Shia Sunni difference over Prophet’s last sermon, what do we do about it?

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How do Shia, Sunni and other Muslims come together for common good?

Facts don’t matter, it did not matter to President Bush and his followers, and they believed what they believed despite the information available to the contrary. We Muslims are no different, each one of our sect is entrenched with certain beliefs, and our fundamental beliefs will not change. Indeed, accepting change is like making the earth beneath us disappear. If Sunnis accept Shia version as fact or Shias see the Sunni version as the truth, their whole theology collapses, each one will cease to exist, and for that reason, no one will subscribe to each others’ “facts”. 

Sunnis believe that in his last sermon, Prophet said he was leaving the book (to learn and understand, as we are individually accountable for our actions) while the Shia Muslims believe that he also said he is leaving behind his progeny to offer guidance. Even if we were to recover the real voice and his speech, neither group will believe in it; it amounts to wiping out our beliefs. It is best to follow the guidance from Qur’aan; let you believe what works for you and I believe what works for me, as long as we do not mess with each other’s space, sustenance and nurturence. Both will go to Janna if we care about God’s creation.

Shia beliefs have worked for Shias, Just as Sunni, Wahhabi, Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Salafi, Deobandi and other beliefs have worked for them. Do we see the need for a change?

Religion is not a football game where the touchdown will be decided if the guy’s foot or any part of his foot was inside the line while catching the ball. Religion is not that precise, a sinful woman can give water to a thirsty animal and earn God’s grace, and drunk can share food with the neighbor and get preference over the Namazi (someone who prays all times). Islam is a big universal religion and not defined by petty lines.  All will go to paradise, if you take care of fellow beings, animals and environment – indeed serving and preserving God’s creation means serving God.

We have conflicts among us, not real ones, but the ones that do not affect our space, sustenance and nurturance. God has intentionally created us to be different, he created us from a single couple in to many tribes, communities and nations, and he expects us to be different, but he also expects us to know each other, and figure out how to preserve his creation and not mess with it. The best among us are the ones who are righteous, those who care about God’s creation, each one of us.

We need to learn about our difference, that is human curiosity, however we need to do our Jihad, our struggle in fighting the temptation to denigrate the other in any fashion. Here again God loves us, and guides us how to dialogue without ever putting each other down.

The Sunnis include all of Prophet’s wives as his family, where as Shias limit it to Fatima and her descendents. There are Sunnis who claim that they are descendents of the Prophet, as if to claim special privileges. Islam is about equality and humility and not privileges. No one in Islam is special unless it is for his actions and deeds. The prophet even told Fatima that there is no free ticket to her to paradise, just because she is the daughter of the prophet, so what makes any one think that he or she has privileges? Prophet wiped the privileges completely, as it is arrogant to claim such status, and God does not like it because arrogance messes with his peaceful creation.

Prophet appointed Bilal to the highest position to call Muslims to prayers to shut the arrogant ones that he was a slave; he knocked out the vanity from the wealthy and asked them all to stand in the same line no matter who it was, he liberated women from a chattel (Woman was still a Chattel even in the US until 150 years ago)  to a free individual who is free to marry, divorce, own the property and business; and he said all will do the fasting to imbue a sense of humility. And remember he made Zakat proportionate so all can contribute proportionately. Did he make the Hajj a requirement for all? Heavens no, and this is the only thing that is not mandatory, because of the affordability factor. Islam is never against making money and getting rich as long as you are fair and just to the resources that make you rich.

As a Sunni, I implore fellow Muslims to learn to respect each other’s traditions and belief. There is no point in proving each other wrong. Just follow the guidance of Allah and the Prophet – be good to fellow beings. Start going to each other’s place of worship and see the devotion each group has in the way they pray. I am blessed to have been in every Masjid including Kaaba, Masjid Nabwi, Masjid Aqsa and Bait-al-Muqaddas, I have prayed and iftaared regularly in Bohra, WD Muhammad, Ahmadiyya, Shia, Sunni, and just about every traditions with the exception of Ismaili Jamat Khana. Insha Allah, God may fulfill me with that wish. I have been there, but never been a part of their prayers, however and whatever it may be. Knocking prejudice out towards fellow Muslims is peaceful, try it, you may cherish it. Alhamdu Lillah, I walk my talk.

Insha Allah, we will do more intra-faith dialogue and learn to respect each other for what we believe,  and not get hell bent on proving and denying each other’s faith.  I will do my personal share of work in bringing unity for common goodness. All it takes is more of us to take the stand and hold such meetings and learn about each other for creating a better world. (Q49:13). Check this out.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work and social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes everything you want to know about him. 


It is forwarded by Ansar Raza and we need to know the author. I implore Muslims to always quote the source or put their name to it. Never give the impression that it is your writing.


 Is Imamat an Article of Faith?
The Holy Qur`ān requires Muslims to believe in Allah, Day of Judgment, angels, Divine Books, and Messengers. It declares those who deny any of these articles of faith as extremely misled people.

“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in Allāh and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets…” (2:178)

 “And whoso disbelieves in Allāh and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day, has surely strayed far away.” (4:137)

Nowhere in the Holy Qur`an we are required to believe in any human being other than a Prophet/Messenger. However, according to Shia beliefs, Imamat is also an article of Islamic faith. However, the Holy Qur`ān does not consider it as one of the articles of Islamic faith. Hadhrat Alī, while discussing articles of faith in Nahjul Balagha, that is a collection of his sermons, never mentions Imamat as one of them.

 Does an Imam have to be a Prophet First?

Shia interpretation of the verse (2:125) of the Holy Qur`ān is that the Prophet Ibrahīm as was first made Prophet, and then he was tried with certain commandments that he fulfilled. Then he was promoted to the status of Imam.  If this is how the Imams are appointed, then our Shia brothers must believe that all of their Imams were Prophets first, then tried by certain commandments and after fulfilling those commandments, they were promoted as Imams. Obviously, this belief completely negates their concept of the finality of the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad sa and implies that they believe in 12 Prophets after Prophet Muhammad sa. Another problem they face is that, according to their belief, their Imams are borne as infallible beings. Does it not mean that their Imams first became Prophets, put to trial, succeeded and then promoted to the status of Imam, before their birth?

 Are Wives not Members of the Family?

Shia Muslims do not consider the wives of the Holy Prophet sa as his family members sayng that the family members mentioned in the verse (33:34) only include Lady Fatima ra, Imam Ali ra, Imam Hassan ra, and Imam Hussain ra. However, in the following verses the Holy Qur`ān mentions the wife of Prophet Ibrahīm as and the parents and siblings of Prophet Moses as as the members of their families. Angels said to the wife of Prophet Ibrahīm as:
“Do you marvel at Allāh’s decree? The mercy of Allāh and His blessings are upon you, O people of the house.” (11:74)
When Prophet Moses as, as a child, refused to be fed by any of the women of Pharaoh’s house, his sister said to them: “Shall I direct you to the people of a household who will bring him up for you and will be his sincere well-wishers?” (28:13)

How can Shia Muslims reconcile these verses with their beliefs?

 Qur`ān and Imam Separated?

According to Shia traditions, the Holy Prophet sa said in his last Hajj Sermon that he is leaving two heavy things among the Muslims, namely, the Qur`ān and his progeny. He said that as long as the Muslims hold fast to them, they would not be misled. Now the situation is that we have the Holy Qur`ān in our hands but the Imam has disappeared. According to another Shia belief, the real Qur`ān is with the 12th Imam. In that case, we have lost access to both the Qur`ān and the Imam. Now, who do we blame if we are misled?

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