FAQ in the category of Shiaism, Alawism, Jafarism

1 What is the difference between the Shias and Sunnis?
2 Marriage

We should firstly introduce the Muslim since a Muslim woman is only allowed to marry with a Muslim person. Muslim is the one who accepts all of the definite orders of the religion Islam and rejects none of them. Namely he who accepts and believes in the orders like salah, fasting, zakah (alms), hajj (pilgrimage), ablution and ghusl (ablution of whole body); and the prohibitions like fornication, drinking, interest etc. But if somebody does not accept some of these orders and prohibitions he is not considered to be a Muslim and it is not appropriate to marry with him. If the marriage occurs it is considered to be illegitimate.
So the criterion of marrying is Islam. Unfortunately today many Muslim ladies marry with non-Muslims without learning the order of the Islam and deserve the curse of Allah till the doomsday. (Halil GÜNENÇ, Günümüz Meselelerine Fetvalar(Juridical Decisions for Today’s Problems) II. 119)
Similar questions are coming on this subject for a while. Firstly I want to point out an issue.

We are not in favor of encouraging the Shia-Sunni dispute and dividing people. We support the unity and the cooperation. Flaming different views and breaking our unity does not bring good to any of us, it only harms all of us. We believe on the issue this way.
Indeed from the viewpoint of Islam there is no problem in taking Hz. Ali’s love as the base to himself for any Muslim or sect. Taking Hz. Ali and Ahl al-Bayt (family of Hz. Muhammad)’s love as a guide is ok as long as not disrespecting the other sahaba (companions of Hz. Muhammad), performing the salah in the light of the Quran and the sunnah (the way of the prophet), performing the fasting and the other responsibilities are fulfilled. Reality is that a true Shia who knows the book and the sunnah and lives as required accepts only Allah as god. He considers himself as a member of the Islam, accepts Hz. Muhammad as the last messenger and the Quran as the last holy book.

The only way to break this artificial separation is to get into the light of the Quran and to accept it as the base for criterian. Allah (swt) commands all the Muslims to gather around the Quran by saying in the Quran: “And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves”.
I will try to reply your question in this understanding.
Firstly we should know what the Shia is so that we can find the right answer. What is the Shia really? Yes, this is the question we should find the answer. If we know this we can give an answer like “marrying is appropriate” or “not”. But the understanding of the Shia in our country (Turkey) is not clear and unique. I listened some of the Shia representatives’ understanding of the Shia on the Samanyolu TV...
If the Shia is like this one, marrying is ok from the viewpoint of the Islam, and there is benefit in being kin. These representatives say that:
- Shia can not be outside of the Quran. It can not object to the sunnah. It can not be explained as opposed to Hz. Muhammad’s way of life, there are all the religious orders like salah, fasting, hajj and zakah in the Shia. Those who claim the opposite are the ones who want to make the Shia an instrument to their aims. You should not be deceived by them; you should not pay attention to those who want to show the Shia as outside of the Islam.
If the Shia is like this it is ok. We consider them as our brothers; moreover we may ignore some of their faults and shortcomings, because all of us have some sort of shortcomings and lacking in practice...
But if the Shia is not like this, and if it is like some claim... That is to say:
- If there is no salah, fasting, zakah; if they consider their worship only as a matter of heart and reject the five time prayer of salah; if they disrespect other caliphs of Hz. Muhammad, if they keep a hostility carrying some historical events to date; if they don’t accept the ghusl after being junub (ritually impure due to sexual intercourse or semen discharge) which is a must... it is not rational to think that it is possible for two people who accept and do not accept these things to establish a happy and calm home when people of the same culture also having problems in their marriage these days. Because of this I will say that: “How do the parts understand the Shia, firstly this must be well defined!”
If they take the Quran as base as our holy book, if they accept that the meaning of the Quran is explained in the sunnah, if they take the way of Hz. Muhammad and Ahl al-Bayt as a model, then it means we have no difference mainly. And it is possible to tolerate other differences.
The one who accepts the fards (religious duties) is a mu’min (believer). And the one who denies them is considered to be a kaffir (unbeliever). And determining this is possible by meeting and talking. Without talking it is prejudice.
I want to point out another important aspect too:
People who consider the Shia as inside of the Islam are our brothers, and the people who consider it as outside of the Islam are our citizens. We want to live in respect to each other with all of them too. This is a necessity of our religion too.
Shia can not be outside of the Quran. It can not object to the sunnah. It can not be explained as opposed to Hz. Muhammad’s way of life, there are all the religious orders like salah, fasting, hajj and zakah in the Shia. Those who claim the opposite are the ones who want to make the Shia an instrument to their aims. You should not be deceived by them; you should not pay attention to those who want to show the Shia as outside of the Islam... It is our duty to love and respect the people who were found worthy for the positions of bridegroom and father-in-law by Hz. Muhammad (pbuh).
Aile İlmihali (catechism of family), Cihan Yayınları

3 What is the truth about the issue of the twelve imams according to the Sunnis and the Shi’as?

Although the Shi’as are divided into some classes such as Ghaliya, Zaydiya and Imamiya, when it is said Shi’a, Imamiya is generally understood in our time.
After the passing away of the Prophet (pbuh) to the Eternal Realm, the Shi’as accept Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and his two sons in order and his grandsons as the legal imam (caliph) by the determination and the will of the Prophet and they regard believing in the twelve imams as a foundation of the faith. Therefore, that group is called as “Ithna Ashariyya” since they accept only the twelve imams as the imams; it is called as “Imamiya” since they accept believing in the imams as a condition of the faith; and it is called as “Ja’fariyya” since they rely on the opinions of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq both in faith and worship and acts.

