12.) If one does not accept Imaams then one is a Kaafir.
The term Kufr has two meanings in Arabic and both are used by Shi'a writers. One is the one we all know, a disbelief in Islam and its Tenets. The other is the disbelief in systems or concepts that while considered to be Islamic, ie. derived from a Muslim viewpoint, belief in which are not essential for one to be considered a Muslim . Thus to say that someone who does not believe in the Holy Imams is not a believer does not say that he does not believe in Islam just that he is not Shi'a.
This dual use of the term is not just the opinion of the Shi'a, in the footnotes to the thirty-fourth chapter of volume 1a of the English translation of Sahih Muslim by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi we read, "This hadith is clearly indicative of the fact that the word kufr used in the hadith is not always synonymous with unbelief in the real sense of the term. It has other implications too and is used in many other senses, e.g. in case of ingratitude."
References: (Cited by Elias)
(1.) Usul -e - Kafi. (2.) Usul -e - Kafi. (3.) Usul -e - Kafi. (4.) Usul -e - Kafi. (5.) Usul -e - Kafi Vol 1 P225 / Kafi - Kitaabul Hujjuah. (6.) Usul -e - Kafi Vol 1 P225. (7.) Ibid. (8.) Ibid /Haqqul Yaqeen P126.(9.) Usul -e - Kafi Vol 1 P225. (10.) Ibid / Al Hukumatul - Islaamiyaa - 52 Khomeni. Hayaatul Qutoob Vol 3, P10 /Ibid Vol 2. P787. Footnote. (11.) Usul -e- Kafi Vol 2. P278. (12.) Usul -e- Kafi Vol 1. P225.
It seems opportune to republish the fatwa of a genuine Muslim scholar who did conduct a learned investigation into the differences between Shi'a and Sunnis.
Al-Azhar Verdict on the Shia
What follows is the Fatwa (religious verdict/ruling) of one of the Sunni world's most revered scholars, Sheikh Mahmood Shaltoot with regard to the Shia. Shaikh Shaltoot was the head of the renowned al-Azhar Theological school in Egypt, one of the main centers of Sunni scholarship in the world. It should be of interest to know that a few decades ago, a group of Sunni and Shia scholars formed a center at al-Azhar by the name of "Dar al-Taqreeb al-Madhahib al-Islamiyyah" which translates into "Center for bringing together the various Islamic schools of thought". The aim of the effort, as the name of the center indicates, was to bridge the gap between the various schools of thought, and bring about a mutual respect, understanding and appreciation of each school's contributions to the development of Islamic Jurisprudence, among the scholars of the different schools, so that they may in turn guide their followers toward the ultimate goal of unity, and of clinging to one rope, as the well-known Quranic verse, "Hold fast to the Rope of Allah and do not diverge" clearly demands of Muslims.
This massive effort finally bore its major fruit when Sheikh Shaltoot made the declaration whose translation is appended below. It should