Ayatullah Sistani - On differences and unity
On 3rd April, 2013, a group Zawwar led by Sh. Mustafa Jaffer met Ayatullah Sistani at his home in Najaf.
Agha met the delegation in two groups – the men first and then the ladies group. At the end of the meeting with the ladies, one of the lady members in the group asked Sh. Mustafa to request Agha to pray for unity in the community.
In response Agha Sistani replied, in connection with the subject of unity in the community, that we have to first of all understand when we as a Shia society – not only Khoja society - but any Shia society anywhere – when they show their strength and unity, people outside feel threatened and will do everything to break this unity.
By the same token, whilst they use their different means and conspiracies to break our unity and divide us, we should learn to live with our differences and unite. Our differences should make us stronger if we understand how to live with our differences.
We want everything in black and white; only one way. There is nothing like ‘one way’. The diversity has to be utilized to strengthen ourselves. Then we will be able to succeed. It is not only one way –that one leader says one thing and that is the only way.
Differences should be utilized to strengthen ourselves and not to divide us. Everything is not one way. Agha stated that ‘in your diversity learn how to live with your differences’.
Successful societies are those that have learnt to live with their differences and appear as one society.
Look at the Aga Khan. I am sure that you have your relations with them and you compare yourselves with that society. They look united under a strong leader. Yet they have many differences but look united because they have learnt to live with their differences. Similarly the Jews also have many sects and political views with differing opinions but they have the appearance of a united society. They have learnt to live with their differences. We, who have the legacy of Ahlul Bait, cannot we live united within our differences? If not, this will be a continuous block to our progress.
(Above transcript based on a report, given by Sh. Mustafa Jaffer to the Zawwar present, after Majlis at the Hotel.)
Ayatullah Sistani's message for the Triennial Conference 2014
الحمد لله رب العالمین و الصلاه و السلام علی خیر خلقه محمد و آله الطاهرین و بعد: الاخوه و الاخوات اعضاء جماعه الخوجه الشیعه الاثنی عشریه حفظهم الله السلام علیکم و رحمه الله و برکاته مع المحبه و الاحترام فی هذه الایام الکریمه التی ینعقد فیها مؤتمرکم العام یسرنا ان نبعث الیکم بتحیات سماحه السید المرجع دام ظله و دعاءه لکم جمیعا بالخیر و البرکه و مزید الموفقیه و السداد. و نحیطکم علما بان سماحته اذ یبارک لکم عقد مؤتمرکم هذا و یعده مصداقا لما اوصی به مولانا امیر المؤمنین علیه السلام اولاده و شیعته من نظم امرهم فانه یؤکد علی ضروره الاهتمام ازید من ذی قبل بالجوانب الثقافیه لاعضاء الجماعه و اتخاذ کافه الوسائل و السبل المتاحه للحفاظ علی هویتهم الدینیه الاصلیه، کما یؤکد علی ضروره الاهتمام باخوانکم و اخواتکم المؤمنین و لا سیما من الافریقین سواء فی الجوانب الثقافیه او الخدمات الاجتماعیه، سائلا المولی العلی القدیر ان یسدد خطاکم و یمنحکم مزید الاجر و الثواب. والسلام علیکم و رحمه الله و برکاته.
4 رجب المرجب 1435 مکتب السید السیستانی النجف الاشرف
Translation in English
In the name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the Ever-Merciful. All praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds and may peace and blessings be upon the best of His creation Muḥammad and upon his pure progeny.
Brothers and sisters, the members of the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri community, may Allah safeguard you. Salamun alaykum wa rehmatullah wa barakatuhu, with love and respect.
In these auspicious days when your general conference is being convened, we are pleased to convey to all of you,greetings and prayers of beneficiation and prosperity, as well as increase in tawfeeq and steadfastness from His Eminence Grand Ayatollah al-Syed [Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani], may his life be long.
His Eminence blesses you on convening this conference and considers this as an exemplification of the recommendation of our master Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s) to his children and to his Shias to manage their affairs.
He [his Eminence] stresses upon the necessity to give more importance than ever before on the cultural aspects of community members and to seize all available means and avenues to safeguard their original religious identity. He also stresses upon the necessity to give importance to your mu’min brothers and sisters, especially the Africans, on both cultural aspects and on social services. Praying to the Almighty Master to keep you all steadfast and grant you with increased reward and recompense.
Wassalamu alaykum va rehmatullah va barakatohu 4 Rajab 1435 The Office of al-Syed al-Sistani - Al Najaf Al Ashraf