Criticism of Twelver Shia Islam
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|The Fourteen Infallibles|
Criticism of Twelver Shia Islam dates from the initial rift between the two primary denominations of Islam, the Sunni and the Shia. The question of succession to Muhammad, the nature of the Imamate, the status of the twelfth Shia Imam, and other areas in which Shia Islam differ from Sunni Islam have been criticized by Sunni scholars, even though there is no disagreement between the two regarding the centrality of the Quran, Muhammad, and many other doctrinal, theological and ritual matters. Shiite commentators such as Musa al-Musawi and Ali Shariati have themselves, in their attempts to reform the faith, criticized practices and beliefs which have become prevalent in the Shiite community.
- 1 Image veneration
- 2 The Occultation
- 3 Usuli versus Akhbari
- 4 Nikah mut‘ah
- 5 Taqiyya (dissimulation)
- 6 Disrespect to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman
- 7 Mourning Husayn and self-flagellation during Ashura
- 8 Child Imams
- 9 Infallibility of Imams
- 10 Fatimah's divine revelations
- 11 Khums
- 12 Three prayer times per day
- 13 Rejection of predestination
- 14 Corruption of the Quran
- 15 Karbala
- 16 Violence and persecution
- 17 See also
- 18 Notes
- 19 References
Sunnis are particularly critical of the "love of visual imagery evident in Shia popular devotionalism" and regularly cite this characteristic (often referred to as 'Shia iconography') as proof of Shia deviance or heresy.
In the tradition of Twelver Shia Islam, the twelfth and final Shia Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is also considered by Twelver Shia to be the prophesied redeemer of Islam known as the Mahdi, went into ghaybah ("occultation") in 873. However, this belief has long been criticized by Sunni scholars who “often speculate that the twelfth Imam never existed, but was a myth designed to keep the Shia cause alive.” Meanwhile, western scholars have also cast doubt upon the existence of an occulted Imam. According to Robert Gleave, the occultation of the 12th Imam “became subsequent orthodox doctrine” after none of the competing theories that sought to explain the succession to a childless 11th Imam “seemed satisfactory”. According to Bernard Lewis, the occultation and subsequent return of the Imam became a characteristic Shia doctrine following the “suppression of many risings and the disappearance of their leaders”; where the leader disappears and “his followers say that he is not dead; he has gone into concealment”. With each new leader “who disappeared and did not return”, this belief was “enriched” and became more detailed and “essential” as a “feature of Shia Islam.”
However, according to Wilferd Madelung in Encyclopedia of Islam, the doctrine of the Occultation was well-documented by traditions of the Imams before the occultation of the Twelfth Imam whom the majority of the Imamiyya came to consider as the Mahdi after the death of the eleventh. As an example he mentions that "the pattern was already set in regard to Muḥammad b. al-Ḥanafiyya, whose death was denied by the Kaysāniyya [q.v.]. They believed that he was hidden in the mountains of Raḍwā and would return to rule the world. Similar beliefs arose around Muḥammad b. al-Ḥanafiyya’s son Abū Hashim" Moreover, Madelung names several Sunni scholars who have similar beliefs. In a Hadith upon whose authenticity Shiites and Sunnis agree, Muhammad had said, "If there were to remain in the life of the world but one day, God would prolong that day until He sends in it a man from my community and my household. His name will be the same as my name. He will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny." [a] However, the majority of Sunnis do not consider the son of eleventh Imam as the promised Mahdi. Shias claim the only possible occasion that the son of eleventh Imam is said to have made a public appearance was at the time of his death, then as a child the boy was seen no more. His birth, Shiite says, like the case of the prophet Moses, was concealed due to the difficulties of the time, and because of the belief that he was the promised Muhammad al-Mahdi, the caliphs of the time had decided definitely to put an end to the Imamate in Shiism once and for all.