The Shi’as are of the opinion that the imamate, namely, the caliphate is not from the “minor” acts which can be left to the desire and election of the Muslims as the Sunnis accept. According to them, imamate is a pillar existing in the basis of the religion and takes place among the fundamentals of the faith. Therefore, the Shi’as have to believe in the existence of the imam in the same way as they believe in Allah, the prophets and the Day of Judgment. According to that faith, the imams are innocent just like the prophets; they never commit a minor or a major sin, they do not behave unjustly; a person who does not know them becomes an unbeliever. Moreover, “Their commands are the commands of Allah, their prohibitions are His prohibitions. Obeying them is obeying Allah; disobedience to them is disobedience to Allah.”    

Iran, which accepts Imamiya as a formal madhhab (school of law) today, has given the duty of imamate including the religious authority to “Ayatullah al-Uzma” (Great Sign of Allah). Therefore, absolute obedience to that “imam” is obligatory. Opposing him is like opposing Allah and the Prophet. In the Iranian constitution, where the article “The formal religion of Iran is Islam and its school of law is Ithna Ashari Ja’afari. And that article can never be changed” takes place, believing in the “Twelve Imams” is accepted as an important principle.(1)  

The issue of imamate, considered as above, does not take place among the fundamentals of the religion in any way according to the Sunnis. The imam, namely the caliph, comes to the mission by the conferring and the election of the Muslims. Any person possessing the determined attributes in the matters of the world and the hereafter can undertake the management of the Muslims. He cannot be innocent and sinless in any way.  

In regard to the opinion of the Sunnis about the Twelve Imams; the eleven imams (their number is twelve with Hazrat Ali) are exalted saints and authorities in point of merit, godliness and spiritual ranks.

Badiuzzaman mentions the twelve imams while listing the persons who are the objects of mystery of the hadith “The scholars of my community are like the prophets of the Children of Israel.” (2) He introduces the twelve imams as the great people of the Sunnis by stating “The people of fact, first of all, the Sunnis as the Four Imams (the imams of the four schools of law) and the Ithna Ashara Imams (the Twelve Imams) of the Family of the Prophet..” in another statement of him. (3)
The Twelve Imams are the following persons: Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Hasan, Hazrat Hussain, Ali bin Hussain, Muhammad Baqir, Ja’far as-Sadiq, Musa Kazim, Ali Riza, Muhammad Taqi, Ali Naqi, Hasan Asghari and Muhammad Mahdi (may Allah be pleased with them.) 
1. Çağımızda İtîkâdî İslâm mezhepleri, p. 118-139; Muvazzah îlm-i Kelam,p. 24-25.
2. Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection, The Rays, p. 527.
3. Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection, Emirdağ Lahikası, 1:201

Mehmet Paksu

4 What is the real name of Karbala? Was it given this name after Hz. Husayn was martyred?

Karbala, which is located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad, is a famous place in the history of Islam because Hz Husayn and his family members were martyred there by the Umayyad on Muharram 10, 61 H (October 10, 680) and their graves are there.

It is the second holy place after Najaf, where Hz. Ali is believed to be buried. There are some views about where the name comes from but they are disputable: It may come from Akkadian word 'karballatu' meaning pointed cone, which was changed to karbala in the Middle Hebrew and Aramaic; it may also come from 'kuwar Babil' in Arabic meaning around Babylon or from the verb karbala, which means (feet) sinking into soft ground

It is known that after the conquest of Hira, Khalid bin Walid came here with his army and stayed there for a few days in the year 12 H (634). It is also narrated that Hz. Ali stopped here while returning to Kufa from Anbar or Siffin, that the people around him were worried about lack of water and that they found a well and drank water from it. The information above shows that Karbala is a place established before Islam.

(see T.D.V. İslam Ansiklopedisi, KERBELA item., Mustafa Öz, Ankara 2002, Vol. 25, p. 271)

5 Jafaris say when the Prophet (pbuh) was ill, he wanted some paper to dictate his will but that Hz. Umar prevented it. If it is true, why did Hz. Umar do something like that?

The Incident of Qirtas

a) The Attitude of the Companions when the Prophet Wanted Pen and Paper (Qirtas):

It is necessary to mention “the Incident of Qirtas”, which is closely related to Hz. Abubakr’s election as the Caliph. For, this incident is one of the evidences that Shiite put forward to state that it was the right of Hz. Ali to become the Caliph. (1)

When the disease of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) got worse on Thursday, five days before his death, he said, “Bring me a pen and some paper; I shall write something after which you will not go astray.”

The Companions who were there heard this. Hz. Umar was among those who heard it. He opposed bringing pen and paper because he interpreted the wish of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as follows:“The disease of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) got worse. We have the Book of Allah; it is sufficient for us.” In our opinion, what made Hz. Umar think like that was the statement of the Messenger of Allah on Dhul-Hijjah 18, the end of 10th year of the Migration, which was about 2 months and 10 days before his death:  

"O people! Know that I am only a human being and the messenger of my Lord (Azrael) will come to me. I will respond to his call. I am leaving behind two precious things (thaqalayn) among you. The first of the two is the Book of Allah. In it is guidance and light. So get hold of the Book of Allah and adhere to it. The second is my Ahl al-Bayt (family). I urge you to remember Allah regarding my Ahl al-Bayt."(2)

In the hadith above and similar ones that the Messenger of Allah said on the last days of his life, he advises his ummah to adhere to two things so as not to go astray: the Quran and Ahl al-Bayt, or the Quran and the Sunnah. Muslims were not supposed to go astray if they adhered to them firmly. What was meant by his Ahl al-Bayt was his Sunnah. For, like all of the Companions, Ahl al-Bayt were the guards of the Sunnah. They supported the Sunnah by their character.

