بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
The following article is adopted from the "Shi’ites Under Attack”by Muhammad Jawad Chirri with some modification.
This (false accusation is) widely spread in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries in order to discredit the followers of the members of the House of the Prophet. This accusation was made during periods of oppression against the Shiites. The rulers of the periods of the Omayads and Abbasids used to consider every follower of the Members of the House of the Prophet revolutionary and dangerous. They conspired against these Shiites and accused them of heresy and disbelief in order to encourage the Muslims to shed their blood and usurp their rights and wealth.
The centuries of oppression passed with all their injustices and terrors. It was expected that during the new period of freedom, the mistakes of the past would be corrected. It was hoped that Muslim scholars would make a serious study in order to see if there is any justification for such terrible accusations.
It is very easy to know the truth.
There are hundreds of books written by Shiite scholars about their beliefs. Had the Sunni scholars read any of these books, they would have found that the Shiite beliefs are in full agreement with the Book of God and the well- known statements of the Prophet.
We are living in the era of speed and easy movement. It is easy for Muslim scholars to have conferences, discuss problems, and find solutions.
The simplest principle of justice is to follow the commandment of the Holy Qur’an:
"Oh you who believe, if a transgressor comes to you with news, try to verify it, lest you inflict damage on people unwittingly; then you may consequently regret your hasty action”(ch. 49, v.6)
The Almighty commanded us to try to find out whether an accusation is true or false, and that we ought not to try people and convict them without questioning them.
We do not know of any court in the world in which the judge convicts a person before interviewing him, provided the accused is available and honors the summons.
In spite of the ease with which one can find the correct information nowadays, we find that those who accuse and spread hatred among Muslims do not take one single step in order to find the truth which may unite the Muslim world.
While writing these words, I recollect that the Egyptian government during the fifties sent the late Dr. Muhammad Bisar to Washington, D.C., as director of the Islamic Center there. I went to visit him and he received me kindly and informed me of the knowledge that he had acquired concerning
American Muslims. He initiated a dialogue between us, saying:
"Some of the Muslims in this country asked me about the various Islamic sects. I declared to them that all Muslim sects are good except the Shiite Ithnashari."
I immediately realized that R. Bisar did not know the meaning of Shiite Ithnashari. Otherwise, he would not have been rude enough to say that to me while I am a Shiite Ithnashari (meaning The Twelvers). Thus, we had the following dialogue:
Chirri: What is wrong with the Ithnashari?
Bisar: They believe in things opposed to Islam.
Chirri: Give us an example of their wrong belief.
Bisar: They say the revelation came to Muhammad by mistake, and that ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib was supposed to receive the revelation.
Chirri: How did you learn that?
Bisar: I read it in the book of al-milal and al-nihal by al-Shahristani.
Chirri: Have you asked any Shiite scholar about this subject?
Bisar: No, I have not.
Chirri: Then you have convicted millions of Muslims and considered them "kafir”without asking any of them about this serious accusation. Did the Almighty command you to do that? And did Egypt send you to propagate such (an unjust) message?
A year after our meeting in Washington, I met Dr. Bisar in Philadelphia at an Islamic conference. He informed me that he re-examined the book of al- milal and al-nihal by al-Shihristani and found that what was attributed to Shiites, that the revelation came to Muhammad by mistake, was not the
belief of the Ithnashari Shiite school of thought. It was rather, a sect which existed and disappeared hundreds of years ago. Hearing that from him, I accepted his apology. Yet, I was amazed that it took him a whole year to re-read the book and discover the truth.
I spent years studying hadith and Islamic history in books which were written by Sunni and Ithnashari scholars. I never found in any Shiite book a hadith or a historical report indicating that ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib was hugher than or equal to Muhammad. As a matter of fact, I found only the opposite. The Shittes consider ‘Ali to be the best man after the Messenger because he was the most obedient to him.
One of the hadith which the Shiites pride themselves upon is a hadith attributed to the Messenger of God:
The Prophet (S) said to the tribe of Wolai-ah:
"Bani Wolai-ah, you must change your attitude, or I shall send to you a man who is from me to punish you severely."
Some of the people who were present asked the Prophet "Who is the man you are going to send to them?”The Prophet replied: "He is the man who was patching the sole of my shoes.”They looked around and found ‘Ali patching the sole of the Prophet’s shoes.
- Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p634
- Fada’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, v2, p571, Tradition #966
- al-Riyad al-Nadirah, by al-Muhib al-Tabari, v3, p152
- Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v1, p349
- Matalib al-’Aliyah, v4, p56
- Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p163
It is inconceivable that the Shiites can be proud of the fact that ‘Ali was the patcher of the Prophet Muhammad’s shoes and claim that the Imam is higher than or equal to the Prophet. Therefore, I do not find any justification for directing such an accusation at the Shiites who glorify the Prophet the most.
