Jan 19 2023
I became a Shia because I considered myself responsible for my intellect
Ivory Coast is located in West Africa. The country has a population of about 18 million, of which about 60 percent are Muslim and 36 percent Christian. Ivory Coast has 63 tribes, each tribe has its own language. What comes next is our interview with Mohammad Jara; He is a Shiite from this country. He studied primary and middle school in the largest school in the Ivory Coast region and benefited from Wahhabi teachings for three years. He is currently studying at one of the international universities in Qom.
· Why did you become a Shiite?
One of my professors became a Shiite. I had a great relationship with him. After he became a Shia, my teacher added the word “Al-Mohtadi” to his family name. He is now one of the famous Shiites of Ivory Coast.
This caused the main reason to expel my teacher from the school. Then this teacher built a school himself. I did not know what Shia beliefs are. I had no information; I had only heard that Shiites worship Hazrat Ali and consider Hazrat Ali higher than the Prophet. I talked with my professor who had become a Shia and I was asking questions about the differences between Shia and Sunni.
My teacher gave me the books “Then I was guided” and “Al-Murajeaat”
I studied these books and I used to ask the questions that came to me to my professors who were seniors in school. Of course, no one except my professor knew that I was reading books about Shia. Then I would report my questions and the answers by my teachers gave me in school to my teacher Al-Muhtadi.
I asked a lot of questions. About Wozu(وضو), why do Shiites say Salawat (اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد)! Regarding Imam Mahdi and his long absence and if he exists, why don’t others tell us about it, my main and important question was the difference between Shia and Sunni in general and Imamate in particular.
He once explained to me the story of Ghadeer from the fourth volume of “Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal”. Then, out of curiosity, I went to one of my other professors and asked him if the Prophet had announced Imam Ali as the leader of all Muslims during his last Hajj. He said no, such a thing has never happened in history. I repeated in surprise, did it not happen? He continued, “If it happened, the Prophet said Ali is my friend, that’s it!”
I asked again, does the Prophet gather people in the hot sun to say that this man is my friend? Does the human mind accept this? He did not answer me.
After I became a Shia, he objected to me and protested that why did you become a Shia? I told him that you made me a Shiite because you did not answer my questions. I am responsible for my own reason.
· After you became a Shia, how was your family’s behavior towards you?
I am the last child and the only son in the family and in my country, they respect the last child very much, even my father wrote in his will that no one should bother or beat me. On the other hand, I was the only person in the family who went to a religious school besides my father, so the family respected me a lot.
One day, the principal of my school came to our house with his wife and told my mother and sisters that Muhammad had changed his religion, and my family was very upset.
· what did you do?
I told them that I have not changed my religion, I am a Muslim and I pray. My manager said: Why did you change your father’s religion? I said to him, why do you close your hands in prayer? Your father did not close his hands in prayer.
Because his father was Maliki, and according to Imam Malik’s fatwa, you can pray with open hands.
· what happened next?
They left without giving me an answer or reaching a conclusion.
· Did your family become Shia like you?
Not at the moment, but my wife became a Shiite.
· What is the difference between Wahhabism and Sunnis?
Wahhabis are not thinkers. And they blaspheme others. Unlike Sunnis.
· Is there a library or a mosque in Ivory Coast that belongs to Shiites?
We don’t have a library or a mosque for Shiites. There is a school called Jamia Al-Mustafa Al-Alamiya, which accepts about 50 people every year. There are several other schools.
· How is the government’s interaction with the Shiites?
There is no problem. The government is secular and has nothing to do with anyone’s religion. It neither propagates nor suppresses.
· At what level are the activities of the Muslims of Ivory Coast?
Muslims make up 60% of Ivory Coast, which is less than one million Shiites, but it’s as if we don’t have Muslims. Unfortunately, the Muslims there consider religion and politics to be separate, while the Quran rejects this idea.