The Perpetual Civil War Within Islam

The enemy of my enemy is my friend (even if they are a greater enemy?)
The Greek tragic dramatist Aeschylus once wrote that “in war, truth is the first casualty.”


“You know better in your own self, that if you are upon the truth and you are calling towards the truth go forth, for people more honourable than you have been killed and if you are not upon the truth, then what an evil son you are and you have destroyed yourself and those who are with you. If you say, that if you are upon the truth and you will be killed at the hands of others, then you will not truly be free”


This writing comes from an infant of knowledge, I have no credentials to write about Islam, I am a servant to peace and a warrior for wisdom, merely that.  – Michael Ruark


Why must Muslims choose between Abu Bakr or Ali? Both were Caliphs, both were blessed by Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). Abu Bakr was his father-in-law, trusted friend and advisor. Ali was as a loyal son and held the bloodline. Ali dedicated his life to the protection of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). Even sleeping in his bed when assassins were coming. Both, were righteous.

The first four Caliphs: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib are commonly known by Sunnis, mainly, as the Khulafā’ur-Rāshideen (“rightly guided successors”) Caliphs.

Ali was the fourth and last rightly guided caliph by Sunni tradition, and considered the first imam and the first rightly guided Caliph by Shi’a Muslims.


Islam is the world’s second largest religion after Christianity. According to a 2010 study, Islam has 1.62 billion adherents, making up over 23% of the world population; 80–90% of the world’s Muslims are Sunni and 10–20% are Shia.

In 2010 there were 49 Muslim-majority countries. Around 62% of the world’s Muslims live in South and Southeast Asia, with over 1 billion adherents. The largest Muslim country is Indonesia, home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslims, followed by Pakistan (11.0%), India (10.9%), and Bangladesh (9.2%).

About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries. In the Middle East, the non-Arab countries of Turkey and Iran are the largest Muslim-majority countries; in Africa, Egypt and Nigeria have the most populous Muslim communities.


Indonesia is 88% Muslim (204,847,000): 85% Sunni, 1% Shi’a
Pakistan is 97% Muslim (178,097,000): 77% Sunni, 20% Shi’a
India is 13% Muslim (177,286,000): 85% Sunni, 15% Shi’a
Bangladesh is 89% Muslim (148,607,000): 99% Sunni, 1% Shi’a
Egypt is 95% Muslim (80,024,000): 99% Sunni, 1% Shi’a
Nigeria is 50% Muslim (75,728,000): 85% Sunni, 12% Shi’a
Iran is 98% Muslim (74,819,000): 89% Shi’a, 9% Sunni
Turkey is 98% Muslim (74,660,00): 72% Sunni, 25% Shi’a
Iraq is 97% Muslim (31,108,000): 65% Shi’a, 20% Sunni
Afghanistan is 99.7% Muslim (29,047,000): 95% Sunni, 10% Shi’a
Saudi Arabia is 55% Muslim (25,493,000): 40% Sunni, 15% Shi’a
Syria is 87% Muslim (20,895,000): 74% Sunni, 13% Shi’a


  • Abu Bakr: First rightly guided caliph by Sunni tradition. Subdued rebel tribes in the Ridda Wars.
  • Umar ibn al-Khattab: Second rightly guided caliph by Sunni tradition. During his reign, the Islamic empire expanded to include Egypt, Jerusalem, and Persia.
  • Uthman ibn Affan: Third rightly guided caliph by Sunni tradition. Killed by rebels.
  • Ali ibn Abu Talib: Fourth and last rightly guided caliph by Sunni tradition, and considered the first imam and the first rightly guided Caliph by Shi’a Muslims. His reign was fraught with internal conflict.
  • Muawiya I: First caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. Muawiya instituted dynastic rule by appointing his son Yazid as his successor, a trend that would continue through subsequent caliphates.
  • Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan – Fifth caliph of Umayyad Dynasty, translated important records into Arabic, established an Islamic currency system, led additional wars against the Byzantines and ordered construction of the Dome of the Rock.
  • Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz: Umayyad caliph considered by Sunnis to be a fifth rightly guided caliph.
  • Harun al-Rashid: Abbasid caliph during whose reign Baghdad became the world’s preeminent center of trade, learning, and culture. Harun is the subject of many stories in the famous work 1001 Arabian Nights.
  • Al-Mustansir Billah: Fatimid Caliph who led the Shi’a Caliphate to its zenith; Cairo was a center of trade and intellectual activity during his reign.
  • Selim I the Brave: First Caliph of the Ottoman Empire with the conquest of Egypt and the Holy Cities. Defeated the powerful Shia Safavid Empire.
  • Suleiman the Magnificent: Early Ottoman Sultan during whose reign the Ottoman Empire reached its zenith.
  • Abdul Mejid II: Last Caliph of the Ottoman Dynasty, the 101st Caliph in line from Caliph Abu Bakr. On August 23, 1944, Abdul Mejid II died at his house in the Boulevard Suchet, Paris XVIe, France. He was buried at Medina, Saudi Arabia.


  • The Umayyad dynasty in Damascus (661–750), followed by:
  • The Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad (750–1258), and later in Cairo (under Mameluk control) (1260–1517).
  • The Shi’ite Fatimid dynasty in North Africa and Egypt (909–1171). Not universally accepted and not currently included in the list here.
  • The Rahmanids, a surviving branch of the Damascus Umayyads, established “in exile” as emirs of Córdoba, Spain, declared themselves Caliphs (known as the Caliphs of Córdoba; not universally accepted; 929–1031).
  • The Almohad dynasty in North Africa and Spain (not universally accepted; 1145–1269). Traced their descent not from Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), but from a puritanic reformer in Morocco who claimed to be the Mahdi, bringing down the “decadent” Almoravid emirate, and whose son established a sultanate and claimed to be a caliph.
  • The Ottomans (1517–1924; main title Padishah, also known as Great Sultan etc.), assumed the title after defeating the Mamluk Sultanate and used it sporadically between the 16th and early 20th centuries.


