Of course, one can also question the Esmael’i, the Vahab’i and the Baha’i faiths, but as Shia is currently suffocating Iran, it warrants more scrutiny. The mainstream Islam has long grappled with that question, as the Shia schism became the source for centuries of wars between Iran and its neighbors. Again, Islam like all the other Semiticreligions, is a patriarchal, forceful and dominating creed, but below are some peculiarities, which make Shia distinctly less appealing.
1. Mohammad not the last messenger: Against the direct utterances of Koran, which declares Mohammad the last prophet and messenger of god, the Shia believe in 12 more saints (Imams) who could not do anything wrong (as Masooms), received direct guidance from god and whose behavior and words (Hadith) are considered as equal to the ways of Mohammad (Sunnite). Through the volumes and volumes of such Hadith and stories, millions of incredible contraptions and idiosyncrasies have been stamped as Islamic.
2. Sunni Muslims apostate: Through the introduction of two extra central believes (Imamate and Adale), into the minimum prerequisite for Islamic faith (Monotheism, Prophets and after-life), Shia has traditionally considered the Sunni to be apostates and infidels. Such divide has been the source of centuries of war in the Middle East.
3. Taghlid of Mullahs: The original Shia Imams required utter obedience from their believers and constant adherence to their edicts. That mandatory pattern of ‘guidance’ then carried through the Shia Mullahs who required the populace to emulate them (Taghlid) on all religious acts and rituals. No act of a Shia Muslim (prayer, fasting or even ebullition) is acceptable, unless he/she fully emulates a certifiable Mullah.
4. Velayat Faghih: As the last Shia Imam is considered to be still in hiding, but ready to jump out any time now (for the last 1,100 years); the other leaders are all unjust and unholy. Only leaders with direct or implicit approval of the 12th Imam can be considered to be worthy; and those are now interpreted as the Mullahs and their lackeys. The laypeople of Iran, who cannot be trusted to wash their bottoms without Taghlid, cannot of course be granted the freedom to elect their own government.
5. Worshipping of the holy dead, the holy soil, the holy water, the holy men, the holy candle, etc.: Islam banned the worship of dead ancestors and their shrines, which was prevalent among the barbaric Arab tribes. Similarly, the worship of ‘holy’ sites and signs (idols) was banned. Neither are Muslims allowed to worship soil, water or candles as ‘holy’, or seek healing and miracles from the holy men. But us the Shia build shrines and go there for pilgrimage, circle them and ask for wishes, bow to them and worship them, under the names of Imams and baby Imams (ImamZadeh). We pray to, kiss and hold reverence for the holy soil of Imams, or water and candles associated with them or their lineage (Seyeds). We seek holy men and touch them for blessing or take our sick kids for miracles, through their touch or even spit.
6. Self flogging and self harm: Islam forbids harming one’s body, as it is a gift from god to be kept healthy and whole. But the Shia flog themselves, cut themselves and their kids, to show remorse and mourn the dead Imams! There is no mourning in Islam; as a Muslim believer considers death to be just the beginning of an eternal life. Through good deeds, this life can lead to heaven, which requires no mourning. A bad life leads to hell, which again warrants no mourning for the wicked!
7. Temporary marriage (Sigheh): Muslim man, if able and just, like his Jewish cousins, was granted four wives. However, the temporary marriage (Moteh) was only allowed in the extra-ordinary times of war and mass loss of men. Unfortunately, since centuries ago, the Shia Mullahs have turned that possibility into a lucrative loop-hole for legal prostitution, with themselves playing the part of pimps! The regular pilgrimage to the ‘holy’ Shia shrines in Meshhad, Gom and Shiraz, have always been as much about religious rites and seeking redemption, as they have been for obtaining the services of Harem Ladies, who are pimped and peddled by the Mullahs. As the men circle the holy shrine, they are approached by the Mullah who would offer a Sigheh ceremony. Similarly, as the women circle, they are asked by the same ‘holy men’, if they would consider becoming a temporary wife, for a short duration and a handsome pay!