Table of Contents

Stage 1: There is No Association between the Shi‘ism and the Ghulat

In order to avoid instances that incorrectly introduce Shi‘ah beliefs, a non-Shi‘ah research worker should, in the first place, consider the above issue and take it for granted.

At this important and indispensable stage, we learn that there is a serious disagreement between the Shi‘ism and Extremism and that there is a wide gap between the two. In fact the Imamiyyah’s lofty Islamic realities are completely different from the low, menial designations belonging to the perverted Ghulat sects:

And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood.” (2:42)

At this sensitive stage we acquire knowledge of the far-reaching consequences and the greatest influence on the Wahhabism that have stemmed from the unjustified combination of the Imamiyyah Islamic thought with that of the extremists, because they have attributed various matters to the Shi‘ahs that are totally foreign to the realities of the Shi‘ah school of thought. Thus, it is perhaps because of this particular section—presently being discussed—that “the proper method of discussion” has often been reiterated. Also, it is because of the Wahhabis’ insufficient knowledge of this very stage that they have felt free to ascribe whatever is left from Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity to the Shi‘ah school of thought, thus presenting a chaotic visage of the Shi‘ism.

I believe that the purely unblemished realities and particularities of the Shi‘ism cannot be understood without analysing this alleged Shi‘ah association. Before anything else, we have to make a distinction between the Shi‘ah profundity (of learning) and the exaggerative substance found in the Ghulat. It is the mingling of the two that has encouraged the Wahhabis to ascribe the Shi‘ahs with the false legends coming from the perverted Ghulat sects.

In this chapter we extensively deal with what is, in reality, the Ghulat belief, but has been attributed to the Shi‘ah. This stage has been titled “recognition of the Shi‘ah’s association” because the profane and polytheistic views borrowed from the Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity should be totally removed from the realities of the Imamiyyah school of thought that have stemmed from the Holy Qur’an and the lofty Sunnah of the blessed Prophet (S). Unless the Wahhabis are freed from the nuisance of mingling the Shi‘ism with Extremism, it will not be possible to correct the methods they make use of in their inquiry into the Shi‘ism.

At this stage, we have discussed this particular problem that the Wahhabis have and scientifically expounded the hidden causes and factors contributing to it. We should, of course, mention that both the past and contemporary Sunnis have rid themselves of this inconvenience. That is why we see them defending the Imamiyyah school of thought and busily defying those who are still involved in this admixture.1

Before the matter is brought to an end, reference should be made to a few points of great importance. The present research methodology is made up of three stages that ought to be followed in sequence, thoroughly and without the slightest modification or change. I believe that this method, if not applied in order, will not keep the basic foundations it stands on and the worthy goal it is intended for, which is correcting the way the Wahhabis study the Shi‘ism and explaining the difference between the Sunnis’ and Wahhabis’ methods of investigation. Wahhabi’s literature on the Shi‘ism will certainly not resist falsifications, false statements and misconceptions, unless they follow our method of investigation.

After we have outlined the factors that have helped the past and present Sunnis to achieve success in their studies on the Shi‘ism, and after comparing them with those of the Wahhabis, the primary factor will appear to be the one that prevented the Sunnis from getting caught in the trap of mingling the Shi‘ism with Extremism.

This is a critical stage because once the Wahhabis’ diseased conception of linking the Shi‘ah school of thought to the Ghulat is cured, the mistake they make when expounding Shi‘ah realities will also be treated; this, in turn, will lead to re-formation of their study system by basing it on a scientific and realistic approach. The contemporary Sunnis have followed their predecessors’ methodology because they have been aware of the danger that awaits them at this stage. These people have given the Shi‘ism an interpretation different from that of the Wahhabis. They openly pushed away the Wahhabi interpretation of the Shi‘ah realities and set up scientific criteria which the Wahhabis should refer to before any investigation and interpretation.

It is, therefore, essential that this stage be carefully examined, so that ordinary Sunnis do not walk in the footsteps of the Wahhabis, who themselves cannot appreciate the importance of the Shi‘ah characteristics except through an awareness of the importance of this level.

This is why we expect the reader not to content himself with a mere inattentive study of this section, but ponder on the issue to arrive at a conclusion.

We expect that the Wahhabis’ conscience will awaken and perceive the critical point, since it was an error at this particular stage that triggered all the Wahhabis’ later misinterpretations of the Imamiayyah realities.

Here, we desire that the Wahhabis return to a true approach in their Shi‘ah research; an approach taken up by the Sunnis of the past and the present and favored by Islam, too.

In my book “An Undetachable Link between the Shi‘ahs and the Ghulat”—a product of the time I was a Wahhabi—I mingled the Shi‘ism and the Ghulat, and as a result considered the Shi‘ahs as infidels. This was because I had been unable to view the Shi‘ism and the extremist Ghulat as two separate things and had entirely relied on the Wahhabi literature—not even on the Sunnis’—in my attempts to identify the Shi‘ah. This is the justification for crowning the pyramid with this very critical stage.

While I was still in my reverie of negligence, I used to attribute to the Shi‘ahs myriad beliefs taken from the Zoroastrians, idolaters, stories of the Age of Ignorance [Jahiliyyah], Sufi nonsense and the extremists’ conception, despite the abundant apostasy found in them. I crammed all these in my book “An Undetachable Link between the Shi‘ahs and the Ghulat”.2 I thought I was doing the right thing. Then having known of this stage of investigation, I realized my mistake and learned that the error of taking the Shi‘ahs and the Ghulat as identical would inevitably end in an inaccurate conclusion.

After I had corrected the crookedness of my mind, I was able to distinguish between what was attributed to the Shi‘ism but in fact did not belong to it and what was not recognized as part of the Shi‘ah school of thought but actually belonged to it. As a result, I burned the above book a little before it was supposed to be printed.

When I was a Wahhabi, I used to think it was acceptable to call the Shi‘ahs by such designations as the Zoroastrians, Jews, or Gnostics.3 But when I recognized my mistake I became confident that such names befit the Ghulat. My perception of the error I had made at this particular stage, no doubt, played an important role in liberating me from the grip of the Wahhabi research methodology, and helping me follow the approach of the earlier and contemporary Suunis—not so extensively of course. It was also effective in revising my opinion concerning the Shi‘ah, and authoritatively freed me from the trap I had fallen into, i.e. the mingling of the Shi‘ism with the Ghulat.

There is no doubt that the environment where I had received my training was closely linked with the difficulty created for me. In San‘a, Yemen’s capital, I studied in a religious school affiliated to the Wahhabism. This school is responsible for printing and distributing books on the Shi‘ism. The authors of these books, who had all been trapped when identifying the Shi‘ism and the Ghulat, had mingled the Shi‘ism with the extremist sects and attributed to the Shi‘ahs superstition and idolatry of all sorts. These books had, of course, left a great impression of the Shi‘ism on me.

The school felt satisfied with the books that similarly followed the Wahhabis’ method of investigation, and issued no permission for other the Sunni books that pursued a different method in their search to know the Shi‘ah.

Some time later, I found a chance to study the works of the eminent Sunni writers regarding the Shi‘ism and I was greatly surprised to find that their research procedure was fundamentally different from that of the Wahhabis. They seemed to have noticed the erroneous mingling of the Shi‘ism with the extremists. These authors strongly criticized the Wahhabis’ methods that saw no distinction between the Shi‘ism and the Ghulat, and believed that what the Wahhabis write concerning the Shi‘ism does not give the reader even the slightest hint of the realities or features of the Shi‘ah school of thought.

Professor Hamid Hafni, the contemporary Sunni author and Head of the Department of Arabic Literature of the ‘Ayn-u Shams University, says, “I spent a long time studying the doctrinal pronouncements of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), in particular, and the Shi‘ah belief, in general, through the works of those who had criticized this school of thought. I did not, however, gain anything worthwhile to familiarize myself with this school of thought.”4

Such is the opinion of the distinguished Sunnis who maintain that the Wahhabis are unaware of the error they commit at “the stage of the Shi‘ah’s affinity”; naturally, they don’t keep the Shi‘ism and the extremists apart.

Anwar Jundi, a Sunni Egyptian thinker, says, “It is right that a research worker separates the Shi‘ahs from the extremists, whom the Imams (‘a) of the Shi‘ahs have severely criticized and about whose tricks they have given warnings.”5

Pointing to the same trouble, ‘Ali ‘Abd al-Wahid Wafi, another Egyptian scholar, says, “Many of our authors have mingled the Ja‘fari Shi‘ism with other Shi‘ah sects.” 6

Muhammad al-Ghazzali, the Sunni imam, who has extensively tried to correct the Wahhabis’ method of studying the Shi‘ism, has authoritatively defied those Sunnis who have followed the Wahhabis and has taken pains to offer a solution to those who are caught up in the trouble of mingling the Shi‘ism with the Extremism. He says, “Some liars who have mingled the Shi‘ism and the Ghulat, have spread the rumor that the Shi‘ahs are ‘Ali’s (‘a) followers, whereas the Sunnis are Muhammad’s (S), and that the Shi‘ahs consider ‘Ali (‘a) more meritorious for the rank of Prophethood, and that Prophethood was erroneously conferred on someone else. These are very hideous accusations and very mean lies that correspond with the Ghulat (belief) only.”7

Al-Ghazzali has also said, “Some of these (people) have falsely accused the Shi‘ahs of maintaining that certain verses of the Qur’an have been deleted.”8

Some Sunni thinkers maintain that the Wahhabis go to extremes when they investigate the Shi‘ah school of thought. They mingle Shi‘ism and the Ghulat, and thus deviate from the right path. This is a fact testified to by Muhammad Bihi, an Egyptian scholar, who says, “The Wahhabis have widened the gap between the Sunnism and Shi‘ism. This has intensified the ideological breach between the Sunnism and Shi‘ism from the 18th century onwards, yielding an ever-increasing discord, all because of the negative effect of the Wahhabi conception.”9

