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MustafaMc

Difference between Sunni and Shi'a

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Al hamdu lillah, it is going well. I have read Muraja'at, several books by Muhammad al-Tijani (Ask Those Who Know, The Shi'a Are the Real Ahlul-Sunnah, Then I Was Guided), first volume of Nahjul-Balagha and now I am reading Peshawar Nights. I have accepted the Shi'a narrative on early Islamic history.

I received three books from Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, but I have not read them yet. I did start the one about Allah, but wanted to settle the issue of history in my mind first.My next area of interest is to explore differences in aqeeda which may or may not come out in reading these three books. I do reject all anthropomorphism of Allah and believe that our minds cannot comprehend His existence. I believe that the 99 Names are useful for us to gain some faint knowledge of the One who we worship, but also that His manifestation of Rahma is very much greater than our understanding of mercy. I do believe that Ali (alayhi salam) was the very best of the community after Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa salaam) and that he inherited his knowledge and adhab. I am unclear as to what are the sources of knowledge passed down through him besides Nahjul-Balagha. I am also unsure about the authenticity of that book.

I do not know much about the practice of Islam according to the Shi'a. I have the Sunni book on prayer, but I am unaware of a counterpart for the Shi'a prayer. Do all Shi'a pray the same way? One thing that I do know a little about is the practice of making supplications through Ali, Husayn and the Imams as do the Sufi with their Saints, but I am not sure about this practice. I may be missing a means for nearness to Allah, but I want to avoid all semblance of associating others with Allah.

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4 hours ago, MustafaMc said:

Al hamdu lillah, it is going well. I have read Muraja'at, several books by Muhammad al-Tijani (Ask Those Who Know, The Shi'a Are the Real Ahlul-Sunnah, Then I Was Guided), first volume of Nahjul-Balagha and now I am reading Peshawar Nights. I have accepted the Shi'a narrative on early Islamic history.

I received three books from Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, but I have not read them yet. I did start the one about Allah, but wanted to settle the issue of history in my mind first.My next area of interest is to explore differences in aqeeda which may or may not come out in reading these three books. I do reject all anthropomorphism of Allah and believe that our minds cannot comprehend His existence. I believe that the 99 Names are useful for us to gain some faint knowledge of the One who we worship, but also that His manifestation of Rahma is very much greater than our understanding of mercy. I do believe that Ali (alayhi salam) was the very best of the community after Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa salaam) and that he inherited his knowledge and adhab. I am unclear as to what are the sources of knowledge passed down through him besides Nahjul-Balagha. I am also unsure about the authenticity of that book.

I do not know much about the practice of Islam according to the Shi'a. I have the Sunni book on prayer, but I am unaware of a counterpart for the Shi'a prayer. Do all Shi'a pray the same way? One thing that I do know a little about is the practice of making supplications through Ali, Husayn and the Imams as do the Sufi with their Saints, but I am not sure about this practice. I may be missing a means for nearness to Allah, but I want to avoid all semblance of associating others with Allah.

Great to hear from you. You've been very serious in your research and finding the truth is very important for you, I fully respect that. Peshawar Nights is one of my favourite books because it delves into the details and beliefs of both sects using just the Qur'an and Sunni books, so it's nice that you are reading it. It also talks about the aqeeda of both sects, so inshAllah you will gain some knowledge from it.

For the authenticity of Nahjul Balagha, read this nice post by brother Qa'im:

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235049249-sunnis-make-sahih-nahj-al-balagha/?do=findComment&comment=3045030

 

You can check his profile page, he has many great topics and blogs that can be helpful, and one of them is 'Virtues of Imam Ali'. 

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/profile/39248-qaim/?tab=field_core_pfield_17

 

Yes, all Shi'as pray the same way.

