The Sunnah are divided and the Shia are united?


al-Salamu `Aleykum,

The Imami Twelver Shia like to claim that they are on the true path, they claim that they take their religion from infallible Imams, they claim they’re united behind Ahlul-Bayt while on the other hand Ahlul-Sunnah are divided to various sects like “Hanafis, Malikis, Sufis, Salafis, ect…”

Sadly many un-informed Muslims may be fooled by this, because they do not have sufficient knowledge about Ahlul-Sunnah or the Shia in general. A Muslim with basic knowledge knows that this is untrue, the groups mentioned above are not sects, they are schools of jurisprudence and methodologies, all of them a part of Ahlul-Sunnah, also the Shia themselves were divided to more than a hundred different sects since their earliest days such as the Kaysaniyah, the Waqifiyah, the Nawousiyah, the Zaydiyah ect… one only needs to refer to their book “Firaq al-Shia” by al-Nawbakhti to read more about it.

Today the majority of Shia are of the Ja`fari sect, which they claim is a “Madhab”, so we will go one step further to prove that the Ja`fari Madhab itself is extremely divided, setting aside all the other Shia sects.

The leader of the Twelver Imami Shia sect al-Tusi says in “al-`Iddah fi Usoul al-Fiqh” 1/138:

وقد ذكرت ما ورد عنهم عليهم السلام في الأحاديث المختلفة التي تخص الفقه في كتابي المعروف بالاستبصار وفي كتاب تهذيب الأحكام ما يزيد على خمسة آلاف حديث. وذكرت في أكثرها اختلاف الطائفة في العمل بها. وذلك أشهر من أن يخفى، حتى إنك لو تأملت اختلافاتهم في هذه الأحكام وجدته يزيد على اختلاف أبي حنيفة والشافعي ومالك

[I (al-Tusi) have mentioned their narrations (as) in different Ahadith regarding Fiqh in my book “al-Istibsar” and “Tahdheeb al-Ahkam” and they number around five thousand(narrations). I have mentioned that the (Twelver) sect differed in following most of them. That is too popular and cannot be hidden. In fact, if you observe their difference in the rulings you would find that they differ more than the difference between Abu Hanifa, Malik and al-Shafi`i.]

Their leader al-Tusi is saying that the Twelver Shia disagree on the majority of the five thousand narrations, each group of scholars follows different narrations and has different interpretations, this is mainly because of the huge amount of fabricated Shia narrations and the contradictions and the so called Taqiyyah of their Imams. al-Tusi goes as far as to say that the difference among the Ja`fari scholars in Fiqh is more than that of Abu Hanifa, Malik and Shafi`i put together!!

The reality of the Ja`fari sect, is that it isn’t the word of the infallible, it is simply the word of the scholars, their Ijtihad and their opinions. Each grand Shia Mufti today, or as they like to call him “Marji`” has his own Madhab and Ijtihad, such as Rouhani or Sistani or Shirzai ect… each has different rulings and they are many, it is even considered prohibited for a Shia who follows a certain Marji` to go and take religious rulings from another Marji`.

Just like Ahlul-Sunnah have the four renowned Madhabs, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali, we can easily say that each Shia Marji` is a Madhab of his own!! Sistani is a Madhab, Khu’i is a Madhab, Subhani is a Madhab, Fadlullah is a Madhab and so on…

How then can they claim unity and accuse Ahlul-Sunnah of being divided because of the four Madhabs? If these Shia were truely following the infallible then they wouldn’t differ in their rulings and opinions  nor would it be Haram for a Shia to follow more than one Marji` at the same time.

Grand Ayatullah Fadlullah confirms this in his book “al-Ma`alim al-Jadidah lil Marji`iyah al-Shi`iyah” pg.117

إن المشكلة التي نواجهها في تعدد المرجعيات هي المشكلة التي نواجهها في تعدد المذاهب الفقهية لأن المرجعيات هي مذاهب فقهية متعددة من خلال طبيعة تنوع الفتاوى، وتنوع النظريات في هذا المجال

[The problem that we are facing in having numerous Marja`iyat (plural of Marji`) is the same as that of having numerous Fiqhi Madhabs, because the Marji`iyat are numerous Fiqhi Madhabs in their natural variety of Fatwas and  views.]

al-Tusi talks more about their differences in “al-`Iddah” 1/137:

  ومما يدل أيضاً على جواز العمل بهذه الأخبار التي أشرنا إليها ما ظهر من الفرقة المحقة من الاختلاف الصادر عن العمل بها فإني وجدتها مختلفة المذاهب في الأحكام . ويفتي أحدهم بما لا يفتي صاحبه في جميع أبواب الفقه من الطهارة إلى باب الديات . من العبادات والأحكام والمعاملات والفرائض وغير ذلك. مثل اختلافهم في العدد والرؤية في الصوم . واختلافهم في أن التلفظ بثلاث تطليقات ان يقع واحدة أو لا . ومثل اختلافهم في باب الطهارة في مقدار الماء الذي لا ينجسه شيء. ونحو اختلافهم في حد الكر . ونحو اختلافهم في استئناف الماء الجديد لمسح الرأس والرجلين. واختلافهم في اعتبار أقصى مدة النفاس . واختلافهم في عدد فصول الأذان والإقامة . وغير ذلك في سائر أبواب الفقه حتى أن باباً منه لا يسلم إلا وجدت العلماء من الطائفة مختلفة في مسائل منه أو مسائل متفاوتة الفتاوى 

[You will see one (Shia scholar) making a Fatwa that his companion disagrees with, this is true to all matters of Fiqh from purity to blood-money. From worship to rulings to worldly issues to obligatory duties and others… such as their difference in the number and the seeing of the moon in fasting, and their difference about if uttering divorce three times is counted as one or more, and their difference about what quantity of water preserves its purity and the measurement of al-Karr, and their difference about using new water to wipe the head and feet, and their difference about the maximum period for post natal bleeding, and their difference about the number of words in the call to prayer and the Iqamah, and other differences in all matters of Fiqh. Not even one chapter of Fiqh is safe unless you find the scholars of the (Ja`fari) sect differing in it.]

Even their contemporary scholars are coming up with new Fatwas and opinions that were not know to their classical scholars, Ja`far al-Shakhouri says in “Marji`iyat al-Marhalah wa Ghubar al-Taghyir” pg.135:

فلو نظرنا إلى فتاوى علمائنا المعاصـرين فسوف نجد أنهم كلـهم خارجـون عن دائرة المـذهب الشيعي

[If we were to observe the Fatwas of our contemporary scholars, we will find that they all have left the circle of the Shi`ah Madhab.]

We will provide some samples from the Twelver Shia disagreements in Fiqh, such as the matter of marrying a woman from Ahlul-Kitab (Jew or Christian), Shia scholar Muhammad Jawad Mughniyah says in “Tafsir al-Kashif” 1/334:

اتفقت مذاهب السنة الأربعة على صحة الزواج من الكتابية، واختلف فقهاء الشيعة فيما بينهم

[The four Madhabs of Ahlul-Sunnah have agreed on the validity of the marriage from the Kitabi, whereas the Shia jurists differed in this matter among themselves.]

Shia scholar Dr.Ahmad al-Wa’ili said in “Fiqh al-Jins” pg.245:

أما اليهود والنصارى ففي الزواج منهم أقوال ستة، وأبرز الأقوال
قول بعدم الجواز مطلقاً.
قول بالجواز متعة لا دواماً، وبملك اليمين.
قول بالجواز في حالة الإضطرار وعدم وجود المسلمة .
قول بالجواز مطلقاً على كراهية .
قول بالجواز مطلقاً بدون كراهية .
ثم قال: هذا التفصيل الذي ذكرته هو عند (الأمامية). أما المذاهب الإسلامية الأخرى فقد أجمعوا على الجواز من النصرانيـة
واليهودية دون المجوسية

[As for the Jews and Christians, there are six opinion when it comes to marrying them:

1- Absolutely prohibited.

2-Permissible in temporary Mut`ah marriage.

3- Ownership of  what the right hand possesses.

4-Permissible in case of need when there are no Muslim women.

5-Permissible but disliked.

6-Absolutely permissible.

This is as far as the Imamiyah (Shia). As for the other Islamic Madhabs, they have consensus that it is allowed to marry the Christian and the Jew but not the Zoroastrian.]

Another example is the Friday prayer, all Muslims agree that it is obligatory to attend this prayer every week, but the Twelver scholars differed among themselves. Shia scholar Muhammad al-`Amili al-Kadhimi talks about the different opinions of the Twelver scholars in “Haqa’iq al-Ahkam fi Risalat al-Islam” pg.33:

ومن أشهر الأقوال:
1- التحريم مطلقاً.
2- الوجوب التخيري.
3- الوجوب التعيني.
4- الوجوب بشرط أن يكون الأمام فقيهاً .
5- التوقف بين الحكم بالوجوب والحكم بالحرمة .

[From the most famous of sayings:

1-Absolutely prohibited.

2-Wajib Takhyiri (One is given the choice between attending Zuhr or attending the Friday).

3-Wajib `Ayni (Absolutely obligatory on all).

