Shia Encyclopedia

ID Book

A Shi'ite Encyclopedia

Version 2.0 October 1995

Revised January 2001

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Editor: Ali Abbas

Digital Publisher: www.ghadirestan.com

Introduction

Respected Reader,

'assalamu alaykum,

The editor of this work is pleased to announce the release of the "Shia Encyclopedia", which forms itself as the collection of articles that emanated from an intra-faith dialogue, ranging from exploring commonalities, differences and a train of thought specific to the Shia (also known as the school of the Ahlul Bayt).

We are pleased to release a collection of information which addresses inter-school related issues between the school of Ahlul Bayt and the Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah. This encyclopedia which covers the most important lines of thought of the Ahlul Bayt, is the contribution of various individuals.

Most of the articles provided in this encyclopedia are original contributions, while the rest are excerpts from the Ahlul Bayt and the Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah books.

The information presented in this encyclopedia is based on the understanding and the knowledge of the contributors. The subjects are classified and are divided into several chapters, so that one can get an overhead view of all the major issues.

The approach taken with respect to the sources can be delineated as follows:

1. When an article references both sources from the school of the Ahlul Bayt and the school of the Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah it is meant to impress on the reader the common areas of understanding

2. When an article references both sources from the school of the Ahlul Bayt and the school of the Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah it is also meant to impress on the reader the areas where the understanding has diverged

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3. When an article references both sources from the school of the Ahlul Bayt and the school of the Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah it is also meant to impress on the reader the areas where the understanding is common, but whether they school of Ahlul Bayt has more detail to shed light in the subject matter

4. When an article references only sources from the school of the Ahlul Bayt, it is meant to impress on the reader that this subject only finds its mention in this school and not the school of the Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah

5. When an article references only sources from the school of Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah, it is meant to impress that the same beliefs also exist in the school of the Ahlul Bayt but that the former school followers are not privy to

6. When an article references only sources from the school of Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama'ah in detail, it is meant to impress to the reader of the divergence of opinion on that particular matter

This approach ensures that each school of thought is properly represented, for more than often, it is the deliberate misrepresentation, distortion, that is meant not just to villify the other school, but also wilfully misrepresent them, that is the underlying cause of dis-information

We are grateful that in this day and age, when avenues of communication are wide open, access to the primary texts is easily attainable, scholarship is available in the form of written books from both schools, that the need to forge an understanding on the truth becomes critical and even leaves us with the ethical and moral obligation to undertake such an endeavor.

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This is the magnificent path which Prophet Muhammad (S) introduced to humanity centuries ago, as mentioned in Qur’an:

"(O’ Prophet) Say: ‘This is my way: I do invite you unto Allah, on discernment (insight and enlightenment), I and whoever follows me.’“(Qur’an 12:108)

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. (Qur'an, 16:125)

We hope you’ll find this encyclopedia helpful and constructive, and we thank God for giving us this opportunity.

The articles are being modified and improved. We appreciate your comments, improvements and corrections. Your feedback makes this work more insightful. Please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking on the "Contact Us” link.

Blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad and the Members of his House.

Best wishes,

‘Ali Abbas

Editor

Preliminary Notes

• SWT = "Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala”= Exalted He is (used for Allah)

• S = Peace be upon him and his family (used for Prophet Muhammad)

• as = "Alayhi al-Salam”= Peace be upon him (used for the prophets and the Imams)

• RA = "Radhiyallah Anh/Anha”= may Allah be pleased with him/her

Please note that the addresses of Sahih al-Bukhari which are given in the form of x.xxx match the Arabic-English version of Sahih al-Bukhari which is available in most mosques. The first number before the point indicates the volume number, and the number after the point indicates the tradition number (not the page number). For example al-Bukhari Hadith 8.578 indicates volume 8, tradition 578 for the Arabic-English version.

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Quran and Ahlul-Bayt

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Based on a parallel (Mutawatir) tradition upon whose authenticity all Muslims agree, the Messenger of Allah (AS) informed his followers in several occasions that he would leave them two precious/weighty things and that if Muslims adhere to both of them, they will never go astray after him. They are the Book of Allah (Quran) and the Members of the House of the Prophet (Ahlul-Bayt), peace be upon them all.

It is narrated in Sahih Muslim as well as many other sources that: Someday (after his last pilgrimage) the Messenger of Allah (PBUHHF) stood to give us a speech beside a pond which is known as Khum (Ghadir Khum) which is located between Mecca and Medina. Then he praised Allah and reminded Him, and then said: "O' people! Behold! It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. Behold! I am leaving for you two precious things. First of them is the book of Allah in which there is light and guidance... The other one is my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. (three times)."

Sunni Reference:

- Sahih Muslim, Chapter of the virtues of the companions, section of the virtues of Ali, 1980 Edition

Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1873, Tradition 36.

- And many others such as Sahih al-Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad (see below).

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For the English version of Sahih Muslim, see Chapter CMXCVI, v4, p1286, Tradition 5920

Here is the Arabic text of the above tradition in Sahih Muslim:

قام رسول الله صلی الله علیه وسلم یوما فینا خطیبا بماء یدعی خما بین مکه والمدینه فحمد الله وأثنی علیه ووعظ وذکر ثم قال أما بعد ألا أیها الناس فإنما أنا بشر یوشک أن یأتی رسول ربی فأجیب وأنا تارک فیکم ثقلین أولهما کتاب الله فیه الهدی والنور فخذوا بکتاب الله واستمسکوا به فحث علی کتاب الله ورغب فیه ثم قال وأهل بیتی أذکرکم الله فی أهل بیتی أذکرکم الله فی أهل بیتی أذکرکم الله فی أهل بیتی

As we can see in the above tradition in Sahih Muslim, not only Ahlul-Bayt has been put beside the Quran, but also it has been mentioned three times by the Prophet (PBUHHF). Despite the fact that the author of Sahih Muslim and many other Sunni traditionists have recorded the above tradition in their authentic books, it is regrettable that the majority of Sunnis are unaware of its existence at the best, or deny it at the worst. Their counter argument is that the most reliable tradition in this regard is the one recorded by al-Hakim in his al-Mustadrak, on the authority of Abu Huraira, attributing to the Messenger of Allah saying: "I leave amongst you two things that if you follow or act upon, you will not go astray after me: The Book of God and my Sunnah (traditions)."

There is no doubt that ALL Muslims are required to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUHHF).

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However, the question remains that which Sunnah is genuine and which one is invented later and was falsely attributed to the Prophet.

On tracing the source of this report of Abu Huraira which states "Quran and Sunnah," we found out that it has NOT been recorded in any of the six authentic Sunni collections of the traditions (Sihah Sittah). Not only that, but also al-Bukhari, al-Nisa'i, and al-Dhahabi and many others rated this report (Quran and Sunnah) as weak because of its weak Isnad. It should be noted that although the book of al-Hakim is an important Sunni collection of traditions, yet it is ranked inferior to the six major Sunni books. This is while Sahih Muslim is in the second rank among the six Sunni collections of traditions. al-Tirmidhi reported that the "Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" version of the tradition is traced to 30+ companions. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami reported that he knows of 20+ companions witnessed that also. This is while the "Quran and Sunnah" version reported by al-Hakim has only one source! Thus we must conclude that the "Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" version is much more reliable. Moreover al-Hakim has also mentioned the "Quran

and Ahlul-Bayt" version in his book (al-Mustadrak) through several chain of authorities and confirmed that the "Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" version of the tradition is authentic based on the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Moreover, the word "Sunnah" by itself does not serve the purpose of knowledge. All Muslims irrespective to their persuasions claim that they follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUHHF). The differences among Muslims come from the transmitted Prophetic traditions through different avenues. Such traditions serve as explanatory means of the Holy Quran upon whose authenticity all Muslims agree. Thus divergence in the transmitted traditions, which in turn has led to differing interpretation of Quran and the prophetic Sunnah, has created numerous versions of Sunnah. All Muslims, as a result, splintered into different schools, groups, offshoots, which is believed to add up to seventy three groups. All of them are obeying their own version of Sunnah which they claim to be the true one. Which of these groups follow the true Sunnah of the Prophet? Which one (out of 73 groups) will be the prosperous one, and will survive? Other than the tradition of Sahih Muslim mentioned above, the following authentic traditions provide a unique detailed answer for this question:

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The messenger of Allah (PBUHHF) said: "I am leaving for you two precious and weighty Symbols that if you adhere to BOTH of them you shall not go astray after me. They are, the Book of Allah, and my progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The Merciful has informed me that These two shall not separate from each other till they come to me by the Pool (of

Paradise)."