The lineage of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was: Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him); the son of Abd Allah ibn Abd al Muttalib; the son of Abdul Muttalib; the son of Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf; the son of Abd Manaf ibn Qusai; the son of Qusai ibn Kilab; the son of Kilab ibn Murrah; the son of Murrah

The lineage of Abu Bakr was: Abu Bakr; the son of Uthman Abu Quhafa; the son of Amar; the son of Umru; the son of Kaab; the son of Saad; the son of Taym; the son of Murrah

Other Sunnis and all Shi’a Muslims maintain that the second person to publicly accept Muhammed as the messenger of God was Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first being Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) wife Khadija.


The historic background of the Sunni–Shia split lies in the schism that occurred when the Islamic prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) died in the year 632, leading to a dispute over succession to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) as a caliph of the Islamic community spread across various parts of the world which led to the Battle of Siffin. The dispute intensified greatly after the Battle of Karbala, in which Hussein ibn Ali and his household were killed by the ruling Umayyad Caliph Yazid I, and the outcry for his revenge divided the early Islamic community. Today there are differences in religious practice, traditions and customs, often related to jurisprudence.

Sunni Muslims believe and confirm that Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) father-in-law Abu Bakr was chosen by the community and that this was the proper procedure. Sunnis further argue that a caliph should ideally be chosen by election or community consensus. The Sunnis are so named because they believe themselves to follow the sunnah or “custom” of the Prophet. Sunnis are a majority in most Muslim communities: in South East Asia, China, South Asia, Africa, and some of the Arab world.

Shi’a Muslims believe that Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), should have replaced Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) as Caliph and that Caliphs were to assume authority through appointment by God rather than being chosen by the people. Shia make up the majority of the citizen population in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain, as well as being a politically significant minority in Lebanon. Azerbaijan is predominantly Shia, however practicing adherents are much lower.


Abu Bakr

Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) had openly declared the prophethood of Abu Bakr. Not long after, Abu Bakr accepted Islam and was the first person outside the family of Muhammad to openly become a Muslim. He was instrumental in the conversion of many people to the Islamic faith and early in 623, Abu Bakr’s daughter Aisha was married to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), strengthening the ties between the two men.

He who gives in charity and fears Allah And in all sincerity testifies to the Truth; We shall indeed make smooth for him the path of Bliss {92:5–7}.

Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification; And have in their minds no favor from any one For which a reward is expected in return, But only the desire to seek the Countenance, Of their Lord, Most High; And soon they shall attain complete satisfaction {92:8–21}.

The Importance, loyalty and virtue of Abu Bakr is descrbied in Hadiths (Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad)” The first person for whom the scales will be erected for on the Day of Judgement will be “Umar ibn Al-Khattāb.” And the Sahabis (Companinons) knew the virtues of Abu Bakr.”What about Abu Bakr?” The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)” For the likes of Abu Bakr! there are no scales! If the Iman (Belief in Allah) of the entirety of Humanity was placed on one end of the scale and just the Iman of Abu Bakr on the other. The Iman of Abu Bakr would weigh more heavily than the entirety of Humanity.”

For three years after the advent of Islam, Muslims kept secret their faith, and prayed in secret. In 613 Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) decided to call people to Islam openly. The first public address inviting people to offer allegiance to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was delivered by Abu Bakr. In 620 Abu Bakr was the first person to testify to Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) Isra and Mi’raj (night Journey).

If ye help not (your Leader) (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him; when the unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: they two were in the cave, and he said to his companion “Have no Fear, for Allah is with us”: then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.

In Medina, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) decided to construct a mosque. A piece of land was chosen and the price of the land was paid for by Abu Bakr. Muslims constructed a mosque named Al-Masjid al-Nabawi at the site and Abu Bakr also took part in construction. Abu Bakr was paired with Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari (who was from Medina) as a brother in faith. Abu Bakr’s relationship with Khaarjah was most cordial, which was further strengthened when Abu Bakr married Habiba, a daughter of Khaarijah.

In 625, Abu Bakr participated in the Battle of Uhud which ended in a rout by the majority of the Muslims. Before the battle begun, Abu Bakr’s son Abdu’l-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr, who was still non-Muslim and was fighting from the side of the Quraysh, came forward and threw down a challenge for a duel. Abu Bakr accepted the challenge but was stopped by Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). His son later converted to Islam and gained fame during the Muslim conquest of Syria as a fierce warrior. In the second phase of the battle, Khalid ibn al-Walid’s cavalry attacked the Muslims from behind, changing a Muslim victory to defeat. Many Muslim warriors fled from the battlefield due to fear or to plunder the spoils of war so did Abu Bakr, however he was among the first to return according to few Sunni Hadith. Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Talhah and a few other Muslims remained guarding Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) from the attacks of the Quraysh soldiers, majority of Shia and many Sunni Hadith agree to this.

However it is related that once Ali asked his associates as to who they thought was the bravest among men. Everyone replied that Ali was the bravest of all men. Thereupon Ali said: “No. Abu Bakr is the bravest of men. In the Battle of Badr we had prepared a pavillion for the prophet, but when we were asked to offer ourselves for the task of guarding it none came forward except Abu Bakr. With a drawn sword he took his stand by the side of Prophet of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) and guarded him from the infidels by attacking those who dared to proceed in that direction. He was therefore the bravest of men.”

