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Devoted to the viewpoint of Islam of Muhammad SAW and Amir ul-Mumineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib SA, in the Shi'a Fatimi Ismaili Dawoodi Bohra tradition.

September 11, 2007

proud partisans of Ali.

This blog has lain fallow for a long time, but here on the eve of Ramadan I felt it was the best platform for a response (of sorts) to Iraqi Konfused Kid's polemic equating the observance of Imam Husain AS's martyrdom with a passion play, devoid as he claims of any genuine theological substrate, instead nothing more than a emotional reaction. As a devout, orthodox Shi'a, I am somewhat bemused by his depiction of Ali ibn Talib AS:

Amazingly, Imam Ali, easily the most self-righterous, strongest and most courageous figure in Islam, did absolutely nothing for the death of his wife and child. and went to 'grudgingly' accept the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Omar, even advising the latter on certain matters, for fear over the unity of Islam!!!! This is the same Ali whose self-imposed puritanical approach to life and refusal to compromise on anything led him, knownigly, to his defeat by the more wily and persuasive Muawiya. In fact, first act on the first day of his caliphate some 30 years later was chasing Ubaidullah bin Omar, who killed a Persian without any charges after the second caliph was killed, such is his stubborn adherence to the principles, that it is seems ridiculous, even hugely insulting to his character, that he would contend with 'accepting the unity of Islam' when such grave sins were committed not only under the tent of Islam, but to his personal family and wife.

I can see why KK believes that there is some inconsistency in Ali's forebearance after the martyrdom of his wife Fatima AS at the hands of Omar, and his later rigid adherence to principle as Caliph. However, the apparent inconsistency arises from KK's incomplete understanding of who Ali AS was, and what role he was appointed by the Prophet SAW as the Gate to the city of knowledge. That is because KK - with all due respect - is a committed Sunni partisan and thus has an innate barrier to genuine understanding of Ali's motivations. For to truly plumb the depths of the jewel of mankind that was Ali AS, Konfused Kid would have to inevitably come to grips with the events at Ghadir e Khum. He would inevitably have to accept the words of the Prophet SAW, "Man kuntu Maula, fa-haza Ali-yun Maula" - words that are recorded in over 700 isnad from Sunni sources. I cannot in good conscience expect Konfused Kid to accept these things, unless it be of his own volition. To him his position, to me mine.

But what I do expect, especially of someone like Konfused Kid who speaks most highly of Ali as a rightly-guided Caliph and who believes the martyrdom of Imam Husain AS to have been unjust and a crime against Islam, is that they perform basic due diligence about Ali before accusing his Shi'a brothers in Islam of empty theology. That due diligence is simply this: read the sermons of Ali ibn Talib AS, entitled Nahjul Balagha. The entire text is available online, for free.

I don't see any value in engaging in sectarian theologic debate, especially online. I am content to leave Konfused Kid to his mission, but for anyone interested in a wider picture than the narrow one put forth by my Iraqi brother, I hope this post serves as a starting point.

sherullah il moazzam mubarak to all.

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Nahj-ul Balagha

About Shi'a Pundit

Shi'a Pundit was launched in 2002 during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The blog focuses on issues pertaining to Shi'a Islam in the west and in the Islamic world. The author is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS).

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