Usuli versus Akhbari
Twelvers of the Akhbari and Usuli branches have for centuries debated over the interpretation of religious texts and the responsibilities of Twelver scholars in the absence of the Hidden 12th Imam. This culminated during the latter half of the 18th century with the violent suppression of Akhbari’s, especially under the direction of Usuli scholar Muhammad Baqir Behbahani.
On the one hand, Akhbaris (nowadays a small minority) reject the use of reasoning in deriving religious laws and verdicts. They believe the Qur'an and Sunnah (traditions of Muhammad and the Imams) provide all the laws necessary for their followers, and that reasoning is open to errors from imperfect scholars in the absence of an infallible Imam. They also criticise what they see as the transgressions of Twelver scholars, in gradually acquiring for themselves the powers and responsibilities of the Hidden Imam. Some Akhbaris have reported their belief this was, among others explanations, a result of the greed for power and wealth of Usuli scholars over laymen.
On the other hand, Usulis criticise the rigidity and narrow-mindedness of the Akhbaris and interpret the religious texts and take on much of the roles of the 12th Imam in accordance with the naturally evolving requirements of the Twelver Shia community.
Nikah mut‘ah (lit. "pleasure marriage"), is a fixed-term marriage practiced in Twelver Shia Islam. The duration of this type of marriage is fixed at its inception and is then automatically dissolved upon completion of its term. For this reason, nikah mut‘ah has been widely criticised as the religious cover and legalization of prostitution. The Christian missionary Thomas Patrick Hughes criticized Mut'ah as allowing the continuation of "one of the abominable practices of ancient Arabia."  The majority of Sunni scholars and Western writers have called it prostitution. Julie Parshall, Zeyno Baran, and Elena Andreeva have written that this kind of marriage is prostitution. According to Shahla Haeri, in Iran the middle class itself considers it to be prostitution which has been given a religious cover by the fundamentalist authorities.
Nikah mut‘ah was practiced at the time of Muhammad and Abu Bakr, but was outlawed by the second Caliph, Umar ibn Khattab. Therefore, it is forbidden among Sunnis, but Shia consider Umar's account as legally and religiously invalid, as they argue it's legitimated by Quran 4:24. Shia have systematically contested the criticism that it is a cover for prostitution, and argue their rationales regarding the legal uniqueness of temporary marriage, which distinguishes Mut'ah ideologically from prostitution. Children born of temporary marriages are considered legitimate, and have equal status in law with their siblings born of permanent marriages, and do inherit from both parents. Women must observe a period of celibacy (idda) to allow for the identification of a child’s legitimate father, and a woman can only be married to one person at a time, be it temporary or permanent. Some Shia scholars also view Mut'ah as a means of eradicating prostitution from society.
Taqiyya is a Shia practice under which it is permissible to hide one's faith in order to preserve life. The Shia have been criticised for this practice, an act deemed against the virtues of bravery and courage. Critics argue that the Twelvers have taken dissimulation far beyond life-threatening situations and have allowed its use in any scenario that is judged to benefit the continuation or propagation of the Twelver creed, as is emphasized by the "celebrated" reputed saying of the 6th Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, “[t]aqiyyah is my religion and the religion of my forefathers”; along with his other often quoted saying from Kitab al-Kafi: "Nine tenths of faith is taqiyya." The practice is widely criticized by Sunni Muslims as indicative of the problems that they face when interacting with Shi'ites. According to Patricia Crone, Twelvers even extended the use of taqiyya “to protect their secret wisdom from exposure to the uncomprehending masses (including their own co-religionists), who might pervert it or denounce it as heretical." This view has been supported by Faysal Noor in his book Taqiyyah: The Other Face. 
