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Islamic INTRAfaith Dialogue
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Fuhad
 
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Quote Fuhad Replybullet Topic: Basis of Sunni_Shia discord
    Posted: 18 March 2005 at 11:11am

Salam To: All

As a new starter, I thought of sharing an article on Shia Sunni by Dr Israr Ahmed. Hope this will clarify some of the misconceptions.

As far As I am concerned, No Sunni ( just because they are majority, can claim they are right) and No Shia ( just because of their unique adherence to Imam Ali can claim that they are right).

Regards

Fuhad

By: Dr. Israr Ahmad

This article on Shi'ah-Sunni differences is written from a Sunni perspective, Shi'ah Muslims may not agree with all of it.

The history of the Shi'ah-Sunni Conflict is almost as old as that of the Muslim Ummah. Only 25 years after the death of the Prophet (saw), internal discord and a series of civil wars started. This has been referred to in the history books as the "Al-Fitnatul Kubra" or the Great Discord. What was the cause of this internal conflict?

Every revolution is followed by counter-revolutionary movements, which seek to overthrow the new order and to revert back to the previous system. Many of these counter-revolutionary movements were dealt with by the first Caliph, Abu Bakr (raa). However, there were still two groups who openly resented both Islam and the Prophet of Islam, and these were the Jews of Arabia and the Persians. The Jews were angry because they were expecting the final prophet to be one of the Israelites, and they could never accept and reconcile themselves with the fact that he turned out to be someone from the Gentiles. (The envy of the Jews of Madinah is mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah. It is also mentioned there that they refuse to believe in the Prophet even after recognizing him as the promised one, only because of their jealousy and arrogance). The other group that never accepted the ascendancy of Islam were the Persians, who developed a special hatred towards the second Caliph, Umar (raa), under whose era, Iran was conquered. Indeed, it was a Persian man who killed Umar (raa).

During the later years of the Caliphate of Uthman (raa) an underground conspiracy was hatched, led by Abdullah Ibn Saba, a Jew who had outwardly converted to Islam, in order to produce political unrest. The conspiracy succeeded, mainly because a lack of proper communication facilities in those days made the spread of rumours against the Khalifah rather easy. This resulted in a rebellion against Uthman (raa) on various fabricated charges of nepotism, and he was martyred in the course of the rebellion. In this chaotic situation, Ali (raa) became the next Caliph. A disagreement arose among the Muslims about the killers of Uthman (raa). Some demanded that the killers, who were hiding among the supporters of Ali (raa), must be punished immediately. Ali (raa) was of the opinion that we need some sort of order and peace to return before we can do this. These two groups were known as the "Shi'ah of Uthman" and the "Shi'ah of Ali" meaning the pro-Uthman and the pro-Ali parties. As you can see, this was a purely political disagreement, not a religious one. The "Shi'ah of Uthman" later became known as the "Sunni" and the "Shi'ah of Ali" became just "Shi'ah."

The Shi'ah community has four points of distinction as compared to the Sunni Muslims. The first is the school of jurisprudence they follow, which is Fiqh Jafari, and it is just like Fiqh Hanafi, or Maliki etc., except that "Muta'h" or temporary marriage is considered lawful by the Fiqh Jafari, whereas it is prohibited in all the Sunni schools. The second is the Shi'ah belief in the "infallible Immamate," which means that only a genuine "Imam" who will be a direct descendent of Ali (raa) and Fatima (raa), can authentically lead the Muslims. The Sunnis believe, on the other hand, that the trait of "infallibility" no longer exists after the termination of Prophethood. There are a number of divisions among the Shi'ah, e.g., the "Twelvers" believe that the 12th Imam disappeared and went into seclusion somewhere 870 A.D., and that he will reappear to lead the Muslims (the promised "Mahdi"). The Sunni Muslims, on the other hand, believe that the promised "Mahdi" will be a normal human being, an Arab Muslim who will lead the struggle for the domination of Islam sometime in the future. Thirdly, whereas the Shi'ah community believes that the first three Caliphs, Abu Bakr (raa) and Umar (raa) and Uthman (raa), were usurpers, and that only Ali (raa) was the rightful successor of the Prophet, the Sunnis believe that all four of the "Khulafa" were rightfully chosen by the Muslims and none of them was a usurper. Fourthly, the Shi'ahs accept only those Ahadith (traditions of the Prophet (saw)) which are transmitted by the household of the Prophet (Ahl Al-Baiyt) by which they mean Ali (raa), Fatima (raa), and their two sons, Hasan (raa) and Husain (raa) and their descendants; they refuse to accept the traditions which are transmitted by most of the other Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet (saw).

