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What Makes Shias More Tolerant Than Sunnis?

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I've always wondered why Shia Muslims are more tolerant of non-Muslims compared to Sunnis. For example, in Iran, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are constitutionally protected by law and have seats in the government. However, in Wahhabi dominated Saudi Arabia, there is less religious freedom and Christians and Jews are persecuted in many ways. 

 

Also, whenever you hear about some attack by a Jihadist group against civilians, it's always some radical Sunni sect that take responsibility for the attacks. You hardly hear about Shia Muslims attacking defenseless civilians.

 

Is there something inherent in Shia Islam that makes it more tolerant towards non-Muslims than Sunni Islam? Thanks.

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Because shi'a make up only like 10% of the Ummah.

And if anyone wants to make up stories of Muslims attacking others then there isn't much point in saying it was the crazy Shi'a who are a minority.

But yes, you're right. For some reason, Wahabi's do most of this nonsense. That's because they are brain dead.

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Wahhabism is not a religious belief. So you are comparing two different things. Sunnism is a mental construct with no linear history: its existence as a monolithic faith depends on Wahhabism. in general none of these can be usefully compared to Shiism.

Shiism is relatively homogeneous and cohesive, containing hierarchy and discipline. It also incorporates many aspects associated with feminine behavior, such as crying for the salihin. A third reason may be the dominance of Iranian culture over Shi'i customs and ways of life.

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Look at history and consider the origins of the beliefs of both schools. Sunni lslam was influenced by the propaganda of the tyrannical leaders (e.g. Banu Ummayah) and the shia followed the family of the prophet [a] who opposed these leaders and were oppressed by them.

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I've always wondered why Shia Muslims are more tolerant of non-Muslims compared to Sunnis. For example, in Iran, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are constitutionally protected by law and have seats in the government. However, in Wahhabi dominated Saudi Arabia, there is less religious freedom and Christians and Jews are persecuted in many ways. 

 

Also, whenever you hear about some attack by a Jihadist group against civilians, it's always some radical Sunni sect that take responsibility for the attacks. You hardly hear about Shia Muslims attacking defenseless civilians.

 

Is there something inherent in Shia Islam that makes it more tolerant towards non-Muslims than Sunni Islam? Thanks.

Hello sibling in humanity.

Its simply bieng a follower of the true successor. He taught us to be open minded and accepting to other human biengs. He teached us to have good manners. He led us to the morals of the prophet. He told us to respect our enemies even if they cursed us and that even if someone spat right at us, we will let it go.

Bieng a follower of the family of the prophet is following the prophet therefore following Allah. This leads us to nothing but good manners and resepct.

Imam Ali (AS) said, ‘Reprimand your brother by being kind to him, and react to his wrongdoing by being generous to him.’

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Myth of Iranian influence is over blown on Shia Islam. Nationalist Iranians' biggest complain with the current system of Iran is the Arbanization of Iranian culture. So this is a biggest myth that Shia Islam has a stamp of Iran or Persian culture. It's actually opposite, culturally the Shia Islam is the closest you can find to the Arab culture.

That said, Shia Islam is THE ORIGINAL strain of Islam so it adheres strictly to Islamic roots of peace, tranquility, and order. Also due to the 12 trusted Imams appointed by Prophet and their continuous principled approach of Islam, it's virtually impossible to wage wars for temporal gains such as land, wealth, resources, or political power for the sake of power and hide those under the name of Islamic practice of Jihad.

Don't get me wrong, Shia Islam is extremely political in nature. Justice, Leadership of God, of Prophet, & of Prophet appointed Imams is part of the core belief. Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil, and Self Defense aka Jihad, Loving for the Sake of Allah swt, and Disassociating/Loathing for the sake of Allah swt are among it's core practices. The start of Islamic year, the Hijra calendar started on the day the first Islamic government was established by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the city of Medina. The yearly protest gatherings and walks commemorated with much religious zeal and fervor and populated by millions of Shias are to honor the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the 3rd Imam and to pledge allegiance to his eternal struggle for good versus evil.

All the talk you hear that Iranian Ayatollahs are political and Iraqis are not, is just plain misunderstanding. They might be less obvious in one place and more in other, but Shia Islam is extremely politically to its core, except that its politics are bound by Islamic doctrine of peace, love, mercy, and compassion.

A few modern day examples of Shia Islam politics bound by Islamic doctrine are:

1. Refusal of Iran (country led by a Shia Scholar) to develop nuclear weapons because it is unlawful to use or amass weapons of mass destruction.