Making supplications through the Imams is not a wajib act in deen, it's optional. Some Shi'as do it, some don't, it's really up to you whether you feel comfortable doing it or not. Choosing not to do it does not make you any less Shi'a. Here's a another great post by Qa'im regarding supplication through the Imams:

Quote

Tawassul is often compared to shirk, but to be honest, there will always be an intermediary between one and God. The names of Allah are created and separate from Him, and our words, actions, and rituals are all mediums between us and Him. As Imam al-Hadi once said, we share no medium with Allah, because that would be tashbeeh. We are creation, and we interact with creation - the Creator in His Essence is only known though His created signs. The Infinite God acts through the finite. Allah gives life, by allowing His created Spirit to breathe a soul into our bodies. Allah ends life, by allowing His created angel to remove our soul from our bodies. Allah delivers rizq to us through created means. So tawassul and ziyara, like salat, zakat, sawm, hajj, and other good deeds, are ultimately a path to God. They are all different means through which He is reached. A truly "direct" relationship is not plausible. As long as one believes that all created things have no power in and of themselves, then tawassul can only be an intercession to God, and not calling on a separate deity. Otherwise, the same argument can be made about all of our good deeds.

Pretty much no one had a problem with tawassul until recent times, when the Salafis came up with the Protestant-esque belief that we must have a "direct" relationship with God and not use saints as intercessors. But neither the 4 Sunni madhhabs nor our madrasa had an issue with this. As long as you send your salaam to the Ahl al-Bayt (and we say salaam directly to the Prophet at the end of each salat ...), the message will be delivered to them by the angels. Wallahu a`lam.

 

Edited by Hassan-

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On 9/24/2017 at 10:45 AM, MustafaMc said:

Assalamu alaikum, I converted to Islam from Protestant Christianity and I have practiced Islam since June 2001 as Allah as willed. I have typically considered myself as being a Sunni due to the sources of my Islamic knowledge and the Muslims ho I have associated with. I have long had an issue with the conflict between Ali and Muawiyah and have been troubled how I perceive Sunni Muslims as silently accept Muawiyah and Yazid as legitimate rulers and refuse any negative talk about them or their rule. 

I have read a few books that have given me an understanding on the Sunni-Shi'a split. These books are: 1) "Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes" by Tamim Ansary, 2) "After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam" by Lesley Hazleton, and 3) "Nahjul-Balagha: Path of Eloquence" by Ali ibn Abu Talib and translated by Yasin T. al-Jibouri. As a result of reading these books, I believe that Ali was the rightful successor to Muhammad (saaws) and that his right to lead the Muslim Ummah was usurped by others from the very beginning.However, I also see that rather than rebel against the first three "elected" caliphs, Ali accepted their leadership albeit reluctantly, especially at the beginning. I see that Abu Bakr and Umar reasonably adhered to Islamic principles, but that the rule under Uthman became corrupted with gross nepotism and injustice under the influence of Marwan. I see that Ali was finally chosen as the fourth Caliph but that he was unjustly opposed by Aisha, Talha, Zubayr and Muawiyah who rebelled against him and they were responsible for Muslims shedding the blood of other Muslims. From what I know of the life of Ali and his son Husayn, I see strong consistency with my understanding of the Islam practiced by Muhammad while my perception of the lives and rule of Muawiyah and his son Yazid is the very antithesis of Islam and more representative of those rich Meccan rulers who opposed Muhammad (saaws). This is the essence of my present internal struggle.

I know little about the Shi'a practice of Islam, but I see Ali as being a wealth of knowledge that is largely ignored in Sunni Islam. I am interested in learning more about the differences between Sunni and Shi'a so that I can make an informed decision as to whether I want to stay Sunni or become a Shi'a. I understand there is a difference between Sunni and Shi'a in the athan, 3 versus 5 daily salah, the mourning of Husayn's martyrdom, question of Ali's receiving secret knowledge from Muhammad as he was dying, temporary marriage, infallibility and inspiration of the 12 Imams, etc. I will appreciate open and honest discussions to help me in my decision.

Only an idiot will think that Muawiyah or Yazeed are legitimate rulers. That goes against direct Marfoo hadeeth of the prophet. 

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