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Thread: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    what is Imamah?
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    Ok you are weird!!! You worte Imamah first; remember? Here look what you wrote: Do the Prophet's companions not include his family as well?

    well, I dont know about all Sunnis but for a few Muslims (including me at least), only the Prophet is the final authority on and of Islam. I think the difference between Shia and Sunni is primarily on the station of IMAMAH which is accepted by the former. As per 2:124, Abraham was made an Imam and the Imamah rested in his family, but was it a distinct station from Prophethood, or only that some Prophets were Imams, like some Prophets were Messengers.

    In the Sunni case, it seems Imamah (in whatever aspect it was there) has also ended with the end of Prophethood. Anyhow, you or me debating this will not determine who is right, the best a person can do is be objective and choose according to his knowledge.
    If you can't find it I wrote it in big!!!
    Ok

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    How to Approach the Shia Brothers/Sisters - A Straight Forward Logic Instead of a Never Ending Debate

    Article:

    Salamon Alaykom


    INTRODUCTION:

    These days any one who is interested in discussion on Islamic subjects will come across a lot of discussion boards where there are a long and often-pointless debates going on between Shia Muslims and Mainstream Muslims (I prefer to use the term "Main Stream" rather than Sunnis which gives an impression of sectarianism).

    The features of these kinds of debates are as follow:

    They seem to be endless

    In some point one of the sides starts using offensive language and usually this is the reason for ending the debate

    They are repeated material that are posted every now and then in many websites

    I thought as an Ex-Shia who was born in Iran in an all Shia family and Alhamdulillah found his way later, I could have a contribution to this.

    Before explaining what is an appropriate way to discuss with Shia I need to make an important point and then refer to some facts. I do apologize for the lengthy article but I think it might be interesting for my brothers/sisters.

    The point:

    If we consult the Hadith we will see that in general the Muslims are warned about entering pointless debates. It is a pity to see engaging in long and often fruitless debates over Internet wastes the valuable time of a Muslim youth. Long debates like this result in making the heart and soul dry and very materialistic. I think the time of a responsible Muslim should be devoted to his/her efforts to more effective things like education, prayer and reading Quran, improving his/her purity for the God, increasing practically useful Islamic knowledge, making him/herself a good example of a Muslim, helping others and of course enjoying life and family and friends without committing any sins.

    Now some facts:

    After the revolution in Iran, the Shia scholars became very powerful and they invested a lot to spread Shia'ism in Islamic countries. What they are doing in Africa, in Saudi Arabia during Hajj, in Western countries and over the net are only parts of these activities.

    Every belief usually has a main stream followers and then sectarian followers. It is a simple fact that the sectarian followers always need to defend themselves against the main stream while the main stream feels less necessary to challenge the sects. This results in mainstreams having less idea about the belief of sects while sects have a rather good idea about the belief of the mainstream. This in terms results in the main stream being less prepared to discuss with the sects while sects are always prepared to discuss with the mainstream. For instance: Among Christians, Mormons have a strong discussion material when entering a debate with mainstream Christians while the Mainstream Christians have less idea about what are the Mormons all about. In the same way Shia is more prepared to discuss with mainstream Muslims. The same rule applies to Shia themselves. The Shia that are usually starting debate with mainstream Muslims are Imami (12er) Shia. However among them there are minorities like Zaidi Shia or Ismaili Shia. These minorities usually are very much prepared to enter a debate with Imami Shia while an ordinary Imami Shia usually has no idea about the belief of these minorities.

    The above fact results that some of the mainstream Muslims have wrong idea about the belief of Shia and their practices.

    The three points above leads us to the fourth fact: One of the reasons you find that Shia people are very much engaged in discussion with mainstream Muslims, particularly over internet is that there are lots of material available for them that they usually find a relevant answer to any question and copy and paste it in reply. These materials are loaded systematically in many shia sites and online books like: Shia Encyclopaedia - Tijani's works - Peshawar Nights - Islam.org website and the rest. The latter website has even prepared a propaganda toolkit for Shia and have encouraged them to use it. They can simply print out a short article and nicely fold it like a catalogue and leave it in a mosque. Comparing to this vast activities, mainstream Muslims do not have such an access to good material.

    Shia is far better in debate in English websites. This is because while most of the Shia propaganda books are translated to English, unfortunately less good Arabic books of the mainstream Muslims that provide answers have been translated to English.

    Some of my brothers/sisters might not like this one but Insha'Allah they will realize that my intention is nothing but to help: Unfortunately due to some prejudice from some of the Scholars, many of the mainstream Muslims now a days have opinions that put them in a fragile position when debating with Shia. These opinions are not backed by any strong evidences and many of them are newly emerged opinions rather than old opinions. Among them are:

    The belief that what ever is in Sahihayn is authentic


    The belief that any one who has seen the Prophet even for a short while can be considered Sahabi and thus can be trusted.


    The belief that anything that Sahabeh and others have done during and after the death of the Prophet are right or that all their behaviour has to be justified (please note that I am not suggesting criticizing Sahabeh, I am just saying that we don't need to feel responsibility to justify anything they have done. Our responsibility is to defend Islam, Quran and the holy Prophet not the Sahabeh who after all were fallible. If we do this, then we are automatically defending the Sahabeh (RAm) as well.)


    The idea that there were absolutely no conflicts between the Sahabeh after the passing away of the Prophet and that they all loved each other


    The idea of giving the title of Kafir to anyone who is not among the mainstream Muslims.

