We are a community living in a Sunni area. They think we are kafirs and say that we are kafirs. Under these circumstances, is it also possible for us to treat them in like manner and, just as they take us to be kafirs, we do the same to them? We request that you inform us regarding our shar‘i responsibility while facing these attacks.
Anyone who verbally bears witness to the oneness of God Almighty and the messengership of the Seal of the Prophets (S) is a Muslim and his life, his honour and his property are inviolable just like the life, the honour and the property of one who follows the Ja‘fari school of thought. Your legal responsibility is that you treat kindly those who have said the shahadatayn even if they consider you an unbeliever. Have good social relations with them. If, they treat you unjustly, you should not deviate from the straight path of truth and justice. If one of them becomes sick, and visit him. If one of them passes away, attend his funeral. If they have a need that they request from you, then fulfil it. Comply with God’s decree when He says:
وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَنْ صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَنْ تَعْتَدُوا ۘ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ
Ill feeling for a people should not lead you – because they barred you from entering the Sacred Mosque – to transgress. Cooperate in piety and Godwariness, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression, and be wary of Allah. (Qur’an, 5:2).
And act on God’s orders when He says:
وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَنْ أَلْقَىٰ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَامَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِنًا
Indeed, understanding in these matters has disappeared. This type of behaviour leads to the shedding of innocent blood which the exhortations of the Imams (A) are against. Open curses and insults are not permissible. First of all, open cursing in general is forbidden, and this is stressed in the commands of the religion. Secondly authentic narrations say, ‘Pray in their mosques’. Visit their sick. Attend their funerals. The narrations say, ‘Be an adornment to us, and do not be a disgrace to us.’ In these narrations two points arise; one is negative and the other is positive.
The negative point – which is ‘do not be a disgrace to us’ – is that you should not harbour enmity towards the revered figures of another school of thought. Do not insult their revered figures; cursing and insulting their great figures is not permissible because it can alienate them from the Ahl al-Bayt (A) and their teachings. The positive aspect – which says ‘be an adornment to us’ – tells us that we should attend their Friday Prayers, that we should show them love, visit their sick, and set forth our speeches and teachings to them; the main point here is spreading the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (A). This is a path that we have not been versed in – the path of positivity2.
- 1. See ‘Hosn-i mu‘ashirat ba mokhalifin-e madhhab’, in the Official Website of the Office of Grand Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani, Aban 1387 (hijri solar calendar):
- 2. Remarks by Grand Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani on the visit of Ayatollah Muhsin Araki, General Secretary of the World Assembly for Convergence of Islamic Schools of Thought on the 2nd Khordad 1393: http://taghribnews.com/vdchzwnz623nm- d.tft2.html