Khutbah- ‘Id ul Adha – 1 september 2017 – Ending Anti-Shi`a Sectarianism and Embracing the Amman Message by Imam Dr Rashied Omar

Khutbah- ‘Id ul Adha – 1 september 2017 – Ending Anti-Shi`a Sectarianism and Embracing the Amman Message by Imam Dr Rashied Omar

Video at end of Text

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Dispenser of Grace

God is Greater than; God is Greater than; God is Greater than All Praise, Thanks and Gratitude belongs to God Alone

Surely this Ummah (community) of yours is One Single Ummah (community), and I am your Lord and Sustainer: Therefore, remain conscious of me.

(Surah al-Mu’minun 23:52)1


We begin by praising Allah the Most High and by expressing our thanks and gratitude for being able to celebrate `Id al-Adha today in unison and solidarity with the pilgrims (hujjaj). We may be physically far away from Makkah, but our hearts are with the Hujjaj, thinking about them and praying for them. Yesterday, these blessed hujjaj returned from the sacred plains of `Arafat after performing the most important symbolic rite pertaining to the pilgrimage (wuquf al-`Arafat). The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s everlasting peace and blessings be upon him) has declared in an authentic prophetic tradition (hadith):

“The Pilgrimage (Al-Hajj) is `Arafah”

We pray and make du`a that Allah, the Hearer of all Supplications, grant all those who were blessed with being present at `Arafat, an accepted hajj (hajj mabrur), forgives their sins (dhanb maghfur), and allow them to return to their homelands as true ambassadors of Islam.

At this time when over two million hujjaj from virtually all nations and every Islamic theological orientation are performing the same pilgrimage rites (manasik al-hajj) in unison and amity, it is ironic and paradoxical that the Muslim ummah is still witnessing hateful sectarianism within its ranks. The fault-line of this sectarianism is along Sunni and Shi`a differences and over the past few months we have seen a dramatic rise in attempts to stoke animosity and enmity towards Shi`a Muslims right here in South Africa. In light of this distressing situation it would be uncaring and incongruous for us to celebrate `Id al-Adha at the conclusion of the hajj, a unifying and global symbol of Muslim unity and amity, while we ignore the deep anguish of the global and local Muslim ummah at this moment in history.

In this ‘Id al-Adha khutbah, it therefore behooves us to reflect on the state of the ummah and in particular the current anti-Shi`a sectarianism which is deliberately being fomented in South Africa.

Violence against Muslims

According to a report by the United States National Counterterrorism Center, in contexts in which Muslim extremist groups are engaged in armed combat against states or foreign entities, Muslims have suffered between 82 and 97 per cent of fatalities over the past five years. In these same contexts Muslims are seven times more likely than non-Muslims to be the victims of terror.2 This raises the intriguing question: why are extremist groups such as ISIS or Da`ish, al-Qa`ida, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and al-Shabab, who claim to be Muslim and act in the name of Islam, killing their fellow Muslims? Are they ignorant and oblivious to the unequivocal teaching of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which was bequeathed to us during his farewell khutbah al-wida` on the sacred plains of `Arafat when he proclaimed:

Allah has made sacred upon you the blood, wealth and honour of each other, just as the sacredness of this day (yawm al-`Arafah) of yours, in this sacred land of yours, and in this sacred month of yours.
(Sahih Bukhari)

The answer is an emphatic no! They do in fact know this and many other similar prophetic traditions (ahadith) that exhort Muslims to love and cherish each other. They even authenticate and embrace these ahadith. What then is their motivation for killing fellow Muslims? The answer is simple; they do not regard those whom they murder in the name of Islam as true Muslims. They have legitimated their murder and mayhem using the age-old tool employed during violent periods of Muslim history – the notion of takfir (excommunication). They have excommunicated their victims from the fold of Islam i.e. they regard them as kafirs (infidels). This gives them the theological and jurisprudential legitimacy to spill Muslim blood. The lesson is sobering: These Muslim extremist groups tend to be intolerant of non-Muslims in general as well as fellow Muslims who espouse a different understanding of Islam. In fact, the evidence suggests that Muslim extremists are even more intolerant of their fellow Muslims who hold a different interpretation of Islam.