‘Abd al-Halim Jundi, another Sunni scholar, says, “The Shi‘ahs were attributed with what is the Ghulat’s design; this has left an unfavorable impression on how other people perceive the Shi‘ism. They have also attributed the Shi‘ahs with things that they themselves hate, such as the deification of the Imam. This is the Extremism, ending in blasphemy.”10

Dr. Taha Husayn says, “The Shi‘ah’s enemies ascribe to them anything, never restricting it to what they (themselves) have heard or seen of the Shi‘ah, but multiplying it still further. They do not stop even at this point, but put the blame for the strange beliefs on the helpers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) of the Prophet (S). These accusers are similar to bandits in ambush; they make an excessively critical study of the Shi‘ahs every single word and deed, attributing to Shi‘ah much more than what the Shi‘ahs have (actually) said or done, blaming the Shi‘ahs for strange beliefs and actions.”11

Mention was previously made of Dr. ‘Ali ‘Abd al-Wahid Wafi, a Sunni thinker, who in his Bayn al-Shi‘ah wa Ahl al-Sunnah has dealt with the discord caused by the Wahhabis. Refuting the Wahhabis for a baseless commotion they have caused between the Sunnis and Shi‘ahs, he says in his book, “However extensive the mutual disagreement might seem, it will not exceed the religiously permitted ijtihad.”12

The Sunni research worker, Fahmi Huwaydi, another one of those who have realized that the Wahhabi’s insistence on excommunicating the Shi‘ahs stems from the concept of identifying the Shi‘ism with the Extremism, saying, “Excommunicating the Shi‘ahs is one of the Wahhabis’ chief projects.”13

All these scholars maintain that the Wahhabis have ended up erroneously confusing the Shi‘ism and Extremism. Some Sunni thinkers even believe that the image the Wahhabis present of Shi‘ism seriously contrasts with the realities of this school of thought, and is in complete harmony with the extremists’ belief, a point Salim Bihansawi has raised in his works. In his book,14 he has done a thorough survey on the necessity to correct the Wahhabis’ method of research into the Shi‘ism, and has clearly shown that they have parted with the Sunni’s method of investigation. In answer to an accusation laid against the Shi‘ahs that Shi‘ahs have a different Qu’ran, he reacts vehemently saying, “The Shi‘ahs have, in their mosques and homes, the Qur’an that is exactly the same as the Sunnis’.”

Some other Sunni thinkers, such as Anwar Jundi, the Egyptian scholar whom we have cited, hold that the Wahhabis’ conception of the Shi‘ahs comes from the writings of the extremists, even of the Jews, Christians, the Magi and Orientalists; and this naturally yields nothing but identifying the Shi‘ism with the Ghulat.

Hasan al-Banna, the leader of the Egypt’s Islamic movement, is one of the most ardent scholars who have tried to amend the Wahhabi’s method of studying the Shi‘ism. He has severely opposed the theoreticians who combine the Shi‘ism with the Ghulat, and is shocked at the Wahhabi blunders in spite of the abundant Shi‘ah treasure that has filled libraries the world over.15 (This is a statement Professor ‘Umar Talmisani, the al-Banna’s pupil, quotes from his master in his book.)

‘Abbas Mahmūd ‘Aqqad, a distinguished Sunni author, had also perceived the deviation. Anis Mansūr, the famous Egyptian writer, quotes him as having said, “Were I permitted to live longer, I would do a logical research on the Shi‘ism, because the nonsense wrongly attributed to the Shi‘ism has shown most people a crooked visage of the Shi‘ism.” However, his life did not last.16

Muhammad Kurd ‘Ali, the Sunni historian, has also vehemently assailed those who do not differentiate the Shi‘ism from the Extremism, saying, “Certain authors falsely believe that the Shi‘ism is an innovation introduced into religion by ‘Abd Allah ibn Saba, a vain assertion stemming from insufficient knowledge. How false such an assumption seems to anyone who is aware of ‘Abd Allah ibn Saba’s stand among the Shi‘ahs, of the Shi‘ahs’ aversion to his words and deeds, of the Shi‘ah scholars’ opinion of him who have unanimously pronounced their hatred of him.”17

Greatly surprised at the identification of the Shi‘ism with the Ghulat, ‘Umar Tilmasani, the leader of the Ikhwan al-Muslimin says, “The Shi‘ah jurisprudence has, with its power and culmination of thought, enriched the Muslim world.”18

A leader of the Sunnis, a religious erudite of the time, Muhammad Abū Zahrah, greatly bewildered by the Wahhabi approach, has criticized the Wahhabis’ invalid interpretations of some Shi‘ah theological expressions. Also, he has proved that the Wahhabis have not understood the purport of “dissimulation”. This word, as explained by the Shi‘ahs, is derived from the Qur’an. He says, “Dissimulation means that a believer who fears to be persecuted, or who desires to achieve his lofty goal—rendering a service to the God’s religion—keeps a part of his belief in secret. This stems from the Qur’an.”19

Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.” (3:28)

In answer to the Wahhabis who take the Shi‘ah view on the Imamate as identical with that of the extremists, Abū Zahrah says, “The Imamiyyah do not rank the Prophet (S) and the Imam (‘a) on the same level.”20

The great leader of the Sunnis, the dean of the al-Azhar University, Shaykh Mahmūd Shaltūt, is among those who supported the Sunnis’ dealing with the Shi‘ahs. He ardently challenged the Wahhabis’ manner of study because they had blundered badly, linking the Imamiyyah with the extremists.

He made a great effort to lead the Wahhabis back to the general Sunni trend, and to stop the Shi‘ahs—the Sunni tension plotted by the Wahhabis’. The Wahhabis, as a result, opposed him, accusing him of trying to bring the Sunnis and extremists into closer contact. What he desired to do was to make the Wahhabis understand that they were attributing to the Shi‘ahs what were in fact the Saba’iyyah’s, Khattabiyyah’s and Bayaniyyah’s ideas, who the Shi‘ahs condemn as unbelievers. He maintained that the reason the Wahhabis linked the Shi‘ism with perverted beliefs—as the Wahhabis called them—was because to the Wahhabis, the Shi‘ism was a branch of the Extremism.

Mahmūd Shaltūt was compelled to assail certain contemporary Sunnis who, having been tainted with the Wahhabism, eyed their predecessors’ dealings with the Shi‘ahs negatively. He believed that these people formed the greatest impediment in the proximity [taqrib] of the Sunnism to the Shi‘ism. He says, “The idea of taqrib is being defied by the short-sighted and malicious found in every society. These are the people who think that their stability is dependent upon the discord of religious sects; they are the people in whose hearts there is a disease—those who lovingly dance around their whims—and have peculiar inclinations. These are the mercenary writers who are at the service of those who conspire against the Muslim unity, and, directly or indirectly, resist any reformatory movement that aims at uniting the divided Muslims.”21

No sooner were the Imamiyyah and the extremists considered as integral that the Wahhabis started calling the Shi‘ahs rafidi [heretics], whereas this is a general term used in sectarian literature to identify most of the extremist groups whom the Shi‘ah scholars had considered as unbelievers long before the Sunnis attempted to do so. This is why Anwar Jundi says, “The rafidis are neither Sunnis nor Shi‘ahs.”22

There is no need to quote hundreds of other oral or written statements of Sunni scholars to demonstrate the danger there is in identifying the Shi‘ism with the extremists.

These citations, if made, will add up to many pages. The identification of the Shi‘ism with the Extremism, hard for an analyst to discern at the onset, is thus known to be one of the biggest problems the enemies of Islam have worked out in order to destroy the foundation of the Islamic unity. It is difficult to recognize because the enemies of Islam have deceptively clothed the hidden carcass it contains in seemingly befitting attire and made it into a Muslim institution. Today, there are simple-minded Sunnis who have been deceived by the Wahhabis, have not conceived their ominous aims and are caught up in this problem. This situation is, however, being made ineffective within the narrow circle it has made around the Wahhabi faction.

It is good to know that the Wahhabis do consider the Shi‘ahs as people of extreme thoughts, but cannot realize that in fact the Shi‘ahs are not afflicted with Extremism; it is the Wahhabis themselves who suffer from the disease of the inability to identify the Shi‘ahs. They try to find out the factors that have contributed to the appearance of the Extremism in the Shi‘ahs, but cannot understand that they should, instead, look for the reasons of “the mingling problem” in themselves.

Having realized that the Wahhabis are trapped because they had not properly investigated previous Sunnis’ books, the contemporary Sunni thinkers began to look for the factors that helped in the emergence of the deviation.

They have now clearly announced that the Shi‘ahs do not suffer from the Extremism; this is an illusion that has the Wahhabis in its grip, and has come about because they did not distinguish between the Shi‘ism and the Extremism.

I made an extensive study and learned that the methods of study into the Shi‘ism are restricted to the following three:

1) The Wahhabi faction’s method;

2) Past and present Sunni thinkers’ method;

3) The Shi‘ah scholars’ methods.

I was, at first, firmly devoted to the Wahhabi manner; but some time later, I came to know of the Sunni method and was, later on, guided to study the Imamiyyah scholars’ method. There I noticed an undeniable contrast between the Wahhabi and Sunni approach. If we accept the Wahhabis’ method in spite of so many differences and variations, then logically speaking, both methods will be invalid; that is, neither the Wahhabi research nor the Sunni analysis on the Shi‘ism.

In the following parts you will come to believe that the Sunnis’ interpretation of the Imamiyyah’s creed presents more facts than the Wahhabi’s comment that bears absolutely no reality and is mere presumption.

When we review the product of the Wahhabis’ studies, we learn that they are at a complete loss to give a correct interpretation of the Shi‘ah belief system. The crooked image that the Wahhabis portray of the Shi‘ism is not anywhere close to what the eminent Sunni and Shi‘ah scholars paint for us.

