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In the Name of God بسم الله

HELP with answering my non-muslim friends question?

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Salam, Ramadan Mubarak

I have a good non-muslim that i have met recently. We have been discussing many topics and he seems well informed mashallah. However this morning he sent me this reply and quite frankly i don't know how to respond. My knowledge is pretty dull on this issue. It is a very sophisticated question. Perhaps one of u guys can provide some suggestive answers. Jzk :)

Here it is: 

"Hello, friend! Yes, it feels good for my day counter to be going up! I've been feeling good the past two days :) I hope you've been doing good as well.

Now, I know it's not necessarily my place, seeing how I'm not Muslim myself - but I've been wondering lately - is the Sunni-Shia divide reeeeeeallly specifically a Sunni-Shia divide? What do I mean by that... Like, if you look at a map on wikipedia of where people are more Sunni or more Shia, most Shias are in or around Iran. The places where there's a lot of conflict are border countries that have at one point been under Persian influence, but are contested between other groups as well - in Iraq it's torn between Arabs and Kurds, Pakistan and Afghanistan are fractured between even more competing factions, and then there's the situation in Bahrain...

The more I listen to Sunnis and Shias discuss differences - it reminds me of the schism in the Western and Eastern Orthodox church. Now, there are doctrinal differences between those churches, but the doctrinal differences are minor compared to other schisms. Instead, I think the church split mainly for geopolitical differences, and the doctrine was more of an excuse pointed to after the fact.

The split mostly appeared during the crusades, at a time during which Christians were supposedly uniting against "Non-Christian enemies". The Vatican would keep sending crusaders to the holy land, stopping by Constantinople along the way. But Constantinople was never prepared to accommodate to so many soldiers, so the crusaders would be left dissatisfied with their provisions and end up rioting and ransacking their fellow Christians. This became such a habit that Western crusaders just started ransacking all sorts of Eastern Christian towns because it was more profitable than going all the way to Jerusalem. Now - if I'm not supposed to fight my brother in faith, then teeeeechnically by considering him a heretic then.... all of a sudden my geopolitical objectives are permissible and I can ransack his capital all I want. And from the Eastern perspective... would you want to maintain ties with the person who's repeatedly pillaging you?

So my question is, since there are many people called "Sunnis" who have a radically different tradition from the Arabs, yet are still considered Sunnis, while Shias are uniquely singled out as "heretics" - isn't that more of an Arabia vs Iran thing? In that sense, Arab Sunnis might have animosity with Shias because the fitna feels too close to home for them. Maybe one of their relatives was killed in tribal conflict, and it's hard to get over stuff like that. But there are also plenty of "Sunnis" that don't have any beef with Shias.

For example, Kazakhstan is labeled as Sunni, but if you look closer at how they practice, they've been doing their own thing for a while. Idk if you've ever met a Kazakh or read up on their history, but they're definitely worth knowing about. They recently escaped soviet rule and are trying to assert their independence from external influences like Russia and China. They're descended from Turks who converted to Islam long ago, independently figuring out what it means to be Muslim in their own cultural context for decades. They're a modern multiethnic country, with sizable minorities of Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Koreans (that's an interesting story, how they got there), etc... so they're used to navigating cultural differences, and would probably be pretty welcoming to someone like yourself!

I think they're also trying to get more English-speakers in the country to educate the youth in international business, so who knows, maybe you could get a work visa. The cost of living's low, but the HDI is high - the cities have all the frills of modern life, but there's also plenty of wilderness if you ever want a break from civilization. Sorry, I sound like a tour guide right now...

Speaking of Muslims in Asia, something I find amazing about places like China - the population is so huge, you'll look at a pie chart of their demographics and there's this tiny sliver that says like "oh only 2% of the population is muslim" and you think "that's not that many".... but that ends up being at least 10 million people! Many of their muslims are descended from Turks as well (Kazakhs, Uyghurs, Salar), but the majority seem to be ethnic Chinese who were converted a long time ago. Official statistics by the CCP often lump them together in these broad inaccurate categories, so it's hard to tell what's going on sometimes - and then, of course, there's the persecution... I live in an area where there's a lot of Muslim refugees from China. They have really good food, my girlfriend and I used to go to this one Uyghur restaurant all the time before quarantine... We're thinking of ordering some delivery sometime this week... Laghman.... Fried noodles... ooooooh that sweet and sour tofu goes really good with the fried noodles..... OOoof... I didn't realize how hungry I am as I write this........... trying...... to wait.... for Iftar....

