Nasik Elahi, Imtiaz Bokhari, Fayyaz Sheikh, Noor Salik, Mushtaq Ahmad, Ajaz Uddin, Ramesh & Kanta Ubriani and Jamila Amin.
Speaker: Shoeb Amin
After a brief presentation describing my recent visit to Najaf & Karbala I started what I hope was first of many Sunni-Shia intra-faith discussions. Factors that may have been in place long before the events of Ghadir e Khum and those following the Prophet’s death, like tribal rivalries (Ali, Abu Bakr, Umar &Uthman were all from different sub tribes of Quraysh tribe ) and jealousies; events happening after Ayesha was accidentally left in the desert returning from an expedition( Ali advised the Prophet to divorce Ayesha on the prophet’s solicitation of Ali’s advice) and Fatema’s eventual marriage to Ali after proposals from Abu Bakr and Umar were turned down. Then the actual events of Ghadir e Khum and the Saqifah were presented, two of the most important event that were the beginning of the Shia-Sunni split. The materials I used were derived from Reza Aslan’s “No god but God”, Barnaby Rogerson’s “Heirs of the Prophet”, some other books I have read in the past and the articles from the following links.
The above is the Shia view of the events of Ghadir e Khum
This is another Shia source and it claims to have the complete speech at Ghadir e Khum with a long list of references at the end , some of them by authors respected even by Sunnis. The problem is the whole speech is a composite of many parts, each presented by a different source; no one authority has the whole speech and it is not clear who is the author of which part.
This 40 page article lays out the Sunni view of Ghadir e Khum. One may read all the pages or just the following to get the gist of it: pages 4,8,9,18,19,and 37.
Of course there are many more sources a reader can consult and then make their own decisions as to what transpired that day.
Then the events following the death of the Prophet and the declaration of Abu Bakr as the Khalifa at Saquifah was presented. For that I used the above quoted two books and the following link besides many other accounts I have read.
At the very outset of my talk I said that my intention was not to decide which one is the “real” Islam but to inform one side what the other believes in and why; hopefully that may lead to a better understanding of the other’s position and perhaps even some respect.
I understand that Shias would have wanted Ali to be the first successor to the Prophet – or even the second or third – but what happened 1400 years ago cannot be reversed and holding that grudge against present day Sunnis is non productive. By the same token, because of the split those events created, a different theology and different religious practices developed in Shi’ism over time and most of those also cannot be reversed. So calling Shias by the many pejorative terms is equally non-productive.
Muslims go to churches and synagogues telling their congregants how we all have the same prophets, how we are all people of the Book and how we are tolerant of other religions ( lakum deenakum walaya deen is oft quoted in those interfaith dialogues). Why can’t we extend the same acceptance to each other and the same respect to each other? We are more similar than we are to Christians and Jews with whom we proudly have interfaith dialogues. The only other alternative is the continuation of blaming, hating, fighting and killing each other for the next 1400 years.