Being in the grip of a gross deviation and under the influence of the extreme view of identifying the Imamiyyah with the Extremism when there is no link between the Shi‘ism and Extremism, the Wahhabis are never able to penetrate the correct meaning of divinity, prophesy and other realities of the Imamiyyah as the Shi‘ahs understand them. It is evident that such circumstances bring the Wahhabis nothing but perplexity.

Strange to say, some simple-minded Sunnis accept the Wahhabis’ opinion concerning the Shi‘ahs and mock the manner their thinkers had followed. These people are unaware of the harsh conflict going on between the Sunnis and Wahhabis; so they are easily deceived. These conflicts stem from the issue of the Shi‘ah identity.

Just as the issue of the Shi‘ah identification launched a struggle within the Sunnism when the Wahhabiyyah appeared in the eighteenth century A.D., it has stretched the battlefield out to include the Wahhabis and Sunnis in a conflict, the reason for which we will never understand until the problem has been settled. Many of the matters that were simply a differing point between the Shi‘ahs and Wahhabis have now turned into points of conflict between the Sunnis and Wahhabis.

The Sunnis, fully aware of the radical dissimilarities between the Imamiyyah and Extremism, have openly said that what the Wahhabis raise against the Shi‘ahs pertains only to the Extremism of the Ghulat, not the Shi‘ahs. The Wahhabis’ viewpoint, though an aid in the intensification of the struggle between the Sunnis and Shi‘ahs, has developed into a fire that is now burning the Wahhabis and Sunnis both. The reason for the oft-repeated warnings of the Shi‘ah and Sunni thinkers is now made clear. So long as the problem among the three sects is not settled, there will be no hope to reach an understanding and stop the tension.

Dr. Nasir Qaffari, the hard-line Wahhabi author who calls the Shi‘ah unbelievers, gives an interesting account of sharp conflicts between the Wahhabis and Sunnis. He says, “The bulky case of the disputes among the contemporary writers on Imamiyyah attracted my attention. A group of writers such as Muhibb al-Din Khatib, Ihsan Ilahi Zahir, and Ibrahim Jibhan call the Imamiyyah, the unbelievers who are pushed out of the Islamic bounds by their extremist convictions.

Others such as Nashar, Sulayman Dunya and Mustafa Shak‘ah consider the Imamiyyah as those that take the middle course, the moderate, with no inclination towards Batinis. Still others such as Bihinsawi having been doubtful (about the reality) corresponded with the Shi‘ah scholars on the issues Muhibb al-Din Khatib and Ihsan Ilahi Zahir had raised. In a whirlpool like this, truth will either disappear or lose colour.”23

My persistence in getting to the roots made me write my doctorate dissertation on “The Wahhabis’ Problems Arising from Confusing the Shi‘ahs with the Ghulats”, where I explained that these problems arise from the differences in study methods.

After lengthy analyses of the Shi‘ah research methods, I realized that the Wahhabi method can never be adopted to know the Shi‘ahs, in particular because the Wahhabis and Sunnis extensively differ in their knowledge of the Imamiyyah. The Wahhabis’ methods of Shi‘ah studies, if applied, will produce nothing except the mutilation of the research topic—the realities of the Shi‘ism—because it is thought that the followers of the Household of the Prophet (S) have no (sound) method of explaining their doctrine. One cannot help referring to the comments and explanations the Imamiyyah themselves offer, if he does not want to get involved in the crucial conflict between the Sunnis and Wahhabis on the significance of the Imamiyyah doctrine. This is exactly what Dr. Qaffari reported concerning Salim Bihansawi.

“Having seen the difference of opinion between Ihsan Ilahi Zahir and Mustafa Shak‘ah on the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah Shi‘ism, Bihansawi referred to the Imamiyyah ulama’ in order to discover the reality. He wrote the book, al-Sunnat al-Muftara ‘Alayha, in which he collected the outcome of the dialogues he had had with these scholars. It was then that he realized the Sunni’s study method on the Shi‘ah realities was closer to the truth.”

We also see that Dr. Hamid Hafni Dawūd, the great Sunni thinker, demands that the (Sunni) writers should abandon the Wahhabi’s method and stick to the Imamiyyah’s approach in the exposition of their ideas.

In a prelude to the late Muzaffar’s book Aqa’id al-Imamiyyah, he writes, “Those who imagine that they can understand the Shi‘ahs’ beliefs, sciences, and social culture by studying what the Shi‘ahs opponents have written, are in manifest error no matter how knowledgeable these writers are, how well they know the ideas, and how impartial and just they are in quoting the thoughts and ideas.”

I would like to say, explicitly, that although I spent a long time studying the beliefs of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), in general, and the Shi‘ah doctrine, in particular, by going through what the historians and the critics had written concerning the Imamiyyah, I was unable to gain anything worthwhile. My extensive research and my zeal to understand the nuances of the Imamiyyah produced nothing worthwhile, but pushed me still further away from the truth of the beliefs of the Shi‘ahs.

This was because I had trusted the writings of the Shi‘ah opponents, and had left my work incomplete and barren. In lieu of my burning desire to search for the truth—wherever it might be—I had to open my Shi‘ah study folder in a different way; that is, I made up my mind to familiarize myself with this school through the works of its scholars because it is evident that the scientists of any school are better acquainted with their own beliefs than are their opponents, however eloquent these antagonists might be in rhetoric.

Being scientifically honest, one of the most important foundations of a scientific research that makes one take the most care, is what I had set myself to follow in all the investigations I was to do and all the papers I was to write. How can a researcher be sure that his citations are true if he does not refer directly to Shi‘ah sources however sharp he may be in understanding the issues? He will be basing his argument on an unscientific foundation if he does not.

All these made me concentrate my Shi‘ah studies on their books and quote their beliefs from their own works and statements—without the least alteration—so as to keep away from the error others had made when judging the Shi‘ahs.

A researcher, desiring to acquire facts from a source other than the original, will have been unfaithful to realities and will have done an unscientific job as did Dr. Ahmad Amin, from Egypt, when he was studying the Shi‘ism. Trying to bring to light certain parts of the Shi‘ah doctrine, he went to extremes presenting the Shi‘ism as a manifestation of the Judaism in Islam and a fabrication by ‘Abd Allah ibn Saba. This is certainly a false claim, one that the Shi‘ahs hate and against which their scholars have written books, an example of which is ‘Allamah Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Qita’s comprehensive research work “Al-Shi‘ah wa Usūluha”.24

An example will illustrate the problem. The Wahhabis have said, in their books, that according to the Shi‘ahs, Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is in the clouds, and the Shi‘ahs will not help any of his sons to rise up unless the Imam (‘a) himself calls out from the sky inviting people to help that person. Evidently, this is an idea of the extremists who believe that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is in the clouds whence he talks to the people. Having studied the issue and discussed it with eminent Shi‘ah ulama’ in the city of Qum, their greatest center of learning, I realized that they resent these words. What they take as certain is the issue of which the Sunnis, too, are sure: “When Imam Mahdi, may God’s blessing be upon him, whose rising is accepted by both the Sunnis and Shi‘ahs, reappears, an angel, high up in the sky, will call out his name inviting people to help him.” The Wahhabi writing, as you see, cannot be trusted.

From the selected words of the Sunni thinkers quoted, it becomes clear that the Wahhabis do not know the Shi‘ahs, and a wide gap appeared between the Wahhabis and Sunnis for no cause other than the Wahhabis’ mistake in identifying the Shi‘ism and mixing it up with the Extremism.

The following points clarify why I ever insisted in bringing the issue to light and in quoting Sunni thinkers, I want to explain:

1. The extraordinary impact of the problem in diffusing the differences between the Shi‘ahs and Sunnis on the one hand, and the Sunnis and Wahhabis on the other.

2. The significant role the problem has in the emergence of deviations and in the failure of the Wahhabis’ studies of the Shi‘ahs.

3. The effect of the solution of the problem on these three sects in reaching an understanding and in stopping the tension.

4. The Imamiyyah’s real visage.

The most recalcitrant external opponents of the divine religion are the pagan, atheistic and materialistic thoughts that intensify the counter-religious points of doubt. The worst internal enemy of any religion that questions both the existence and the identity of the religion, I believe, is the mixing of reality with delusion. It produces an untrue and incorrect sense of the religion and the shari‘ah, and portrays an inverted and crooked image of the religion. All these make man’s intellect flee from religion and gravitate towards atheism. The mixing of the Shi‘ism with Extremism is a kind of mixing realities with delusions.

5. The radical reason for the Wahhabis’ linking the Shi‘ahs with the extremist Sūfis.

The main reason for such a belief stems from identifying the Imamiyyah with the extremists, whereas the Shi‘ah ulama’ excommunicate these extremist Sufis.

All the explanations given so far are constituents of the first stage of Knowing the Shi‘ahs.

In stage one of knowing the Shi‘ahs, a recall can be made of the following two basic factors as causes for the emergence of error and deviation among the Wahhabis.

1. The Wahhabis’ lack of knowledge;

2. The Wahhabis’ method of study.

The first factor itself stems from three other causes:

a. Lack of knowledge of what the Ghulat means;

b. Lack of knowledge of what the Twelver Shi‘ism means;

c. Being unaware of the Imamiyyah’s position towards the Extremism and the extremists.

The second factor, too, stems from two causes:

a. The Wahhabis’ mode of thinking;

b. The Wahhabis’ breaking away from the Sunnis’ approach of treating the Twelver Shi‘ism.

We do not desire to conduct a lifeless research, but we desire that the reader be on guard against the danger that takes shape at this stage and not fall prey to it.

Negative consequences of the problem of mingling

The complications resulting from the prevalence of “the mingling ailment” pointed in brief are:

1. Misinterpreting the reality of divinity and Prophesy in the Shi‘ahs’ doctrine;

2. Misinterpreting the reality of the shari‘ah and religious injunctions in the Shi‘ahs’ doctrine;

3. Misinterpreting the reality of the aims of the Shi‘ah’s school of thought;

4. Misinterpreting some Shi‘ah expressions;

5. Misinterpreting the reality of the Shi‘ah sources;

6. Misinterpreting the reality of the Imamate in the Shi‘ah doctrine;

7. Misinterpreting the reality of the Shi‘ah identity;

8. Misinterpreting the origin of the Shi‘ah school of thought.

These eight errors yield the greatest fallacy: misinterpreting the Shi‘ah peculiarities; resulting in mingling the Shi‘ah peculiarities with those of Extremism.