It may be noted that Sunni scholars have criticized the beliefs of the Shi'ahs for hundreds of years, and have written a very large number of books to refute the Shi'ah beliefs. Some scholars have even declared the Shi'ahs to be kafirs. However, there has been no consensus on this, i.e., there has been no collective verdict of apostasy (Kufr) against the Shi'ahs (as was given in the case of the Qadiyani community), and therefore the Shi'ahs too are considered Muslims, despite their having beliefs which are against those of mainstream Sunni Islam.

Finally, note that during the early centuries of Islam, Shi'ism was synonymous with an attitude of uprightness on the part of the descendants of Ali (raa) and Fatima (raa), and their courage to speak out against the rulers and to resist their unjust actions even in the face of oppression. The present sectarian version of Shi'ism is a later development which took shape especially during the rule of the Safavid dynasty in Iran (1501-1732). The Safavids wanted to foster a distinct religious identity in Iran so as to maintain the population's loyalty in the conflict against the powerful Sunni Ottoman Empire, and for this purpose they had imported Shi'ah Ulama from Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and provided them with wealth and power. This distinction between the Alavid and the Safavid versions of Shi'ism was emphasized by Dr. Ali Shari'ati. According to some analysts, the Iranian revolution has revived the Alavid Shi'ism, and the Safavid Shi'ism is on the decline. According to them, the stress is now gradually shifting towards the dynamic teachings of Islam and the Muslim Ummah's unity, rather than hair-splitting on historical, doctrinal, or juristic matters. If this happens, it would be very beneficial for the Muslim Ummah.

 

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Aliya
 
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Quote Aliya Replybullet Posted: 25 March 2005 at 7:55am

Bismillah

Salaamun alaykum. I would encourage all who unfamiliar with shia beliefs and history (and that does include those who only know of shias via non-shia sources) to please check out the following book online http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/ as it dispels a lot of the myths about shias (including the myth of Abdullah Ibn Saba). It is also good to note that the majority of shia beliefs can also be found in the sahih hadith collections of the sunnis. The Shi'ite Encyclopedia (linked above) does just that on a vast array of subjects thought to be solely in shia sources.

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unity1
 
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Quote unity1 Replybullet Posted: 26 March 2005 at 1:50am

Asalam Aalaikum

Welcome Madam Aliya to this discussion forum, yes I have checked the link that you have mentioned in your post,not only this , their are several other links on Shia Doctrine and faith that I have checked.

I have also discussed some issues with the Shia Scholars of these sites but that discussion ended up no where.

If you have any question regarding Sunnism or the differences that exist between both factions, then donot hesitate to ask,inshallah we will attempt to answer your queries in the best way that is possible.

Regards,

who call themselves superior are actually inferior in the eyes of Allah.Those who call themselves slaves of Allah are superior not only in the eyes of Allah but also superior in the eyes of man.
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AhmadJoyia
 
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Quote AhmadJoyia Replybullet Posted: 22 April 2005 at 2:39pm
My humble and basic question is regarding the reading and writing skills of Prophet Mohammad. From my child hood I have been hearing (one sided perspective) that he didn't know anything about reading or writting till he died. On the other hand some people, I would not classify them here, think that after the first revelation, Prophet Mohammad got the miracle of reading and writing instantly once the angel Gaberial embrassed him with himself to start reading etc i.e. the occassion when first verses of Quran were revealed. Can someone throw light on it through any means (Quran, sunnah, or history etc)?

Edited by AhmadJoyia
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Fuhad
 
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Quote Fuhad Replybullet Posted: 10 May 2005 at 10:14am

Salaam To: AhmadJoyia

You have asked a very interesting question. In order to grasp the concept of transforming an illletrate ( arabic- 'ummi') to literate, you have to understand the words and etymolgy of arabic words such as 'Iqra' and 'ummi'.

Arabic word 'Iqra'- has mutliple meanings i.e to read, to recite, to repeat, to say etc..