Living as a minority among the Sunni majority, however, made such a doctrine important to Shiite.Besides, the practice of concealing one's beliefs in dangerous circumstances originates in the Qur'an, which deems blameless those who disguise their beliefs in such cases. The practice of taqiyya in difficult circumstances is considered legitimate by Muslims of various sects. Sunni and Shia commentators alike observe that verse [Quran 16:106] refers to the case of 'Ammar b. Yasir, who was forced to renounce his beliefs under physical duress and torture. This practice was emphasized in Shia Islam whereby adherents may conceal their religion when they are under threat, persecution, or compulsion. Taqiyya was developed to protect Shia who were usually in minority and under pressure. In the Shia view, taqiyya is lawful in situations where there is overwhelming danger of loss of life or property and where no danger to religion would occur thereby. Shia commentators have argued that taqiyya has precedents from the time of Muhammad, including the story of Ammar ibn Yasir, Such commentators argue that to not avoid certain death is illogical, and that dissimulation is permissible under various circumstances, such as to preserve life, to protect the chastity of women, or avoid destitution.
Disrespect to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman
One allegation commonly leveled against the Twelvers is that they disrespect the Sunni Caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman who supported Mohammad as per Sunni belief during the early days of Islam but later turned enemies of Mohammad's household (Ahl al Bayt) as per Shia belief. Such Shia practices include the recited Dua Sanamain Quraish, which calls God's curse on the first two Sunni caliphs following Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr and Umar. Following the Safavid empire's conversion to the Shia sect of Islam, the first three caliphs, whom the Shia felt usurped Ali's right to be caliph, were cursed during Friday sermons.
- The Raafidis are the opposite: they love the Prophet's family (ahl al-bayt) - or so they claim, but they hate the Saahaaba, whom they curse, denounce as kaafirs, and criticize.
During the 1960s, when an incipient ecumenical movement called for the unification of Shia and Sunni Islam, religious writers cited this "disrespect" for the Sahabah as a barrier to unification. In 1980s and 1990s, three major religious writers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan again cited this argument, noting that until all "profanity" against the Sahabah was abandoned, dialogue with Shia scholars could not begin.
In 2010, Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa which bans any insult to the Sahabah (companions of Muhammad) as well as Muhammad's wives. The fatwa was issued in an effort to reconcile legal, social, and political disagreements between Sunni and Shia. The same fatwas were issued from Ali al-Sistani and other[who?] Shiite Marja'.
However, other Shia scholars such as Shaykh Tusi, Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Sadiq Hussaini Shirazi, Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei, Hossein Vahid Khorasani, Ruhollah Khomeini, Mohammad Jamil Hammoud al-Amili, Yasser Al-Habib, cursed and/or allow(ed) for disrespecting of the figures revered by the Sunnis, on the grounds that religious truth can't be compromised in the name of a false unity.
Mourning Husayn and self-flagellation during Ashura
Twelvers have been criticised for the practice of Tatbir (a form of self-flagellation) during Ashura, the observation of the martyrdom of Husayn traditionally accompanied by acts of ritual self-harm, which is often described as barbaric.
The practice is contested among Shi'a clerics: while traditionalist clerics allow believers to indulge in Tatbir, modernist clerics deem it not to be permissible because it is considered as self-damage and haram in Islam. Suffering and cutting the body with knives or chains was banned by the Shiite marja Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran and by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Khamenei issued a fatwa on 14 June 1994 banning this practice. He considered it irreligious and not suitable for good Muslims.
According to Salafi Sunni scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, the celebration of Ashura is itself a blatant and primary example of the propensity of the Shia to indulge in Bid‘ah (religious innovation). They argue that the annual mourning occasion for Husayn (or any other individual) was never instituted or practiced by Muhammad—not even for his closest family members—and hence has no validity in Islam. Likewise, Ibn Rajab in his Kitab al-Iata'if argued against Ashura: "Neither God..., nor His Messenger...have ordered that days on which prophets met with calamities and the day of their death be instituted as a day of mourning. How much more is this true for a person lesser than they?"
