World Shia Forum

Identity, Equality, Unity

Malicious article in the Frontier Post on Sunni Shia differences

Hate media

Editors Note : We have come across a malicious article in the Frontier Post which misrepresents historical and ideological differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Written by Mr. Saeed Qureshi, the articles maligns not only Shia Muslims but also Sunni Muslims and paints the Islam religion and its various sects in bad light. There is no research or references of any kind. We are posting the Facebook comments by Shia and Sunni members of Jaag Pakistan Jaag and World Shia Forum groups. https://www.facebook.com/groups/jaagpakistanijaag/
and https://www.facebook.com/groups/545122585499556/

First a a copy of the full text of the article in question:

1
2012: Sunni Islam and Shia Islam
Posted on December 30, 2012

Saeed Qureshi

Muslims as religious entity have never been united, nor can they possibly be one brand of Islam ever. The irreconcilable conflict between Sunnis and Shias is a pernicious spillover from the past precisely from the moment Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) breathed his last. The ongoing orgy of blood and mutual killings in Pakistan is not a new phenomenon. It has been there for centuries wherever Muslims societies existed. It is a colossal tragedy within Islam that this great faith is torn apart into two domains that cannot reconcile or converge on a common creed.
After the demise of the Prophet (PBUH), the issue of succession has been the bane of the unity among the Muslims for all these 14 centuries. Never was there an Islamic issue than the caliphate which brought so much of destruction and bloodshed between two leading sects of Sunnis and Shias. It is still a living issue prompting both sides to spill each others’ blood with religious fervor. In the present times in Syria, the civil war that has consumed 40,000 people is primarily between Shia Salafi minority rulers and the majority Sunni population.
The Prophet (PBUH) did not nominate a successor during his lifetime. The Prophet’s death provoked a crisis. He died without any male progeny and without a clearly designated successor. Although, the Prophet (PBUH) remained indisposed for several days before his death and he had plenty of time to decide as to who would be his successor, he did not take that vital decision. It was during his last moments that he wanted to dictate his will and nominate his successor. But those who were around his bed did not write the will because the Prophet (PBUH) was in a state of faintness.
Following the demise of the Prophet (PBUH), the impromptu decision by a few of his close companions chose Abu Bakr as his successor and the first caliph. That led to a conflict between the Prophet’s own family of Banu Hashim and the traditionally rival clan of Banu Umayyad.
That nomination was not accepted by Prophet’s family headed by his son-in-law, cousin brother and later the fourth caliph Hazrat Ali. The first three caliphs were from not from the Banu Hashim tribe.
Shiite Muslims believe that the true leadership comes through the Prophet’s bloodline and that his cousin and son in law Ali-ibne-Abi-Talib was the divinely ordained successor. They claim that Allah and his Prophet (PBUH) had clearly designated Ali as the only legitimate successor.
The Sunni sects believe that the four successors of Prophet Muhammad or caliphs were legitimate as they were chosen by the community in accordance with the custom of those times. The supporters of Ali always looked up for an opportunity to see Ali as the caliph. But their wishes and endeavors were blunted by the more crafty and powerful Umayyad notables.
However, the murder of the third caliph Hazrat Usman by the pro Ali supporters known as Kharjis intensified the rivalry between the Prophet’s family and the Umayyad tribe. After Hazrat Usman, it was Hazrat Ali took the mantle of caliphate (656-661 C. E.). The deprivation of Ali of the office of the caliph through arbitration and later his death divided the Muslims into two irreconcilable groups for ever. When Hazrat Usman was murdered, one of the mourners predicted that the cleavage caused by his assassination would never be bridged till the doomsday. That prophecy holds true to this day.
This cleavage further sharpened when Imam Hussain, his entire family (excepting women and one male) and accompanying followers were massacred in the desert of Karbala near Baghdad by the troops of then Umayyad caliph Yazid, the son of the founder of Umayyad dynasty; Amir Muawiyah. Yazid to Shias is like a devil while Sunnis treat him like other caliphs. The Islamic unity has therefore, remained a mere myth and elusive goal for all these
14 centuries.
Although there are several scores of sects and denominations within the fold of Islam, the level of animosity and bitterness that exists between the two leading sects of Sunnis and Shias is horrendous. There is no way that their doctrinal rift can be healed and reconciled in
any way.
