Ayatollah criticizes grand mufti of S. Arabia for slandering Shias

May 5, 2011

TEHRAN -- Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi has written an open letter to Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh, criticizing him for slandering Shia Muslims and practicing takfir, which means accusing other Muslims of being unbelievers.

Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, who is based in Qom, is one of the most prominent Shia clerics in the world and is a marja taqlid, which is a high-ranking Shia cleric who is regarded as a source of emulation.
In his letter, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi stated that vilifying Muslims and practicing takfir best serves the interests of the enemies of Islam, particularly the United States and Israel.
In your recent remarks, which do not befit scholars, you have called Shias the “enemies of Muslims” and have called on other Muslims to distance themselves from them, the letter read.
This is not the first time that Wahhabi scholars have sown the seeds of discord and delighted the enemies through making irrational statements, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi added.
“You, the Wahhabi grand mufti, have forgotten that if it had not been for Shia Muslims in Iran and Lebanon, Israel and the United States would have gained domination over the entire Middle East. And it is not clear where your muftis were and what they were doing at the time,” he wrote.
“When Israel was massacring Muslims in Gaza, most of whom were Sunni, Shias in Iran and other places supported them (the Gazan Muslims), and if it had not been for their support, Israel would have continued (committing) atrocities,” he noted.
“It would be better if we extend the hand of friendship to each other and think about the progress and dignity of Islam and Muslims,” he added.
Elsewhere in his letter, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi stated, “The enemies of Islam want sectarian strife and want war to break out among Muslims so that they can exploit the rich resources of the region.