Three of the Twelve Imams, held by the Shia to be God's representatives on Earth, were less than ten years old when they assumed the undisputed and exclusive leadership of the Twelver Shia community. The 9th Imam, Muhammad al-Taqi, was 7 and a half years old at the time he assumed the Imamate; the 10th Imam, Ali al-Hadi, was between 6.5 and 8.5 years, and the 12th and final Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, was 4 and a half years old. Pakistani Islamic scholar and polemicist Ehsan Elahi Zaheer argues against the possibility of these personalities assuming the leadership of the Imamate at such young ages. Wilferd Madelung notes, however, that in Shia belief the knowledge of an Imam comes from "inspiration, not acquisition", and thus that even a young Imam is not considered unprepared, receiving revelation upon the death of his predecessor.
Shias further claim that ninth Imam the Shiite could not help asking from his father, the eighth Imam whether a child at that age could take on such a responsibility if something happened to Imam Ali al-Ridha; and al-Ridha used to illustrate the story of the Jesus who was even younger when he had become the prophet of his time however Sunnis state ascribing prophetic values to Shia Imams is another example of Shirk.[b] John the Baptist was also a child when he was given wisdom. His reading and understanding of the scriptures, surpassed even that of the greatest scholars of the time.[c]
Shias claim that the Shiite account of al-Ma'mun's first meeting with Muhammad al-Jawad shows that wisdom is given to the Twelve Imams.[d] After which the Caliph called together a great gathering in which all kinds of questions were asked from the young Imam, who astonished them all with his judgment and learning. Then al-Ma'mun declared formally that he gave him his daughter in marriage thereby.
Other criticisms include the fact that Imamah is not mentioned in the Quran and the absence of such a crucial pillar in Shia Islam brings into question the validity of such claims. The Twelver Imamah doctrine is not shared by the majority of Sunni Muslims. The Syrian mufti Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 AH/1328 AD) composed a long refutation of it in his Minhaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah.
Infallibility of Imams
Twelver Shi'ism has been criticized for exaggerating the holiness and infallibility of its Imams. Al-Kulayni in al-Kafi claims that the Imams know when they die and they do not die unless by their own choice, they know everything in the past and in the future and every time when God informs Muhammad, He orders him to inform Ali too. In Islamic Government Khomeini writes: "Amongst the necessities in our doctrine is that our Imams have a dignity which no favored angel nor sent prophet could ever reach. As it has been narrated, the Imams were lights under the shadow of the throne before creating this world”. According to critics this purity is close to that of the prophet Muhammad, if not quite on the same level, and reflects excessiveness of view. Shia Islam has been criticised for magnifying the role of the Imams alongside, or even above, that of Muhammad.
Both Shiite and Sunni are in agreement over the two functions of prophet hood: to reveal God's law to men, and to guide men toward God. However, while Sunnis believe that both have come to an end with the death of Muhammad, Shiites believe that whereas legislation ended, the function of guiding and "explaining divine law continued through the line of Imams." In Shiite theology, thus, God does not guide via authoritative texts (i.e. the Qur'an and Hadith) only but also guides through some specially equipped individuals known as Imams. This constitution, Shiite says, is not limited to Islam, but each great messenger of God had two covenants, one concerning the next prophet who would eventually come, and one regarding the immediate successor, the Imam. For example, Sam was an imam for Noah, Ishmael was an Imam for Abraham, Aaron or Joshua for Moses, Simon, John and all the disciples for Jesus, and Ali and his descendants for Muhammad. It is narrated from the sixth imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq who had said "where there to remain on the earth but two men, one of them would be the proof of God". The difference between apostles (Rasuls), the prophets(Nabi) and the Imams, thus, is described as follows: Rasul sees and hears the angel in awakness and sleep. Nabi hears the angel and sees him while asleep, but does not see him while awake though hears the speech. Imam (muhaddith) is the one who hears the angel in awakness while does not see him in awakness or sleep. According to Shiite, the status and authority attributed to Imams will be senseless if they are prone to the same weakness found in general people. God must assign someone similar to prophet in his attributes and Ismah as his successor to guide the people and to interpret the Quran. Shias claim their sources state that the Ahl al-Bayt which are described pure of sin in the verse of purification are Ahl al-Kisa involved only specific members of the Prophet's family,[e] and Shis claim this as an argument for their infallibility.
