Ali was not a Shi’a nor Umar was a Sunni part-III

Islam versus Sunni and Shi’a

“And surly, the ultimate success is through Allah”


In this part I will elaborate on sermon#5, which is mentioned in part-II of this essay. This sermon is very important in relationship to Sunni and Shi’a dispute. Its importance stems from the time frame of delivery which was extremely sensitive and charged up with high emotions. And certainly it is fair to say that such reality would present a great challenge to the individual’s character and faith.
When we examine Imam Ali’s approach and prudent way to deal with these crises it becomes evident that these difficult moments truly represent one the most shining moments of Imam Ali as a leader and maintainer of Islam. He was very clear in his vision and resolute to defend the truthfulness of Islam and the wellbeing of Muslims. These moments have truly put his conviction, in Allah and His messenger, on the test for those who doubted his true spiritual station in Islam. Those sensitive times Ali was faced with had made the light of Prophet Mohammad glow through him and made the magnificent reality of the dimensions of Prophet Muhammad manifest itself through Ali’s course of action regarding leadership of Muslims. So Imam Ali had a great responsibility to safeguard Islam from its followers first and second from the enemies of Islam.

“Steer clear through the waves of mischief by boats of deliverance”
-When Imam Ali had assessed the danger of the shaky political situation of Muslims regarding leadership, after the death of the Prophet Mohammad, he quickly warned his people by urging them to be vigilant in dealing with the issue of leadership and not allow themselves to be swept away by the “waves of mischief “; Imam Ali, here, referred to the extent and the seriousness of such situation in describing it in the likeness of “waves” for such waves are powerful enough to rip through the Muslim unity and the future of Islam. And he offered the means to combat these waves of mischief, and the eminent divisions among Muslims, through observing the fundamental principles of Islam; he refer to such principles in the likeness of “boats- Sufun” plural of “Safina-boat”. Here Imam Ali seems to refer to several options of ways or boats to salvation or deliverance. These ways or boats are; fearing Allah, adhering to the teaching of the Quran and the messenger of Allah, and following the house hold of the prophet “Ahlul-bait” all of which he considered to be the boats of deliverance, which will enable Muslims to see clear in the face of these waves of mischief. But we see here that Imam Ali did not single out “Ahlul-Bait” rather he made reference to several boats of deliverance; in the plural form. The reason for this, in my opinion, that the notion of Ahlul-bait was not fully comprehended by the majority of Muslims at that stage of Islam. So he offered many ways of salvation, as he stated it, in plural form as “boats of deliverance” for any one of these boats should be a representation of the other ones; following Ahlul-bait ought to lead to salvation and so as with other boats, for Ahlul-bait have striven to call for unity of Allah and the unity among Muslims.

To be continued


3 thoughts on “Ali was not a Shi’a nor Umar was a Sunni part-III”

  1. Salaam alaikum,

    Thanks for this very interesting post. By dissecting Imam Ali’s statements line by line you have brought out possibilities of meaning that it is easy to gloss over in a quick reading. There are a lot of issues covered in this piece not the least of which are principles of popular nomination and election. It seems that there is much to be learned from careful study of the behavior of highly esteemed individuals in early Islam – of the manner in which they made decisions and the direction their actions took. If this eases the sectarian tensions so prevalent these days and does so by displaying historical examples of unity and patience, then it is truly beneficial.



  2. Wa3laikumsalam said “If this eases the sectarian tensions so prevalent these days and does so by displaying historical examples of unity and patience, then it is truly beneficial.”

    – Your positive approach to such posts and your sense of optimism regarding reconciliation among Muslims is in itself a testimony to the well intended purpose of my attempts.
    It is not that easy to adopt a new direction while preserving the same philosophy for the sake of a bigger purpose, or perhaps bigger than the two directions combined that is the well being of Islam and Muslims. As hard as it might be for us to sacrifice in this regard but it was a lot harder for Imam Ali to take that course of action, Islam, for he was the true and natural successor to the Prophet of Islam. Knowing who he is in relationship to Islam and his universal responsibility to maintain the message of Islam but yet he did not hesitate to take the safest path to preserve Islam and its people.

    Thank you for your comment



  3. track back
    “such posts and your sense of pessimism regarding reconciliation” above a reply to had an error of word usage; in the original reply I have used the word “pessimism ” where it should have been “optimism” which was corrected today.
    My apology to Irshaad and other readers for such error, for English is not my first language.



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