Sunni references:

1. Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 662-663,328, report of 30+ companions, with reference to several chains

of transmitters.

2. al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, Chapter of "Understanding (the virtues) of Companions, v3, pp

109,110,148,533 who wrote this tradition is authentic (Sahih) based on the criteria of the two

Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim).

3. Sunan, by Daarami, v2, p432

4. Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, pp 14,17,26,59, v4, pp 366,370-372, v5, pp

182,189,350,366,419

5. Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p585, Tradition 990

6. al-Khasa'is, by al-Nisa'i, pp 21,30

7. al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p230

8. al-Kabir, by al-Tabarani, v3, pp 62-63,137

9. Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Chapter al-Iti'sam bi Habl Allah, v1, p44.

10. Tafsir Ibn Kathir (complete version), v4, p113, under commentary of verse 42:23 of Quran (four

traditions)

11. al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, p194, Pub. by Dar Isadder, Lebanon.

12. al-Jami' al-Saghir, by al-Suyuti, v1, p353, and also in v2

13. Majma' al-Zawa'id, al-Haythami, v9, p163

14. al-Fateh al-Kabir, al-Binhani, v1, p451

15. Usdul Ghabah fi Ma'rifat al-Sahaba, Ibn al-Athir, v2, p12

16. Jami' al-Usul, Ibn al-Athir, v1, p187

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17. History of Ibn Asakir, v5, p436

18. al-Taj al-Jami' Lil Usul, v3, p308

19. al-Durr al-Manthoor, al-Hafidh al-Suyuti, v2, p60

20. Yanabi al-Mawaddah, al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, pp 38,183

21. Abaqat al-Anwar, v1, p16

... and many more ...

إنی تارک فیکم الثقلین ما إن تمسکتم بهما لن تضلوا بعدی کتاب الله و عترتی أهل بیتی، و إن اللطیف الخبیر نبأنی أنهما لن یفترقا حتی یردا علی الحوض

Of course, any Muslim should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUHHF), and as such, we, the Followers of Ahlul-Bayt, submit to the genuine (practice) Sunnah of the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUHHF) and consider it to be the only path of salvation. But the above tradition gives evidence to the fact that any so-called Sunnah (practice) which contradicts Ahlul-Bayt is NOT a genuine Sunnah and has been innovated later on by some pay-rolled individuals in support the tyrants. That's why the Prophet had emphasized so much on Ahlul-Bayt in loving them and following them since they carry his genuine Sunnah. And this is the basis of the Shia School of Thought (the School of Ahlul-Bayt). The Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet who are raised in his house know more than anybody else about the Sunnah of the Prophet and what it entails, for as the proverb goes: "The people of Mecca know its paths better than anyone else."

For the sake of argument, if we accept that the two versions of the tradition ("Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" vs. "Quran and Sunnah") are both authentic, then one must submit to the interpretation that the word "my Sunnah" given by al-Hakim means the Sunnah which is derived through Ahlul- Bayt and not any other source, as it is evident from the Ahlul-Bayt version given by both Mustadrak al-Hakim and Sahih Muslim.

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Now let us take a look at the following tradition:

Narrated Umm Salama:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with Quran, and Quran is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Sunni references:

- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p124 on the authority of Umm Salama

- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, section 2, pp 191,194

- al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani; also in al-Saghir

- Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p173

The above tradition gives evidence to the fact that Imam Ali and Quran are non-separable. If we accept the "Quran and Sunnah" version to be authentic, then one can conclude that the one who carries the Sunnah of Prophet is Imam Ali since he is the one who has been put beside Quran. Interesting to see, al-Hakim has many other traditions about necessity of following Ahlul-Bayt, among which is the following tradition. This tradition is also narrated by many other Sunni scholars and is known as the "Tradition of the Ship" in which the Prophet (PBUHHF) stated: "Behold! My Ahlul-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarked in it was SAVED, and whoever turned away from it was PERISHED."

إنّما مَثَلُ أهلِ بَیتی فیکُم کمَثَلِ سَفینَهِ نُوحٍ؛ مَن رَکِبَها نَجا ، و مَن تَخَلّفَ عَنها هَلَکَ

Sunni references:

1. al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p343, v3, pp 150-151 on the authority of Abu Dhar. al-Hakim said

this tradition is authentic (Sahih).

2. Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p786

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3. Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, under the commentary of verse 42:23, Part 27, p167

4. al-Bazzar, on the authority of Ibn Abbas and Ibn Zubair with the wording "drowned" instead of

"perished".

5. al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p234 under Verse 8:33. Also in

section 2, p282. He said this Hadith has been transmitted via numerous authorities.

6. Tarikh al-Khulafaa and Jami' al-Saghir, by al-Suyuti

7. al-Kabir, by al-Tabarani, v3, pp 37,38

8. al-Saghir, by al-Tabarani, v2, p22

9. Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu'aym, v4, p306

10. al-Kuna wal Asmaa, by al-Dulabi, v1, p76

11. Yanabi al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, pp 30,370

12. Is'af al-Raghibeen, by al-Saban

The above tradition gives evidence to the fact that those who adopt the school of Ahlul-Bayt and follow them, shall be saved from the punishment of Hell, while those who run away from them shall meet with the fate of the one who tried to save his life by climbing up the mountain, with the only difference that whereas he (Noah's renegade son) was drowned in water, but these people will be drowned the fire of Hell. The following tradition also confirms it: The Prophet (PBUHHF) said about Ahlul-Bayt: "Do not be ahead of them for you will perish, do not turn away from them for you will perish, and do not try to teach them since they know more than you do!"

فلا تقدموهم فتهلکوا، و لا تقصروا عنهم فتهلکوا، فانهم أعلم منکم

Sunni references:

1. al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v2, p60

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2. al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p230, quoted from al-

Tabarani, also in section 2, p342

3. Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v3, p137

4. Yanabi' al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, p41, and P335

5. Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v1, p168

6. Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p163

7. Aqabat al-Anwar, v1, p184

8. A'alam al-Wara, pp 132-133

9. Tadhkirat al-Khawas al-Ummah, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanafi, pp 28-33

10. al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, by Noor al-Din al-Halabi, v3, p273

Here is another one:

The Messenger of Allah (PBUHHF) said: "My Ahlul-Bayt are like the Gate of Repentance of the Children of Israel; whoever entered therein was forgiven."

و إنما مثل أهل بیتی فیکم مثل باب حطه فی بنی إسرائیل من دخله غفر له

Sunni References:

- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p168

- al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani, Tradition 18

- Arba'in, by al-Nabahani, p216

- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, pp 230,234

- Another fairly similar tradition was recorded by al-Darqunti as well as Ibn Hajar in his al-Sawa'iq

al-Muhriqah, Ch. 9, section 2, p193 where the Prophet (PBUHHF) said: "Ali is the Gate of Repentance, whoever entered therein was a believer and whoever went out was an unbeliever."

The above tradition was in connection with verses 2:58 and 7:161 of Quran which describe the Gate of Repentance of Bani Israel. Those of companions of Moses who did not enter the Gate of the Repentance were lost in the desert for forty years, while those who did not enter the ark of Noah were drowned. Ibn Hajar concludes that:

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"The analogy of the Ark of Noah signifies that those who love and honor the Ahlul-Bayt and derive from their guidance will be rescued from the darkness of opposition, and those who will turn against them will be drowned in the sea of ingratitude and will perish in the desert of insubordination and rebellion."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, p91

Have we ever asked ourselves why the Prophet put so much emphasis on Ahlul- Bayt? Was is just because they were members of his family, or was it because they carried his true teachings (Sunnah) and they were the most knowledgeable individuals among his community after him?