4-Obligatory only if the Imam is a jurist.

5-To stop and not declare it obligatory or forbidden.]

Then he continues:

[And  disagreement has occurred when it comes to this prayer, are the Imam and his representative a condition or not? Here are the sayings:

First saying: The Imam and his representative are not a condition according to the Muhadditheen al-Kulayni and al-Saduq.

Second saying: In the case of the Wajib `Ayni their presence is a condition, but if not then it becomes Wajib Takhyiri. This is the apparent position of al-Tusi in al-Nihayah.

Third saying: Presence of the Imam and his representative is a condition, without the occultation of the Imam, according to al-Shaheed al-Thani in his books and al-`Allamah in al-Nihayah.

Fourth saying: Presence of the Imam and his representative is a condition if possible, and if both are unavailable for some reason then it is sufficient for one who has the required qualities to lead the prayer. This is the saying of abu al-Salah al-Halabi.

Fifth saying: Presence of the Imam and his representative is a condition, whether he is present or in occultation, and if he does not show then the Friday prayer is replaced by the noon prayer. This saying is attributed to al-Daylami and Ibn Idrees and it is the opinion of al-Murtada in some of his answers, and al-`Allamah in al-Muntaha and al-Shaheed in al-Dhikra.]

Then the author goes on to state some other differences but the above is sufficient for our readers.

We read in “Fiqh al-Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq” by Mughniyah 1/239:

قال صاحب مفتاح الكرامة: اختلف الفقهاء في مسألة القراءة خلف الإمام في الركعة الثالثة من المغرب والأخيرتين من العشاء والظهرين اختلافاً شديداً حتى إن الفقيه الواحد اختلف مع نفسه

[The author of Miftah al-Karamah said: The (Shia) jurists differed greatly in the matter of reciting behind the Imam in the third Rak`ah of sunset and two last ones from the evening and the two noons, it was so great that the jurist would contradict himself.]

They would even contradict themselves in matters of Halal and Haram, Shia scholar `Abbas al-Radhwi sasy in “Ara’ fil-Marji`iyah al-Shi`iyah” pg.299:

كان الخميني يفتي بحرمة أكل السمك الذي ينتج الكافيار لأنه ليس هناك قشور على جسمه. ولكن بعد ذلك غير فتواه إلى الحلية. وكان الخميني يفتي بحرمة لعب الشطرنج ولكنه غير فتواه إلى الحلية

[al-Khumayni used to give the Fatwa that eating the fish which produce caviar is Haram because they do not have scales on their bodies, but then he changed his opinion to Halal. Also al-Khumayni used to give the Fatwa that playing chess is Haram, but later he decided it was Halal.]

This is why the renowned scholar al-Faydh al-Kashani describes the situation of the Ja`fari scholars in the introduction of his book “al-Wafi” 1/9:

تراهم يختلفون (أي علماء الشيعة) في المسألة الواحدة إلى عشرين قولاً أو ثلاثين قولاً أو أزيد. بل لو شئت أقول: لم تبق مسألة فرعية لم يختلفوا فيها أو في بعض متعلقاتها

[You will see them (Shia scholars) differ in one issue with about twenty or thirty different opinions, or more. In fact I can even say: That there is not one single minor issue that they did not disagree on.]

After all of this, you will still find some of their scholars who have the audacity to say that we must join the ranks of the Twelver Shia so that we may find salvation and not differ!!

al-`Allamah al-Hilli one of the Shia top classical scholars wrote about the differences of the Shia up until his time, which is the eight century, and the result was a huge ten volume book called “Mukhtalaf al-Shi`ah”, and if the reader were to browse through those books he would realize that al-Tusi was right when he said that the Ja`fari scholars differed on every single matter in Fiqh.

It even exceeded this to murder, some of the Shia scholars got killed by the Shia because of differences of opinions!! Shia scholar Yusuf al-Bahrani wrote in “Lu’lu’at ul-Bahrayn” pg.81:

أكثر المتأخرون التأليف. وفي مؤلفاتهم سقطات كثيرة عفا الله عنا وعنهم. وقد أدى ذلك إلى قتل جماعة منهم

[The late scholars authored many works, and in those works are many slips may Allah forgive us all. And this has lead to a group of them being killed.]

So what is this unity and “divine guidance” that the Ja`fari Twelver Shia keep boasting about!? When their opponents are doing far better than they are!

May Allah guide us and make us see the truth.


  1. Where can I learn about the foundations of 12elver shia? Where are the references for them showing resentment and reviling the sahabas?

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. The reality behind the “Ja’fari” Madhhab | In Defense of the Aal & Ashaab

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.