In 627, Abu Bakr participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Invasion of Banu Qurayza. In this battle, Muhammad divided the ditch into a number of sectors and a contingent was posted to guard each sector. One of such contingents was under the command of Abu Bakr. The enemy made frequent assaults in the attempt to cross the ditch. All such assaults were repulsed. Abu Bakr showed great courage in guarding the belt of the trench in his sector. To commemorate this event a mosque was later constructed at the site where Abu Bakr had heroically repulsed the charges of the enemy. The mosque was later known as ‘Masjid-i-Siddiq’.

Abu Bakr said “I have brought all that I had. I have left Allah and His Prophet for myself and my family”. This episode has formed the theme of one of the poems of Allama Iqbal. The last verse of this poem reads: “For the moth the lamp, and for the nightingale the flower For Siddiq God and His Prophet Suffice.”

In 631 AD, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) sent from Medina a delegation of three hundred Muslims to perform the Hajj according to the new Islamic way. Abu Bakr was appointed as the leader of the delegates. Abu Bakr had thus the honour of being the First Amir-ul-Hajj in the history of Islam.

At Mecca, Abu Bakr presided at the Hajj ceremony, and Ali read the proclamation on behalf of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). The main points of the proclamation were:

  1. Henceforward the non-Muslims were not to be allowed to visit the Kaaba or perform the pilgrimage.
  2. No one should circumambulate the Kaaba naked.
  3. Polytheism was not to be tolerated. Where the Muslims had any agreement with the polytheists such agreements would be honoured for the stipulated periods. Where there were no agreements a grace period of four months was provided and thereafter no quarter was to be given to the polytheists.

From the day this proclamation was made a new era dawned in Arabia. Henceforward Islam alone was to be supreme in Arabia.

An argument is advanced that as on this occasion the proclamation was read by Ali on behalf of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), this establishes the precedence of Ali over Abu Bakr, and that therefore when after the death of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), Abu Bakr became the Caliph in disregard of the claims of Ali, he was a usurper.

Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) continued:

No doubt, I am indebted to Abu Bakr more than to anybody else regarding both his companionship and his wealth. And if I had to take a Khalil from my followers, I would certainly have taken Abu Bakr, but the fraternity of Islam is sufficient. Let no Door of the Mosque remain open, except the door of Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr arrived and said, “Sit down, O ‘Umar!” But ‘Umar refused to sit down. So the people came to Abu Bakr and left Umar. Abu Bakr said, “To proceed, if anyone amongst you used to worship Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), then Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) has passed away, but if (anyone of) you used to worship Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die. Allah said, “And Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) is but a messenger; the messengers have come before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful.” (3.144)

Ayshah reported that Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It does not behoove a people who have Abu Bakr among them to have anybody other than him as their imam.”

Ayshah also reported that Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said to her: “Call your father (Abu Bakr) and brother [`Abd al-Rahman] here so I will put something down in writing, for truly I fear lest someone forward a claim or form some ambition, and Allah and the believers refuse anyone other than Abu Bakr.” from Sahih Muslim

Jubayr ibn Mut’im reported that a woman came and spoke to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) about a matter. He asked her to come back later some time. She said, “Tell me if I come later and do not find you?” Jubayr ibn Mut’im said that it seemed that she meant he may not be alive when she came back. He said, “If you do not find me then go to Abu Bakr.”

Abu Hurairah reported that Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Jibreel came to me, held my hand and pointed out to me the gate of Paradise through which my Ummah will enter it.” Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of Allah! I wish that I had been with you and seen the gate!” So, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Know, O Abu Bakr, you will be the first of my Ummah to enter Paradise.”

Ibn Umar said that one day, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) came out and entered the masjid, Abu Bakr and Umar with him, to his right and left. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) had held their hands and he said, “The three of us will be raised on the Day of Resurrection in this way.”

Abu Saeed al Khudri reported that Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every prophet has two wazeer (ministers) from the dwellers of the heaven (angels) and two wazeer from the inhabitants of the earth. So, my wazeer from the dwellers of heaven are Jibrael and Mikael and my wazeer from the earthlings are Abu Bakr and Umar.”

Sunnis believe that all the Muslims in Medina gave their allegiance to Abu Bakr, including Ali. All Sunnis acknowledged Abu Bakr as the rightful successor to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). On account of him being one of the earliest of companions, and on account of his aiding and supporting Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) in his mission from the very early days of Islam, from his deep knowledge and piety from having spent so many years with Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), and on account of so many indications that Muhammad gave that Abu Bakr is the right successor. Examples of these include Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) specifically designating Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayer in his last days when he was too ill to lead the prayer. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) also appointed to Abu Bakr to lead the pilgrimage to Mecca.

After assuming the office of Caliphate Abu Bakr’s first address was as follow: “I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right. Sincere regard for truth is loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery. The weak amongst you shall be strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God wills; and the strong amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God wills. Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger. But if I disobey God and His Messenger, ye owe me no obedience. Arise for your prayer, God have mercy upon you.”