    Another point I need to make before saying how is an appropriate approach in discussing with Shia in my opinion:

    I think a very big mistake that some of the Mainstream Muslims have, when discussing with Shia, is that they fall in their trap by being engaged with issues that are not really directly relevant to Shia doctrine.

    All the issues below and many more that I cannot remember just now are among these directly irrelevant issues:

    The story of Fadak

    The story of Omar (RA) and Pen and Paper

    The battles of Siffin, Jamal

    The attitude of Moawiah against Ali (RA)

    Karbala and the martyrdom of Hussain (RA)

    The story of Ghadire Khom (this is more relevant than others but still far away from the main issue)

    The debates about Tahrif of Quran

    The debates about Bukhari and Muslim and their collections

    The stories regarding our mother Ayesha (RA)

    The stories regarding Saqifah of Bani Saedeh

    Combining the prayers, issues about Azan, ablution and so on

    Things like visiting graves, calling a dead and so on

    Etc.

    The above and many other issues are important but not directly relevant to Shia doctrine. At least in theory, you may find a Muslim who is not a Shia but has an opinion about the above issues that is very similar to the opinion of Shia. Interestingly enough among some moderate Shia scholars too you might find some one who has opinions about the above issues which is very similar to the opinion of the main stream Muslims. One might be interested to have a search about the above issues but to me no matter what is your opinion about them, they have nothing to do with 12er Shia doctrine.

    The above are the issues for which there are lots of material provided by Shia in Internet and Shia feels very easy and comfortable to find the relevant material and copy and paste it in a discussion. Actually for them it is like repeating a same prescription. Most of the above issues at the end rely on Hadith and what happens is that Shia base the argument on certain Hadith and mainstream Muslims base their argument on another sort of Hadith and they will ended up with fighting to prove a Hadith is authentic and the other one is not. From there they usually get no where, because first of all, people generally do not have enough knowledge about verifying if a Hadith is authentic and even if they do so, they still cannot prove their points cause verifying if a Hadith is authentic is itself depending to the words of mouths of fallible scholars. While I agree that in many of the above cases, Shia people try to disfigure the story and very ruthlessly attack great Sahaba on the basis of their biased understanding of these stories, I still remain in my position that talking about the above leads the two sides to no where (as evident in the last 1000 years).

    After this rather long introduction I would like to start the main issue that is:

    ************************************************** **********************

    How to discuss with Shia:

    Let us review the doctrine of 12er Shia first, this is the doctrine that makes 12er Shia a SECT different from the mainstream Muslims and different from other Shia sects:

    "The doctrine of Imamat: Apart from Prophets, there are another group of God appointed persons called Imams. These are people who are infallible and have access to a knowledge that is not accessible by ordinary people. The world cannot be empty of an Imam otherwise it will be destroyed. In the Islamic context, these individuals are 12 people among the descendants of the Holy Prophet who are appointed by no one but God to lead Muslims. Any one who chooses any leader other than these 12 is misguided and not a complete believer. The twelfth (last) of the above Imams is Mahdi and is alive and in occultation (now) for more than 1000 years and will come out of his occultation when God wants".

    The above is the core belief of 12er Shia. They consider 5 articles of belief as fundamentals of their religion. These are: Tawhid (Oneness of God) - Nabuwwat (Prophet hood) - Ma'ad (Day of Judgement) - Adl (Justice of God) and IMAMAT (The above doctrine).

    In another way to put it they some times refer to 5 pillars of Islam to be: Prayer, Zakat, Fasting, Hajj and Imamat. They further hold that the latter (Imamat) is the most important one.

    The above shows the importance of Imamat in Shia doctrine. And when I say Imamat I don't mean Leadership. Certainly leadership is an important issue not only for Muslims but also for any group of people. Imamat here means the above specific doctrine.

    Now let me tell you:

    When you want to help a Shia to realize how deviated he/she is from Islam or to help a fellow Muslim from the mainstream not to be deceived by Shia, there are TWO QUESTIONS that completely do the job for you:

    Question One: Where is the doctrine of Imamat in Quran?
    Question Two: How does the current Imam lead Shia?

    I elaborate on each of these here:

    Question One: Where is the doctrine of Imamat in Quran?

    This is a very sound question. Quran is the book of guidance and we have been told by the Prophet that whenever we felt lost we can consult Quran and it will never betray us. The above doctrine is not a minor issue, it is very important. It's importance is to the extend that Shia holds that because of not believing in this doctrine, 80% of Muslims are misguided and in fact not true believers. Well, which verses of Quran have given us this doctrine?

    Ask Shia to ONLY give you the verses with NO additions to the translation and NO Hadith to support a certain interpretation of the verse and NO personal commentaries. Do this and you will see how helpless the arguments will be.

    Now when you ask this from a Shia you receive different sorts of answers (and it is interesting that because the discussion is over the net, usually people cannot coordinate among themselves and you will receive responses from Shia that are in contradiction to each other and this in turns shows how baseless are the discussions).

    Here are the most popular answers that you get:

    There are also no verses in Quran to tell us how to pray. We learn some of our duties from Hadith not Quran.

    There are certain verses but you need to look at Hadith to understand their true meaning cause we are advised to learn Quran from the Prophet and Hadith is his teachings.

    Long and complicated analysis of certain verses of Quran to prove that even without the help of Hadith, they are proving Imamat.