In order for the dear reader to be acquinted with the ominous consequences of these errors, he/she is to look at the two following pictures:

The above diagram shows how the Wahhabis can go astray through the five main factors.

The above picture shows that these 8 errors are the end result of the very five causes and that this sedition can have dire consequences.

Before proceeding with the factors that have helped in the emergence and expansion of the Wahhabis’ problem of mingling the Shi‘ism with Extremism, we should mention a few points.

1. The problem of confusing Shi‘ism with Extremism, already existing within Wahhabis ideological system, has not appeared out of the blue. It is the outcome of many factors that joined hands in the course of time and created this problem. It has scientifically been proved that contrary to certain discoveries that are the result of a mental spark, historical problems do not appear spontaneously.

2. It is very hard to diagnose the causes of historical problems, since these are processes which are different from those at work in a simple ordinary illness. You will see that certain factors do not induce the problem, but they develop it.

3. It is impossible to diagnose the factors that have brought this particular problem about except through a careful study of the history of this problem. For this reason we went through all relevant Wahhabis literature and after long years of investigation and study, we became aware of the background of the problem and then recognized the causal factors. Through these investigations, it became clear to us that the roots of this problem in Wahhabis ideological system go back to the time the Wahhabi school emerged during the Ottoman rule.

To seize the power in hand, the Ottoman government was at severe wars against the Shi‘ite safavid kings. In order to urge the people to fight against the Shi‘ite Iranians, the Ottoman government drew up an agenda for excommunicating the Shi‘ites and for permitting the shedding of their blood. This plan infiltrated into the Indian subcontinent where a Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dihlawi, influenced by the project, wrote a book called al-Tuhfah al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah. The Ottoman government published a summarized version of this book among the Sunnis, thus intensifying the differences between Shi‘ism and Sunnism. This book had a great influence on Wahhabis’ behavior towards the Shi‘ites and on the formation of the problem of equating Shi‘ism with Extremism.

We can clearly see the impression this book has left on Muhibb al-Din Khatib in his book al-Khutūt al-‘Aridah fi Din al-Imamiyyah, a summary of al-Tuhfah al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah. This book is one of Wahhabis’ sources in their study of Shi‘ism. Khatib himself was one of the founders of Wahhabis’ ideological system whose approach left a lasting influence on Wahhabis’ studies of Shi‘ism, which is clearly felt in the writings of Ihsan Ilahi Zahir.

Historians are well aware of the political conditions governing the time when the book al-Tuhfah was written. All Indian historians have said that this book was published in Oudh, the kingdom of Lucknow at the end of 12th Century after Hijrah when there were desperate political struggles between the sultans, kings, who supported Shi‘ism and those who supported Sunnis at Lucknow area. No doubt such books do great services to governments’ political aims and intentions. That is why we see that these books are usually donated to governors and kings involved in the strife.

Mahmūd Shukri Alūsi, who has summarized the book al-Tuhfah, has written the following statements in the introduction to the book:

“I dedicate this book to God’s vicegerent on the earth and the Prophet’s representative in reviving the religion, that is, the personage who best observes peoples’ rights, administers the affairs by drawing up exact plans and applying a deep insight, adopts the best approach in stabilizing people’s affairs and their safe-keeping, and favors the scholars and the benevolent of his country… and he is the Commander of the Faithful, whose obedience is obligatory on all, the king of the lands and the seas, the monarch, the son of the monarch, the combatant king ‘Abd al-Hamid Khan, the son of the combatant king ‘Abd al-Majid Khan. O God! Support him through your help, and make him victorious for Thy name to be glorified; remove the seditions of the black-hearted enemies of his and Thine, and crush them with the sword of thy rage and domination.”25

He then continues in this way: “My aim at dedicating this book to his lofty precinct is to obtain his look cast on the book so it will be accepted. It is then that I will, God willing, have a wish fulfilled. I have prepared this book in nine chapters, the first of which explains Shi‘ites sects and their state…”26

It is a pity that this book, which was published in a special political situation, shaped the Wahhabis system of thought so effectively that they are still following on the same track, and are ignoring the oppositions raised by the eminent Sunni scholars against the book. This book is indeed an offspring of politics. That which comes together with politics should leave together with politics.

The Ottoman policy demanded that Shi‘ite school of thought be misrepresented, because after the fall of Baghdad, achieved by Iran’s Shi‘ite government, the Ottomans saw their own existence was being open to danger. The Ottoman government knew it well that the Sunnis will not enter a bloody war against Imamiyyah Shi‘ites unless it is somehow accepted by the general populace that the Extremists, the Ghulat, are disbelievers and are not considered as Muslims.

It was in this way that the problem of equating Shi‘ism with Extremists came to the fore, in the days of Ottoman’s political condition, and was flourished more fully by Wahhabis, who were then making use of the literature in circulation during the Ottoman period. All these books were, however, missionary publications, not scientific and analytical ones. It is clear that non-scientific propagations aim at distorting the rival’s real visage, and skip any scientific dialogues with him.

After the fall of the Ottoman government, many Sunni dignitaries remarked that there was a need to revive the approach that the former Sunni thinkers had adopted when dealing with Shi‘ites. At a time when such an approach had already been consigned to oblivion; however, Shaykh Mahmūd Shaltūt, rector of the al-Azhar University and the great leader of Sunnis issued a fatwa stating that Shi‘ism is similar to the other four Sunni schools of thought, and it can be chosen.

The above-mentioned points are just samples forming the chronicle of Wahhabis’ view that equates Shi‘ism with Extremism. The readers can follow the issue more fully and convincingly in the discussions that will soon come.

4. As for the problem of Wahhabis’ equating Shi‘ism with Extremism we need to say that the issue requires an extensive discussion to be conducted on each of the areas involved. These include: Extremism, the Imamiyyah, the relationship between Imamiyyah and Extremism, and finally Wahhabis itself.

In the third area of our investigation we need to see whether Shi‘ism lives in acquiescence with Extremism, or whether there is a large gap between the two. How do individual Shi‘ites and Extremists view each other?

In the fourth area of our investigation we need to investigate the extent of familiarity between Wahhabis and Shi‘ites. Are the Wahhabis aware of the reality of Shi‘ism? How do Wahhabis deal with other Muslims? How do Wahhabis define Ghuluww, Extremism? And how do Shi‘ites define it? What is the difference between the Sunnis manner of dealing with Shi‘ites with Wahhabis’ manner? On what basis does the Wahhabis’ ideological organization stand? How did it influence the way they deal with Shi‘ites?

It will be possible to fathom the problem after these four areas are fully investigated. It is a problem that has indeed jeoparadized the understanding there should exist among Muslims—an issue that needs to be solved.

5. After extensive examinations of the corpus of Wahhabis’ writings concerning Shi‘ism and after detailed enquiries conducted on the writings of those who had fallen prey to the problem created by Wahhabis, we understood that these writers can be divided into six groups:

    a) Those that had authored books because they wanted to acquire the pleasure of the rulers who were severely fighting the Iranian Shi‘ite government. That is why we see their books fully hued with propaganda and security hints as if these books have been published by an intelligence office which is at the service of colonizers. These books represent the foreign policies of the same anti-Shi‘ite government, and have nothing to do with the realities of Shi‘ite school of thought. These authors who are in fact court mercenaries play an important part in the development of the sedition arising from equating mentioned above.

    b) The second group are the simple-minded people who have been deceived by those in the first group—that is, these are the people who have naively trusted the court mercenaries and have thus come to believe that the Imamiyyah school of thought is a branch of the Extremists, and that Shi‘ites are not included among Muslims. While writing the book “The Relationship between the Shi'ites and the Extremists” I myself belonged to this group.

    c) Those in the third group were not simple-minded people, but were not experts either, nor did they have a deep vision and insight into the question. They had unconsciously fallen into a trap, overstating things that were not really points of exaggeration, and pointlessly attributing to Imamiyyah school of thought the things in which the Imamiyyah themselves have no belief. Because they lack precision in their study of Shi‘ite books, they misunderstand the realities of Shi‘ism, confuse between Oneness of God [tawhid] and polytheism, and accuse Shi‘ism to be polytheists.

They do not differentiate between the great polytheism that puts one out of the pale of Islam, and the lesser polytheism that exists among most Muslims without harming the basis of their Islam. They do not discriminate levels and degrees of unbelief [kufr] either; that is, between the kufr that does not put one out of the pale of Islam and the one that does so. They confuse these points, accuse all opposing Islamic sects as apostates and consider most Muslims as disbelievers.

    d) The fourth group is those who consider their own religious ideas as dictates of the party to which they belong, and so condemn any opposing voice. They are so persistent in their conviction that they even prejudge other schools before discussing their doctrines, listening to what these schools have to offer and before acquiring any knowledge therein. They consider all the opponents as “those who are followers of falsehood”. They take any opposing voice as some kind of Extremism, and drive it away by means of various accusations.

    e) The fifth group includes those who do not tolerate the logical oppositions that the Shi‘ites express against Wahhabism. Rather than answering these oppositions, they blindly defend Wahhabism; and are therefore forced to deny many indisputable points between Sunnis and Shi‘ism. In fact, their prejudiced defense of Wahhabism pushes them out of a logical and rational route and urges them to assume an emotionally defensive position. Instead of giving answers to Shi‘ites, they level multitudes of accusations at them. They attribute to Shi‘ites the things that they themselves have attributed to Extremists. People of this fifth group too have rendered valuable services to the illness of equating Shi‘ism with Extremism.

