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  • 11/6/2011

Peshawar Nights: Association of Shia'ism with Imam Ja'far Sadiq

EIGHTH SESSION-part 1

ali

(Thursday night, 1 Sha'ban, 1345 A.H.)

 

*Difference between Islam (submission) and Iman (faith)

*Association of Shia'ism with Imam Ja'far Sadiq

* Criticizing the companions does not mean infidelity

*According to Abu'l‌Hasan Ash'ari even calling Allah or Holy Prophet by evil names is not infidelity

*Most companions abused one another but not regarded as infidels

*Holy Prophet of Islam knew all good and bad actions of Sahaba

 

Seyyed Abdu'l-Hayy: Respected sir, last night you contributed to discord among the Muslims.

Well-Wisher: Tell me how I did that.

Seyyed: While explaining "ourselves", you divided Muslims into two groups: Muslims and believers. But Muslims are all one and the same. Those who say the words "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger" are all brothers. They should not be separated into two groups because this is harmful to Islam. The Shias call themselves believers, and they call us Muslims. You must have seen in India that Shias are called believers and the Sunnis are called Muslims. The fact is that 'Islam' and 'Iman' (conviction) are identical terms because Islam means acceptance of the commands of religion. This recognition is the reality of 'Iman.' The whole community has agreed that Islam is pure Iman. You have gone against the common view.

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM (SUBMISSION) AND IMAN (FAITH)

Well-Wisher: First, your reference to the common people does not mean the people of the community as a whole. It refers to the common people of a group of the Sunnis. Second, your statement about Islam and Iman is not accurate. Not only do the Shias differ with the Sunnis but the Ash'aris, Mu'tazalis, Hanafis, and Shafi'is also have different views about it. Third, I frankly don't understand why learned men like you should resort to such trivial objections. This division into two groups has been made by Allah in the Holy Qur'an. Perhaps you have forgotten the matter relating to Companions of the Right and the Companions of the Left referred to in the Holy Qur'an which says: "The dwellers of the desert say: 'We believe.' Say: 'You do not believe but say, we submit; faith has not yet entered your hearts.'" (49:14)

Certainly you must know that this verse was revealed in condemnation of the desert tribe of the Bani Asad, who were Muslims in name only. During a year of famine, they flocked to Medina and, in order to get relief, claimed to be believers. But at heart they were unbelievers in Allah and the Holy Prophet. This verse verifies that there are two groups of Muslims: sincere Muslims, who have acknowledged the realities of Iman, and those who make mere verbal declarations of faith. In our social sphere the latter group is entitled to the safety and benefits of the laws meant for all Muslims. But, according to the injunction of the Holy Qur'an, they are not entitled to any reward in the hereafter. Their declarations that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger, and their making a display of the fact that they are Muslims, have no real significance.

Seyyed: You are right, but Islam without Iman (faith or conviction) has no meaning, just as Iman without Islam has no merit.

Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: "And do not say to anyone who offers you peace: 'You are not a believer.'" (4:94)

This verse proves that we must treat one according to one's outward semblance. If anyone says, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," we should accept his Iman. This in itself is the best proof that Islam and Iman are identical terms.

Well-Wisher: This verse was revealed about a particular person, either Usama Bin Zaid or Muhallam Bin Jasama-e-Laisi, who, it is said, killed a man in battle who had declared "There is no god except Allah." He was killed on the assumption that he had said these words in fear. But because you think it is in the general sense, we also regard all Muslims as being pure. Unless of course, we see them denying the fundamentals of religion. But there is a difference between Islam and Iman because there are various classes of Iman. Imam Ja'far Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq says in the narration of Umar and Zubair: "For Iman there are conditions, ranks, and stages. Some of them are defective and their defect is apparent; some are of better value and are weighty; some of them are complete and have reached perfection."

Defective Iman is the very first stage of Iman through which a person passes into Islam from infidelity. Higher degrees of Iman are possible. Reference to them has been made in some of the hadith. Among them is a narration in Usul Kafi and in Nahju'l-Balagha from the Commander of the Faithful and Ja'far Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq who said: "Allah has divided Iman into seven classes which consist of goodness, truthfulness, conviction of the heart, submission to the will of Allah, loyalty, knowledge, and forbearance. These seven qualities have been unequally distributed among human beings. One who completely possesses all these qualities is a perfect believer. Hence, Islam is in the first category of Iman, in which there is only verbal declaration of belief in the prophethood of Muhammad and the unity of Allah. Iman has not entered such person's heart. The Prophet of Allah told a group of his people: 'O people! You are among those who have accepted Islam with your tongue, but not yet with your heart.'"

