Allah has forbidden the Muslims from breaking into sects; He has commanded us to stick to the mainstream Muslims and to adhere to the true call of Islam, the non-sectarian path of the Prophetic way.
Few Shia actually realize that the word “shia” is used in the Quran in multiple places. Allah emphatically warns us not to become “shias”, but we find that these Quranic injunctions are ignored by the Shia sects which continue to splinter (and thereby weaken) Islam. Instead of belonging to sects, we should belong to the Muwahiddoon (the Unitarians of Islamic faith).
This question–about whether or not Shia* are Muslim–is a very emotional one. The humble author of this article is not qualified to pass verdicts on such matters; however, this article will merely serve as a purview of all the various opinions cited by qualified Sunni scholarship, and to hopefully make sense of it all in a constructive manner. The truth of the matter is that the answer to this question cannot be a simple “yes” or a “no.”
Although we wholeheartedly disagree with the Shia, this does not mean that we should become abusive or violently disagreeable. Unfortunately, the Sunni-Shia divide is a very sensitive issue for both sides, emotions become heated, tensions rise, and we often become abusive towards each other. This is not acceptable at all: no matter how much we disagree with the Shia, we should do so in a kind and courteous manner, as is the Sunnah of the Prophet.
The Shia, like the Islamaphobes, use a few narrations in Tareekh at-Tabari against the mainstream Muslims. In this article, we discuss how authentic (or not) Imam at-Tabari’s book is. In the words of Ibn Katheer, Tabari’s work “is a mixed bag of valuable and worthless, sound and unsound information.”
Even if we were to accept the fallacious idea that every Messenger had a Wasi, then we respond to the Shia by saying that Prophet Muhammad had no Wasi because he was the final seal and nobody came after him. The Quran mentions that the Prophet is the Final Seal, and nowhere does it mention any Wasi that is to come after him. The one who believes in such a thing–and who exalts the position of Wasi as the Shia do–is a disbeliever and outside the folds of Islam.
Original scanned reference of Imam Bukhari’s view on befriending Shias.