Arabs were well aware of the academic skills of the man Muhammed(pbuh), because they knew his daily speaking version of arabic, however quranic arabic in quarishi dialect was bit difficult to digest for them. Throught prophets life there was a distinction between the message of quran conveyed to the people and his personal saying's ( i.e hadiths). If he was trying to be clever, i.e switching from classical, poetic, allegorical language to his colloquial language, then should have easily caught him fooling them, however I am still waiting to hear from Christian Arabs or Jewish Arabs to produce something similar to quaranic arabic.

Prophet was able to 'recite' ( i.e Iqra) the quran but he never had the ability to write, hence there were scribes and other people who use to write on various parchments available to them.

From Muslim stand point, classic example is the Treaty of Hudabiya, when asked to sign the treaty, he instead asked 'Ali' to sign on his behalf because inspite of having 'heard' the terms of treaty, he could not understand the written format of the document.

To evaluate this theme from an Orientlist Scholars point of view, we will adopt 'Conflict Approach'. They claim that Muhammed for the last 40 years has been preparing and learning academic skills during his business trips to Damascus and other areas of arabia, also he was in touch with Christian scribes who taught him to read and write. These claims are not well supported, but its worth to read about them as well.

Some type of muslims hold the view that knowledge or power was imparted during the embrasse but all of them believe that he was an 'Ummi Prophet', who was blessed with divine guidance.

Regards

Fuhad

 

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Ali Zaki
 
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Quote Ali Zaki Replybullet Posted: 10 May 2005 at 10:59am

I have not read all 1000+ postings, however, I would like to particpate any. I hope this was not already said.

I am an American re-vert to Islam (originally a Christian until the age of 21). I say this to establish that I have not been indoctrinated into any particular Islamic school of thought, and I beleive that Allah (S.W.A.) would not impose on us anything that did not make sense. This is the main reason for leaving the faith of my birth and the vast majority of my family members.

I have done quite a bit of research regarding the Sunni-Shia issue, and I am firmly convinced that the Shia are correct. When I say correct, let me explain (in part) what I mean. It is clear to me that;

1.) The Prophet Muhammad (A.S.) nominated Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (A.S.) as his successor at least 3 times during his life in a clear an unmistakeable fashion. There are numerous sources in both Sunni and (of course) Shia books. I am amazed that my Sunni brothers and sisters consistently deny this when it is so clear, obvious and rational.

The First Time

" When the verse: "And warn thy nearest relations (26:214), was revealed, the Prophet ordered 'Ali to prepare food and invite the sons of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib so that he could convey to them the words of Allah. After the feast, the Prophet intended to talk to them, but Abu Lahab interfered by saying:"Verily, your comrade has entranced you". Upon hearing this statement all of them dispersed.

The next day, the Messenger of Allah again called them for a feast. After they had finished with their food, the Prophet addressed them: "O sons of 'Abdul'l-Muttalib, I have brought for you the good of this world and the next, and I have been appointed by the Lord to call you unto Him. Therefore, who amongst you will administer this cause for me and be my brother, my successor and my caliph?" No one responded to the Prophet' s call except 'Ali who was the youngest of the congregation. The Prophet then patted 'Ali's neck and said: "O my people! This 'A1i is my brother, my successor and my caliph amongst you. Listen to him and obey him.'' [16] "

The Second Time

" Abu Dharr al-Ghifari says that one day he was praying with the Prophet when a beggar came to the Prophet's mosque. No one responded to his pleas. The beggar raised his hands towards heavens and said, "Allah! be a witness that I came to Thy Prophet's mosque and no one gave me anything". 'Ali (as) was bowing in ruku' at that time. He pointed his little finger, on which was a ring, towards the beggar who came forward and took away the ring. This incident occurred in the Prophet's presence who raised his face towards heaven and prayed: "O Lord! my brother Musa had begged of Thee to open his breast and to make his work easy for him, to loose the knot of his tongue so that people might understand him, and to appoint from among his relations his brother, as his vizier, and to strengthen his back with Harun and to make Harun his partner in his work. O Allah! Thou said to Musa, 'We will strengthen thy arm with thy brother. No one will now have an access to either of you!' O Allah! I am Muhammad and Thou hast given me distinction. Open my breast for me, make my work easy for me, and from my family appoint my brother 'Ali as my vizier. Strengthen my back with him". The Prophet had not yet finished his prayers when Jibril brought the above quoted verse. [17] "

