Addendum: Solution Of Shia To Create Islamic Unity

One of the questions that arises after criticism and analysis of theories of Islamic unity is the query about a sincere solution and action towards unity between Muslims of the world.

Particularly what is claimed by the movement in way of Islamic unity together with belief in refusing legitimacy of Caliphs’ government and showing it as usurpation. This generally seems impossible.

They say:

“This group if it wants insistence on first priority to attain unity, generally it seems impossible.”!1

Therefore, this addendum is written in such a circumstance taking into consideration necessity of preserving every faith’s position and refraining from disturbance to fundamentals of each faith of Islam. It has always had been ground of confirmation on part of those who wear the glitter of Islamic unity:

The aim by writing this short addendum is to remind about two points: It seems that attention to these points was a key to arguments relating to closeness. It has made the theory designers of unity needless from coining so many other issues to maintain original discipline and sincerity in this intellectual awakening.

So we are hopeful that these two reminders will come under the care of those who exert efforts for Islamic unity particularly those who to achieve this aim see themselves lenient towards beliefs and fundamentals of Shiaism.

First Point

Whenever there arises a word about unity and its factors or setback, it entails different views of Infallible Ahlul Bayt (‘a) of the Prophet and those of Sunni schools in field of Imamate and Caliphate. Both appear concomitant:

Perhaps one of the main reasons for this association could be existence of deep distance between issues of fundamentals of thought of these two schools. Besides, the social clash that is anticipated to come into being by these discussions. It has drawn the attention of revivalists of unity to subside the differences.

Of course to decrease differences entails showing fundamentals of Shia belief upside down in argument of Imamate and Caliphate! It creates a question mark over ideas of closeness while maintaining original standards of reality.

As is seen the worry and anxiety of this group of unity-seekers is to raise full set of fundamentals of jurisprudence of Shia school in this fundamental discussion so that analysis of Sunni outlook will subside totally. There will remain no room for any anxiety or setback in the way of unity.

We draw the attention of revivalists who sacrifice standards of sincerity and originality for finding a way of attaining Islamic unity to this point. Difference between fundamentals of principles of School of Infallible Ahlul Bayt and School of Caliphs in the field of Imamate and Caliphate is basic from Shia viewpoint. It constitutes the basic pillar of Islamic faith. But this difference according to Sunni belief is only a side and partial difference. It comes beneath the structure to a level of branch in practical chapter of enjoining good. They do not regard it so important. For them it does not demand tolerating the view of other party. Because of their belief, Shias may not become object of attack.

This kind of Sunni outlook in relation to this issue in Islamic teachings brings satisfaction to unity-seekers. Due to reason of a special conception of this type of discussions, that Sunnis have there is no ground to worry about matters that Shias produce will not disturb unity and will not create a dispute between faiths of Islam.

Had Sunnis been adherent to their own school’s theoretical fundamentals in this discussion, they would not have a negative outlook towards Shias because of these differences. On the other hand some activities of unity-seekers have become lenient to Shia fundamentals.

Therefore it can be proposed that Shias may invite to Islamic unity but at the same time the subject of Imamate and Caliphate too should be on agenda along with Sunni belief and thought. At the same time, they should be committed to not show any undesired reaction or unwanted sensitivity at any difference of beliefs. They should practically show constraint.

In other words, one of the active and energetic ways of revival of unity among Muslims Ummah is to make Sunnis committed to calm at argument of Imamate and Caliphate.

As you know, there are some evidences, which we shall refer to later. Difference in the issue of Imamate and Caliphate from Sunni viewpoint is like difference in jurisprudence among four faiths. They consider it at the level of jurisprudents in comparing authority in grasping the religious rulings or like jurisprudents of Hanafi and Shafei faiths on authoritative grounds.

Therefore, existence of such type of differences in jurisprudence among jurisprudents of Sunni sect (all of them are in branches of faith outside principles of their religion) gulf in unity would not occur. The subject of Imamate and Caliphate should not meet negative reaction. According to Sunni belief in practice too, the same attitude should be maintained. Imamate and Caliphate too is like other subjects as one of the side rulings and a jurisprudence branch. The differences therein however deep should not be a pretext to create disturbance in unity. In such a case, Sunnis from a practical commitment to their fundamentals of thought should be open to objections in belief and behavior.

In the end, to prove that Imamate and Caliphate is a branch and side issue from Sunni outlook we refer hereunder to few documents from Sunni sources.

Ghazzali in his book, Iqtisaad fil Itiqaad (Pg. 234) says:

“Beware that viewpoint in Imamate is not among important matters and it is not a part of sciences of reason. But it is one of the jurisprudential issues.”

Amadi in his book, Ghayatul Maram Fi Ilmul Kalam (Pg. 363) says:

“Beware! To talk about Imamate is not of religious faith and not from necessary matters unless it is an exceptional matter. Ignorance about it is not any religious shortcoming.”

Eji in the book Al-Mawaafiq (Pg. 395) says:

“We regard Imamate as a branch issue. If we mention it in our book of belief we do it by way of following our predecessors.”

Taftazani in his book, Sharh Maqasid (Vol. 2, Pg. 271) says:

“There is no doubt that Imamate is more suitable to be a branch of faith because appointment of an Imam with specified qualities is Wajib Kifai (an obligation sufficient if one performs it – others are exempted).”2

Second Point

Another argument launched by some unity-seekers, which they consider as a block on way of Islamic unity is the Shia outlook regarding practical application and type of executing the main element of Baraat in life of faith and belief of a Shia regarding the “lack of justice of some Prophetic companions” under the title of effects and fruits of discussion about “Imamate and Caliphate” in Islam.