The Shiites say that the highest honor that Imam ‘Ali acquired is that he was chosen by the Prophet to be his brother. When the Prophet commanded every two Muslims to become brothers, he held ‘Ali’s hand and said, "This is my brother.”Thus, the Messenger of God, the highest Messenger, the Imam of all righteous people, the one who had no equal among the servants of God, made ‘Ali his brother. (Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiyah, by Ibn Hisham, part 1, p505).
A Wahhabi mentioned that:
There was a sect that claimed Gibreel (Alaihi Alsalam) erred in delivering the message. This sect were called the "Sheeah Ghurabiah". They might no longer exist by that name -- and they are a different sect than the Twelvers sect. ...
Dear friend, the Ghurabiyyah and similar sects are fictitious sects created y some story tellers such as al-Shahrastani and Abdul-Qahir Ibn Tahir al- Baghdadi, etc.
Nonetheless, we do not deny that there existed some extremist sects (al- Ghulat) who departed from the body of Shi’a, who believed ‘Ali is God, or those who believed in incarnation (Hulool). The reason was that they found so many virtues in Imam ‘Ali, and by their narrow-minded-brain, they could not believe that a human can possess all such virtues. As a result of that, they believed in the deity of ‘Ali. Surely they have gone astray. Thanks to God that they have perished in the course of History in a great deal.
However the leaders of such extremist groups and other deviated groups from Shi’a (whose leaders falsely claimed to be Imams) were not as simple minded as their followers. Those leaders were agents of the tyrranical rullers and their activities were purely political.
The Imams of Ahlul-Bayt and their followers disassociated themselves from these groups who were being established by the governments of each era to deviate the followers of Ahlul-Bayt and to destroy their path by keeping them away from the Imams and moving them toward the puppets of governments.
But these groups were melting down few months after their appearance, since people soon recognized the falsehood and ignorance of their leaders and their connection with the rulers, and thus people did not subscribe to these groups. A group without followers can not live for long, and its leader becomes out of business shortly after. Allah, Exalted He is, said in Qur’an:
"... and in this way, Allah strikes the examples of truth and falsehood. Then, as for the bubbles, it passes away (like disappearance of scum/foam upon the banks), while that which is for the good of mankind, remains in the earth...”(Qur’an 13:17)
What remained from these artificial groups was just a history written by those officials (who created those groups in the first place) which also includes fictitious stories.
We do not call such bankrupt groups Shi’a. From the demise of Prophet till today, the followers of Imam ‘Ali (as) are The Twelver Shi’ites. There are however few Zaydis and Ismailis around the world. Although the majority of scholars believe that they are Muslims (except those of them who abandoned the Islamic practices), yet we consider them out of the circle of Ahlul- Bayt. All other groups such as Alavi (or Nudhayri), etc. are NOT Shi’a for sure, and their emergance did not have anything to do with the Shi’a. To be a Shi’a one should meet all the following specifications:
1. Believing in all the articles of faith. These are comon amongst Muslims.
2. Believing that Imam ‘Ali is the immediate successor/executor of the Prophet Muhammad (S), appointed by Allah.
3. Believing that one should follow the genuine Sunnah of Prophet, and this Sunnah is transmitted by Ahlul-Bayt who are pure and sinless according to Qur’an. Furthermore, the instructions of the twelve Imams of Ahlul-Bayt are binding since they are in fact the instructions of the Prophet (S).
4. Believing that Imam Mahdi (as), the son of the 11th Imam is the Imam of our time and is living (contrary to the majority of Sunnis who believe he will be born later).
If any of the above conditions is missing for a person, he is not considered to be a Shi’a. Also in contrary to the rumors, to curse any of the companions is not a part of our belief.
The wahhabi contributor further mentioned:
The muslims who say one of the beliefs of shia is the above are not wrong; therefore, because the Ghurabi sect is a part of the shiaah herecy throught the history - but to attribute this claim to the
Ithnaasharis "official”beleifs is not just to say the least.
It is interesting to see that the above writer forgot that many deviant groups departed from the body of Sunnis such as Nation of Islam who believe God was a human, yet I haven’t heard of any Shi’a to say:
The muslims who say one of the beliefs of Sunni is the above are not wrong, because the Nation of Islam parted from the Sunnis - but to attribute this claim to the "official”beleifs of Sunnis is not just
to say the least.
You may replace the "nation of Islam”with "Ahmadis", "Qadianis", ... and the followers of Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhab, and you can see how silly the above statement is going to be. Thanks to God that Shi’a do not attribute such things to the four Sunni schools.