The Wahhabis are now facing huge number of scientifically potent oppositions that Shi‘ites and even certain Sunnis have leveled against them. Because they are unable to solve these problems, and because they have learned that the Wahhabi argument is painfully weak, they have gathered all their force to vigorously defend Wahhabism. To achieve their goal they launched a dangerous project, misrepresenting the realities and facts of Shi‘ism. They did it because they had no aim other than strengthening their defensive front, and made use of all means they had at their disposal. Marring of the Imamiyyah visage was one their defensive stratagems. They were not concerned with the realities of Shi‘ism, but merely desired to strengthen their own defensive lines by ruining the imaginary enemy and by making accusations.

    f) The most dangerous of anti-Shi‘ite authors are those who have infiltrated into the lines of certain naïve Wahhabis, feigning to be one of their number while both the Sunnis and Wahhabis condemn them. Sunni dignitaries, having learned of the ominous plans of this latter band whose goals were not but achieving power, wealth and fame, drove them away. Inevitably, they took refuge with Wahhabism in order to attain their wicked goals.

‘Abdullah ‘Ali Qasimi Najdi may be considered as one among people of the latter group. He left Arabia for Egypt. There he contested against al-Azhar university scholars, and they excommunicated him. He wrote a book called “Wahhabiyyah Revolution” that sounded very pleasing to Wahhabism, but forced the Sunnis to react against it. Later on, he wrote another book called “Contest between Islam and Idolatry”, and called the Shi‘ites idolaters. Wahhabis became very happy. Some time later, he made his own idolatrous tendencies known: he denounced divine religions and attacked divine Prophets. At this point, Wahhabis rejected him too. The inverted visage he had presented of Shi‘ism had left a lasting influence and mark in memories.

    g) An important source in the propagation of the confusion in question was ambiguities in certain lexical items commonly in use from the first century after Hijrah and shortly afterwards. In those days the word “Shi‘ism” was applied to many sects. The dim and blur atmosphere of the time prepared the ground for the cultural attacks of Imamiyyah enemies. On the pretext of opposing Extremist sects, Shi‘ism was unjustly labeled as “extremist” and flooded by extensive accusations.

    h) The confusion between sense and significance of Shi‘ism―which was applied to many sects―and sense and significance of Twelver Imamiyyah, which is used to refer to only one school of thought was a cause for the Wahhabis to attribute to the Imamiyyah followers many inappropriate opinions and ideas―things that the Imamiyyah and the Sunnis call as disbelief, kufr.

It is evident that if the meaning of words and the conceptual boundaries that separate them from each other are not precisely defined, they will turn into instruments in the hand of mischief-makers or in hand of the naïve.

    i) Another element that has contributed to equating Shi‘ism with Extremism―as Wahhabis understand it―is the presence of certain Ghulat, Extremists, in Kūfah a Shi‘ite centre in the first century after Hijrah. These were people who, according to clear evidence of history, were few in number and had been forcefully repelled by the Shi‘ite community of the time and even by those in following epoch. Little by little they died away. Wherever Imamiyyah Shi‘ism gravitated into the bosom of the people, Extremism was forced to leave. Further explanations will follow.

    j) Given the Ummayyid and the Abbasid policy of using tortures, threats, and massacres against Ahl al-Bayt, members of the Household of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his descendants―in spite of the lofty ranks they had among Muslims―it is no wonder to see that in order to justify the criminal acts of the criminals, the same caliphs and rulers exposed the oppressed Shi‘ites to manifold tortures, and accused them of having uttered apostetic word, particularly at a time when the weak and the wronged are unable to defend themselves when facing with the bullying enemy.

Factors contributing to the advent and expansion of the theory of equating Shi‘ism and Extremism in Wahhabis’ view

We said that the first factor contributing to the advent of this particular extremist notion had been the Wahhabis’ unawareness of the Imamiyyah Shi‘ism. This unawareness falls into three divisions:

1. Ignorance of the meaning of Extremism;

2. Ignorance of the meaning of Shi‘ism;

3. Ignorance of the Imamiyyah’s position with regard to Extremism and the Extremists.

In this chapter we will explain the first, leaving the remaining points for another book of ours, “Imamiyyah’s View Concerning Extremism and the Extremists”.

Ignorance of the meaning of Extremism

Exaggerated zeal and Extremism, Ghuluww, is a phenomenon that has been rejected by all Islamic schools of thought, madhahib. You will not find any school that has sanctioned it. The angry look that schools of thought have given the Extremism is because of repeated warnings of the Qur’an and specified in the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his descendents, both constantly reminding Muslims that deviations in religion are based on Extremism foundations. The history of Extremism goes back to the time when “deviation” was born in history. In other words, there is no deviation without having stemmed from some kind of Extremism. It is a definite historical point that Extremist inclinations have been at work in all sects that are outwardly Islamic but are in fact distanced from the reality of Islam.

Here, we do not intend to recount all Qur’anic statements and the sunnah vocabulary in regard to Extremism and its dangerous outcome, nor do we plan to talk about Ghulat sects, their roots and the influence exerted on them by Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity, because these are unrelated to our discussion. We would rather reveal something that is closely connected with our aim, and has not been discussed elsewhere, that is, the position of the concept “Extremism” in the Wahhabiyyah culture and the definition of its concept.

Ever since the 18th century CE, when the Wahhabiyyah was established until today, various and weird definitions of “the Extremism”, ghuluww, incongruous with the Imamiyyah’s and even with the Sunnis’ views, have been in vogue. These are definitions that finally end in charging Islamic sects with Extremism.

I remember the time when I, as a prejudiced Wahhabi, was being trained, in Wahhabi training centers of Arabia. The definition that we were given concerning the concept “Extremism” was such that it did not spare most Sunnis including the Ash‘arites, and the Maturidis, let alone the Imamiyyah.

This method applied in training and propaganda had left abnormal influences on me and other students. For example, we considered these sects as tainted with Extremism, polytheism, disbelief and deviation. Therefore, we did not permit ourselves to read and study their ideas. We were pessimistic of their scholars and did not treasure holding dialogues with them.

The contemporary Sunni scholar, “Yūsuf Qardawi” depicts this pitiful event that has come from hatred and infected complexes of the Wahhabis as follows: “No one other than the enemies of Islam will benefit when Islamic rites are misrepresented, religious symbols are destroyed and values are demolished. It is a pity that these acts have now been turned into wishes of certain Muslims. On my trip to Arabia last year, I came across a terrible and pitiful event: a series of books that had attacked and rebuked the scholars leveling accusations against them. Some of these books had been written by certain salafi supporters Wahhabi Fundamentalists, who had not spared any of the past and contemporary, living or dead, scholars [‘ulama’] but had sharply charged them with accusations, slanders and vilifications”.27

Muhammad al-Ghazzali, the leader of the contemporary Sunnis, calls the Wahhabis’ interpretation of religion “queer and unfamiliar”28, and reckons it as the most dangerous enemy of Islam. He says, “The development of Islamisation is being threatened from various directions, the most dangerous of which is a kind of religious thought in extremist-fundamentalist attire that even the true Salafiyyah hate.”29

How prudent it would be if the Wahhabis heeded these remarks and critically examined their own understanding and interpretation of the Extremism. Without self-criticism, one will not be able to examine one’s outlook and distinguish the truth from falsehood.

The important point to be made here is that there are two usages for the term “Extremism”: one in jurisprudence and the other in tradition, hadith. It is an erroneous application of the meaning of “Extremism” to jurisprudence that pushes one into infidelity and unbelief. The implications we come across in the history of hadith merely refer to some narrators, poles apart from what it means in jurisprudence.

Shahristani, the Ash‘ari, says, “The Ghulat are the people that went to extremes as regards their religious leaders [the imams]; took them out of the limitations that are set for all created beings and installed them on the divine throne: sometimes likening them to God and sometimes likening God to them, excessive in one direction and belittling in the other. Their doubt has its sources in the notion of the infusion of the divine into man [hulūl] in metempsychosis and in the claims the Jews and Christians had made.”30

The kind of Extremism that leads to infidelity, according to the above text, has two fundamental bases:

a. Deifying man: raising man to the dignity of divinity.

b. Lowering God’s position to man’s.

The idea of the infusion of the divine into man denotes a lowering of God’s position, and the notion of man’s pre-eternity ends up in his being deified. These two serious notions can easily be understood if a bit of investigation is conducted on the Ghulat sects.

On the other hand, the kind of Extremism discussed in the science of hadith, when referring to certain narrators, pertains to the off-shoots [the furū‘] of Islam, not to the roots [the usūl]. The former is no cause for infidelty. It is the Wahhabi’s mingling of the two that has driven them into committing dangerous blunders. Such is the case with the contemporary Wahhabi writer, ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abd Allah Zar‘i, who was unable to differentiate between the two in his book Rijal al-Shi‘ah fi al-Mizan.

When we study the books the Sunnis have written on the science of the narrators of hadith [‘ilm al-rijal], we see that the Sunni authors have used the term ghuluww [Extremism] to refer to many people who although disagree among themselves as to the superiority of the Companions, never take them as deities. Therefore, these narrators cannot be considered as infidels The Wahhabis gradually drifted away from the current meaning of “Extremism” as the Sunnis had recognized it, and extended the scope of its application so widely that the resulting fire began to burn the Sunnis too. Taking Shi‘ahs and Sunnis as supporters of the Extremism, the Wahhabis directed torrents of accusations against the non-Wahhabi sects.

The outcome of extending the concept of the Extremism

The outcome of extending the concept of the Extremism is most noticeable in the Wahhabis’ dealing with the opposing parties on certain points of difference. It is necessary, therefore, to refer to some imaginary, quarrelsome problems that have been created under the pretext of fighting the Extremism.

1) Making a fuss on the issue of God’s attributes, the Wahhabis accuse as an extremist anyone who opposes their idea on God’s attributes. Scores of books that denounce the Shi‘ism and Sunnism have been written, and the world of Islam is now filled with a great commotion. Instead of being a factor unifying Muslims, the issue of God’s attributes has, in the hands of the Wahhabis, been turned into a weapon to create turbulence and tension.