Fatimah's divine revelations
According to some Twelver Shia scholars, Muhammad's daughter Fatimah received divine revelations after her father's death. During the 75 days that Fatimah had contact and communication with Gabriel, her husband Ali wrote down and recorded the revelations that were made to Fatimah which she dictated to him, to form the Book of Fatimah.
Sunnis argue that Fatimah never received divine revelations from Allah. According to the Shia fifth Imam, however, this kind of revelation is not the revelation of prophethood but rather like the inspiration (ilham) which came to Mary (mother of Jesus),[f] the mother of Moses[g] and to the bee.[h]
According to Twelver religious practice, Khums is an annual taxation on 20% of all profits. This wealth is collected and managed by Shia religious leaders. However, according to scholars such as Musa al-Musawi, the modern development of the practice of collecting khums exclusively by Shia religious leaders, especially the sayyid clerical elite, is simply a case of the usurpation of the place of the hidden Imam Mahdi and as a way of enriching the clerical class.
Khums, according to Shiite, is divided into two portions. One portion went to the descendants of Muhammad, the other portion was divided equally and one part given to Imam and clergy, while the other part went to the orphaned and poor Muslims. Khums became a major source of income and financial independence of the clergy in Shia regions.
Shias justify the practice of khums by the fact that unlike Sunni religious leaders, non-Iranian Shia ones, aren't state sponsored and supported in their mission. For example, Turkish "Presidency of Religious Affairs" only trains and employs all of Turkey’s Sunni imams, as well as administers only Sunni worshiping places, despite the fact that Shias make up 25-30% of Turkish citizens and on non-voluntary basis participate in the financing of the Sunni mosques and the salaries of Sunni imams, while their places of worship, which are not officially recognized by the State, don't receive any funding.
Three prayer times per day
While Sunnis have 5 salat (prayer) sessions per day, Twelvers can opt to pray only 3 times per day by doubling their prayers on 2 occasions—combining the 2nd prayer with the 3rd and the 4th prayer with the 5th. However, Sunnis argue this very practice defeats the purpose of having 5 distinct prayers, since God ordered 5 prayers for 5 separate times of the day rather than 3 prayers for 3 separate times of the day and that Shia have misrepresented the ambiguity of the issue in the Quran for their own convenience. Twelvers extract this ruling from the two most important sources of jurisprudence which are the Quran and the Sunnah of the Messenger Muhammad who was praying this way, as it is also reported by Sunni sources, thus they believe this backs their claims accepted within a Sunni point of view. It is even reported from the hadith that the Messenger did this so that no one among his Ummah should be put to [unnecessary] hardship however this can also be interpreted for people in long journey or ill health, Shias believe this is enough to reject any accusation of not basing their actions from Quran and Traditions. However many Hadiths exist which support the practice of 5 prayers per day.
Rejection of predestination
Twelvers reject predestination. This has led to Sunni criticism of Twelvers, along with their associated belief in Bada' (change in God's will), as being deniers of God's complete sovereignty and as being imitators of the Mu'tazila school of Islamic theology.