Muslim Sectarianism in South Africa

For close to five years now I have been raising the alarm that a sectarian mindset and worldview, which is afflicting the global Muslim ummah and causing untold suffering, is actively being fomented locally within the South African community.4 In his article Sunni vs. Shia: Transcending takfir and the great divide, published on the Voice of the Cape Website on 10 December 2016, local journalist, Shafiq Morton, describes the sectarianism infiltrating the Muslim community as “the fear, loathing and the paranoia that has been drip-fed into the veins of our community by a small, but vociferous Salafi group on the question of the Shi’a.” He further cautions, “sectarianism is [indeed] a huge threat to harmony amongst Muslim communities worldwide,” and that “it expresses itself in groupthink, ignorance, bigotry, racism, arrogance, discrimination, hate-speech and, ultimately, violence.” 5

It is, therefore, chilling to note that during the past two months since `Id al-Fitr we have witnessed a dramatic increase in local acts of intolerance aimed at Shi`as and those who refuse to succumb to intimidation to declare them kafir (infidels) and fasiq (transgressors). We should be wary of a concerted anti-Shi’a campaign being waged locally and which is becoming more vocal. These are illustrated in a number of recent disturbing incidents.

The first relates to an article in the Al-Qalam newspaper of 6 July 2017 that carried an exchange between a trustee of the International Islamic Propagation Centre (IIPC), Ebrahim Jadwat, and Radio Mufti AK Hoosen, on the question of the dynamics between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and later focused on whether Shi`as are Muslims.6 The Mufti declared all Shi’as as kafir (infidels) and those who sympathize with them as fasiq (transgressors). However, Mufti AK Hoosen felt that since Al-Qalam did not publish his last response to the debate (which Al-Qalam claims it did not have at the time of publication), it was biased in favour of Ebrahim Jadwat who the Mufti regards as a Shi`a sympathizer and thus a fasiq (transgressor). This led to a few masajid presumably aligned to the anti-Shi`a campaign calling for a ban on the distribution of Al-Qalam at their institutions.7

The second incident, reported on 12 August 2017, relates to the rejection of the Amman Message (Risalatu `Amman) by Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels and the United Ulema Council of South Africa (UUCSA).8 The Amman Message was adopted at an international `ulama conference in Amman, Jordan, in July 2005, and was attended by Shaykh Gabriels. The Amman Message embodies three essential points: it recognises the validity of eight madhahib (schools of jurisprudence) including the Ja`fari and Zaydi Shi`as; it forbids takfir declarations between Muslims; and it clarifies the preconditions for the issuing of fatwas. I have included a summary of the Amman Message as Appendix One.

One cannot help to wonder why it has taken Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels over a decade to protest his name appearing as a signatory to the Amman Declaration, and whether he has written to the organizers to remove his name as an endorsee from their website. He also claims that even though he was at the time, the president of UUCSA, he was invited to the Amman international `ulama’ conference in his individual capacity.

Shaykh Gabriels is however not alone in his volte-face on the Amman Message.9 Prominent Sunni scholars such as Maulana Taqi Uthmani and Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi have also subsequently denounced the Amman Message. The fact that they did not unequivocally declare the Shi`a as

kafir during the Amman Message conference deliberations in July 2005, and at a number of subsequent International Islamic scholarly conferences convened between July 2005 to July 2006, where the three main points of the Amman Message was re-endorsed, speaks volumes about their motivations for raising their objections afterwards. Shi`a theology has not changed since the Amman Message; what has changed is the nature of the political conflict in the Middle East.

The Syrian conflict, the alliance of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Kuwait against Qatar, as well the alliance of these same countries with Israel against Iran gives some insight into what motivates some of our leaders. In fact some Saudi `ulama have openly stated that it is preferable to be in alliance with Israel, than Iran. Against our history this sadly demonstrates that when faced with political conflicts, theology becomes another useful weapon.

It remains my considered view that the Amman Message and its three key points, which was endorsed at several international `ulama’ forums by over 500 leading Muslim scholars from around the world, is a ground-breaking document for Muslims of the 21st century. The declaration aims to capture Islam’s core values of compassion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and freedom of religion. It is no surprise that the purveyors of hate and sectarianism will aim to destroy the very tools for tolerance and acceptance.

Furthermore, it is my opinion that the Amman Message is a genuine attempt to detach Muslim religious leaders from the political clutches of powerful political forces and to find a theological bridge between Sunni and Shi`a. It is indeed an indictment of Muslims that this Declaration only came after a thousand years. Nevertheless, it is a document of critical value and its apparent rejection at this time by Shaykh Qaradawi, Shaykh Gabriels, and others will no doubt have further repercussions.

