Reports of sectarian tension overseas, particularly in the 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 schools 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 Code 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 shall use, spread or tolerate the rhetoric of branding others as nonbelievers (takfir) 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 of God’s messengers, and in the reality of the Last Day, agreeing on the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an and facing Makkah (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 a particular mosque or religious institution where they are the norm.
- We agree that steps should be taken to perfect 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.
Signed on September 2, 2007
Parvez I. Shah
Amir Mukhtar Faezi
Muzammil H. Siddiqi
Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah
Sayyid M. Syeed