I’ve been sitting on this idea for a little bit; when I work with Muslim kids I often explain to them that The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is not a Christian allegory, so much as it is a Muslim one, specifically a Shi’ah Muslim allegory. Let me walk you through my ill-thought thinking.
First, we know Lewis was opposed to a live-action version of the Chronicles, calling the representation of Aslan “blasphemy,” strong words from a religious person. The presence of an anti-iconic can be felt in such a statement.
Second, we know that the lion is named Aslan, from Persian for the word for “lion.” (Haroon, shame on you for not picking that up in your linguistic analysis.) Now, one of the other Persian words for “lion” is sher (pronounced like “share”), and one of the names for the first Shi’ah Imam, Ali ibn Abi Talib, is sher-e khuda, The Lion of God (asadullah in Arabic). Most Persian speaking places have large Shi’ah populations, and of course Iran is mostly Shi’ah. So this is our first clue that Lewis is writing a Shi’ah Muslim allegory.
Now, the obvious question is what about Aslan’s death and resurrection, does that not scream the death and resurrection of Jesus? Possibly. Remember that while Jesus’ death was witnessed by many, his resurrection was seen by few. In the case of Aslan, the reverse seems to be true; his death was seen by few, but his re-appearance was seen by many. Along the lines of symbolic reading, imagine if you will that it is not Aslan that re-appears, but the essence of Aslan. This essence is like the nur-e khuda (Light of God) present in the Imams. One physical form may pass, but the light is made apparent in a new form (mazhar). From a perspective of continual guidance, nothing has changed. To call on Ali is to call on all the Imams. Aslan is a warrior, guide, and leader; Jesus was not a lion, but lamb (not in a pejorative sense), who taught a deep spiritual message. The war that Jesus fought was not in the way that Aslan fights his war; Aslan’s battles are the battles of Imam Ali, the Lion of God. His re-appearance is the appearance of the next Imam, the re-appearance of the nur.
So, I submit to you that Lewis was writing a Shi’ah Muslim allegory in his work, not a Christian one.