2. Refusal of top Shia scholars of Iraq to allow Shia majority reprisal blind attacks on Sunni minority after the holy grail of Shia Islam, the equivalent of Vatican, the graves of two of the Shia holy Imams were desecrated in Iraq. (Contrast that with the Shia genocide by majority Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan)

3. The strong and respectful alliance of Shia Muslims and Christians throughout Middle East, Asia, and East Asia. (Shia are minority here)

4. The strong and respectful alliance of Shia Muslims and Hindus in India. (Shia are minority here)

5. In majority Shia lands such as Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon, not even one Christian, Jew, or Zoroastrian is hurt by Shias ever due to non-Islamic religious identity. Not even once in last 1400 years.

I can't give you the sound bite version of Shia Islam here, because there is none; for really a good understanding you will need to read through the history, the circumstances that allowed the Islam (Shia Islam) to be hijacked by modern day Salafis right after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (s), which will help you understand the two parallel but totally different forms of Islam that exist today.

For detailed and thorough comparisons, I would recommend following books:

http://www.al-islam.org/inquiries-about-shia-islam-sayyid-moustafa-al-qazwini

http://www.al-islam.org/new-analysis-wahhabi-doctrines-muhammad-husayn-ibrahimi

Also visit the website to read through much of the comparative material available. http://www.al-islam.org

God Bless.

Edited by Waiting for HIM

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I've always wondered why Shia Muslims are more tolerant of non-Muslims compared to Sunnis. For example, in Iran, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are constitutionally protected by law and have seats in the government. However, in Wahhabi dominated Saudi Arabia, there is less religious freedom and Christians and Jews are persecuted in many ways. 

 

Also, whenever you hear about some attack by a Jihadist group against civilians, it's always some radical Sunni sect that take responsibility for the attacks. You hardly hear about Shia Muslims attacking defenseless civilians.

 

Is there something inherent in Shia Islam that makes it more tolerant towards non-Muslims than Sunni Islam? Thanks.

 

We have the family of the Prophet as our role models, that is; the Ahlulbayt. The Prophet peace be upon him told us to hold on to both the Quran and Ahlulbayt in an authentic hadith. The sunnis only took hold of the Quran, but the Quran is not enough in the sense that you need the Ahlulbayt to explain it. If there is a book, there is also a guide and who can be a better guide than Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), and after him, his family.

Edited by race

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We have the family of the Prophet as our role models, that is; the Ahlulbayt.

Beautifully stated.

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘O Shi`aa community, be an adornment for us [amongst people] and not a disgrace to us. Say good words to people, guard your tongues and restrain yourselves from mindless chatter and offensive speech.’

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Sunnis have had the unfortunate fortune of having weak leaderships that could be easily manipulated. Their leaders have were and still are tools of the imperialist powers. Their biggest fifth column is the salafi/wahabbi trend; an ideology that thrives on hate and sectarianism (no matter how much they try to conceal it). That being said, there are some very good, peace loving sunnis who are not in leadership positions.

 

Salman

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I personally think tolerance is a person-to-person thing, not a religion based idealogy.

 

In my experience, I have known a Wahabi, he was peaceful, quiet, respectful, keeps to himself.

 

I also have known many Shia, who will not associate with me, who will not be near me, or those who do associate with me but will not eat any food that I may have touched, even if I have touched a plate to pass them food and not actually touched the food, they will refuse to eat it, as though I am dirty, and have tainted the food.

 

So I do not think one sect of Islam is more tolerant than another, I would say, just one, being smaller, has more people who are able to tolerate others, rather than being tolerant jut because they are Shia.

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I personally think tolerance is a person-to-person thing, not a religion based idealogy.

 

In my experience, I have known a Wahabi, he was peaceful, quiet, respectful, keeps to himself.

 

I also have known many Shia, who will not associate with me, who will not be near me, or those who do associate with me but will not eat any food that I may have touched, even if I have touched a plate to pass them food and not actually touched the food, they will refuse to eat it, as though I am dirty, and have tainted the food.

 

So I do not think one sect of Islam is more tolerant than another, I would say, just one, being smaller, has more people who are able to tolerate others, rather than being tolerant jut because they are Shia.

Whatever their personal definition of hygiene or not, a Shia would never chop your head off. Given a chance, a Wahabi Salafi would because he will win 70 virgins based on the cultish evil doctrine he believes in, which has nothing to do with Islam.

One more thing, whenever you are oppressed or being humiliated, you will more likely find a shia as your refuge, and while a wahabi might not be the party of the offenders, he might not say or do anything to protect you either.

You are not aware of the cult of hate of Salafis Wahabis yet.

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Whatever their personal definition of hygiene or not, a Shia would never chop your head off. Given a chance, a Wahabi Salafi would because he will win 70 virgins based on the cultish evil doctrine he believes in, which has nothing to do with Islam.

One more thing, whenever you are oppressed or being humiliated, you will more likely find a shia as your refuge, and while a wahabi might not be the party of the offenders, he might not say or do anything to protect you either.