The Shia and Sunni division in Islam is so drastic and hard that they do not pray together in one place. Shias do not pay Islamic tax Zakat while in Islam it is considered to be one of the five principal obligations. With the exception of a few common beliefs and traditions Shias and Sunnis differ on a whole range of beliefs with regard to Sharia laws encompassing both juridical( criminal and civil) and ecclesiastical. The Shias believe in a lineage of twelve divine Imams or spiritual leaders. On the other side, besides four caliphs, Sunnis have four Imams but they are primarily interpreters of the Islamic Sharia law. Barring Ali, Shias discard the three caliphs as usurpers.
The Islamic history is replete with their mutual annihilations and massacres. In the past, the Sunni and Shia dynasties have been taking turns for wreaking havoc upon each other. During the Shia dynasties in Egypt, North Africa, Sicily, Spain, Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Iraq, Iran & Azerbaijan Sunnis have been terribly persecuted.
Conversely, in Sunni Muslim dynasties, Shias had suffered with terrible discrimination and massacres. The sack and pillage of Baghdad in 1258 by the Mongol hordes was the result of the rivalry between a Sunni caliph Mustaasim and a Shia vizier Mohammad bin al-Kami. Kami invited the Tartars to come to Baghdad.
While in the past they killed each other with swords, in the present times they resort to mutual slaughter by suicide bombing, target killing and bomb blasts. The Shias are branded as infidels by the majority Sunni sects and therefore, their murder is justifiable to them as if they were killing a non-Muslim.
In Islam a heretic or apostate person or sect is more condemnable and liable to be punished with death than a non-Muslim who has clear denomination of not being a Muslim faithful and has come under the protection of the state as a Zimmi or dhimmi.
In all the Middle Eastern Islamic regimes there is always a simmering tussle, between the Sunni and Shia populations. For instance in Bahrain, the Sunnis are in minority but ruling. Conversely in Syria the Sunnis are in majority and Shias are in minority but are at the political helm. Same division and cleavage prevails in Iraq where most of the Shias religious and spiritual leaders are buried
One dimension of the Arab spring is the upswing in the ideological conflict between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq, Bahrain and Syria where it is now turning into a civil war. In Iraq from the early days of Islam to Saddam Hussain’s era to the present dispensation of Nouri al-Maliki, the Sunni-Shia feud has always been mostly underneath the societal disorders and internal upheavals.
In Bahrain the minority Sunni regime is in place while in Syria, it is the Shia minority that is at the helm and wreaking all brutalities on the Sunnis. Presently in Baghdad the Sunni majority population is protesting against the Shia minority government for maltreatment and discrimination.
In Pakistan, the Shia community observes the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet of Islam, in a nerve-racking environment. They enter their congregational places as if entering a nuclear arsenal. Each and every person is subjected to body pat down by the security staff posted at the entry and exit points. The entire country is placed under high alert with thousands of military and semi military personnel guarding the processions. Still the suicide bombers, callous murderers and sharp shooters from their rival sects keep killing them. Practicing of one’s faith is becoming extremely arduous in Islamic polities.
In the present times Saudi Arabia and Iran are hostile competitors in upholding the Sunni and Shia creeds respectively. The Saudis are aligned to the Christian West and America to browbeat and even contain the growing leverage and influence of Iran in the region. This antagonism is entirely faith based besides the historical rivalry between the Arab and non-Arab Muslims (Ajam). Some of the Shia spiritual leaders migrated to Iran during the Umayyad and Abbasids dynasties while the others were killed by these powerful family fiefdoms. As such the discord between Shias and Sunnis is not only of faith but also regional, ethnic and political.
The unity of Muslims as one nation would always remain a myth and unattainable goal.
The bridging of the doctrinal and theological chasms between these two main sects within Islam would always remain a tall order unless the Muslim clergy of both the sects reconcile on living in harmony despite their mutual differences of faith and Sharia laws. Would that be possible within an Islamic state cannot be
fathomed.
However, if the Islamic polities turn secular wherein all faiths are allowed to practice freely without harming each other, this most coveted goal can become attainable. The example of such religious harmony can be witnessed in western societies where they pray in the same mosques and never fight.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/199854/

