No code of laws or creed has emphasized unity, as Islam, the religion of universal brotherhood. The holy Qur'an calls on Muslims to hold fast to the Rope of God and do not indulge in discord. The Almighty's Last and Greatest Messenger to mankind, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), strove to build a monolithic and monotheistic society on the basis of virtue and ethics so as to rise above the superficial differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, colour of skin, class status and language.
During the 23 years of his mission he left no stone unturned in this regard, and later upon migration to Medina during the last 10 years of his mission, he established the model administration of justice and equity where there was no difference between Arabs and others, like Salman the Persian, Bilal the black African, and Soheib the Roman. While departing the world, the Prophet bequeathed to Muslims the formula of unity, as stressed by firm adherence to the Saqalayn or two invaluable things he was leaving behind. He said in explicit words to hold fast to the Book of God, that is the holy Qur'an, and to his progeny the Ahl al-Bayt, in order not to go astray since these two never separate from each other even when they return to him on the Day of Judgement at the Fountain of Kowsar. Thus, the Qur'anic term, the Rope of God, is reference to these inseparable things, which we Muslims should firmly hold in order to build sound and healthy societies.
In other words, if Muslims fail to knit ranks, they will easily fall victim to their enemies who are ever intent to sow seeds of discord among the believers. So what better occasion to promote Islamic solidarity and awareness than the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny)? However, we have slight differences regarding this auspicious date. Sunni Muslims consider the birthday of the Prophet to be the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal by citing the narrations from his companions, who it is clear had no previous acquaintance with the Prophet until he publicly proclaimed his mission at the age of 40 years. On the other hand, Shi'ite Muslims by giving preference to the accounts of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt or immediate family members as more authentic, regard that auspicious day to be the 17th of the same month. Thus, in order to bridge the minor differences among the Muslims, as a result of the various schools of jurisprudence, the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeni (may his soul rest in peace), declared the Islamic Unity Week to span these two dates in order to assemble World Muslims on a single platform. Thanks to the Late Imam's foresight great strides have taken place in fostering Islamic unity in Iran and abroad in the face of the feverish plots of the enemies of Islam and Muslims to sow discord.
Without doubt, the archenemies of Islamic unity are the US, certain west European regime, and the illegal Zionist entity called Israel. These evil powers consider Islamic unity detrimental to their vested interests, and always raise discords so as to weaken Muslims. In view of these facts, it is the duty of Muslims to be vigilant and not indulge in trivial issues. As the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has emphasized, there are no major differences amongst the Sunnis and Shi'ites, and it is not permitted to insult each others' sentiments. Here we should heed the advice of Imam Ali (AS), the gist of whose saying is that: refrain from discord and do not separate from each other, for those who drift away fall prey to the Satan, in the same manner that sheep which stray from the flock are devoured by wolves.
Imam Ali (AS) did not speak mere words but set a practical example in this regard. He was proclaimed by the Prophet, on the express commandments of God, as vicegerent at Ghadeer Khom, as recorded by all denominations of Islam. But when after the passing away of the Prophet, discord crept in and he was denied his political right of the caliphate or rule of the Muslim society on various pretexts, this brave conqueror of many a crucial battle did not resort to the sword to claim his right. He rejected such insinuations, saying Muslims would splinter, and he was so magnanimous that whenever the caliphs sought his advice, Imam Ali (PBUH) never withheld it. For him, unity of the Islamic society was more important than other issues including rule over the people which was his undeniable right.
Imam Khomeini, and after him Ayatollah Khamenei, both as humble servants of the Prophet and the Infallible Imams, have always regarded Islamic unity to be paramount. For this reason, the Late Imam, first unified the different groups in Iran, and after creating national unity in order to defeat the plots of the western and eastern neo-colonialist powers, he strove to foster Islamic unity at the regional and international levels. By reviving the genuine teachings of Islam and implementing them in society, the Imam strengthened unity and the society's culture and beliefs. By adhering to God's commandments in the holy Qur'an, Imam Khomeini called on the leaders of Muslim states to close ranks in the general interests of the Islamic World in order to defeat the designs of the neocolonialists. Regrettably, as a result of their dependence on the either the western capitalist system or the then eastern communist system, most heads of state ignored the Imam's dynamic call even though he warned them of the uprising and wrath of their Muslim masses in future. He said in one of his speeches: The masses in Muslim countries should themselves think of Islam. We are disappointed with the overwhelming majority Muslim leaders, but we have not lost hope in the masses.
The Islamic Unity Week is indeed a firm testimony of the Islamic Republic of Iran's selfless efforts over the past three decades to promote Muslim solidarity worldwide. Today, Ayatollah Khamenei spares no effort to promote this mission of the Late Imam. He says since as monotheists we believe in One God, one Last and Greatest Prophet, one remarkably preserved heavenly scripture (Quran), and bow during the daily prayers towards the same focal point, the holy Ka'ba, we Muslims ought to be one solid ummah.
Today, the endeavours of the Late Imam, and his successor, Ayatollah Khamenei are bearing result as Islamic awakening spreads around the world. The cries of Allah-o Akbar (God is Great) are resonating in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and other countries. The Muslim masses have decided to rid their homeland from foreign domination. As God says in ayah 11 of Surah Ra'd: "Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition."
However, the Egyptian and other Muslim peoples should be on guard against the enemies who are trying to sow seeds of discord. Our duty is to work towards the building of a single Islamic Ummah, and today the downfall of some notorious dictators who used to serve as servants of the enemies of Islam, should certainly benefit Muslim solidarity worldwide. It is now time for world Muslims, irrespective of the school of jurisprudence they follow, to set aside trivial differences and hold fast to the ethereal teachings of the holy Qur'an. The Prophet's birth anniversary and the Islamic Unity Week afford us the opportunity to solidify ranks in order to rid societies from the hegemony of the enemies of Islam.