Obviously Islam and Iman are different. But we are not required to probe the hearts of others. I said last night that the sign of a believer is his deeds. But we have no right to make inquiries about the actions of Muslims. We are compelled, however, to indicate the characteristics of Iman, so that those who are immersed in sleep may be inspired to perform their duties. Thus they will be aware of the reality of Iman and will know that salvation in the hereafter will come only through performing good deeds, as the hadith says: "Iman means acceptance with the tongue, conviction in the heart, and performance with our limbs." Acceptance with the tongue and conviction in the heart are the preface to action.

Of course we know that this nasty world is only a preface to the next world. The way of salvation for such a man is closed in the hereafter unless he becomes a man of good deeds here.

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an: "I swear by the declining time, surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good...." (103:1-3)

In short, according to the Holy Qur'an, piety is the root of Iman. And if one has no good deeds to his credit, his verbal acknowledgement or conviction at heart will still leave him far from Iman. If it is true that we should consider anyone a Muslim who says, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," why do you regard the Shias as infidels? Certainly Shias believe in the unity of Allah, the prophethood of Muhammad, one Qibla, one Book. They perform all obligatory acts, observe prescribed fasts, go on the pilgrimage, pay khums and zakat (religious taxes), believe in bodily resurrection, and the Day of Reckoning.

Isn't it you who cause disunity among Muslims? You keep millions of Muslims separated from you and call them infidels although you have not the smallest evidence to support such charges. You do not recognize that these are the devices of enemies who want to create discord among Muslims by means of such lies. The fact is that we have no differences in the fundamentals of our belief except the Imamate and vicegerency. And what if there were differences in the practices of the faith? Such differences exist among your own four schools of law, and they are more serious than those between us. (It would not be proper now to point out the differences between Hanafis and Malikis or between Shafi'is and Hanbalis.) In my opinion you have not the slightest evidence to establish the polytheism or infidelity of Shias. The only unpardonable fault of the Shias, according to what the Kharijis and Nasibis have propagated by means of the Umayyads, is that the Shias do not misinterpret the traditions. They do not give people like Abu Huraira, Anas, and Samura a place between the Holy Prophet and ourselves. Even your own jurists and your own great Caliphs condemned them as liars.

The greatest fault ascribed to the Shias is that they follow the progeny of the Prophet, Ali and the twelve Imams, and not the four Imams. But you have no evidence from the Prophet to show that Muslims must follow the Ash'aris or Mu'tazalis in the fundamentals and Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali or Shafi'is in the articles of practice. On the other hand, there are innumerable instructions from the Prophet telling us that the progeny and Ahle Bait of the Prophet are the equals of the Holy Qur'an, and that the community should attach themselves to them. Among these hadith are the hadith Thaqalain, hadith-e-Safina, hadith-e-Bab-e-Hitta. Can you quote a single hadith in which the Holy Prophet said that his people after him should follow Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari and Wasil Bin Ata, etc. in the fundamentals and one of the four individuals - Malik Bin Anas, Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Abu Hanifa, or Muhammad Bin Idris Shafi'i? Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter IV, reports from Fara'id Hamwaini quoting from Ibn Abbas that the Holy Prophet said to the Commander of the Faithful: "O Ali! I am the city of knowledge and you are its gate. No one can enter the city without having first entered the gate. He is a liar who claims to love me while he is your enemy because you are from me, and I am from you. Your flesh is my flesh, your blood is my blood, your soul is my soul, your appearance is my appearance. Blessed is the man who obeys you, woe be to one who disobeys you. Your friend is fortunate, and your enemy is in loss. One who is with you is successful, and one who is aloof from you is lost. After me, you and all the Imams in your progeny are like the ark of Noah: whoever boards it will be saved, and whoever refuses to board it will be drowned. Their (the Imams') likeness is like that of the stars: when a star sets, another rises. This order will continue until the day of judgement."

It has been clearly narrated in the hadith-e-Thaqalain (acknowledged by both the sects) that "If you are attached to the Ahle Bait, never, never shall you be misled." Even the fanatical Ibn Hajar Makki records his findings in his Sawa'iq Muhriqa, chapter 2 Sub-chapter, 1, page 92, in connection with the verse of the Holy Qur'an: "And stop them, for they shall be questioned." (37:24)

And Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi has also quoted from Sawa'iq in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 95, page 296, (printed in Istanbul) saying that this hadith has been narrated in different ways. Ibn Hajar says: "Verily, the hadith of Attachment to Two Great Things (Thaqalain) has been narrated in different ways. It has been narrated by more than 25 companions of the Holy Prophet."

