Malaysian Shia Muslims pray at a mosque on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Shia Muslims pray at a mosque on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

June 9, 2015

With the clashes of the concept of ‘Islam’ in the eyes of the world today, it’s easy for one to veer away from what is true, and what is not.

Disputes arose following the death of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH), over who should lead the Muslim community, resulting to a split into two main branches, the Sunni and Shia.

Shia according to Arabic etymology means follower. Today, it refers to the Muslims who believe that the leadership of the community after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the right of Ali Abu Talib (his cousin and son-in-law), and his descendants to lead the Islamic community, whom they regard the rightful heir, Imam and Caliph.

From a Sharia (Islamic law) point of view, Shia means people who glorify and praise Ali to the point of worship, and dismiss Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) closest companions and contempt them as Caliphs after his demise.

Followers of Shia, believe a Caliph should be an Imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt (the “Family of the House”, Muhammad’s direct descendants).

They believe in ‘Imamah (Shia doctrine)’ that Imams are similar to prophets and have a divine mission to rule the Muslims and be God’s representative on Earth. According to the most influential Shia scholar in modern time, Iran’s AyatuAllah Khomeini, the Shia Imams used to be made of light, before being sent to Earth by God.

Based on these reasons, the Shia rejected the first, second and third who were respectively reigned as Caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar al-Khattāb and Uthman Affan, deeming them to be liars, infidels, traitors, robbers, apostates and tyrants, as they considered Ali to have been the only truly legitimate Caliph of these men.

The Shia have thus created an atmosphere of animosity throughout the history of Islam, and the question of partisanship of Ahl-e-Bayt developed into a school of thought which preached and perpetuated such detrimental teachings down through the generations.

Their followers insulted and cursed the Caliphs as ‘unworthy’ and deemed them to be the worst of God’s creatures, equivalent to Namrood, Pharoah, and Haman who will go to hell, followers of Satan and have cursed them in a prayer called ‘Two Idols of Quraysh’. It was also claimed that Ali recited the prayer, however it is questioned in authenticity as it was a supplication made up by the Shia.

Shia Vs Sunni

While a great majority of Muslims are Sunnis – with estimates somewhere between 85–90 percent, the remaining are Shias. There is an estimated 21–35 percent of Shias in the Muslim population in South Asia.

Shia Muslims in Iran mourning in commemoration of the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam, Imam Hussein.Shia Muslims in Iran mourning in commemoration of the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam, Imam Hussein.

Below are the beliefs of Shias, in contradiction to the Sunnis in the fields of doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organisation.

1. A Caliph is bequeathed by nass (the nomination of an Imam by a previous Imam)
2. The Imam is infallible by Allah
3. Ali is the Caliph of Muslims after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
4. Denouncing the companions of the Prophet and believers
5. Nikah mut‘ah (“temporary marriage”), is practised and legalised which is Haram (forbidden) to Sunnis
6. Rejection of scholars
7. Refusing Qiyas (Islamic jurisprudence)
8. Follow some teachings of the Hadiths narrated by Sunnis however claim the companions that narrated them are infidels
9. Combining two prayers in all circumstances

The majority of Shia following can be found in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Yemen, and Lebanon. In fact, the Shia following is growing in countries in the world, including in Iraq, which once was inhabited by a majority of Sunnis.

An Extreme Faith

A further probe into the Shia world, we interviewed UMNO Youth Exco member and Islamic scholar, Dr. Fathul Bari who noted that the second largest country after Iran with Shia following is Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, a dictator from the Sunni minority who ruled over the Shia-majority country.

He highlighted that his teacher who is Kurdish revealed that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army killed 5,000 Kurds in a 1988 chemical weapons attack on Halabja (a small Kurdish city) near the end of a bloody, eight-year war with Iran.

Dr. Fathul Bari“My teacher’s lineage all died in a poisonous gas attack, but he said, today, the happenings in Iraq are far worse than Saddam’s time as the Shias are on an endless hunt to kill the Sunnis.

“Previously, people could stop to pray at the Hussein mosque (a Shia mosque in Iraq), but these days, no one dares enter.

“There are some who claim to visit the mosque without facing any problems, but if Shia fighters are aware of visiting Sunnis, who knows what might happen next,” he said.

He goes on to explain how the Shias have managed to dominate Lebanon, with Hassan Nasrallah as its leader, often referred to as “al-Sayyid Hassan”, the honorific “Sayyid” denoting descent from the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandson Husain Ali.

The Lebanese claim their ‘Hezbollah (Party of Allah)’ political party, is similarly acclaimed to the one mentioned in the Quran. However, it is only a misrepresentation of realpolitik in order to damage its Islamic credentials. Likewise, there are those with a Muslim name, without faith in Islam as a religion.

“I have witnessed this firsthand while I was in Jordan. The Hezbollah-owned TV station Al-Manar broadcasted its line of army. They were even raising flags of Khomeini (who was the top religious figure of Twelver Shiism in Iran and around the World). I wondered what the connection was between Khomeini and Lebanon?

