Sunday, August 22, 2010

Zaydi/Zaidi Activism versus Sunni Quietism.

We have seen that one of the five tenets of mu’tazilism, which is the theology of the Zaidis, is “Commanding right and forbidding wrong”. The Western scholar Michael Cook has written a book about this concept, and to what extent it has been put into practice by the different math-habs, including Zaydis, 12 Imamers, quietist Sunnis and Hanbalis. To read excerpts of the book, entitled “Commanding Right and Forbidding wrong in Islamic Thought”, click on this link:,+by+michael+cook&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl

Here's the blurb by Google books: “What kind of duty do we have to try to stop other people doing wrong? In the Islamic tradition, commanding right and forbidding wrong is a central moral tenet mentioned in the Koran. This book covers the origins of Muslim thinking about forbidding wrong , the relevant doctrinal developments over the centuries, and its significance today. In this way the book contributes to the understanding of Islamic thought, its relevance to contemporary Islamic politics and ideology, and raises fundamental questions for the comparative study of ethics.”

While the Zaydis have always consistently emphasized the importance of forbidding the evil, in particular by their rejection of corrupt leadership, this trend has been more recent among the 12 Imamers (who started off in the “quietist” camp) and the majority of Sunnis (who are still “quietist”, with the exception of some Hanbalis). The book describes the unique way the Hanbalis have put the “forbidding wrong” concept into practice throughout history, which seems to be by accepting the political leadership no matter how corrupt, and instead approaching individual wrong-doers in the street and giving them a hard time (e.g. by smashing musical instruments, overturning chess boards, and interrogating couples to make sure they are married).
Although political activism got off to a slow start among the 12er Imamers, in today’s world it is they who have excelled in this regard, earning themselves the admiration of many non-12 Imamers including the Zaydis of Sa’ada. The political solidarity that is now felt between Zaydis and 12 Imamers is acknowledged here by Imam Rassi Society:

“The Sunni world has been either wholly complacent or incompetent when it comes to dealing with Islam's enemies. You've had the occasional Sunni uprising like Sh. Uthman dan Fodio, Sh. Muhammad as-Sanussi, Sh. Wali Allah Dehlawi, etc. but these isolated incidents pale in comparison to the historical political quietism of the traditional Sunni world. There were some responses to this inability of the traditional Sunni world by politicised Sunnis like the Ikhwan al-Muslimin or the occasional caliphate-restoration groups. However, due to their failure to accomplish much of anything short of securing recognition as a party in some countries and due to the current witchhunt against them, they are simply confined to their liquor-store-money-funded mosques whining about Palestine! Other politicised Sunnis simply abandoned the insufficiency of their own madhhab and adopted Western political models such as communism and Arab nationalist republics, who have failed their people miserably!
The 12er Shiites have been successful in forwarding resistance movements and establishing a Shiite state in the 20th century after the fall of the Sunni caliphate and even the Zaydi imamate. They have also voiced opposition on behalf of those outside of their own madhhab (on behalf of the Sunni Palestinians, Bosnians and the Zaydi Houthis) and religion (on behalf of the Black South Africans during aparteid). Like them or not, they have actualised the ideals of Islamic statehood and governance that the Sunnis have only theorised.
The solidarity between all Shiites is something real. Despite their differences, the fact remains that all Shiites are united in the wilayat of Amir al-Muminin Ali bin Abi Talib, alayhi as salam. This is the reason why despite the fact that Sayyid al-Houthi wrote works refuting the 12ers and was exiled from Iran because of his converting too many 12ers to Zaidism, Ayatullah Sistani was sought to mediate between the Houthis and the Yemeni govt. When the smoke clears, what really matters is not what one says but what one does! You have all of these Sunni so-called "lovers of Ahl al-Bayt" and "Ahl al-Bayt supporters" but when the Hassani and Husseini sayyids in Sa'ada are being massacred and made orphans, they say and do nothing!
In contrast to that, the 12ers adhere to the Wilayat of 'Ali, alayhi as salam, and they put their support of Ahl al-Bayt into action!”


  1. Well Sunni Islam always had a lot of interference.

  2. Watch this video too.
    It will show you the early struggle of the Sunni Muslims.
    Also the current President of Yemen who is opposing the Zaydi movement, and is also responsible for the country corruption Ali Abdullah Saleh is a Zaydi himself. Just like how the Shah of Iran was a 12r Shia.

  3. As someone who spent 3 wasted years as an Ithna 'ashari Shi'ah, I am disgusted how you can gloss over the atrocities of the Iranian regime that claims to be Muslim. You know nothing of the suffering of Baluchi Muslims in Iran. You know nothing of how the Iranian military has butchered Baluchis in their villages via helicopter gunships. You know nothing of how the city of Tehran only has Itha 'Ashariyyah mosques and no Sunni Mosques at all (despite the Baluchis not being Shi'ah), yet you can find churches, synagogues and even Zoroastrian temples! You know nothing of how Muslim scholars have been killed. I left Ithna 'ashariyyah after my teacher from Qom admitted to me that the Qur'an among us is not the authentic Qur'an. The Zaidiyyah are intrinsically closer to the Sunni than the Ithna 'ashariyyah. So do not promote nonsense about how wonderful they are. If you lived among them, they would not be safe if they knew you weren't interested in their perverted religion. If you bothered to study about them, you would know that they don't practise Taqiyyah solely when they are in danger, but all the time, so you can never know if what they are saying to you is true! Try and think before you write...

  4. Thanks for this comment. As it won't be noticed here, I'll move it to today's post, "Zaydism and Taqiyah", where more readers will be able to see it.

  5. Assalam-O-Alikum

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