Ibn Hajar says regarding the above Qur'anic verse that on the Day of Judgement, the people will be questioned about the Wilaya of Ali and the descendants of the Prophet.

He writes that according to some sources, this hadith was narrated on the occasion of 'Arafa, and some say it was narrated when the Prophet was on his death bed with his apartment full of his Companions. Others say that it was included in his last address after his final Hajj. Ibn Hajar gives his opinion regarding the different occasions of this hadith: "There is no inconsistency in the possibility that the Prophet, in his desire to show the glory of Qur'an and his holy descendants, repeated this hadith on these and other different occasions. It is reliably reported that the Prophet said: 'I leave among you two great things: if you follow them, you will never be misled. And these two are the Book of Allah (Qur'an) and my Ahle Bait.'"

Tabrani has reported this hadith with this addition: "I question you about these two: the Holy Qur'an and the Ahle Bait, so do not try to outstrip them. Otherwise, you will be destroyed. Do not disregard them, otherwise you will be ruined. Do not try to teach them, for they know better than you."

Even the fanatical Ibn Hajar, after quoting from Tabrani and others, writes: "The Prophet called the Qur'an and his progeny, 'two great things' because these two are so weighty and dignified in every aspect." The Prophet also said: "I praise Allah who has filled the hearts of my Ahle Bait with wisdom." And the Prophet also said in a hadith referred to earlier: "....and never try to teach them (my progeny) anything since they are the most learned of you all. Consider them superior to all your ulema because Allah has created them pure and has introduced them to the Community with supernatural powers and innumerable other merits."

There is one point in the hadith which stresses attachment to the Ahle Bait: namely, that the successive generations of the Ahle Bait, will not be severed until the Day of Judgement. It is astonishing that some people admit that the members of the Ahle Bait possess great learning but violate the Prophet's orders and take as their religious leaders those who had no right of preference. Can you or we change the Holy Qur'an? Can we select any other book?

Seyyed: No, never. This is the Prophet's trust, a divine message, and the greatest source of guidance.

Well-Wisher: May God Bless you! You have spoken the truth. When we cannot change the Holy Qur'an and replace it with another book, the same principle must be followed regarding those who are the equals of the Holy Qur'an. So, according to which principle were those people who did not belong to the Prophet's progeny allowed to supersede his progeny? I want a simple answer to this question so that we may know whether the three Caliphs - Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman - belonged to the Ahle Bait of the Prophet, and were included in the hadith we've mentioned (Thaqalain, Safina, Bab-e-Hitta). If they are included, then we must follow them, according to the orders of the Prophet.

Seyyed: No one believes that any of the Caliphs except Ali was included in the Ahle Bait of the Prophet. Of course, the three Caliphs mentioned were good companions of the Prophet.

Well-Wisher: Did the Prophet tell us to follow a particular individual or group? If one faction says that it is expedient to follow other people, should we obey the Prophet or follow expediency as determined by the community?

Seyyed: It is obvious that obedience to the Prophet is obligatory.

Well-Wisher: After the Prophet has instructed us to follow the Holy Qur'an and his progeny, why have others been preferred? Did Abu'l-Hasan Ali Bin Isma'il Ash'ari, Wasil Bin Ata, Malik Bin Anas, Abu Hanifa, Muhammad Bin Idris Shafi'i, and Ahmad Bin Hanbal belong to the progeny of the Prophet or the Commander of the Faithful, Ali and his eleven descendants?

Seyyed: Obviously, no one ever said that these people belonged to the Prophet's progeny, but they were notable jurists and pious men of the community.

Well-Wisher: But according to the consensus of the community, the twelve Imams are the direct descendants of the Prophet. Your own ulema agree that they are the equals of the Holy Qur'an, and that obedience to them leads to salvation. Moreover, the Prophet said that they are the most learned of men.

In light of these emphatic injunctions, what reply will they give when the Prophet asks them why they violated his dictates and let others supersede his progeny? Is there any injunction from the Prophet that the Asharis or Mu'tazalis should follow their leaders or that the Malikis, Hanbalis, Hanafis, and Shafi'is should follow their leaders in the practice of the faith? Nobody so much as mentioned their names for 300 years after the death of the Prophet.

Only later, for political or other reasons which I am not aware of, they appeared on the stage. But the Imams and the descendants of the Holy Prophet were well known during the Prophet's own time. Ali, Hasan, Husain and Fatima were known as Ahle Kisa, that is "the people of the mantle." They were the ones in whose praise "the verse of purity" was revealed. Is it proper to call those who follow Ali, Hasan, Husain, and other Imams infidels? You have preferred those who did not belong to the progeny of the Prophet, to those who were ideal jurists. What answer will you give in the divine court of justice when you will be asked as to why you misguided the poor people, why you called the followers of the Ahle Bait infidels and innovators?