The third  matter relates to  the  growing  prominence,  and  persistently hateful content, coming from the social media page of a vociferous group who call themselves the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamat Defence League (ADL Shi’a Awareness – South Africa).10 A recent example of the kind of hate they spew out is the following Facebook post of 11 August 2017, which reads as follows:

Muharram is coming!!! Weird Shia rituals is coming…!!!
Slithering and Sliding towards Imams! Very much like many other Polytheistic faiths.
See the video Below.

The video is titled “Polytheism from Mexico to Iraq” and after the viewer watches it for three minutes with dramatic accompanying music and no commentary or explanation as to the context, it concludes with the following words: ‘Is this Islam? Shi`asm is not Islam’.

The ADL Shi’a Awareness – South Africa Facebook group has become both the front and voice for Sunni sectarianism in South Africa. For now they stand as a lone group, but they are bolstered by some influential sectors in our community and act as a front for those who do not wish to have their hands sullied by open hatred. They are sanctioned and given legitimacy through silence and non-condemnation and are a convenient central point through which hatred can be disseminated.

In the second part of my khutbah I want to expose this sectarianism and call on the vast majority of conscientious Muslims who do not support religious bigotry, to be courageous and take a firm stand against this growing scourge of sectarianism within South Africa.

It might be useful and expedient to begin by defining what we mean by sectarianism.

An Islamic Understanding of Sectarianism

Sectarianism can be defined as bigotry, discrimination,  or  hatred  of “the other” arising from attaching exaggerated importance to perceived differences. Advocates of sectarianism usually believe that their own salvation requires them to aggressively purge their community from those perceived to hold heretical beliefs.

Within the context of Islam, it is my considered view that religious sectarianism is both a symptom and a cause of an extremist mindset or worldview, which is the antithesis of wasatiyyah i.e. the middle way as advocated by the Glorious Qur’an. In other words, extremism breeds and feeds on sectarianism. At the same time, if religious sectarianism is left to flourish, the conditions become ripe for extremist views and actions to take hold. In support of my contention that extremism is the antithesis of wasatiyyah, I would like to cite the following evidences from the two most primary sources of Islamic guidance. In surah al-Baqarah, chapter 2 verse143, Allah, the Sublime, proclaims:

“We have made of you an ummah justly balanced

(i.e. avoiding extremes) so that (with your lifestyles) you may be witnesses to humanity

(of being a community of the middle way)

as the Messenger bore witness (to this middle way) for you.”11

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) understood the above Qur’anic imperative and worked tirelessly against tendencies of extremism prevalent amongst even some of his own followers. He is reported to have repeatedly proclaimed:

“The extremists will perish.”(Sahih Muslim)

In another prophetic tradition (hadith) the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advises us as follows:

O Humankind! Beware of extremism (ghuluw) in religion, for it is extremism in matters of religion that has destroyed those before you.”12

It is thus crystal clear that religious extremism (tatarruf) has no virtue in Islam and has been unequivocally condemned by both the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hence, if extremism feeds and breeds off sectarianism, then we should be equally guarded against the growth of religious sectarianism.

As we witness with Donald Trump’s presidency, extremism always seeks new victims. Today it is the Shi`a, tomorrow it will be the Sufi’s, then the Barelwi’s. If we do not stop them in their tracks today, the cancer will only spread.

Responding Conscientiously

I would like to provide some modest guidelines as to how we as conscientious Muslims should respond to this growing scourge of sectarianism.

First, I advise that we all embark on a deep study of the historical roots and theological differences between Sunnis and Shia’s. I have included a recommended reading list as Appendix Two. A useful starting point would be to read the succinct introductory essay carefully tracing the history and theological differences between Sunni’s and Shi`as penned by Radio Voice of the Cape investigative journalist, Shafiq Morton.13 Next I recommend the excellent essay by Ebrahim Moosa on Sunni Orthodoxy in the journal

Critical Muslim 10 (April 2014). Moosa presents a useful critique of Shaykh

Qaradawi’s confusing positions on Shi`asm.14 For a more detailed scholarly study on the difference between Sunnis and Shi`as arising out of the question of successorship, I recommend Asma Afsaruddin’s book Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership (Brill Academic Publications, 2002).15 She offers a more detailed and advanced understanding of the history and theology behind the Sunni-Shi`a divide. Afsaruddin’s book is based on the most important Arabic sources on the topic and is in my view one of the best English references available. Another useful text is Wilferd Madelung’s superb academic work The Succession of Muhammad (Cambridge University Press, 1996).16 In the coming weeks at the Claremont Main Road Masjid (CMRM) we intend to convene a study group on both of these texts in order to deepen and broaden our understanding of this deadly sectarian conflict and its origins.

