CHRISTIAN ELEMENTS IN SHI�ISM AND\OR SIMILARITIES BETWEEN SHIITES AND CHRISTIANS
Unlike the Jews and the Muslims, Christians do not have a legal system, and �the Shiites reject most of the companions of the Prophet� and �leave the knowledge (�ilm) to the ahl-i beyt and the imams� ; these factors have left both the Christians and the Shiites ignorant compared to many other societies. Some of the beliefs of the ghulat have greater resemblance with Christianity than with Islam; some Western writers therefore consider Shiites as so-called �Christians� .
The similarities between the Christians and Shia are seen in thought as well as tradition. We could refer to Christian elements such as Christmas , New Year , Epiphany , Kiss of Peace the celebration of certain festivals, Easter, ceremonies and feasts.
Perhaps these are more significant: the importance of the passion of an innocent victim who took the sins of the community; belief that God�s grace
is mediated through earthly and heavenly hierarchies; and faith in intercessors. They both state a mother-figure as a leading intercessor, a model for woman, a shelter for those in dilemmas, and hope for the distressed.
Both emphasize martyrdom and redemptive suffering, to extent that, individual suffering becomes part of a �treasury of grace�. Each community claim they are led by a leader who is guided by God and preserved from sin and believes there is a religious clergy that shares his authority and spreads his teaching.
***Ali and Hussein vs. Jesus
Contemporary rafidhi Shiites idolize �Ali , the ahl-i beyt and imams as do Christians, �They do blaspheme who say: "(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary.�
According to Shiite belief Jesus has higher position than Prophet Muhammad, and he and �Ali are on the same rank or even that �Ali has a higher position than Jesus .
Supposedly, �Ali claimed he and Jesus were one. �Ali
proclaimed: I am al-Masih� I am he, and he is I�Isa Ibn Maryam is part of me, and I am part of him.�
The Shiite who seek help from other than Allah says: �Ya �Ali Madad! (Oh! Help �Ali!)� �O Hussein! O Hasan!� O Mahdi! O Fatima! O Abbas, along with the names of the twelve imams. They appeal for help from the relatives of the Prophet by going to their tombs to assist them obtain their needs, or to help them remove whatever overburdens them.
The Bektashis believed in a prayer which began with the couplet: �Call upon �Ali, the manifestor of marvels Thou shalt find him a help unto thee in advertisies They also believed what when Muhammad was wounded at the battle of Uhud, he was ordered by Gabriel to recite this prayer, after which his wounds were healed.�
Therefore the Shiite belief of asking help from �Ali isn�t polytheism, it�s Sunnah! The Christians also repeat the name of Jesus consequently in every emotion �Jesus!�, �Jesus Christ!�, �for Christ�s sake�,
�Please Jesus!� etc�
Shiites take their Imams as gods other than Allah. They give Ali a higher position than the prophet Muhammad , while claiming Islam wouldn�t spread and unbelieving wouldn�t be defeated without �Ali even though, there was such claim that �Ali was weak to defend Islam after the death of the Prophet and had to accept all kinds of accusations and humiliations against him and ahl-i beyt with no attempt to stop it.
The Shiite have seen their imams to be humiliated as well as exalted, rich as well as poor, strong yet as weak just as they saw �Ali. Christians take their priests as gods other than Allah and Jesus as the son of Allah.
They describe his death on the cross as him being a weak man who couldn�t do anything to support himself. He became target to every kind of accusation, mockery, and humiliation.
There are myths concerning the supernatural nature, and legends related with �Ali. �Ali had miracles he can kill and resurrect mankind
, cure the blind, heal the leper just like Jesus. On the other hand there is another legend which refers that Hussein brought a woman to life just as Jesus did.
In addition Shiite writer Shari�ati compares Hussein to other prophets: �With shahadat, Hussein did what the miraculous hand of Moses did. From the blood of the martyrs he created something like the breath of Jesus, which gives sight to the blind and life to the dead. � Also like Jesus, whose wounds will be shown on the day of Judgement, Hussein will remerge with a body without a head.