Muhammad ‘Adil ‘Azizah, the contemporary Sunni scholar, has done a lot to make the Wahhabis understand that the Ash‘aris and the Maturidis are not extremists. If anyone considers them as extremists, then Ibn Kathir of Damascus, much respected by the Wahhabis, should also be called an extremist because he has not followed the Wahhabis (view) on God’s attributes.

All the Sunnis and Shi‘ahs make an interpretation [ta’wil] of the Qur’anic verses pertaining to the divine attributes without considering it a cause for the Extremism. The Shi‘ah and Sunni religious scholars, the ulama’, have found no relationship between interpreting the divine attributes and Extremism; the scholars of both denominations have strongly criticized the Wahhabis’ method of evaluation.

Muhammad ‘Adil ‘Azizah, who has written a book on Ibn Kathir of Damascus’ view on the divine attributes, says, “I have written this book with the aim of narrowing the scope of the differences and eliminating the present animosity among Muslims because, these days, many Sunni men of learning are being subjected to accusations, calumny and excommunication by the Wahhabis, merely because they have pronounced their own judgment differently from that of the Wahhabis on God’s attributes.”31

Anyone reading this book will understand that Ibn Kathir’s method of explaining the God’s attributes differs from that of the Wahhabis. He says, “This little treatise, containing Ibn Kathir, the Salafi’s words on the divine attributes will prevent a liberal Muslim from hastily accusing others—who hold the same ideas as Ibn Kathir does—of being misguided and outside the pale of Islam, because Ibn Kathir is known to all as being knowledgeable, meticulous and sound (in mind). Ibn Kathir is said to have asked Ibn ‘Abbas for the interpretation of the Qur’anic verse: Upon the day when the legs shall be bared, and they shall be (summoned) to bow themselves, but they cannot.” (68:42); Ibn ‘Abbas said, “A great matter is disclosed.”32

Now, the objection we make is this: why, then, do the Wahhabis call the Sunni and Shi‘ah populace who interpret the Qur’anic verses of the divine attributes “extremists”? This has resulted in heavy blows and blind attacks to befall the Shi‘ism and Sunnism from the 18th century onwards. We can fathom the profundity of this catastrophe in many utterances of the Shi‘ahs and Sunnis.

Dr. Muhsin ‘Abd al-Hamid, the contemporary Sunni scientist, unveils the catastrophe. He says, “In recent years, my colleagues and I have witnessed a current that imagines itself to be in charge of implementing ideological improvements and confronting manifestations of polytheism in Islamic society; it has filled the cultural centers with futile arguments concerning divine attributes. This painful situation was the first impetus for me to review these verses.”33

This black sedition of the Wahhabis has, from its inception, drowned many scholars in its abyss. Dr. Muhammad ‘Ayyash Kabisi, the contemporary Sunni thinker says, “This sedition of the Wahhabis urged me to focus my doctorate thesis on this particular matter, conduct a complete deductive study of all the divine attributes mentioned in the Qur’an and in the traditions, and explicate the comments of the past and present ulamas. These investigations expand our breast to receive tolerantly the disagreements there are in the interpretation of the Qur’anic verses and not to take them as the borderlines between faith and disbelief, between unity and polytheism.”34

When I was a Wahhabi myself, I thought that anyone whose belief was different from that of the Wahhabis was misguided, deviant, and an extremist, while I took my own ideas as foolproof.

I remember the time I was studying at Ibn Sa‘ūd University in 1988, where I fiercely criticized all the Sunnis who did not subscribe to the Wahhabism: I was averse to people like ‘Abd al-Fattah Abū Ghudah, Muhammad al-Ghazzali of Egypt, Muhammad ‘Ali Sabūni, Hasan al-Banna, and scores of others whose belief on the divine attributes was different from that of the Wahhabis. When I finally got away from the trap the Wahhabism had me in, I realized the bewildering fate that was awaiting them.

The approach I have been following in my discussions with the Wahhabis has been to quote the people who the Wahhabis believe in, because it is impossible to mention Shaykh Tūsi, the eminent Shi‘ah scholar, or cite his belief directly. The Wahhabis cannot tolerate even hearing his name, let alone listening to his judgment. Therefore, you should, from the beginning, route your point through such people as Ibn Kathir so the Wahhabis do not turn away. This, of course, works only if the Wahhabis have no ill intention, but are the simpletons that are caught up in the trap. They are more in need of medication than disputation. We should view them as a physician does, that is, we should do our best to cure them.

These wrongly educated naïve Wahhabis are of the opinion that any opposing opinion denotes disbelief and Extremism, but they are unaware that this is pure illusion, an invention of their sick mind. Being involved in such illusion, I once thought that all others were in an open boat of Extremism, but only we would be saved. I thought I was a physician wishing to cure someone who was ill with Extremism. This is why I wrote the book Al-Silatu bayn il-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah wa Firaq al-Ghulat, the link between Ithna ‘Ashariyyah and the Ghulat sect, the instructions to cure. Before it was published, however, something unexpected happened, and I realized that it was I who was diseased and in need of someone to cure me. I found the top physician, one who could fight this dangerous virus; it was the Imamiyyah, whom I had mistaken as extremists. The situation changed: just a couple of days before the event I thought I was the physician, but realised in fact I was the diseased.

I was like a doctor who was carrying a deadly virus in his brain, but imagined that all other people had cancer, until he happened to meet another specialist, supposedly one of his patients. The latter diagnosed the former’s illness. The scene changed dramatically: the former doctor himself was in need of therapeutic measures.

Today, I have not only discovered that the Imamiyyah are not suffering from Extremism, but the Wahhabiyyah themselves are seriously ill, suffering from the hallucination that the Shi‘ism and Extremism mean the same thing. It is the Wahhabiyyah that should cure itself the soonest. To me, most Wahhabis are simple-minded, not malicious, patients, and I deal with them as a doctor does, doing my best to rid them of the dangerous disease of equating Shi‘ism with Extremism; this is a task that cannot be done except through a peaceful dialogue:

Had you been rough, hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you.” (3:159)

Anger cannot treat the patient who is spiritually sick; this is exactly what we mean when we speak of “the unity among Muslims”: a peaceful symbiosis and a scientific dialogue (to be conducted) under the patronage of understanding and of terminating the tensions, not with the aim of calling each other liars, resorting to quietism or abandoning of religious beliefs.

2) Making a fuss over certain doctrinal points that the Wahhabis assume are part of the principles of the religion [usūl] and a borderline between disbelief and Islam, although they are subsidiary points [furū‘] and arguable. The Wahhabis do not make a distinction between usūl and furū‘ in religion and label Ghali and anyone who disagrees with them on any article of faith a disbeliever, excommunicating him from the fold of Islam. For the Wahhabis any doctrinal point is a part of the principles of religion [usūl al-din]. It is true that each single principle of religion is a doctrinal point, but not every article of faith can be a principle of the religion. These should not be confused. It is such a confusion that has made the Wahhabis believe that is impossible for the Shi‘ahs and Wahhabis to reach an understanding. The Wahhabis take all differences as oppositions to the principles of religion.

Dr. Nasir Qaffari reiterates the same point in his book, Mas’alah al-Taqrib, and strongly rejects the possibility of any understanding between these two schools of thought, although most of the differing points (he refers to) are not part of the principles of either party’s belief system; they are either questions that the Sunnis themselves do not include in the usūl or are the juridical points that have nothing to do with the belief system.

When I say these issues are parts of the subsidiary doctrinal issues, I do not mean that they may be disregarded for the sake of unity; what is meant is that since they are not included in the principles of religion. They can be examined, discussed and refuted without an apparent loss of faith in this world.

Muhammad ‘Abd al-Halim Hamid, honoured by the Wahhabis, also says, “That the doctrinal points are called “the principles” is a recent development. Theologians and certain jurists have divided religious issues into two categories: belief and practice. The practical juridical questions derived from the doctrinal ones are considered secondary issues, “furū‘”, in contrast to the principles, “usūl”. The name, but not the reason, spread wide among the Sunnis; in the course of time the reason was forgotten. Whenever the doctrinal points are called “the principles of religion”, it is meant to show the special position and the superiority “belief” has over “practice”; it never denotes that there are no questions of secondary import within the doctrinal points.”35

He quotes Ibn Taymiyyah’s lengthy discourse in which he said that the principles of religion and the doctrinal points should not be combined.

God knows how hard I tried to stop the tension among the Shi‘ahs, Sunnis and Wahhabis. But, I am increasingly convinced that it is the Wahhabis themselves who add more fuel to the fire. I have studied almost all the Wahhabis’ books carefully and come to the conclusion that the burning fire of sedition the Wahhabis have made, originates from a double confusion: equating the Shi‘ism with Extremism on the one hand, and confusing the principles of religion with the secondary doctrinal points on the other. To me “mingling” is the most serious spiritual and mental disease, and as I was one of the victims of this virus myself, I set out to discover the cause of the illness and the ways to treat it.

The religious strife and the bloodshed we see in the Islamic countries, like Pakistan, are because of the impact of such Wahhabi writings as Ihsan Ilahi Zahir’s. This sect has published thousands of books, essays and interviews on the issue of identifying the Shi‘ism—and other Islamic sects too—with Extremism. But it is the Wahhabis themselves who are ill; they muddy the waters, mingle the Imamiyyah with the Saba’iyyah and Extremism, Polytheism with Islam, and disbelief with belief. It is our duty to cure the naïve and unbiased stratum of people from this deadly disease. This book attempts to offer a sound method for the dialogue between the Shi‘ahs and Wahhabis.

