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Musings Of A "sunni"


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#1 Propaganda_of_the_Deed

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:43 PM

(salam)

Now gather ‘round
And I’ll run it down



Ok, most of you know that I'm not Shi'ite, by technicality and default, I am a Sunni (although I personally identify with the term "Muslim", as I believe this is the correct and legitimate name for followers of the Prophet s.a.w - and not the previous two).

I have been a Sunni all my life, (with what you can call a brief flirtation with Salafism in my more rebellious and confused teen years), for the most part of my years, I've been very much closed-minded to Shia Islam, both intentionally and unintentionally through ignorance and the fact that I just accepted the propaganda and misconceptions that we are fed.

As you know, the average Sunni doesn't know jack [Edited Out] about Shia Islam, and has hardly ever had contact with an actual Shi'ite in real life. I was pretty much like this- give or take with a basic understanding of what they believe, mixed in with some of the usual cliche criticisms we throw at them.

I guess it all changed when I got to know a Shi'ite girl some years back for the first time, knowingly at least. Of course the discussion of sectarian differences came into play and from such heated discussions, or arguments if you will, I began to see an alternative narrative to what I was used to - especially in regards to the key events surrounding the Prophet's death. The whole rift with Abu Bakr and Fatima, the divisions amongst the Sahabah in who they supported, the incident at Fatima's house, her death and secret burial, the battle of the Camel, etc.. and the whole Ghadir Khom event prior to all this too.

It was both very intriguing, yet at the same time frustrating, that I couldn't really find a satisfactory Sunni refutation for many of these points - and I was under the assumption because we were the right sect, that our evidences would be so manifest - yet little did I realise, that even within our own sources, especially Bukhari, there was much evidence for what Shi'ites believed had happened. It seemed to be painting these saintly images of key Sunni figures, in perhaps ways that didn't always match up with other hadiths. There was certainly something dodgey going on, especially at the time of the Prophet's death. I didn't admit it of course, but deep down I knew I didn't have anything against what she had thrown my way.

In anycase, I chose to stick with what I believed, as it just was my comfort zone, and I buried what I had come to know in the far depths of my mind. I had since cut off contact with that person for whatever reason, but as it happened, I don't even know why, these questions resurfaced and I began to revisit a lot of the issues we used to speak about, in my own time - yet this time, I began to look at things objectively and without the biased lens I had been looking through previously. It was also only then, did I remember that person confidently telling me that she was certain I'll be Shi'ite one day - I remembered laughing at such an idea, as at the time, it was literally 100% an uncertaintiy and unthinkable. Still, I tried to brush these thoughts away.

However, the more I looked into things, the deeper I got, and it got to a stage where I knew I was lying to myself by believing in the narrative I was most familiar with - I guess a person truly knows something is right or the truth, if they try to fight against it - and I did try for a few more years to suppress this different perspective I had begun to see. I began to frequent this site as an observer primarily, although much of what I know was still from those initial conversations I had, and other research, external to this site.

I think when I really began to form a more solid opinion or stance was when I looked at the incident of Karbala and the matrydom of Imam Hussain in detail - I had always just known the surface details and never felt any real emotion (I just didn't get why Shias got so emotional over this), but I realised, any objective and neutral person could see who was on the side of good and who was on the side of tyranny and injustice - for too long we as Sunnis are too scared to take a side if a conflict involved two "Companions", likewise with the Battle of the Camel.

In anycase, when I read more of the dreadful treatment of the female and children survivors of that incident, I really started asking myself - if the Shias claim they support the Prophet and his family... just who the hell have we been supporting all this time?

It's been a gradual process of unravelling and basically turning a lot of what I believed upside down, as well as changing the ways in which I had previously looked in adoration at some Companions.

What I can say is this much:
  • Although the Prophet s.a.w didn't explicitly say who his "Khaleefah" would be, I do believe that Ali ra was the rightful sucessor, and that his claim was usurped, and that there is far greater evidence pointing to his claim than anything of the sort in light of Abu Bakr's claim.
  • The Ahlul Bayt, were indeed wronged and oppressed, especially by people who claimed to love the Prophet s.a.w - there is no denying this.
  • For the most part, it is the Shias who have also been oppressed by the Sunnis, and it continues to this day.

This being said, although I believe in the rightful claim of Ali r.a, I still have these inherent reservations when it comes to fully embracing the whole Imamat concept and Infallibility, and of the Hidden Imam.

