The Shia Scholars Forum held their 3rd meeting on the 28th of July on the Topic of ‘Was Imam Ali designated or nominated‘ led by Dr. Sayed Mohammed Fatemi Ghari at Al-Mahdi Institute. Dr Fatemi investigated the following questions 1) What are the different theories on Imam Ali’s Imama and Khilafa, 2) Is nomination by the Prophet synonymous with designation by God, 3) Does this question impact the Shi’i theological belief system, 4) What implications does this question have on the Shia from a grassroots level. He went on to look at the various proofs presented by the textualists (such as Sh Saduq) and the rationalists (Mufid and others) in relation to the necessity of Imama, the characteristics of the Imam and the specific individual extensions of this doctrine. Further political and other roles of the Imam held by Shi’i scholars were also looked at, and the distinctions between Khilafa and Imama were also investigated.
Shaykh Kumail Rajani then closed the session with a few narrations from the time of Imam Sadiq (a.s) which indicated that there was a healthy discussion prevalent even at the times of the Imams encouraging critical reasoning and thought even on what may nowadays be perceived to be too sensitive to discuss.
After the presentations, scholars, speakers and academics from across the UK contributed to the discussion making it a vibrant atmosphere where ideas, thoughts and critiques were put forward.