In our opinion, Hz. Umar opposed the advice to be written when the Prophet (pbuh) was very ill. According to him, the Prophet (pbuh) had recently explained to his ummah what to do to avoid going astray. There was no need for the advice of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) at that time, when he was seriously ill since the Muslims had the Quran, which was full of guidance, and the Sunnah, which could not be separated from the Quran and which was almost as valuable as the Quran (3). [The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) died on Monday, Rabiul-Awwal 12 in 11 H.]

Some of the Companions who were there supported Hz. Umar when he opposed bringing pen and paper and regarded his view appropriate. However, some Companions did not support his view and opposed his view. According to them, pen and paper should have been brought and the advice of the Messenger of Allah should have been written. When the discussion between them lengthened and loud voices were heard, the Messenger of Allah said, “Move away from me. There can be no discussion in my presence. Leave me alone."(4) Thus, the discussion in the presence of the Messenger of Allah and the incident of Qirtas ended.

b) The Incident of Qirtas According to Ibn Abbas and Hz. Aisha

According to al-Kamil, theIncident of Qirtas reported from Ibn Abbas is as follows: Five days before the death of the Messenger of Allah, that is, on Thursday (5), at the beginning of the month of Rabiul-Awwal in 11 H, the disease and pain of the Messenger of Allah got worse. (Tears were coming down from his eyes down his cheeks.) Thereupon, he said, “Ituni bi diwatin wa baydaa = Bring me pen and paper. Aktub lakum kitaban la tudilluna ba’di abadan = I shall write you something after which you will never go astray.” Fa tanaza’u = Upon this, they/ the Companions argued in the presence of the Prophet though it was not appropriate to argue (6). They said, “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is certainly talking in his sleep due to his disease.(7) They started to repeat it near him. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said, “Leave me alone. The condition I am in is better than that which you ask me about.” He advised three things: The polytheists to be driven out of the Arabian Peninsula, the delegates coming to Madinah to be entertained in the same way as he did.” Ibn Abbas, who narrated the incident said, “He avoided saying the third one, or I forgot it.”(8)

As it is seen, the incident is a bit different here. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explained two of the three things that he would advise with pen and paper and he did not explain the third one; or he explained it too but the narrator forgot it or did not say it. That is how the Incident of Qirtas took place according to Ibn Athir. 

We think a hadith reported by Hz. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), is also related to the Incident of Qirtas:

Hz. Aisha stated the following: When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) got ill, she said to me,

“Call your father Abu Bakr and your brother (Abdurrahman) to write something. I fear that somebody will wish and say, ‘I deserve (Ana awla) the caliphate more’ after my death.”

After that, the Messenger of Allah gave up this view by thinking “Allah and the believers will accept only Abu Bakr.”(9)

As it is seen, the writing that was wanted to be written related to the caliphate during the days of illness was related to Hz. Abu Bakr. If this narration is regarded as the basis for the evaluation, it showed that Hz. Abu Bakr deserved the caliphate more and that his caliphate would prevent conflicts. Besides, we can deduce the indication that Hz. Abu Bakr would be the first caliph after the Messenger of Allah.

c) The Incident of Qirtas and the Theory of Will

The Shiite used the Incident of Qirtas, which was reported this or that way, as an evidence from the Sunnah for the theory of “will” of the imamate for political reasons – this is important – after a very long time.(10) They did everything they could to show the interpretation of this incident to be related to the caliphate of Hz. Ali. According to Shia understanding, Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) wanted pen and paper in order to appoint Hz. Ali as the Caliph but Hz. Umar and the others who knew what he would will prevented him. Thus, the caliphate was grabbed from Hz. Ali unjustly. Hence, the Companions – God forbid – became oppressors, grabbers and even unbelievers and apostates.(11) For, according to Shia, imamate is based on the appointment of Allah. Allah appoints imams/caliphs as He appoints prophets. This appointment was going to be made by Allah and the Messenger of Allah. The appointment occurs by “nass” and the announcement of the Messenger of Allah. Or, the imam announces the imam after him by nass. The decree about it is the same as the decree about the prophethood. People have no right to choose the imam. The imam is the deputy of the Messenger of Allah; therefore, his caliphate has to take place with the permission of Allah and the Messenger of Allah. If people choose the imam/caliph, they will influence him, which is out of question.  

According to Shia belief, the crime committed by Hz. Umar, Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Uthman is very big. They did not accept the imam that Allah appointed and that the Prophet (pbuh) would announce. According to them, not to accept the imam appointed by Allah can lead the Companions, Hz. Umar, Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Uthman to unbelief and apostasy. Their enmity to the Companions except a few of them and the three rightly guided caliphs originates from this incident.(12) However, Sunnis do not discriminate among the Companions, do not criticize them and regard Shiite and the people of bid’ah as believers and Muslims.(13)

d) The Importance of Imamate in Shia in Four Points

Imamate is very important in Shia. In Sunnis, there are six principles of belief. In Shia, there are five principles of belief: Tawhid (oneness), prophethood, justice, resurrection after death and imamate.