I understand the Quranic verse of purification, but I still don't know if this is explicitly saying that the specifically defined Ahlul Bait are Infallible. I've been one who only viewed the Prophet s.a.w as Infallible - although I do understand that only his true sucessors could be Infallible like him, with an esoteric understanding of the Quran.

I guess, being from a Sunni background, I find it difficult to embrace this deep idealism, as Sunnis are more familiar with a sort of realism, that suggests, the Khulafah, although not neccessarily pious or infallible, are the right people for the job, and the most qualified in practical terms.

It is from this perspective, I acknowledge that Abu Bakr - minus his grave wrongdoings, as a Caliph, had to fight against many internal initial threats to the early Islamic community, such as the false prophets who began to emerge, and those who refused to pay zakat, etc.... and importantly, in terms of the religion of Islam - it's military expansionism, which would be followed on by suceeding caliphs.

In hindsight, how could we know how things would have turned out, if a younger Ali became first Caliph? Would he have ordered the military expansion that the previous Caliphs did, if in the same position? Beause we know his time of Caliph, unfortunately was mostly preoccupied with internal fitnah first from Aisha and then from Muawiyah. How would sucessive Imams carried out their role of leaders of the Ummah - were the Imams supposed to be Caliphs simultaneously?

I guess, like many Sunnis I still have this worldly justification for ourselves, in our military success and expanionism, and sheer numbers (and more ethnic diversity in comparison)- I know numbers do not equate to being on the truth, but it sure is comforting when you know you're a majority. I wouldn't expect anyone to understand that, well maybe ex-Sunnis, and I'm sure many Shias have at some point or another reflected on the larger number of Sunnis and had some anxiety or doubts at some point in time. I do however, find it interesting, being a minority on this forum, it makes a change being a minority for once.

Speaking of, it would be most interesting to see how Sunnis who became Shias managed with these issues, I'm sure being formerly sincere Sunnis, they had to reconcile some of these same points - in addition to praying in a slightly different way...... how did it feel praying differently to what you believed was the correct way? I'd also find that seemingly difficult to get used to.

I haven't really told anyone I know personally about these growing inclinations I have, apart from one relative, and perhaps hinted it to a few people, but no real concrete steps as yet. I am still hoping to learn more as I continue my research.

Sunni Islam is not enough alone that is for sure, there are a lot of holes it seems - though many simply are in blissful ignorance - I wish I could find a sort of solution or closure to this, maybe it is possible to still be Sunni whilst accepting that Ali should have been Caliph?... I'm not sure I'd formally declare myself as Shi'ite, as I still have issues seeing myself as Sunni still. Ideally I'd like to have the truth, and I do hope I find that equilibrium, because right now, I'm in a somewhat state of limbo.

Well that was good to get out of my system. It would be most interesting to hear from former Sunnis but any thoughts or opinions are welcome.
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#2 Replicant

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:48 PM

Your quality memes will get you into jannah, don't worry.

Seriously though, it's nice to see someone being open-minded. You will find answers if you continue this way.
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#3 Dar'ul_Islam

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:10 PM

(bismillah)
(salam)

Ya Akhi, Allah bless you and have mercy on you, upon all of us as well. It's heart warming to see someone open-minded and trying his hardest to see past his own biases and the history written by the "winners." I am ex-Sunni and if you would like, you can contact me via PM (and maybe from there another medium of discussion cause PMs are slow and annoying).

في امان الله
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#4 Khadim uz Zahra

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:44 PM

(bismillah)

(salam)

Love this post! :wub: By far, the best I have seen! Like Replicant has said, it is good to see someone being so objective and it is good to have a break from those heat filled fights (I would be out of my mind to them a "discussion") that happen on Shia/Sunni dialogue section, with accusations and derogatory titles flying around everywhere. Since you have given the initiative, let me also be a bit objective and say I have my wee bit of doubts on Shi'ism too - mainly on two issues - but, perhaps, it is just natural to doubt what we born into believing and that, with time, the doubts will be allayed and I will be more firm in belief about which side is true.