    There are no mention of the name of our Prophet in Bible but still Christians need to believe in the Prophet.

    The verses of Quran are usually general and it is not the style of Quran to name people (i.e. Imams)

    Quran says "follow the Prophet". There are Hadith from the Prophet that prove the doctrine of Imamat and this should be enough for a Muslim if he wants to follow the Prophet.

    There are not explicit verses because if they were, Quran was in danger of fabrication

    Finally among the classic scholars of Shia at the old times there were some of them who hold that Quran is changed by Sahabah and that certain verses are removed from it.

    Where in Quran it is said that Muslims should choose a khalifah by themselves?

    Show us the names of the prophets between ... and ... in Quran if you think that every thing should be in Quran.

    It is a test that's why it is not mentioned in Quran

    Arguments that use few verses of Quran out of the context

    Sunnies believe in Mahdi while he is not mentioned in Quran

    Imamat is not the fundamental belief of 12ers, the appointment of Ali is the fundamental of belief.

    Now I'm sure most of you realize the weakness of all the above replies but let me write a brief for each of them. Using the same order of numbers:

    There are also no verses in Quran to tell us how to pray. We learn some of our duties from Hadith not Quran:
    Prayer has been referred to EXPLICITLY and STRONGLY more than ninety times in Quran. In each of these verses one of the aspects of prayer is covered. Many of these verses talk about the details of prayer, like how to come prepared for prayer (ablution), prayer in travel, etc. Certainly with such a vast and strong reference from Quran, Muslims will refer to the Prophet to know the details. In comparison, the total number of the verses that Shia refers to for Imamat is no more than 5 or 6 and yet non of them can be interpreted by a non-biased mind in the way that 12ers interpret it. In fact none of them are explicit and strong enough to prove Imamat doctrine. This is while Prayer is not at all comparable with Imamat. Imamat is the fundamental of belief. Shia calls it one of the Osoole Din (Fundamental of religion). Prayer however according to Shia is one of the Foroo'e Din (Subsidiary article of religion). Imamat is important enough to convince Shia to separate themselves from the mainstream Islam. If the only difference between Shia and the Mainstream Islam was the way they perform prayer they would never become a sect out of the mainstream Islam.

    There are certain verses but you need to look at Hadith to understand their true meaning cause we are advised to learn Quran from the Prophet and Hadith is his teachings.
    Why only when it comes to Imamat, we need Hadith to help us? We don't need a Hadith to understand from Quran that reading prayer, performing Hajj, fasting, Jihad etc. are obligatory upon Muslims. We don't need Hadith to understand from Quran that a Muslim needs to believe in Oneness of God and his Prophets and the Hereafter. We don't need Hadith to understand from Quran that God has angels, there were Prophets in the history of mankind and some of them had books, and that the destiny of man is in the hands of God. All of the sudden when it comes to Imamat, Hadith becomes a vital tool to understand Quran. Quran how ever does not need a tool to be understandable. It is written in Quran that this book has been made easy to get guidance from. It is true that the Prophet explains certain verses of Quran but explaining is different from interpreting. Explaining means giving the details. Interpreting means giving the meaning. Quran needs no tool to be meaningful otherwise it wasn't the book of guidance. Also there are many contradictory Hadith in explaining verses of Quran and at the end of the day it is impossible to verify exactly which ones are authentic. How could God expect people of our time to use Hadith to understand the MEANING of Quran? Is this the way that God says in Quran that Truth and False are separated and clear evidences have been shown? I don't think so.

    Long and complicated analysis of certain verses of Quran to prove that even without the help of Hadith, they are proving Imamat.
    Same argument goes here. Quran is not a book of riddles and puzzles. God does not expect an ordinary Muslim to have a search in Quran and have a professional analysis of the verses of Quran to understand what should be his belief and what are his duties as a Muslim. Of course it is very beneficial to analyse the verses of Quran to understand more from it. Quran is like an ocean. However to say that our fundamental belief can only derived from Quran after such an analysis is in contradiction with the use of Quran as a book of guidance. (For a detailed review of the verses that 12ers usually use and the discussion of the way they attempt to misinterpret these verses please refer to my other article: "The Quran refutes the Shiite concept of Imamate." Available online here: http://www.ic.sunysb.edu/Stu/azarinni/Imam1.htm Please note that the author of this article is not responsible for and necessarily agree with the contents of other articles presented in the above mentioned site).

    There are no mention of the name of our Prophet in Bible but still Christians need to believe in the Prophet
    I appreciate that this justification is very out of line but because I have heard it, I am going to address it here: Firstly we believe that Bible in fact gave the information about our Prophet but these verses were removed (Quran tells us). However the most important thing is that Christians are not expected to accept the Prophet only based on their Bible. Christians along with other human being are given a brand new guidance that is Quran. It is Quran that challenges Christians not merely their own book. The last point is that the comparison is illogical. We are asking for proof of the Shia doctrine from our book of guidance, what does it have to do with the proof of our Prophet in the Bible?! There are many belief that Christians have but are not in their Bible, we however as Muslims have to disregard any belief that is not supported by Quran. On the other hand, another misunderstanding here is that we are not asking about the name of a particular Imam. We are asking about the CONCEPT of Imamat. The concept of prophet hood is well established in Bible (both old and new testaments). It is only after the establishment of this concept in the Christian holy book that they are expected to believe in ANOTHER prophet that is Mohammad (PBUH). The CONCEPT of Imam (in the way that 12er Shia put it) however has not even referred to (in a convincing way) in Bible, let alone being established. Therefore from this respect too, the comparison is illogical.