According to them, it is necessary for a person to believe that imams (14) are appointed by Allah and the Messenger of Allah one by one and that imamate will continue up to Doomsday with the descendants of Hz. Ali in order to be a believer. According to some of them, a person who does not believe in the principle of imamate/caliphate can be regarded as a believer. Imams are sinless and innocent like prophets; they are protected from crimes, mistakes, doing wrong things and all kinds of disgrace. Imams are people that protect shari’ah and apply it; therefore they need to be sinless and innocent like prophets.(15) Otherwise, they will not be reliable.

According to them, imams know all divine decrees and ilms. They learn them from the Prophet (pbuh) or the imams before them. They are not in need of learning from others and a teacher. They learn new things through inspiration. They answer all questions. They do not say, “I do not know.” What is more, they do not wait or think for the answer; they do not delay giving answers.(16)

According to Shia, the imam is a hujjah (evidence) for Allah's slaves. The imam is Allah's hujjah on earth. If there were no imams, people would be excused when they did not obey Islamic decrees. They use verse 165 of the chapter of an-Nisa for evidence:

“Messengers who gave good news as well as warning, that mankind, after (the coming) of the messengers, should have no plea against Allah."(17)

Sending imams is hujjah just like sending imams. The titles like “Hujjatullah”, “Ayatullah” and “Ayatullahul-Uzma” in Iran come from this belief.

According to Shia belief, obedience to imam is fard in any case. Obedience to the imam/caliph is obedience to Allah. He who loves imams/caliphs loves Allah. He who refuses their orders is regarded to have refused the orders of Allah and the Messenger of Allah. Since imams are innocent, they will not make any mistakes; since they know divine ilms and decrees, their orders are always Allah’s orders.(18)

In Sunni belief, caliphs are also human beings; they can make mistakes. There are no innocent people except prophets. Even the greatest Companions and saints can make mistakes.

e) A Brief Analysis of the Incident of Qirtas

It will be useful to analyze theIncident of Qirtas, which we have dealt with briefly, in terms of a few points. 

Firstly: In fact, not all of the Companions held the same view in theIncident of Qirtas, which is a small detail. The Companions had different views related to other issues too. It is normal. It is understood that eventually the view of Hz. Umar and those who thought like him was accepted since pen and paper were not brought.

Secondly: After theIncident of Qirtas, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and some of his Companions did not accuse the others of oppression, grabbing and preventing the appointment of the imam. If there had been oppression and grabbing, first the Prophet (pbuh), then the Companions who were truthful and just would have opposed it. Besides, Hz. Ali, who was ready to sacrifice everything for the truth would have acted in the same way.  

Thirdly: During the last illness of the Prophet (pbuh), some other incidents related to Hz. Fatima, Hz. Uthman and other Muslims took place in addition to theIncident of Qirtas.(19) One of them is about Hz. Abu Bakr, as it is mentioned above. However, Shia give great importance to the Incident of Qirtas and want to associate it with Hz. Ali with strained interpretations.  

Fourthly: Although paper and pen were not brought, the Messenger of Allah expressed his will. According to a report from Ibn Abbas, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) expressed his will orally. In that case, there was no prevention and Hz. Ali was not appointed as the imam. The Messenger of Allah lived for five days after the Incident of Qirtas.

Fifthly: The Incident of Qirtas is an incident that Shia started to deal with a lot in terms of politics and make interpretations a long time after it happened. If this incident had been related to the appointment of Hz. Ali as the Caliph, would the followers of Ali not have mentioned it at once and when Hz. Abu Bakr was chosen as the Caliph?

Sixthly: According to a narration from Hz. Aisha, the request and will of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to dictate something about the caliphate was not related to Hz. Ali but to Hz. Abu Bakr. However, Sunnis did not exaggerate this narration unlike Shia and did not interpret it as “the appointment of Hz. Abu Bakr as the Caliph”. The Companions did not do anything like that either. They regarded it as only a little sign for the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr and his deserving it.

Seventhly:The illness of the Prophet (pbuh) lasted for about thirteen days. He lived for four more days after he wanted pen and paper on Thursday.(20) Meanwhile, he gave several orders and instructions along with advice. On the day he died, he seemed very well and the Companions who came to the mosque thought that he had recovered. Hz. Abu Bakr also thought like that and went to his house in Sunh, which was about 2 miles/3 km away from the mosque.

If the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had wanted to make an appointment or give an order about caliphate, he would have done it during those four days somehow. However, he did not mention it again. Maybe he did not regard it important and gave up.

If we evaluate the issue based on the points like that, it would be easier to reach a healthier and more balanced conclusion.

f) How Sunnis View the Imamate belief of Shia

The explanations above can be evaluated from those points in terms of Sunni view.

- According to Imamiyya, imamate can be completed by believing. According to Sunnis, imamate is among secondary issues. It is regarded as a detail. It is not among the principles of belief. There are six principles of belief.

- According to Shia, it is essentially wajib for Allah to appoint an imam.(21) According to Sunnis, it is also wajib to appoint a caliph. However, a caliph can be appointed by Muslims through different ways.