Different versions of the Tradition of Two Weighty Things (al-Thaqalain) which prove conclusively that it is compulsory to follow the Quran and the Ahlul-Bayt, are not ordinary traditions. They are repeated many times and are related on the authority of more than thirty of the companions of the Holy Prophet through various sources. The Holy Prophet repeated these words over and over again (and not merely in one isolated instance but on several occasions) publicly to show that it is compulsory to follow and obey the

Ahlul-Bayt. He made the announcement during the Farewell Pilgrimage, on the day of Arafat, on the day of Ghadir Khum, on the return from Ta'if, also in Medina from the pulpit, and in his deathbed when the room was packed with his disciples, he said:

"O folk! I am soon going to depart from here, and although I have already told you, I repeat once more that I am leaving with you two things, namely, the Book of Allah and my descendants, that is, my Ahlul-Bayt." Then he lifted Ali by the hand and said: "Behold! this Ali is with the Quran and the Quran is with him. These two shall never separate from each other until they come to me at the Pool of Kawthar." Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, section 2

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Ibn Hajar al-Haythami wrote:

"The Traditions of Adherence has been handed down through a large number of sources and more than twenty of the disciples have related it."

He further wrote:

"Here a doubt arises, and it is that while the Tradition has come down through various sources, some say that the words were spoken during the last pilgrimage, others that they were spoken at Medina when he lay on his deathbed and the room was packed with his disciples, yet another saying that he spoke these words at Ghadir Khum, or in another Hadith, on the return from Ta'if. But there is NO inconsistency in these, since having regards to the importance and greatness of the Quran and the pure Ahlul-Bayt, and with a view of emphasizing the point before the people, the Holy Prophet might have repeated these words on all these occasions so that any one who had not heard them before might hear them now."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p230

Concluding the above traditions, the Quran and Ahlul-Bayt are the only two precious things that the Prophet left for Muslims, and stated that if Muslims follow BOTH of them, they will not go astray after him, and they will be led to Paradise, and that those who forsake Ahlul-Bayt will not survive. The above traditions have been designed by Prophet (PBUHHF) to answer which "Sunnah" is genuine and which group caries the true "Sunnah" of the Prophet. It is aimed at not leaving Muslims at loss as to which way to go after the departure of the Prophet (PBUHHF). On the other hand, if we use the word "Sunnah" alone, it does not give us any specific answer for this question since all the groups among the Muslim nation follow their own version of Sunnah as well as their own interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. Thus the prophetic instructions were clear in urging Muslims to follow the interpretation of Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet transmitted through the channel of Ahlul-Bayt whose sinlessness, purity, and righteousness is confirmed by the Holy Quran (the last sentence of verse 33:33).

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Why School of Ahlul-Bayt?

The purpose of this article is merely to demonstrate that Shia views about the special importance and the leadership of Ahlul-Bayt do not come out of the blue. In this way, I hope to contribute to better understanding among Muslims and hence help to reduce some people's hostility against the followers of the Members of the House of the Prophet (PBUHHF).

The fact that we (Shia) have adopted a creed which differs from that of the Ash'arites as far as the fundamental beliefs are concerned, and differs from the four schools of Sunni jurists as far as the laws, rites, and observances are concerned, is not due to any sectarianism or prejudice. It is rather the theological reasoning which has led us to adopt the creed of those Imams who belong to the Ahlul-Bayt of the Holy Prophet, the Messenger of Allah (PBUHHF).

We have, therefore, wholly and solely bound ourselves to them in our observances as well as our beliefs; in the derivations of our knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet; and in all our material, moral and spiritual values on the grounds of theological and logical proofs. We have done this in obedience of the Holy Prophet and in submission to his Sunnah.

Had we not been convinced by these proofs to disallow all Imams except the Ahlul-Bayt, and to seek to draw near to Allah only through them, we might have inclined towards the creed of the majority for the sake of unity and fraternity. But incontrovertible reasons command a believer to follow the truth regardless of all other considerations.

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The majority of the Muslims are unable to produce any argument to show which of their four differentjurists is the best. It is impossible to follow all of them, and therefor, before one can say that it is "compulsory" to follow them, one has to prove which one must be followed. We have pondered over the arguments of the Hanafis, the Shafi'is, the Malikis and the Hanbalis with the eyes of a seeker of truth and we have searched far and wide, but we have found no answer to this, except they were all acclaimed as very great jurists and honest and just men. But you are fully aware that jurist's capacity, honesty, justice

and greatness are not monopoly of these four persons only. Then, how can it be "compulsory" to follow

them only?

We do not think that anyone can hold that these four Imams are in any way better than our Imams, the pure and holy descendants of the Prophet (PBUHHF), the Ark of Salvation, the Gate of Repentance, through whom we can attain protection against disagreement in religious matters; for they are the emblems of guidance, and the leaders towards the straight path.

But alas, after the demise of the Holy Prophet (PBUHHF), politics began to play its part in the affairs of religion and you know what took place in the heart of Islam as a result. During all these periods of trials, the Shia continued to hold fast to Quran and the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt whom the Holy Prophet left among us as the two most weighty things (al-Thaqalain). There have been some extremists sects (al- Ghulat) which appeared every now and then in course of the history of Islam; nonetheless, the main body of the Shia have never deviated from this path since the time of Imam Ali and Fatimah (peace be upon them) up to the present day.

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The Shia existed when Ash'ari and all the four Sunni Imams were unborn and unheard of. Up to the first three generations since the Holy Prophet's time, Ash'ari and the Sunni Imams were unknown. Ash'ari was born in 270 AH and died in 320 AH; Ibn Hanbal was born in 164 AH and died in 241 AH; Shafi'i was born in 150 AH and died in 204 AH; Malik was born in 95 AH and died in 169 AH; Abu Hanifa was born in 80 AH and died in 150 AH. The Shia, on the other hand, follow the path of Ahlul-Bayt which include Imam Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain (peace be upon them all) who were all contemporaries of the Holy Prophet (PBUHHF) and raised in his House.

As far as the knowledge of the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt is concerned, it is sufficient to say that Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (AS) was the teacher of the two Sunni Imams, i.e., Abu Hanifa al-Nu'man , and Malik Ibn Anas. Abu Hanifa said: "Except for the two years Nu'man would have starved," referring to the two years he had benefited from the knowledge of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (AS). Malik also confessed straightforwardly that he had not met anyone learned in Islamic Jurisprudence better than Imam Ja'far al-

Sadiq (AS).

The Abbasid Caliph, al-Mansoor, commanded Abu Hanifa to prepare for Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (AS) a number of hard questions concerning the Islamic Law and to ask the Imam those questions in the presence of al-Mansoor. Abu Hanifa prepared forty difficult questions and asked Imam Ja'far about them in al-Mansoor's presence. The Imam not only answered all the questions but also informed about the opinions of the Iraqi as well as the Hijazi Scholars. Abu Hanifa commented on this episode saying:

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"Certainly, the most knowledgeable among people is the most knowledgeable of their different opinions."

Sunni reference:

- Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah in his book "al-Imam al-Sadiq", p27

Abu Hanifa described his feelings (when he entered the palace of al-Mansoor and found Imam Ja'far al-

Sadiq (AS) sitting with him) by saying:

"When I saw Imam Ja'far, I felt his personality commands more respect than that of the Caliph himself. Yet the Caliph was ruling the Muslim World, and Imam Ja'far was a private citizen."

Sunni reference:

- Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah in his book "al-Imam al-Sadiq", p27

Malik (the other Sunni Imam) said:

"I used to come to Ja'far Ibn Muhammad (AS) and went to him for a long time. Whenever I visited him, I found him praying, fasting, or reading the Quran. Whenever he reported a statement of the Messenger of God, he was with ablution. He was a distinguished worshipper who was unconcerned with the material world. He was of the God fearing people."

Sunni reference:

- Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah in his book "al-Imam al-Sadiq", p66

Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah who was one of the outstanding Sunni contemporary Scholars said: "The Muslim Scholars of various Islamic Schools never agreed unanimously on a matter as much as they agree on the knowledge of Imam Ja'far and his virtue. The Sunni Imams who lived during his time were his students. Malik was one of them and those who were as contemporary as Malik such as Sufyan al-Thouri and many others. Abu Hanifa also was his student in spite of their being close in age, and he considered Imam Ja'far the most knowledgeable in the Muslim World."