For example, if we want to talk to a Wahhabi about tawassul, resorting to the noble Prophet, (S) after his demise, we should first ask him if he considers the issue as belonging to the principles of religion. If he doesn’t, then discussing the matter and disproving Wahhabis’ opinion will not cause polytheism nor will it put one out of the fold of Islam. If he does, he should be reminded that the Wahhabi scholars have divided the doctrinal issues into the two groups: usūl and furū‘, and that not every doctrinal issue belongs to the category of the principles of religion; none of the four Sunni canonical schools have included it among the principles of religion either. The authorities whose words are accepted by the Wahhabis are as follows:

Shaykh Hasan al-Banna says, “Supplication and entreaties to God [tawassul] if made through one of His servants, could be considered a secondary issue; it is not an issue of faith”.36 When the Wahhabis understand that the differing point is simply a secondary question, not an issue of principles, we are cleared of the charge of disbelief and polytheism (they make against us) because the disagreement over a secondary issue is no cause for polytheism. (Item five of the twenty-point principle that he had in mind for the unity of Muslims.)

Muhammad Ghazzali, the contemporary imam of the Wahhabis sees no logical cause for the accusations the Wahhabis make concerning tawassul.37

3) The hadiths with a single transmitter are another alibi for the Wahhabis to accuse their opponents of Extremism, an accusation that looks more like a war than a scientific argument. The Wahhabis accept isolated narrations as a proof, but their opponents do not. Arguments on such narrations have been going on among Muslims for a long time without fighting or accusing the opposition of innovation in religion and polytheism, the Wahhabis have turned the argument into a black sedition, as exemplified in the Wahhabi Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah’s “Hujjat al-Ahad fi al-‘Aqidah wa Shubahat al-Mukhalifin”.38

Anyone reading the Wahhabis’ books or taking part in their gatherings, can easily understand that they accuse their adversaries—whether the Sunnis or Shi‘ahs—of Extremism. If a Muslim ever voices an objection about anything, he will be labeled an extremist; this is a concept whose scope of meaning has been so widely extended by the Wahhabis that it can include most Muslims!

In fact, it is the Wahhabis themselves that have demolished the conceptual barriers of “Extremism”, trespassed the boundaries depicted by the Qur’an and Sunnah, and presented a visage of Extremism so weird that it introduces most Shi‘ah and Sunni scholars as deviated extremists. Today, the Wahhabis call most of the premises adduced from the Qur’an and Sunnah as cases of Extremism. If they go on for some more time, you will certainly not find even one typical man that could be called “moderate”, judged by the Wahhabi standards.

The Wahhabis should know that if someone holds the view that accepting narrations made by only one reporter is not permissible in doctrinal questions he is not an extremist nor is he cast out of the fold of Islam and faith. The mere rejection of a wahid narration, when the doctrinal issues of religion are concerned, is no cause for disbelief. ‘A’ishah and ‘Umar, both the apple of the eyes of the Wahhabis, were wont to rejecting such traditions. The Sunnis have reported an episode in which ‘Umar quoted the Prophet (S) as having said that a dead person will be punished in the grave if his folks cry for him. ‘A’ishah, however, refuted the narration.

How can a narration with one transmitter be a proof to accuse a Muslim with when the narrator may have erred, forgotten the hadith or made adjustments to it? Is it logical to accuse Muslims of being extremists and polytheists because they have refuted an opinion that has been based on a single-transmitter narration some Wahhabis stick to? Ibn Taymiyyah himself has said, “The Companions have disproved many wahid narrations that the people of hadith had reckoned as sound [sahih].”

By insisting that one-transmitter narrations should be accepted in doctrinal issues, the Wahhabis have committed dangerous errors, one of which is incorporating into the principles of religion the points that are miles away from Islam. More painful yet is their using these points as bases to launch various accusations from, to fabricate unusual and illogical dogmas and to call anyone who rejects these dogmas a disbeliever. But they should know that the Muslim populace does not accept this behavior.

Qadi ‘Ayad says, “Ibn Qasim and Ibn Wahab have said ‘We believe that the practice of the people of Madinah is more authorative than a narration that has only one transmitter’.”39

Malik, the leader of the Sunnis, has discarded many ahad narrations because they are in conflict with the practice of the people of Madinah. What are the Wahhabis going to do with these incidents?

Shaykh Yūsuf Qardawi has written, “I noticed that the Hanbalis were divided on this matter, because what had been handed down from Ahmad ibn Hanbal was itself conflicting. It is now clear for me that most Hanbali researchers of the principles of religion do not consider the one-reporter narrations as something that bring certainty and knowledge. This is a point Abūya‘la has mentioned, as have ‘Abu’l-Khattab, Ibn Qudamah and even Ibn Taymiyyah.”40

Are the Wahhabis aware that Ibn Taymiyyah, their leader, has said, “This is a one-reporter narration. How can it possibly serve as a foundation for a principle of religion on which sound belief rests?”41

Shatibi has also said, “In dealing with the principles of religion, [relying on] guesswork will not suffice, because the probability of contradicting it exists; guesswork is all right in the case of the secondary issues of religion [furū‘]; the people of shari‘ah act on it because there is a reason for it; so, guesswork is forbidden in all cases except in the secondary issues of religion; all religious scholars consider this a satisfactory idea.”42

In doctrinal issues, the Sunni populace allows no argumentation concerning the narrations with a single transmitter because they are not sure if they can prove their point. The list of such notable people includes Imam al-Haramayn, Sa‘d, Ghazzali, Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr, Ibn Athir, Safi al-Din Baghdadi, Ibn Qudamah, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Bukhari, Ibn Sabki, San‘ani, Ibn ‘Abd al-Shakūr, Shanqiti, and scores of others.

Khatib Baghdadi has said, “A one-transmitter narration is unacceptable in any religious issue that requires finality.”

Abū Ishaq Shirazi says, “A one-transmitter narration brings no knowledge.”43

Ghazzali has said, “A one-transmitter narration brings no knowledge; this is a necessity; therefore, we do not confirm whatever we hear since affirming two contradictory pieces of information is affirming two oppositions.”44

Ibn ‘Abd al-Shakūr also says, “The avant-garde in the science of usūl maintain that a narration with one transmitter, received from a source other than the Infallible (Imams) (‘a), surely brings neither knowledge nor certainty, whether or not it is presented together with an analogue. In the case where the isolated narration is intended to convey knowledge, (care must be taken because) if two just people bring two opposing pieces of information, affirming them will be affirming two contradictions.”45

‘Abd al-Qahir Baghdadi has written “The one-transmitter narrations could be acted on if they are correct in the chain of transmitters, and if they are not logically impossible in the text; they bring no knowledge though.”46

Bayhaqi has said “Concerning the issue of the divine attributes, our scholars do not base their argument on a one-transmitter narration if the narration is not based on the Qur’an or on the consensus of opinion, [ijma‘].”47

Fakhr Razi has also said “When usūlis say ‘one-transmitter tradition’, they mean it is a tradition that does not bring knowledge and certainty.”48

Elsewhere he has said “Basing their discourse on one-transmitter narrations, some people talk about the divine attributes although these narrations are far from finality and certainty.”49

Muhammad Ghazzali, the Egyptian, has also joined the long list and said “I graduated from al-Azhar University about half a century ago, and have been teaching for years. I discovered that the one-transmitter narrations merely produce a surmise and can be used to issue a religious verdict until more evidence has not been found. Therefore, it is a sort of exaggeration to claim that such narrations produce certainty; it is null and void, considered logically or by referring it to the transmitted science.”50

Elsewhere, Ghazzali says, “A narration that has only one transmitter merely produces a surmise; it can function within the scope of furū‘, not within the principles of faith [usūl]. I would like to emphasize that a one-transmitter narration has never produced anything except guesswork. However, there are now some people who desire to rely on one-transmitter narrations in order to prove their own faith and consider those who refute the narration as disbelievers; this is a sort of Extremism.”51

Yūsuf Qardawi says, “The doctrinal issues should be based on certainty, not on guesswork; the soundly-documented narrations with one transmitter, on the other hand, do not produce certainty. It is the narration with an established chain of transmission, Mutawater that brings certainty; the former issue is confirmed by the Qur’an,

And they have no knowledge of it; they do not follow anything but conjecture, and surely conjecture does not avail against the truth at all.” (53:28)

and the latter by the usūli scholars. This is a method that is prevalent in notable scientific centers of the world of Islam, such as al-Azhar, Zaytūnah, Qruwiyin, Diwband, etc.”52

Sayyid Qutb has also said, “One-transmitter narrations cannot be accepted in doctrinal issues; in such instances we refer to the Qur’an and the traditions that have been received with an unbroken chain of transmission (mutawater); in doctrinal issues the condition for accepting these narrations is that they should be mutawater.”53

Mahmūd Shaltūt says, “All religious scholars maintain that a one-transmitter narration does not produce certainty, nor can it be used to base a doctrinal issue on. The researchers have all called this an indisputable matter; this is certainly an undisputable consensus.”54

Of the scores of similar statements the Sunni scholars have made, only a portion has been mentioned above to convince the Wahhabis that they should not accuse of disbelief and polytheism anyone who opposes them.

The discussion presented so far concerns the first reason why the Wahhabis have been unable to know the Imamiyyah: their lack of knowledge of what the Extremism means. The second reason, the Wahhabis’ lack of knowledge of what the Shi‘ism means, is thoroughly discussed in our second book Mawqif al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah min al-Ghuluww wa al-Ghulat. The third reason, the Wahhabis’ lack of knowledge on the Imamiyyah’s position towards the Extremism and the extremists, will also appear in the same book. Below is just a brief discussion on the third item.

A brief report on the Imamiyyah’s stand against the Extremism and the extremists

The fiery stand it takes against the Extremism and the extremists is the Imamiyyah’s unique peculiarity when this school is contrasted with others. No other school of thought has shown as severe a reaction as the Imamiyyah has brought to the fore. This is because the Imamiyyah’s mentality, stemming from the glorious Qur’an and the true Prophetic (S) Sunnah, is at war with the extremist conceptions, and is doing its best to correct these deviations (from the truth) and save the infested. Further explanation is unnecessary. What is clear requires no details. Many of the extremists I have met and talked to, have given up the Extremism and profane beliefs, and have returned to the fold of Islam.

