Belief in Imamate by Both Sects
By Imamate in this chapter, we mean the general Imamate for Muslims, i.e. caliphate, rulership, leadership and Wilàyah (guardianship).
Since the main topic of my book being comparison between the school of Ahl al-Sunnah and that of the Imàmiyyah Shi‘ah, I have to expose the principle of Imamate in the perspective of both the sects, in order that the reader and researcher be acquainted with the foundations and principles upon which each sect depends, knowing consequently the convictions that led me to accept conversion and abandon my previous belief.
The Shi‘ah view Imamate as one of the principles of religion (usul al-Din), due to its great significance and seriousness, being the leadership of the best ummah (community) that has been raised up for mankind. Beside the numerous virtues and unique characteristics upon which leadership is based, of which I refer to: knowledge, bravery, forbearance, honesty, chastity, asceticism (zuhd), piety (taqwà), and godliness...etc.
The Shi‘ah hold that Imamate being a Divine post with which Allah encharges whomever He chooses from among His upright bondmen, to undertake this critical role, being to lead and guide the world after the demise of the Prophet (God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny).
On this basis, al-’Imàm ‘Ali ibn Abi Tàlib was the Imam and leader for Muslims in accordance with the election of Allah, Who has revealed to His Messenger to nominate him (‘Ali) as the chief for mankind, the task that he(S) did, telling the Ummah to follow him as his successor, after returning from his last Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajjat al-Wadà‘) at Ghadir Khumm, and people swore allegiance to him "as held by the Shi‘ah."
Ahl al-Sunnah also believe in the necessity of the Imamate for leading the Ummah, but they give the Ummah right to choose its Imam and leader. According to this, Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhàfah became the leader for the Muslims through their electing him after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (S), who kept silent concerning the matter of successorship never declaring anything in its regard to the Ummah, leaving the issue to be determined according to the shurà (consultation) among people.
Where the Truth be?
When any researcher meditates in the sayings of the two sects, contemplating in their arguments without any fanaticism, he will undoubtedly approach the truth.
Adapted from the book: "To Be With the Truthful" by: "Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi"
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