According to Sunni Islam, Abu Bakr was instrumental in preserving the Qur’an in written form. It is said that after the hard-won victory over Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama fought in 632, Umar (the later Caliph Umar), saw that many of the Muslims who had memorized the Qur’an had died in battle. Fearing that the Qur’an may be lost or corrupted, Umar requested the Caliph Abu Bakr to authorize the compilation and preservation of the Book in written format. After initial hesitation, Abu Bakr made a committee headed by Zayd ibn Thabit which included the memorizers of the Qur’an and Umar and to collect all verses of the Book. After collecting all Qur’anic verses from texts in the possession of various sahaba, Zayd ibn Thabit and members of his committee verified the reading by comparing with those who had memorized the Qur’an. After they were satisfied that they had not missed out any verse or made any mistakes in reading or writing it down, the text was written down as one single manuscript and presented in a book form to the Caliph Abu Bakr. It is believed that this process happened within one year of the death of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) when most of his sahaba (companions) were still alive.

Abu Bakr developed high fever and was confined to bed. His illness was prolonged and when his condition worsened he felt that his end was near. Realizing his death was near, he sent for Ali and requested him to perform his ghusl since Ali had also done it for Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). Abu Bakr thus dictated his last testament to Uthman Ibn Affan as follows:

In the name of Most Merciful God. This is the last will and testament of Abu Bakr bin Abu Quhafa, when he is in the last hour of the world, and the first of the next; an hour in which the infidel must believe, the wicked be convinced of their evil ways, I nominate Umar bin al Khattab as my successor. Therefore, hear to him and obey him. If he acts right, confirm his actions. My intentions are good, but I cannot see the future results. However, those who do ill shall render themselves liable to severe account hereafter. Fare you well. May you be ever attended by the Divine favor of blessing.

Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) had not left behind a clear will on who would succeed him. There was dissension between the two original tribes of Medina, namely Aws and Khazraj regarding who would become the ruler over the Muslims after Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). This even led to drawing of swords between them. Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah rushed to the spot where the dispute almost turned bloody, and delivered his famous speech to show the path of unity between the Muslims and declared that Umar should become the first caliph. In turn, Umar declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr saying that there is no better man amongst the Muslims after Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). The majority of the sahaba (companions of Muhammad) assembled there followed suit and pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Sunnis point out this fact of avoiding bloodshed between Muslims and preserving the unity of the state as of paramount importance, or it would have led to self-destruction of the new state.

Sunni Muslims regard Ali with great respect as one of the Ahl al-Bayt and the last of the Rashidun caliphs, as well as one of the most influential and respected leaders in Islam. Also, he is one of the Al-Asharatu Mubashsharun, the Ten Companions of Muhammad whom the Prophet of Islam promised Paradise.


Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib

Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: علي بن أبي طالب, Transliteration: ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib, Arabic pronunciation: [ʕæliː ibn ʔæbiː t̪ˤæːlib]; 13th Rajab, 22 or 16 BH – 21st Ramaḍān, 40 AH; September 20, 601 or July 17, 607 or 600 – January 27, 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of Islamic prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), ruling over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661. A son of Abu Talib, Ali was also the first male who accepted Islam. Sunnis consider Ali the fourth and final of the Rashidun (rightly guided Caliphs), while Shias regard Ali as the first Imam and consider him and his descendants the rightful successors to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), all of whom are members of the Ahl al-Bayt, the household of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). This disagreement split the Ummah (Muslim community) into the Sunni and Shia branches.

Except for Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), there is no one in Islamic history about whom as much has been written in Islamic languages as Ali. In Muslim culture, Ali is respected for his courage, knowledge, belief, honesty, unbending devotion to Islam, deep loyalty to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), equal treatment of all Muslims and generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies, and therefore is central to mystical traditions in Islam such as Sufism. Ali retains his stature as an authority on Quranic exegesis, Islamic jurisprudence and religious thought. Ali holds a high position in almost all Sufi orders which trace their lineage through him to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). Ali’s influence has been important throughout Islamic history.

Ali’s father Abu Talib was the custodian of the Kaaba and a sheikh of the Bani Hashim, an important branch of the powerful Quraysh tribe. He was also an uncle of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). Ali’s mother, Fatima bint Asad, also belonged to Banu Hashim, making Ali a descendant of Ishmael, the son of Ibrahim (Abraham). Ali was the only person born in the Kaaba sanctuary in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was the first person whom Ali saw as he took the newborn in his hands. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) named him Ali, meaning “the exalted one”.  In 610, Ali declared Islam at age 10. When Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) reported that he had received a divine revelation, Ali, believed him and professed to Islam.

Shia doctrine asserts that in keeping with Ali’s divine mission, he accepted Islam before he took part in any pre-Islamic Meccan traditional religion rites, regarded by Muslims as polytheistic (see shirk) or paganistic. Hence the Shia say of Ali that his face is honored — that is, it was never sullied by prostrations before idols. The Sunnis also use the honorific Karam Allahu Wajhahu, which means “God’s Favor upon his Face.” He was known to have broken idols in the mold of Abraham and asked people why they worshipped something they made themselves. Ali’s grandfather, it is acknowledged without controversy, along with some members of the Bani Hashim clan, were Hanifs, followers of a monotheistic belief system, prior to the coming of Islam.

The Shia regard Ali as the most important figure after Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). According to them, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) suggested on various occasions during his lifetime that Ali should be the leader of Muslims after his death. This is supported by numerous Hadiths which have been narrated by Shias, including Hadith of the pond of Khumm, Hadith of the two weighty things, Hadith of the pen and paper, Hadith of the Cloak, Hadith of position, Hadith of the invitation of the close families, and Hadith of the Twelve Successors.

According to this view, Ali as the successor of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) not only ruled over the community in justice, but also interpreted the Sharia Law and its esoteric meaning. Hence he was regarded as being free from error and sin (infallible), and appointed by God by divine decree (nass) through Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). It is believed in Twelver and Ismaili Shī‘ah Islam that ‘aql, divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the Prophets and Imams and gave them esoteric knowledge called ḥikmah and that their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees. Although the Imam was not the recipient of a divine revelation, he had a close relationship with God, through which God guides him, and the Imam in turn guides the people. His words and deeds are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result it is a source of sharia law.

Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) announced at invitational events that whoever assisted him in his invitation would become his brother, trustee and successor. Only Ali, who was thirteen or fourteen years old, stepped forward to help him. This invitation was repeated three times, but Ali was the only person who answered Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). Upon Ali’s constant and only answer to his call, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) declared that Ali was his brother, inheritor and vice-regent and people must obey him. Most of the adults present were uncles of Ali and Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), and Abu Lahab laughed at them and declared to Abu Talib that he must bow down to his own son, as Ali was now his Emir. This event is known as the Hadith of Warning.

In 622, the year of Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) migration to Yathrib (now Medina), Ali risked his life by sleeping in Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) bed to impersonate him and thwart an assassination plot so that Muhammad could escape in safety. This night is called Laylat al-Mabit. According to some hadith, a verse was revealed about Ali concerning his sacrifice on the night of Hijra which says “And among men is he who sells his nafs (self) in exchange for the pleasure of Allah.”

Ali was 22 or 23 years old when he migrated to Medina. When Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was creating bonds of brotherhood among his companions, he selected Ali as his brother. For the ten years that Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) led the community in Medina, Ali was extremely active in his service as his secretary and deputy, serving in his armies, the bearer of his banner in every battle, leading parties of warriors on raids, and carrying messages and orders. As one of Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) lieutenants, and later his son-in-law, Ali was a person of authority and standing in the Muslim community.

In 623, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) told Ali that God ordered him to give his daughter Fatimah Zahra to Ali in marriage. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said to Fatimah: “I have married you to the dearest of my family to me.” This family is glorified by Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) frequently and he declared them as his Ahl al-Bayt in events such as Mubahala and hadith like the Hadith of the Event of the Cloak. They were also glorified in the Quran in several cases such as “the verse of purification”. Ali had four children born to Fatimah, the only child of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)  to have surviving progeny. Their two sons (Hasan and Husain) were cited by Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) to be his own sons, honored numerous times in his lifetime and titled “the leaders of the youth of Jannah” (Heaven, the hereafter.) Their marriage lasted until Fatimah’s death ten years later. Although polygamy was permitted, Ali did not marry another woman while Fatimah was alive, and his marriage to her possesses a special spiritual significance for all Muslims because it is seen as the marriage between two great figures surrounding Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him).

With the exception of the Battle of Tabouk, Ali took part in all battles and expeditions fought for Islam. As well as being the standard-bearer in those battles, Ali led parties of warriors on raids into enemy lands. Ali first distinguished himself as a warrior in 624 at the Battle of Badr. He had the special role of protecting Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) when most of the Muslim army fled from the battle of Uhud and it was said “There is no brave youth except Ali and there is no sword which renders service except Zulfiqar.” Mohammad gave Ali the name Asadullah, which in Arabic means “Lion of Allah” or “Lion of God”. Ali also defended Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) in the Battle of Hunayn in 630.

Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) designated Ali as one of the scribes who would write down the text of the Quran, which had been revealed to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) during the previous two decades.

Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), to prove to them that he was a prophet, brought his daughter Fatimah, Ali and his grandchildren Hasan and Husayn. He went to the Christians and said “this is my family” and covered himself and his family with a cloak. According to Muslim sources, when one of the Christian monks saw their faces, he advised his companions to withdraw from Mubahala for the sake of their lives and families. Allameh Tabatabaei explains in Tafsir al-Mizan that the word “Our selves” in this verse refers to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and Ali. Then he narrates that Imam Ali al-Rida, eighth Shia Imam, in discussion with Al-Ma’mun, Abbasid caliph, referred to this verse to prove the superiority of Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) progeny over the rest of the Muslim community, and considered it the proof for Ali’s right for caliphate due to Allah having made Ali like the self of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him).

As Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was returning from his last pilgrimage in 632, he made statements about Ali that are interpreted very differently by Sunnis and Shias. He halted the caravan at Ghadir Khumm, gathered the returning pilgrims for communal prayer and began to address them:

Taking Ali by the hand, he asked of his faithful followers whether he, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), was not closer (awlā) to the Believers than they were to themselves; the crowd cried out: “It is so, O Apostle of God!”; he then declared: “He of whom I am the mawla, of him Ali is also the mawla (man kuntu mawlāhu fa-ʿAlī mawlāhu)”.

Shia’s regard these statements as constituting the designation of Ali as the successor of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and as the first Imam; by contrast, Sunnis take them only as an expression of close spiritual relationship between Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and Ali, and of his wish that Ali, as his cousin and son-in-law, inherit his family responsibilities upon his death, but not necessarily a designation of political authority. Many Sufis also interpret the episode as the transfer of Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) spiritual power and authority to Ali, whom they regard as the wali par excellence. On the basis of this hadith, Shia say that Ali later insisted that his religious authority was superior to that of Abu Bakr and Umar.

Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) death in 632 signalled disagreement over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. While Ali and the rest of Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) close family were washing his body for burial, at a gathering attended by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah, a close companion of Muhammad named Abu Bakr was nominated for the leadership of the community. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. The choice of Abu Bakr was disputed by some of the Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) companions, who held that Ali had been designated his successor by Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) himself.

Later when Fatimah and Ali sought aid from the Companions in the matter of his right to the caliphate, they answered ‘O daughter of the Messenger of God! We have given our allegiance to Abu Bakr. If Ali had come to us before this, we would certainly not have abandoned him’. Ali said, ‘Was it fitting that we should wrangle over the caliphate even before the Prophet was buried?’