Because the Wahhabis are unaware of the Imamiyyah’s basic view and thought, they equate the Extremism with the Shi‘ism; this being an illness they suffer from. They should, therefore be made to understand that it is a misconception; (along with this), the Shi‘ah’s point of view, based on the Shi‘ah sources, should be explained to them. They should know that the Imamiyyah keeps aloof of the extremists because the Shi‘ism keeps pace with the Qur’an and the true Prophetic (S) Sunnah both in word and deed. Doubts can certainly be removed when evidence is offered. Our detailed discussion centers round the following five points:

1. The Imamiyyah’s view on the extremists’ conception;

2. The Imamiyyah’s view on how the extremists legalized their opinions;

3. The Imamiyyah’s view on leaders of the Extremism;

4. The Imamiyyah’s view on the extremists’ narrations;

5. The Imamiyyah’s view on the extremists’ books.

The Shi‘ah school of thought has played an undeniable part in rescuing Muslims from the grip of the extremist deviations. The procedure this school has adopted in countering the Extremism, has forced the extremist thought to remain confined within a narrow circle, unable to spread out.

The opinion the Shi‘ahs vehemently fight against is the false notion of “deification of man”, i.e. man’s abandoning the quality of being a servant to God. This false notion is the outcome of drawing no distinction between divinity and submission to Him. The Imams (‘a) of the Shi‘ahs have, in hundreds of narrations that have been quoted from them, clarified man’s rank and have expressly said that however far he travels along the path to perfection, man will never attain the rank of divinity.

The words of the Imams (‘a) of the Shi‘ahs have their origin in the glorious Qur’an and the pure Prophetic (S) narrations and are similar to an explanation of these two sources; that is why a sway of the Qur’anic style of expression can be seen in all their words that communicate (to us) both the worship all created things owe to Allah and the Unique Lordship of the Divine. Since the extremists have, in their propaganda, centered on the deification of man or deification of the Imams, the Imams (‘a) of the Shi‘ahs have emphasized that they are servants of the Divine Essence, Allah, and fully submissive to Him. In this way they have totally eradicated the extremists’ fundamental notion of the deification of man.

The Shi‘ah transmitters of hadith have taken great pains to preserve the hadiths on this topic and considerably influenced attempts made to wipe up the deviated ideas of the extremists. It was on the basis of these narrations that the Shi‘ah jurists reacted strongly towards the Ghulat sects and excommunicated them. The Wahhabis, who equate the Shi‘ism with the Extremism, take these narrations as allusions to the Imams (‘a) of the Shi‘ahs, blaming the Shi‘ahs accordingly. This is the unfortunate conclusion of identifying the Shi‘ism with the Extremism to which we previously referred. A few narrations are mentioned below:

1. Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (‘a), on the authority of his ancestors, has quoted the Holy Prophet (S) as having said, “Do not rank me higher than is my due, for God had appointed me as His servant before He chose me as His prophet.” When the Holy Prophet (S), whose dignity is the highest among men, places so much emophasis on his worshipping Allah, the Imams (‘a) of the Shi‘ahs certainly do the same.

2. Imam ‘Ali (‘a) has said, “Beware of going to extreme as regards us; consider us as servants that have been brought up.” Being an obedient servant to Allah, an important instruction of the Shi‘ism, is quite prominent in the Imamiyyah books. When I see the narrations from the Imams (‘a) of the Shi‘ahs and match them with the words of the Shi‘ah men of knowledge, I see that there is a complete correspondence between the two. That the Imams (‘a) are Allah’s servants is a fundamental fact of the Shi‘ism, an issue thoroughly integrated with the life of this school and its followers. Therefore, the Extremism finds no place among the followers of this school of thought. Deep in his heart, every Shi‘ah believes in the words of Imam Rida (‘a), who said, “Anyone who elevates the dignity of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), to consider him a divinity, is among those upon whom God’s wrath is brought, and is of those who have gone astray. Did ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) not eat (food) and marry as others did? Can such a person occupy the station of divinity? Were it so, then you could each be a god.”

The Shi‘ah books abound with such narrations and the Shi‘ah scholars have also followed the same manner (of thought and belief). Anyone frequenting the Shi‘ah gatherings, will be convinced that these ideas do not merely fill the gaps in the Shi‘ah books, nor live a dormant life; they are in fact a part of the Shi‘ah community, the blood circulating through it and giving it vitality and honour.

The picture presented so far depicts the first stage of introducing the Shi‘ism to the Wahhabis—the step following the separation of the Imamiyyah from the Extremism. Now, let’s take a cursory look at the second stage, i.e. the study of the Imamiyyah in detail.

  • 1. The words of great Sunnī men of learning on the Wahhābīs’ big problem of “mingling Shī‘ism with Ghulāt” are mentioned in a separate chapter.
  • 2. When I was a Wahhābī I believed that the Shī‘ahs were more extreme and polytheistic than the Ghulāt themselves, but my long investigation and the scores of the Shī‘ah books that I studied—all proclaiming their aversion of extremist’ Sufi exaggeration and polytheism—made it clear to me that there is a fundamental difference between the Shī‘ism and the Ghulāt. I have put down all these positions in my book: “Shī‘ahs view on the extremes and the Ghulāt”.
  • 3. Gnosticism, a mystical and philosophical school that flourished in the first two centuries C.E., maintains that it is possible to know God through esoteric knowledge. The author of this book may have meant Sufi sects.
  • 4. Murtadā al-Razawī, Fī Sabīl al-Wahdat al-Islāmiyyah, p. 45.
  • 5. Al-Islām wa Harikat al-Tārīkh, p. 421.
  • 6. Bayn al-Shī‘ah wa Ahl-e Sunnah, p. 11.
  • 7. Risālah al-Taqrīb, no. 3, the first year, Sha‘bān 1414 AH, p. 250.
  • 8. Laysa min al-Islām, p. 48.
  • 9. Al-Firkr al-Islāmiyyah fī Tatawurihī, p. 140.
  • 10. Al-Imām Ja‘far al-Sādiq, p. 235.
  • 11. ‘Alī wa Banūh, p. 35.
  • 12. Bayn al-Shī‘ah wa Ahl al-Sunnah, p. 4. “We do not consider this statement as valid; so we have criticized it in details in our book, A Re-reading of the Idea of Taqrīb”, Eskandari, the Arabic translator.
  • 13. Irān min al-Dākhil, p. 322.
  • 14. Al-Sunnah al-Muftarā ‘Alayhā, p. 6.
  • 15. Dhikriyyāt lā Mudhkarāt, p. 250.
  • 16. La‘allaka Tadhaka, p. 201.
  • 17. Khutat al-Shām, vol. 6, p. 251.
  • 18. Al-‘Ālam al-Islāmī Magazine, no. 91.
  • 19. Al-Imām al-Sādiq, p. 22.
  • 20. Ibid., p. 151.
  • 21. Risālat al-Islām Magazine.
  • 22. Al-Islām wa Harikat al-Tārīkh, p. 28.
  • 23. Usūl-u Madhhab al-Shī‘ah al-Imāmiyyah al-Ithnā ‘Ashariyyah, vol. 1, pp. 10-11; it is a book in which I have criticized Dr. Qaffārī. This book will soon be published.
  • 24. A prelude to ‘Aqā’id al-Imāmiyyah, p. 20-23.
  • 25. Al-Tuhfah al-Ithnā ‘Ashariyyah, summarized, pp. 2-3.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Yūsuf Qardāwī, al-Shaykh al-Ghazzālī kamā ‘Araftuhu Rihlatu Nisfi Qarn, p. 263.
  • 28. Muhammad al-Ghazzālī, Humūm al-Dā‘iyyah, p. 15.
  • 29. Muhammad al-Ghazzālī, Sirr Ta’akhkhur al-‘Arab, p. 52.
  • 30. Al-Milal wa al-Nihal.
  • 31. ‘Aqīdah al-Imām al-Hāfiz ibn Kathīr fī Āyāt al-Sifāt.
  • 32. Ibid., p. 8.
  • 33. Prologue to the book “Tafsīr Āyāt al-Sifāt”.
  • 34. Al-‘Aqīdah al-Islāmiyyah fī al-Qur’an wa Manāhij al-Mutikallimīn.
  • 35. Ma‘an ‘alā Tarīq al-Da‘wah, pp. 134-137.
  • 36. The fifth principle out of the twenty principles he has taken into account for unity among Muslims.
  • 37. Dastūr al-Wahdah al-Thaqafiyyah bayn al-Muslimīn, p. 130.
  • 38. P. 4.
  • 39. Tartīb al-Madārik, p. 66.
  • 40. Al-Shaykh al-Ghazālī kamā ‘Araftuhū Rihlatu Nisfi Qarn, p. 125.
  • 41. Minhāj al-Sunnah, p. 133.
  • 42. Al-I‘tisām, vol. 1, p. 235.
  • 43. Al-Tabsirah, p. 298.
  • 44. Al- Mustasfī, vol. 1, p. 145.
  • 45. Muslim al-Thubūt Bisharh-i Fawātih al-Rahmūt, vol. 2, pp. 121-122.
  • 46. Usūl al-Dīn, p. 12.
  • 47. Al-Asmā’ wa al-Sifāt, p. 357.
  • 48. Al-Ma‘ālim, p. 138.
  • 49. Asās al-Taqdīs.
  • 50. Al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah bayn Ahl al-Fiqh wa Ahl al-Hadīth, p. 74.
  • 51. Dastūr al-Wahdah al-Thaqāfiyyah bayn al-Muslimīn, p. 68.
  • 52. Al-Shaykh al-Ghazzālī kamā ‘Araftuhū Rihlatu Nisf-i Qarn, pp. 123-124.
  • 53. Fī Zilāl al-Qur’ān, vol. 6, p. 4008.
  • 54. Al-Islām, ‘Aqīdah wa Sharī‘ah, pp. 74-76.