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Sunni reference:

- Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah in his book "al-Imam al-Sadiq", p66

The ties of unity and fraternity can be strengthened and disagreement ended if all Muslims agree that to follow the Ahlul-Bayt is a must. In fact many grand Sunni scholars have acknowledged the Shia school as one of the richest Islamic schools for they very reason that the knowledge of the Shia school of thought is derived from the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (PBUHHF) whose supreme knowledge and purity are confirmed in Quran. These Sunni scholars have even issued Fatwa that the Sunnis are allowed to follow the Twelver Shi'ite Jurisprudence. Among these grand scholars are Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot, the head of al-Azhar University (in 1950's and 60's).

Moreover, disagreement between the various schools of Sunni thought is by no means less than the lack of conformity between the Shia and the Sunnis. A large number of writings of scholars of both sides will bear this out. Since based on the tradition of Two Weighty things Ahlul-Bayt carry as much weight in the eyes of Allah as the Holy Quran, the former have the same qualities as the latter. Just as the Quran is true from beginning to end without any shadow of doubt, and just as it is incumbent upon every Muslims to obey its commandments, so are Ahlul-Bayt perfect and sincere guides whose commands must be followed by

all. Therefore there can be no excuse to escape from accepting their leadership and following their creed and their faith. The Muslims are bound by these sayings of the Holy Prophet to follow them and no one else. Just as it is impossible for any Muslims to turn away from the Holy Quran or to adopt any set of rules which is at variance with it, so when the Ahlul-Bayt have been unequivocally described as equal in weight and importance to the Holy Quran, the same attitude has to be adopted with regard to their orders, and it cannot be permissible to turn away from them in order to follow any other persons. After mentioning the tradition of Two Weighty Things, Ibn Hajar holds that:

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"These words show that those members of the Ahlul-Bayt who posed these distinctions were superior to all the people."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, p136

The Messenger of Allah said:

"Whosoever wishes to live and die like me and enter that heaven (after death), which my lord has promised me, namely, the ever lasting heaven should acknowledge Ali (AS) as his patron after me, and after him he should acknowledge the sons of Ali, because they are the people who will never leave you outside the door of guidance nor will they let you enter the door of misguidance."

Sunni references:

- Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p155, Tradition 2578

- Also abridged Kanz al-Ummal on the margin of Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal v5, p32

Again the significance of leadership of Ahlul-Bayt has been confirmed by the following beautiful analogy of the messenger of Allah:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Regard the Ahlul-Bayt among you as the head to the body, or the eyes to the face, for the face is only guided by the eyes."

Sunni references:

- Is'af al-Raghibeen, by al-Saban

- al-Sharaf al-Mua'abbad, by Shaikh Yusuf al-Nabahani, p31, by more than one authority

Also:

The Messenger of Allah said: "My Ahlul-Bayt are the protected place of refuge about the

dispute in religion." (Mustadrak Hakim) These traditions, therefore, leave no room for any doubt. There can be no other way except to follow the Ahlul-Bayt and give up all opposition to them.

The Messenger of Allah said: "Acknowledgment of Aale-Muhammad (the family of Muhammad) means salvation from the fire, and love for them is a passport for crossing the bridge of the Siraat, and obedience to them is a protection from divine wrath."

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Sunni references:

- Kitab al-Shafa, by Qadhi 'Ayadh, published in 1328 AH, v2, p40

- Yanabi al-Mawaddah, al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, section 65, p370

Abdullah Ibn Hantab related:

The Messenger of Allah addressed us at Juhfa saying: "Do I not have authority over you more than yourselves?" They all said, "Yes of course." Then he said: "I shall hold you answerable for two things, namely, the Book of Allah and my descendants."

Sunni reference:

- Ihyaa al-Mayyit, by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti

- Arba'in al-'Arbain, by Allamah al-Nabahani

Therefore the reason we have adopted the faith of the Ahlul-Bayt to the exclusion of all others is that Allah himself has given preference to them only. It is sufficient to quote the poem of al-Shafi'i (one of the Sunni Imams) about Ahlul-Bayt which goes as follows:

Members of the House of the Prophet, your love is a Divine duty on mankind. God revealed it in His Quran. It is enough among your great privileges that whoever does not bless you, his prayer is void.

If the love of the members of the House of the Prophet is Rafdh (rejection), let mankind and the Jinns testify that I am a Rafidhi (rejector).

The above poem of Shafi'i are too well known among the Arabic speaking people to require any reference. But for the benefit of those who insist on reference see:

- Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, v27, p166, under the commentary of verse 42:23 of

Quran.

- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, p88, in connection with the verse 33:33 of Quran.

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Brother/Sister in our prayers, and I am sure that in your prayers also, we say:

"I declare that Muhammad is the servant of God and His Messenger. O Lord, send Your blessings upon Muhammad and his family"

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt?

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 1

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیم

Introduction

According to most authentic traditions in collections of both Sunni and Shi’a, Ahlul-Bayt (People of the House) of the Prophet are one of the two most precious Symbols of Islam after the departure of the Prophet (S). There are numerous traditions in the collection of both schools that the Prophet (S) has reminded us to stick to these two weighty things (al-Thaqalain), namely Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt, in order not to go astray after him.

The Messenger of Allah also informed us that these two weights are non-separable and are with each other till the day of Judgment. This requires us that for understanding the interpretation of Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) we should refer to those who are attached to it, namely Ahlul-Bayt.

Knowing exactly who Ahlul-Bayt are, thus becomes a very vital matter when one considers the above tradition of the Prophet (S) as well as many other traditions which unequivocally state that adherence to Ahlul-Bayt is the only way of salvation. This clearly implies that the one who follows a wrong set of Ahlul-Bayt (!!), will be led astray.

Considering the critical importance of the subject, it will not be surprising to see that the Shi’a differ from some Sunnis in this subject. In fact, the Sunnis do not have one voice in specifying the Members of the House the Prophet. Most Sunnis are in the opinion that the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (S) are:

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• Fatimah al-Zahra (sa) (the daughter of the Messenger of Allah),

• Imam ‘Ali (as),

• Imam al-Hasan (as),

• Imam al-Husayn (as),

• Wives of the Prophet (S)

Others among the Sunnis further include ALL the descendants of the Prophet to the list! Some other Sunnis are very generous and include all the descendants of Abbas (the Abbasid) as well as the descendants of Aqil Ja’far (the two brothers of Imam ‘Ali) to the list. It should be noted, however, that there have been some leading Sunni scholars who did NOT consider the wives of the Prophet among Ahlul-Bayt. This happens to be consistent with the Shi’a point of view.

To the Shi’a, the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (S) consist of the following individuals ONLY:

• Fatimah al-Zahra (sa),

• Imam ‘Ali (as),

• Imam al-Hasan (as),

• Imam al-Husayn (as),

• Nine descendants of Imam al-Husayn (as).

and including the Prophet (S) himself, they will become fourteen individuals. Of course, at the time of the Holy Prophet only five of them (including the Prophet) were living and the rest were not born yet.

The Shi’a further assert that these fourteen individuals are protected by Allah from any kind of flaws, and thus worthy of being obeyed beside Qur’an (the other Weighty Symbol), and they are the only people who have the full knowledge of the interpretation of the Qur’anic verses.

In this discussion, we would like to explain why the Shi’a exclude the wives of the Prophet from Ahlul-Bayt, and also we will briefly discuss why Ahlul-Bayt are protected/infallible. (More detailed discussion on the infallibility is provided in Chapter 2). We base our proofs on:

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1. Qur’an,

2. Traditions from the authentic Sunni Collections,

3. Historical events.

Evidence From Qur’an:

The Holy Book of Allah mentions Ahlul-Bayt and their exceptional virtue in the following verse which is known as "Purification Verse”(Ayah al-Tat’hir):

إِنَّمَا یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنکُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَیُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیرًا

"Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O’ People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you with a perfect purification". (Qur’an, the last sentence of Verse 33:33)

Note that the word "Rijs”in the above verse has got the article "al-”at its beginning which makes the word universal. Thus "al-Rijs”means "EVERY KIND of impurity". Also at the end of the verse, Allah states "and purify you a PERFECT purification.”The word "perfect”comes from the emphasis of "Tat’hiran". This is the only place in Qur’an that Allah uses the emphasis of "PERFECT purification".