    The verses of Quran are usually general and it is not the style of Quran to name people (i.e. Imams)
    No body asked for names. Only some general verses that give us the above doctrine. Something as simple as: "Oh Muslims, be aware that there will be certain Imams for you after the Prophet from his generation who are appointed by God and you need to follow them". It is as if (God Forbidden) God was worried about talking about Imamat explicitly. Having said that, we have the name of Zaid (ra) in Quran who was a Sahabi and his name is there to refer to a very minor issue. It is not unfair to ask for a single verse with the name of Ali in it if (according to Shia) he had such an important role (Imam).

    Quran says "follow the Prophet". There are Hadith from the Prophet that prove the doctrine of Imamat and this should be enough for a Muslim if he wants to follow the Prophet.
    Again why is that only for this article of faith we need to consult Hadith? Let's test something. Take Quran in your hand and open it by chance. I can guarantee that no matter where it is opened, few verses before or after are about one of the Oneness of God, Prophet hood, Day of Judgement, Destiny of Human Being, or Duties of Muslims. Now how far you need to go in order to find a verse that (with the help of certain Hadith) could be interpreted as Imamat in the 12er doctrine? How come for our other fundamental believes Quran is quite direct, even for our main duties as Muslims but when it comes to Imamat, we need to refer to Hadith? This is inconsistency and God is far greater than having inconsistency in his perfect book. Hadith is not the second volume of Quran. Authentic Hadith is explanation of Quran not a second Quran. This is why we are advised to disregard any Hadith that is not inline with the teachings of Quran. The Prophet always encouraged people to read Quran and discouraged them to write any Hadith from him. Quran itself advises people to read the book and think on it. If it was the case that we had to get certain parts of our FUNDAMENTAL belief from Hadith and not Quran then for sure this would have been told to us quite clearly. Such an opinion however lowers down the position of Quran as our book of guidance. After all what kind of book of guidance is this that some parts of our fundamental belief (and in fact the most important parts, rejecting of which could leave us in hell) is not addressed enough by it? From the other hand, even in ahadith there are no clear, strong and explicit Hadith from the Prophet to prove the 12ers DOCTRIBE of IMAMAT. Yes there are few narrations in some secondary and unreliable sources but does really God expect us to look at every corner and all the collections of Hadith to see what is our religion? This is even more difficult when bare in mind that for every Hadith that Shia use to prove Imamat, there are other Hadith that are in contradiction with it. In fact even Hadith (as a whole) are not structured in a way that could prove Imamat. Such a justification is in fact the main reason for having different sects in Islam. Zaidis too have their own Hadith, same for Ismailis and same for Bahayees. All have the same problem, they are trying to understand their religion from the sources other than Quran. Please note that I am not denying the importance of Hadith (I am not a Quranist). However believing that certain parts of our fundamental belief has to be derived from Hadith rather than Quran is far different from using Hadith as a source to Prophet's Sunnat. There are no use of discussing the ahadith of the prophet with 12ers when it comes to the fundamental issues. To all Muslims except those who have made sects the fundamentals of belief need to be derived from Quran, if they are not then either they are wrong or they are not fundamental and thus not acceptable reasons for forming a specific sect to be separated from the rest of the Muslims.

    There are not explicit verses because if they were, Quran was in danger of fabrication.
    This is actually guessing God's intentions and is very close to Kufr. From where one could come to this conclusion? Is there any verse in Quran that says God has not revealed certain things because if he does, you will change Quran? In fact the verses of Quran are supportive to the opinion that nothing has been left out for us from Quran and that God keeps Quran safe and that the Prophet should not be worried about delivering the verses. This is in fact attributing Taqqiyyah to God himself (God forbid).

    Finally among the classic scholars of Shia at the old times there were some of them who hold that Quran is changed by Sahabah and that certain verses are removed from it.
    In fact this is the most logical reply that one can get. However no Shia scholar these days refer to this response. They have changed their minds about this opinion (although among them there are still some individuals that do not deny the possibility). However every one knows that this is opposed to the verse of Quran where God promises to keep the book. Also if this is the case then how we know that there weren't some verses in Quran in support of (say) Baha'ollah or (say) George w. Bush? By this assumption no basis will remain to hold any opinion as a Muslim. On the other hand, God could reveal as much as needed about Imamat (like 98 verses about prayer). Just imagine how difficult would it be if some one wanted to remove all the verses about prayer from Quran . God could do the same for Imamat.

    Where in Quran it is said that Muslims should choose a khalifah by themselves?
    Firstly it is not appropriate to answer a question with a question. Shia needs to adjust their doctrine with Quran and only after that it is appropriate to ask such a question.

    Nevertheless this question only shows the misunderstanding of some brothers about the belief of the mainstream Muslims. Believing in Kholafaye Rashedin is not a fundamental element of Islam. According to the main stream Muslims, there are only 6 Articles of Faith and 5 pillars of Islam and believing in khelafat of Aboobakr is not part of either of them.

    Any groups of people tend to elect some one as their leader. And the rational and most reasonable way to do so is by election. This is a routine social/political practice. Certainly no system of public election was established at that time and the election of Aboobkar was done through negotiation of present people. You might think that it was not a good choice or that not all qualified people were presented at the time, that's your opinion but it has nothing to do with looking for evidences in Quran about it. It's just a routine social practice that was and is and will be done in any society and no logical mind would expect a divine evidence for that.

