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Sheikh Ali Gomaa warned against sewing discord by spreading Shi'sm in Egypt
Sheikh Ali Gomaa gave a lecture in the Azhar University as part of a series of lectures organized by the Council of Islamic Research to counteract the attempts of spreading Shi’i theology in Sunni countries.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt warned from the continuous attempts of the shi’tes to spread their shi’te school in Egypt. He added that sewing the seeds of Shi’sm in a non fertile soil like Egypt will lead to nothing but instability and discord. The Egyptian society from time immemorial was not brought up with Shi’te theology and that Egyptians’ love of the household of the Prophet should not be used as a motive for turning Sunni Muslims into Shites. The Shites are part of the Islamic ummah and their Ja’fari and Zaydi schools of jurisprudence are widely accepted and used by the Sunni Muslims.
Sheikh Ali Gomaa explained that we are searching for commonalities which unite the ummah and exert all efforts to put out incendiary acts aiming at creating discord but this should never be a reason to jeopardize the fundamentals of religion. He asserted that the Sunnis have an open heart towards others and are seekers of truth no matter its source.
The Grand Mufti expounded on the five main fundamental differences between the Sunnis and Shi’tes. The first difference has to do with theology as the Shi’tes believe in the concept of “al Badaa” or non previous knowledge which indicates that God had ordained a decree and then later He changed His mind. This theological belief is totally unacceptable for the Sunnis as the Sunnis believe that God is omniscient and has the power of unveiling the unseen with his supreme knowledge. The Sunnis also believe that God’s greatness is too overwhelming to be captured by human minds.
The second point of difference between the Sunnis and the Shi’tes as Sheikh Ali Gomaa stated is the issue of lack of authentication of the literal words of the Quran and the Shii’s claim that fabrications have been made in its scriptural text. One of the Shi’I scholars named Sheikh al Nuri authored a book citing some evidence of fabrications and modifications made in the Quranic text. The contemporary Shi’I scholars tried to hide the book and vehemently denied its authenticity. Sheikh Ali Gomaa reiterated that the Quran is the only book which is preserved by God since the time of its revelation till the Day of Judgment without any attempts of modification or fabrication and this is seen as a miracle as a large number of Muslims both Arabs and non Arabs memorize it by heart.
The third point of difference has to do with the integrity of the companions of the Prophet as the Shi’tes denigrate the eminent status of the Prophet’s companions. One of the legal authorities of Shi’ites authored a book of 110 volumes, 5 of them were devoted to denigrating the status of the companions and calling them names. The shi’tes decided to delete these parts after deliberations to avoid the ramifications of insulting the companions of the Prophet.
The fourth point of difference has to with the Shi’te principle of “Tuqiah” or concealment of truth and to turn to lying in order to support the shi’te school of thought. For the Sunnis, Sheikh Ali Gomaa confirmed that they don’t lie under any circumstances as the principle of lying is not acceptable in the first place.
As for the issue of the infallibility of the Imams of the household of the Prophet, Sheikh Ali Gomaa asserted that infallibility only applies to the Prophets as they are the only source for legislation. As for the Imams of the Prophet’s household, they are rather protected from falling into mishaps yet they are not infallible and certainly are not a source for legislation.
The Mufti stated that numerous attempts to bridge the theological gaps between the Sunni and the Shi’te thought were made as a number of leading religious scholars in Azhar exerted their efforts to conduct meetings and hold debates and seminars with Shi’te scholars to settle their theological differences. They also issued a magazine serving this purpose and they called it “Resalat al Islam” or the message of Islam. It was established in August 1964 and lasted for 15 years discussing different opinions on legal and theological issues between both Sunnis and Shi’tes.