According to the above verse, Allah expresses his intention to keep Ahlul-Bayt pure and flawless/sinless, and what Allah intends it will certainly take place as Qur’an itself testifies (see 16:40).

Indeed, a human can be sinless because he is not forced to commit sin. It is the human’s choice to accept the instructions of Allah and get His help to avoid sin, or to neglect Allah’s commandments and commit the sin. Allah is advisor, and encourager, and warner. A sinless human is still a human; no doubt about it. Some people assert that in order to be human, one SHOULD have some mistakes. Such claim is unsupported. The truth is that Human CAN make mistakes but he does not have to.

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It is the Grace of Allah that attracts His servants towards Him, WITHOUT compelling them any way. This is our choice to pursue this attraction and refrain from doing mistakes, or to turn away and commit the mistakes. However, Allah has GUARANTEED to show the Right Path and to provide a pure life for those who seek it:

Whoever works righteousness man or woman and is faithful, We shall revive a PURE life for him. (Qur’an 16:97)

And whosoever keeps his duty to Allah, Allah will appoint a way out for him. (Qur’an 65:2)

It is worth mentioning the sentence of Qur’an in verse 33:33 which is related to purification of Ahlul-Bayt, has been placed at the middle of verses related to the wives of the Prophet (S), and this was the main reason why some Sunnis include the wives of the Prophet in Ahlul-Bayt.

However, the sentence related to Ahlul-Bayt (given above) distinguishes itself from the sentences before and after it with a clear distinction. The sentences before and after, use only feminine gender which clearly shows they are addressing the wives of the Prophet (S). However, in contrary, the above sentence uses only masculine gender which is a clear indication that that Qur’an is changing the individuals who it is referring to.

People who are familiar with Qur’an to some extent, know that such a sharp change of addressee is not a weird-thing, and it has been applied to several places in Qur’an. For instance we read in Qur’an:

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"O Joseph! pass this over and (O wife of Aziz!) ask forgiveness for your sin, for truly you have been at fault."(Qur’an 12:29)

In the above verse, "O wife of Aziz”has not been mentioned and the address to Joseph (as) looks to continue. However the transition of the address from masculine gender to feminine gender clearly shows that the second sentence is addressing the Aziz’s wife and not Prophet Joseph (as). Notice that both sentences are within one verse. Also note the immediate change of addressing from Aziz’s wife to Joseph and again back to the wife in verses before verse 29 and also within that verse.

In Arabic language, when a group of women are being addressed, feminine gender is employed. However, if only one man exists among that group, masculine gender is used instead. Thus the above sentence of Qur’an clearly shows Allah is referring to a group other than the wives of the Prophet, using masculine gender, and that group includes some male members.

From the verse 33:33 alone, we cannot conclude that the wives of the Prophet are not included in Ahlul-Bayt. This latter claim can be proven by the authentic traditions of the Sunnis from Sihah Sittah in which the Prophet mentioned who Ahlul-Bayt are; and also by comparing the specifications of Ahlul-Bayt given in the verse of Qur’an with the behavior of the some of the wives of the Prophet mentioned in Sihah Sittah to prove the contrary.

What can be understood from the verse ALONE is that Allah is changing His address (which was exclusively the wives of the Prophet at the beginning of the verse) to some people who include some male members, and may or may not include the wives of the Prophet.

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Authentic Traditions:

It is interesting to see that both Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi as well as many others confirm the Shi’ite point of view explained above. In Sahih Muslim, there is a chapter named "Chapter of Virtues of the Companions". Inside this chapter, there is a section called "Section of the Virtues of the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet". There exists ONLY ONE tradition in this section, and this tradition has no reference to the wives of the Prophet (S). The tradition is known as "The Tradition of Cloak/Mantle”(Hadith al-Kisaa), and is as follows:

Narrated Aisha:

One day the Prophet (S) came out afternoon wearing a black cloak (upper garment or gown; long coat), then al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali came and the Prophet accommodated him under the cloak, then al-Husayn came and entered the cloak, then Fatimah came and the Prophet entered her under the cloak, then ‘Ali came and the Prophet entered him to the cloak as well. Then the Prophet recited: "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O’ People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you a perfect purification (the last sentence of Verse 33:33)."

Sunni reference:

• Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of the virtues of the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (S), 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1883, Tradition 61.

Below is the Arabic text of above tradition given in Sahih Muslim:

خرج النبی غداه وعلیه مرط مرحل من شعر أسود فجاء الحسن فأدخله معه ، ثم جاء الحسین فأدخله معه ، ثم جاءت فاطمه فأدخلها، ثم جاء علی فأدخله ثم قال: إِنَّمَا یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنکُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَیُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیرًا

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One can see that the author of Sahih Muslim confirms that:

1. Imam ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn are the Ahlul-Bayt,

2. The purification sentence in Qur’an (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed for the virtue of the above-mentioned individuals, and NOT for the wives of the Prophet (S).

Muslim (the Author) did not put any other tradition in this section (section of the virtues of Ahlul-Bayt). If the author of Sahih Muslim believed that the wives of the Prophet were included in Ahlul-Bayt, he would have quoted some traditions about them in this section.

It is interesting to see that Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (S) is the narrator of the above tradition, and she herself is testifying that Ahlul- Bayt are the above-mentioned individuals (i.e., Imam ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, may the blessing of Allah be upon them all).

Another version of the "Tradition of Cloak”is written in Sahih al-Tirmidhi, which is narrated in the authority of Umar Ibn Abi Salama, the son of Umm Salama (another wife of Prophet), which is as follows:

The verse

"Verily Allah intends to ... (33:33)"

was revealed to the Prophet (S) in the house of Umm Salama. Upon that, the Prophet gathered Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, and covered them with a cloak, and he also covered ‘Ali who was behind him. Then the Prophet said: "O’ Allah! These are the Members of my House (Ahlul-Bayt). Keep them away from every impurity and purify them with a perfect purification.”Umm Salama (the wife of Prophet) asked: "Am I also included among them O Apostle of Allah?”the Prophet replied: "You remain in your position and you are toward a good ending."

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Sunni reference: Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 351,663

Here is the Arabic text of above tradition given by Sahih al-Tirmidhi:

نزلت هذه الآیه علی النبی "إنَّما یریدُ اللهَ...”فی بیت أُم سلمه فدعا النبی فاطمه و حسناً و حسیناً فجعلهم بکسائه و علی خلف ظهره ثم قال: ألَّلهم هؤلاء أهل بیتی فاْذهب عنهم الرجس و طهرهم تطهیراً. قالت أمُّ سلمه: و أنا معهم یا نبی الله؟ قال أنتِ علی مکانک و أنتِ إلی خیر.

As we see, al-Tirmidhi also confirms that Imam ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn are the Ahlul-Bayt, and the purification sentence in Qur’an (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed for the virtue of the above-mentioned individuals, and NOT for the wives of the Prophet (S). Also it is apparent from above authentic tradition that the Prophet himself excluded his wives from Ahlul-Bayt. If Umm Salama (ra) was among Ahlul-Bayt, why didn’t the Prophet answer her positively? Why didn’t he enter her into the cloak? Why did the Prophet tell her that she remains in her own position? If the Prophet (S) would consider Umm Salama among Ahlul-Bayt, he would surely have entered her to the cloak and would have prayed for her perfect purity as well.

It is also worth mentioning that the Prophet (S) did NOT say: "These are among the Members of my House". He rather said: "These are THE Members of my House”since there was no other member of Ahlul-Bayt who was alive at the time of the Prophet (S). Also notice that Umm Salama (ra) who is the virtuous wife of the Prophet is the narrator of the tradition to his son and gives the testimony that who Ahlul-Bayt are.

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In the tradition of al-Hakim the wording the last question and answer is as follows:

Umm Salama said: "O Prophet of Allah! Am I not one of the members of your family?”The Holy Prophet replied: "You have a good future but only these are the members of my family. O Lord! The members of my family are more deserving."

Sunni reference: al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p416

Also the wording reported by al-Suyuti and Ibn al-Athir is as follows:

Umm Salama said to the Holy Prophet: "Am I also one of them?”He replied: "No. You have your own special position and your future is good."