“It is pretty obvious that they were turning Lebanon into a Shia country after Iran and Iraq. And indeed, they succeeded. This followed suit by Syria. And their leader? Bashar al-Assad, a staunch Shia

Nushairiyah (a sub-sect of Shia) follower,” he shared.Photo: AP – A Hezbollah supporter chants slogans, as he holds a picture of the late Iran revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The Shia consists of several distinctive sects. Explaining the sub-sects of the Shia following, he tells us, “Previously, the term Shia Nushairiyah was unheard of, and so was the Shia Batiniyyah (a sub-sect of Shia), but these days we often hear of it.

“These are the most extreme of Shia sects which believe that Ali and his descendants were priests of God, believe in reincarnation, justify homosexuality and marriage with a mahram.

“In fact they are willing to take their priests, and proselytize their leaders. Shia Batiniyyah followers even claimed the angel Gabriel wrongly presented the revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and claimed that it was supposedly revealed to Ali.

“The pressures of Shia extremists also amounted in Syria, this has forced them to wipe out the Sunnis − shooting them and even burying men alive,” he lamented.

The Rise Of Shia In Malaysia

Despite the government only recognising the Sunni branch of Islam and prohibiting all others including Shia in a ban issued in 1996 by the National Fatwa Council of top Islamic clerics, the Shia following is slowly creeping into our country.

Previously, an official from the Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) had announced that Shia is a key threat to Malaysia’s security and should be kept under close watch to ensure they do not lead to extremism.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, also echoed the same. He said, “Shia is an Iranian sect. It has expanded secretly and now has many supporters who are starting to practice their faith in public. We don’t want any religious differences. They are a threat to Muslim unity in Malaysia.”

To this, Dr. Fathul shared, “In fact, the spread of the Shia in Malaysia has been ongoing for a long time. But, decades before, it was not seen as a threat.

“In the 70s, the country was also impressed with the Iranian revolution which led to us sending our youths, even the likes of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, among others, to follow the footsteps of Khomeini in their efforts of bringing down Mohammad Reza Shah (former king of Iran).

“Since then, we started building diplomatic relations with Iran through an Islamic perspective, regardless the different teachings of faith. We viewed them with sentiments of Islam, only that they were Shia.

“In the early 80s, the context began to spread, Shia ideologies slowly crept into the minds of our society and its teachings, in several top universities in our country,” he detailed.

He added that due to the close ties between Malaysia and Iran, the Shia ideology began to evolve − through student exchange, business, tourism, culture – for example like what happened in Kelantan several years ago where an Iran Cultural Expo was held to showcase the rituals of Shia.

Despite Shia ideologies slowly being widespread and posing a threat to our country, Malaysia still continues to have diplomatic relations with the government of Iran and Iraq. These ties are ones not easily broken as it is linked to a few important sectors, mainly, petroleum. However, these influences are controlled by the government to a certain extent.

“In summary, Shia ideologies have spread into Malaysia through diplomatic means, marriage, education and culture.

“Several years ago, a student from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) even came to JAKIM and requested for a Shia mosque to be built in Serdang,” he said.

With regards to the involvement of politicians in this country professing and disseminating Shia beliefs, he shared, “There is but one thing everyone should know, I am of the opinion that if any political party in Malaysia detects that there are members from the Shia following, they should be immediately dismissed.

“We have to understand, the history of Shia clearly displays that they have a political agenda. Abdullah Saba has appointed Ali as his Lord and has declared, ‘You, You, You are God’ because of the political agenda in order to create tension and disunity among the Muslims.

“What is happening in Iran is a political agenda, since the fall of Mohammad Reza Shah and the rise of Khomeini. In Iraq, the toppling of Saddam Hussein was also a political agenda. Similarly to the happenings in Lebanon, Bahrain and Syria, all of it is a political agenda. So, Malaysian politicians must be wary,” he warned.

“The minute there is Shia ideology in a political party, trust me, they(the Shia) will have their own political agenda. Shia is a religion of politics. It is hard to know what a specific Shia believes in until proven with clear evidence.

“The Shia encourages Taqiya (concealing and lying about one’s true beliefs). According to the Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said to have prophesied that the Masih ad-Dajjal would be the last of a series of thirty Dajjal or “deceivers” with an army of Shia followers.

“They are hiding their disbelief by disclosing it with something that fits in with today’s society,” he said.

He added that Muslims should strengthen their faith as Sunnis and engage in more knowledge about the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This understanding should be repeatedly studied.

“The companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are very important, so why dismiss them? By doing so, they (the Shia) can be converted.

“They want their people to take the place of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and that’s the reason why they claim false statements tarnishing the good name of his companions.

“We must clarify these ideologies, characteristics and strategies of the Shia to the Muslims so they would truly understand their real agenda. If we really understand the Shia, then we would not want to be a part of their following,” he exclaimed.

Understanding this, it serves a great reminder to all Muslims in the country about the evil and blasphemous beliefs in Shiism. We need to be more cautious for fear that wrong and extreme teachings of Islam would be widespread in our country.

It is clear that people need to be warned, especially those interested in reverting to Islam, that Shia represents a deviation from true Islam, and its doctrines clearly have no basis in the Quran or Hadith.

The threat that it is, Shia only lures and deceives its followers by operating under the name of Islam and incorporating some Islamic doctrines while adding new doctrines that have no basis and contradict with Islam as taught by the Quran and preached by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Photo: Alfalah Communications -Shia rituals have nothing to do with Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never did or command such studpities

 Alfalah Communications -Shia rituals have nothing to do with Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never did or command such studpities

Source: Malaysian Digest

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.