The Daughters of A’isha and the Sons of Fatima 27 February 2006Posted by MOZAFFAR in History, MOZAFFAR, Politics, Theology.
Think of all the things that the eyes of Ali, Fatima, and A’isha witnessed, may God be pleased with each of them. Not only did they keep themselves in the family of this most amazing man, Muhammad -p, but think of what else lived through. It’s beyond comprehension.
Think of the Mecca days. Think of the brotherhood and sisterhood of Medina. Think of Hudaybiya. The Conquest of Mecca. The Sermon at the Hajj.
Then, think of the death of the Prophet -p, himself.
Then, think of the years that followed.
In their lives, they witnessed the greatest period of human history.
And, in their lives, they also watched it end.
As much as I’d like to preach that the Sunnis and Shi’as should hold hands and love each other, I don’t think it’s realistic. And, while many of us may individually have great love for the other (either as Shi’as loving Sunnis or Sunnis loving Shia’s), this is marriage that — as a marriage between two communities — cannot work. The scholars of either side have not been able to make it work.
But: it is a partnership that must endure.
The Daughters of A’isha -may Allah be pleased with her and them- must make peace with the Sons of Fatima -may Allah be pleased with her and them.
I won’t hide the fact that I regard myself as a Sunni; it should be obvious from my writings. Call me what you want. Orthodox. Orthoprax. Ueber-Sunni. Moderate. Apologetic. Extremist. Authoritarian. Authoritative. Munafiq. Kafir. Wahhabi. Salafi. Sufi. Madonna Wannabe. So, be it.
Further, practice what you believe. I am not intending to water down any of my beliefs, nor am I ask others to water down any of their beliefs.
So, here are my “orthodox” beliefs:
1- If you claim that there is no god, but God Himself, and Muhammad -p- is the Messenger of God, you are a Muslim. 100%.
2- See #1.
Take it a step further, because the inevitable challenge will be that there are some who make additions to the above statement of belief.
3- If you regard the Qur’an as — 100% — the Word of God, delivered to Muhammad -p, nobody can call you a disbeliever.
But, all of that is besides the point. It’s just a statement of my own beliefs. I am speaking here as a practicing Muslim.
So, what do I suggest? If we hold tight to the Qur’an, we have three practical options:
1- Accept each other as full believers, in the way that a Sunni may accept a Sunni as a believer, and in the way a Shi’a may accept another Shi’a as a believer.
2- Regard each other as Hypocrities.
3- Regard each other as Disbelievers.
I personally think that options 1 and 2 can work. Let me explain.
1- The starting point is the common belief in the Qur’an. That is what — in theory — binds all Muslims together. I have to emphasize that “in theory” it binds all Muslims together because in practice it may be hard to find a Muslim of any belief subsystem who actually reads, thinks, lives, and preaches the Qur’an.
But, this is the fundamental, practical commonalty between the common Shi’a and the common Sunni. By “common” Shi’a and Sunni, I’m speaking here about the Jafari, Zaydi, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, and Salafi.
So, the approach in this matter is to look at the Sunni and Shi’a as larger umbrellas of two different methods of approach to the Qur’an itself. If the scholars themselves were not able to resolve this issue beyond this point, then let us accept it and make peace.
2- Regarding the issue of regarding each other as Hypocrites. This method is far less desirable, but it works, if we stick with the Qur’an. The Qur’anic advice for dealing with those whom you regard as hypocrites is to stay silent about them and let God deal with them. So, with your silence, you are still making peace.
3- As a Sunni, I can’t endorse calling another “Muslim” a disbeliever. But, for those who insist on this path, your obligation to a non-believer is da’wa anyways, isn’t it?
But, let’s take the issue a step further.
A- If we study the history of the development of these two threads, we see that they didn’t develop in vacuums. Rather, the development is intertwined. Few traditions can claim to develop on their own. The revelation of the Qur’an, and the subsequent “Islamic” civilizations influenced the courses of development of Christianity and Judaism. How different would Christianity be today without Ibn Rushd, al-Ghazali, and al-Farabi? How different would Judaism be today without Spain and Musa b. Mayman? Similarly, the development of what are today modern Sunnism and Shiism is an interactive development.
B- It was in God’s wisdom that the two threads (and yet only two significant threads) formed. My personal opinion is that both the Shi’a and Sunni need each other. We need each other in terms of the issue of defining what we are and are not. We need each other in terms of the issue of religious, pious competition (in competing with each other and ourselves in goodness). And, at the geopolitical level, I hope the need is obvious; the difference is getting exploited by monsters within and without our communities.
C- There are many persons who do call themselves Sunni and persons who call themselves Shi’a who are way, way out of any orthodoxy.
Call me naive.
And, face facts: who am I really speaking to right now? This is just a blog read by a few dozen people (on a good day).
I’m speaking to you.
May God bless you.