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Islamic INTRAfaith Dialogue
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Message Icon Topic: Ashura, Al-Jazeerah and You Post Reply Post New Topic
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hat2010
 
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Quote hat2010 Replybullet Topic: Ashura, Al-Jazeerah and You
    Posted: 28 January 2007 at 7:44am
Ashura: A Day of Unity for Shi'is and Sunnis

By Mohammed Khako

Al-Jazeerah, January 28, 2007

Al-Jazeerah Editor's Note:

The author here is trying to educate readers about the two main Islamic
schools of thought, the Shi'a and Sunna schools. It's not attempt to
associate the conflict in Iraq today with the centuries-old Shi'i-Sunni
religious disputes. These disputes have always been there since the
beginning of Islam. The current conflict is rather a result of the US
invasion and occupation of Iraq. It's a war between the US occupation
forces and their Iraqi allies and the Iraqi resistance fighters opposing the
US occupation.

***

The words Sunni and Shi'i (or the derogatory form, Shiite) appear
regularly in news, but few people know what they really mean.
Understanding Sunni and Shi'i (sometimes written as Shia) beliefs is
important in understanding the conflict in Iraq (resulting from the US
occupation of Iraq). The centuries old Shi'i-Sunni differences are the
major obstacle to Muslim Unity. There are scholars on both sides – Sunni
and Shi'i, like Imam Khomeini and Shaikh Shaltut of Al-Azhar who have
done their best to minimize differences and bring unity, but they were not
successful due to the misinformation prevailing in the common masses of
Sunnis about the Shi'a (school of thought). While a great deal of money
and efforts is being spent to fan the fire of hatred between Shi'is and
Sunnis in the Middle East with obvious political and economical fruits for
power to be. Special interest groups have always fanned these differences
for their benefit.

This is what Imam Khomeini said some twenty years ago

“ The filthy hands which aggravates the differences between Shi'i and
Sunni Muslims belong to neither to the Shi'is nor the Sunnis. They are the
hands of colonialists, which plan to take Islamic countries out of our
hands. The colonial powers which want to plunder our wealth through
various schemes and conspiracies are the ones who hatch plots for
creating division under the pretext of Shi'a or Sunna. Muslims worldwide
should not fall in to trap set by those who seek division and mutual
hatred. Anyone who is responsible for instigating sectarian division and
violence is either an enemy of Islam, or doing the work of the enemies of
Islam”

The majority of Shi'i Muslims share all the core belief of Sunni Islam. Shia
and Sunna (Islamic schools of thought) have many things in common.
They both believe in One God (Allah), follow the same Prophet
Muhammad (Peace and blessings of God be upon him), as the last
Prophet, offer five daily prayers, perform the fast in the month of
Ramadan, go to Mecca for pilgrimage (Hajj), recite the same Qur'an (Holy
scriptures) and give alms – Charity (Zakat). There is no theological or
spiritual dispute between the Shia and Sunna schools. Rather, the
differences are really ethnic and political. While in the matter of Islamic
jurisprudence, difference are minor. Sunnis and Shi’is are considered by
most to be brethren in faith. In fact, most Muslims do not distinguish
themselves by claiming relationship to any particular group, but prefer to
call themselves simply “Muslims”.

The factor that most distinguishes Shi'is from Sunnis is the belief in a
special representative of God, after the end of Prophethood, called an
Imam. The Shi'i Muslims believe that following the Prophet Muhammad’s
death; leadership should have passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law
Imam Ali. The Imam has both a spiritual role of guidance as well as a
politico-social role of rule over Muslims in order to enforce Islamic law.
The Shi'is hold that there are twelve Imams, with Ali being the first, Al-
Hussain the third. The twelfth and final one, Imam Mahdi (after whom
Muqtada al-Sadr named his military wing the “Mahdi Army”) is in a
supernatural state of occultation awaiting his return to establish a just
order on earth. During his period of occultation, per his instructions, the
Ayatollahs are his representatives and the obedience due unto him in
both a religious and political sense devolves unto them. The difference
between Ayatollah Sistani and Ayatollah Khomeini —both Iranians
educated in Najaf, Iraq—is of degree and not of kind.

To grasp the mind-set of any Ayatollah, it is enough to quote Imam Al-
Hussain. “The conduct of affairs and the laws should be in the hands of
the learned and spiritual leaders of God who are the trustees of what He
has made prohibited and lawful. The reign of affairs must be in their
hands…” Ayatollah Sistani and others in the Najaf seminary belong to the
older quietist school, while some Ayatollahs from Islamic seminary in
Qom, Iran, believe in clerical activism and come from the school of
thought that religion and politics are inseparable.