Furthermore, it would be especially valuable to study and research Islam’s rich history of diversity and different traditions through the ages. Through such study we may be inspired to nurture greater tolerance, fearlessly practice our faith as we do, and not be threatened by those who practice differently.

Second, we need to encourage all Muslims to study, endorse, and propagate the Amman Message. It is a vital tool to counter sectarianism and we need to fight attempts to de-legitimise this document and the process from which it was borne. I urge you to read and study the Amman Message and the process that was followed to produce the Declaration and its subsequent endorsements at its official site:

Third, we need to stop the social media vigilante group called the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamat Defence League (ADL Shi’a Awareness – South Africa) from fomenting hatred and sectarianism within the local South African Muslim community. The starting point should be to recognize that the content of the ADL Facebook page is not at all educational as they claim it to be, but that it is simply a platform for hate speech and promoting sectarianism. Each one of us has a responsibility to denounce the hatred and bigotry of the ADL group and to actively spread the word within and outside of the Muslim community.

Fourth, CMRM will be reaching out to allies within the broader Muslim community to build a public campaign towards countering and ending hatred and sectarianism within the South African Muslim community. Similarly, individuals should embark on their own personal campaigns to stop this hatred and sectarianism amongst families, friends, co-workers and on social media platforms because we all share the responsibility to speak up and call out hatred wherever we encounter it. A useful example is the following comment on the ADL Facebook page by a friend of mine, Dr. Ahmed Manjra, from Durban. He was the first to comment on the recent ADL Shi`a Awareness post in which they claim Shaykh Gabriels rejected the Amman Declaration. In his comment Dr. Manjra said the following:

“What a waste of energy ADL is. Go do some important work like fighting racism.”17

I want to echo Dr. Ahmed Manjra’s point. At a time when we are facing so many social justice challenges in our country, we should be expending our energies on striving to overcome these challenges, and not get caught up in inward looking polemical debates that distracts us from our social justice work and seeks to sow division within our communities.

Last but not least, I am convinced that the vast majority of Muslims are not supportive of the current trend of sectarianism being fomented by certain individuals. Muslim scholars and leaders in particular, who share our concerns, have an especially onerous challenge of not allowing misguided individuals who act in a thoroughly reprehensible and depraved manner to undermine the middle way of Islam (wasatiyyah). We should not remain silent in the face of intimidatory tactics employed by the purveyors of hatred and intolerance. We need to counter their diatribe with solid Islamic evidences and expose their facile and selective arguments. We need to be vocal and vociferous in defending the strong South African tradition of tolerance and of fighting ideas with better ideas.

We as South African Muslims have much greater challenges in our country to focus on, rather than allowing these irrelevant issues to consume our energies. We have the challenges of poverty, racism, unemployment, corruption and nation building. On the day of judgement when we will be asked how we spent our time on earth, let us not be left wanting.


In conclusion, the day of ‘Id is a day on which we remember the deceased, spend time with our family and friends, visit the sick, overlook faults and forget feuds, help the needy and show kindness and generosity to all. I believe that doing this exemplifies the spirit of sacrifice and ’Id al-Adha. And if we are able to make this sacrifice at the time of ‘Id, then we are setting ourselves on a path of goodness and rectitude and may find it easier to navigate through various struggles in our lives.

Today we also spare a thought for the people of Syria and Yemen who continue to face the ravages of war and political instability in their countries. We pray for the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, for the people of Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere in the world. We pray that wisdom guide the leadership in these countries to fashion a more compassionate, just and caring world.


On this great day of ‘Id al-Adha, while we are celebrating the conclusion of the hajj, a symbol of global Muslim unity and amity, I call on you to join me in prayer.

Ya Rabb al-Qist, O Allah the Lord of Compassionate Just

The political struggles between Sunni and Shia forces have fed a civil war, spurred fracturing violence, and widened fissures in already tense countries.