- According to Shia, imams/12 imams are innocent/sinless like prophets. They do not commit sins. They are the people whom Allah orders people to obey. They are the treasure of Allah's ilm, the conveyor of revelation and the principles of tawhid. They do not commit minor or major sins. According to Ahl as-Sunnah, nobody is innocent/sinless except prophets. Even the Companions and the notables among them can commit sins. Ahl as-Sunnah do not criticize all Companions but they accept that they can commit minor or major sins. They do not attribute innocence and infallibility to caliphs. They are like the other people in terms of committing crimes. They can make mistakes.  

- According to Shia, a person who denies the sinlessness/innocence of imams is regarded not to recognize them. "A person who does not recognize them is an unbeliever."(22) In the grave, after the questions, "Who is your Lord, Who is your prophet?", people will be asked the question "Who is your imam?" Those who say, "My imam is Ali" will attain salvation.(23) Not to recognize the imam is the reason for not being able to attain salvation in a sense. In Ahl as-Sunnah, there is no such thing as to accept thesinlessness/innocence of caliphs. There is no question about it in the grave.  

- In Shia, imamate gives superiority to the people coming from the descendants of Hz. Ali after the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); it elevates them to the degree ofsinlessness/innocence; and it shows that they have “special knowledge” that others do not have. According to Ahl as-Sunnah, there is nobody having the attribute ofsinlessness/innocence except the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); and they do not accept that a group among Muslims have special knowledge. Every Muslim can know and learn the Quran and Islam. To know divine ilms cannot be restricted to a group (Ahl al-Bayt) from the descendant of Hz. Ali; it is contrary to the spirit and essence of the Quran. Superiority (value, honor) in the presence of Allah is through taqwa. However, Ahl as-Sunnah loves the descendants of the Prophet (pbuh) and his Ahl al-Bayt.(24)

- According to Shia, imamate is the right of the people who are descendants ofHz. Ali. According to Sunnis, caliphate is not restricted to a certain dynasty or group. The best example of it is the Rightly Guided Caliphs.


1- For the other evidences put forward regarding the issue, see Ahl al-Bayt, Hadiths about Hz. Ali; Tarikhul Khamis, II, 200; Adam Mez. Onuncu Yüzyılda İslam Medeniyeti, translated by. Salih Şaban, İstanbul 2000, p. 87-88; Peygamberimizin Hayatı, II, 708.
2- Ahmed b. Hanbal. Musnad, I-IV, Beirut, ty. IV, 369; Ahl al-Beyt, 45, 78; al-Kamil, II, 320; Onuncu Yüzyılda İslam Medeniyeti, p. 87; Şibli Numani. Hz. Ömer ve Devlet İdaresi, I-II, translated by Talib Yaşar Alp, İstanbul 1980, p. 1000 ff.
3- The term thaqalayn indicates this closeness of value. see al-Mufradat, p. 79; Ahl al-Beyt, p. 45.
4- Musnad, I, 325; Ibn Sad, at-Tabaqatul-Kubra, I-VIII, Beirut, nd. II, 242; Hizmetli. İslam Tarihi, p. 456; al-Kamil, II, 320
5- Hz. Prophet died on Monday.
6- Some wanted pen and paper to be brought while others did not want them to be brought.
7- “Inne Rasulallahi Sallallahu alayhi wa sallama Yahjuru.”
8- al-Kamil, II, 320; Hizmetli, İslam Tarihi, p. 456; Sah. Bukhari, IV, 66,
9- et-Taj, III, 309; K. Fadail. Muslim Fadailus-Sahaba, 11; al-Halabi, Insanul Uyun, I-III, Beirut 1980, III, 456; İslam ve Hilafet, p. 156,
10- Hizmetli, İslam Tarihi, p. 437.
11- Fığlalı, E. Ruhi. İtikadi İslam Mezhepleri, İstanbul 1985, p. 127-128.
12- İtikadi İslam Mezhepleri, p. 127-128; İslam ve Hilafet, p. 135 ff; Muhammad Rıza al-Muzaffar. Şia İnançları, translated by Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı, İstanbul 1978, p. 50, 57-58.
13- İtikadi İslam Mezhepleri, p. 127 ff;
14- On İki İmam.
15- Şia İnançları, p. 51-52
16- ibid, p. 52 ff.
17- an-Nisa, 4/121
18- Şia İnançları, p. 53 ff.; İtikadi İslam Mezhepleri, p. 118, 127-129; Hz. Ömer ve İslam İdareleri, p. 100.
19- Siratun-Nabi, IV, 328; Advice of goodness to Ansar.
20- Hz. Ömer ve Devlet İdaresi, p. 100, 104. see Sah. Bukhari, K. Ilm.
21- İtikadi İslam Mezhepleri, p. 129; Hizmetli, İslam Tarihi, p. 514.
22- İtikadi İslam Mezhepleri, p. 128; al-Qummi, Abu Jafar Ibn Babawayh, Risalati Itiqadatil-Imamiyya, Şii İmamiyyenin İnanç Esasları, translated by E. Ruhi Fığlalı, Ankara 1978, p. 113.
23- ibid, p. 130.
24- İtikadi İslam Mezhepleri, p. 141-142; Ahl al-Beyt, see part 1 and 2; Hizmetli, İslam Tarihi, p. 514.

6 Shiite say that the Prophet was informed about the caliphate of Hz. Ali in a place called Ghadir Khumm and that it was the order of Allah. What is the truth about this issue?

