An Outline Of The Differences
Between The Sunnis and The Shi'ite in Matters of Faith And Doctrine
of the Prophet
4.Belief in the
oneness of Allah
(the family of the Messenger - may Allah be pleased with them all)
8.The meaning of
Shari'ah and Haqeeqah
(obedience and devotion)
The Glorious Qur'an
There is unanimous agreement among them regarding its authenticity, and
its text being safeguarded from any additions or deletions. The Qur'an is
to be understood in consonance with the rules and bases of the Arabic
language. They believe in every single letter of it, it being the word of
Allah the Exalted. The Qur'an is neither temporal nor newly created, but
is eternal. Falsehood does not approach it from before it or behind it. It
is the primary source of all the Muslims' tenets of faith, their rites and
rules of conduct.
some of them, the Qur'an's authenticity is doubtful, and if it appears to
contradict any of their sectarian beliefs or doctrines, then they give the
Qur'anic text strange, far-fetched interpretations that agree with their
sectarian views. For that reason they are called Al-Mutawwilah
(those who give their own interpretations to the revealed texts). They
love to draw attention to the discord that occurred at the time when the
Qur'an was first compiled. The views and opinions of their Imams are the
primary source of their jurisprudence.
Hadeeths (The Prophetic
the Sunnis, it is the second source of revealed law, complementary to the
Noble Quran It is not permissible to contradict or reject the rulings and
directives contained in those Hadeeths (ahaadeeth) which are reliably
attributed to the Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him).
The methodology applied in determining the authenticity of these
traditions utilizes a set of stringent rules agreed upon by the scholars
who specialize in this field, and involves detailed analysis of the chain
of transmitters of any given tradition. No distinction is made between
male and female narrators; judgment is made solely on the basis of
individual trustworthiness and technical ability in relating traditions,
and every narrator's history is recorded. No tradition is accepted from a
known liar, or from one whose morals or scholarly ability were not
corroborated, or from anyone, merely on the basis of his family connection
or lineage. The compilation of the Prophetic Traditions is taken to be a
sacred Trust, the fulfillment of which overrides all other considerations.
Shi'ites reject all Prophetic Traditions which were not related by members
of Ahlul-Bait, or their descendants. The only exception to this rule is
their acceptance of a few Hadeeths (ahaadeeth) narrated by those who sided
with 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) in his political wars. They do
not attend to the authenticity and soundness of the chain of narrators,
nor do they approach the study of the Prophetic Traditions with a
scientific, critical attitude. Their narrations often appear in a form
like that of the following example: "It has been reported regarding
Muhammad bin Isma'eel by way of some of our friends through a man who
transmitted it from him ['Ali] that he said..." Their books are filled
with hundreds of thousands of traditions whose authenticity cannot be
confirmed. They have built their religion specifically upon these spurious
texts while outright rejecting over three quarters of the authentic
Prophetic Traditions. This is one of the main differences between the
Shi'ites and the Sunnis.
The Companions Of The Prophet
is unanimously agreed that the noble Companions deserve our utmost
respect, and are absolutely trustworthy. As for the discord which occurred
among them, it is to be considered as the consequence of the sincere
exercise of personal conviction and opinion. The discord was resolved and
is a thing of the past. It is not permissible for us to hold, on the basis
of past differences among the Companions, grudges and ill will which
continue for generations. The Companions are those whom Allah has
described in the best of terms; He has praised them upon many occasions.
It is not lawful for anyone to make any accusation against them or cast
suspicion upon them, and there is no benefit to be derived therefrom.
They charge that all save a few of the Companions had turned apostate
after the death of the Prophet
(may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). On the other hand,
they grant the Companion 'Ali bin Abi Taalib a very special status; some
of them consider him vicegerent, and some view him as a prophet, while
others take him for a god! Shi'ites pass judgment on Muslims in accordance
with their position with regards to 'Ali. Whoever was elected caliph
before 'Ali is held by them to be a tyrant, an apostate or a sinner. The
same judgment is passed on every Muslim ruler who did not step down for
any of the descendants of 'Ali and his wife Fatimah (may Allah be pleased
with them). The Shi'ites have thus created an atmosphere of animosity
throughout the history of Islam, and the question of partisanship of Ahlul-Bait
developed into a school of thought which preached and perpetuated such
detrimental teachings down through the generations.
Belief In The Oneness Of Allah
Sunnis believe that Allah is the One, the Only, God, the Almighty Subduer.
He has no partners or rivals, and He has no equal. There is no
intermediary between Him and His worshippers. They believe in His
attributes as they were revealed In the Qur'anic verses, and they do not
obscure their obvious meanins with far-fetched Interpretations. They do
not strike any comparison between the divine attributes and other things,
for as Allah says in His Book "There is nothing like unto Him." They
believe that Allah sent the Prophets and commissioned them with conveying
to mankind His Message and Guidance. They conveyed Allah's Message and did
not conceal any part of it They believe that knowledge Of the unseen
belongs to Allah alone. Intercession is confined to the Hereafter, and
none may intercede except by Allah's permission. All supplication, vows,
offerings of sacrifices and requests for needs are to be directed to God
alone; they are not to be directed to any other besides Him. Allah alone
controls good and evil. There is no one, living or dead in His authority
or in His administration of affairs. All beings depend on Him, and need
His favor and mercy. The knowledge of Allah is attained through knowledge
of divinely revealed law, and this has precedence over the exercise of
reason, which might never guide one to the truth, although it may provide
reassurance to the believer, and help him to achieve tranquillity.
Shi'ites also believe in Allah the Exalted and His Oneness, except that
they adulterate this belief with polytheistic rituals and observances.
They implore and make supplication to Allah's slaves and worshippers
rather than to Him alone, saying "O Ali! and "O Husain!" and "O Zainab!"
Similarly they make vows and sacrifice beasts in the name of others
besides Allah. They request the dead to fulfil their needs as is shown
by their prayers and poems. They consider their Imams to be infallible,
to have knowledge of the unseen, and to partake In the administration of
the universe. It is the Shi'ites who Invented Sufism (mysticism) to
consecrate their deviated tenets and thus give them the air of legitimacy
They claimed that there is special power and authority invested in the
"awliyaa"' (mystic saints), "aqtaab" (those considered to be the
spiritual axes of the universe, which turns due to their exalted status),
and Ahlul-Bait Shi'ite scholars and clergy impressed upon their followers
the concept of a hereditary privileged class, as a matter of
religion, although this has no foundation in Islam at all. Knowledge
of Allah, is attained, according to them, through the
exercise of reason, not by knowledge of divinely revealed law.
That which came to us by way of revelation in the Qur'an merely represents
an affirmation of reason's judgment; it is not considered to be a source
which is independent of, and beyond the limits of reason.
Sunnis believe that believers will be blessed with the sight of Allah in
the Hereafter, as is mentioned in the Qur'an: "On that Day faces [of the
believers] will be resplendent, looking towards their Lord."
Shi'ites believe that to see Allah is not possible in this world nor in
Allah the Exalted has reserved knowledge of the unseen for Himself;
however, He has revealed to His Prophets some of the affairs and
conditions of the unseen, for particular reasons. The Qur'an says: "And
they do not encompass anything of God's knowledge except what He will to
claim that knowledge of the unseen belongs solely to their Imams,
and it is not for the Prophet to inform us about the unseen. Some
Shi'ites have gone so far as to claim godhead for those Imams.
Aalur-Rasool (The Family Of The
(May Allah Be Pleased With Them All)
Ahl Al-Bait ,
according to the Sunnis, has various meanings. The best single definition
of this term is "the followers of the Prophet Muhammad in the faith
of Islam." It is also defined as "the pious and God-fearing people of the
Prophet's ummah (nation of believers)." It is also said that the term
refers to the believing relatives of Muhammad, from the tribes of
Haashim and 'Abdul-Muttalib.
According to the Shi'ites, the term
Ahl Al-Bait refers only to 'Ali bin
Abi Taalib, to some of his sons, and to the descendants 'of those
The Meaning Of Shari'ah
(Islamic Law) And Haqeeqah (The Truth)
the Sunnis' view, the Shariah (the divinely revealed law) is
itself the Haqeeqah (the essential knowledge, the reality).
They hold that Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, did not conceal from his
nation of believers any part of that knowledge, contained in the revealed
law. There was no good thing that he did not guide us to, and no evil
thing that he did not warn us about. Allah has said 'On this day, I have
completed your religion. Therefore, ' the sources of the Islamic faith are
Allah's Book and the sunnah (practice) of the Prophet, and there is no
need to add anything to that. The relationship of the believer with Allah,
and the path to the achievement of good works and worship, are clear and
direct. The only one to know the actual condition of the believers is
Allah, so (i.e do not pass judgment on the praiseworthiness or purity of
anyone, lest we overstep our bounds). The views and opinions of anyone may
be accepted or rejected, except or those of the infallible Prophet of
Allah, upon whom be Allah's blessings and peace.
Shi'ites see the Shari'ahas being merely the various
rulings and directives set forth by the Prophet; they concern the common
and superficial folk only. As for the Haqeeqah, no one
knows it except the Imams of Ahl Al-Bait
These Imams acquire the sciences of Haqeeqah through inheritance,
one generation after another. It remains a secret possession among them.
Furthermore, the Shi'ites consider their Imams infallible; their
every work and practice is deemed incumbent upon their followers. They
believe that one may communicate with God only through
intermediaries, and it is for this reason that their religious
leaders have such an inflated opinion of themselves, as evidenced by the
exaggerated titles they take for themselves, e.g. Baabullah (the door to
Allah), Waliyullah (the friend of Allah), Hujjatullah (Allah's proof),
Ayatullah (the sign of Allah), Al-Ma'soom (the infallible one), etc.