From what I got of your post, much of your doubts - and hindrances to accepting Shi'ism, which I wish, Insha'Allah, happens one day - is based on the issue of the infallibility of the Imams (as) and the "idealism" the Shias believe in. I won't be writing a big reply to this but will reference to you a previous post by me, dealing with this issue. Here is a summary of the conclusions I made and, then, Insha'Allah, when you have time, you can read the original post itself and point out any flaws you see in the reasoning:

1. Imamah is a stage in Divine Hierarchy of Guidance, just like Risalah or Nabuwwah are;
2. At the time of the discussion which happens between Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì and Nabi Ibrahim (as) in Surah Baqarah, Verse 124, Nabi Ibrahim (as) is an old man, who already has children;
3. The Imamah referred to in that verse is NOT referring to Nabuwwah; and
4. For anyone to an Imam, his level of piety and spirituality has to be equal to that of Nabi Ibrahim (as), when he an old man. It, therefore, follows that an Imam is, at the least, at the level of an Prophet, in terms of spirituality. Also, we can argue that by this time, Nabi Ibrahim (as) was already Khaleel Ullah, had gone through the test of sacrificing his son and was one of the Five Ulil Amr Anbiyah; ergo, an Imam would also be of this level of spirituality.

You can refer to this post of mine to see how I came to these conclusions:

http://www.shiachat....ost__p__2284222

(A bit of a long read but I assure you that it is a paraphrase of one of the best arguements I have seen by the Shia on this topic and, therefore, would be well your time. I have also cited the book I have got this and given a link to it as well so you can look at the original as well). I would suggest that you read the entirety of that post before you proceed further.

The points I wanted to make are as follows (keeping in mind the conclusions I have put above):

1. If this Imamah mentioned in 2:124 is not Prophethood, then, the promise to give to Nabi Ibrahim (as) 's children Imamah is not referring to Prophethood. It may well be that one of his children is a Prophet and Imam at the same time, just like he was, but there is even the possibility that he may solely be an Imam.

2. If you are to accept my fourth conclusion, you will have to agree that the Imams are not only infallible but as great as the Ulil Amr Anbiyya - the greatest 5 amongst the 124,000.

3. The Shi'ite Imams fit the criteria well and since you already believe that Imam Ali (as) was supposed to the Khalifa and successor of the Prophet (pbuh) , it would be a lot more easier for you to accept that they were one of the Imams in Nabi Ibrahim (as) 's progeny.

Insha'Allah, this would help allay your doubts about the Ismah of the Aimmah (peace be upon them all).

Regarding your question about whether they were supposed to rule simultaneously, no, they were supposed to rule in succession, one after the other. If I am not wrong, someone had recently mentioned to me that in the case where there are two, or more, Imams (peace be upon them all) present at the same time, one of them will be "active", while the other(s) will be silent, even though they are Imams at that moment as well. It is similar to the case of Nabi Musa and Nabi Haroon (peace be upon them all), whereby both were Prophets but Nabi Musa (as) was the more functional Prophet.

Insha'Allah, I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning and have not hurt anyone! :D

May Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, verily, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners, except in Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì .

Edited by Khadim uz Zahra, 14 March 2012 - 06:49 PM.

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#5 Propaganda_of_the_Deed

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:01 PM

Thanks for the responses so far, and to Kadhim uz Zahra for taking the time to post - I will look at the thread you mentioned for sure inshAllah.

Regarding your question about whether they were supposed to rule simultaneously, no, they were supposed to rule in succession, one after the other. If I am not wrong, someone had recently mentioned to me that in the case where there are two, or more, Imams (peace be upon them all) present at the same time, one of them will be "active", while the other(s) will be silent, even though they are Imams at that moment as well. It is similar to the case of Nabi Musa and Nabi Haroon (peace be upon them all), whereby both were Prophets but Nabi Musa (as) was the more functional Prophet.


I probably wasn't that clear in this case, what I was referring to was whether the political role of Caliph and spiritual one of Imam were meant to be fulfilled by the sucessive Imams. Would the Imams have had the same roles and responsibilities as the first 4 caliphs? Were Hassan and Hussain etc meant to be Caliphs as well as Imams?

Another thing, while I'm on the topic - how was it decided which line of sucession was to be followed - because as you know there are some Shia sects like the Ismailis or Zaidis who disagree on how many Imams there are, as well as taking a different path of sucession - how decided this line of sucession and how did it become known?