You fault us because we are not the followers of the creeds of Hanafis, Malikis, Hanbalis, or Shafi'is. And yet you don't follow Ali, despite the clear and vivid injunctions from Allah and the Holy Prophet that you should do so. Without good reason, you follow one of the four schools of law and have closed the doors of jurisprudence.

Seyyed: We rely on the four Imams in the same way as you rely on the twelve Imams.

Well-Wisher: Well done! What a good thing you have said!

The number of the twelve Imams was not specified by the Shias or their ulema many centuries after the death of the Prophet. Many hadith, narrated from both Sunni and Shia sources, prove that the Prophet himself specified the number of the Imams as twelve.

Among your many ulema who have recorded this fact is Sheikh Sulayman Qanduzi Hanafi, who writes in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 77, concerning the statement: "There will be twelve successors after me."

Yahya Bin Hasan in his Kitabu'l-Umma has narrated in twenty ways that the Holy Prophet said that his successors would be twelve in number, and all of them would be from the Quraish. It has been narrated in three ways in Sahih. Bukhari, in nine ways in Sahih Muslim, in three ways in the Sunan of Abi Dawud, in one way in the Sunan of Tirmidhi, and in three ways in Hamidis Jam'-e-Bainu's-Sahihain.

There are many of your ulema, such as Hamwaini in Fara'id, Khawarizmi and Ibn Maghazili, each in his Manaqib, Imam Tha'labi in Tafsir and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, and Seyyed Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda 10. All have recorded 12 hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas, Ubaya bin Rabi'i Zaid bin Haritha, Abu Huraira and the Commander of the Faithful, Ali. All of these narrate in different, but similar, words that the Prophet said that the number of his successors and Imams would be twelve, and that all of them would be from the Quraish. Some hadith say that they would be from the Bani Hashim. In some traditions, the specific names of the twelve successors have also been given. Some give only the number. I have cited only one example out of the many hadith of your ulema. Now can you cite a single hadith indicating that the number of his successors would be four? Even if there were one such hadith, we would accept it in preference to our own.

Regardless of the fact that you cannot quote a single hadith about your four Imams, there is a great difference between the Shia Imams and your Imams. Our twelve Imams are the divinely appointed successors.

Regarding your Imams, only this much can be conceded: they possessed the knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence) and could interpret the Holy Qur'an and the hadith. Some of them, like Abu Hanifa, according to the admission of your own ulema, were not included among narrators of hadith, jurists, or mujtahids, but were people who relied on their own opinion. This in itself is evidence of their lack of knowledge. On the other hand, the Shia Imams are divinely appointed guides, ordained successors of the Holy Prophet. Of course in every age there are some highly learned jurists and scholars among the Shias who interpret the commands of Allah, keeping in view the Holy Qur'an, the hadith, and the consensus of opinion. We follow the verdicts of such ulema. Although your jurists were pupils of, and derived most of their knowledge from, the Shia Imams, you blindly follow your elders, those of their students who deviated from the bases of knowledge and relied on speculation.

Seyyed: How can you claim that our Imams derived benefits from your Imams?

Well-Wisher: It is an historical fact that Imam Ja'far Sadiq excelled all others in knowledge. The eminent Alim, Nuru'd-Din bin Sabbagh Maliki acknowledges in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma that the holy Imam was conspicuousLy known for his learning. He writes: "People derived knowledge from him in different spheres. People came from distant lands to receive instruction. He became well known in all the lands and the ulema narrated more hadith from him than from any other member of the Ahle Bait...." A large group of the distinguished people of the community, like Yahya Bin Sa'id Ibn Jarih, Malik Bin Anas, Sufyan Thawri, Abu Ainiyya, Abu Ayyub Sijistani, Abu Hanifa, and Saba - all have quoted his narrations.

Kamalu'd-Din Abi Talha also writes in his Manaqib that prominent ulema and religious leaders have quoted hadith from the holy Imam and have gained knowledge from him. Among them he mentions the names of those mentioned in Fusulu'l-Muhimma. Even enemies acknowledged the merits of the holy Imam. For instance, Maliki in his Fusulu'l- Muhimma and particularly Sheikh Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Salmi in his Tabaqatu'l-Masha'ikh write: "Verily, Imam Ja'far Sadiq excelled all his contemporaries. He had instinctive knowledge and expertise in religion, complete piety in the world, abstinence from all worldly desires, and deep wisdom."

And Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i has recorded all these merits of the holy Imam in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, chapter VI, page 81: "This learned man was of the distinguished leaders of the Ahle Bait. He was endowed with deep knowledge and was always in a state of remembrance of Allah. He often recited the Qur'an and gave its interpretation. His companions gathered pearls from the sea of his knowledge. He divided his time in the day and night in different forms of devotion. A visit to him served as a reminder of the hereafter. To listen to his speech led one to adopt piety, and to follow his instructions led to the attainment of paradise. His luminous face signified that he belonged to the family of the Holy Prophet. The purity of his actions also showed that he was of the progeny of the holy Prophet. Many of the ulema have received hadith and gained knowledge from him. Among them were Yahya Bin Sa'id Ansari, Ibn Jarih, Malik Bin Anas, Sufyan Thawri, Ibn Ainiyya, Sha'ba and Ayyub Sijistani. All were grateful for their good fortune and privilege in learning from him."

 

ASSOCIATION OF SHIA'ISM WITH IMAM JA'FAR SADIQ

Nawab: Shias believe in the twelve Imams. Why is Shia'ism associated with the name of Imam Ja'far Sadiq and called the Ja'farite sect?

Well-Wisher: Every prophet, in accordance with the divine command, appoints his successor. Muhammad declared Ali to be his successor and ordered the community to obey him. But after the death of the Prophet, the caliphate was seized by Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. During their caliphate, except during the earlier days, Abu Bakr and Umar consulted Ali on all matters and acted upon his counsel. Moreover, the great ulema and eminent scholars of other religions who came to Medina in search of religious knowledge were completely satisfied with their discussions with Ali. Throughout his life, Ali continued to serve Islam in many ways. After his martyrdom, when the Bani Umayya became rulers, the imamate was cruelly suppressed. Imam Hasan Mujtaba, Imam Husain, Imam Zainu'l-Abidin, and Imam Muhammad Baqir were victims of the extreme cruelty of the Umayyads. All roads of approach to them were closed and except for a few of their followers, others could not benefit from their knowledge. Every one of them was murdered.

In the beginning of the second century after the hijra, however, under the heavy pressure of the atrocities of the Umayyads, the people rose up against them. Bloody fighting ensued between the Bani Abbas and Bani Umayya. While the Bani Umayya were busy defending their own ruler, they could not continue their oppression of the Ahle Bait. Accordingly, Imam Ja'far Sadiq emerged from the seclusion imposed by the Umayyads. He instructed people concerning religious laws. Four thousand lovers of knowledge gathered around his pulpit and quenched their thirst from the holy Imam's limitless ocean of knowledge. Some of his chief companions have recorded four hundred doctrines which are known as Usul-e-Arba'mi'atin - meaning "The 400 Verdicts."

Yafi'iy Yamani wrote that Imam Ja'far excelled all others in his knowledge. Jabir Ibn Hayyan Sufi, wrote a thousand-page compilation, listing nearly 500 booklets based on the teachings of Imam Ja'far.

Some of the great Sunni jurists were also his students. Abu Hanifa, Malik Bin Anas, Yahya Bin Sa'id Ansari, Ibn Jarih, Muhammad Bin Ishaq, Yahya Bin Satid Qattan, Sufyan Bin 'Uyayna, Sufyan Thawri - all benefitted from his immense learning. This great flowering of learning occurred at this time because the Bani Umayya obstructed the way of his ancestors, and unfortunately the Bani Abbas would restrain his descendants from speaking freely. The reality of Shia'ism was unveiled and the merits of the Ahle Muhammad were proclaimed by Ja'far Sadiq. Accordingly, this sect became known as "Ja'fari," but there is no difference between Imam Sadiq and any of the four Imams among his ancestors and the four Imams who preceded him or the six who came after him. All were divinely commissioned spiritual guides.

Although both friends and enemies recognized his excellence in knowledge and perfection in all merits, your predecessors refused to treat him as the most learned theologian and perfect man of his age. They refused to recognize his school of law along with the other four schools, even though he held the most exalted rank in learning and devotion, as admitted by your own ulema. Since he belonged to the Ahle Bait of the Holy Prophet, he had a right to receive preference over others. In spite of these factors, your fanatical ulema have shown such callous disregard for the progeny of their Prophet that your high-ranking theologians, like Bukhari and Muslim, would not even record hadith from this faqih (jurist) or the Ahle Bait. Moreover, they did not quote hadith from any of the Imams or Sa'dat of the holy progeny: Alawi, Husaini, Abidi, Musawi, Rizawi or from such ulema and jurists, like Zaid Bin Ali Bin Husain, the Martyr, Yahya Bin Zaid, Muhammad Bin Abdullah, Husain Bin Ali, Yahya Bin Abdullah Bin Hasan and his brother Idris, Muhammad Bin Ja'far Sadiq, Muhammad Bin Ibrahim, Muhammad Bin Zaid, Abdullah Bin Hasan, Ali Bin Ja'far (Arizi), and others, all of whom were outstanding ulema and jurists and who belonged to the family of the Prophet.

