“Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah , over all things, is competent.” (Qur’an 29:20)
Now when I say, “My experience with the Shi’a” I should clarify that by that I mean the 12er Shi’a. The bulk of my experience has been with them.
I was in love with an Shi’a girl from the U.K whose family came from Iraq. We used to correspond so long ago. She was very quick witted and very intelligent. She said one of the most remarkable things that has stuck with me until this very day.
When Muslims wanted to put economic sanctions or boycott Denmark for not penalizing the Dane who had drawn a cartoon of the Blessed Messenger (saw) she said something astounding. “We are not like them(meaning the West), they put sanctions on my country, Iraq and everyone suffers. Why should I want the Danish to suffer over the actions of one man!” Mash’Allah.
We lost touch over the years and I can only hope she has married a good man and is doing something fulfilling and meaningful with her life.
When I was studying at Zaytuna before it became Zaytuna college me and a fellow student, named Wasif and I went for an afternoon stroll. I recall how he was telling me, “C’mon brother just one more burger before we walk the straight and narrow.” He had a love for American burgers and was bound and determined to have just one more before going completely halal. The time for Maghrib came upon us and there was a mosque on the side of a street. We walked in and it was certainly a 12er Shi’a Mosque. You could see pictures of various Imams on the wall. We did not hesitate to join the congregation for the Maghrib prayer. I only noted to myself afterwards that it was interesting that the whole prayer was out loud. Of course when we went back to Zaytuna and the brothers were sharing about their day to day, and the subject came up one brother approached Wasif and I saying, “You prayed behind the Shi’a your prayer may not be valid you better go and talk to Shaykh Mohamed Yaqubi.”
Well, low and behold we were advised to do our prayer over again. I am cannot speak for Wasif but I didn’t take the advise. I saw no valid reason to.
Then there was the time I went for the ATMT (Awareness Through Mosque Tour) training course in Manama Bahrain. Very beautiful team, great host, and amazing instructors! Unfortunately during my first Friday prayer there, after everyone does there two nawafil many gather in small groups to simply chit chat. So, one of the people with us near by, was talking about how “The Shi’a are spreading like cock roaches”. I was really disgusted by the fact that he would like this about other Muslims, and in the mosque no less! So I told him, “We should not talk about other Muslims like this.“
On another occasion, we (the trainees) were going on a guided tour of museums. A Mualif (convert) sister, who came from either Czech Republic or Hungary was talking to a very stout Arab man. As we were walking they were discussing about the current situation in Iraq. I made the comment that, “Sunni and Shi’a Muslims should unite.” To which he quipped: “Who said they are Muslims?” I responded, “What do you mean?” He replied, “The Shi’a who said they are Muslims?” I responded, “Our scholars (Sunni) say they are deviant, but Muslims nonetheless.”
The adhaan had sounded at that time. I stormed off from the group and happened upon a local mosque just a few blocks away. I sat in the front row waiting for the Imam to come forward. The congregants of the Mosque seemed primarily Indo-Pakistani from what I could tell. One brother said the Iqama and an elderly man was pushing me to lead the salaah! I looked around and was wondering if the actual Imam would come forward and they kept pushing me to lead the prayer. Well, I did just that. Let me tell you it is a huge thing to lead the prayer. It was like a huge weight to lead the congregational prayer. My respect to every Imam of every Masjid on the planet. You can really feel the weight of doing something that one would think is a simple task. After the salaah I made du’a did more rakats and left.
Latter that robust Arab brother came up to me during a dinner and apologized to me. That took me by surprise because to be honest. He did not strike me as the type of person who would do that. I latter found out from some organizers of ATMT that this brother’s family was killed by a Shi’a death squad in Iraq. May Allah (swt) soften his heart and grant him ease.
Let me tell you, you need to choose your words very carefully when traversing this Earth. During one I thought was a casual conversation, when talking about the region I being an American called the waters around Bahrain, as the “Persian Gulf“. Boy! Was that a blunder! “It is the Arabian sea!” One man interrupted. I responded with, “Why not call it the sea of Islam, or the Gulf of Allah?”
I remember not far from the hotel we were staying going out one evening to do dhikr by the “Gulf of Allah” and staring off into the direction of Iraq. The cool breeze of the water filled the air around me. It was surreal because just a few hundred kilometers was the closest I ever was physically to a war zone. I reflected on the events of the day and made du’a that Allah (swt) would fill the region with peace.
