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  • 11/12/2011

Peshawar Nights: After the Holy Prophet Ali was the guide of the community

Tenth Session-part 5


*After the Holy Prophet Ali was the guide of the community

*Ali hated corrupt politics

*Rebellion during Amiru'l‌Mu'minin's Caliphate was due to enmity against him

*A'yesha was largely responsible for the revolt against Ali

*Ali's battles of Jamal, Siffin, and Nahrwan were like the battles of the Holy Prophet against the infidels

*Ali possessed knowledge of the unseen world

*Vicegerents of Prophets also had knowledge of the unseen



Addressing the Holy Prophet, Muhammad, Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: "You are only a warner and (there is ) a guide for every people." (13:7)

Imam Tha'labi, in his Tafsir-e-Kashfu'l-Bayan; Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari in his Tafsir; Muhammad Bin Yusuf GanJi Shafi'i, in Kifayatu't-Talib, ch.62, from Ta'rikh-e-Ibn Asakir; Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda end of ch. 26 from Tha'labi, Hamwaini, Hakim, Abu'l-Qasim Haskani, Ibn Sabbagh Maliki, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamdani and the Manaqib of Khawarizmi, reporting on the authority of Ibn Abbas, Amiru'l-Mu'minin and Abu Buraid Aslami in different words, have narrated eleven hadith whose main point is that, when the above verse was revealed, the Holy Prophet, putting his hand on his own chest, said: "I am the warner." Then, putting his hand on Ali's chest, he said: "After me you are the guide of the community. Those who receive guidance from you will be the guided ones."



You also said that even after 25 years, when he was caliph, it was due to his lack of experience in politics that disturbances and bloodshed resulted. I'm not sure what you mean by politics. If politics means deceitfulness, conspiring, and intermingling right and wrong (as the people in all ages have done in order to secure power), I would acknowledge that Ali was far removed from such politics. To me politics means justice and the exercise of rightful authority.



Ali who was an embodiment of justice, kept aloof from corrupt politics. As I said earlier, when Amiru'l-Mu'minin assumed the apparent caliphate, he immediately deposed all former officials and servants. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (his cousin) and others said: "It would be better if you would postpone this order for a few days, so that the officials and governors of the regions accept your caliphate. Then you might dismiss them."

The Holy Imam said: "You have given me counsel regarding the politics of this matter. But you do not understand that if I am swayed by what is called 'politics' and allow oppressive rulers to remain at their posts, even though it would be for a short time, I would be answerable to Allah for that period. At the time of questioning, I would be accountable for that. This cannot be expected of Ali."

In order to restore justice Ali immediately ordered the dismissal of the oppressive rulers. This measure led to the opposition of Mu'awiya, Talha, Zubair, and others who staged a revolt and caused great tumult and bloodshed in the country.

Respected gentlemen! You misunderstand the issue. Since you have not inquired into the matter, you are misled by propagandists who claim that the rebellion during Ali's caliphate was due to his lack of knowledge of politics. No. There were other factors at work.



First, for 25 years people had been encouraged to oppose Ali. It was therefore difficult for them to accept his vicegerency and caliphate or to acknowledge his exalted rank. An example of this opposition occurred on the first day of the caliphate. A nobleman entered the gate of the mosque and, seeing the Imam on the pulpit, shouted: "May that eye be blinded which sees Ali on the pulpit instead of Caliph Umar!"

Second, it was not possible for worldly men to accept Ali's justice, particularly since their self-indulgence had been given a free rein during the caliphate of Uthman. Hence, they rose against him, so that somebody who could satisfy their desires might assume power. Their wishes were fulfilled during the caliphate of Mu'awiya. Accordingly, Talha and Zubair at first swore allegiance to Ali, but when their demands for authority were not satisfied, they broke their allegiance and openly opposed him in the Battle of the Camel.



Third, history tells us who the real instigator was of the disturbances from the beginning of the caliphate. Was it any other than Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha? Was it not A'yesha who, according to the statements of both Sunni and Shia traditionists, mounted on a camel (against the express ordinance of Allah and His Holy Prophet that she should stay in her house) reached Basra and provoked a large battle?

You claim that internecine battles were due to Ali's lack of political insight. This is a highly misleading statement. If A'yesha had not revolted against him, no one would have had the courage to oppose Ali, after the Holy Prophet had clearly declared: "To fight against Ali is to fight against me." A'yesha incited the people to fight against Ali.