#6 shia4life669

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:02 PM

I can tell you this that ismaili's started during the time time of musa alkhadem or Ali alridha and they only reason they seperated was because of the khums if you want more info you can do your own unbiased research :shifty: But remember the 12 khalifhas from the quraish and remember the 12 imams and that the hadith states the world wont end until the all have ruled, also i will provide you this link from shia pen that answeres all the questions that come about immamt http://en.shiapen.co...hensive/imamate

#7 P. Ease

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:52 PM

Salaam Alaykum,

I was once in your position OP. Now I can take lessons from anybody without emotion or grudges taking hold of me whatsoever. I have the same amount of respect for Ayatullah Sistani as I have for Yasser Al Habib and even Sunni scholars and followers.

It's just that the reality of it all is that the sunni who takes time to investigate and truly goes on a spiritual journey to find himself and to be closer to Allah... a lot of times comes to the path of Ahlul Bayt.

W/S.
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#8 Qa'im

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:28 AM

(salam)

It's always good to see an open minded member, and I noticed that quality in you a while ago. If you ever need anything, I too am an ex-Sunni turned Shi`i, and I can answer any inquiries you have publicly or privately (PM, chat messengers, etc.), or we can point you towards some useful literature.

May Allah guide us to His religion and contentedness in this life and the next.
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#9 Kismet110

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 03:44 AM

Salaams & Ya Ali Madad

Good on you for having the courage to question a lifetime of beliefs & bias, no easy thing. A person genuine in search for Truth will find it by one wasila or another,for you it was the Shi'ah girl who planted the seed in your mind.

It's ultimately futile, frustrating to argue with stubborn people (aside from maybe it giving observers a chance to ponder) over who's right and who is wrong - because of course the Shi'ah of Maula Ali (as) are on HAQ ;-)

Maula keep you on the path of Guidance (as).

ALI

Edited by Kismet110, 15 March 2012 - 03:45 AM.

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#10 south-lebanon

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:50 AM

what is it that definines a shiite? i know a few shia's who regard themselves as shias but also still hold the same doubts as you do, such as, the extent of the imams infallibility, and the occultation of the 12th imam.

as you already know "shia" can be defined broadly includeing 12er, zaidi, ishmaili, alevi etc. However each of these dont hold the same views on imamah as the others do, not to mention some of them (not 12er) may even violate in belief the very fundamentals of what defines islam, but what these sects do have in common with each other is a belief that you seem to have already adopted and that is, that the rightful sucsesser to the Prophet (pbuhp) was imam Ali (as) and that the ahlul bayt (as) were persecuted along with their supporters and also that the sahabas were not all that they are hyped up to be as ahlul sunnah believe.

maybe you can technically already call yourself a shia?

you made an intresting point about whether imam Ali (as) would of ordered those expansion wars had his rightful succession not been infringed upon, Perhaps we will find out on the day of judgement that if the umah had been governed by the rightful imam and proceeded by his rightful lineage then maybe the whole worlds population would of eventually become muslim without the use of military force but by the force of wisdom and logic, wouldn't that actually make more sense?
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#11 md. ammar ali

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:39 AM

subanAllah

congratz propaganda of the deed
i see a shia in you

go ahead say the sahada (not sahadatien) after your doubts are cleared inshaAllah

ya ali madad
labbaik ya hussain

#12 Ruq

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:15 AM

Just direct your feet, to the Shia side of the street... :D
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#13 Khadim uz Zahra

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:37 AM

(bismillah)

(salam)

Thanks for the responses so far, and to Kadhim uz Zahra for taking the time to post - I will look at the thread you mentioned for sure inshAllah. I probably wasn't that clear in this case, what I was referring to was whether the political role of Caliph and spiritual one of Imam were meant to be fulfilled by the sucessive Imams. Would the Imams have had the same roles and responsibilities as the first 4 caliphs? Were Hassan and Hussain etc meant to be Caliphs as well as Imams? Another thing, while I'm on the topic - how was it decided which line of sucession was to be followed - because as you know there are some Shia sects like the Ismailis or Zaidis who disagree on how many Imams there are, as well as taking a different path of sucession - how decided this line of sucession and how did it become known?


Yes, I would encourage you to read it because I got it from Allamah Tabatabai's Al-Mizan and the arguement is very good because it incorporates both scriptural evidence and logic. Of course, it is not as clear-cut as one may wish but the way he takes you along, you have to agree with whatever he says. I have also seen other arguements on this topic, which I can also share if you want, but I don't find any of them as good as this one.