The Third Time

Ghadir Khumm lies in Juhfa between Mecca and Medina. When the Prophet was on his way home, after performing his last pilgrimage, Jibril brought him this urgent command of Allah:

O Apostle! deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message (at all); and Allah will protect you from the people . . . (5 :67)

The Prophet stopped at once and ordered that all people who had gone ahead should be called back, and he waited for those who were following. When all the caravan had gathered, a pulpit was set up by piling up camel saddles; the acacia thorns were swept away. The Prophet ascended the pulpit and delivered a long sermon. The day was very hot; people had to stretch their cloaks under their feet and over their heads. The Prophet addressed them as follows: O you people! Know it well that Jibril came down to me several times bringing me orders from the Lord, the Merciful, that I should halt at this place and inform every man, white and black, that 'Ali, the son of Abu Talib, is my brother and my wasiyy (successor) and my caliph, and the Imam after me. His position to me is like that of Harun to Musa, except that there is to be no prophet after me, and he is your master next to Allah and His Prophet. "

See: http://al-islam.org/imamate/

There are hundreds of lines of transmission of these three hadith. Read your books, and let me know if you DON'T find them.

2.) The Sunni arguments against the Shia seem to revolve around the fact that the Shia are insulting to the companions of the Holy Messenger and some of his wives (such as Aisha). Please read your own books and you will find that some of the companions were good, and some of them were evil. Muawiya is considered a companion of the Prophet, and yet he attacked with military force the (according to Sunni's) fourth of the rightly guided caliphs on numerous occassions. Aisha also attacked Imam Ali (A.S.) in battle in the battle of the Camel (which is recorded in all Sunni books) along with Talah and Zubair (also companions). Being in open rebellion against the caliphate is a clear sin. Is this not the Sunni veiwpoint?

"The structure of faith is supported by four pillars endurance, conviction, justice and jihad."

Imam Ali (a.s.)
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Quote Fuhad Replybullet Posted: 11 May 2005 at 10:55am

Salaam To: Ali Zaki

Well lets make it clear, who says Shia are wrong. Shia Imami ( 12ver shia) or Jafari fiqh is an accepted school of Law within Islam. Please refer to my first post on this topic, I dont think you have read it carefully. Sheikh al Shatut from alAzhar and even Maulana Madudi have given their certification for 12 vers.

Now the question is, that being a revert which school of law you have decided to follow. Once that is established, then I  will proceed on the 'Doctrine of Imamate'.

Quoting literal text from Shia sources and asking to dig those statements from within Sunni sources does not qualify for understanding these difference within the ' Classical Framework of Islam'

I would blame the Sunni's for getting offended by the literal quotes from Shia text without understanding their contexts.

Also I would blame the Shia's for excessive projections of certain selected text to prove their point and not explaning the context.

I am sure if Prophet Mohammed ( for the sake of argument) comes back in time, he will be laughing at Sunni and Shia stock.

Finally, I would like pick your last quote on Aisha's rebellion. Are you implying that Prophet Mohammed didn't had the forsight and married a silly irrational women.

Regards

Fuhad

 

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Ali Zaki
 
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Quote Ali Zaki Replybullet Posted: 11 May 2005 at 1:56pm

Salam Fuhad, (I'm embarrased to say I don't know if I should address you as "Sister" or "Brother. My apologies for the lack of salutation).

From the Sunni viewpoint, I would say that I accept the Jafari Mathab, however, I find this distinction rather strange. To clarify, I accept the position of Immate of the Ithnan Ashira (12er) Shia school of thought, and I consider myself a Shia.

The reason I say this is strange is because, within mainstream Shiism there is not distinction of which "School of Law" you follow. The reason is that if you accept that Imam Ali (a.s.) was the legitimate and rightful successor of the authority and purity (sinlessness) of the prophet as a member of the 'Alhly al Bait', then this distinction is not relevant.

Regarding Aisha, I would say that my intention here is not to offend anyone. I think that it is wrong for the Shia to insult/slander her, however, her public actions can be legitimately examined. What would your say about someone who is the leader of the army fighting against the legitimate Caliphat based on a false accusation? Is it appropriate to praise such a person?

 

"The structure of faith is supported by four pillars endurance, conviction, justice and jihad."

Imam Ali (a.s.)
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