In Australia, you're right next to Indonesia, right? Idk much about Indonesia, but I wonder how Indonesian-Australian muslims would feel towards Shias. I bet there's plenty of "Sunni" communities across the globe that would welcome you with open arms. I hope you get to travel around a bit, check some of them out :)"

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1 hour ago, Ya Mahdi1999 said:

I think they're also trying to get more English-speakers in the country to educate the youth in international business, so who knows, maybe you could get a work visa. The cost of living's low, but the HDI is high - the cities have all the frills of modern life, but there's also plenty of wilderness if you ever want a break from civilization. Sorry, I sound like a tour guide right now...

Salam and Ramadan Mubarak. I am not going to quote your friend's whole message because it is too long. It's like a 3 page letter. 

Is he someone you know in real life or you met him on the Internet? Did you tell him in a previous message that you wanted to move to another country and need a work visa? If you did, then ok. If not, then beware because he might be charging money to help people do that. 

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17 minutes ago, ShiaChat Mod said:

Salam and Ramadan Mubarak. I am not going to quote your friend's whole message because it is too long. It's like a 3 page letter. 

Is he someone you know in real life or you met him on the Internet? Did you tell him in a previous message that you wanted to move to another country and need a work visa? If you did, then ok. If not, then beware because he might be charging money to help people do that. 

Salam, and ramadan mubarak to you too :) 

He is someone i met on a forum. He first approached me 2 weeks ago asking a question about islam. Since than we have been having great discussions. He seems sincere and well-mannered and has a genuine interest and understanding of islam. Nothing like what u mentioned.

W'salam 

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34 minutes ago, Ya Mahdi1999 said:

Salam, and ramadan mubarak to you too :) 

He is someone i met on a forum. He first approached me 2 weeks ago asking a question about islam. Since than we have been having great discussions. He seems sincere and well-mannered and has a genuine interest and understanding of islam. Nothing like what u mentioned.

W'salam 

AlhamdAllah. He is talkative and polite. As far as his questions go, he answered every question himself! Even the last question about Sunnis in Indonesia, he says: 

I bet there's plenty of "Sunni" communities across the globe that would welcome you with open arms. I hope you get to travel around a bit, check some of them out :)"

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8 hours ago, Ya Mahdi1999 said:

They're a modern multiethnic country, with sizable minorities of Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Koreans (that's an interesting story, how they got there), etc... so they're used to navigating cultural differences, and would probably be pretty welcoming to someone like yourself!

Salam the three groups of "Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians " before soviet union era were under influence of Iran that "Uzbeks, Tajiks & Turkmens " people & their  current countries were a part of greater Khorasan of Iran that separated from Iran as result of Iran & Tsardom of Russia wars that even near to city of Merv in Turkmenistan was resident place of Imam Reza (عليه السلام) that he buried  after martyrdom in Tus of Iran in a journey from Merv to Baghdad that becomes city Mashhad now so they were under Iran influence until mid of Qajara era so they just return to their roots after fall of soviet union  but unfortunately Iran & Shia Islam has no rule in this process but Turks & wahabi preachers by support of KSA are taking advantage of this gap in their favor also Iran & Korea had connection with each other through Silk Road but now Iran has very  weak connection with Korea but Turkey since separation of Korea as ally of USA has strong connection with S.Korea that by help of this strong connection is spreading it's definition of Islam in S.Korea & China that definition of Islam & Muslims for S.Korea & China is what comes from Turkey & KSA which presence of Shia muslims in these two countries just limited to few migrants from Pakistan & India  & few shia converts from Koreans that has limited influence in comparision of great investment & propaganda of Turkey & KSA .

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According to Hujjat al-Islam Muazzeni, the biggest issue the Shia community faces in is access to Halal food, as they never registered as an official group. Facing such problems, the Shia community decided to establish an official entity. It finally happened in 2013 when Pakistani and Indian students registered a Non-Governmental Organization. They have been holding Shia ceremonies ever since, translated Shia texts, books and booklets into Korean language. Their activities resulted in publishing at least five books and a website called Al-Islam. There is no ban on wearing Hijab for Muslim or Shia women either in social life, work or at university.