If I got you right, you are asking whether the Imams (peace be upon them all), apart from being the spiritual guides and successors of the Prophet (pbuh) , were also supposed to be the political leaders? If so, then, yes, they should have been the political successors of the Prophet (pbuh) as well; according to the Shias, the Imams are supposed to succeed the Prophet (pbuh) both spiritually and politically. Just as Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was the head of the Islamic State, so too were the Imams (peace be upon them all) supposed to take this position.

As for the line of succession, I am not the best one to comment - I have not looked at this in a lot of depth - but here is a general answer, which, Insha'Allah, will be supplemented by someone who is more knowledgeable than me: some hadith can be found by the Prophet (pbuh) which mention the names of the Imams (peace be upon them all) but I don't know about how authentic they would be. The method was simply that the Imam of the time would declare his successor.

Just direct your feet, to the Shia side of the street... :D


There were other comments which were a lot more informative but this one was just the most.... :donno: .... persuasive, not to mention funny!

#14 Hagop

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:42 AM

Salaams Propaganda_of_the_Deed,

Just wanted to echo your thoughts on the idealism of Shiism versus the realism of Sunnism. It's interesting how the Shi'i theologians emphasise the Justice of God whilst the Sunni ones don't believe that anything is good or bad per se, i.e. they emphasise God's Command over His Justice.

Like you, I find the former more compelling than the latter. FWIW, as a former Sunni I didn't find the 'technical' (e.g. style of prayer) adjustments difficult. To be honest, the finer points of doctrine and interpretation of history (the injustice of Saqifah, Aisha's role at the Battle of the Camel etc) all of these came to me easily once I'd established a loving, spiritual connection with the Ahlul Bayt (Peace be upon Them). A major part of this was reading the duas, especially of Imam Al Sajjad (as). Of course the impact of Imam Hussein (as) and the sacrifice of Kerbala was another major factor.

I truly 'knew' that I was a Shia (or have to strive to be one) when listening to Dua Kumayl and the subsequent Ziyaraat of Imam Hussein (as) at a Shia mosque.

Now I feel that I have tasted something of Pure Islam, the way of the Prophet (Peace be upon Him and His Family). I feel I have a better connection with Allah because I'm (trying) to hold onto His Rope (Peace be Upon Them).

Good luck with your spiritual journey and may Allah fill it with His Barakah.

Edited by Hagop, 15 March 2012 - 08:17 AM.

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#15 Gypsy

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:12 AM

Thanks for writing up your thoughts. It seems that you have been critically thinking about Shia-Sunni differences.

Another thing, while I'm on the topic - how was it decided which line of sucession was to be followed - because as you know there are some Shia sects like the Ismailis or Zaidis who disagree on how many Imams there are, as well as taking a different path of sucession - how decided this line of sucession and how did it become known?

The same reasons why we have soo many Muslim sects; when the community started splitting into different factions due to differences in opinion.

Zaydis believe in the first four of the same Imams as us. Ismails believe in the first sixth of the same Imam as us.

When you were a Sunni, how do you guys justify the presence of four Sunni Imams and a variety of ideas and split within Sunnism?

#16 Qa'im

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:21 AM

I probably wasn't that clear in this case, what I was referring to was whether the political role of Caliph and spiritual one of Imam were meant to be fulfilled by the sucessive Imams. Would the Imams have had the same roles and responsibilities as the first 4 caliphs? Were Hassan and Hussain etc meant to be Caliphs as well as Imams?

Another thing, while I'm on the topic - how was it decided which line of sucession was to be followed - because as you know there are some Shia sects like the Ismailis or Zaidis who disagree on how many Imams there are, as well as taking a different path of sucession - how decided this line of sucession and how did it become known?


In Islam, the physical and the spiritual are often fused together and inseparable. We find that on the Day of Judgment, we won't be raised only as spirits, but as bodies with spirits. Paradise and Hellfire are both physical and spiritual experiences, as we enjoy the foods, the luxuries, and the sex in the physical sense, and we enjoy the love of Allah in the spiritual. Likewise, in Islamic fiqh, the two are also interdependent, as our spiritual salvation and fulfillment is based on physical actions. The 5 pillars are all things that we experience esoterically and exoterically. We make wudhu' not just to clean, but also to wash away our sins and purify ourselves. Najasa is not just what is filthy physically, but it is spiritual uncleanliness as well, and many things that are just plain filthy like dirt itself are not najis.

