Fasting for Change

Fast for Change 

By Hwaa Irfan

When we are surrounded with dissension, whether that dissension reveals itself in our family life or in the public sphere, to boost the meaning and purpose of our deen, fasting is a useful spiritual tool we can call on at anytime.

This is one particular time we should call on the tool of fasting, with the Wikileaks revealing the extent of the factionalism that took place in Iraq. I have worked with good Sunni’s and good Shi’a’s and whatever appears in the press would not turn me against either for I am a Muslim first and foremost, and in the tawhid of our deen, to turn against a people because of bad experiences and interpretation of information only serves to weaken my deen at the pleasure of our enemies. It hurts me to listen to Sunni’s speak of Shi’a in a negative light without little prompting, which only demonstrates how much we have become our own enemy by looking at incidents through the prism of the “other”, a prism that was introduced into the Muslim world through the successful endeavors’ of the British and the French to undermine and weaken the Ottoman Empire – they were successful, and remain successful in their deliberate campaign the spread dissension between Iraqi Shi’a and Sunni in the U.s. occupation of Iraq. We do not seek to explore the fact that Shi’a and Sunni marriages in Iraq were commonplace before the U.S. invasion and occupation, we do not seek to explore the foreign influence in the rampant violence, we do not seek to see how this politicking fragments Shi’a and Sunni unity, and we do not seek to explore the suffering that Shi’a have suffered over time at the hands of Sunni. We do not be mindful of the affiliations of the compilers of the Wikileak affect interpretation of data instead we fall prey to the same obsessions that dominate the secular world into the Muslim world, so what makes us so different?

{ And when there comes to them news of security or fear, they spread it abroad; and if they had referred it to the Apostle and to those in authority amongst them, those amongst them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it, and were it not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have certainly followed the shaytan save a few} (An-Nisa 4:83) 

If the dead of Iraq were only Shi’a, would Sunni’s who see only that which is Sunni consider it to be none of their concern? If the dead were only Christians, would Shi’a and Sunni it to be none of their concern? If the dead were only agnostics, would all the Muslim sects consider it to be none of their concern? A life is a life, and life is valued in Islam, because life is the vehicle of change.

Do we forget who financed the Iraq-Iran war? It took a non-Muslim, Gareth Porter (an investigative historian and journalist) to highlight that sectarian deaths were a part of U.S. terror strategy, and that 

  • General D. Petraeus developed the strategy of using Shi’a’s and Kurds to suppress Sunnis 2004 -2005 – and what do we have a balkanized Iraq


  • Deployment of Shi’a and Kurd police in Sunni areas

After all, how else does one bring down a majority!

Fast to erase the idols from our hearts, the idol which turns a friend into a foe, and an imaginary fear into a living reality. But most of all, fast for the unity we so desperately need, or like the rest of the world, we will lose our selves in the hatred of the ill-conceived “other,” otherwise we will wake up one day and discover that we cannot even trust our own shadow!

{And not like those who became divided and disagreed after clear argument had come to them, and these it is that shall have a grievous chastisement} (Ale Imran 3: 105)

{Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them, their affair is only with Allah, then He will inform them of what they did} (An Anam 6: 159) 

My ‘Ummah will be divided into seventy three sects. All of them will be in the Fire except one? (Muslim #976) 

“What is meant by the term “ummah” in this ahadith is the ummah of response (ummatul-ijaabah – those who responded to the call to Islam after having been invited), which shall be divided into seventy three sects; seventy two of which are deviant, who practice innovated religious practices that do not constitute apostasy. Each shall be punished in accordance to the innovations and deviation (it practiced), except for those who Allah pardons and forgives. Their final abode will be Jannah. The only sect that will be safe is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, who adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) and hold fast to what he and his Companions (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhum) were holding to. It is they about whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) said:

((A group of my ummah shall remain steadfast, on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until the death or until the Day of Resurrection)), [Sahih al-Bukhari, #71 & 3641, and Sahih Muslim, #1920]

As for those whose innovation casts them out of Islam, they belong to the ummah of invitation (ummatud-da’wah – those to whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) was sent to invite to Islam), not the ummatul-ijaabah. They shall remain in the Hell Fire forever, and this is the most valid opinion.

It is also said that the term “ummah” in this ahadith means ummatud-da’wah, which is a general term indicating all those to whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) was sent (i.e. mankind) those who believe and those who do not believe. Whereas the term “the saved sect” is the ummatul-ijaabah, which strictly applies to those who believe in the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam), truthfully and die in such a state (of belief). This is the sect that will be saved from the Fire; either by prior punishment or without prior punishment, and their final abode will be Jannah, (insha-Allah).

As for the seventy two sects (in the second opinion) they are all, excluding the saved sect, disbelievers who will live forever in the Fire. Hence, it is clear that the ummatud-da’wah is more general in connotation than the ummatul-ijaabah. That is to say, whoever belongs to the ummatul-ijaabah belongs to the ummatud-da’wah, while not everyone of the ummatud-da’wah belongs to the ummatul-ijaabah.

And with Allah lies all success and may Allah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawa


Related Topics:

The Idols of Our Lives

The Secret Iraqi Files