On the other hand, they have quoted hadith from people Like Abu Huraira, whose character is known to you all, and from the great liar and forger, Akrama, the Kharijite. Your own ulema have confirmed that these men were liars and yet, they accept their hadith with all their hearts. Ibn Bayyit writes that Bukhari has quoted as many as 1,200 hadith from the Kharijis and Nasibis, like Imam Bin Hattan, the admirer of Ibn Muljim, the murderer of the Commander of the Faithful. The followers of Imam-e-Azam (Abu Hanifa), Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Hanbal consider them pure Muslims though none of them belonged to the Ahle Bait of the Prophet, and every one of those sects is free to adopt his own

ways though there are great differences in fundamentals as well as practices among them. How regrettable it is that they call the followers of Ja'far Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq infidels! And in all places dominated by Sunnis, including Mecca, about which Allah says, "Whoever enters it is free," they are not free to express their faith or to perform their prayers. So you good people should know that we Shias are not the cause of differences in Islam; we have not brought about disunity among Muslims. As a matter of fact, much of the disruption appears from your side. It is you who call 100 million Muslims infidels, although they are faithful believers along with you.

Hafiz: It is true, as you said, that I am not an unjust man. I admit that there have been outrages due to fanaticism. I would like to say without any pretension or flattery, that I have benefitted greatly from your talk and have learned a great deal. But with your permission, let me say one thing, which is a complaint, as well as a defense of the worthy Sunni Sect. Can you tell me why Shia preachers and ulema like you do not check your common people from making statements which lead to unbelief? The result is that others get a chance to use the word unbelief against them. A man may become the target of attacks because he has made an improper assertion. So you people should also not make the Sunnis the target of your attacks. The Shias utter things which affect the hearts of the Sunnis, who in turn ascribe unbelief to the Shia.

Well-Wisher: May I know which statements or actions lead to unbelief?

Hafiz: The Shias find fault with the chief companions and some of the pure wives of the Prophet; this is obviously an act of unbelief. Since the companions fought for years with the Prophet against the infidels, it is obvious that their services were free from all moral imperfection. They certainly deserve Paradise, particularly those who gained divine blessings. According to the Holy Qur'an: "Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree." (48:18)

There is no doubt that the Holy Prophet respected them. One who denies their excellence is certainly misled. The Qur'an says: "Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed." (53:3-4) Such a person denies the Holy Prophet and the Holy Qur'an, and one who denies them is undoubtedly an infidel.

Well-Wisher: I hoped that such topics would not be raised in this public meeting. My reply might reach the uninformed people, and they might spread adverse propaganda. It would be better if we discussed these matters privately. I will call on you some day, and we will solve this problem in private.

Hafiz: I am sorry, but many of our people for the past several nights have insisted that this topic be discussed. Your discussion is always reasonable. If you make a convincing reply, there will be no unpleasant repercussions. Otherwise, you concede the point to us.

Nawab: It is right. We all want the issue to be resolved here and now.

Well-Wisher: I only comply with your wish. I did not expect that an able man like you, after the complete explanations that I have given during previous nights on the question of infidelity would attribute infidelity to the Shia sect. I have already submitted complete proof that the Shia Ithna Asharis are the followers of Muhammad and his holy descendants. You have raised several issues. I will reply to each of them separately.

 

CRITICIZING THE COMPANIONS DOES NOT MEAN INFIDELITY

First, you said that Shia criticism of the Companions (sahaba) and some of the wives of the Prophet leads to infidelity. I don't understand the basis of this statement. If criticism is supported by evidence, it may be allowed. And even if one makes a false charge, this doesn't make him an infidel. He would be called a sinner, like one who drinks wine or commits fornication. And certainly every sin against divine law is pardonable.

Ibn Hazm Zahiri Andalusi (born 456 A.H.) says in his book Al-Fasl fi'l-milal wa'n-Nihal Part III, page 227: "If one abuses the companions of the Prophet ignorantly, he is not to blame. If he does it with knowledge, he is a sinner like other sinners who commit fornication, theft, etc. Of course if he curses them intentionally since they are the companions of the Prophet, he is an infidel because such behavior' amounts to enmity against Allah and His Prophet. Otherwise, simply abusing the companions does not amount to infidelity."