    Having said that, once the Sahabeh of the holy prophet agree on a great Sahabi like Aboobakr (RA) to become the Khalifah, then it is the duty of all Muslims to obey him for the sake of Islam and unity.

    If a Shia asks me what is my proof about this, I will give him/her a source that Shia holds as a very strong proof:

    Nahjolbalaqah, letter No. 6 of Imam Ali to Mo'aviah (note that in some versions of Nahjul balagha. This letter is few numbers before or after):

    "People who did Beyat to Aboobakr and Omar, did beyat with me in the same way. So the one who is present cannot select any one else for Kahlifah and the one who is absent cannot disobey people in their selection. Shora belongs to Mohajer and Ansar, so if they gather around a person and appoint him as their Imam this is to the satisfaction of Allah. If any one disapprove them on this or innovate something about it he should be taken back to the people who he has left (by accepting the appointed Khalifah), and if he refused to do so people has to fight with him as he is going to a path other than of Muslims."
    (note that in the Shia websites like al-islam.org, certain words have been inserted in the translation -like the word "suppose" - without putting them in the brackets in an attempt to change the meaning of the text.)

    Now it's up to the Shia brothers/sisters whether they want to attribute Taqyah or lie or politics or what ever to their Imam and whether they like to justify his comment in the same way that they justify verses of Quran.
    (also please bear in your mind that we have an explicit verse in Quran that says "va amrohom shoora baynahom", (and their affairs are done by consultancy between them). Surely the question of leadership is one of the affairs of Muslims. However I won't use this verse to prove anything about Khelafat in Islam. Unlike the Shia brothers and sisters, I am quite cautious about playing Lego with the verses of Quran)

    So let us not compare apple with orange. Imamat doctrine is a fundamental belief of Shia, election or selection of Kholafaye Rashedin is just a routine and common socio-political practice.

    On the other hand, let's look at the present situation is Iran. Is there any divine command about how to establish a leadership in the occultation of Mahdi? Let's remember that there were no religious system of governing after the occultation of Mahdi for about 1000 years after the recent revolution of Iran and emerging of the theory of Welayate Faqih. Those who know about Shia and Iran appreciate that Welayate Faqih of Khomeini was only a theory that he derived from some ahadith. Not all Shia scholars agree with that (like Khoiee and his followers). Among the classic Shia scholars only few had referred to this theory and most like Sheikh Ansari had the opinion that it is difficult to derive such a theory from ahadith (refer to Makaseb of Sheikhe Ansari). Also among those recent scholars who accept the theory there are un-agreements about the extend of the theory and that how it could be put in practice (Like Montazeri, late Shirazi, etc.). So again as I referred to in the article, Shia too ended up with the same situation as the mainstream Muslims that is to elect a leader by themselves in the absence of any direct divine command.

    Show us the names of the prophets between ... and ... in Quran if you think that every thing should be in Quran
    The Shia who sends this question cannot realise what is the main issue. The issue is not about NAMES. It is about a CONCEPT. The concept of prophet hood has been addressed in Quran in many verses and there are a few verses that tells Muslims that they need to believe in all the prophets. Allah has given use the story of the main prophets and have left the story of others. There is no need to know the NAME of the (as they say) 124,000 prophets in order to obey Allah. The question is about the concept of Imamat not the names of Imams. Quran has established the concept of prophet hood and its function for us through many verses. There is however not a single verse in Quran that explicitly tells us that there is another position called Imamat which refers to infallible God appointed individuals who are not prophets and that their existence are necessary and there will be such Imams after the prophet.

    It is a test that's why it is not mentioned in Quran
    This claim puts the function of Quran as a guidance under a serious doubt. By this claim there is no use to read Quran to get any guidance because who knows maybe there is a fundamental part of your belief that is not mentioned in Quran because God wants to test you! By the same token Bahayees claim that Quran talks about their prophet Baha'Ollah. When you ask them but where in Quran they will show you some verses that have nothing to do with their claim. When you say but these verses are not clear about your claim they say Oh because God is testing you, Nice!
    This is again playing with divinity. Who are we to decide for God that what is a test and what ia not a test? The prophet hood of Mohammad (PBUH) was also a test but there are many verses in Quran that directly tells people that Muhammad (PBUH) is a prophet. A test is different from a puzzle. God says in Quran that he makes things clear for people. Even a teacher first makes it clear for his students that what is the material of exam and then designs a test based on those material. We need to read Quran to see what are the materials that God is going to ask us about in the day of judgement. Is 'believing in the doctrine of Imamat' one of the materials that Quran commanded us about? God makes things clear for you and sends you enough evidences and then test you to see if you can be humble enough to obey his guidance. The claim that this sorts of answers are making is like we expect Quran to be empty of any verses about the day of judgement and then say that God wants to test people to see if they can GUESS or DIDUCT that there is a day of judgement. No way, God makes it clear in Quran that we need to believe in him and his prophet and to do good things and to pray etc. and the test is whether we obey these commands. God does not play game with us. He does not expect us to solve puzzles and riddles. I wonder why Shia cannot see this in another way around. Imamat is not explicitly referred to in Quran but still Shia insists to be separate from the mainstream Muslims because of this doctrine. Aren't they under a test by Allah? Allah knows best.