Shiite try to show various things as evidences when they claim that it was Hz. Ali’s right to become the first caliph. One of them is the incident of Ghadir Khumm: While returning from Farewell Hajj, the Prophet and the Companions with him stopped in a place called Ghadir Khumm. The Prophet rested for a while, led the noon prayer and addressed his Companions as follows:  

“If I am someone’s mawla, Ali is his mawla too. O Allah! Love those who love him, and be hostile to those who are hostile to him.”1

Shiite reflect this hadith in a wrong way and interpret it differently. “Walayah” the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned in Ghadir Khumm does not mean caliphate as Shiite mean but friendship. As a matter of fact, Hasan al-Muthanna, the grandson of Hz. Ali states the following regarding the issue:

“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not mean caliphate or sultanate with it. If he had meant so, he would have stated it clearly. For, the Messenger of Allah was the most fluent and clear speaker among the Muslims.”

When Hz. Ali was asked in Basra,“Is there a promise and authority given to you by the Messenger of Allah about caliphate or are you acting on your own view?”, he gave the following answer:

“No, there is no promise. By Allah, I am the first person to approve and believe in the Messenger of Allah; I cannot be the first person to tell a lie on behalf of him. If there had been a promise of the Messenger of Allah to me about the caliphate, I would have never allowed Abu Bakr and Umar to ascend to his pulpit. I would have struggled against them with my hands if I had had no power."

One of the claims of Shiite is that Hz. Ali paid allegiance to Hz. Abubakr and Hz. Umar and helped them because he was afraid of them; thus, they accuse him of hypocrisy. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states the following regarding the issue in his book called Lem’alar (Flashes):

“As for the Caliphate Shi‘a, they can claim no rights before the Sunnis other than shame. For although they say they have tremendous love for ‘Ali (May Allah be pleased with him), they disparage him, and their creed necessitates accusing him of immorality. For they say that although Abu Bakr the Veracious and ‘Umar were acting unjustly, ‘Ali feigned approval for them; according to Shi’i terminology, he dissimulated. That is, he was frightened of them and behaved hypocritically. But it is not love to hold that someone who was such a hero of Islam, won the title ‘Lion of Allah’, and was the commander and guide of the faithful, was simulating love for people he did not love out of fear and deception, and was feigning approval for them in fear for more than twenty years, and was following wrongdoers. ‘Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) would disclaim love that sort.

“Thus, the people of truth’s creed in no way disparages ‘Ali, nor levels accusations of immorality at him. It does not attribute cowardice where there was such remarkable courage, but says that if ‘Ali had not considered the Rightly-Guided Caliphs to be right, he would not have recognized them for a minute, nor obeyed them. It means that since he thought them right and preferable, he made over his courage and striving to the way of justice.”2

As it is understood from the explanations above, the Prophet did not express a will to Hz. Ali, and Hz. Ali paid allegiance to the caliphs before him not because he feared them but because he regarded Hz. Abubakar and Hz. Umar to be worthier of the caliphate more than him and because he promised Hz. Uthman that he would obey him. Hz. Ali loved those three caliphs before him very much and he did not hesitate to express it anywhere.  

Some of those who did not pay allegiance to Hz. Abubakr wanted to pay allegiance to Hz. Ali. However, Hz. Ali struggled for the unity of the Muslims throughout his life. He never opened the door to mischief. For instance, one of those who wanted to pay allegiance to Hz. Ali was Sufyan. He answered Sufyan as follows:

“We regard Abubakr sufficient for the caliphate and worthy of it. We left him as the caliph. We did not intervene.”3

Hz. Ali was one of the greatest assistants of Hz.Abubakr during his caliphate. When Hz.Abubakr died, he made the following speech:

“You were like a mountain which stands firm in the face of hard blows of dashing winds and waves. You truly were as the Messenger of Allah said weak in your body, but strong in the religion of Allah, humble in your heart, but lofty in your ranking with Allah and well-esteemed in the eyes of people and in the world. Nobody nurtured a grudge against you. You had no characteristic that people regarded worthless. The strong were weak in your presence until the weak got their rights. The weak were strong until they got their rights. May Allah not deprive us of from your thawabs! May He not allow us to go astray after you!”4

Hz. Ali never allowed anyone to speak against Hz.Abubakr and Hz. Umar during his caliphate. Once, he spoke as follows:

“I hear that some people regard me to be superior to Abubakr and Umar. If I had said something about this issue before, I would punish those who speak like that. I do not do anything to them now because I have not said anything about it before. Anybody who speaks like that from now on is a slanderer. The best person after the Messenger of Allah among people is Abubakr and then Umar. May Allah be pleased with both of them!

I swear by Allah who greens dry seeds and gives life to non-living things that only virtuous believers love Abubakr and Umar and only sinners criticize them and treat them as enemy.”5

Hz. Ali married his daughter Umm Kulthum off to Hz. Umar due to his love toward him.7 When Hz. Umar died, Hz. Ali approached his dead body and said,

“O Umar! I want to enter into the presence of Allah with a deed that you like. There is nobody else whose deeds I envy.”6

Hz. Ali paid allegiance at once to Hz. Uthman, who was chosen by a consultation committee that was formed after the martyrdom of Hz. Umar. Hz. Ali loved Hz. Uthman as he loved Hz.Abubakr and Hz. Umar. He was Hz. Uthman’s greatest assistant during his caliphate. He defended Hz. Uthman against mischief-makers. He rejected the offer of those who wanted to unseat Hz. Uthman and to pay allegiance to him. He did not accept the allegiance of mischief-makers after the martyrdom of   , Hz. Uthman either. He said,  

“I take refuge in Allah from accepting the allegiance of the murderers of Uthman.”7


1. Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, IV, p. 368.
2. Lem’alar (Flashes), p. 31.
3. Dört Halife Devri, p. 340.
4. ibid, p. 341.
5. Hayatus-Sahaba, III, p. 348, 349.
6. H. İbrahim Hasan, İslam Tarihi, p. 317; Dört Halife Devri, p. 343.
7. Dört Halife Devri, p. 343.



