In our previous episode we reached a definitive conclusion and we explained that if a person reaches a conclusion on any doctrinal matter through the means of a sound methodology he will be rewarded for this, and this is the meaning which we have alluded to in the previous discussions to the statement of permissibility in acting according to all Heavenly languages (keeping in mind the three conditions we had stipulated). On this basis we have even posited that acting according to any creed or religion is acceptable as we have elaborated upon this fundamental reality that the permission of an action is rooted upon its evidence, knowledge and it’s proof, as the Qur’ān says: “Bring forth your proof (burhān) if you are truthful” .
In opposition to this discussion there is a separate discussion (of intolerance) between the various Islamic sects, something that history even testifies to and continues to be a contemporary issue. When you open the annals of Christian history you will see just how many people were killed between the Catholics and the Protestants, and this was because they believed that salvation could only be attained through their own creed and all others but themselves were doomed. This notion underlined every European war that occurred, with every school and sect believing themselves to be the only ones on Truth and every one else was damned. And this is what has caused this movement of tafkīr whereby a group sees themselves in possession of the absolute Truth, as if the Truth is in their own pockets and not in the pockets of anyone else!
It is this very logic and understanding that gives rise to killing, cursing, condemnation and intolerance of others. I am not speaking about what has happened between the Shi’a school and the Sunni school, I’m speaking on a general level whereby if you glance at the heritage of each school you would see how even within themselves they have cursed and attacked one another. Don’t let it occur to anyone that this discussion of takfir is something exclusive between Sunni and Shi’ī, in that the Shi’ī curses the Sunni and vicer versa, rather if you look at history you’ll see how the Mālikī attacked the Shāfi’ī, or the Hanbalī did takfir of the other, or how the people of Hadith would condemn the people of opinion (ra’y), or the Mu’tazilī would attack the Ash’arī, or how one who believes in the creation of the Qur’ān was treated by the one who believed it is eternal. History is full of this!
Now it is clear to see that those who consider themselves to be the representatives of Islam, be it in the form of Al-Qā’ida, or Dā’esh, or call it whatever you like, they kill the Sunnis just as freely as they kill the Shi’ī. Why is that? Because the foundations of their thinking and methodology naturally leads to this conclusion and produces this result. And it is extremely unfortunate that this cancerous illness has resurfaced and managed to infiltrate within the school of the Ahlulbayt. If you go back two or three centuries you will see the conflicts between the Usulis and the Akhbāris, and even now some of the satellite channels being run by Shi’ī organisations and associated with certain maraji’ claim that except for one or two scholars everyone else are apostates and disbelievers. I do not want to mention the name of these channels and organisations as I assume it is clear for you all as to who I am speaking about. Their ideology and methodology is based on this, that we are completely correct, and either you agree with us or either you are a disbeliever, misguided, apostate and so on and so on. There is no room for any form of difference of opinion.
When you look at the texts of both schools you will see this idea reinforced time and time again, for example look at the work Refuting the Creed of the Ash’ari and Māturidiyya by Khalid ibn Alī al-Mardhī al-Ghamidī. On page 8 he says the claim that the Sunni school consists of the three creeds of the Salaf, Ashā’ira and Māturīdiyya is a complete lie, and that only the Salaf, those who follow Abdul Wahhāb and ibn Taymiyya are the true Sunnis, and even then they are small in number. Look at what the author is doing, he has taken 80-90% of Sunnis and considered them outside of Islam. The second example is from Ghurbat al-Islām by Shaykh Hamud Al-Tawjurī, in volume one page 216 and 217 he says how the entire world of Islam is full of polytheism and how Muslims from all across the Islamic ummah are in one form or another polytheists.
So then who is left? Who really are the true Sunnis? According to this there are only a handful of true Muslims left and everyone else are polytheists. And why is there this emphasis on calling them polytheists and not disbelievers? So that they can then apply the verse of the Qur’ān on them “Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and He forgives what is besides this to whom He pleases” . Meaning that these people if they are to enter Hell they will stay there for eternity and never reach salvation, and this is the logic we see from some of the biggest Sunni scholars.
1 – Qur’ān , Surah 2, Verse 111
2 – Qur’ān , Surah 4, Verse 116
Sadiq Meghjee is a frequent contributor to Iqra Online and has been studying in the seminary of Qom for 6 years. Prior to entering the seminary he pursued an accounting qualification and worked in London. His field of interest is intellectual history.