Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah in the Shi'ah View
After excluding some fanatics from among the common Shi'ah, who view "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah" as all being Nawasib (those who declared hostility against Ahl al-Bayt), the overwhelming majority of their former and latter 'ulama', still believe that their brothers "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah" are victims of the Umayyads intrgue and deception, since they thought of their good ancestors (al-salaf al-salih) and followed their example without any investigation or verification, so they (salaf) diverted them for the straight path and seperated them from the Thaqalayn --Book of Allah and Pure kindred --who safeguard whoever holds on to them against deviation and ensure guidance for him.
So we most often see them (Shi'ah) resort to compiling (books) for the sake of defending themselves and exposing their beliefs, inviting for enquity and an agreement with their brothers "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah".
Some of the Shi'ah 'ulama' have traversed throughout countries and towns,looking for the means necessary for founding Islamic houses and societies with the purpose of rapproachement between the schools of law (madhahib)and trying to reunite them.
Some others have been taken themselves toward the honourable al-'Azhar, the beacon of science and knowledge for Ahl al-Sunnah.They met its 'ulama', debated them in the best way,and strove for eliminating the grudges, as done by al-'Imam Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi when he met al-Imam Salim al-Din al-Bishri.The result of that meeting and long correspondences between these two men has been the production of the valuable book "al-Muraja'at", which played a great role in rapproachment among viewpoints of Muslims.Further, success has been the fruit of the efforts of those Shi'ah 'ulama', in Egypt, when al-'Imam Mahmud Shaltut, the Egyptian Mufti of that time, issued has interpid fatwa (legal verdict), permitting to follow and apply the Ja'fari Shi'i school, after which this madhhab has turned to be a subject among the curricula in al-'Azhar.
Henceforth, the Shi'ah and especially their 'ulama' perserved on propagating fo the Pure Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, and the Ja'fari school, that fully represents Islam.They have compiled in this respect numerous volumes and articles holding several seminars particularly after the triumph of the Islamic Revelution in Iran, where many conferences have been held in Tehran, under the names. "The Islamic Unity" and "Rapprochment among the schools" "(al-Taqurib bayna al-Madhahib). All these being truthful invitations for discarding hostility and grudges, spreading spirit of Islamic fraternity, and calling Muslims to respect each other.
Once upon a year the "Islmic Unity Conference" invites a number of 'ulama' and thinkers from among the Shi'ah and Sunnah to participate in it, so they cohabit for a week under the protection of sincere fraternity, eating, drinking, praying, invoking God, exchanging opinions, ideas, and viewpoints with each other.
Had not been the role of these conferences but only making freindship between the hearts, and rapproachement among Muslims, for being acquainted with each other and eliminating all grudges, this would have been an achievement of great benefit and all-inclusive favour, an their fruits will ripen very soon, God-willing.
When anyone enters any of the ordinary Shi'ah houses, not to say the houses of the 'ulama' and men of the letters, he will find in it a library containing, besides the Shi'ah (reference) books, a considerable number of Ahl al-Sunnah's books, while the opposite is true concerning Ahl al-Sunnah, as when entering their scholars' houses we will never find even one Shi'i book, but very rarely.That is why they are unaware of many facts about the Shi'ah, knowing nothing but the lies and false information written by their (Shi'ah) enemies.
Further we very often notice that the ordinary Shi'i individual holds information about the Islamic history throughout all its stages, and may celebrate some of its memories and occations.
Whereas the Sunni scholar, on the other hand, hardly pays attention or cares for history, since he considers it one of the tragedies he never desired for bringing out and persuing, but they should be neglected and need not being discussed since they hold suspicious about the "good ancestors" (as he thinks). And as he convinced or deluded himself about the justice and honesty of all the Sahabah, so he would never accept what is written in history books against them.
Due to all this, we find him unable to withstand any constructive debate, based on proof and evidence, so he either resorts to elusion and excapes debating due to his pre-knowledge of being defeated, or he may overcome his emotions and inclinations and indulge himself in discussion and debate, becoming thus a rebel against all his beliefs and converting then to be a follower of Ahl al-Bayt.
The Shi'ah then are the true followers of the Prophetic Sunnah, since their first Imam after the Prophet (S) is 'Ali ibn Abi Talib,who used to live with and breathe through the Prophetic Sunnah. You can percieve this fact through knowing that, when they came to him to acknowledge him as a caliph on condition that he rule according to the conduct (sirah) of the Two Shaykhs (Abu Bakr and Umar), he replied decisively: "I will never rule but according to the Book of Allah and His Messenger's Sunnah". 'Ali never wanted or desired for the caliphate, if it being on account of disregarding the Prophetic Sunnah, as it was him who said: "Your calipahate is to me no more than a goat's sneeze, unless I should establish one of restrictive ordinances of Allah".
His son al-'Imam al-Husayn (A) has also uttered his well-known dictum, which still resounds in the time earshot:"If Muhammad's religion can never become straight except through giving away my life, O swords take me".
So the Shi'ah view their brothers Ahl al-Sunnah with pity and compassion, seeking for them guidance and delieverance as the reward for guidance, in their view, and, as stated by veracious (sihah) narrations, is better than the world and whatever is therein. The Prophet (S) has told 'Ali (A), when he sent him to conquer Khaybar: "Fight them till they witness that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they utter this, their blood and properties will be immune against you, and their reckoning will be with God. If Allah guides through you one man, it will be superior to whatever over which the sun has risen, or superior to having amenities of life".62
As 'Ali's only concern was guiding people and recovering them towards the Book of Allah and His Messenger's (S) Sunnah, so also the concern of his followers (Shi'ah) today lies in defending themselves against all charges and falsities, and acquainting their brothers Ahl al-Sunnah with the facts and realities about Ahl al-Bayt (may peace be upon them), guiding them consquently toward the straight path.
The holy Qur'an has stated:
"In their history verily there is lesson for me of undestanding. It is no invented story but a confirmation of the existing (Scripture) and a detailed explantion of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for folk who believe". (12:111)
62.Sahih Muslim, vol.vii, p. 122, kitab al-fada'il, bab fada'il 'Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Adapted from the book: "The Shi'ah; The Real Followers of the Sunnah" by: "Dr. Muhamad al-Tijahi al-Samawi"
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