You are not aware of the cult of hate of Salafis Wahabis yet.

 

 

I am well aware of the hate that Sulafis and Wahabis have, and what they do is not jusftifiable in any way, it is horrendous and those who do what they are doing are no better than the worst of the worst in this world. But in my view, if someone wants to dog you, they will. The Shia that I know, who I am close to, I love with all my heart, they are so dear to me. They are considered to be no less than a brother, they are virtually my family. But in my own experience, a lot of the Shia i know find refuge with Catholics, I myseld included in that.

 

Need some where to stay? They are most welcome at my house. Had an argument with family? I am all ears. Hungry and have no money? I will go out and buy food that is halal for you, or give you the money to do so yourself. But when I need help? When I need advice? Whom do I have? Suddenly all those people  I helped no longer know me.

Edited by TheLoneCrusader

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As others have stated, some reasons are more simple. The greater emphasis on the example of the prophet (as) and his blessed household, who were the perfect examples of just leadership and compassion to all human beings are certainly one. There's also the minority status. Shi'ites know what it's like to feel marginalized much of the time and so can often find common ground with non-Muslims in their opposition to Sunni hegemony and aggression. This relationship goes back centuries. During the Crusades, it was often an accusation by Sunni scholars and rulers against Shi'ites that they collaborated with the Franks, which has some truth to it. The Assassins fought a little with the Templars but then later managed to strike up something of an alliance with them. The Fatimids were accused by Ibn al-Athir of having allowed encouraged the Frankish incursion and this dubious, if not outright false accusation, was based on the fact that the Fatimid elites often employed Egyptian Christians as secretaries or bodyguards as a check to Muslim rivals. Shah Abbas of the Safavid dynasty sought alliance with Catholic European powers against the Ottomans on numerous occasions. The Islamic Republic of Iran has continued this trend of trying to form better ties with the Vatican against the threats of modern secularism as embodied by Western powers. In modern Lebanon, there's similar trends forming as well between Shi'ite political parties and Christian groups.

 

But on a deeper level, I think it's because Shi'ism is a much more esoteric tradition and for that reason overlaps much more with the non-Muslim religions because it delves deeper into the heart of Islam which is the same spirit that lies at the heart of all religion that are based on some divine word of the one true God. There's a greater continuity  and more profound similarities between the Shia tradition as derived from the sayings and wisdom of the Imams and the deeper sides of the Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian traditions than there is between the purely external doctrines and ideas of the Wahabis (I don't say Sunni here because Wahabis don't really represent all Sunnis and their points of view), Wahabism being an ideology based on some strange mixture of Sunni fundamentalism and modern rationalism that fiercely opposes things like philosophical speculation and gnosis. This greater focus on the internal aspects of religion and its philosophical layers as opposed to just simply external identifiers of the faith allows at least the greater possibility I think for Shi'ites to form much more meaningful connections with those of other religions. While some of these traits I mentioned Shi'ites share in common with many Sufis of the Sunni tradition as well, there are also traits that are particular to culture and religion of Shi'ism that allow for more meaningful dialogue and understanding. Shi'ites, for example, can better relate to the Christian concepts behind Christ's passion and death on the cross than most Sunnis can because  the passion and death of Husayn (as) at Karbala plays such a vital role in the faith of Shi'ism and it's own worldview. Again, there's that greater overlap. 

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23

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Salam

 

The degree of tolerance usually depends on one's position i.e. minority or majority. I mean at world scale.

Suppose shias were majority in Islam today, I doubt sunnis would be treated with much respect for rejecting the Imams.

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Salam

 

The degree of tolerance usually depends on one's position i.e. minority or majority. I mean at world scale.

Suppose shias were majority in Islam today, I doubt sunnis would be treated with much respect for rejecting the Imams.

 I doubt what you have written is reliable.  In Iran, shias are the majority, the sunnis and others are respected.

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Honestly, reading up on the laws for dhimmis (non muslims) under an Islamic government in shia and sunni texts, the amount of tolerance is relatively the same. The rulings are mostly the same, and historically many sunni dynasties were gardens of eden for jews who were fleeing Christian persecution. Same with shia dynasties like the indian sultanates, Buyids and Safavids (during Shah Abbas' era mostly that is). The differences are minimal at best, and a quick reader will probably not notice them.

 

However, in the modern era, it has been a case of sunnis suffering repeated humiliation from colonialists and their cultural legacies; their methods to revive an Islamic state have therefore been under the spotlight the most, and they have often resorted to brutal and violent means to bring about this 'caliphate'. Shias on the other hand have remained content with their firm faith, as they are not as lustful for political power to confirm their faith for themselves.

Edited by Jahangiram

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