Sunni reference:

• Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v2, p289

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v5, p198

Also al-Tabari quotes Umm Salama saying:

I said, "O Prophet of Allah! Am I not also one of your Ahlul-Bayt?”I swear by the Almighty that the Holy Prophet did NOT grant me any distinction and said: "You have a good future."

Sunni reference: Tafsir al-Tabari, v22, p7 under the commentary of verse 33:33

Beside Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi from which we quoted the Tradition of Cloak on the authority of Aisha and Umm Salama respectively, below are more Sunni references of the Tradition of Cloak who reported both versions of the traditions:

(3) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, pp 323,292,298; v1, pp 330-331; v3, p252; v4, p107 from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri

(4) Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p578, Tradition 978

(5) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p416 (two traditions) from Ibn Abi Salama, v3, pp 146-148 (five traditions), pp 158,172

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(6) al-Khasa’is, by an-Nisa’i, pp 4,8

(7) al-Sunan, by al-Bayhaqi, narrated from Aisha and Umm Salama

(8) Tafsir al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari (the author of Sahih), v1, part 2, p69

(9) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, v2, p700 (Istanbul), from Aisha

(10) Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v5, pp 198,605 from Aisha and Umm Salama

(11) Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, pp 5-8 (from Aisha and Abu Sa’id al-Khudri), pp 6,8 (from Ibn Abi Salama) (10 traditions)

(12) Tafsir al-Qurtubi, under the commentary of verse 33:33 from Umm Salama

(13) Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p485 (Complete version) from Aisha and Umar Ibn Abi Salama

(14) Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v2, p12; v4, p79 narrated from Ibn Abi Salama

(15) Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, sec. 1, p221 from Umm Salama

(16) Tarikh, by al-Khateeb Baghdadi, v10, narrated from Ibn Abi Salama

(17) Tafsir al-Kashshaf, by al-Zamakhshari, v1, p193 narrated from Aisha

(18) Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, pp 332-336 (seven traditions)

(19) Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibb al-Tabari, pp21-26, from Abu Sa’id Khudri

(20) Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p166 (by several transmitters)

... and more ...

Here is another authentic variation of "The Tradition of Cloak”which is related to Safiyya who was another wife of the Prophet (S). Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib narrated:

When the Messenger of Allah noticed that a blessing from Allah was to descent, he told Safiyya (one of his wives): "Call for me! Call for me!”Safiyya said: "Call who, O the Messenger of Allah?”He said: "Call for me my Ahlul-Bayt who are ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn.”Thus we sent for them and they came to him.

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Then the Prophet (S) spread his cloak over them, and raised his hand (toward sky) saying: "O Allah! These are my family (Aalee), so bless Muhammad and the family (Aal) of Muhammad.”And Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, revealed: "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O’ People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you a thorough purification (Qur’an, the last sentence of Verse 33:33)".

Sunni references:

• al-Mustadrak by al-Hakim, Chapter of "Understanding (the virtues) of Companions, v3, p148. The author then wrote: "This tradition is authentic (Sahih) based on the criteria of the two Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim)."

• Talkhis of al-Mustadrak, by al-Dhahabi, v3, p148

• Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v3, p33

Although the majority of traditions on this issue show that the last sentence of the verse 33:33 was revealed in the house of Umm Salama (as quoted earlier), the above tradition implies that it might have been revealed in the house of Safiyya.

Based on the opinion of the Sunni scholars including Ibn Hajar, it is quite possible that the verse was revealed more than once. In each occasion, the Prophet repeated his action in front of different wives so that they all realize who his Ahlul-Bayt are.

The testimony of three wives of the Prophet (Aisha, Umm Salama, and Safiyya) leaves us no room but to believe that the Ahlul-Bayt at the time of the Prophet were no more than five individuals: Prophet Muhammad, Lady Fatimah, Imam ‘Ali, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn (Peace be upon them all).

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The fact that the gender in later part of Verse 33:33 is switched from feminine to masculine, has led the majority of Sunni commentators to believe that the last part was revealed for Imam ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, as Ibn Hajar al-Haythami indicated:

Based on the opinion of the majority of (Sunni) commentators, the saying of Allah:"Verily Allah intends to ... (the last sentence of the verse 33:33)”was revealed for ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, because of the usage of masculine gender in the word "Ankum”and after that.

Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p220

Although the Shi’a have great respect for the highly righteous wives among the wives of the Prophet (S), such as Khadija, Umm Salama, Umm Ayman and ... (may Allah be pleased with them) who closely followed the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt before and after the demise of Prophet (S), yet we do not include even those respected individuals into Ahlul-Bayt since the Prophet clearly excluded them according to the authentic Sunni and Shi’i traditions. Ahlul-Bayt have exceptional virtues that no other pious person after the Prophet would possess them in the world, which are according to Qur’an: sinlessness, flawlessness and perfect purity.

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 2

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

In the previous part, three authentic versions of "The Tradition of Cloak/Mantle”(Hadith al-Kisaa) reported in Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi, and Mustadrak al-Hakim. In these traditions three wives of the Prophet testified that the Prophet (S) specified that the Members of his House (in his lifetime) are restricted to his daughter Fatimah (sa), her husband ‘Ali (as) and their two sons: al-Hasan (as), and al-Husayn (as).

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Also according to the quoted traditions, the purification sentence in Qur’an (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed for their virtue and NOT for the wives of the Prophet (S). Now, let us see what the Messenger of Allah used to do for quite some time after the revelation of the verse:

The Long-Term Custom Of The Prophet After The Revelation Of The Purification Verse

It has been widely narrated that after the revelation of the purification verse of Qur’an (Ayah al-Tat’hir), the Messenger of Allah used to recited this verse at the door of the House of Fatimah and ‘Ali before every prayer when people were gathering to pray with the Messenger of Allah. He continued this practice for many months simply to show the people who his Ahlul-Bayt are. Anas Ibn Malik narrated:

The Messenger of Allah (S), from the time the revelation of "Verily Allah intends to... (the last part of Verse 33:33)”and for six (6) months thereafter, stood by the door of the House of Fatimah and said: "Time for Prayer Ahlul-Bayt; No doubt! Allah wished to remove all abomination from you and make you pure and spotless."

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v12, p85

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, p258

• Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p158 who wrote this tradition is authentic as per the criteria of Muslim and Bukhari

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v5, pp 197,199

• Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, pp 5,6 (saying seven month)

• Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p483

p: 33

• Musnad, by al-Tiyalasi, v8, p274

• Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v5, p146

Abu al-Hamra narrated:

"The Messenger of God continued eight (8) months in Medina, coming to the door of ‘Ali at every morning prayer, putting his two hands on the two sides of the door and exclaiming: "Assalat! Assalat! (prayer! prayer!) Certainly God ward off all uncleanness from you, O Members of the House of Muhammad, and to make you pure and spotless."

Sunni references:

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v5, pp 198-199

• Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p6

• Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p483

• Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p24 on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik

• Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v5, p637

• Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v5, p146

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, pp 121,168

• Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, p338

Also Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated:

"We have witnessed the Messenger of God for nine (9) months coming to the door of ‘Ali, son of Abu Talib, at the time of each prayer and saying: ‘Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah Ahlul-Bayt (Peace and Mercy of God be upon you, O Members of the House). Certainly God wants only to keep away all the evil from you, Members of the House, and purify you with a thorough purification.’ He did this seven times a day."

Sunni reference: al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh al-Suyuti, v5, p198

In Majma’ al-Zawa’id and exegesis of Suyuti it has been quoted from Abu Said Khudri with a variation in words that:

p: 34

For forty days the Holy Prophet approached the house of Fatimah al-Zahra (sa) every morning and used to say: ‘Peace be upon you O people of the House! The time for the prayers has come’. And thereafter he used to recite this verse: O people of the Prophet’s House.... And then said: ‘I am in a state of war with him who fights with you and am in a state of peace with him who is at peace with you’.