We pray and make du`a for all those who suffer at the hands of this odious sectarian and political conflict.

O Allah this sectarian conflict now threatens the peace in our very own community

and We ask for Your help to stand steadfast against hatred and religious bigotry.

Ya Rahman Ya Rahim, O Allah the Infinitely Compassionate and Merciful

We thank You for instilling our hearts with Your Grace and Compassion And we ask You to penetrate the hard, hateful hearts, and to awaken in them hearts of benevolence and justice.

O Allah amid the rising sectarian discourse, we pray for the protection of the voices that challenge the hateful rhetoric. We ask You to awaken consciences and inspire the resolve for understanding and peace.

Ya Karim, O Allah The Most Generous

On this blessed day of ‘Id we pray that You accept all our meaningful rituals, sincere prayers and devotions. We express our thanks and gratitude for our health, for loved ones, and all the blessings of this life.

Finally, let us remember and make du’a for all the pilgrims (hujjaj) who were on the sacred plains of `Arafat yesterday.

O Allah! Grant our pilgrims an accepted hajj

And let their strivings and endeavours be rewarded

And forgive them their sins and trespasses

And accept their good deeds

And protect their belongings

O Light upon Light

O Knower of all that is in our hearts

Lead us forth from Darkness unto Light

Allahumma Amin


  1. The English translations of the Qur’anic verses in this paper are my own and have been informed and enriched by the ever increasing number of English translations of the Qur’an. Translations are inevitably interpretations and are therefore not to be regarded as the equivalent of the original Qur’an in Arabic
  2. “Are Most Victims of Terrorism Muslim?” by Ruth Alexander and Hannah BBC News, 20 January 2015. See: news/magazine-30883058 and also: crt/2011/195555.htm (accessed 26 August 2017).
  3. Imam Ibn Hajr al-`Asqalani notes in Fath al-Bari (one of the most authoritative commentaries on Sahih Bukhari) that the sanctity of Muslim blood, wealth and honour is even greater than the sanctity of the sacred land of Makkah, the sacred month of Dhu al-Hijjah and day of `Arafah. This emphasis is also communicated in the Glorious Qur’an where Allah proclaims “And whosoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein forever, and the Wrath of Allah is upon him, and His curse; prepared for him is a grievous torment” (Surah al-Nisa’, 4: 93).
  4. Omar, Rashied. Muslim Sectarianism in SouthAfrica: Symptom or Cause?

Muslim Views (January 2014). See: docs/mv_2801_jan_2014/18 (accessed 26 August 2017). This paper was delivered at the 5th Annual IPSA Wasatiyyah Symposium: “Dealing with Sectarianism: A Middle-Way Reflection, on Saturday 23 November 2013. See also, Omar, A. Rashied. Repelling Sectarianism: The Case of Sunni- Shi`a Marriages. Voice of the Cape Website (2 December 2016). See: sectarianism-the-case-of-sunni-shia-marriages-by-imam-dr-rashied- omar/ (accessed 26 August 2017).

  1. Morton, Sunni vs. Shia: Transcending takfir and the great divide, Voice of the Cape Website (10 December 2016). See: http:// (accessed 26 August 2017).


  1. Al-Qalam. ‘Is “gulf” of disunity tearing Islam apart?” (6 July 2017).

See: (accessed 26 August 2017).


  1. For evidence of this campaign against Al-Qalam consult comments on the ADL Shia Awareness – South Africa Facebook Page: https://www. com/ShiaAwarenessPage/?ref=br_rs


  1. It is intriguing to note that this public announcement was made on the Facebook of the the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamat Defence League (ADL Shi’a Awareness – South Africa). See: https://www.facebook. com/ShiaAwarenessPage/?hc_ref=ARQ1I_LiQ19v7iA5-xeF1ao_rLlcmC- UUDIP61gbJx-uBbnpJr_Xc6ybr-o5y-PzZLU (accessed 26 August 2017).


  1. For the full text of the Amman Message and the process that led to its endorsement consult its official site here: http://ammanmessage. com/ (accessed 26 August 2017).


