As Muslims, our failures lie in division rather than compassion: Analyst

By Catherine Shakdam*

As millions of pilgrims complete the last rites of the Hajj pilgrimage - united and equal in the worship of the divine, together brothers in faith and equal in their humanity one cannot help but gaze upon the chaos that ravages still the Islamic world.

One may argue that wherever the light touches, darkness has worked to darken skies and rob hope by speaking Takfir, treachery, and bloodshed when the Quran commanded unity be made an act of worship.

“And hold fast all together to the rope of God and never be divided. Remember God’s favor upon you: you were once enemies and He reconciled your hearts so that through His favor you became like brothers. You stood on the brink of a pit of fire, and He delivered you from it. Thus God makes His signs of truth clear to you that you may be guided (to the Straight Path in all matters and be steadfast on it.)” Quran 3:103

It is surely in times such as ours when men and women from all manners of differences stand beyond what divides them so they could be reborn of Islam and in Islam, that we, as a religious community, be made to face that which try to separate us and destroy us.

The enemy here is not one but legion. The difficulty is not single but multitude … more troubling still has been our inability to identify those forces which, from behind a veneer of legitimacy, have defiled not only the Scriptures but disconnected their teachings from their true keep.

One may argue that the greatest source of tumult lies still in the disconnection of the powers that have architected away from the progeny of the Prophet Muhammad so they could rise another House upon that we were called upon to follow.

A cycle bound to be repeated until such time when Truth is made apparent again, duty has fallen upon our religious leadership to speak clarity and guidance.

Guidance is indeed what Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered on the Day of Arafah as millions reached out to their Maker to seek if not answers, closeness to He, the Hearer of prayers, the Warder-off of anguishes, the Raiser of ranks, and the Suppressor of the tyrants.

He called: “Today, the world of Islam is suffering from insecurity: moral, spiritual and political insecurity. The main factor behind this is our negligence and the brutal invasion of the enemies. We Muslims have not carried out our religious and our rational duties in the face of the invasion of the vicious enemy. We forgot to be both "Strong against unbelievers" and "Compassionate among one another" [The Holy Quran, 48: 29].”

Beyond the ravages Terror inflicted upon the Islamic world, beyond the cries of anguish and destruction that swept nations under the vengeful tenets Takfiri militants wielded on the tip of their swords, our biggest failure has certainly lied in our propensity to stand in our divisions rather than in compassion.

As noted by Ayatollah Khamenei it is only when we will learn to be steadfast before tyranny and kind to one another that the flames lit up by Terror will be extinguished, and those hands which fanned it ablaze defeated.

Such notion has been echoed throughout the Islamic community - a common thread spoken to life by our marjas, an invitation to reflect upon the nature of our enemy.

Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s call for unity in Iraq against Daesh militants in 2015 and his subsequent edict that all prisoners of war be offered justice and fair treatment stand evident proofs that true victory is claimed from within the confines of Islam, and not born in exaggeration or deviance.

There lies what Ayatollah Khamenei refers to as “our religious and our rational duties in the face of the invasion of the vicious enemy.” One needs not to fight with one’s enemies’ weapons or even war rationale; instead recourse must be found in Him.

“Thus God makes His signs of truth clear to you that you may be guided (to the Straight Path in all matters and be steadfast on it.)” Quran 3:103

It is maybe because Hajj remains a painful reminder of what soon will come to pass in the month of Muharram, and whose martyrdom will be marked with our tears that such message from Ayatollah Khamenei rings most important of all.

As Imam Hussain taught the world: the real tragedy, the real betrayal would be to deny that which God revealed and commanded we follow.

Victory will remain elusive if we do not come to term with the nature of our struggle. “The main factor behind this is our negligence and the brutal invasion of the enemies,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

Indeed, our negligence is what has ailed us; our negligence in our duties: might they be religious, or socio-political, has been both our burden and failure.


“As You have not taken me out [to this world] - on account of Your sympathy to me,

Your kindness to me,

And Your compassion to me -

In the government of the heads of unbelief

Who breached their covenant with you

And denied Your messengers.

However, You took me out on account of the guidance that You have already known about me

And You have made easy the way to it

And You have brought me up in it

Even before that, You had compassion on me,

Through Your excellent conferral

And Your affluent bestowals.”


* Catherine Shakdam is a PhD candidate at Harvard University, a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements. The Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed on Op-Ed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of


  • Hajj
  • Unity


  • 2020-03-04 14:04
    This Is very informative content i really enjoy this Article
  • 2020-04-29 13:38
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