It is the name of a place between Makkah and Madinah, near Juhfa. (Mu'jamul-Buldan, VI, 268). It is a boggy place about 2-3 miles away from Juhfa; the bog is surrounded by a dense wood. The most important issue related to the emergence of Shia is the incident of Ghadir Khumm.

According to Shiite resources, it was determined in Ghadir Khumm that Hz. Ali had the most rights to be the caliph. When we look at the books of Shia scholars, it is possible to find the following information:

Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) stopped in Ghadir Khumm while returning from Hajj. He gathered the groups before they returned to their towns and addressed them. The reason he gathered them was to announce them the following verse, which was sent down there: "O Messenger! Proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission:And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith." (al-Maida, 5/67) According to Shiite writers, this verse was sent down about Hz. Ali. The only thing to be proclaimed by the verse was the caliphate of Hz. Ali. Hz. Prophet concealed certain things from his wife Hz. Aisha and hence Allah Almighty warned him. (Wahidi, Asbab an-Nuzul,115; Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 20; Ibn Majah, Muqaddima, II; H. Nisaburi, al-Mustadrak, III,109; Kulayni, al-Kafi, II, 72)

After proclaiming that verse in Ghadir, the Prophet stated the following:

"Jibril brought me the following order from my Lord: Ali b. Abi Talib is my brother, guardian and caliph; he is the imam after me. O people! Allah appointed him as the guardian and imam for you. Anyone who opposes him will be cursed and anyone who respects him will be shown mercy. Listen and obey! Allah is your mawla and Ali is your imam. The imamate will continue until Doomsday from his progeny." (Wahidi, Asbab an-Nuzul, 115) According to Shiite, the Messenger of Allah also declared the following there:

1) He stated that he left two heavy things (thaqalayn) to Muslims. One of them is the book of Allah; one side of it is in the hand of Allah and the other side is in the hand of Muslims. The second is the Sunnah of the Prophet.

2) He lifted Hz. Ali's hand and said, "Ali is the mawla of a person whom I am a mawla of."

3) The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prayed as follows: "O Allah! Help those who help Ali! Be an enemy of a person who is an enemy of Ali!"

4) He also said, "O Allah! Turn the truth toward Ali from the place where it turns!"

Ahl as-Sunnah views the narrations put forward by Shiite scholars related to the incident of Ghadir Khumm as follows:

According to the claim of Shiite, the number of the sincere Muslims after the death of the Prophet is no more than ten. However, more than one hundred thousand Companions listened to the sermon in Ghadir. The meaning of this claim is as follows: "More than one hundred Companions did not keep their promise and collaborated to deprive Hz. Ali of the caliphate." This alliance is impossible to happen logically. What can be the use and benefit of it?

On the other hand, the sermon of Ghadir Khumm was delivered on Dhulhijjah 18, in the tenth year of the Migration while the Prophet was returning from Farewell Hajj. The verse "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (al-Maida, 5/3) was sent down on Dhulhijjah 9, the day of Arafah of the same year. Is it possible for this verse to have been sent down before verse 67 of the chapter of al-Maida, which orders Hz. Muhammad to proclaim his prophethood and whose translation was given above? The verse stating that the religion was completed was sent down and it was announced to more than one hundred thousand hajjis. The great majority of the Islamic scholars determined that verse 67 of the chapter of al-Maida was sent down before the Conquest of Makkah and the Battle of Khaybar. (Said Ismail, Haqiqatul-Khilaf Bayna Ulamaish-Shia wa Jumhuri Ulaemail-Muslimin, Carbondale 1983, 25, 26)

There are some writers who deny the incident of Ghadir Khumm and there are also some Sunni scholars who do not deny it but who do not express it clearly. There are praises about Hz. Ali in their writings but there is no statement about the appointment of Hz. Ali as the caliph.

Nasai includes this incident in his book about the virtues of Ali b. Abi Talib. In this narration reported from Zayd b. Arqam, the hadith of “Ghadir” and the hadith of “Thaqalayn” are combined and it is stated that both of them were uttered on the day of Ghadir. Ibn Majah includes the hadith about Ghadir in his Sunan but he does not mention where it was uttered. (Nasai, Khasais,16; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Muqaddima, II)

The hadith of Ghadir reported by Zayd b. Arqam (D. 66/689) is as follows: "Once, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) delivered a sermon to us in a watery place called Khumm between Makkah and Madinah. In this sermon, he first praised Allah and gave us some advice. He mentioned Allah and addressed us as follows: "O people! Know that I am only a human being and the messenger of my Lord, Azrael, will soon come to me. I will respond to his call. I am leaving behind two weighty things (thaqalayn) among you. The first of the two is the Book of Allah. In it is guidance and light. So get hold of the Book of Allah and adhere to it.” Thus, he encouraged us to read the book of Allah and advised it to us. Then, he continued as follows: “The second is my Ahl al-Bayt (family). I urge you to remember Allah regarding my Ahl al-Bayt.” He repeated the last sentence three times. (Nasai, Khasais, 15; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, II,114, IV, 367; Darimi, Fadailul-Quran,1). Ibn Kathir mentions almost all narrations of the khadith of Khumm and points out the reliable and weak narrators. (Ibn Kathir, as-Siratun-Nabawiyya, IV, 414)