Ali's battles against the enemies and hypocrites at Basra, Siffin, and Nahrwan were like the battles of the Holy Prophet against the infidels.

Sheikh: How were the battles against the Muslims like the battles against the infidels?

Well-Wisher: Your illustrious ulema, like Ahmad Bin Hanbal in his Musnad; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira; Sulayman Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda; Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Khasa'isu'l-Alawi; Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul; Muhammad Bin Talha Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, ch. 37, and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, v.I, p.67, have reported that the Holy Prophet prophesied Ali's battles against the "Nakisin", "Qasitin", and "Mariqin", among whom the "Nakisin" meant Talha, Zubair and their companions; "Qasitin" meant Mu'awiya and his followers; and "Mariqin" meant the Kharijis (Secessionists) of Nahrwan. All of them were rebels whose slaughter was permissible and the Holy Prophet ordered the same punishment for them when he foretold the fighting of those battles.

Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, ch.37, has reported a hadith from Sa'id Bin Jabir, who reported it from Ibn Abbas, that the Prophet said to Umm Salma: "This is Ali Bin Abi Talib. His flesh is my flesh, his blood is my blood, and he is to me what Aaron was to Moses except that there will be no prophet after me. Umm Salma, this Ali is the chief of the believers, the chief of the Muslims, the repository of my knowledge, my successor, and the gate of knowledge. He is my brother in this world and in the hereafter; he is with me in the most exalted place; he will fight against the 'Nakisin,' 'Qasitin,' and 'Mariqin.'"

After citing this hadith Muhammad Bin Yusuf says that this hadith proves that the Holy Prophet had informed Ali about the battles against those three groups and that he had ordered Ali to fight against the three groups.

Makhnaf Bin Salim is reported to have said that when Abu Ayyub Ansari (who was a distinguished companion of the Holy Prophet) was going with an army to fight in the battle, he said: "Abu Ayyub! How strange of you! You are the same man who fought against the polytheists on the side of the Holy Prophet, but now you are bent upon fighting against Muslims!" Then Abu Ayyub said: "The Holy Prophet ordered me to fight against the three groups: they are the Nakisin, the Qasitin, and the Mariqin."

Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Khasa'isu'l-Alawi, Hadith 155, reporting from Abu Sa'id Khadiri and Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabi, p.59,(ch.II) from Jam'u'l-Fawa'id says that Abu Sa'id said: "We were sitting with the companions, waiting for the Holy Prophet. When the Holy Prophet came towards us, we saw that his shoe buckle was broken. He tossed his shoe to Ali, who began mending it. Then the Holy Prophet said: 'Verily, there is one among you who shall fight in defense of the proper interpretation of the Holy Qur'an as I have fought (against the infidels).'

Then Abu Bakr said: 'I am that man?'

The Holy Prophet said, 'No!'

Then Umar said: 'Is it I?'

The Holy Prophet said: 'No! It is the man who is mending my shoes.' "

This hadith shows that Ali's battles were fought for the proper interpretation of the Holy Qur'an. It follows, therefore, that the civil disruptions of Ali's caliphate were not due to political weakness of Amiru'l-Mu'minin but were due to the enmity of the opponents.



You gentlemen might find it enlightening to study the instructions Ali sent to his governors and military and civil officers. For instance, the orders and instructions which he sent to Malik Ashtar and Muhammad Bin Abu Bakr for the governance of Egypt, to Uthman Bin Hunaif and Abdullah Bin Abbas of Basra, and to Qutham Bin Abbas for the administration of Mecca are models of excellent public administration as well as social justice. These documents are part of the Nahju'l-Balagha.



This fact has been acknowledged by both followers of Ali and enemies. The Holy Imam was Imamu'l-Muttaqin (chief of the pious). He had complete knowledge of the meaning of the Holy Qur'an. Moreover, he possessed knowledge of the unseen world.

Sheikh: I have not followed your vague sentence that Ali possessed knowledge of the unseen world. Kindly explain it.

Well-Wisher: There is nothing vague in it. To be aware of the unseen means to know the secrets of the universe, which were known through divine favor by all the prophets and their vicegerents. Each was given as much knowledge of the unseen as Allah considered necessary for them to deliver his message. After the Holy Prophet, Amiru'l-Mu'minin was endowed with such knowledge.