The similarities between Hussein and Jesus are inevitable. Apparently Hussein experiences a moment of doubt on the eve of Karbala similar to that of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. In another legend Jesus and his disciples pass by Karbala see gazelles weeping and Jesus begins to cry, explaining at this site, the son of the Prophet Muhammad would be killed.
It is believed Hussein�s martyrdom is a special favour; his
intercession will be more valuable than any other saint; Hussein can forgive sins and guarantee Paradise. The pain of his martyrdom during the mourning period in Muharram by weeping and offering meals is shared with Hussein to please him just as the Spanish Catholics do in memory of Jesus. Hussein is also asked for recovery from illnesses and other favours .
It is also believed that Jesus is the brother of Hussein. Even though Hussein was not a child of a virgin, He like Jesus was in the womb for only six month and it�s believed he shares the same death as Jesus, he didn�t die but was taken to heaven.
Both Jesus and Hussein stand as suffering figures, whose violent deaths are revealed as purifying, universal redemptive acts and the passion and deaths of both are commemorated every day. Both Catholics and Shiite believe that the martyr chose death when he could have chosen to live. They see the deaths victorious and view these acts of supreme martyrdom as redemptive
and selfless in nature; hold ceremonies around these tragedies.
Similar to Christian traditional Lord�s Supper, in one of the Shabak ceremony they say: �He who eats of the flesh of this sheep is in fact eaten the flesh of al-Husayn. � Just as the Christians take Jesus as God, there is a tradition which tells us that �when the war began Gabriel came to Hussein and Hussein called Gabriel and asked O my brother Gabriel, who am I? Gabriel answered you are God other than there is no God, the Living, the Eternal��
***Mahdi vs. Messiah
An important trait of Twelver Shiite belief is their belief of the return of the last Imam, called Mahdi, to lead the faithful in establishing the Shiite belief on Islam in preparation for the Judgement Day.
This ideology has many similarities with the Messiah ideology in Christianity . In Matti Moosa�s words in his book Extremist Shiites this is �the genesis of the Messianic concept in Shiite Islam.� Shiite writers accept this
The Shiites believe that when Mahdi comes illnesses will be treated, diseases will be cured, the blind will see, the weak will be strong.
These miracles of Mahdi are the exact same miracles given in the Qur�an to describe Jesus.
***Fatima vs. Mary
Both religions stress the idea of �The Holy Family�, which is blessed, alluring, and powerful.
They are considered to be perfect; and both are emanating extensions of their fathers and sons. There is a legend which contains similarities in the birth stories of both Jesus and Hussein.
Ayoub states: �The similarities with the story of Christ, as related in the Gospel, are especially striking. Both the Virgin Mary and Fatimah were visited by angels who comforted them. Echoing the Qur�anic narrative of the nativity of Christ, this story tells us that Fatimah retreated from all human contact during her confinement, and, like the Virgin, was provided with special heavenly substance. A
white dove entered Fatimah�s garment at the house of Umm Salamah before her meeting the Prophet, perhaps echoing a later event in the life of Christ: the appearance of the dove at his baptism.�
Both are considered All-Pure and mothers of saviours. Fatima was nicknamed �Mother of her father� because the Twelfth Imam would be called Muhammad like her father; Mary is similarly nicknamed �the daughter of her son�. Fatima is also nicknamed al-Zahra (�the shining one�) just like Muhammad and �Ali, received the unique glow from God and Mary is also accepted to have emanated a special light and is nicknamed, the �morning star�, �our light in uncertainty�, and �radiant mother�.
Some Shiites call Fatima the Virgin Fatima and Maryam al-Kubra. Fatima is often titled al-Muhaddatha (the One Spoken by Angels), because angels spoke to her as to Mary. Both Fatima and Mary witnessed great suffering; they both had sympathy toward the poor and the deprived.
There are also other
legends about other Shiite women resembles the Virgin Mary.
***Khudr vs. St. George
The critical importance of St George in the Syrian Church resembles Khudr within the Shia. Both are armed poets, who dealt with the philosophy of time and both have left plenty of legends in which sometimes they are considered to even be the same person.
to be continued...
to honourable commentators...