To show that there is no contradiction between being predestined, and free will, Shiite states that matters relating to the human destiny is of two kinds: definite and indefinite; to explain the definitive one, Shiite argues that God has definite power over the whole of existence, however, whenever He wills, He can replace a given destiny with another one; and that is what is called indefinite destiny. some of these changes of destiny, thus, are brought about by man himself, who can through his free will, his decisions, and his way of life—lay the groundwork for a change in his destiny as been pointed out in the verses: Truly, God will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change Their state themselves.[i] Both types of destinies, however, are contained within God's foreknowledge, Shiite argues, so that there could be no sort of change (Bada)concerning His knowledge. So the first type of destiny does not mean a limitation of God’s power; since God, in contrast to the belief of Jews who says the hand of God is tied’ asserts: Nay, His hands are spread out wide ....[j] So God has the power to change everything he wills and God's creativity is continuous. Accordingly, as Sobhani puts it, "all groups in Islam regard "bada" as a tenet of the faith, even if not all actually use the term."
Corruption of the Quran
Twelvers are often criticised by Sunnis for believing that the Quran was altered by the Sahaba (companions of Muhammad). Groups such as the Deobandis accuse Twelvers of believing that the complete version of the original Quran is in the possession of their 12th Imam. Twelvers are also accused of believing that the present Quran is omitted of the verses which support the Imamate of Ali because Caliph Uthman removed them during the Qurans compilation—noting the incompatibility of the belief that the codification and propagation of the Quran was truthfully undertaken by the Sahaba, who, in Shi'a tradition, represent the earliest people to take the Caliphate from its rightful claimants and to have corrupted the religion of Islam. As a result, such Sunni groups reject the Shia defense that they believe in the same Quran as Sunnis, accusing Shiites of lying in line with their practice of taqiyya so as not to expose themselves to the certain Sunni backlash.
Most of Shiites nowadays believe that nothing have been omitted or added to the Quran, however, traces of earlier views can be find in some Hadith books like Bihar al-Anwar. The contemporary Shiite scholar Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei states that even if The Book of Ali (a copy of Quran written by Ali containing Ali's commentary, which sometimes is called the Book of Ali) incorporated additions that are not part of the existing Quran, this does not mean that these additions comprised parts of the Quran and have been dropped from it due to alteration. Rather, these additions were interpretations or explanations of what God was saying, or were in the form of revelations from God, explaining the intention of the verses in the Quran. These additions were not part of the Quran and not part of what the Messenger of God was commanded to convey to the Muslim community.
Twelvers have been accused of raising Karbala to holiness and prominence—which in itself is "frowned upon by Sunnis"—above even Makka, Medina and Jerusalem. This belief is exemplified by the attribution of the title Karbala-i for one who has performed pilgrimage there (just as one who makes the Hajj is titled Hajji), its annual attraction of more pilgrims for Ashura and Arba'een than the Hajj (seen as "a counterweight and a challenge to the annual haj taking place in Mecca"), prostrating during salat on turbah commonly made from the clay of Karbala and to numerous hadith attributed to the Imams which are interpreted by critics as placing the land of Karbala above the Kaaba. Sunni criticism has recently extended to a proposal by former Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki to even make Karbala the Qibla (direction of prayer).
Violence and persecution
Iran, the Twelver Shia bastion, is accused of the persecution of its Sunni minority and the historical persecution of Sunnis since at least Safavid times, e.g. there are no Sunni mosques in any of Iran’s large cities. It is also accused of supporting the suppression of Sunnis in such countries as Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, both directly and through the militias it funds, such as Hezbollah and the private militias in Iraq. Another common target of persecution by the Iranian Twelver religious establishment is the Bahá'í community.
However, Twelvers have themselves often been victims of Anti-Shia violence.
- Criticism of Islam
- Criticism of religion
- Islamic schools and branches
- Shia–Sunni relations
- Sunni fatwas on Shias
- For more hadiths see Sahih of Tirmidhi. Cairo, 1350-52. vol. IX, chapter "Ma ja a fi’l-huda": Sahih of Abu Da’ud, vol.ll, Kitab al-Mahdi: Sahih oflbn Majah, vol.ll. chapter khurui’ al-Mahdi": Yanabi’ al-mawaddah: Kitab al-bayan fi akhbar Sahib al zaman of Kanji Shaafi’i, Najaf, 1380; Nur al-absar: Mishkat almasabih of Muham. mad ibn ’Abdallan al-Khatib. Damascus, 1380; al- Sawa’iq al-muhriqah, Is’af al raghibin of Muhammad al-Sabban, Cairo. 1281: al-Fusul al-muhimmmah; Sahih of Muslim: Kitab al-ghaybah by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Nu’mani, Tehran, 1318; Kamal al-din by Shaykh Saduq. Tehran, 1301; lthbat al-hudat; Bihar al-anwar, vol. LI and LII.