After Zayd b. Arqam reported this hadith, he was asked, "Who is included in Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet? Are his wives regarded among Ahl al-Bayt?" Zayd said, "The wives of the Prophet are also from Ahl al-Bayt but his real Ahl al-Bayt are those for whom it is haram to accept sadaqah after him." He listed them as follows: "The family of Ali, the family of Aqil, the families of Ja'far and Abbas." (Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba, 36)

Ibn Taymiyya states the following regarding the narrations of Ghadir Khumm: "Let alone being mutawatir, this fabricated incident has no sound chain of narrators. Was it not necessary for at least one Companion to mention this incident on the day of Saqifa, when Hz. Umar died, when the consultation committee of six people was established and on the days when the caliphate of Hz. Ali was discussed after the martyrdom of Hz. Uthman? As it is seen, it is one of the fabrications of Rafizis." (Ibn Taymiyya, Minhajus-Sunnah, IV, 118)

Goldziher, the orientalist, writes the following regarding the issue: "Therefore Ali adherents were concerned with inventing and authorizing traditions which prove Ali's installation by the direct order of the Prophet. The most widely-known tradition (the authority of which is not denied even by orthodox authorities though they deprive it of its intention by a different interpretation) is the tradition of Khum, which came into being for this purpose and is one of the firmest foundations of the theses of the Ali party." (Goldziher, Muslim Studies)

That the hadith of Ghadir, which is put forward as the evidence for the claim that Hz. Ali was worthy of the caliphate more than the others, was not reported even by only one narrator during the period of the Rightly Guided Caliphs brings about serious doubts about its existence. It is understood that Shiite invented a reason for the emergence of this hadith, which they later spread as the hadith of Ghadir. Even Hz. Ali himself did not mention such a narration when it was needed very much. For instance, during the illness of the Prophet, when Ali b. Abi Talib came out after visiting the Messenger of Allah, people asked him, "O Abu Hasan! How is the Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Alhamdulillah, he is fine." The narrator said,“Thereupon, Abbas held Ali by the hand and said, ‘By Allah, within three days, you will be the slave of the stick. By Allah, I think that the Messenger of Allah will die from his present ailment, for I know the signs of death on the faces of the Sons of Abdulmuttalib. So, let us go to the Messenger of Allah and ask him whether the caliphate belongs to us or not. If it belongs to us, we will know it; and if it is not, tell him to recommend us.’ Hz. Ali said, "By Allah, I cannot do it. If we ask the Prophet for it and if he refuses, people will never give it to us. ‘" (Bukhari, Isti'dhan, 29; For detailed information, see Cemal Sofuoğlu, Gadîri Hum Meselesi-Ankara Ü. İlâhiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, Ankara 1983, Vol. XXVI, p. 461-470).

If it had been announced that Hz. Ali would be the imam/caliph after the Prophet in Ghadir Khumm and if Muslims had been ordered to obey it as Shiite claim, all of the Companions including Hz. Abbas would have known this will, which is claimed to have been announced in front of more than one hundred thousand Companions. On the other hand, the conversation between Hz. Ali and Abbas mentioned above would have been meaningless. However, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) delivered a sermon in Ghadir as it is included in the resources of Ahl as-Sunnah. Some statements about Hz. Ali were uttered there and the Prophet asked Muslims to treat Ahl al-Bayt well. However, Sunni scholars interpret the statement "If I am someone’s mawla, Ali is his mawla too" more differently from Shiite. Ibn Qutayba states the following regarding the issue: “Hz. Prophet is the mawla of all Muslims. Walayah is both between the Prophet and the believers and also among Muslims. The relationship of the Prophet with Hz. Ali is like that. ‘The Believers, men and women, are protectors (awliya) one of another.’(at-Tawba, 9/71) There is no difference between the words wali (singular form of awliya) and mawla. This does not give Hz. Ali a privilege.” There are many verses regarding the issue (at-Tahrim, 66/4 at-Tawba, 9/71; al-Baqara, 2/257; Yunus, 10/62). Hz. Prophet said similar things for great Companions like Hz.Abubakr and Hz. Umar. He said the following for Abu Ubayda b. al-Jarrah: "He is the trustworthy one (amin) of this ummah. According to the view accepted by Ahl as-Sunnah, it is fard for Muslims to like Hz. Ali as it is fard to like the Prophet; it is haram to be an enemy of Hz. Ali as it is haram to be an enemy of the Prophet. This is also in compatible with the view of Ahl al-Bayt. (Abdulaziz Dahlawi, Muhtasaru Tuhfatil-Ithna Ashariyya, 161)


7 Why do Alawites not fast in Ramadan? Do they not know that Hz. Ali performed fasting in Ramadan?

We learn the orders of Islam from our book, the Quran, and from the Sunnah of our Prophet, Hz. Muhammad (pbuh). The pillars of Islam are definite. No matter what their name is, no group or sect can deny prayers and fasting. Therefore, there cannot be a satisfactory answer regarding the issue. A Muslim can be satisfied only by the Quran and the Sunnah. There is no other satisfying evidence.

Besides, it cannot be said that all Alawites "do not perform prayers and fasting". Some Alawites perform prayers and they fast in Ramadan.