Another was a Dentist here in Singapore, brother Ali Al’Ausi. I met him at the Sultan Masjid. A very kind and jovial brother. I do not want to take from his good deeds by publicly stating the many good things he has done, but Al hamdulillah I saw first hand how he was there to help those in need (fisabilillah). We were room mates for a while and some times I would lead the salaah and other times he would. l was some times amused by his method of salah because he would wear jeans that have loops (where the belt goes through) and he would put his thumbs there and hang them during the prayer. Quite cavalier I thought! haha.
He told about his family leaving Najaf and going to Russia and from there eventually settling in the United Kingdom. His father worked in Pizza shops until he became a manager and worked very hard to put his family on a proper footing.
He also told me about his doubts concerning Shi’sm and that he agreed Muslims should be Qur’an centric. He told me about how Shi’a get worked up in the Mosque during sermons on Karbala and that they would want to go out and beat up the first Sunni they saw.
Interestingly enough for those of you who remember the man in Iraq who took of his shoe and threw it at president George Bush Jr, well, that man (the man who threw the shoe) was going to marry his daughter to my friend Ali. They met in Damascus Syria and once Ali confided in her that he didn’t believe in some of the stuff about Shi’ism she stormed off saying, “I would rather marry a Sunni than you!”
He also divulged to me about some rather wealthy Shi’a Arabs that would practice Muta with some of the more poorer Arab women in Egypt and he was rather disgusted by it all. I recall how he remarked, “If everyone is doing Muta than who will get married?”
I just wanted to say that this book was given to me by my good friend Dr. Ali Al-Ausi, upon request to his mother that he had a friend wanting to know more about the 12er jurisprudence. The book is still in my collection. Ali is one of the kindest, honest, generous, and most truthful Muslims I have ever met.
My meeting with the respected, Ali Larijani (The Former Speaker of the Parliament of Iran). This was an occasion at the Sultan Mosque in Singapore when his delegation came to Singapore. I was to actually give a talk to him and his delegation and there was a change of plans. I prepared before he came by trying to find out about his background. I saw that he studied Philosophy and particularly liked the philosopher Immanuel Kant.
His entourage created quite a shock at the Mosque because the ladies who were with them prayed in the main prayer hall (where the men usually pray). I was amused by it all. Nonetheless after the prayer, I approached Ali Larijani, who had two body guard and one cleric with him. I greeted him, “As Salamu alikum warahmutallahi wabaraktuh.” He replied the same. I than told him that, “I am from America and that I wish for peace between us and Iran“. He replied, “That they too wish for peace.” I than asked him, what his favourite quote from Kant was. I could tell by his reaction he was surprised. He responded with Kant quoting the golden rule: “Do not do that to others that you would not like them to do to you.”
Now that is the sum total of my personal experience and interaction with Shi’a or anything in relation to them in my life time. If you think based upon what I shared above that I hate Shi’a that is really up to you.
That being said when it comes to what I encounter online, via various social media platforms and what have you I have found Shi’a (12er,especially) to be very dishonest, disingenuous and not very forward.
The one thing I do admire about Salafis, Sunnis of all stripes, even those who follow the Qur’an only religion. Ahmadiyyah etc. is there willingness to be forthright. To say, “I am such and such and this is where I stand.” With the Shi’a I don’t get this. What I find is they often join groups posing that they are part of this or that and keeping quite about being Shi’a. Look if we were in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or other places where this is highly charged and a person’s life is in danger I get it. However, this skulking around various platforms pretending to be Hanafi, or anything else is simply just cowardly. It truly is.
All these people saying Ya Ali, Ya Ali Madad. How they would have loved to be at Karbala, or have lifted up their sword for Ali. Look mate you cannot even be honest enough with yourself to say what you are openly. And honesty, what I do see on YouTube, of interactions of 12ers and Zaydi’s with Sunni’s is that the Shi’a end up getting intellectually owned, again and again.
I know that the position of Ahl Haqq Wal Istiqamah is the ultimate kryptonite against the Shi’a position.
Why do I say this? Because, they can’t play the ‘this sahabah did this and that‘ card. We are not Sunni Muslims. That doesn’t work on us. We say, ‘O.K if you want to say this and that about a sahabah this brings them ALL under scrutiny (including Ali) ….care to talk about his decision at Siffin‘?
The Sunni do not have that in their arsenal. Because for them, the sahabah can do no wrong. Fortunately we are not restricted by such constraints.
The suddenly all the chest pumping about how he was robbed, how Morpheus and the Oracle predicted that he was ‘The One‘ and all the should have, would have, could have been scenarios. Evaporate like vapor. POOF!
May Allah (swt) increase us in understanding. May Allah (swt) continue to guide us to the truth.