Following his election to the caliphate, Abu Bakr and Umar with a few other companions headed to Fatimah’s house to force Ali and his supporters who had gathered there to give their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Then, it is alleged that Umar threatened to set the house on fire unless they came out and swore allegiance with Abu Bakr. Fatimah, in support of her husband, started a commotion and threatened to “uncover her hair”, at which Abu Bakr relented and withdrew. Ali is reported to have repeatedly said that had there been forty men with him he would have resisted. Ali did not actively assert his own right because he did not want to throw the nascent Muslim community into strife.

Another part of Ali’s life started in 632, during those 24 years, Ali neither took part in any battle or conquest, nor did he assume any executive position. He withdrew from political affairs, especially after the death of his wife, Fatima Zahra. He used his time to serve his family and worked as a farmer. Ali dug a lot of wells and planted gardens near Medina and endowed them for public use. These wells are known today as Abar Ali (“Ali’s wells”).

Ali compiled a complete version of the Quran, mus’haf, six months after the death of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). The volume was completed and carried by camel to show to other people of Medina. The order of this mus’haf differed from that which was gathered later during the Uthmanic era. This book was rejected by several people when he showed it to them. Despite this, Ali made no resistance against standardized mus’haf.

At the beginning of the Abu Bakr’s caliphate, there was a controversy about Muhammad’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) endowment to his daughter, especially Fadak, between Fatimah and Ali on one side and Abu Bakr on the other side. Fatimah asked Abu Bakr to turn over their property, the lands of Fadak and Khaybar. But Abu Bakr refused and told her that prophets did not have any legacy and that Fadak belonged to the Muslim community. Abu Bakr said to her, “Allah’s Apostle said, we do not have heirs, whatever we leave is Sadaqa.” Together with Umm Ayman, Ali testified to the fact that Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) granted it to Fatimah Zahra, when Abu Bakr requested her to summon witnesses for her claim. Fatimah became angry and stopped speaking to Abu Bakr, and continued assuming that attitude until she died.

‘Aisha also said that “When Allah’s Apostle died, his wives intended to send ‘Uthman to Abu Bakr asking him for their share of the inheritance.” Then ‘Aisha said to them, “Didn’t Allah’s Apostle say, ‘Our (Apostles’) property is not to be inherited, and whatever we leave is to be spent in charity?'”.

Although pledging allegiance to Uthman, Ali disagreed with some of his policies. In particular, he clashed with Uthman on the question of religious law. He insisted that religious punishment had to be done in several cases such as Ubayd Allah ibn Umar and Walid ibn Uqba. In 650, during pilgrimage, he confronted Uthman with reproaches for his change of the prayer ritual. When Uthman declared that he would take whatever he needed from the fey’, Ali exclaimed that in that case the caliph would be prevented by force. Ali endeavored to protect companions from maltreatment by the caliph such as Ibn Mas’ud.

Ali was caliph between 656 and 661, during one of the most turbulent periods in Muslim history, which also coincided with the First Fitna. The Umayyads, kinsmen of Uthman, fled to the Levant or remained in their houses, later refusing Ali’s legitimacy. Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas was absent and Abdullah ibn Umar abstained from offering his allegiance, but both of them assured Ali that they would not act against him.

Soon after Ali became caliph, he dismissed provincial governors who had been appointed by Uthman, replacing them with trusted aides. He acted against the counsel of Mughira ibn Shu’ba and Ibn Abbas, who had advised him to proceed his governing cautiously. Madelung says Ali was deeply convinced of his right and his religious mission, unwilling to compromise his principles for the sake of political expediency, and ready to fight against overwhelming odds. Muawiyah I, the kinsman of Uthman and governor of the Levant, refused to submit to Ali’s orders; he was the only governor to do so.

When he was appointed caliph, Ali stated to the citizens of Medina that Muslim polity had come to be plagued by dissension and discord; he desired to purge Islam of any evil. He advised the populace to behave as true Muslims, warning that he would tolerate no sedition and those who were found guilty of subversive activities would be dealt with harshly.[83] Ali recovered the land granted by Uthman and swore to recover anything that elites had acquired before his election. Ali opposed the centralization of capital control over provincial revenues, favoring an equal distribution of taxes and booty amongst the Muslim citizens; he distributed the entire revenue of the treasury among them. Ali refrained from nepotism, including with his brother Aqeel ibn Abu Talib. This was an indication to Muslims of his policy of offering equality to Muslims who served Islam in its early years and to the Muslims who played a role in the later conquests.

Some Muslims, known as Uthmanis, considered Uthman a rightful and just Caliph (Islamic leader) till the end, who had been unlawfully killed. Some others, who are known as party of Ali, believed Uthman had fallen into error, he had forfeited the caliphate and been lawfully executed for his refusal to mend his way or step down; thus Ali was the just and true Imam and his opponents are infidels. This civil war created permanent divisions within the Muslim community regarding who had the legitimate right to occupy the caliphate.

The First Fitna, 656–661, followed the assassination of Uthman, continued during the caliphate of Ali, and was ended by Muawiyah’s assumption of the caliphate. This civil war (often called the Fitna) is regretted as the end of the early unity of the Islamic ummah (nation).

In the last year of Ali’s caliphate, the mood in Kufa and Basra changed in his favor as Muawiyah’s vicious behaviour in the war revealed the nature of his reign. However, the people’s attitude toward Ali differed deeply. Just a small minority of them believed that Ali was the best Muslim after Muhammad (صلی الله علیھ وآلہ وسلم ) and the only one entitled to rule them, while the majority supported him due to their distrust and opposition to Muawiyah.

