?!? Not only did the two already have children but I think ended up happening was that the girl's family kidnapped her. SubhanAllah. There are so many things wrong with this way of thinking, for one, it's not Islamic.

We can only hope that people change their ways of thinking into something more productive and less hating.

coolred38 said...

Thank you ladies for stopping by and for such kind comments.

I shall steal from a common phrase used by a well known ad campaign...if we all do a little...we can do alot. It could work for the Muslim community as well in my opinion.

rebellious said...

ya, what an uncle that would do that .. and really he teach me a lesson, that sunnis and shiits both muslems and there is somethings in our culture that we should change>> thank u coolred for what u always write..

Gardens of Sand said...

Sad to say this animosity still goes on. While I consider myself Muslim, my father is Shee3a and my mum is Sunni. I was told my dad's grandfather and mum's uncle were against the union (both of grandfathers were dead, although my paternal grandfather blessed the union).

My cousin is marrying a Sunni- traditional gal from Muharraq. As far as I know both our families are happy with the union.

My bestfriend was beat with a shoe by her mum when she professed her love for a Shee3a. Her mum actually called my other best friend (who is Shee3a) to complain, saying not only was he a Shee3a, but a barefoot one too (meaning poor/not rich)!!! Her granma told her that had he been rich, they would've overlooked his Shee3aness!

My Sunni granma told my Shee3a friend to marry a Sunni. She then proceeded to tell my Sunni Persian friend that she is nice enough to snag an Arab!

My Sunni aunts sometime mention that I should marry someone like us-I presume they mean a Sunni (although technically I am a Shee3a).

My own Sunni cousin who walks around pretending to be a bedouin denies blood relations with my sister (they're both in college) coz she is a Shee3a and he a bedouin-wannabe.

My parents and dad's family however never made the distinction. It was always clear that there isn't a difference.

A Saudi friend of mine when asked her full name and area by another Saudi preceeded to say how her family are not the Shee3a so and so from xyz place (while I was sitting there!)

Another Sunni friend said that a cousin was old & so desparate to marry she married a Shee3i man.

I could go on and on and on... Really what can you tell to people who perpetuate sectarianism all the while condemning it and/or professing innocence and it's the others to blame??

Nice blog by the way, I really enjoy your posts & check your blog daily, on many issues you voice my thoughts!!

Gardens of Sand said...

I meant to say my dad's uncle! I really should proof-read what I write!

ammaro said...

there was a full radio show on the BBC yesterday about shiiaa and sunni relationships and their effect on the muslima umma. it is a big effect, and it is a shame; something that started off with a disagreement on who was to rule after the Prophet PBUH, that has turned into a huge issue with arguments over ideologies and so on... its sad how people fight over the littlest issues, even calling each other kaffir at times! inshala god leads all down the right path...

Reeshiez said...

I am a shi'ite Bahraini engaged to a Sunni Palestinian. My parents were okay with it from the beginning but his family and the rest of mine were not. There were no horrible fights or anything but it was difficult to gain full acceptance. But now the situation has changed thank God. Both sides like each other, though I believe there might be some slight problems when we have children.
With Sunnis and Shia, there is a lot of ignorance on both sides. The good thing about Bahrain though, is at the very least, sunnis and shias interact and know about each others beliefs. While there may be problems with intermarriage, both sects still view each other as muslims (though probably heretical). With countries where there is no mixed sunni/shia population, the situation is different. Many sunnis here in the US, for example, have mistaken beliefs about shia. They think that Shia worship Ali instead of God. They also say a lot of our practices amount to shirk - putting a human at the level of God - the ultimate sin in Islam. Its really sad that such ignorance exists about shia. I know many sunni muslims in the US who think that shia are heretical muslims and then when they learn that I am shia they say well "your not really shia." Well I'm not. I'm not really anything. My beliefs are a mixture of sunni, shia and sufi beliefs. I can only define myself as Muslim. But the point is, there is nothing wrong with having exclusively shia beliefs. There is no one correct path to God.

Adventurous Ammena said...

masha'allah, i was really glad to hear that.. even though its one person that makes things so much easier. I pray that they have a success and happy life together insha'allah