Likewise, the role of Allah's representatives is earthly and heavenly, physical and spiritual. To say that the Imams (as) were just leaders of religion and not politics would be fallacious, because in classical Islam, the two were one and the same. If we look at the Prophet (pbuh), he had greater right over the believers than the believers had over their selves. This is not just referring to some ghostly relationship, this verse is saying that the Prophet's law encompasses all things physical as well - likewise, the good Muslim had to fight alongside him and sometimes die. The companions of Moses (as) had taqseer in their deen because they did not follow Moses into battle. Also, when Moses put Aaron (as) in charge of the Children of Israel, the role of Aaron was not just over religious matters, but all matters.

We believe that the Caliph and the Imam are one and the same. The Caliphs would call themselves "khalifat ar-rasul" (the representative of the Prophet) or even "khalifatullah" (the representative of Allah) on earth, and had power in all matters. The only way an absolute ruler can be just is if he were guided by Allah. There are hadiths in the Sunni books which equate fighting against the Caliph as kufr, which means there is a spiritual element to Caliphate that all Muslims must fulfill. What we know from history is that Husayn (as) fought against Yazid, a false Caliph - but fighting a Caliph is a grave sin, so how can the "Master of the Youths of Paradise" be a grave sinner? Surely there's something much deeper that needs to be looked at.

As for the matters of succession, each case would need to be looked at individually. All Imams had selected their successor through divine decree. We believe the Imams had a books going back to Ali (as) which had these instructions. After the death of a few of the Imams, there were disagreements as to who the next Imam should be, in the same way there were disagreements after the death of the Prophet (pbuh) despite his selection of Ali at ghadeer. If you have a specific question regarding the succession of a specific Imam, like Musa al-Kadhim for example, then let us know.
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#17 Propaganda_of_the_Deed

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:29 AM

Thanks for writing up your thoughts. It seems that you have been critically thinking about Shia-Sunni differences.


The same reasons why we have soo many Muslim sects; when the community started splitting into different factions due to differences in opinion.

Zaydis believe in the first four of the same Imams as us. Ismails believe in the first sixth of the same Imam as us.

When you were a Sunni, how do you guys justify the presence of four Sunni Imams and a variety of ideas and split within Sunnism?


Yes as you said, these 4 factions within Sunni Fiqh were due to differences of opinion - although the consensus is that these 4 muthahib are all legitimate differences of opinions - and they are not differing on fundamentals (I'd assume the path of Imamate would be considered a fundamental) but rather Fiqh issues. There were even more than 4, but others became extinct over the years, these are now the 4 mainstream.

As a matter of fact, the "Jafari mathab" is taught as a 5th mathab at the Al Azhar (originally founded by the Fatimids) in Egypt and is accepted as a legitimate school of thought.

Do the mainstream 12er Shias view the other Shia sects as being somewhat misguided and even in grave error by not accepting the same line of succession? Are they considered legimitate differences of opinion?

Edited by Propaganda_of_the_Deed, 15 March 2012 - 09:30 AM.


#18 Khadim uz Zahra

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:56 PM

Yes as you said, these 4 factions within Sunni Fiqh were due to differences of opinion - although the consensus is that these 4 muthahib are all legitimate differences of opinions - and they are not differing on fundamentals (I'd assume the path of Imamate would be considered a fundamental) but rather Fiqh issues. There were even more than 4, but others became extinct over the years, these are now the 4 mainstream. As a matter of fact, the "Jafari mathab" is taught as a 5th mathab at the Al Azhar (originally founded by the Fatimids) in Egypt and is accepted as a legitimate school of thought. Do the mainstream 12er Shias view the other Shia sects as being somewhat misguided and even in grave error by not accepting the same line of succession? Are they considered legimitate differences of opinion?


No, the differences between us and, say, the Ismai'lis are not the same as the differences between, for example, the four Sunnis Imams. This is, exactly, because of what you have said: the line of succession of the Imams (peace be upon them all) is a fundamental part of religion while Fiqh is not. The differences between us and the other Shia sects is on theological issues while the differences between, say, Abu Hanifa and Ahmad ibn Hanbal were jurisprudential differences.

Therefore, we believe that, yes, they are also wrong in their beliefs and do not consider them legitimate in the sense that a Hanafi would consider the Maliki Madhab to be legitimate. In fact, we have a hadith in which the Imam (as) says that whoever rejects one of them, has rejected all of them and, therefore, for one's beliefs to be right, he must accept - and believe in - all the Imams (peace be upon them all).