    Arguments that use few verses of Quran out of the contextHere Shia tries to refer to few verses in which the words Imam or Khalifa are used. It is interesting that most of the verses in this category are those that even Shia scholars do not use them to prove their doctrine cause Shia tafasir are clear about the commonly agreed meaning of these verses. There are however non-Scholar Shia youths, those who spend all their youth over internet debating with others that use these verses. To be more specific, these are the verses where the term Khalifa/Kholafa have been used or the verses that the term Imam has been used in the meaning other than Leader. The Shia friends simply think any reference to Imam or khalifa means what they think. The best way to answer them in this category is to refer them to their own tafasir like Almizan and Majmaolbayan. Also to remind him of the warning that Allah gives us in Quran about taking the verses out of their context (Arabic: Yoharrefonal Kalema An Mawaze'ehi).

    Sunnies believe in Mahdi while he is not mentioned in Quran:
    Firstly the concept of Mahdi for the mainstream Muslims is totally different from the concept that Shia holds for Mahdi. This is another issue discussing of which will extend the length of the article. The Shia who brings this justification has confused his own understanding of the concept of Mahdi with the mainstream's understanding of the concept. However the more important thing is that we cannot compare the belief of the mainstream Mulims about Mahdi with the belief of Imamat in Shia. Imamat is one of the main articles of faith for Shia but belief in Mahdi is not one of the main articles of belief of the mainstream Muslims. The articles of belief of the mainstream Muslims have been listed by the scholars and Alhamdolellah all of them are based on explicit verses of Quran. These are 6 (or 7 depending on the phrasing) articles of belief:Belief in God and his Oneness - Belif in Angels - Belief in God's books (Bible, Quran, etc.) - Belief in God's messengers = Believe in the day of resurrection= Believe in Qadar (i.e. every thing and event has been written). All of these are derived form explicit verses of Quran. The very reason that we cannot see THE BELIEF IN MAHDI being listed among the articles of belief of the mainstream Muslims is that this has not been commanded and explained and established in Quran in the same way that other articles of belief are established in Quran.

    Imamat is not the fundamental belief of 12ers, the appointment of Ali is the fundamental of belief.
    If one cannot appreciate (in line with the conscious of all the scholars of Shia) that Ali being appointed by the prophet is the direct consequence of the concept of Imamat and that Imamat is the core belief of 12er Shia that's fine. I would ask the same question about Ali. The question is a generic one that can be applied to any fundamental of belief:
    Where are explicit verses of Quran without any Tafsir or Hadith that clearly command us about what ever is the fundamental of 12ers' belief that distinguishes them from the mainstream Muslims, being Imamat or the Khelafat of Ali after the holy prophet. There is no escape from this question as long as one believes that Quran is the ultimate guidance. And if a Muslim is not able to find this in Quran then by God he/she needs to answer God in the day of judgement that why he/she separate him/herself from the mainstream Muslims.

    So as you see, none of the above responses are really answering the question. These responses are actually escaping from the truth. Give Quran (a translation) to an English man with no idea about Islam and ask him to read it and write down 5 important articles of Islamic belief based on his understanding from Quran. I can imagine that he will write down oneness of God, Prophet-hood, the Day of Judgment, perhaps the rewards and punishments, prayer, Zakat, ... but is there any chance that he writes the doctrine of Imamat as 12ers put it? I don't think so.

    The very reason that Shia needs to include lots of explanation and commentaries and Hadith to prove his doctrine from verses of Quran proves that Quran is not explicit and direct about Imamat and when a book of guidance is not explicit and direct about some thing, that "thing" CANNOT be a fundamental of guidance and people who have chosen to be separated from the mainstream Muslims because of that "thing" are responsible for their sectarianism attitude.

    The above is the weakest link of 12er Shia and repeating it over and over is the only ways that we could make some of them realize this weakness. Interestingly enough further discussion with Shia about this issue only results in completing this argument by adding more justifications from Shia side to the above. The more the number of justifications the more apparent the gap and the false in the logic of Shia theory of Imamat. Verily as Quran says (25:30), THE complain of the Prophet about his people in the Day of Judgment is that they put Quran aside and ignored it. While I think that we are all subject to this complain and we all need to re-establish the role of Quran in our belief, I should say that to me 12er Shia are one of the best examples of such complain.

    Question Two: How does the current Imam leads Shia?

    The first question should be enough for any one to consider 12er Shia as a group that is biased from the original Islam. However it is helpful to have a word about the concept of occultation of Mahdi.

    When you ask a Shia that why we need an infallible Imam, he says we need it because it is not justice from God to leave us without any divine leadership. When you say okay then where is this divine leader now, the Shia will say: Oh he has been hidden for more than 1000 years and will come out near the end of the world. Nice!

    This means that the theory of Justice of God in terms of guidance worked only for about 300 years (before the occultation)!

    Imam means a leader, how can you be led when the leader is not contactable and accessible? It is a conscious of Shia that no one has direct contact with Mahdi during his greater occultation (they believe he had about 70 years smaller occultation during which direct contact was possible). So what is the point of all this debate?

    Shia believes in Imamat and accused others for not having a leadership system, well at the end of the day we all ended up at the same point didn't we? Shia had no leadership system up to the Iranian revolution and the system of Welayate Faqih that is the leadership system in the current Iran is nothing but a man made system in which people elect certain scholars to elect a leader for them. Well this is exactly what happened in Saqufeye Bani Saedeh when people elected Hazrat Abu Bakr, so, what is all the fuss about? Some of the Muslims have elected Osamah Ben Laden to be their leader, does Khameneyee the leader of Shia has any divine advantages to Osamah?