Sheikh: I never expected that you would uphold the views of the fanatic Shias. This praise is so excessive that even the praised one would not accept it. To have knowledge of the unseen is an attribute peculiar to Allah alone, none of His creatures can have any concern with it.

Well-Wisher: Believing that the great prophets, their vicegerents, and other exalted servants of Allah possessed knowledge of the unseen has nothing to do with fanaticism. Rather, it was one of their merits, which showed their submission to Allah. We have clear proof of this fact from hadith and the Holy Qur'an.



Sheikh: The Holy Qur'an contradicts your statement.

Well-Wisher: Can you recite those verses which contradict my statement?

Sheikh: There are many verses in the Holy Qur'an, which support my view. For instance, the Holy Qur'an says: "And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures - none knows them but He; and He knows what is in the land and the sea; and there falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green nor dry but (it is all) in a clear book." (6:59)

This is the most convincing evidence that no one except Allah has knowledge of the unseen. If somebody believes in any one else having knowledge of the unseen, he has made one of His creatures an associate in the attributes of Allah.

You claim that Ali was aware of the unseen. This means that apart from your making him an associate in the attributes of Allah, you have made his rank higher than that of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet repeatedly said: "I am a man like you. Allah alone knows the unseen." The Holy Prophet clearly expressed his lack of knowledge of the unseen.

Have you read the verse of the Holy Qur'an, which says: "Say: I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your God is one God." (18:110)

That is, the only difference between you and me is that revelation from Allah comes to me.

At another place Allah says: "Say: I do not control any benefit or harm for my own soul except as Allah please; and had I known the unseen I would have had much of good and no evil would have touched me; I am nothing but a warner and the giver of good news to a people who believe." (7:188)

And again: "And I say not to you that with me are the treasures of Allah and I know not the unseen." (11:31)

Allah says again: "Say: No one in the heavens or in the earth know the unseen but Allah: And they know not when they shall be raised." (2:65)

The Holy Prophet himself admitted that he did not know the unseen and that its knowledge was peculiar to Allah. How can you claim that Ali had such knowledge?

Your belief is an attempt to assert Ali's superiority to the Holy Prophet. Doesn't the Holy Qur'an say: "Nor is Allah going to make you acquainted with the unseen...." (3:179) On what principle do you believe that anyone but Allah has knowledge of the unseen?

Well-Wisher: The preface to your statement is correct. But the conclusion you have drawn is faulty. You have said that the Knower of the unseen is Allah; that the keys of the unseen are with Allah Almighty; and that according to the last verse of the Sura al-Kahf (The Cave), the last of the Prophets, all other prophets, the vicegerents, and the holy Imams were similar to other human beings. In their physical structure they were created like all others. All these things are true, and the Shia sect accepts them all. Also, the verses you have recited are perfectly true in their proper context.

But the words "the Holy Prophet" from the sura Hud refer to the Prophet Noah. Verse 50 of the sura of al-An'am (The Cattle) refers to our exalted Prophet. When the infidels asked him why there were no signs of his having treasures of God or Knowledge of the unseen, this was revealed: "Say I do not say to you 'I have with me the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel; I do not follow aught save what is revealed to me.'" (6:50)

This verse was in response to the ignorant assumption that the Prophet's actions could be influenced by worldly considerations. As for the knowledge of the unseen, we believe that the prophets and their vicegerents possessed it. I do not associate them with Allah's attributes. But this gift is part of wahi and ilham (revelation and inspiration from Allah) which removed the curtains of ignorance from their sight and disclosed realities to them. I shall explain this in detail.



We Shias of the Imamiyya sect believe that knowledge is of two kinds: Dhati and Arzi.

Dhati, or self-existent knowledge, is peculiar to Allah. We can acknowledge it but cannot comprehend its reality. In whatever way we might try to explain it, self-existent knowledge is beyond the comprehension of human beings.

Arzi, or acquired knowledge, is that which is not intrinsically present in man, whether he is a prophet or not. He is benefited by it later. This knowledge too is of two kinds: tahsili and ladunni. Tahsili is the knowledge acquired through study and experience. If a student pursues the normal course of education, for instance, he goes to school and learns from his teacher. If Allah wills, he will acquire knowledge according to his labor and the time that he spends in learning.