  1. For Facebook posts of ADL Shia Aweness – South Africa see here: https:// (accessed 26 August 2017).


  1. The English translations of the Qur’anic verses in this paper are my own and have been informed and enriched by the ever increasing number of English translations of the Qur’an. Translations are inevitably interpretations are they are therefore not to be regarded as the equivalent of the original Qur’an in


  1. Recorded by al-Nasāī (Sunan al-Nasāī al-Kubrá, 2/435, 4049) and Ibn Mājah (Sunan Ibn Mājah, 2/1008, no. 3029). The actual wording is that of al-Nasāī and the hadīth’s chain of narrators is authentic.


  1. Morton, Sunni vs. Shia: Transcending takfir and the great divide, Voice of the Cape Website (10 December 2016). See: http:// (accessed 26 August 2017).


  1. moosa


  1. Asma Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership (Brill Academic Publications, 2002). See: (accessed 26 August 2017).


  1. Wilfred The Succession of Muhammad (Cambridge University Press, 1996). See: succession-to muhammad/1F8CA4D35B362EF97EE20004F53763B2


  1. Facebook post of ADL Shia Aweness – South Africa see here: https:// (accessed 26 August 2017).


Appendix One

The Three Points of The Amman Message V.2

(in English, as modified and ratified by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, June 2006)

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad and his pure and noble family

  1. Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i  andHanbali),  the two Shi’i schools of Islamic  jurisprudence  (Ja`fari  and  Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Shaykh Al-Azhar’s fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash`ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an  apostate.

Equally, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any other group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him), the pillars of faith (Iman), and the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.

  1. There exists more in common between the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence than there is difference between The adherents to the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam. All believe in Allah (God), Glorified and Exalted be He, the One and the Unique; that the Noble Qur’an is the Revealed Word of God preserved and protected by God, Exalted be He, from any change or aberration; and that our master Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him, is a Prophet and Messenger unto all mankind. All are in agreement about the five pillars of Islam: the two testaments of faith (shahadatayn); the ritual prayer (salat); almsgiving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (sawm), and the Hajj to the sacred house of God (in Mecca). All are also in agreement about the foundations of belief: belief in Allah (God), His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and in the Day of Judgment, in Divine Providence in good and in evil. Disagreements between the ‘ulama (scholars) of the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are only with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu`) and some fundamentals (usul) [of the religion of Islam]. Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu`) is a mercy. Long ago it was said that variance in opinion among the ‘ulama (scholars) “is a mercy”.
  2. Acknowledgement of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Mathahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas: no one may issue a fatwa without the requisite qualifications of No one may issue a fatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. No one may claim to do unlimited Ijtihad and create a new opinion or issue unacceptable fatwas that take Muslims out of the principles and certainties of the Shari`ah and what has been established in respect of its schools of jurisprudence.

Appendix Two

Recommended Reading

Sunni vs. Shia: Transcending takfir and the great divide, by Shafiq Morton (Voice of the Cape Website on 10 December 2016)

Sunni Orthodoxy by Ebrahim Moosa (Critical Muslim 10 -April 2014) Excellence  and  Precedence:  Medieval  Islamic  Discourse  on  Legitimate

Leadership by Asma Afsaruddin (Brill Academic Publications, 2002)

The Succession of Muhammad by Wilferd Madelung (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad: And the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism by Barnaby Rogerson (Abacus, 2006)

After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton (Anchor, 2009)

The Crisis of Muslim History: Religion and Politics in Early Islam by Mahmoud

  1. Ayoub (Oneworld, 2003)

Parable and Politics in Early Islamic History: The Rashidun Caliphs by Tayeb El-Hibri (Columbia University Press, 2010)

The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate by Wilferd Madelung (1997)

Islamic Ecumenism in the 20th Century: The Azhar and Shiism between Rapprochement and Restraint – Rainer Brunner (Brill, 2004)

The Sunna and Shi`a in History: Division and Ecumenism in the Muslim Middle East – (Eds) Ofra Bengio and Meir Litvak (Palgrave, 2011)

“How Did the Early Shi`a become Sectarian?” by Hodgson, Marshall G.S (Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1955).

“Taqrib al-Madhahib: Qaradawi’s Declaration of Principles Regarding Sunni- Shi`i Ecumenism” by Polka, Sagi (Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2013)

“’One cannot doubt the potential effect of these fatwas on modern Muslim society.’ Online Accusations of Disbelief and Apostasy: The Internet as an Arena for Sunni and Shia Muslim Conflicts” by Larsson, Göran (Göteborgs universitet, 2016)

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