The Shi'i are more hierarchical, with ayatollahs (clerics) have more power.
The Sunnis are more self-governing. Initially the difference between
Sunnis and Shi'is was merely a difference concerning who should lead the
Muslim community (Ummah) after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in
early 7th century. The Sunni-Shi'i divide is similar to Protestant-Catholic
split in Christianity. Shi'is are far more passionate and attached to the
love of the Prophet Muhammad and his family (Ahlul-Bayt /Imams). Shism
is more Catholic-like just as Catholics recognized Saints, Shi'is believe in
Imam (saint) as an intermediary between man and God. Shi'i pilgrims who
go to the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf and Imam Al-Hussain in Kerbala,
Iraq could be like Catholic pilgrims who go to the shrine of Fatima in
Portugal or to the Vatican.

Sunnis are more Protestant-like. The Sunni cleric is more like a Protestant
pastor, whereas a Shi'i Ayatollah is more like a bishop or a cardinal,
except that Shism has no pope (Well, a lot of Shi'is looked at Imam
Khomeini in the past and Khameini now the same way Catholics look at
the Pope - Al-Jazeerah Editor). Just like Protestant and Catholicism, both
follow the same scriptures, both follow the same story of Jesus, but have
a different ethos of Christianity. The same is true for Shi'is and Sunnis.

If there are no genuine differences among Shi'is and Sunnis, then why all
this bloodshed in Iraq? Looking at histories of religion, we know there
were disputes over interpretations and versions of narration (Hadith).
These disputes among communities over time can lead to conflict. The
disputes have become politicized, for instance, many years of war in
Northern Ireland and in Europe were due to territory disputes or
independence from Vatican or British domination. So the Sunni-Shi'i issue
has the same flow. In Iraq today, why are the Shi'is and Sunnis so
antagonistic? It is because, much like Northern Ireland, the theological
boundary marks the boundaries of different communities and their
identities.

In Washington, newspaper editorials talk about civil war, Shi'i militias, and
Sunni insurgents (resistance fighters) in Iraq. There is too much at stake
to get swept up by minor differences and divide the Muslim community
along Shi'i and Sunni lines. We are all Muslims, and that is the most
important thing to remember. Just as God delivered Moses and his people
free on the day of Ashura from bondage, death and despair, I pray God
delivers the greater Middle East from the bondage of hatred, death, and
war. The best way to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of the martyrs
of Karbala on Ashura on Jan 28th is to shun sectarian and other prejudice
and follow the principle of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and mutual
respect to create unity and cohesion in the community. The martyrdom
and the supreme sacrifice of Imam Al-Hussain on the plains of Karbala
should give Muslims the lesson of tolerance, moderation, forgiveness,
harmony and tranquility between followers of all school of thought.
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Sawtul Khilafah
 
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Quote Sawtul Khilafah Replybullet Posted: 28 January 2007 at 9:07am

Had you read what Shiah leaders and scholars themselves say about Ashoora, you would see that they themselves dont see it as a day of "unity", but rather they blame Sunni Muslims for the murder of hazrat Hussein as they accuse Sunnis of "stealing the Caliphate".

If you read their books like "then I was guided" by Tijani, the Shiah author goes as far as saying that being a Sunni is like being in the army of Yazid, and being a Shiah is like being in the army of Imam Hussein.

Now Im not trying to spread hatred or anything, but for those of you who dont know what Shiahs do on Ashoora, here's a quick peak:

admin: "dirty picture is prohibited".

Some beat their chests (including women) others hit themselves and their children in the head with a sword or a knife...some use chains... and they scream out "Ya Hussein" even though Allah forbids in the Qur'an the calling upon of anyone other than Allah, so this is clearly Shirk.

Wether you like it or not this is the Truth.



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Quote Israfil Replybullet Posted: 28 January 2007 at 10:10am
I agree this is the adoration of a temporal figure who is other than Allah which is certain considered Quranically as a form of worship. Although this is not worship in its entirety but as Sawtul has stated if they are saying :Ya Hussein" if this is true then this brief act is a form of shirk. Plus they are harming themselves in adoration of a person who is dead. There is a similar ritual in the Phillipines every year around April where ultra-religious people go through the "Passion of Christ" such as the whippings, beatings and finally the crucifying part. Yes people are nailed both hands and feet to a stake. Of course they don't die from asphixation thankfully but yes hey do this!

