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Here is a translation of one of the powerful speeches delivered by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Khalili (the Grand Mufti of the Sultanate), in defense about the truth regarding the Ibadhiyyah. The speech was translated by Ahmed Al-Mamari.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamed Al-Khalily — The Grand Mufti of Oman expounds.
His Eminence received a letter which he described as worthy of respect, from an Omani student in U.S.A. asking him to explain Ibadhism.
His Eminence's reply was originally recorded in a cassette in Arabic, and in translating it into English, I have omitted some repetitions without changing the meaning.
I believe His Eminence’s explanation will help those who really want to know Ibadhism, whether they are Muslims or not, since much has been written for and against this sect and caused much confusion
Divisions into sects among the Muslims is a fact of life, and the Prophet himself had said that his people will be divided into seventy-three sects. The Christians into seventy-two and The Jews into seventy-one.
Divisions into sects come as a result of differences of opinions above certain matters and such differences have been described by the Prophet as a blessing. There should be no need, therefore, for such differences to change from being a blessing to sectarian fanaticism to an extent that, instead of sorting out those differences, people waste their time in throwing mud on each other’s faces while all of them say:“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Servant and His messenger.” They also say the same number of prayers, observe fasting together during the month of Ramadhan, perform pilgrimage during the same period and in the same Holy places.
There is no Muslim who says prayers four or six times a day, or performs pilgrimage during the period other than the sacred months or observes fasting during the month other than the month of Ramadhan. Yet we find sectarian fanaticism leads people to intensify the divisions which only promote the decline of Islam.
It is the imperative duty of each Muslim to consider a fellow Muslim a Muslim, and not an Ibadhi, a Shafy or Hanafy etc.
May our Lord guide us to perform good and rightful deeds to The Day of Judgement.
Ahmed Hamoud Al-Maamiry
I have received a letter, worthy of respect, from an honourable brother, Abdulla bin Abdul-Rahman Al-Shaybani, who is studying in U.S.A. He says in his letter: "We live in America as students, and we arrived from different countries. God has granted us Islamic Centers in which we observe our Religion and its affairs – Thank God."
“Among us are active brothers who belong to the Ibadhi sect. We have seen in them piety and adherence to the Religion practically and non-clinging to sectarianism and differences. God has gifted some of these brothers with some knowledge of His Book in reciting, memorising and understanding; as also with the teachings of messenger. This has made us to prefer them to lead us in the prayers and to lead congregations on Fridays and during festivals. And here comes the question; which made us confused, and for which we seek an answer, particularly after hearing some of our Sunni brothers who have just joined us for studies warning against following those who lead the prayers or their participation in the administration of our mosques and Islamic Centers in this place on the claim that they are a section of the Khawarij etc.
From them we have observed much kindness, and for this reason,I find myself holding up pen and writing to you to request you to write to us about this sect and its followers, how to deal with them and the reason for not circulating their books and references in the libraries and in the Muslim Universities.
May Allah bless you and all the Muslims.
Your brother in Islam
(sgd) Abdul Rahman Al-Shaybani”
The Grand Mufti continues:
Before answering this question, I greet this brother with Islamic greetings and I tell him: “And to you be peace and blessings of God.”I thank him for this good effort and for his confidence in me inspite of my little knowledge. I also thank him for what he has undertaken to seek the truth in order that he does not move behind doubts like others.
The Muslims should always seek the truth and should not be satisfied with blind following. Inspite of this, I very much regret what is happening between the Muslims because of sectarianism and differences among them. This state of affairs disagrees with the Religion of unity and unanimity.
God says: “Verily, this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: Therefore serve me (and no other).”(XXI - 92).
And He says: “Verily, this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: Therefore fear me (and no other).” (XXIlI:52).
And He says: “And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.”(III:103). And He says: “Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs; for them is a dreadful penalty.” (III:105). And He says: “And fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; (VIII:46)”.
In this age we are in great need to join our ranks and to settle our differences because of the enmity confronting us from the enemies of Islam. We have to look into the different plots and challenges, and our duty is not to intensify the divisions but to strive for unity and harmony. This is what Islam insists on each individual Muslim who believes in God and in the Day of Judgement. Notwithstanding this, however, it is very much regretted that we hear voices calling for divisions from here and there, and what adds to the regret is that these voices come from people who claim that they work to invite people to God, and that they are sincere in their work for the sake of God. They claim to be justified with knowledge and excellence. Honestly this calls for regret.
What Muslim should always work to clean justice from injustice so that he may understand the truth correctly. Understanding of a question is essential in giving judgement, and it is impossible for a person to understand the truth unless he looks into it from every corner,and only then he may give his judgement.
It is known to every Muslim that God, most High and Praised, has sent Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) after an interval of prophets when people were astray, immoral and escaped the values. That was the time when rage separated people and conﬂicts and differences replaced harmony and unity; particularly with the Arabs who lived the life of a tiger in the forest. God sent to them Muhammad to give glad tidings and warning, and to call people to Godin His name. He was a shining light. He presented the message of his Lord, gave counsel to the people, removed the grief and spared no effort in explaining the truth as it is.He explained to the people that they are all the children of Adam and Eve and that their origin is one and that there is no superiority of one over another except in God-fearing. God Has revealed that fact in the Quran saying: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge as is well acquainted (with all things)” (XLIX: 13).
The Prophet himself used to tell people that he is one of the people and that God instructs him for that. God has revealed to him saying: “Say: I am but a man like yourselves." (XVIII:110).
When inﬂicted with fear the Bedouins took refuge to the Prophet but he used to tell them: “Take it easy! I am not a King; I am a son of a lady who used to eat jerked meat in Mecca." Such was the modesty of the Prophet and such were his dealings with his people! He established a system of rule on the principles of consultation, justice and equity; to hold the hand of the oppressor and to give the oppressed his due.
This system was followed by his companions who preserved it.The rational Caliphate was built on this system based on the principle of no difference between the Caliph and others. All the people were equal before the law. A person may come before the judge and present a case against a caliph and the judge would call a caliph as one of the rest of the people to give his statement. Such was the justice of Islam in the time of the Prophet and the time of his Orthodox Caliphs.
Thereafter, things changed. People with grudges against Islam got influence as a result of various military expeditions between the Muslims and the pagans. They assumed power and changed the rule of justice into tyrannical and oppressive Caesarism, handing over from father to son.
Many people love the world and are courteous to its people.They cling to the heels of those who control the affairs therein and make propaganda in their favour. They reputed them with generosity, justice, honesty and rightfulness. Anyone who dared to stand against them there would be much propaganda against him.