Defining the Word Shi'a
The writer states:
"Shie''ah", "Shi''ah": a singular Arabic noun means group, party, sect, supporter".
After citing the verses where Shi''a is mentioned the unnamed author writes:
"During the conflict between Hazrat Ali bin Abu Tleb (Karramallah wajhah) and Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan (Radhi Allahu Anh), both groups were referred to as Shi''atu Ali and Shi''atu Muawiyah. Hence, its early usage in the conflict between the two great companions Ali & Muawiyah [ra-both] was to denote who "sided" with who in its political context".
It should be stressed that this was far more than just a political difference over the breakfast table. This WAS a difference that lead to civil war.
Rather than watering the matter down to who "sided" with who, perhaps the writer should explain which ''side'' was right and which ''side'' was wrong. Were the Sahaba who ''sided'' with Mu''awiya against Ali correct to do so?
It is indeed wrong to just water it down to a difference of opinion - this political context clearly had religious ramifications, because Allah (swt) says clearly in the Holy Qur''an "Obey Allah, his Prophet and those in authority among you".
Rasulullah (s) also said:
"After me people shall experience fitna, you will split in to groups, he then pointed at ''Ali and said Ali and his companions shall be on the right path" [Kanz ul Ummal hadith number 33016].
This is an absolutely clear hadith pointing to where the truth lay, again there is no room for the excuse that those who fought ''Ali would also receive a reward as they thought they were on the right path!
The problem here is the writer is REFUSING to distinguish truth from falsehood. He is happy to portray an image that everything was rosy in the garden and there was a political dispute, but fails to pass comment on which party was right and which party was in the wrong.
Adapted from the book: "Historic Background of Shiism"
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