Islam versus Sunni and Shi’a
Ali was not a Shi’a nor was Umar a Sunni
Sermon#5 “..Prosperous is one who rises with wings or else he remains peaceful and others enjoy ease.”
This statement is extremely important and would shed light on the wisdom behind Imam Ali’s peaceful approach toward the nomination of Abu Bakr. Here, he is referring to two possible options which were available to him or to any one in a similar situation. The first one is conditional to the support of people and he called such support as, “wings” He meant that such support was not there for him at the time of Abu Bakr’s nomination. Hence he could not oppose this nomination because he lacked the support of people. This means that if people had paid their allegiance to him and Abu Bakr rebels against him then he will be obliged to rise with the support of people (wings) to subdue such rebellious movement, which he did take such action, when he was elected and he had such “wings” by Muslims after Utman’s death, against Mu’awyia.
Hence Imam Ali believes that the popular support of people is the crucial principle for legitimizing leadership and no one has the right to oppose it and it becomes an obligatory, on the elected leader, to protect the will of the people. This notion was reiterated by Imam Ali in other sermon; #173:
Sermon #173: “By my life, if the question of Imamah was not to be decided unless all the people were present, then there would be no such case. But those who agreed about it imposed the decision on those who were absent, so much so that he who was present could not dissent and the one who was absent could not choose (any one else). “
In this sermon #173 Imam Ali clearly sets the guideline for legitimizing any nomination of leadership. He emphasized on the main principle of nomination that is support of the majority, when he said:
Sermon#173: “By my life, if the question of Imamah was not to be decided unless all the people were present, then there would be no such case.”
He also adds that the majority’s choice has its own power to enforce their popular decision upon all people who were not present when he said:
Sermon#173 “But those who agreed about it imposed the decision on those who were absent”
This is truly remarkable that Imam Ali has defined for all Muslims the importance of the majority’s will in choosing their leader and destiny.
It is worth mentioning here that these words of Imam Ali (sermon#173) truly represent the true governmental system of the “consultative Assembly committee” which is similar to the modern democratic system today. But Islam has its own political system and need not to incorporate “Democracy” to become competent in administrating people’s affairs.
Imam Ali considers allegiance in the political race to be an obligatory principle of legitimizing leadership. This raises an important question regarding the legitimacy of the first three Caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, leadership.
Shi’as hold the view that leadership of those three leaders is not legitimate for it is stripped away from Imam Ali and it was not in accordance to the will of the prophet of Islam. Frankly speaking the answer to this question is very sensitive and requires an open mind and impartiality, and only then the answer becomes clear. Shi’as has become very emotional about this issue which made them lose focus on the main objectives of Islam and they have galvanized themselves around the issue of leadership only. Consequently, they have forgot the ultimate goals of Islam, which can not be achieved unless through unity of Muslim’s objectives.
On the other hand, we find the Sunnis have completely abandoned the teaching of Ahlul-Bait whom are a true guide for all Muslims. Although they deny such accusations and they maintain that they love Ahlul-Bait and they never disrespect them. It is true that they may not disrespect them but I am not sure what do they mean by loving them. It seem that their love to Ahlul-Bait is very silent one and it is similar to loving nice scenery or beautiful painting hanged on the wall.
If Sunnis could only follow Ahlul-Bait’s teachings, which represent the Prophet Mohammad teachings, in the same enthusiasm and reverence, they hold toward the teachings of the companions of the Prophet, they will certainly gain a lot of knowledge and a lot more enhanced vision towards Islam and the world.
Sunnis do not have to abandon the teachings of the Companions rather they must open up intellectually to include the true manifestations of our beloved Prophet of Islam through his Ahlul-Bait.
One of the reasons for such approach, of Sunnis towards Ahlul-Bait, in my opinion, that they are intimidated by some of the strange religious practices of the Shi’as. In addition, of course, the political and religious factors which steered Sunnis away from Ahlul-Bait’s teachings, by corrupted Muslim leaders throughout history. And the first of such leaders certainly would be Mu’awyia bin abi Sufian. Unfortunately, Sunnis today are very much influenced by Mu’awya’s philosophy even though they are unaware of it. Many Sunnis are under the false presumptions that they are following the philosophy of the great Muslim leaders Abu Bakr, Umar, and etc…
In the next posting I will discuss the question of “Were all three Caliphate, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman legitimate?
To be continued
Until next time