- Quran, 5:110
- Quran, 19:12
- Once when al-Ma'mun was out hunting with his hunting birds he passed through a road where boys were playing. Among them was Muhammad al-Jawad. When al-Ma'mun's horsemen approached the boys ran away except al-Jawad who remained there. Noting this al-Ma'mun stopped his carriage and asked, "Boy, what kept you from running away with the others?" Al-Jawad replied, "The road was not so narrow that I should fear there would not be room for you to pass, and I have not been guilty of any offence that I should be afraid, and I considered that you were the sort of man who would not injure one who had done no wrong." The Caliph was very delighted, after he had gone on a short distance one of his hunting birds brought him a small fish, which he hid in his fist and returned and asked the boy, who was still standing there "What have I in my hand?" The young Imam answered that the "creator of living things has created in the sea a small fish that is fished by the falcons of the kings and caliphs to try with it the progeny of al-Mustafa. Al-Ma'mun was much pleased and asked the child about his lineage, to which Imam al-Jawad responded accordingly.
- According to Madelung the majority of the Sunnite reports quoted by al-Tabari do not identify the ahl al-Kisa. Other Sunnite reports mention Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn, and some agree with the Shiite tradition that the ahl al-kisa including Ali, were assembled for the Event of Mubahala.
- Quran, 3:45
- Quran, 28:7
- Quran, 16:68
- Quran, 13:11
- Quran, 5:64
- Momen 1985, p. xiii
- Brunner, Rainer; Ende, Werner, eds. (2001). The Twelver Shia in Modern Times: Religious Culture and Political History. BRILL. p. 178. ISBN 9789004118034.
The intellectual history of Twelver Shia Islam in the 20th century has witnessed quite a few attempts by religious scholars and lay intellectuals at religious reform, which nearly inevitably meant criticism of existing practices. The reformers have concentrated on various aspects of Shia popular religion with a high symbolic value which determine the outward appearance of Shia Islam and its relation to mainstream Sunni Islam. Not least because of that strong symbolism they have deemed these practices to be against the true spirit of Shia Islam, even against the spirit of Islam itself.
- David Gardner (18 Dec 2011). Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance (revised ed.). I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857730336.
...is profoundly repellent to the orthodox Sunni. So too are the rituals associated with the Imam Hussein - comparable to the central event of the crucifixion in Christianity - and indeed the whole Shia iconography, which for the Sunni strays into idol-worship.
- Ingvild Flaskerud (2 Dec 2010). Visualizing Belief and Piety in Iranian Shiism (illustrated ed.). A&C Black. p. 234. ISBN 9781441149077.
- Vali Nasr (17 Apr 2007). The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 44. ISBN 9780393066401.