Insha'Allah, I have been helpful! :D

Edited by Khadim uz Zahra, 15 March 2012 - 12:56 PM.

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#19 Qa'im

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:08 PM

Yes as you said, these 4 factions within Sunni Fiqh were due to differences of opinion - although the consensus is that these 4 muthahib are all legitimate differences of opinions - and they are not differing on fundamentals (I'd assume the path of Imamate would be considered a fundamental) but rather Fiqh issues. There were even more than 4, but others became extinct over the years, these are now the 4 mainstream.


The four madhahab in Sunnism deal only with fiqh issues, you're right. Though there were also schools of `aqeedah in history, as you may know. Today, most Sunnis are Ash`ari (and some may consider Salafism to be its own school of `aqeedah), but historically there were also the Mu`tazilah, the Murji`a, as well as the Maturidiyya, who still exist today. There isn't enough solid ground in Sunnism, because the four madhahab of fiqh have disagreed on thousands of issues, and the schools of `aqeedah have disagreed on the fundamentals of the religion. Then of course you also have the Sufis, which is another phenomenon within Sunnism.

On the issue of salat, there are 100 differences between the salat of the 4 schools. Salat is one of the most important pillars of Islam, so it's surprising that something so foundational would be practiced so differently by members of the same sect. Up until 100 years ago, Sunnis would only pray behind an imam from their madhhab. We say, Allah is Just, He has revealed 1 clear religion with 1 method of salat, not 4.

Do the mainstream 12er Shias view the other Shia sects as being somewhat misguided and even in grave error by not accepting the same line of succession? Are they considered legimitate differences of opinion?


We believe all Muslims must recognize the 12 Imams (as), because only through them will we perfect our deen. There is a straight path, and certain sects may be closer to that straight path than others, but we don't suggest that Zaydis for example are as correct as Imamis. Ultimately, a person who fulfills the five pillars of Islam is a Muslim. But, how do we understand Allah? How do we pray? What are the rules of fasting? The rules of Hajj? And to find the correct answer, one must go into the city of Islam through its front gate and not by some other means, lest we get hurt. On the day of Judgment, it is better to be praying with the correct method than with the incorrect method, because Allah may not accept the latter prayer.
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#20 Propaganda_of_the_Deed

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:58 AM

^ I see, thanks for clearing that up. I do have another question, and there's no point making a separate thread for it, so I'll just keep them here.

Coming from a Sunni background, Qa'im, et al, what did you make of certain practises that would have been deemed alien to you when you were Sunni? For example, I notice many casually would say "Ya Ali" or "Ya Hussain"... calling out to anyone in this manner other than Allah swt...whereas to say this is frowned upon in Sunni Islam would be an understatement. What's your view on this? or depictions of the Imams? I know this is more of a cultural practise that isn't neccessarily endorsed by the scholars.

Also do you still hold onto some Sunni sentiments or practises.. or have you totally changed your mindframe and attitudes to conform completely with the norms of Shi'ism?

Edited by Propaganda_of_the_Deed, 16 March 2012 - 07:19 AM.


#21 Dar'ul_Islam

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:48 AM

(bismillah)

^ I see, thanks for clearing that up. I do have another question, and there's no point making a separate thread for it, so I'll just keep them here.

Coming from a Sunni background, Qa'im, et al, what did you make of certain practises that would have been deemed alien to you when you were Sunni? For example, I notice many casually would say "Ya Ali" or "Ya Hussain"... calling out to anyone in this manner other than Allah swt...whereas to say this is frowned upon in Sunni Islam would be an understatement. What's your view on this? or depictions of the Imams? I know this is more of a cultural practise that isn't neccessarily endorsed by the scholars.


I'm sure you've become familiar with the arguments as to why people believe that is permissible. However, it is not a necessary practice - and some may argue the Imams (as) have not taught us to do such things regarding intercessory du`a. Anyway, this is not a uniquely Shi`a practice. Most Sunnis believe in its permissibility - the only real dissenters being Wahabi/Salafis. My personal view on the practice is that it's fine; do it or don't do it...completely up to you. I personally do not do a lot of it, aside from Du`a al-Tawassul. I do it mostly in Ziyaraat (conveying salaam to the Holy Prophet & his Family [as]) which is usually accompanied by me talking to them.

