Significance of unity in Imam Sadeq’s view: praying behind Sunnis in Masjid Al-Haram is like praying behind Prophet
In Masjid al-Haram, in Masjid al-Nabawi, in Baqi’, and at the shrines of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud, as well as in Mina and Arafat, hajj pilgrims should reveal their Islamic knowledge through their behaviour. They should show their Quranic education.
It is the willpower of the working-class members of the Islamic society that can make great changes. It is the movement of these common citizens who can promote Islamic values in the world. Each year, during hajj, hajj pilgrims encounter a large number of these common members of the Islamic Ummah as well as the glory of the world of Islam. This is an opportunity, and it should be appreciated.
How should we appreciate this opportunity? There are various ways to do that. For example, through their behaviour and actions, the Iranian Muslims — who live under the flag of Islam and the Islamic Republic —should introduce Islam as promoted by the Islamic Republic. They should show how Islamic education has affected them. —This is one of the easiest ways to appreciate this opportunity.
In Masjid al-Haram, in Masjid al-Nabawi, in Baqi’, and at the shrines of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud, as well as in Mina and Arafat, hajj pilgrims should reveal their Islamic knowledge through their behaviour. They should show their Quranic education. They should show that they are humble and kind and that they are not the kind of people to insult others. Their behaviour should show that they want unity, not discord. We have many narrations about the great divine rewards promised for participating in Sunni’s congregational prayers. In one tradition [attributed to Imam Sadiq], participating in congregational prayers in Masjid al-Haram has been equated to saying one’s prayers led by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). What is the meaning of this tradition? Obviously, Imam Sadiq would not have compared the prayers led by an ordinary prayer leader with the prayers led by the Prophet (s.w.a.). What is the meaning of this tradition then? It highlights the importance of unity. You should show unity in practice.
For the same reason, our magnanimous Imam (a.s.) advised all of us and all Iranian hajj pilgrims to participate in the congregational prayers held in Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi: you should participate in these congregational prayers because they are a manifestation of unity. When other people are saying their prayers during congregational prayers, Iranian pilgrims should not be carrying their luggage to their hotel rooms. Such things are harmful [to Islam]. Behaviour that shows one’s Islamic education is one of the most important things [during hajj]. Even if you do not know Arabic and do not speak to other pilgrims, the mere fact that you behave politely, observe the standards of hygiene and engage in dhikr and dua as an Iranian pilgrim is like a great effort to promote Islam, which is more important than many kinds of public efforts. This great congregation of believers engage in solemn prayers, repentance, and weeping: this is, itself, a type of publicity for Islam.
Imam Khamenei, Oct 26, 2009