- The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security, by Chris Seiple, Dennis R. Hoover, Pauletta Otis, 2012, page 60
- A Companion To The History Of The Middle East, edited by Youssef M.Choueiri, page 93
- Islam and the West, by Bernard Lewis, 1993, page 163
- al-Mahdī. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online, 2012. Reference. University of Southern California. 18 June 2012
Testimony in support of the Mahdīship of the Twelfth Imām by these Sunnī authors, as also of later ones like the Mālikī scholar Ibn al-Ṣabbāg̲h̲ al-Isfāḳusī al-Makkī (d. 855/1451), a Mag̲h̲ribī resident in Mecca, and, more recently, the Ḥanafī Naḳs̲h̲bandī S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ Sulaymān b. Ibrāhīm al-Ḳundūzī al-Balk̲h̲ī (d. 1294/1877 in Istanbul), was regularly noted by Imāmī apologists. The works of al-Gand̲j̲i and Kamāl al-Dīn Ibn Ṭalḥa were extensively quoted already by ʿAlī b. ʿĪsā al-Irbilī (d. 692/1293) in his Kas̲h̲f al-g̲h̲umma fī maʿrifat al-aʾimma, which in turn won positive comment from Sunnī authors because of its extensive reliance on Sunnī sources. Further support for the Mahdīship of the Twelfth Imām came from Ṣūfī circles. Already Abū Bakr al-Bayhaḳī (d. 458/1066) had noted that some Ṣūfī gnostics (d̲j̲amāʿa min ahl al-kas̲h̲f) agreed with the Imāmī doctrine about the identity of the Mahdī and his g̲h̲ayba. The Persian Ṣūfī Ṣadr al-Dīn Ibrāhīm al-Ḥammūyī (late 7th/13th century) supported Imāmī doctrine on the Mahdī in his Farāʾid al-simṭayn. The Egyptian Ṣūfī al-S̲h̲aʿrānī, while generally showing no sympathy for S̲h̲īʿism. affirmed in his al-Yawāḳīt wa ’l-d̲j̲awāhir (written in 958/1551) that the Mahdīwas a son of Imām al-Ḥasan al-ʿAskarī born in the year 255/869 and would remain alive until his meeting with Jesus. His advent could be expected after the year 1030/1621. He based his assertion on the testimony of the Ṣūfī S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ Ḥasan al-ʿIrāḳī, who claimed to have met the Mahdī, and on a spurious quotation from Ibn al-ʿArabī’s al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya identifying the Expected Mahdī with the Twelfth Imām. This quotation of Ibn al-ʿArabī was noted and accepted by both Imāmī and Sunnī scholars. The Egyptian S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ al-Ṣabbān (d. 1206/1792), in his Isʿāf al-rāg̲h̲ibīn fī sīrat al-Muṣṭafā wa-faḍāʾil ahl baytih al-ṭāhirīn, censured Ibn al-ʿArabī for supporting such a view against the clear evidence of the traditions accepted by Sunnī scholars.Missing or empty
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- "In permitting these usufructuary marriages Muḥammad appears but to have given Divine (?) sanction to one of the abominable practices of ancient Arabia, for Burckhardt (vol. ii. p. 378) says, it was a custom of their forefathers to assign to a traveller who became their guest for the night, some female of the family, most commonly the host’s own wife!" Hughes, T. P. (1885). In A Dictionary of Islam: Being a Cyclopædia of the Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies, and Customs, together with the Technical and Theological Terms, of the Muhammadan Religion. London: W. H. Allen & Co.
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- Kitab al-Taharah Volume 3 Page 457: As for the other groups of the Nawasib, actually the Khawarij, even though they’ll get more punished than the Kuffar, yet this is not proving them to be Najis (impure). Hence, if a ruler makes Khurooj (opposes/fights) Amir Al-Mu’mineen (as) not for religious reason, rather for worldly reason (seeking power) or other motives like A'isha, Zubair, Talha, Mu’aawiya and their likes, or if someone holds Nasb/enmity towards him or one of the [twelve] Imams (as), not due to religious reason rather because of his enmity towards the Quraish, or Bani Hashim or the Arabs or because [Ali] killed one of his children or his father etc. Apparently none of those are necessarily considered Najis (impure) from an apparent point of view, in fact they are more impure than dogs and pigs. See: 
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Sunni Muslims and even some Shiites are opposed to the Ashura ritual, condemning it as barbaric.
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Later, during the 1920s, there were intense public campaigns by the Soviet government against the rituals of Ashura, denounced as barbaric practices, and a vestige of feudalism.
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