Ali wrote in his instruction to Malik al-Ashtar: “Infuse your heart with mercy, love and kindness for your subjects. Be not in face of them a voracious animal, counting them as easy prey, for they are of two kinds: either they are your brothers in religion or your equals in creation. Error catches them unaware, deficiencies overcome them, (evil deeds) are committed by them intentionally and by mistake. So grant them your pardon and your forgiveness to the same extent that you hope God will grant you His pardon and His forgiveness. For you are above them, and he who appointed you is above you, and God is above him who appointed you. God has sought from you the fulfillment of their requirements and He is trying you with them.”

On the 19th of Ramadan, while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, Ali was attacked by the Khawarij Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam. He was wounded by ibn Muljam’s poison-coated sword while prostrating in the Fajr prayer. Ali ordered his sons not to attack the Kharijites, instead stipulating that if he survived, ibn Muljam would be pardoned whereas if he died, ibn Muljam should be given only one equal hit (regardless of whether or not he died from the hit).Ali died a few days later on January 31, 661 (21 Ramadan 40 A.H). Hasan fulfilled Qisas and gave equal punishment to ibn Muljam upon Ali’s death.

After Ali’s death, Kufi Muslims pledged allegiance to his eldest son Hasan without dispute, as Ali on many occasions had declared that just People of the House of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) were entitled to rule the Muslim community. At this time, Muawiyah held both the Levant and Egypt and, as commander of the largest force in the Muslim Empire, had declared himself caliph and marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Hasan’s caliphate. War ensued during which Muawiyah gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Hasan’s army with large sums of money and deceiving promises until the army rebelled against him. Finally, Hasan was forced to make peace and to yield the caliphate to Muawiyah. In this way Muawiyah captured the Islamic caliphate and in every way possible placed the severest pressure upon Ali’s family and his Shia. Regular public cursing of Imam Ali in the congregational prayers remained a vital institution which was not abolished until 60 years later by Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz. Muawiyah also established the Umayyad caliphate which was a centralized monarchy.

Ali’s son, Hasan, born in 625 AD, was the second Shia Imam and he also occupied the outward function of caliph for about six months. In the year 50 A.H., he was poisoned and killed by a member of his own household who, as has been accounted by historians, had been motivated by Mu’awiyah.

Ali’s son, Husayn, born in 626 AD, was the third Shia Imam. He lived under severe conditions of suppression and persecution by Mu’awiyah. On the tenth day of Muharram, of the year 680, he lined up before the army of the caliph with his small band of followers and nearly all of them were killed in the Battle of Karbala. The anniversary of his death is called the Day of Ashura and it is a day of mourning and religious observance for Shia Muslims. In this battle some of Ali’s other sons were killed. Al-Tabari has mentioned their names in his history: Al-Abbas ibn Ali, the holder of Husayn’s standard, Ja’far, Abdallah and Uthman, the four sons born to Fatima binte Hizam; Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and Abu Bakr. The death of the last one is doubtful. Some historians have added the names of Ali’s other sons who were killed in Karbala, including Ibrahim, Umar and Abdallah ibn al-Asqar.

“Umayyad highhandedness, misrule and repression were gradually to turn the minority of Ali’s admirers into a majority. In the memory of later generations Ali became the ideal Commander of the Faithful. In face of the fake Umayyad claim to legitimate sovereignty in Islam as God’s Vice-regents on earth, and in view of Umayyad treachery, arbitrary and divisive government, and vindictive retribution, they came to appreciate his [Ali’s] honesty, his unbending devotion to the reign of Islam, his deep personal loyalties, his equal treatment of all his supporters, and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies.”

Ali himself gives this testimony: “Not a single verse of the Quran descended upon (was revealed to) the Messenger of God (Peace and blessings be upon him) which he did not proceed to dictate to me and make me recite. I would write it with my own hand, and he would instruct me as to its tafsir (the literal explanation) and the ta’wil (the spiritual exegesis), the nasikh (the verse which abrogates) and the mansukh (the abrogated verse), the muhkam and the mutashabih (the fixed and the ambiguous), the particular and the general…

The Twelver Shia have a different view of Abu Bakr. They believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib was supposed to assume the Caliphate, and that he had been publicly and unambiguously appointed by Muhammad as his successor at Ghadir Khumm. It is also believed that Abu Bakr and Umar conspired to take over power in the Muslim nation after Muhammad’s death, in a coup d’état against Ali. The Twelver Shi’a do not view Abu Bakr’s being with Muhammad in the cave when the two fled Mecca as a meritorious act and indeed find significant criticism of Abu Bakr in the Qur’anic verse of the cave. The Twelver Shia criticize Abu Bakr for an alleged dispute between him and Muhammad’s daughter, Fatimah. Furthermore, Abu Bakr had refused to grant her the lands of Fadak which Muhammad had given to her as a gift before his death. He refused to accept the testimony of her witnesses, so she claimed the land would still belong to her as inheritance from her deceased father. However, Abu Bakr replied by saying that Muhammad had told him that the Prophets of God do not leave as inheritance any worldly possessions and on this basis he refused to give her the lands of Fadak.


The differences between the Sunni and Shia amplified after the Safavid invasion of Persia and the subsequent Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia Islam due to the politics between the Safavids and the Ottoman Empire. The Zaydis were also forced to convert. To consolidate their position, the Safavid’s also exploited the deep rooted differences between areas formally under the Persian Sassanid Empire and areas formally under the Byzantine Roman Empire. Differences that existing from the Roman–Persian Wars and the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars. For the first time in the history of Islam, the Safavids also established a hierarchical organization of the Shiite clergy and institutionalised the differences.