    The point is that if Shia had a live Imam who was supposedly infallible and had access to extra ordinary knowledge than we did not need this much waste of time. Instead of all these debates I would have asked a Shia to take me to his infallible Imam and there surely the Imam could prove me his right by his extra ordinary knowledge and attitude. This is not the case now. If some one becomes a Shia these days, nothing will be changed for him in terms of guidance. He/she will combine the prayers and attend ceremonies for Hussain and pay Khums to scholars and rub his feet in ablution and start a debate over Internet by a user name like Ex-Sunni but nothing in terms of being directed by a divine Imam. So what? Shia says it is obligatory to know the Imam of your time, but from the so-called Imam of their time what do they know? Anything more than his name and the fact that he will not come out till near the end of the world? So is it all about knowing a name rather than actual guidance?

    We are fighting over a closed file (I hold respect and do not say over a ... body).

    The occultation of Imam is in 100% in variance with the very basis of the reason Shia claims we need an Imam. The Shia belief is in fact not self consistent.

    Honestly I have not received any considerable reply for this question to elaborate on, let me only address two semi-replies:

    The guidance of Imam is not restricted to direct guidance. There are other functions of Imamat that we cannot fully understand except that his existence is a must for universe.

    Imam's benefit in occultation is like the benefit if sun when it's behind the cloud.

    I answer them in the same order:

    The guidance of Imam is not restricted to direct guidance. There are other functions of Imamat that we cannot fully understand except that his existence is a must for universe.

    This is just a philosophical argument (being affected by pre-Islamic belief) that has absolutely no support from Quran and Hadith. We have been told that certain angels are arranging certain things for the universe but we have heard nothing about such an extra ordinary claim. If this is the case then who was the Imam immediately before the Prophet? Did the Prophet ever meet him?! And why we need some one being alive in the earth to do the job? Imam Reza the 8th Imam of Shia said to people (who thought his father is not dead but is alive and in occultation) a very interesting point: "if Allah wanted to extend the life of any of his servants for the need of people to him, he would have extended the life of his Prophet" (Kashshi -a Shia author- Marefatorrejal P. 379).

    Furthermore by the above reply in fact the 12ers are stepping down and surrender their main argument that says in every time there is a need for an Imam to direct and lead people (i.e. tangible direction and leading not philosophical direction). In fact the earlier 12er scholars nearer to the beginning of the time that the 12ers refer to as the greater occultation of Mahdi has used the same argument to prove the existence of Mahdi. They even go as far to say that this 'obvious' argument suffices them from referring to any ahadith to prove the existence of Mahdi.

    Let's see what is the argument of one of the classic gurus of 12ers:

    "... Rationality tells us that surely there should be an infallible leader at every time who is not relying on people in matters and science -of religion- because it is impossible that people live in a time when there are no leaders to bring them closer to good and farther from bad and every non-complete human needs some one to advise him and every oppressor needs some one to control him ... and there should be some one who teaches those who don't know and waken up ignorant, advise misguided and perform the Hodood (Punishments of Shariat) ... and solve the differences of opinion and appoint governors and defend the borders and protect properties ... and gather people for Eids and collective prayers. (Ershad by Mofid - Section 36).

    As it can be seen, this scholar who was one of the ones who established 12er doctrine clearly says that there always need to an infallible Imam at all times who could practically (and in a tangible way) direct and guide people (look at the bold words). It seems that to people like Mofid who was quite close to the beginning of what 12ersa refer to as the greater occultation of Mahid. The expectation was that the occultation will not last for a long period and Mahdi will appear shortly otherwise all the above argument (knowing that Mahdi is not accessible) had no points.

    The above is the understanding of other classic 12er scholars as well but I preferred to quote from one of the main ones that is considered as one of the pillars of the 12er scholars.

    As you see, the Mahdi that is the subject of our debate with 12ers is the one that the classic 12er Shia believed in as some one who practically and in a tangible way leads people. If an Imam could be hidden and not available to people then what is the point of arguing for the necessity of having a God appointed leader at the first place?

    To change the function of Mahdi to be able to justify his long occultation is nothing but changing the whole story to be able to escape from the truth. It is exactly like changing the function of Quran (from the book of guidance to a book that is only completed by Hadith and needs the explanation of 12er Imams) to be able to justify why the 12er theory of Imamat is not mentioned in Quran.

    Imam's benefit in occultation is like the benefit if sun when it's behind the cloud.
    This is nothing but a poetic justification of the problem. What is exactly meant by sun behind clouds? Even sun behind the clouds has many benefits. You can still find your way when the sun is behind the cloud. However is there any clue from Mahdi now days to direct the Shia in Iran in any way? There are lots of controversy issues in Iran these days among the scholars in terms of Islam and modernism, the extend of the power of Walye Faqih (the leader), etc. There are certain Shia scholars (Mojtaheds) that are in home arrest because they are not agree with the current policies and leader. Was there any letters, voices, what ever from Mahdi to clear up a bit of these difficulties? Which one of these Majtaheds who are in sever disagreement with each other are directed and led by Mahdi and how are the 12er people suppose to realise that?
    There is a difference between a fairy tale and reality and I hope some Shia could realize it.