Sunni references:

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh al-Suyuti, v5, p199

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, pp 121,168

He repeated this openly at the time of each prayer so as to demonstrate the meaning of this verse verbally as well as practically and he explained it to his followers on the lines of the sacred verse: "We have revealed the Qur’an to you so that you could tell the people what has been revealed to them and that perhaps they will think. (Qur’an 16:44)”This concept became well known among the people and even the companions of the Holy Prophet argued on its basis on behalf of the Holy Prophet’s family:

Those Who Protested Based On The Purification Verse To Prove The Virtues Of The Holy Family

1. Imam al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali (as)

al-Hakim (in al-Mustadrak) in connection with the attainments of Imam al-Hasan, and al-Haythami (in connection with the excellence of the Holy Family) have narrated that Imam al-Hasan (as) addressed the people after the martyrdom of his father Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) and said during his speech:

p: 35

O People! Whoever knows me, knows me and whoever doesn’t know me should know that I am al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali; I am the son of the Holy Prophet and of his executor (Wasi). I am the son him who invited people to Allah and warned them of the torture of His Hell-fire. I am the son of the luminous Lamp. I belong to the family upon whom Gabriel used to descend and from there ascend to heavens. I belong to the family from whom Allah has ward off all filth and made them pure.

Sunni references:

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p172

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p172

It has been narrated in Majma’ al-Zawa’id and Tafsir Ibn Kathir that:

After his father’s martyrdom when (Imam) al-Hasan attained the Caliphate, one day while he was performing his prayers, a man attacked him and thrust a sword in his thigh. He remained confined to bed for some months.

Thereafter, he recovered and delivered a sermon and said: "O People of Iraq! Fear Allah. We are your Amirs (leaders) and your guests and belong to the family about whom Almighty Allah has said: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House..’ Imam al-Hasan dwelt on this subject so much that all those present in the Mosque began to cry."

Sunni references:

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p172

• Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p486

• This tradition has also been quoted by al-Tabarani and others

p: 36

2. Ummul Mu’minin, Umm Salama (ra)

In Mushkil al-Athar, al-Tahawi has quoted Umrah al-Hamdaniyyah as saying:

I went to Umm Salama and greeted her. She inquired: "Who are you?”I replied: "I am Umrah Hamdaniyyah.”Umrah says, "I said O mother of the Faithful! Say something about the man who has been killed among us today. One group of the people like him and another group is inimical towards him,”(He meant Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib). Umm Salama said, "Do you like him or are you hostile to him?”I replied, "I neither like him nor I am hostile to him.”(Here the narrative is defective and thereafter it is like this:)

Umm Salama began to tell about the revelation of the verse of Tat’hir and said in this behalf: "Allah revealed the verse: O People of the Prophet’s House... There was none in the room at that time, except Gabriel, the Holy Prophet, ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Am I too one of the people of the House?’ He replied: ‘Allah will reward you and recompense you.’ I wished that he might have said ‘Yes’ and would have valued such a reply much more than anything else in the world.’"

Sunni reference: Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p336

Ahmad in Musnad; Tabari in his exegesis and al-Tahawi in Mushkil al-Athar have quoted Shahr Ibn Haushab, to have said:

When the news of the martyrdom of al-Husayn reached Medina I heard Umm Salama, wife of the Holy Prophet, saying: "They have killed al-Husayn. I myself observed that the Holy Prophet spread his Khaibari cloak on them and said: ‘O Allah! These are the members of my family! Ward off any uncleanness from them and keep them clean and pure!’"

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Sunni references:

• Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p298

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p6

• Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p335

3. Ibn Abbas (ra)

Ahmad, al-Nisa’i, Muhibbuddin, and al-Haythami have reported (the wording being of Ahmad’s Musnad):

‘Amr Ibn Maimoon said: "I was with Ibn Abbas when nine persons came to him and said: ‘Ibn Abbas! Either come out with us or provide us privacy.’ He said: ‘I shall go out with you.’ In those days the eyes of Ibn Abbas were all right and he could see. They had mutual conversation and I am not aware as to what they talked about. After some time Ibn Abbas returned to us. He was then shaking off his dress saying: ‘Fie be upon them! They are talking about the man who enjoys ten excellences.’

(Later in the narration Ibn Abbas details the virtues of the Imam till he says:) ‘The Holy Prophet spread his cloak upon ‘Ali, al-Hasan and al-Husayn and said: O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends to keep you pure from all sorts of uncleanness and blemish and to purify you with a thorough purification.’"

Sunni references:

• Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p331 (First edition)

In al-Khasa’is, al-Nisa’i has quoted Amir Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas as saying:

Muawiyah said to Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas, "Why do you refrain from abusing Abu Turab?”Sa’d said, "I don’t abuse ‘Ali for three attributes of his which I heard from the Holy Prophet. If even one of them had been for me, I would have valued it much more than anything else on earth. I heard from the Holy Prophet that When he left Imam ‘Ali as his representative in Medina and proceeded to fight a battle, ‘Ali said: ‘Are you leaving me with the women and the children in Medina?’ The Holy Prophet replied: ‘Don’t you like that your position vis-a-vis me should be like that of Aaron (Haroon) with Moses. You enjoy the same position in regard to me as Aaron enjoyed with Moses.’

p: 38

On the fateful day of Khaibar, too, I heard the Holy Prophet as saying: ‘Tomorrow I shall give the standard (of the army) to one who loves Allah and His Prophet and Allah and His Prophet also love him’. All of us were keen to be graced and singled out in the face of this declaration and wished that the standard might be in our hands. In the meantime the Holy Prophet said: ‘Bring ‘Ali to me.’ ‘Ali came in such a condition that he had some trouble in his eyes.

The Holy Prophet applied the saliva of his mouth to (Imam) ‘Ali’s eyes and gave the standard in his hand. Moreover, when the verse of Tat’hir was revealed, the Holy Prophet called ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn near himself and said: ‘O Allah! These are the People of my House.’"

Sunni references:

• al-Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, p4

• A fairly similar narration is given in Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter CMXCVI (Virtues of ‘Ali), p1284, Tradition 5916

Also al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir, al-Hakim, and al-Tahawi have quoted from Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas that:

At the time of the revelation of the verse, the Holy Prophet called ‘Ali along with his two sons and Fatimah and accommodated them under his own cloak and said: ‘O Lord! These are the members of my family’.

Sunni references:

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p7

p: 39

• Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p485

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p147

• Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p336; v2, p33

• History of al-Tabari, Arabic version, v5, p31

• Abu Sa’id al-Khudri

It narrated on that:

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: "This verse has been revealed about five individuals: Myself, ‘Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and Fatimah."

Sunni references:

• Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p5, under the verse 33:33

• Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p24

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p221

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami

• Wathilah Ibn Asqa’

al-Tabari while commenting on the verse 33:33, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, al- Hakim who considers the tradition to be authentic according to the criteria of Muslim and al-Bukhari, also Bayhaqi, al-Tahawi, and Haythami quote Abu Ammar as having said (the wording is of al-Tabari):

I was sitting with Wathilah Ibn Asqa’ when a discussion took place about ‘Ali and the people abused him. When those present rose to leave he said to me: ‘Keep sitting so that I may talk with you about the man whom they have been abusing. I was with the Holy Prophet when ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn approached him and the Holy Prophet spread his cloak on them and said: "O Allah! These are the members of my family. Ward off every uncleanness from them and keep them clean and pure."

p: 40

Sunni references:

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p6

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p416; v3, p417

• Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p107

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p167

• Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p346

• Sunan, al-Bayhaqi, v2, p152

Also Ibn al-Athir quoted Shaddad Ibn Abdullah saying:

I heard from Wathilah Ibn Asqa’ that when the head of (Imam) al-Husayn was brought, one of the Syrians abused (Imam) al-Husayn and his father, Wathilah stood up and said: "I swear by Allah that ever since I heard the Holy Prophet say about them: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends to keep you pure from uncleanness and blemish and to purify you with a thorough purification,’ I have always loved ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (Peace be upon them).’"

Sunni reference: Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v2, p20

• ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn, Zain al-Abideen (as)

While commenting on the verse 33:33, al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir and al-Suyuti have stated in their exegesis:

‘Ali Ibn Husayn said to a Syrian: "Have you read this verse in Surah al-Ahzab, O people of the House! Allah intends to keep you pure from blemish and to purify you with a thorough purification (Qur’an 33:33)?"

p: 41

The Syrian said: "Does this verse pertain to you?”The Imam replied: "Yes, it pertains to us."