Hujjat al-Islam Muazzeni,says there is no Shia scholar in South Korea unless someone is invited from another country to address the Shias. Muazzeni goes on to say that, all the activities of the Shia are confined to 2 husseiniyahs, where they stage religious ceremonies but they have no schools, nurseries, etc.

https://en.shafaqna.com/109895/shafaqna-reports-a-rare-look-into-life-of-south-koreas-shias/

https://en.shafaqna.com/125830/korean-university-students-visited-shia-centerkicea-in-korea/

https://en.shafaqna.com/55959/muslims-south-korea/

https://en.shafaqna.com/124944/muslims-good-behavior-was-main-attraction-for-a-newly-converted-korean/

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During my second semester, by pure luck I discovered a small Shia community and there was a Musallo right at my school. This small Shia group contains mostly of students and some labourers that work in factories. The only people actively trying to create a proper Shia community are a group of five of us. We are trying to create a non-profit organization with promoting Shiasm as the main purpose and translate Shia books into Korean. Korean happens to be one of the only languages in the world that has no Shia texts. We are a small group so getting much achieved is difficult but we are trying our level best. There are about 30,000 Korean Muslims in Korea (99% Sunni) and more increasing every day (Alhamdulillah). But the majority of the people that come to the mosque are foreign Muslims and a lot tend to get married to Korean ladies.

I think Shia Islam needs much help here and therefore if more Khojas could come and help, it would be amazing!”

https://www.world-federation.org/news/seek-knowledge-even-if-it-far-korea

Why Sunnis Fear The Shias (In Malaysia, anyone who does not follow Sunni-Shafi’i Islam will get arrested)

https://www.malaysia-today.net/2019/09/11/why-sunnis-fear-the-shias/

خانه امام رضا (ع) در ترکمنستان 

 

خانه امام رضا (ع),منزل امام رضا(ع),خانه امام رضا (ع) در ترکمنستان  house of Imam Reza (عليه السلام) in Turmenistan 

https://www.beytoote.com/iran/ancient/imam3-reza2-turkmenistan.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merv

https://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/4971196/منزل-امام-رضاع-در-مرو-ترکمنستان-تصاویر

thm_873014_547.jpg  https://iqna.ir/fa/news/3709031/یادی-از-سفر-رئیس‌جمهور-به-ترکمنستان-عکس

https://www.irna.ir/news/83395979/میزبانی-ماری-و-مرو-تاریخی-ترکمنستان-از-فعالان-فرهنگی-خراسان-رضوی

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Uzbeks in Merv and its final destruction
In 1505 the Uzbeks occupied Merv; five years later Shah Ismail, the founder of the Safavid dynasty of Persia, expelled them. In this period a Persian nobleman restored a large dam (the 'Soltanbent') on the river Murghab, and the settlement which grew up in the area thus irrigated became known as "Baýramaly", as referenced in some 19th-century texts. Merv remained in the hands of Persia (except for periods of Uzbek rule between 1524 and 1528 and again between 1588 and 1598) until 1785, when Shah Murad Beg, the Emir of Bokhara, captured the city. A few years later, in 1788 and 1789, the Bukharan Manghit king, Shah Murad Beg razed the city to the ground, broke down the dams, and converted the district into a waste. The entire population of the city and the surrounding oasis of about 100,000 were then deported in several stages to the Bukharan oasis and Samarkand region in the Zarafshan Valley. Being the last remaining Persian-speaking Shias, the deportees resisted assimilation into the Sunni population of Bukhara and Samarkand, despite the common language of Persian they spoke with most natives. These Marvis survive as of 2016 Soviet censuses listed them as "Iranis/Iranians" through the 1980s. They live in Samarkand as well as in Bukhara and in the area in between on the Zarafshan river. They are listed as Persian-speaking, but counted separately from the local Tajiks due to their Shia religion and the maintaining their ancient Mervi identity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merv

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Harun Kara (left) is a Turkish citizen working at Mr Kebab, located at the entrance of what locals refer to as “Muslim Street,” a sloping street filled with Middle Eastern restaurants and Turkish sweet shops leading to the Seoul Central Masjid. Kara is part of a small Turkish community living in South Korea, who first arrived and settled in the country after the 1950-1953 Korean War, when 15,000 Turkish soldiers came to fight voluntarily alongside South Korean troops. Many chose to stay and reintroduced Islam to South Koreans. During the war, the Turks established “tent mosques” which were initially meant to serve the Turkish soldiers, but also favoured conversions among South Koreans and proved to have laid the groundwork for the spread of Islam in South Korea in the 20th century. The Turks’ involvement and relief efforts in South Korea left such a lasting mark that it is not unusual for South Koreans to describe Turks as their “blood brothers”. 

https://en.shafaqna.com/55959/muslims-south-korea/

Edited by Ashvazdanghe
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Salam, Ramadan Mubarak!