Accordingly, Caliph Umar asked the Prophet to permit him to behead Hatib, the hypocrite, although he was one of the great companions, a muhajir (emigre), and one who took part in the Battle of Badr. For his abusing and attributing hypocrisy to him, Umar was not called an infidel. So how is it possible that the Shias should be called infidels for abusing some of the companions, supposing for the moment that what you say is correct. Moreover, the great ulema of your sect have rejected your point. Among them is Qazi Abdu'r-Rahman Shafi'i, who in his Muwafiq has rejected the reasoning of your fanatic ulema about the infidelity of the Shias. And Muhammad Ghazali writes that cursing and abusing the companions is never an infidelity; even cursing the two sheikhs does not constitute infidelity.

Mulla Sa'd Taftazani writes in Sharhe Aqa'id-e-Nas'i that "Some intolerant people say that those who curse the Sahaba are infidels. It is difficult to accept that view. Their infidelity is not proved because some of the ulema favored them, overlooked their evil deeds, and made foolish pleas in their support. They said that the companions of the Prophet were free from all sin, although this assertion was contrary to facts. Sometimes they fought among themselves. Jealously and love for power often moved them to commit evil actions. Even some of the prominent sahaba were not free from sinful actions. So if, on the basis of some evidence, one criticizes them, he should not be condemned for it. Some people, because they favored the sahaba, covered up their evil actions. But some did record their evil actions and censured them."

Apart from this, Ibn Athir Jazari, the author of Jam'u'l-Usul, has included the Shias in Islamic sects, so how can you call them infidels? During the period of the first caliphs, some people cursed the sahaba for their evil deeds. Nevertheless, the caliphs did not order them to be put to death for their infidelity. Accordingly, Hakim Nishapuri in his Mustadrak, Part IV, pages 335, 354, Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad Part 1, Page 9, Dhahabi in his Talkhise Mustadrak, Qazi Ayaz in his Kitab -e-Shifa, Part IV, chapter 1 and Imam Ghazali in his Ihya'u'l-Ulum, Volume II, report that during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, a man came to him and uttered such filthy language and curses against him that those present there were moved to indignation. Abu Barza Salmi asked the Caliph if he would permit him to kill the man because he had become an infidel. Abu Bakr said that it could not be since no one except the Prophet could pass such a judgement.

 

CALIPHS THEMSELVES DID NOT REGARD CURSING THEM AS INFIDELITY

In fact, the Sunni gentlemen surpass even those whom they support. The Caliphs themselves heard abuses and charged people with infidelity or ordered them to be killed. Moreover, if cursing the sahaba is a cause of infidelity, why don't you call Mu'awiya and his followers infidels. They cursed and abused the most perfect of the sahaba, Ali Bin Abu Talib. Being selective in this matter only shows that your aim is something else. You wish to fight against the Ahle Bait and their followers! If cursing the sahaba is infidelity, why don't you charge Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha with infidelity? All your historians have said that she frequently abused Caliph Uthman and openly declared: "Kill this old idiot, for truly he has become an infidel." If, however, a Shia says that it was good that Uthman was murdered because he was an infidel, you will instantly rise up against him. But when A'yesha told Uthman to his face that he was na'thal and an infidel, neither the Caliph forbade her to do so nor did the sahaba reproach her. Nor do you find fault with her.

Nawab: Respected sir, what do you mean by the term na'thal?

Well-Wisher: Firuzabadi, who is one of your high-ranking ulema, gives its meaning in his Qamusu'l-Lughat as "an old idiot." Also there was a Jew with a long beard in Medina with this name, with whom Uthman was compared. The commentator on Qamus, Allama Qazwini, also giving the same meaning, says that Ibn Hajar in his Tabsiratu'l-Muntaha, writes, "Na'thal, the Jew with a long beard, lived in Medina; he resembled Uthman very much."

 

CALIPH ABU BAKR ABUSED ALI

Finally, if one who abuses the sahaba is an infidel, why did Caliph Abu Bakr, in the presence of sahaba and a gathering of Muslims, abuse the most exalted sahabi, Ali Bin Abi Talib? You praise the merits of Abu Bakr although you should condemn him.

Hafiz: Why do you falsely accuse him of this charge? When did Caliph Abu Bakr abuse Caliph Ali?

