Shi'a Islam encompasses most Muslims who are not counted among the Sunni. The division between Sunni and Shia dates to the death of the prophet Muhammad, when his followers were faced with the decision of who would be his successor as the leader of Islam. Shiites are those who followed Ali, the closest relative of Muhammad, as Muhammad's successor. Today there are approximately 120 million Shiite Muslims in the world. The Shi'a consist of one major school of thought known as the Jafaryia or the "Twelvers," and a few minor schools of thought, as the "Seveners" or the "Fivers." These names all refer to the number of imams they recognize after the death of Muhammad. The term Shi'a is usually meant to be synonymous with the Jafaryia/Twelvers. The distinctive dogma and institution of Shi'a Islam is the Imamate, which includes the idea that the successor of Muhammad be more than merely a political leader. The Imam must also be a spiritual leader, which means that he must have the ability to interpret the inner mysteries of the Quran and the Sharia. The Twelver Shi'as further believe that the Twelve Imams who succeeded the prophet were sinless and free from error and had been chosen by Allah through Muhammad.
Glimpses of the thoughts of Ayatollah Seyed Sadigh Alshirazi
Translated by Ostad Mostafa Daneshgar
There are many great tragedies which the Islamic world encounters with today. This is because there has been an absence of teaching of the moral and educational approaches of the prophet of mercy Mohammed (SAWS).
There are those who belong to Islam and take it as their religion only by the name and don't work by its correct teachings and they don't take the biography of the prophet as their method. It's like only the name (and appearance) is enough and they don't heed to Islamic moral conducts and teachings. The main reason is that we (Muslims) distanced ourselves from true teachings and traditions of prophet whom always handled every situation with mercy and clemency well documented in his actual life. It should be path to educate us Muslims and teach us true Godly morals in order to earn everyones love or respect. His example was so obvious and strong that even his enemies didn't find a reason makes them keep fight Islam, because truly it's the religion of mercy and humanity.
And here the great scholar Ayatollah Seyed Sadigh Alshirazi wonders in one of his directive lectures saying: "Why do we miss the moral dealings? No doubt that the reason is in the weakness of our following the prophet of Islam (SAWS)". This is indeed a true statement and the current scene proves that there are those who belong to Islam but have offended both Islam and Muslims in many ways with their misguided ideas and ill behavior. They miss the great opportunity to be merciful dealing with others, contradicting that very important tradition of holy prophet which is mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
And he also says in the same lecture that the upscale dealing of the prophet of Islam, as mentioned in the scholarly work of Seyed Mohammed Alshirazi (The mercy and clemency) that everyone even prophet's enemies encountered his mercy and it is possible that rulers can rule the world peacefully with less bloodshed.
Instead of violent radicalism and bloodshed, there is another way to reclaim rights and freedoms and this method stems from the prophetic approach and traditions where mercy and clemency were the successful way and style a society and deal with others wether they were supporters were or enemies. That means it's not right to deal with others not even the enemies by the method of violence and terror, as many so called Islamic groups who claim they are are defending Islam are doing.
So Ayatollah Shirazi questions again in his lecture is this extreme style has any thing to do with prophets path (SAWS)? And he ask the offenders of Islam: "Dose it represent Islam when children slaughter people with the shouts of Allah Akbar?!".
Demonstrations against Islam
What good do is in it for Islam and Muslims to be violent? Indeed being violent is not a method or tradition of of the prophet (SAWS) it is indeed the method and tradition of the misguided extremists for indeed they have hidden agendas. If someone follows and traces the money and see the hands that support them, He or She can find out that such radicalism are not teachings of Islam but some individuals or groups that take violence as their path to achieve their political or worldly goals. Indeed doing so, they hurt Islam and Muslims from within because it usually leads to fueling hostility in the region and ultimately in the West and Non-Muslim countries where those countries become against Islam.!
Is this is the right way that Muslims should defend their religion? Why don't Muslims follow the tradition and behavior of prophet that contradicts it when Muslims know that prophet was able to win the hearts of his enemies by his kindness and fairness. It does not seem that most Muslims have learned much lessons from the prophet (SAWS) the true leader of the the Islamic nations who forgave the people of Quraish and Mecca when they were under the mercy of the Islamic army. Over twenty years the enemies of Islam fought Muslims and looted their homes and displaced them and seized their properties, tortured and killed them them, and yet Muslims, according to order of Prophet, dealt with them with mercy and pity!
Wasn't that the right prophetic approach? Where do you see radical demonstrations, violence and the bombing and slaughtering in Islam? Islam is pure of all these evil behaviors and misconducts.
And eminence Seyed Sadigh also says about this:
"Many demonstrations happened in many western counties against Islam, and the demonstrators demanded the rejection of Islam and they refused to build mosques in their countries. And the reason of this rejection is the distorted image of Islam which the world sees today from some people who covered in name of Islam".
Is it right to support Islam with this extreme method (that are not part of prophets traditions and teachings)? Did Muslims do enough to show the pure honorable image of Islam and indicate the prophetic approach which stands for mercy and clemency and forgiveness? The simplest duties of a Muslim is to try clarifying the right methods and approaches of Islam, and reject and expose the lies of those who claim to be Muslims.
Here eminence Seyed Sadigh Alshirazi clearly questions saying: "isn't it very important for Muslims men and women youth or old to do this duty, and show the world and tell the people that these actions (violence and terrorism) do not represent Islam and Islam is innocent of them. Yes all these actions and all the violence has nothing to do with the Islamic teachings or the prophetic method which stands for mercy and clemency and reason.
This is the duty of all who believes in the true Islam, and who studies and follows the biography of the prophet Mohammed (SAWS), and the prophetic approach. A muslim needs to live according to that approach and tradition of prophet which affirms the pillars of Islam. Doing so a Muslim can best spread prophet's teachings in the society same way as prophet did when he was able to revert a nation of intolerance, extremism and ignorance to one of the most sophisticated societies in the history.
Our duty towards Islam
Basing on what was said, about extremism and the continuous attempts which some individuals and groups who try to hurt Islam and tarnish Islam's image and essence, Muslims must follow prophet's teachings and traditions more seriously which stands for mercy and clemency and manors. Muslims must do their duty towards whats happening of tarnishing the image of Islam and its essence and and fight these attempts and clarify the true method of Islam, the Islam of the prophet Mohamed (SAWS) which is based on humanitarian ethics and forgiveness and mercy.
And eminence Seyed Sadigh Alshirazi reminds Muslims of the prophet's example when the holy prophet dealt with his extremists enemies with mercy and forgave them all after Muslims won back Mecca.
All of the world should know that this is the right tradition of prophet to be the true Islamic teachings and not the way of extremists and radicals who commit violence and terrorism, slaughtering innocents and creating mayhem. Such actions are not of Islamic teachings thus it's our duty to show the bright true essence of Islam with all the possible ways, wether it be by our daily actions or demonstrate it via media and social media and any other possible way.
We must offer the alternative right and peaceful way of Islam which is contrary to what misguided Muslims show and do. Indeed Islam is the victim of such people because of their actions and misguided extremism that are not among Islamic teachings nor prophetic merciful traditions.
Thus eminence Seyed Sadigh Alshirazi calls all of the Muslims who believe in the prophetic traditions to handle this great duty and do it with the care and best peaceful possible ways. That we must show the world the mercy of Islam and the clemency of Islam and the manors of Islam with all the possible peaceful and modern ways.