The Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has stressed that all branches of Shia teachings deviate from Sunni Islam as practised in this country, and violate Islamic law.
With this, its director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha today also categorically refuted claims that there were branches of the Shia doctrine in this country having similarities with Sunni Islam.
He said according to studies done by Jakim, the active propagation of the Ithna-'ashariyyah branch of Shiism, or The Twelver Imams, started in Malaysia after the success of the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran.
"As such, the Shia teachings practised by the followers in Malaysia until today is The Twelver Imams stream which deviate from true Islamic teachings.
Othman claimed that the beliefs of the The Twelver Imams Shiism include:
that the imam is infallable, that is, free from any sin
that the companions of Prophet Muhammad as infidels
no Friday prayers
allowing the combining of the obligatory daily prayers in all situations without any reason
allowing nikah muta'ah (short-term contract marriage)
rejecting the views of ulamas
over-revering of Caliph Ali to the extent of putting him at par with Prophet Muhammad, and
adding Ali's name in the Muslim declaration of faith after the Prophet's name.
On nikah muta'ah, Othman said it was a Jahiliah (the age of ignorance, before the arrival of Islam) practice that went against Quranic teachings and ulama thinking, and was prohibited by the Prophet through his sayings.
He noted that the National Fatwa Muzakarah Committee had on May 2-3, 1996 met and agreed that Islamic teachings other than "Sunnah Wal Jamaah" were against Islamic law and its propagation prohibited.
"On July 24 this year, the Home Ministry declared the Pertubuhan Syiah Malaysia as illegal.
"Spreading Shia teachings is not just about violating the fatwa (edict), but the issue of national security is also taken into consideration by the Home Ministry in banning the Shia movement in this country," he said.
Othman said The Twelver Imams religious doctrine could have been spread to this country through the availability of reading materials and by individuals who visited Iran or Shiites who came from that country.
He did not dismiss the possibility of some local university lecturers having played a role in spreading Shiism to students.
Asked on the number of Shia followers in Malaysia, claimed to have reached hundreds of thousands, he said Jakim had found out from police intelligence that the actual number of Malaysians involved was only about 2,000.
He said the number was deliberately blown up to 250,000 by the Shia followers to show that there were many of them and that they had already gained a strong foothold in Malaysia.
The big number, he claimed, included tourists from Iran and foreign students studying in Malaysia, he added.
"They are seen to be many, for instance, when they gather from all over the country for their activities, reaching at times to 500."
Othman admitted that the spread of Shia teachings among Muslims in the country was worrying but the problem was still under control.
"It is like cancer that needs to be prevented from spreading in the best possible way, before it becomes worse to the point of being a threat to Muslim unity," he said.
Othman said Jakim had organised roadshows, seminars, talks and workshops in collaboration with various enforcement agencies and universities to curb the spread of Shia teachings.
He called on Muslims in the country to reject teachings that included Shiism, Bahai, Qadiani and others declared as deviant by the National Fatwa Mazakarah Commitee.
He said they should also reject organisations' leaders who were followers of Shia or other deviant teachings.
On Shia sects in this country, he said there were two - the Taiyibi Bohra (Dawood Bohra) and Ismailiyah Agha Khan - that were brought in by Indian migrants a long time ago.
However, he said, the followers of these two sects had not been propagating the sects' teachings to Sunni Muslims in this country but were only teaching it to their own younger generation.
On the history of Shia teachings in this country and in the Malay Archipelago in general, he said there were many theories but it could be accurately traced back to the 12th century through the propagation work of Syeikh Abdullah Arif based on the Bahr al-Lahut scripture.
"This shows that the Shia stream that first reached the Malay world was the Batiniyyah and not Imamiyyah (Imamate)," he said. - Bernama, December 13, 2013.