10 hours ago, Ya Mahdi1999 said:

is the Sunni-Shia divide reeeeeeallly specifically a Sunni-Shia divide?

The division was due to the difference of belief of who is the Caliph after the Holy Prophet, after the two groups split you began to see the lengthy history he is referring to.

 

10 hours ago, Ya Mahdi1999 said:

The more I listen to Sunnis and Shias discuss differences - it reminds me of the schism in the Western and Eastern Orthodox church. Now, there are doctrinal differences between those churches, but the doctrinal differences are minor compared to other schisms. Instead, I think the church split mainly for geopolitical differences, and the doctrine was more of an excuse pointed to after the fact.

The difference is an important matter of creed, and was one which sought to preserve the Orthodox teachings and guidelines of the Prophet unlike the historical analogy he is drawing in regards to the Churches.

 

10 hours ago, Ya Mahdi1999 said:

So my question is, since there are many people called "Sunnis" who have a radically different tradition from the Arabs, yet are still considered Sunnis, while Shias are uniquely singled out as "heretics" - isn't that more of an Arabia vs Iran thing? In that sense, Arab Sunnis might have animosity with Shias because the fitna feels too close to home for them. Maybe one of their relatives was killed in tribal conflict, and it's hard to get over stuff like that. But there are also plenty of "Sunnis" that don't have any beef with Shias.

Shias are considered heretics because they threaten the narrative that is being pushed that benefits political and monarchical rulers, who hide under the guise of Sunni Islam. I think its more of Ziio-U.S thing against Iran where the Arab nations are its puppets.

As for it being to close to home in regards to conflicts we can draw a plethora of anecdotal instances and entertain the varying possibilities, but when we look at things through a lens which is seeking the truth in regards to the rightful Caliph after the Prophet it is quite evident and those who usurped it unjustly from Imam Ali have passed on their traditions in this struggle for power.

10 hours ago, Ya Mahdi1999 said:

I bet there's plenty of "Sunni" communities across the globe that would welcome you with open arms.

As for those who seek intra-faith dialogue like such Sunni communities he referred to then inshallah such doctrinal matters can continue to be discussed.

So yes it was a Sunni-Shia divide, but more of a ploy against Imam Ali, however, there will always be those who seek the truth and those who seek power and after one is able to sift through such matters they can reach the necessary conclusions.

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10 minutes ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Salam, Ramadan Mubarak!

The division was due to the difference of belief of who is the Caliph after the Holy Prophet, after the two groups split you began to see the lengthy history he is referring to.

 

The difference is an important matter of creed, and was one which sought to preserve the Orthodox teachings and guidelines of the Prophet unlike the historical analogy he is drawing in regards to the Churches.

 

Shias are considered heretics because they threaten the narrative that is being pushed that benefits political and monarchical rulers, who hide under the guise of Sunni Islam. I think its more of Ziio-U.S thing against Iran where the Arab nations are its puppets.

As for it being to close to home in regards to conflicts we can draw a plethora of anecdotal instances and entertain the varying possibilities, but when we look at things through a lens which is seeking the truth in regards to the rightful Caliph after the Prophet it is quite evident and those who usurped it unjustly from Imam Ali have passed on their traditions in this struggle for power.

As for those who seek intra-faith dialogue like such Sunni communities he referred to then inshallah such doctrinal matters can continue to be discussed.

So yes it was a Sunni-Shia divide, but more of a ploy against Imam Ali, however, there will always be those who seek the truth and those who seek power and after one is able to sift through such matters they can reach the necessary conclusions.

Thank you brother. Will be passing on your response to him. Jzk :) 

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Photo exhibition planned in Kazakhstan on demise anniversary of Imam Khomeini

An online photo exhibition is planned to be held in Kazakhstan marking the 31st demise anniversary of founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini (رضي الله عنه).

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According to the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, Imam Khomeini’s life, his youth, his stay in Iraq and in Neauphle-le-Château, France, before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, his return to Iran, and meetings with foreign officials and dignitaries are among the themes of the photos to be displayed at the expo.

It will be organized with the aim of introducing the character of Imam Khomeini (رضي الله عنه) and his divine view on issues like society, politics and family.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, better known as Imam Khomeini, engineered Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which led to the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran.

Imam Khomeini passed away on June 3, 1989, at the age of 87.

https://en.abna24.com/news//photo-exhibition-planned-in-kazakhstan-on-demise-anniversary-of-imam-khomeini_1041642.html

 

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