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/199854

  • Ale Natiq I am not sure if the papers publish letter sent from an organisation; if we send it as
  • Asif Zaidi Ali, I think, it is a poorly written article by someone who does not seem knowledgeable about the religion or the Muslim History. But, and excuse me if I am wrong, I do not detect any deliberate malice. More inaccurate than malevolent. The writer is clearly out of his depth, as evinced by the use of term ‘Shia salafi minority in Syria’. However, willing to look at the points that you feel are offensive and discuss from there.
  • Ale Natiq Also, their circulation is under 50,000 from what I know. Published from Peshawar.
  • Asif Zaidi But I always thought it to be a good paper. This piece is really crummy in terms of diction and content both:):)
  • Abbas Zaidi This is a most evil article one can publish. It demonizes the Shias, and to some extent Suninis too. I am sure the author is a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi son of a bitch. Let me say a few things. First, he says, “The ongoing orgy of blood and mutual killings in Pakistan is not a new phenomenon.” He is lying. Sunnis are not killing Shias; it is the Deobandis. Besides, there is nothing mutual about it. The Shias are on the receiving end. Second, he says, “In the present times in Syria, the civil war that has consumed 40,000 people is primarily between Shia Salafi minority rulers and the majority Sunni population.” He is lying. Salafis are killing both Shias and Sunnis. Third, he says, “Yazid to Shias is like a devil while Sunnis treat him like other caliphs.” Liar! Brelvis curse Yazid as much as Shias do. Only Deobandis and Wahabis respect Yazid. Fourth, he says, “Shias do not pay Islamic tax Zakat while in Islam it is considered to be one of the five principal obligations.” Shias do pay zakat, but not to the government if it persecutes them. We do not pay zakat to a government which takes orders from Saudi Arabia, whether it is a PPP government or PML-N. Ali Abbas Taj, can you write a letter to the Frontier Post based on my points? Or any other Shia or Sunni friend? Thanks.
  • Nadeem Bokhari There are millions of such articles not only against Shias but our beloved Prophet (sww) and his Ahlul Bayt (a). We cant react to any of those. This is out of our scope of campaign. Else, I will bring in few more such cases and ask you to respond. So as we agreed let us stick to our agenda.
  • 15 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 2
  • Ali Abbas Taj “Yazid to Shias is like a devil while Sunnis treat him like other caliphs.”

    I have never heard of anything more retarded than this ^^^^.

    This person belongs in a mental institution.
    19 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1
  • Ali Abbas Taj “Although there are several scores of sects and denominations within the fold of Islam, the level of animosity and bitterness that exists between the two leading sects of Sunnis and Shias is horrendous.”

    Complete lie.
    19 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Ali Abbas Taj “The Shia and Sunni division in Islam is so drastic and hard that they do not pray together in one place. Shias do not pay Islamic tax Zakat while in Islam it is considered to be one of the five principal obligations.”

    Complete lie. Shia and Sunni pra…See More
    18 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Ali Abbas Taj “The Shias are branded as infidels by the majority Sunni sects and therefore, their murder is justifiable to them as if they were killing a non-Muslim. “

    Does this mean murder of non-Muslims is justifiable? This guy is paid by Saudis.
    18 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Ale Natiq Anyone who has read only one decent book on history of Islam will see obvious fallacies in this article. I fail to understand how this was passed by the Editor. We need to write letter to the Editor.
  • Durre-Shahwar Jafri Tell blatant lies in the garb of truth, that seems to be the motto of this probably paid creep. He inserts certain facts and laces it with fallacies. Also note the timing of this article, when we need unity, tolerance and peace such things are being brought to the fore.
  • Syed Haider Hussain This article is a total fabrication of writers mind. Not a snigle major history book on early Islam support this. I think this whole article is written by a Nasbi(a person who hates ahle-bait and loves Banu Ummaiya).
  • 12 hours ago · Edited · Like · 3
  • Sabah Hasan Is the mo**** fu**** or the rag that published his diatribe even worthy of a response addressed to them? I don’t think so. However, a rebuttal should certainly be published elsewhere.
    9 hours ago · Unlike · 3
  • Ali Abbas Taj But maybe this gives it more importance than it deserves. This is the other side of the argument.