    To conclude, I think by refraining from entering never ending debates about minor issues and sticking to the major issue both Shia and mainstream Muslims will be able to come to conclusions faster. I tried to explain in my article that the main issue in debate with 12er Shia is their doctrine of Imamat.

    I further described that the best never answered question for Shia is to ask them for prove for their doctrine from Quran (simply by pasting the verse with no commentary) and to ask them about the practicability of their doctrine in the absent of an accessible Imam. These remain as two severe problems with Shia belief and no answer could be given for them unless new verses of Quran come down and their so called Imam of Time come out of his occultation. As I don't think that any of these would happen I had no problems in posting this here knowing that Shia brothers/sisters will also read it. There are no hidden plans. These are facts.

    And Allah knows best.

    May Allah Guide Us All and forgive our sins.
    Student

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    The last post ultimately argues, it is all about the Quran.... And if Muslims don't accept the Quran as final proof, than what to say of them...
    "Those who deny the strength of truth,
    God does not give them courage." - Bulleh Shah

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    WOW! You wrote a lot... Look I was not in a debate but in fact I was just saying my opinion. I did not read all of it because it's alot!!! But i am pretty sure its good information!!

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghadir View Post
    Ok you are weird!!! You worte Imamah first; remember? Here look what you wrote: Do the Prophet's companions not include his family as well?

    well, I dont know about all Sunnis but for a few Muslims (including me at least), only the Prophet is the final authority on and of Islam. I think the difference between Shia and Sunni is primarily on the station of IMAMAH which is accepted by the former. As per 2:124, Abraham was made an Imam and the Imamah rested in his family, but was it a distinct station from Prophethood, or only that some Prophets were Imams, like some Prophets were Messengers.

    In the Sunni case, it seems Imamah (in whatever aspect it was there) has also ended with the end of Prophethood. Anyhow, you or me debating this will not determine who is right, the best a person can do is be objective and choose according to his knowledge.
    If you can't find it I wrote it in big!!!
    Ok
    yeah, I have some idea about Imamah, but wanted to know your opinion on it..
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    Ok. It's hard to explain but I think that it is the imam thjat gets the khalifa!

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    Wink Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?


    *that

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    I've always had a question (a few actually, but Shaad and your interaction reminded me of a primary one): if the imamah is given through Divine authority in a similar way that nabuwwa is, how is it even possible for that imamah to be usurped?
    "Allah is the point. If it is other-than-Allah, then it is besides the point." - Nuh Ha Mim Keller

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    that's a good question by brother Lumumba.

    Also, here is what the Shia Tafsir by Allama Tabatabai says - http://www.shiasource.com/al-mizan/self/tafsir-2-124/ - it seems to me that Imamah is a different and higher station than Risalah or Nabuwwah. Its okay that it rests in the family of Abraham, but my fundamental question is when Nabuwwat ended, by default Risalat too ended (with Muhammad (sws)), then what is the evidence that Imamah still continues?

    I mean I am willing to accept that some of the Nabi were Imams just like some of the Nabi were Rasul (as Allah says that he made Abraham an Imam), but I don't see it continuing beyond Prophet Muhammad (sws)..
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    Look i am still young... but i do not understand ur words! No offense! Sorry, but too much weird words.(don't ask me for the words please cause they are a lot). Like i said, im young really young and i do not know everything!!!! Its logic, the companions of prophet mohammed took the khalifa from imam ali... We still believe that their is still a imam(imam mahdi) who is hidden by allah!

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    brother we are all learning and should continue to learn. The question is not about who took Imamah from 'Ali (rta). Question is more basic - that about the concept of Imamah distinct from Prophethood itself?
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    I dont think theres a straight answer for that question, since people are different and what is right for someone is wrong for someone else.
    If you're the kind that follows the flow then its pretty clear to you i guess which is the "right path"...
    But imo you should research this further by yourself, its then you will get a clearer picture of whom you might want to believe is right or wrong..or you might still want to be "in the middle" and say that you belong to neither of those sects.. tho id understand it as "i am too lazy to think this further"

    There you go..

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheThing View Post
    But imo you should research this further by yourself, its then you will get a clearer picture of whom you might want to believe is right or wrong..or you might still want to be "in the middle" and say that you belong to neither of those sects.. tho id understand it as "i am too lazy to think this further"

    There you go..
    could there not be a third or fourth option? Lets see in place of Imamah in Shia doctrine, the Sunni equivalent is the Ijma of the community, right... ?

    The question "Who's right" should be evaluated relative to the Quran. Who's right from the perspective of the Quran which calls itself a Clear Book.
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Sunni or Shia..Who's right?

    I dont think theres a straight answer for that question, since people are different and what is right for someone is wrong for someone else.

    There is only one Absolute truth among all the followings. On the day of Judgment as Muslims believe we will know the truth. The search for truth is not about choice. What suits me or not. It is about what is right or not. Just because someone is born in a house hold and has grown up with a belief does no make it right. We have been given intellect to work out what is right and what is the Truth. Our eternal destiny depends upon searching for the truth and following it and not on accepting what I have as right and not bothering to find if an alternative was right or not.

    The search for truth does not mean I accept my current belief to be right and then search for evidence taht supports it but with an open mind seek the truth and when I find it have the strength to submit to it.

    Leaving the faith of family, society and forefathers is never easy. But we determine our own destiny and everyone has to lie in their own graves.

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