Ladunni refers to that knowledge which man receives directly from Allah. He does not learn it through letters and words but receives it directly from the All-Beneficent. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: "And whom we had taught knowledge from ourselves." (18:65)

Shias do not claim that knowledge of the unseen was self-existent in the Holy Prophet or the Imams or that they understood the unseen as Allah Almighty does. What we say is that Allah is not confined or limited. He can give knowledge and power to anyone He likes. Sometimes He gives knowledge to man by means of a teacher and sometimes directly from Himself. This directly-bestowed knowledge is called the knowledge of the unseen.

Sheikh: Your first statement is correct, but the divine will does not allow such unnatural things as granting a man the knowledge of the unseen directly, that is, without the agency of a teacher.

Well-Wisher: No, you and your friends are mistaken. In fact, you often unknowingly contradict most of your own eminent scholars. Allah bestowed upon all His prophets and their successors knowledge of the unseen. Whatever was required for them to perform their mission.

Sheikh: In the face of these verses of the Holy Qur'an, which explicitly reject the idea of man's knowledge of the unseen, what evidence do you have to support your point?

Well-Wisher: We are not opposed to the verses of the Holy Qur'an. Every verse of the Holy Qur'an was revealed for some particular purpose, which was, according to the circumstances, sometimes negative and sometimes positive. That is why it is said that among the verses of the Holy Qur'an one verse strengthens another. Because the unbelievers often demanded miracles from the Holy Prophet, the negative verses cited above were revealed. In order to prove the real objective, positive verses were also revealed so that the position might be clear.



Sheikh: This is very strange. You say that there are positive evidences in the Holy Qur'an that the prophets possessed knowledge of the unseen. Kindly recite these verses.

Well-Wisher: Do not feel astonished. You know them.

Allah Almighty says: "The Knower of the unseen! So He does not reveal His secrets to any except to him whom He chooses as an apostle; for surely he makes a guard to march before him and after him, so that He may know that they have truly delivered the message of their Lord, and He encompasses what is with them, and He records the number of all things." (72:26-28)

This verse shows that the exalted messengers of Allah who are endowed with the knowledge of the unseen are an exception.

Second, the verse of the sura of the Family of Imran, part of which you recited, proves my point. The whole verse reads as follows: "Nor is Allah going to acquaint you with the unseen, but Allah chooses of His apostles whom He pleases; therefore believe in Allah and His apostles; and if you believe and guard (against evil), then you shall have a great reward." (3:179)

Both these verses clearly show that the messengers of Allah were given knowledge of the unseen. If no one except Allah possessed knowledge of the unseen, the clause "chooses of His apostles whom He pleases" would be meaningless.

Allah says in the sura of Hud: "These are announcements relating to the unseen which We reveal to you; you did not know them - (neither) you nor your people - before this; therefore be patient; surely the end is for those who guard (against evil)." (11:49)

In the sura of The Counsel He says: "And thus did We reveal to you an inspired book by Our command. You did not know what the Book was, nor (what) the faith (was), but We made it a light, guiding thereby whom We please of Our servants." (42:52)

If knowledge of the unseen did not exist in the world, how did the prophets disclose unknown things and tell people about their (the People's) private lives? Is it not in the Holy Qur'an what Jesus said to the Bani Israel? "And I will declare to you what you eat and what you store up in your houses."(3:49)

If I cite all the verses of the Holy Qur'an, which support this fact, it would take a long time. This much seems sufficient.

Sheikh: Such statements encourage the soothsayers, diviners, palmists, astrologers, and other cheats who deceive the people and fill their own pockets with money.



Well-Wisher: Belief in truth does not lead to bad results. It is people's ignorance which victimizes them. If Muslims followed the possessor of knowledge, according to the instructions of the Holy Prophet, in particular, if they had not forsaken the gate of knowledge from the very beginning, they would not have fallen victim to wicked people. The Holy Qur'an clearly says "Whomsoever He chooseth from the Prophets." The word "prophet" clearly indicates that there are chosen servants of Allah who receive knowledge of the unseen directly from Him, without having to learn it through the usual means.

If any man who is not a prophet or Imam claims that he can predict the unseen through astrology, palmistry, or casting lots to tell fortunes, he is a liar. The true Muslims, who follow the Holy Qur'an never believe in such people, nor do they fall prey to their deceit because they know that they should not follow any but the Holy Qur'an and the bearers and commentators of the Holy Qur'an that is, the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his progeny, who are analogous to the Qur'an.

