Some people are of the view that those schools of fiqh, such as,Shafi"i andHanafi which have no differences in principle should establish brotherhood and stand in one line. They believe that denominations which have differences in the principles can in no way be brothers. This group view the religious principles as an interconnected set as termed by scholars of Usul, as an interrelated and interdependent set; any damage to one principle harms all principles. As a result, those who believe in this principle are of the view that when, for instance, the principle of "Imama" is damaged and victimized, unity and fraternity will bear no meaning and for this reason the Shi"a and the Sunnis cannot shake hands as two Muslim brothers and be in the same rank, no matter who their enemy is.
The first group answers this group by saying: "There is no reason for us to consider the principles as an interrelated set and follow the principle of "all or none". Imam "Ali (pbuh) chose a very logical and reasonable approach. He left no stone unturned to retrieve his right. He used everything within his power to restore the principle of "imamah", but he never adhered to the motto of "all or none".
Ali (pbuh) did not rise up for his right, and that was not compulsory. On the contrary, it was a calculated and chosen approach. He did not fear death. Why didn"t he rise up? There could have been nothing above martyrdom. Being killed for the cause of the Almighty was his ultimate desire. He was more intimate with martyrdom than a child is with his mother"s breast. But in his sound calculations, Imam Ali (pbuh) had reached the conclusion that under the existing conditions it was to the interest of Islam to foster collaboration and cooperation among the Muslims and give up revolt. He repeatedly stressed this point.
In one of his letters (No.62 "Nahj al Balaghah") to Malik al-Ashtar, he wrote the following:
"First I pulled back my hand until I realized that a group of people converted from Islam and invited the people toward annihilating the religion of Muhammad(pbuh). So I feared that if I did not rush to help Islam and the Muslims, I would see gaps or destruction which calamity would be far worse than the several-day-long demise of caliphate."
In the six-man council, after appointment of "Uthman" by "Abdul-Rahman ibn "Awf, "Ali (pbuh) set forth his objection as well as his readiness for collaboration as follows: "You well know that I am more deserving than others for caliphate. But now by Allah, so long as the affairs of the Muslims are in order and my rivals suffice with setting me aside and only I am alone subjected to oppression, I will not oppose (the move) and will give in (to it)." (From Sermon 72, "Nahj al- Balaghah").
These indicate that in this issue Ali (pbuh) condemned the principle of "all or none". There is no need to further elaborate the approach taken by Ali (pbuh) toward this issue. There are ample historical proofs and reasons in this regard.
Now it is time to see to which group the eminent Allama Ayatollah Amini - the distinguished compiler of the "al-Ghadir" - belonged and how he thought. Did he approve of the unity of the Muslims only within the light of Shi"ism? Or did he consider Islamic fraternity to be broader? Did he believe that Islam which is embraced by uttering the"shahadatayn" (the Muslim creed) would willy-nilly create some rights for the Muslims and that the brotherhood and fraternity set forth in the Qur"an exists among all Muslims?.
Allamah Amini personally considered this point - i.e. the need to elucidate his viewpoint on this subject and elaborate whether "al-Ghadir" has a positive or a negative role in (the establishment of) Islamic unity. In order not to be subject to abuse by his opponent - be they among the pros and cons - he has repeatedly explained and elucidated his views.
Allamah Amini supported Islamic unity and viewed an open mind and clear insight. On different occasions, he set forth this matter in various volumes of the "al-Ghadir". Reference will be made to some of them below:
In the preface to volume I, he briefly mentions the role of "al-Ghadir" in the world of Islam. He states: "And we consider all this as service to religion, sublimation of the word of the truth, and restoration of the Islamic "ummah" (community)." In volume 3 (page 77), after quoting the fabrications of Bin Taymiyah, Alusi, and Qasimi to the effect that Shi"ism is hostile to some of the Ahl al-Bayt (the Household of the Prophet) such as Zayd bin Ali bin Hosein, he notes the following under the title of "Criticism and Correction": "These fabrications and accusations sow the seeds of corruption, stir hostilities among the "ummah", create discord among the Islamic community, divide the "ummah", and clash with the public interests of the Muslims.
Again in volume 3 (page 268), he quotes the accusation leveled on the Shi"as by Sayyid Muhammad Rāshid Rida to the effect that "Shi"as are pleased with any defeat incurred by Muslims, so much as they celebrated the victory of the Russians over the Muslims." Then he says: "These falsehoods are fabricated by persons like Sayyid Muhammad Rāshid Rida. The Shi"ahs of Iran andIraq, against whom this accusation is leveled, as well as the orientalists, tourists, envoys of Islamic countries, and those who traveled and still travel toIran and Iraq, have no information about this trend. Shi"as, without exception, respect the lives, blood, reputation, and property of the Muslims be they Shi"as or Sunnis. Whenever a calamity has befallen the Islamic community anywhere, in any region, and for any sects, the Shi"as have shared their sorrow. The Shi"as have never been confined to the Shi"a world, the (concept of)Islamic brotherhood which has been set forth in the Qur"an and the "sunnah" (the Prophet"s sayings and actions), and in this respect, no discrimination has been made between the Shi"ahs and the Sunnis."
Also at the close of volume 3, he criticizes several books penned by the ancients such as "Iqd al-Farid" by Ibn Abd al-Rabbih, "al-Intisar" by Abu al-Husayn Khayyat al-Mu"tazili, "al Farq bayn al-Firaq" by Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi, "al-Fasl" by Ibn Hazm al-Andulusi, "al-Milal wa al-Nihal" by Muhammad ibn Abdul-Karim al-Shahristani "Minhaj al-Sunnah" by Ibn Taymiah and "al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah" by Ibn Kathir and several by the later writers such as "Tarikh al-Umam al-Islamiyyah" by Shaykh Muhammad Khizri, "Fajr al Islam" by Ahmad Amin, "al-Jawlat fi Rubu al-Sharq al-Adna" by Muhammad Thabit al-Mesri, "al-Sira Bayn al-Islam wa al-Wathaniyah" by Qasimi, and "al- Washi"ah" by Musa Jarallah. Then he states the following: