The Position of the Shi’a according to Ahl al-Sunnah
In this time and age when the Ummah is being preyed upon and being attempted to shatter into a thousand pieces, many Muslims are trying to unite under different banners and flags to keep some sort of sanity in their lives and nations.
One thing that is very common amongst Muslims in the west is both sides of Sunnis and Shias trying to form bonds of friendship and unity.
The view of Shi’ism according to the Orthodox Sunni tradition is a very contentious issue. Mainly because many of the “‘Ulema” of our age are inequipped to handle the issue of divergent creeds and philosophies and debate in a respectful manner. There are some who will say the Shi’a are outright non-Muslim and quote numerous classical excerpts from previous great scholars to back up their claims. The issue with this is that the term ‘Shi’a’ has many different connotations and meanings. What Shi’a means or has meant has differed according to the particular time, place, or group you are referring to. An example is the Shi’a Fatamid empire of Egypt, who used to pray towards Karbala in Iraq. The mainstream “Twelver” Shi’a of today all pray towards Makkah. If we look at our main books of Aqeedah, you will find it mentioned that “We do not make takfir (Accuse people of apostasy) of those who pray towards our Qibla”. Likewise there are other Shi’a doctrines that held that a seventh of the Qur’an was missing and would be returned by the Mahdi, as well as the belief that ‘Ali held some sort of divinity, again these are opinions not held by most mainstream Shi’a.
Then there are those who claim the Shi’a are Orthodox Muslim and that they should be wholly accepted into the Muslim community and so on. But do not address the issue of many Shi’as who gather to slander the Companions of the Prophet (May Allah be pleased with them all), wrongly accuse Abu Bakr and ‘Umar of murdering Fatima al-Zahra, the denial of seeing Allah in the afterlife, the practice of temporary marriage, and so on.
So what is the position of the Shi’a according to orthodoxy?
The following article is succinct and excellent in summarising the issue of Shi’ism:
The following file is also an excellent leaflet that addresses the divergence of Sunni and Shi’a doctrine based solely on the Qur’an, it is something that can be distributed to our Shi’a brothers and sisters and given out in dawah centres:
One should definitely read these articles if they are interested in learning more about the Shi’a according to the Sunni tradition. Both articles were written by Sheikh Abu Ja’far al-Hanbali a great and erudite scholar of our time currently residing in the city of Nottingham. Much is said about our Sheikh, but having met him personally I can firmly say that he is true on the path of orthodoxy and a illuminating guide for the youth of our time.
To conclude with my own personal stance:
If an individual attaches the label of Shi’a to themself that does not render them a non-Muslim. However, there are a number of issues regarding the creed of Shi’ism that are completely unacceptable in Orthodox Islam, namely regarding the status of Khalifa’ta-Rasul Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (May Allah be pleased with him). As one who does not accept Abu Bakr as a Muslim can himself not be considered a Muslim. If one were to subscribe completely to each of the divergent issues of doctrine found in Shi’ism, it would bring that individual’s status as a believer into doubt. For this and other issues again I would direct you to the articles I have linked above.