The Curious Case of ‘Ayatollah’ Borqei

Photo of the murtad ‘Ayatollah’ Borqei


In the midst of the fog of war that was raging between Shias and Sunnis on the internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, both sides were ready to use the weapon of cross-sectarian converts.

One such “convert” was a Shi’ite scholar by the name of Sayyid Abu Al-Fadl Burqa‘i

Salafist all over the internet to this day celebrate this man as a scholar and a martyr killed by the Shi’ites due to his change of beliefs. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You can clearly see the ignorance of this man in many of his books in not only the Shia beliefs but also in the meaning of Quran verses, hadiths and more. His own books alone show him in a very negative light when it comes to his knowledge, yet some Sunni YouTubers might actually be much more knowledgeable about Islam then him.

Some examples of this absolute ignorance:

 
1- In his book تحقيق علمي في احاديث المهدي

He thinks the noble Ayah [17:71]


((يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ ۖ فَمَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَقْرَءُونَ كِتَابَهُمْ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلًا)) 


((Think of) the Day when We will call every people with their <<Imams>>. Then the ones who will be given their book in their right hands will read their book (happily) and will not be wronged even to the measure of a fine thread.)


Talks about the religious or spiritual leaders of every epoch even though most Shias and Sunnis agree that the verse talks about the religious books. In fact, the Arabic translator of the book struggles immensely with the erroneous understanding of Borqei (such as on pages 19, 42, 157, 166). 


He sums its all up on Page 5:



Translation: “And what the author has fallen into is weakness and old age, its fingerprints and its impact on his book is evident. This is first in his style, which was not without tension and offensiveness, or a tune closer in some places to quarrel and farther from scientific research, and secondly, a bit of confusion and disarray, weakness of inference and errors in some placements and repetitions of ideas.”

Of course the translator attributes this lack of knowledge and tragic level of ‘scholarship’ to age and hardship rather then mere ignorance!

2- In his book نقد المراجعات Page 20

He claims that Shia claim that Imam Mahdi (as) said “الكافي كاف لشيعتنا” (Al-Kafi is enough for our Shia). And now while such a story does exist in our corpus, the problem is that this story is not reliable in any way. And being a first rank scholar as he claimed to be, he should’ve known that this is a very unreliable narration and that most Shia scholars actually don’t believe it. This further goes to show how he is an ignorant low ranking scholar.



This is without going into detail about his personal ideas and how truly laughable they are.

So, we know for sure that Borqei left Shia Islam but did he actually become a Sunni as many people claim?

The answer is no, or at least he didn’t follow mainstream Sunnism. And this is shown by his disagreements with Shia beliefs that are also found in Sunnism such as:

1- His denying of the Imam Mahdi (as) in his book تحقيق علمي في احاديث المهدي, even though Salafis consider anyone denying the reality of Imam Mahdi (as) to be a Kafir! (See below the fatwa of major Salafi website Islamweb.net on this matter)


2- His disagreement with Salafis about the names and attributes of Allah (SWT). In his autobiography سوانح الأيام  on Page 343 he clearly states that the ideas of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim are wrong when it comes to Allah’s names and attributes!


The commentator on Borqei’s book was aware of this problem and so on Page 11 of كسر الصنم writes:

"[...] And for that the Sheikh had committed an error in some issues... such as denying the attributes of Allah (SWT) and denying his elevation above his creation to escape the trap of imagery and modality"


So, what was Borqei exactly?

The fact of the matter is that Borqei was a member of a new wave of Shia that tried to find a “pre-sectarian” Islam by going back to a Quran-only methodology, emphasizing Islamic unity over sectarian disputes and by only focusing on hadiths that are common in every sect’s books.

  

This can help us understand why he calls on all Muslims to not identify with any sect such as in his book نقد المراجعات on Page 19 (And this was also the opinion of the translator of his autobiography).

Some Salafist like Taha Hamed Al-Dulaimi consider his conversion story to be just a story that some people tell:

“He had a daring critique of the Shia religion and it was said the he converted to Sunnism (ie. not proven)”




He further states: "One calls for unity while the sects are numerous and all call for disunity and hypocrisy. So the knowledgable must adhere to the religion of Allah and leave the sect with any name.


Additionally, here is video evidence of one of Burqai's closest friends, Mustafa Taba Tabai, who testifies that Burqai NEVER became a Sunni, Burqai held the opinion for some period in his life that he doesn't belong to any sect as mentioned above.
And to top it all off, here is a video of Sayed Hosseini al Qazwini where he explains what happened to Burqai, and how Burqai REGRETTED his changes at the end of his life & how Burqai said at the end of his life that he believes that there are twelve Imams


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