Sunni scholars commend Khomeini’s decree
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah ‘Ali Khomeini issued a new fatwa on October 2 forbidding the defamation of the Prophet Muhammad’s wife, or any other historic figurehead sacred to the Sunni Muslims.
According to the decree which followed an appeal by a number of Sunni scholars” It is forbidden to insult the wives of the prophets and the wives of Muhammad, peace be upon him.”
Shiite mosques commonly practice the public denouncement of Prophet Muhammad’s wife ‘Aisha and his close circle of companions since they are commonly viewed by Shiites as hostile to ‘Ali, Islam’s fourth Caliph.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb Egypt’s highest ranking scholar from the Azhar mosque commended “Khomeini’s fatwa asserting that it stemmed from true knowledge and a deep appreciation of the potential danger posed by the advocators of divisiveness to the unity of Muslims
Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, offshoot leader Sheik Hammam Sa’id, supported Khomeini’s opinion stressing it was essential that Muslims unite in opposition to their primary enemy namely the Israeli occupation forces.
Iran expert Professor Sajjad Rizvi, from the University of Exeter, maintained that Khomeini’s decree came in response to a growing sense of isolation experienced by Iran.
Khomeini’s decree coincides with the hurtful statements made by Kuwaiti Shiite cleric Yasser Habeeb who is currently living in exile in London. Last month Habeeb had severely attacked ‘Aisha during a Ramadan ceremony. Habeeb has been described as being responsible for damaging relations between Sunnis and Shiites.
According to Khomeini western powers are trying to widen differences between Sunnis and Shiites in order to divert attention from the Palestinian issue.
In a statement to Teheran Times he ascertained that “The enemies of Islam want to create discord among Muslims, so unity is the most important need of the Islamic world in the 21st century,”
Former Iranian diplomat Dr. Mehrdad Khonsari believed Iran was not interested in appeasing the Sunni Islamic world but rather aimed at maintaining working relationships with Sunni organizations which cooperate with Iran.
He stressed that “By issuing such a decree, Iran is seeking to position itself better with elements they rely upon within the Sunni world to exert pressure on the West,” adding “The goal is to defuse tension and create a better atmosphere.”