Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
We live in a small Muslim community in a small town in New Zealand where all the Muslims make an effort to be a part of the community. We are Sunni Muslims and have been invited over by a Shi‘a family for Niyaz. Is it permissible to eat this food?
While the Ahl al-Sunna has significant differences from the ideologies and doctrines of the Shi’a, we do not consider them to be out of the fold of Islam. Most of our teachers believe that the default position is that every Shi’i is considered Muslim unless he clearly expresses a belief that removes him from the fold of Islam.
Accordingly, if the family that invited you over for a meal has not clearly expressed any belief that would cause us to question their Islam, you should consider them Muslim, their food Halal, and you may accept the invitation. However, I advise that this be done in your personal capacity and that you do not encourage this to be a norm.
I also strongly encourage you to strive to instill Ahl al-Sunnah’s beliefs in your family and community. This should be done through education without spreading hatred or malice towards any group or individual.
The primary area that requires work and attention is protecting our beliefs. These are:
- Loving the Ahl al-Bayt or family of the Messenger sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam. Throughout history, Ahl al-Sunnah has always championed the true meaning of loving and following the Prophetic household. By doing this, we do not allow others to claim the Ahl al-Bayt exclusively for themselves.
- Loving the Companions of the Messenger sallallahu alayhi wasallam–the ones who transmitted our religion to succeeding generations. It is not necessary to engage in polemics but to instill immense love and admiration of all the Companions in all hearts. It is also essential to establish that the Ahl al-Bayt were foremost in loving the Companions.
- Developing a great attachment to our teachers and scholars and not imagining oneself to be educated or self-educated such that one imagines one knows what is best and begins to ridicule the Ulama. This is something that we have witnessed, and it is one of the most significant reasons for the misguidance and degeneration of this Ummah.
And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.