Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Signing of the Muslim Code of Honor at ISNA Convention

Signing of the Muslim Code of Honor at ISNA Convention
ISNA; September 5, 2007
During the 44th annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) convention in Chicago, the Muslim Code of Honor between Sunni and Shia schools of thought was signed in a special ceremony attended by 10,000 participants, on September 2, 2007.


Reports of sectarian tension overseas, particularly in aftermath of the American invasion of Iraq, have prompted the Muslim American leadership to speak out against communal divisions and all sectarian violence. Such expressions of sectarianism, if unchecked, may add fuel to the fire, engulfing the community in historical grievances that magnify theological differences and minimize the common “Pillars of Faith” on which all Muslims agree, irrespective of their school of thought (madhhab).

As Muslim Americans who live and struggle for a dignified existence for Islam and Muslims in a spirit of peaceful coexistence and respect for all, we believe that the practical challenges of the future supersede the ideological differences of the past. Moreover, in recognition of our communal duty to promote goodness and peace, we remain eager to offer any help we can and to join hands with all those who wish well for the Family of Believers (Ummah) in stopping the senseless, inhumane violence in Iraq and elsewhere in the world.

In our view, we must begin by preventing such tragic sectarianism from spilling over into our Muslim communities in the United States. As a first step toward this goal, we agree to live in peace and respect each other in accordance with a ‘Muslim Cod e of Honor.’ We remain committed to this Muslim Code of Honor not only during times of agreement and ease but, more importantly, when faced with contentious issues and in times of mutual disagreement.

Muslim Code of Honor

No group or individual should use, spread, or tolerate the rhetoric of takfir (branding others nonbelievers) against anyone who believes in the oneness and supremacy of God, the prophethood of Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah, peace be upon him, as the last God’s messengers, and in the reality of the Last Day, agreeing on the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an and facing Mecca (qibla) in daily prayers.

Muslims should respect one another and the people, places and events that any Muslim group or individual holds in esteem, even when they disagree about the relative importance of such people and events. Such disagreements, moreover, should only be expressed in a respectful manner, avoiding inflammatory language and insulting verbiage.

As to differences in the performance of worship (‘ibadat’), we agree to respect the rules in effect and the authority of the leadership that endorses them in the particular mosque or religious institution where they are the norm.

We agree the steps should be taken to protect the general Muslim population in America from the distribution of divisive, inflammatory or irrelevant literature, primarily from overseas, in order to maintain the integrity and protect the future of Islam in America and curb the spread of harmful and misleading propaganda.

We support the establishment of objective, scholarly study groups (halaqas) to examine Muslim history, creed and law, in an effort to increase our knowledge and understanding of one another and to aid in mutual reconciliation, in the event, however, that problems should arise in this regard, a joint body of Muslim scholars from both Shia and Sunni traditions should be consulted in order to prevent schism.

Finally, we encourage all Muslims in the United States to work to emphasize their commonality, in accordance with God’s statement:

“And hold fast, all together, to the rope of God, and be not divided among yourselves. And remember with gratitude God’s favor upon you, and you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love. Thus, by His grace you became brethren. And you were on the brink of the fire, and He saved you from it. Thus, doth God make His signs clear to you, that you may be guided. So let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. They are the ones to attain felicity. And be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs. For them is a dreadful penalty.” (3:103-05)

The participants of the ISNA signing ceremony were:
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, ISNA President
Dr. Jamal Badawi, Member of Fiqh Council of North America
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, President of Fiqh Council of North America
Imam Moustafa Al-Qazwini, Founding Imam of IECOC
Imam Muhammad Nur Abdullah, Past ISNA President
Imam Faezi, Imam of Baitul Ilm, Chicago
Dr. Parviz Shah, UMMA President
Dr. Khurshid Khan, ICNA President
Hajj Nahidiyan, Imam of Manassas Mosque
Dr. Sayyid Syeed, ISNA National Director
Sr. Asma Mirza, MSA National President

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