Their main focus is backing up the prophet‘s disciple, cousin, and son in law Ali Ibn Abu Taleb; and his 11 descendants from the prophet’s daughter. Each of them is called “Imam” that is “leader” and believed to be Infallible as much as the prophet was. When the prophet passed away; the Shiites believed (and still do) that when his family were busy sitting up the funeral and grieving; the disciples gathered and elected Abu Baker as the Khalifa (ruler) after the prophet and that Ali Ibn Abi Taleb was not involved specially that they still claim that he should be the one and no elections were required in the first place cause the Prophet himself named Ali to be his successor (as claimed). Shiites, a word derived from an Arabic word for following or tracking, meant for supporting Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (and his descendants) who was the prophet’s cousin and son in law.
The Shiites believe they represent Islam in its true form, and unlike the other sects, were formed during the days of the prophet, and not after his death as presumed; for the Prophet answered Ali Ibn Ali Taleb when he asked him “who are the elite of people?” saying “you and your Shiites (followers)”.
Among other terms that has been invented in the past few decades; Welayat Al Faqeeh “support of a scholar” is a term that has seen the light in 1979 when the Ayatollah Khomeini and his fellow Shiite scholars overthrown the monarchs in Iran and introduced that Ideology for the first time. That term was thought of two hundred years earlier only, by an Iranian scholar known as Ahmed Al Naraqi, a student of “Kashef Al Gheta’a” who wrote this scheme right after the fall of the Safavid dynasty. In my opinion that was a way to take exception to the only available way of ruling a nation, to somehow re-read the scripts and try to read between the lines, or even invent a new direction or even change it. In Shiites beliefs, they shouldn’t involve in politics and shouldn’t form a nation or take over a throne; for only the long awaited Imam is allowed to do so, for he was hidden from people for about 1400 years so he won’t give in to anyone under all sorts of pressure like his ancestors did; specially after the bloody battle that ended tragically for his great grand father Imam Hussain Ibn Ali Ibn Taleb in the battle of Karbala. Shockingly the Ayatollah Khomeini was against that Idea when was introduced to him by Shaikh Al Montazeri (as per what’s mentioned in his memoir) in the early 1960’s; but then the idea was to unify Sunnites and Shiites in a new movement. And then he (Khomeini) started introducing the idea in his lectures by the year 1969. The new method (unlike the original) could be implemented NOW, instead of waiting for God knows how long; yet they did formulate it to serve them properly. Only a scholar or an Ayatollah can be part of this system, no commoner is allowed unless he’s “heart and soul” pro radicalism and as they see fit.
Al Waley Al Faqeeh (called “Waley Amr Al Muslimeen” means “Guardian of all Muslims” on other occasions) as per the new set up is the highest authority in that system; he appoints and sacks anyone as he sees fit; for he’s the voice of God on his earth until the Imam rises; so he hands it to him as per some claims. when Ahmedi Nejad a couple of years back welcomed Obama’s efforts to solve the middle eastern ongoing crises; Ayatollah Khamenni who is Al Waley Al Faqeeh spoken publically right after a Friday prayer as I recall and battered the elected president who changed his position shortly afterwards. Why hold presidential elections for an honorary position? And why not elect Al Waley Al Faqeeh himself! But that can’t be done for they claim he is acting on behalf of the long awaited Imam!
It is believed by Shiites that Imams or Ahl Ulbait (the 14 descendants of the profit and his son in law) are immaculate therefore are the only trustworthy people to rule. Yet in their absence no one was allowed to take that role; until the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran thirty three years ago and introduced the new ideology. Therefore if Al Waley Al Faqeeh isn’t immaculate as Ahl Al Bait believed to be; then what’s the sharia (religious law of Islam) background to following him blindly?!
It is essential to mention that the Shiites are obliged to follow a certain scholar and do as he says, for some claim that a person who isn’t, God won’t accept his prayers; and that’s another reason for the submission of the common man to the religious structure.
The above has been written as per my humble understanding to the whole tale; and that is one part only (political) that I didn’t want to go through other cultural side in this article; but will be discussed on other occasions.
As well; from what I understood from discussing with some scholars and their authorized representatives is that some of their claimed followers do as they interpret is best for them and others assume that the scholar advised it or recommended it; which creates some useless arguments here as well. Beside the fact that this sect (just like others) is suffering from never ending arguments about secondary issues that does not matter at all; and that’s the reason why they are still sinking in the idea of being ill-treated and neglected just like Ahl Al Bait were.
I do believe that if they took that idea off their minds and started focusing on the NOW and THEN, none of that will be an issue for we should work on achieving something then wait for the result, not the other way around.
Dr. Ahmed Alkhuzaie