In 1928, four years after the abolishment of the caliphate, the Egyptian schoolteacher Hasan al-Banna founded the first Islamic fundamentalist movement in the Sunni world, the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun).



Although all Muslim groups consider the Quran to be divine, Sunni and Shia have different opinions on hadith.

How the Hadith is utilized is up to the individual, and the spirit of ones soul.

The Quran is still and always.

music is Haram. However, the Sunni texts are clear on this matter and clearly state that music is Haram, and this is the view held by the Sunni scholars.

(1) The superiority of the Imams over the Prophets.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him) is accepted by both Sunni and Shi’a, the Quran is accepted by both Sunni and Shi’a, Islam is the religion accepted by both Sunni and Shi’a.

(2) Claiming that a person after Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him) received revelation from Allah like a Prophet. (3) The Quran is incomplete. (4) Cursing the Sahabah. (5) Other strange beliefs.

fifth madhhab

the Shia are Kufaar, They need Dawah and Naseeha; Ayatollahs; even the remaining group are Ahlul Bidah; promoter of bid’ah; pure Sharee’ah;

Taqiya (concealing and lying about one’s true beliefs),

This does not contradict the idea of hating the kaafirs, innovators and sinners for the sake of Allaah and loving the Muslims for the sake of Allaah.

strange beliefs, such as that Ali is God, or that Angel Jibraeel made a mistake, or that Allah lies, etc.

Imamah and its superiority over Risalah (Prophethood). Abu Bakr and Aisha were mentioned in the Quran specifically, in verse 9:40 and verses 24:11-26 respectively. Abu Bakr was declared the companion of the Prophet, and Aisha was declared innocent of adultery.

Claiming that a person after Prophet Muhammad received revelation from Allah like a Prophet

The Quran is incomplete; The truth of the matter is that many of the Shia Maraje’ (top scholars) do believe in Tahreef (tampering) of the Quran, but they hide this fact due to Taqiyyah and Kitman.

There are many Shia sects. The following are the main Shia sects:

(a) The Twelvers (sometimes called Imamis or Jafaris)  are those Shia who believe in twelve divinely-appointed Imams. This is the largest Shia sect today and its adherents represent 90% of the population of Iran, about 55% of the population of Iraq, 55% of the population of Azerbaijan, 27% of the population of Lebanon, with significant presence in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Yemen.

(b) Ismailis are those Shia whose line of Imams is continuous. The Agha Khan, a billionaire living in Europe, is their current Imam. They believe that the Quran has a esoteric/hidden meaning that is different from its apparent meaning and only their Imams know this esoteric/hidden meaning, not even prophet Mohammad knew this esoteric/hidden meaning. Today, the largest concentration of Ismailis is in India and Pakistan.

(c) Arab Alawis are a sect founded by Ibn Nusair, that is why Alawis are also called Nusairis. They primarily live in Syria, and to a lesser extent, in Northern Lebanon and Southern Turkey. Even though Alawis constitute not more than 15% of Syria’s population, the President of Syria, Bashar Assad, comes from a Alawi family and he maintains his power by relying on the Alawis who hold top leadership positions in the Syrian army and domestic intelligence service. Little is known about the true beliefs of the Alawis because they are secretive. Twelver Shia don’t consider Alawis as Shia.

(d) Turkish Alewis are a sect that combines Shiism with Sufism. They are very different from the Arab Alawis in terms of their beliefs, even though their name is almost the same. They constitute about 15% of Turkey’s population.

Some Shia (particularly the Ismaelis & Arab Alawis) believe Ali is God; while others reject this. However, many of the Twelver Shia even though they don’t believe Imam Ali is God, yet they assign to Imam Ali  some of God’s functions and attributes. For example, they say that Imam Ali is the one who determines who will go to Hell and who will go to Paradise. This is one of the most serious blasphemies because it constitutes “Shirk” (associating partners with God) which is the most serious sin in Islam.

Shaikh Ahmad Rida Khan quoted by Sunni Path states:

Shi`ah fall into three categories:

1. ghâli (ghulât): they repudiate the necessities of religion…[They are Kaafir because they] elevate Sayyiduna Ali and other Imams above the Prophets…[They are Kaafir even] if these Imams are held to be higher than even ONE prophet….

Those who hold the above and other such statements that amount to disbelief are Kaafirs by Ijma (consensus). All dealings with them are similar to those with apostates. It is in fatawa Dharhiriyyah, Fatawa Hindiyyah, Hadiqatun Nadiyyah: they are to be dealt with as apostates.

Nowadays, most of the Rafidhis (i.e. Shia) fall into this category. Their scholars and commoners, men and woman–all of them seem to profess the aforementioned beliefs–except Allâh willing–otherwise.

source: Sunni Path,

It should be noted that this concept is not peculiar or particular to the Shia, but rather to any person in general. If, for example, a Sunni were to claim that Abu Bakr was equal to or superior to Prophet Musa, then this would be grounds for Kufr. Muslims believe that the Prophets and Messengers are the highest in ranks amongst humanity, and that no person can rival them in this honor, neither can they be superior to them nor can they even equal them in status. It is, after all, for this reason that the Ahmadis are declared to be Kufaar, namely because they believe in a person who has a rank equal to or higher than the Prophets.


Aren’t All Mulsims Quranists

Quranism (Arabic: قرآنيون‎ Qurʾāniyūn) is an Islamic movement that holds the Qur’an to be the most authentic criterion in Islam.


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