    We have the rebuttal. That is no prob. Think about it when you have cooled down answer the question.
    9 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1
  • Sabah Hasan If it is left unresponded, then by implication we are accepting its contents.
    9 hours ago · Like · 2
  • Ali Abbas Taj If by responding we are circulating it to 10 times more people?
  • Muneeb Ur Rehman This standard of writing does not deserve our time and a response, in my opinion.
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Sabah Hasan No harm Ali Abbas Taj – as long as the lies and the truth both are presented, and the author and FP are exposed.

    Muneeb, history is full of Goebbelsian lies that remained unresponded.
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Ali Abbas Taj Ok will respond message me any points that you wish to add or consider important to be responded to. We have it almost ready to go.
    8 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Muneeb Ur Rehman This write up has not presented any historical references or any scholarly views. Its not debatable. Its just plain crap. By a reply, You will only give them attention and publicity, that’s what they want. 
    The choice is yours anyway.
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 2
  • Sabah Hasan Muneeb, it is rather difficult to give references for lies. But if left unresponded, those lies may be taken as the truth by many. Yes, it is an obscure source, but in the age of search engines if someone wants to dig up such lies, this is the piece he will get.

    Respond, Ali Abbas Taj
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Mutahir Ahmed I think Hazrat Ali had accepted the Caliphate of all three men Abu Bakar (R.A), Omar (R.A) and Othman (R.A) and did not consider any of these men to be unlawful!
    8 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Sabah Hasan ^ That is indeed the view of Sunni Muslims, and one should respect their right to it. However, when writing in a newspaper, one should be honest enough to give all viewpoints.
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Ali Abbas Taj In my opinion and I am no scholar. Hazrat Ali helped the first three Caliph’s in the interest of Islam. Had he rebelled there would be no Islam today.

    The Hadeeth of Ghadeer had clearly pointed to him as the successor and it is accepted as Sahi Hadeeth by the major Sunni books of Hadeeth.
  • Mutahir Ahmed I don’t agree with the writer that the conflict between Shia and Sunni factions is irreconcilable. It is easily reconcilable. Only sincere efforts are needed to be made.
  • 8 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Sabah Hasan Hazrat Ali’s own view is enunciated in his Khutba-e Shiqshiqya in the Nahjul Balagha. But that is not the issue here.
  • 8 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Sabah Hasan Mutahir as long as neither Shias nor Sunnis do not opt for the ecumenical approach, there should be no conflict, what to talk of resolving one.
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 2
  • Ali Abbas Taj Shia respect the first three Caliphs in the interest of Islam just like Imam Ali a.s. did. There is no conflict.
    8 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Mutahir Ahmed Ali Abbas Taj! That’s nice. You are absolutely right to say that Hazrat Ali helped them in the larger interest of Islam. It also follows from here that their caliphate was not illegal or anti-Islam. Because It cannot be expected from the father of Imam Hussain (R.A) that he assisted the Caliphs while compromising on the principals of Islam. Secondly, There is a famous Hadeeth of the holy Prophet, which I read in one of the books of Syed Ameer Ali, that said that Pious caliphate or caliphate would last as long as thirty years! So Don’t you think that by this Hadeeth All four Caliphs including Hazrat Ali were pious and rightly guided?
  • Ali Arqam As per Sunni texts, Usman was defended against the mob by Ali and his two sons, Kharijites consider both Ali and Moavia as heretics.

    Also, Sunnis do not regard Yazid as among the caliphs, Majority of Sunnis call Yazid a fasiq, most of them have agreed on cursing Yazeed for the death of Hussein.

