Is Your Shia Friend Asking You Questions?

Replies to Questions by Shias and a review of their beliefs


Posted by answersforshiafriend on July 10, 2009

These days any one who is interested in discussion on Islamic subjects will come across a lot of discussion boards where there are a long and often-pointless debates going on between Shia Muslims and Mainstream Muslims (I prefer to use the term “Main Stream” rather than Sunnis which gives an impression of sectarianism).

The features of these kinds of debates are as follow:

  • They seem to be endless
  • In some point one of the sides starts using offensive language and usually this is the reason for ending the debate
  • They are repeated material that are posted every now and then in many websites

I thought as an Ex-Shia who was born in Iran in an all Shia family and Al-hamdulillah found his way later, I could have a contribution to this.

Before explaining what is an appropriate way to discuss with Shia I need to make an important point and then refer to some facts. I do apologize for the lengthy article but I think it might be interesting for my brothers/sisters.

The point:

If we consult the Hadeeth we will see that in general the Muslims are warned about entering pointless debates. It is a pity to see engaging in long and often fruitless debates over Internet wastes the valuable time of a Muslim youth. Long debates like this result in making the heart and soul dry and very materialistic. I think the time of a responsible Muslim should be devoted to his/her efforts to more effective things like education, prayer and reading Quran , improving his/her purity for the God, increasing practically useful Islamic knowledge, making him/herself a good example of a Muslim, helping others and of course enjoying life and family and friends without committing any sins.

Now some facts:

  1. After the revolution in Iran, the Shia scholars became very powerful and they invested a lot to spread Shia’ism in Islamic countries. What they are doing in Africa? In Saudi Arabia during Hajj, in Western countries and over the net are only parts of these activities.
  1. Every belief usually has a main stream followers and then sectarian followers. It is a simple fact that the sectarian followers always need to defend themselves against the main stream while the main stream feels less necessary to challenge the sects. This results in mainstreams having less idea about the belief of sects while sects have a rather good idea about the belief of the mainstream. This in terms results in the main stream being less prepared to discuss with the sects while sects are always prepared to discuss with the mainstream. For instance: Among Christians, Mormons have a strong discussion material when entering a debate with mainstream Christians while the Mainstream Christians have less idea about what are the Mormons all about. In the same way Shia is more prepared to discuss with mainstream Muslims. The same rule applies to Shia themselves. The Shia that are usually starting debate with mainstream Muslims are Imami (12er) Shia. However among them there are minorities like Zaidis, Ismailis, Dawoodis, Druzes, Bohras, Agakhanis, Bahayees, Nusayris etc. These minorities usually are very much prepared to enter a debate with Imami Shia while an ordinary Imami Shia usually has no idea about the belief of these minorities.
  1. The above fact results that some of the mainstream Muslims have wrong idea about the belief of Shia and their practices.
  1. The three points above leads us to the fourth fact: One of the reasons you find that Shia people are very much engaged in discussion with mainstream Muslims, particularly over internet is that there are lots of material available for them that they usually find a relevant answer to any question and copy and paste it in reply. These materials are loaded systematically in many shia sites and online books like: Shia Encyclopedia – Tijani’s works – Peshawar Nights – website and the rest. The latter website has even prepared a propaganda toolkit for Shia and have encouraged them to use it. They can simply print out a short article and nicely fold it like a catalogue and leave it in a mosque. Comparing to this vast activities, mainstream Muslims do not have such an access to good material.
  1. Shia is far better in debate in English websites. This is because while most of the Shia propaganda books are translated to English, unfortunately less good Arabic books of the mainstream Muslims that provide answers have been translated to English.
  1. Some of my brothers/sisters might not like this one but Insha’Allah they will realize that my intention is nothing but to help: Unfortunately due to some prejudice from some of the Scholars, many of the mainstream Muslims now a days have opinions that put them in a fragile position when debating with Shia. These opinions are not backed by any strong evidences and many of them are newly emerged opinions rather than old opinions.

Among them are:

  • The belief that whatever is in Siha-Sitta  is Authentic
  • The belief that any one who has seen the Prophet even for a short while can be considered a SAHÂBAH and thus can be trusted.
  • The belief that anything that SAHÂBAH and others have done during and after the death of the Prophet are right or that all their behaviour has to be justified [please note that I am not suggesting criticizing SAHÂBAH, I am just saying that we don’t need to feel responsibility to justify anything they have done. Our responsibility is to defend Islam, Quran  and the holy Prophet not the SAHÂBAH who after all were fallible. If we do this, then we are automatically defending the SAHÂBAH (RADIYALLÂHU’ANHUMA) as well.]
  • The idea that there were absolutely no conflicts between the SAHÂBAH after the passing away of the Prophet and that they all loved each other
  • The idea of giving the title of Kafir to anyone who is not among the mainstream Muslims.

Another point I need to make before saying how is an appropriate approach in discussing with Shia in my opinion:

I think a very big mistake that some of the Mainstream Muslims have, when discussing with Shia, is that they fall in their trap by being engaged with issues that are not really directly relevant to Shia doctrine.

All the issues below and many more that I cannot remember just now are among these directly irrelevant issues:

  1. The story of Fadak
  2. The story of Omar (RA) and Pen and Paper
  3. The battles of Siffin, Jamal
  4. The attitude of Moawiah against Ali (RA)
  5. Karbala and the martyrdom of Hussain (RA)
  6. The story of Ghadire Khom (this is more relevant than others but still far away from the main issue)
  7. The debates about Tahrif of Quran
  8. The debates about Bukhaaree and Muslim and their collections
  9. The stories regarding our mother Ayeshah (RA)
  10. The stories regarding Saqifah of Bani Saedeh
  11. Combining the prayers, issues about Azan, ablution and so on
  12. Things like visiting graves, calling a dead and so on
  13. Etc, Etc.

The above and many other issues are important but not directly relevant to Shia doctrine. At least in theory, you may find a Muslim who is not a Shia but has an opinion about the above issues that is very similar to the opinion of Shia. Interestingly enough among some moderate Shia scholars too you might find some one who has opinions about the above issues which is very similar to the opinion of the main stream Muslims. One might be interested to have a search about the above issues but to me no matter what is your opinion about them, they have nothing to do with 12er Shia doctrine.

The above are the issues for which there are lots of material provided by Shia in Internet and Shia feels very easy and comfortable to find the relevant material and copy and paste it in a discussion. Actually for them it is like repeating a same prescription. Most of the above issues at the end rely on Hadeeth and what happens is that Shia base the argument on certain Hadeeth and mainstream Muslims base their argument on another sort of Hadeeth and they will ended up with fighting to prove a Hadeeth is authentic and the other one is not. From there they usually get nowhere, because first of all, people generally do not have enough knowledge about verifying if a Hadeeth is authentic and even if they do so, they still cannot prove their points cause verifying if a Hadeeth is authentic is itself depending to the words of mouths of fallible scholars. While I agree that in many of the above cases, Shia people try to disfigure the story and very ruthlessly attack great SAHÂBAH on the basis of their biased understanding of these stories, I still remain in my position that talking about the above leads the two sides to no where (as evident in the last 1000 years).

After this rather long introduction I would like to start the main issue that is:
How to discuss with Shia



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