On the other hand it was supposed that such type of views would bring forth negative reactions of Sunni sect. Therefore, we witness reverse efforts of Shia in this chapter of Shia belief.

Whatever negative stand towards Islamic unity comes into being in this field from side of Sunni sect is against their fundamental belief in the issue of ‘excused and paid’ of the status of a jurisprudent that is a matter of acceptance and attention of unity-seekers.3

According to this outlook, Shia belief in argument of justice of Prophet’s companions and Baraat has Quranic backing. It follows a particular line of thought in this subject. In fact, it is regarded as a salient application of jurisprudence. Suppose if Shia might have gone astray in this jurisprudence it should, from the Sunni viewpoint, embrace the formula of a jurisprudent being excused.

By this way, one obstacle in way of Islamic unity is simply removed. Therefore, there is no need to reverse Shia fundamentals of neither belief nor necessity to make Shia refrain to act on his own jurisprudence.

In other words, one of the practical solutions for Islamic unity is to make Sunni sect committed to honor their own belief regarding error in jurisprudence in the face of Shia outlooks opposing their thoughts.

This solution is several times more transparent and effective than efforts for creating a change in Shia fundamentals in these subjects.

However, Imamiyah belief in these subjects is very much alive on pillars of logic and proof of their own jurisprudence taking in view the Sunni idea that results of jurisprudence must be respected in way of Islamic unity. So the discussion of error in jurisprudence and a mistaken jurisprudence is excused and is from settled principles agreeable to School of Caliphate.

Historical evidences indicate that the very first person who founded this formula is Abu Bakr bin Abi Qahafa.

About the criminal conduct of Khalid towards Malik bin Nuwairah and his family members he said: ‘He did Ijtihaad and made a mistake’ or ‘He concluded and erred.’4

This belief took hold among Sunni scholars and entailed the following:

Ibn Hazm (456 year) introduced Abul Ghadia who had killed Ammar Yasir as a jurisprudent and one deserving reward from God.

Ibn Turkamani Hanafi (750 Year) became a follower of Ibn Hazm. Both of them (Ibn Hazm and Ibn Turkamani) extolled Ibn Muljim Muradi for Imam Ali’s (‘a) assassination and introduced him as a jurisprudent.

Ibn Hajar (852 year) considers all opponents, adversaries and enemies of Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) in battles of Siffeen, Jamal and Nahrawan as men of jurisprudence and described them as jurisprudents who erred and ones who have one reward from God.5

Similarly, Ibn Hajar believes with regards to Muawiyah and Amr Aas about the bloodshed that they were jurisprudents.

As Muftis reach their personal conclusion (i.e. Ijtihaad) and sometimes two Muftis differ in their judgments – one says a magician must be killed while the other does not accept it. The deeds of Muawiyah and Amr Aas were also like this.6

If it is so the Sunni sect must look upon Shia in their judgment and belief regarding justice of some companions and Baraat under formula of Ijtihaad; at least they maybe regarded as erring jurisprudents that are excused and rewarded.

Anyway, an advantage must be drawn to the benefit of avoiding reaction and creating calm. This formula must be used towards creating nearness. There remains no need to create a change in principles of Shia belief and in fundamentals of Shia thought.

As long as Sunnis are committed to their belief about excuse of a jurisprudent they should not act otherwise. This will not create any distance in Islamic unity.

Therefore, as long as the Sunni sect, as a party in the differences, believes discussions about Imamate and Caliphate as branch matters and their belief in a jurisprudent being excused one, they accept the mistake in jurisprudence. We must not witness their impoliteness about treating Shia beliefs.

On the other hand Ja’fari jurisprudence is acted upon only by Shias and it respects the sanctity of life and property of everyone who acknowledges the oneness of God and Muhammad’s Prophethood. He is supposed to enjoy all rights by Islam. It honors even an outward appearance of Islam. So this peace cannot be shattered.

In Ja’fari jurisprudence, the outward appearance of Islam has validity. It embraces all faiths of Islam under its own ruling:

Respect to life, property and conjugal ties of every Muslim though he may be only so outwardly, are guaranteed. The meat he has slaughtered is allowed to be eaten. Marriage with him or her is permitted. Transactions are permitted with him. All civil rights are reserved to him such as applying to court of law or carrying out sentence for or against him. Details of all such ruling are present in books of religious laws. Shias regard his judgments with respect for safety of unity.

  • 1. Muhammad Waizzaada Khorasani: Interview with Nahjul Balagha Magazine, Nos. 4-5, Pg. 181.
  • 2. All these narrations are taken from the book, Dar Sar Zameen-e-Khatiraha, (Which is text of the lecture of Ustad Ja’far Subhani in Yarmok college).
  • 3. Refer: Waizzaada Khorasani: Nida-e-Wahdat (Call for Unity), Pgs. 178- 180 & Pgs. 3, 27, 28, 101.
  • 4. Refer: Allamah Al-Askari: Abdullah Ibn Saba Wa Deegar Afsaane (Abdullah Bin Saba and other legends), Vol. 1, Pg. 199 onwards.
  • 5. Refer: Ibid. Doo Maktab Dar Islam (Two Schools of Islam) Vol. 2 (Outlooks of two schools about sources of Islamic legislation) Pg. 92.
  • 6. Refer: Ibid. Pg. 105.