In short, if anyone except the Holy Prophet and his pure successors claims that he has knowledge of the unseen and says that he can foretell future events he is decidedly an imposter, whatever way he may adopt.



Sheikh: Since the prophets received divine revelations, they had, according to your statement, knowledge of the unseen. But was Ali also a prophet? Or was he associated in the affairs of prophethood through which he knew the unseen?

Well-Wisher: First, why are you misleading us by using the words "according to your statement"? Instead of it why do you not use the words "according to the statement of Allah"? I am not saying anything of my own accord. I cite the ordinance of the Holy Qur'an, and on the basis of the statements of the interpreter of the Holy Qur'an, the Holy Prophet, I am disclosing its real meaning.

I have submitted to you, on the basis of the evidences of the Qur'anic verses, that the prophets and messengers of Allah were exalted men and had the knowledge of the unseen. Your own eminent ulema have admitted this fact and have been inclined to report the instances of the Holy Prophet possessing knowledge of the unseen.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, v.I, p.67 (printed Egypt), reports a hadith from the Holy Prophet that he said to Ali: "After me, you will fight against the Nakisin, the Qasitin and the Mariqin." He says that this is one of the proofs of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet because it clearly predicts the unknown future. The predicted events occurred approximately 30 years later, exactly as they had been foretold.

Second, the Shias do not claim that Amiru'l-Mu'minin or the holy Imams were prophets. We believe that Muhammad was the last prophet of Allah. No one was associated with him in the prophethood. We believe that if anyone had a belief contrary to this, he is an unbeliever. Of course we believe in the divinely commissioned imamate of Ali and regard eleven of his descendants as our Holy Imams and the rightful successors and caliphs of the Holy Prophet. We believe that Allah Almighty had endowed them with knowledge of the unseen through the Holy Prophet.

We believe that ordinary people's perception is veiled so that they can see only visible things. The same was true for the prophets and vicegerents except that, according to the time and circumstance, Allah, the All-Knowing, removed the veil and disclosed necessary information to them from the unseen world. And when knowledge of the unseen was not necessary, the veil separated them too from the other world.

Hence, the Holy Prophet once said: "If I knew the unseen, indeed, I would have had much of good." That is, intrinsically, he possessed no knowledge of the unseen. He knew it only when, with Allah's blessings, the veil was lifted.

Sheikh: How and where did the Holy Prophet give people information about the unseen?

Well-Wisher: In the light of the verse of the Holy Qur'an, to which I have already referred, do you consider Muhammad the seal of the prophets, the Murtaza (the chosen one), and the true Prophet of Allah?

Sheikh: It is a strange question. Obviously the Holy Prophet was the Murtaza and the last of the prophets.

Well-Wisher: Then according to the holy verse: "The knower of the unseen! So He does not reveal His secrets to any except to him whom He chooses as an apostle," (72:26) the Holy Prophet possessed knowledge of the unseen. This verse clearly says that Allah gives His knowledge of the unseen to His chosen prophet.

Sheikh: Assuming that the Holy Prophet possessed knowledge of the unseen, how does this relate to your claim that Ali possessed this knowledge also?

Well-Wisher: Again, if you people would objectively examine the authentic hadith and sunna of the Holy Prophet, you would soon understand the facts relating to this and many other issues.

Sheikh: If our wisdom is limited, you have, by the grace of Allah, a broad mind and an eloquent tongue. Kindly relate the hadith which proves that Ali possessed knowledge of the unseen. If knowledge of the unseen is necessary for the successors of the Holy Prophets, there should be no exception to this condition. All the successors, particularly the great caliphs, should have possessed knowledge of the unseen, though we see that none of the caliphs ever claimed to possess it. Rather, like the Holy Prophet, they expressed their inability to know it. Why then do you make Ali an exception?

Well-Wisher: First, I have already told you that the Holy Prophet did not possess the inherent power of knowing the unseen. When he said: "If I knew the unseen, indeed I would have had much good," he meant that knowledge of the unseen was not inherent in him, as it was in Allah. When Allah removed the veil from the Holy Prophet, he came to know the hidden realities.

Source: al-islam.org

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