Sheikh Shaltut is remembered for encouraging harmonious interactions between the two branches of Islam: Sunni and Shi’i. He maintained close relations with prominent Shi’i figures such as Seyyed Hossein Borujerdi and zealously campaigned for open discussion and cooperation between the two branches. Shaltut desperately wanted to overcome misconstructions and avoid quarrels between the two sects.
Shaykh Shaltut’s fatwa about shia Madhab(1959) is still seen as a symbol of hope for those aspiring for a reconciliation between the two branches. Sheikh Shaltut strove to portray Islam to the world as a religion of unity, flexibility, and moderation.
Imam Shaltut send this letter in the year 1959 to a Shia Scholar in response of a query regarding Shia and Sunni Maslak. The Sheikh was Asked if Islam prohibits following the shia School of thouoght? He replied throught a verdict in his letter.
- One thing in Imam Shaltut’s letter is that, his exellancy addressed the shia scholar as “Dear Muslim” therefore the very first words are showing that Takfir does not apply on Shia Madhab.
- The second clause in this letter clearly stats that,
“The Ja’fary school of thought which is also known as Al shia Al Imamia Athna Asharee is a school of thought which is religiously correct to follow as other Sunni Schools of thought.
Below is the verdict(Fatwa) of the Head of Al Azhar University, with the original seal.