Pictures of the Imams [as] is something contested all around. The fatwaa for depictions of these Holy Personalities vary, not sure totally however. I personally don't like them, especially if they are in Mosques or Islamic Centers. You usually don't find this in the Western world (I think this is because most places are run by Pakistanis who are culturally averse to this practice, at least from my experience).

Also do you still hold onto some Sunni sentiments or practises.. or have you totally changed your mindframe and attitudes to conform completely with the norms of Shi'ism?

This question is way too broad for me to give a real answer for.

I think one sort of a norm is separating prayers. Though I may do this more often than not now due to school and praying with others in congregation, at least during holidays and breaks, I try to separate prayers into their preferred times. Most Shi`ah always combine without exception.

I'm personally not one who is "into" chest beating during Muharram because I do not connect with that. I'll just lightly pat with everyone else for solidarity purposes, otherwise I feel it distracts from the recited elegies where the emotion comes from.

If you had more specific ideas in mind feel free to let us know.

في امان الله

Edited by Dar'ul_Islam, 16 March 2012 - 07:50 AM.

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#22 Gypsy

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:03 AM

Yes as you said, these 4 factions within Sunni Fiqh were due to differences of opinion - although the consensus is that these 4 muthahib are all legitimate differences of opinions - and they are not differing on fundamentals (I'd assume the path of Imamate would be considered a fundamental) but rather Fiqh issues. There were even more than 4, but others became extinct over the years, these are now the 4 mainstream.

What do you mean fundamentals? Islam fundamentals are based on the sects themselves. You are aware of Shii Usool and Furu of Deen, 5 Sunni pillar of religion and Ismaili's 7 pillar of Islam.

It's false to say that the Sunni differing on Fiqh is not touching on fundamentals. Salat is one of the Sunni fundamental or pillar of the religion. And that the Sunni differing among themselves in something as crucial as the prayers (salah) which is a fundamental for them just goes to show that there is nothing sacred in Islam and everything is open to interpretation/debatable among the scholars.

And the fact that Imamah is the fundamental for the Shia but not to the Sunni could be further taken as an evidence that Islam's fundamental is open to interpretation.

#23 Qa'im

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

I was going to write a reply to post #20 Propaganda, but Dar'ul Islam made an excellent response and my sentiments are the same.

Edited by Qa'im, 16 March 2012 - 11:12 AM.


#24 Khadim uz Zahra

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:02 PM

^ I see, thanks for clearing that up. I do have another question, and there's no point making a separate thread for it, so I'll just keep them here. Coming from a Sunni background, Qa'im, et al, what did you make of certain practises that would have been deemed alien to you when you were Sunni? For example, I notice many casually would say "Ya Ali" or "Ya Hussain"... calling out to anyone in this manner other than Allah swt...whereas to say this is frowned upon in Sunni Islam would be an understatement. What's your view on this? or depictions of the Imams? I know this is more of a cultural practise that isn't neccessarily endorsed by the scholars. Also do you still hold onto some Sunni sentiments or practises.. or have you totally changed your mindframe and attitudes to conform completely with the norms of Shi'ism?


Well, if you ask me, I would say that this is not the time to be worrying about such things, as in the practices like "Ya Ali" or "Ya Hussain" are not a fundamental part of Shi'ism, although they are seen as some to be very important beliefs. Saying Ya Ali madad does not make you a Shia. Rather, the only yardstick for being called a Shia is that you believe in the Wilayah of Imam Ali (as) and the Imams (peace be upon them all) that followed. These auxiliary beliefs and practices can be kept for later, after you have accepted Shi'ism as a whole. There are many Shias on this forum itself, like Haydar Husayn, who don't believe in Tawassul in the sense that the majority of Shias believe in but this does not make those who do believe in it - which includes me - to say that he is not a Shia. Therefore, I would not suggest that you dwell on these matters so much, not at the moment at least. You must, first, decide on which path you want to take and, then, after you have chosen the path, you can now come and look at these practices and decide whether they are permissible or not.

By the way, this practice is endorsed by many of the Shi'i scholars, including a large majority, if not all, of the Maraje.
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#25 md. ammar ali

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:56 AM

i request only 1 thing

look at the histroy and the holy quran sharif and authentic hadiths first

later on you can come to the issues and practises



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