Identifying “Ahl al-Sunnah”
These are members of the largest Muslim community; they
represent three-quarters of the total population of the Muslims of the
world, and they are the ones who refer for religious verdicts (fatawa) and
for religious following of the Imams of the four sects, namely Abu Hanifah,
Malik, al-Shafi`i, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Later in time, those called Salafis
branched out of them; the characteristics of their beliefs were later
revived by Ibn Taymiyyah whom they call "the one who revived the Sunnah,"
then by the Wahhabis whose ideology was invented by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab;
theirs is the sect of the present rulers of Saudi Arabia. All these call
themselves "Ahl al-Sunnah," sometimes adding the word "Jama`ah" so they may
be identified as "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah."
Were one to research history, it will become evident to
him that anyone who belonged to what they term as "al-khilafa al-rashida,"
the righteous caliphate, or "al-khulafa al-rashidoon," the righteous
caliphs, namely Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali, and who recognized
their Imamate during their life-time, or in our contemporary time, such
person belongs to "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah."
Anyone who rejects the said
caliphate or considers it illegitimate, advocating the texts which prove
that only Ali ibn Abu Talib was worthy of it, is a Shi`a.
It will also become clear to us that the rulers, starting
from Abu Bakr and ending with the last Abbaside ruler, were pleased with the
"followers of the Sunnah" and in total agreement with them, and that they
were angry with, and were seeking revenge against, all those who opted to
follow the leadership of Ali ibn Abu Talib as well as those who swore the
oath of allegiance to him and to his offspring thereafter.
Based on these premises, Ali ibn Abu Talib and his
followers, according to them, were not counted among "Ahl al-Sunnah wal
Jama`ah," as if this term, i.e. "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah," was coined to
confront and juxtapose Ali and his followers. This is the major reason for
the division which afflicted the Islamic Ummah following the demise of the
Messenger of Allah into Sunnis and Shi`as.
If we go back to analyze the underlying factors and
remove the curtains, relying on the authentic historical references, we will
then find out that such a distinction surfaced immediately after the death
of the Messenger of Allah. Abu Bakr soon took control, having ascended to
the seat of government with the help of the vast majority of the sahaba. Ali
ibn Abu Talib and Banu Hashim in addition to a very small number of the
sahaba who were politically weak did not accept him.
It goes without saying that the ruling authority expelled
the latter and banished them, regarding them as dissenting from the Islamic
mainstream. It did its best to paralyze their opposition by all economic,
social, and political means.
It is also a well known fact that our contemporary
followers of "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah" do not realize the political
dimensions of the roles played during those periods and the extent of enmity
and hatred those vicious periods brought forth to isolate and expel the
greatest personality in the history of humanity after the Messenger of Allah
Muhammad. Our contemporary "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah" believe that
everything went in the very best possible way, and that everything still
revolves in full agreement with the Book of Allah (the Holy Qur'an) and the
Sunnah since the time of the "righteous caliphs," and that the latter were
like angels; therefore, they respected one another, and there were no ill
feelings among them nor ambition nor bad intentions. For this reason, you
find them refusing all what the Shi`as say about the sahaba in general and
the "righteous caliphs" in particular.
It is as if "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah" never read the
history books written by their own scholars, feeling satisfied with only the
praise, compliments, and admiration their ancestors lavished on the sahaba
in general and on the "righteous caliphs" in particular. Had they opened
their minds and vision and turned the pages of their history books, as well
as the books of hadith (traditions of the Prophet [P]) available with them,
seeking the truth and getting to know who is right and who is wrong, they
would have changed their mind not only about the sahaba, but also about many
injunctions which they regard as correct while they are not.
Through this humble effort, I am trying to clarify for my
brethren among "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah" some facts which fill the books
of history, and to briefly highlight for them the clear texts which refute
falsehood and show the truth, hoping that doing so may heal the Muslims'
disunity and division and bring about their unity.
Contemporary "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah," as I know them,
are not fanatics, nor are they against Imam Ali or Ahl al-Bayt; rather, they
love and respect them, but they, at the same time, also love and respect the
enemies of Ahl al-Bayt and follow in their footsteps, thinking that "they
all sought nearness to the Messenger of Allah."
"Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah" do not act upon the principle
of befriending the friends of Allah and dissociating themselves from the
enemies of Allah; rather, they love everyone and seek nearness to Mu`awiyah
ibn Abu Sufyan just as they seek nearness to Ali ibn Abu Talib.
The shiny term "Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama`ah" has dazzled
them, and they are not familiar with the implications and insinuations which
the most shrewd Arabs had embedded therein. If they one day come to know
that Ali ibn Abu Talib is the personification of Muhammad's Sunnah, and that
he is the gate leading to such Sunnah, and that they have contradicted him
and he has contradicted them..., they will surely renounce their stand and
research this issue very seriously, and there will be no "Ahl al-Sunnah"
except those who followed Muhammad's and Ali's Sunnah. In order to come to
such a conclusion, we have to unravel for them the greatest plot which
played the most serious role in setting Muhammad's Sunnah aside, and in
substituting it with Jahili innovations which caused the Muslims' setback
and their deviation from al-Sirat al-Mustaqeem (the Straight Path), and
their disunity and dissension. It also caused them at a later time to call
each other apostate, and even fight one another. It thus caused their scientific and technological
backwardness which led to their being invaded and occupied then subjugated,
humiliated, and assimilated.
Having concluded this brief survey identifying the Shi`as
and the Sunnis, we have to take note of the fact that the proper noun "Shi`a"
(or Shi`ites) does not imply that its adherents oppose the Sunnah, as most
people are misled into thinking when they brag and say: "We are the
followers of the Sunnah," implying that others are opponents of the Sunnah.
This is something which the Shi`as do not accept at all; rather, the Shi`as
are convinced that they, and only they, are the ones who uphold the
authentic Sunnah of the Prophet especially since they have approached such
Sunnah through its gate, namely Ali ibn Abu Talib; there is no gate to it
other than his and, according to them, nobody can reach the Prophet except
We, as usual, seek neutrality in order to reach the truth
while taking the dear reader from one stage to another so that we may
together review some historical events. We will thus provide him with the
proof and argument showing the Shi`as to be the true followers of the Sunnah
as this book's title suggests, leaving to him after that the freedom to make
up his mind and to comment as he pleases.
According to informed Saudi citizens, the population of
Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia does not exceed 8%, whereas the majority are Maliki
Sunnis. __ Tr.
It will become evident to us from forthcoming researches
that “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah” did not add the name of Ali ibn Abu Talib
to the three “righteous caliphs” except at a very late period in history.
Extracted from the book "The Shi'ah
are (the real) Ahl al-Sunnah" by Dr. Muhammad Al-Tijani Al Samawi.
I AM HIS MASTER, ALI IS HIS MASTER. O
God! Love those who love him. Be hostile
to those who are hostile to him. Hate
those who hate him. Help those who help
him. And keep the truth with him
wherever he turns." (repeating this
paragraph three times).