Ahlus-sunnah adhere strictly to the legal rulings and directives of the
Noble Qur'an, as clarified by the sayings and practices of the Messenger
We also depend upon the sayings of the Companions and the generation of
trustworthy scholars who followed them. They were the nearest to the
Prophet's era and the most sincere in supporting his mission, throughout
the tests and trials which had to be endured in the course of establishing
Islam. Since this religion has been completed, no one has the right to
formulate new legislation or directives; however, in order to properly
understand the details of the revealed law, and to apply it according to
new situations and circumstances while keeping in mind the general welfare
of the people, one must refer to the qualified Muslim scholars who must
work solely within the bounds established by Allah's Book and the sunnah
of the Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him).
depend only on the exclusive sources which they claim for their Imams:
upon their farfetched interpretations of the Quran; and upon their
contrary attitude which puts them at odds with the majority of the Muslim
peoples. The Shi'ites consider their Imams to be infallible, and to
have the right to create new rulings and directives .in contradiction
to the revealed law. For example, they have altered:
(a) The call to prayer and the prescribed times and postures of prayers.
(b) The rites of Hajj (pilgrimage) and visitation to the sacred places.
(c) The specified times for beginning and breaking the fast.
(d) The rulings with regards to zakaah (alms-tax) and its distribution.
(e) The inheritance laws. The Shi'ites are very particular to take
positions in opposition to Ahlus-Sunnah, thus widening the gap between
Sunnis and Shi'ites.
Al-Walaa' (Obedience And
means "total adherence, obedience and devotion." The Sunnis believe that
it is due only to the Messenger of Allah, for Allah says in His Book
"Whosoever obeys the Messenger, he has verily obeyed Allah.'' No other
person deserves our strict adherence or our obedience and devotion. Our
responsibilities to others are defined by known legal principles, and
there is no obedience due to any human being if that entails disobedience
to the Creator.
view al-walaa' as being one of the pillars of iman. They define
it as the firm belief in the Twelve Imams including the "hidden"
Imam). They consider one who does not have strict devotion to Aalul-Bait
as one who has no faith. They will not pray behind such a person, nor will
they give him zakaah although he be deserving of it. Such a person would
be treated as a kaafr by them.
Taqiyyah (Calculated Deception)
is defined as presenting an outer appearance that belies what one conceals
inside, to protect oneself from harm. It is considered impermissible
for a Muslim to deceive other Muslims, because of the Prophet's
saying: Whoever deceives is not of us." Resorting to Taqiyyah is
permitted only in one situation: during war against the disbelievers
who are the enemies of Islam. That is part of the etiquette of war. It is
incumbent on the Muslim to be truthful and courageous in upholding the
truth, and to be neither ostentatious, nor deceiving, nor treacherous. A
should give sincere counsel, enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.
spite of the differences among the various Shi'ite sects, they all agree
that Taqiyyah is a prescribed duty and a pillar of their faith.
Their schools of thought could not stand without it. They learn its
principles and methods and they practice it, especially if they are in
dire circumstances. They exaggeratedly praise and flatter those
whom they consider disbelievers, whom they consider deserving of slaughter
and destruction. The verdict of kufr is passed on anyone who is not of
their sectarian school, and for them "the end justifies the means." Their
ethics allow every manner of lying, cunning and deception.
Governing The Islamic State
state is ruled by a Caliph (Khalifa) elected to his position of
leadership from among the Muslim people. To be leader, a man must be sane,
rightly guided and knowledgeable. He should be known for his piety and
trustworthiness, and he should be capable of bearing such a
responsibility. The caliph is nominated to his position Of leadership by
those Muslims endowed with knowledge and experience. If he does not hold
firm to his duty, and deviates from the directives of the Qur'an, then
they may remove him from his position and strip him of all authority.
Otherwise, he deserves the obedience and cooperation of every Muslim. The
role of caliphate is, to the Sunnis, a great burden and responsibility,
not a mere honor or opportunity for exploitations.
Generally speaking, the right to govern according to Shi'ites,
is hereditary, and restricted to 'Ali, and his descendants by
Fatimah (the daughter of the Prophet). There is, however, some slight
difference among them on the point of the hereditary right as to whom it
belongs to. Due to this view of theirs, the Shi'ites are never loyal to
any ruler unless he is one of the descendants of 'Ali bin Abi Taalib.
When the practice of hereditary leadership
vested in the descendants of 'Ali and Fatimah could no longer be
maintained, because the line had come to an end, the Shi'ites
invented the doctrine of Ar-Raj'ah, according to which the last
Imam was not dead, but "hidden". He is expected to arise and return at the
end of time, when he will slaughter all of his political opponents, and
those of his ancestors, and will restore to the Shi'ites their rights
which were "plundered" by the other sects over the centuries.
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