Well-Wisher: Excuse me! We do not report anything until we have made complete inquiries. Perhaps you should consult Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume IV, page 80, where it is recorded that Abu Bakr, taunting Ali from the pulpit of the mosque, said: "He (Ali) is a fox, the evidence of which is its tail. He creates disturbances, minimizes the importance of big disturbances, and incites people to make an uproar. He seeks help from the weak and accepts assistance from women. He is like Ummi't-Tahal (an adulteress in the days of ignorance, as explained by Ibn Abi'l-Hadid) with whom the men of his family were fond of committing adultery."

Now you may compare Abu Bakr's abuse of Ali with the criticism made by Shias against the sahaba. If abusing any of the sahaba amounts to infidelity, then Abu Bakr, his daughter, A'yesha, Mu'awiya and his followers should be labelled infidels. If it does not constitute infidelity, then you cannot call the Shias infidels on that score.

 

CALIPH UMAR HELD THAT CURSING A MUSLIM IS NOT INFIDELITY

Moreover, according to the verdicts of your own great jurists and Caliphs, those who curse the Caliphs are not infidels. Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad, Volume III, Ibn Sa'd Katib in his Kitab-e-Tabaqat, Qazi Ayaz in his Shifa, part IV of chapter 1, report that the governor of Caliph Umar, Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz, wrote from Kufa that a man had reviled and abused Umar Ibn Khattab, the second Caliph. The governor sought permission to execute the man. Umar Ibn Khattab replied that it was not permissible to take the life of a Muslim for abusing or cursing any Muslim excepting one who abuses the Prophet.

 

ACCORDING TO ABU'L-HASAN ASH'ARI EVEN CALLING ALLAH OR HOLY PROPHET BY EVIL NAMES IS NOT INFIDELITY

Some of your prominent ulema, like, Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari and his followers, believe that if a man has faith in his heart and yet displays infidelity (by practicing Judaism or Christianity, for example) or rises up to fight against the Prophet, or calls Allah or the Prophet evil names, even then he is not an infidel. Faith means belief in the heart and since no one can be aware of another's heart, it cannot be said whether the apparent infidelity was from the heart or not. The Ash'ari ulema have also discussed these issues in their books. Ibn Hazm Andalusi has written in detail about these points in his Kitabu'l-Fazl (Part IV, page 204, 206). In light of these facts what right have you to charge the Shias with infidelity?

 

MOST COMPANIONS ABUSED ONE ANOTHER BUT NOT REGARDED AS INFIDELS

In your authentic books, like Musnad of Ahmad Hanbal, Volume II, page 236; Sirat-e-Halabiyya, Volume II, page 107, Sahih Bukhari, Volume II, page 74, Sahih Muslim, Kitab-e-Jihad wa Asbabu'n-Nuzul Wahidi, page 118, there are many hadith indicating that most of the companions abused each other in the presence of the Holy Prophet. But the Prophet didn't call these men infidels. He admonished them. (The narrations about these quarrels and mutual enmity are recorded only in the books of the Sunnis, not in Shia books). In view of these remarks, I hope that you are satisfied that cursing or abusing any companion does not constitute infidelity. If we curse someone without any reason, we will be

sinners, not infidels. And every sin is forgivable.

 

HOLY PROPHET OF ISLAM KNEW ALL GOOD AND BAD ACTIONS OF SAHABA

Second, you said that the Prophet respected and honored his companions. This is correct. In addition, all Muslims and men of learning agree that the Holy Prophet knew the good and bad actions of the people. He appreciated their good deeds. Accordingly, he esteemed Nushirwan's justice and Hatim Ta'i's munificence. If he respected someone, it was for his good deeds. But appreciation shown to one for doing a good deed, does not prove that his end will be fortunate. Perhaps he will commit evil deeds in the future. If he does, upbraiding him beforehand, is unjustified, even though it may be known that he will commit the sin in the future. Ali knew of the sin and damned end of Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi and repeatedly told him that he was his assassin. At one point he explicitly said: "I want him to live, but he is bent upon killing me, and this treacherous friend belongs to the clan of the Murad." This statement has been recorded by Ibn Hajar Makki towards the end of Part I of Sawa'iq, page 72. Yet Ali did not intend to punish him. Hence, the hadith which indicates that the merit of some particular action or statement is not necessarily influential for all time to come.

Source: al-islam.org


Other Links:

Peshawar Nights: Characteristics of the Companions  

Peshawar Nights: Hadith that both Hasan and Hussein are foremost of youth of paradise

Peshawar Nights: Holy Prophet preferred Ali to all other men 

Peshawar Nights: Argument from the Verse of Cave and its reply   

Peshawar Nights: 300 Hundred verses in praise of Ali  

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