    Shia and Sunnis pray together at many places, the author should be shown pics of deobandi cleric Sherani praying behind Sajid Naqvi and father of Islamists Zia behind Khomeni.
    17 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Ale Natiq What Ali Arqam is saying is the popular Sunni narrative I have heard all my life. I fail to understand where did the author of this article read his history of Islam from?
  • Ali Abbas Taj There is a new INVENTED Narrative by the Yazid institute in Saudi Arabia they are trying to propagate. I will post some references.
  • Abbas Zaidi For the sae of record, the person who put the knife into the belly of Hazrat Usman was no other than Muhamamd bin Abu Bakkar (RA).
    17 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Asif Zaidi “However, the murder of the third caliph Hazrat Usman by the pro Ali supporters known as Kharjis intensified the rivalry between the Prophet’s family and the Umayyad tribe. After Hazrat Usman, it was Hazrat Ali took the mantle of caliphate (656-661 C.E.).” This is completely inaccurate and historically incorrect. The people who murdered Hazrat Usman were by no means Hazrat Ali’s supporters as borne out by all significant Sunni scholars (Ref: Khilafat o Malookiat by Maulana Maudoodi). If at all, Hazrat Ali tried his best to save Hazrat Usman and even posted his sons Hassan and Hussain to guard the entrance to Hazrat Usman’s house. 

    “Yazid to Shias is like a devil while Sunnis treat him like other caliphs.” Obviously not true. All Sunni scholars, including the four Imams of Sunni jurisprudence, are unanimous in their denunciation of Yazid’s character, reign, and his annihilation of the Holy Prophet’s progeny. Besides the martyrdom of Hussain, Yazid’s rule is also smeared by his troops attack on Medina (Harra Episode), which resulted in the killing of thousands of people in the holy city including many companions of the Holy Prophet. Historians have also reported wanton rapes of the women in Medina by Yazid’s troops under his orders. Yazid also ordered his troops to desecrate Mecca during the siege of Abdullah Ibn Zubair. Khana Kaba was badly damaged and burnt during this episode. 

    “The Shia and Sunni division in Islam is so drastic and hard that they do not pray together in one place. Shias do not pay Islamic tax Zakat while in Islam it is considered to be one of the five principal obligations.” Complete lie. Shia and Sunni pray together in Mecca and Medina. Before the cursed Ibne saud who is most likely paying this writer Shia Ulema used to take turns with Sunni Ulema to lead prayers in Mecca. Shia jurisprudents unanimously allow their followers to pray with Sunnis and behind a Sunni imam. It is also incorrect to say that Shias do not pay Zakat. Shia’s ruling for Zakat is similar to Sunnis with only a difference in that Shia’s fiqh does not ordain the payment of Zakat to the government. 

    “The Shias are branded as infidels by the majority Sunni sects and therefore, their murder is justifiable to them as if they were killing a non-Muslim. ” 
    The majority of Sunnis from Jama al Azhar to Maulana Maududi do not consider Shias as apostates. It is only a minority of hardline Salafis who consider Shias as non-Muslims. They also have similar decrees against many other Muslim sects and blow up shrines in Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Also the writer seems to suggest that the murder of non-Muslims is justifiable, which is absolutely against the spirit and teachings of Islam. This guy is paid by Saudis. 

    “In Bahrain the minority Sunni regime is in place while in Syria, it is the Shia minority that is at the helm and wreaking all brutalities on the Sunnis. Presently in Baghdad the Sunni majority population is protesting against the Shia minority government for maltreatment and discrimination.”

    While the writer mentions about the persecution by the regime in Syria, he conveniently glosses over the brutal and ruthless persecution of Shia majority in Bahrain and the sizable Shia minority in Saudi Arabia by their rulers. Also it is utterly wrong to say that Shias are in a minority in Iraq, they constitute 65% of the country’s population.

    N.B: As I said it seems more ill-informed than malicious. Also it openly acknowledges Shias’ persecution in Pakistan and pleads for secularism. Which is more important for us than other inaccuracies.
    Resources:

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