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Quote Sign*Reader Replybullet Posted: 28 January 2007 at 11:46pm
WAKE UP IGNORAMUSES, IT IS 21st CENTURY
This is an open challenge to any Shiit to explain why is it this mourning ashoora day happening in the middle of the winter when all the Shiit books and ZAkirs tell the story of the events taking place in the middle burning hot summer heat with no water access for the Hussain (r) party. Don't people in the third world countries setup water stalls along the the procession routes to accentuate that heat element!
Isn't this based on UTTER ignorance that you can't do this drama by Muharram dates.
Birth and death anniversaries CAN NOT be celebrated by the lunar calendar dates cuz they change every year.
the 12 Rabiulawal thing also NOT VALID FOR YEARLY CELEBRATION.
Pick a a date on solar calendar and then we can talk.
Why so called Muslims after living in the western diaspora for over a half a century can't think when it  comes to this kind of simple things?
And we make fun of Santa Clause!!
Who is this Khako fella anyways?



Edited by Sign*Reader
Kismet Domino: Faith/Courage/Liberty/Abundance/Selfishness/Immorality/Apathy/Bondage or extinction.
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hat2010
 
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Quote hat2010 Replybullet Posted: 01 February 2007 at 5:22am
Peace,

It's a commemoration, like the Eid and all the other Ashura events, so it's
position in the lunar calendar is legit.

Have fun,
Jamal





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Quote Sign*Reader Replybullet Posted: 01 February 2007 at 12:06pm
Originally posted by Jamal Morelli

Peace,

It's a commemoration, like the Eid and all the other Ashura events, so it's
position in the lunar calendar is legit.

Have fun,
Jamal

Peace to you Jamal

 Eid is tied with Ramadan and it is day of happy culmination of a month fasting and reading of the words of Quran if I may reiterate.
The length of fast varies depending upon the seasons and it completes the cycle in 36 years and also make it equatable for the believers living in northern and southern hemispheres. I think most people haven't thought about this great wisdom of Allah in setting up such a system.
How can you put some event which Allah did not ordained to commemorate in same category as Eid? The most muslims follow solar calender for their daily lives and use lunar calender for the Ramadan only. How can you add to that with whose authority?

This particular event took place in the middle of  Iraqi summer and now you are commemorating in the middle of winter. How funny!

How the Zakir is going to make the shivering flock understand the thirst scenario in desert heat with no water coming from Euphrates etc when people may like to think about hot tea. No wonder the Muslims are in such bad shape!

Any way Ashura is  shias day of mourning and whipping themselves with chains and cutting themselves symbolically replicating in the passion of  Hussein as Christians do in the backward Catholics countries like Philippines do for enactment of passion and crucifixion of Jesus.
Then they utter words which inflame other Muslims to anger than unity.

My question to you is that aren't you (if you subscribe to their thinking) emulating the Christians? Cuz the Christianity was there before  Shiism.

How this Ashura can be point of UNITY?

I think sawtul khilafah has good argument if he is former Shia.


Edited by Sign*Reader
Kismet Domino: Faith/Courage/Liberty/Abundance/Selfishness/Immorality/Apathy/Bondage or extinction.
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hat2010
 
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Quote hat2010 Replybullet Posted: 01 February 2007 at 4:17pm
Peace,

"How can you put some event which Allah did not ordained to
commemorate in same category as Eid?"

I didn't. But it is a good question.

"This particular event took place in the middle of Iraqi summer and now
you are commemorating in the middle of winter. How funny!'

Sign*Reader, I tried this one on a crowd in Fes. It just didn't work.   Help
me out - how is it funny?

Ignoramuses, backward Catholics countries, Moroccan wetbacks with no
self-esteem, Shia earmarked for extinction - Sign*Reader, Archie Bunker
just called - he wants his computer back.   Not for good, btw, just to wipe
the foam of the screen and install a new "grammar check" plug.


"My question to you...."
Okay, this one is for me. I'll cut to the quick so we don't cut into our
winter supply of purulent exchanges: I'm not Shia.

"How this Ashura can be point of UNITY?"
Cool - a twofer. Answer: If it is minus ten. (Was it a riddle?)

Sign*Reader, I hope you realize that a good natured ribbing is about all
I'm good for after a day of prayer and time with my family, friends, etc.

Love for one another should stay on our horizons; no matter who we are.
And respect for our fellow travelers and all paths that lead to the divine.

God help us all,
Jamal Morelli

p.s re: sawtul khilafah....no, the good argument would come from a
practicing Shia, S*R. That's what would make it an argument.






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