Sunni references:

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p7

• Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p486

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh al-Suyuti, v5, p199

al-Kharazmi has quoted this very narration in his Maqtal in the following words:

When, after the martyrdom of (Imam) al-Husayn the grandson of the Holy Prophet, (Imam) Zain al-Abideen and other prisoners belonging to the House of the Holy Prophet were carried to Damascus and stationed in a jail located by the side of the Grand Mosque of Damascus, an old man approached them and said: "Praised be Allah who killed you and annihilated you and relieved the people from your men and provided the Commander of the Faithful (Yazid) with authority over you.”

‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn said: "O old man! Have you read the Holy Qur’an?”He replied: "Yes.”Then the Imam said: "Have you read the verse: Muhammad! ‘Say, I do not ask you of any reward for my preaching except the love of my kinsfolk’?”The old man said: "Yes. I have read it."

The Imam said: "Have you read the verse: ‘So give what is due to the near ones, the needy and the wayfarer.’ and the verse: ‘Know that whatever (income) you gain, one fifth belongs to Allah, the Messenger, his near ones, orphans the needy and the wayfarers, if you believe in Allah and what We revealed to Our servant in the Holy Qur’an’?”The old man replied: "Yes. I have read them."

p: 42

The Imam said: "I swear by Allah that the word ‘near ones’ refers to us and these verses have been revealed about us. (The Imam added): And have you also read this verse in the Holy Qur’an wherein Allah says: ‘O people of the Prophet’s House...’ (33:33)?”The old man said: "Yes. I have read it". The Imam said: "What is meant by people of the Prophet’s House! It is we whom Allah has especially associated with the verse of Tat’hir (purification)."

The old man said: "I ask you by Allah! Are you of the same family?”The Imam replied: "I swear by my grandfather the Prophet of Allah that we are the same people."

The old man was stunned and expressed regret for what he had said. Then he raised his head towards the sky and said: "O Allah! I ask forgiveness for what I have said, and forsake enmity against this family and hate the enemies of the progeny of Muhammad."

Sunni reference: Maqtal al-Husayn, by al-Khateeb al-Kharazmi

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 3

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

The Incident Of Mubahala

Here I would like to bring another evidence from Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi that why the wives of the Prophet are not included in Ahlul-Bayt, which is also, by the way, another reason for the superiority of ‘Ali (as) for the position of leadership after the Prophet (S).

The following incident is related to the event of "Mubahala”(which means imprecation, or invoking the curse of Allah upon the liar), which took place in the 9th-10th year of Hijrah. In that year a delegation consisting of 14 Christian priests came from Najran to meet the Prophet (S).

p: 43

When they met the Prophet they asked him what is his opinion about Jesus (as). The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "You may take rest today and you will receive the reply afterwards.”The next day, 3 verses of Qur’an (3:59-61) about Jesus were revealed. When Christians did not accept the words of Allah, The Prophet recited the last revealed verse:

But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and our selves and your selves; then let us be earnest in prayer and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars. (Qur’an 3:61).

فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَکُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَاوَنِسَاءَکُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَکُمْ ..

In this way, the Prophet (S) challenged the Christians. The next day the Christian priests came out on one side of the field. Also on the other side, the Prophet came out of his house carrying al-Husayn in his arm with al-Hasan walking along with him while he was holding his hand. Behind him was Fatimah al-Zahra (sa), and behind her was ‘Ali, peace be upon them all.

When the Christians saw the five pure souls, and how determined the Prophet is in his idea that he put the closest people to him at risk, the Christians were terrified and abstained from the proposed malediction (Mubahala) and submitted to a treaty with the Prophet (S).

al-Suyuti who was a great Sunni scholar, wrote:

p: 44

In the above verse (3:61), according to what Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari (the great companion of the Prophet) said, the word "sons”refers to al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the word "women”refers to Fatimah, and the word "our selves”refer to the Prophet and ‘Ali. Thus ‘Ali is referred as "the self”of the Prophet (Nafs of the Prophet).

Reference: al-Durr al-Manthoor by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v2, p38

It follows that just as it is unlawful to seek to be superior to the Prophet, similarly it is unlawful to supersede ‘Ali (who is the "self”of the Prophet according to the words of Allah). Any one who presumed to supersede ‘Ali, was, in essence, presumed to supersede the Prophet! This is another Qur’anic proof for the right of Imam ‘Ali as the immediate successor of the Prophet (S).

Muslim and al-Tirmidhi both confirm the above incident, and recorded the following tradition in their authentic collections of traditions:

Narrated Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas:

...And when the verse 3:61 was revealed, the Prophet called ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn. Then the Prophet said: "O Lord! These are my family members (Ahli)."

Sunni references:

• Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of virtues of ‘Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1871, the end of tradition 32.

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p654

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p150, who said this tradition is authentic based on the criteria set by two Shaikhs, al-Bukhari and Muslim.

• Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p25

p: 45

Here is the Arabic text of the above tradition given by both

Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi:

و لمَّا نزلَت هذه الآیه: فقل تعالوا ندع أبنائنا و أبنائکم... دعا رسول الله علیاً و فاطمه و حسناً و حسیناً فقالَ اللهمَّ هؤلاءِ أهلی.

The point, here, is that the Messenger of Allah (S) did not bring any of his wives to the field of "Mubahala", and according to above tradition, he used the word "Ahl”(family) ONLY for the above-mentioned individuals (i.e., Imam ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn).

Note that in the verse 3:61 of Qur’an Allah uses plural form "women”by saying "Let us bring our women", but the Prophet only brought his daughter Fatimah (sa). If there were more than one woman in Ahlul-Bayt, the Prophet was required by this verse to bring them, but since there was not any other woman among his Ahlul-Bayt, he brought Fatimah (sa) only.

Again, in that incident, the Prophet explicitly mentioned who Ahlul-Bayt are, and named them one by one, and Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim, and many other Sunni scholars recorded that and all confirmed its authenticity. There was no mention of his wives in any of these reports.

Some Sunni scholars have narrated that on the day of consultation for appointing the ruler after the death of Umar, Imam ‘Ali (as) argued with the members of Shura reminding them his rights to the Caliphate, and one of his reasons was the incident of Mubahala:

On the day of consultation, ‘Ali argued with the committee members saying: "I adjure you in the name of Allah, is there anyone amongst you closer in relationship to the Messenger of Allah than me? Is there any other man whom the Prophet made him ‘his (own) soul’ (Nafs), and that he made his children ‘his (own) children’, and his women ‘his (own) women’?”They replied: "No, by God!"

p: 46

Sunni reference:

• al-Darqunti, as per:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p239

It is also narrated that:

The Prophet (S) said: "Verily, Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, has placed the progeny of each prophet into his backbone (Sulb), and He, Exalted, has placed my progeny into the backbone of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib."

Sunni references:

• al-Tabarani

• Abul-Khair al-Haakimi, on the authority of al-Abbas

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p239

• al-Kunooz al-Mataalib

It is also narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "Me and ‘Ali are from one tree, and the rest of people are from different trees."

أنا و علیٍ من شجرهٍ واحدهٍ و سائرِ الناس من شجرٍ شتَّی.

Sunni references:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, section 2, p190

• Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

• al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani, from Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari

In another Sunni commentary of Qur’an, it is narrated on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Umar that:

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "Had there been any soul on the whole earth better than ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, Allah would have commanded me to take them along with me to Mubahala. But as they were superior in dignity and respect to all human be beings, Allah confined His choice on them only for participation in Mubahala."

Sunni reference: Tafsir al-Baidhawi, under the commentary of Verse 3:61

p: 47

Concluding, the event of Mubahala between the Prophet (S) the Christians was significant in many aspects, among them are:

1. It proved to be a lesson for all the Christians of Arabia who no longer dared any confrontation with the Holy Prophet (S).

2. The invitation of "Mubahala”(literally meaning cursing each other) was directed by Allah and it was in compliance with His Command that the Holy Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt along with him to the field of Mubahala. This serves to show how affairs pertaining to prophethood and Islam are determined by the Will of Allah; allowing no margin of interference from the common people (Ummah). (The matter of Imam ‘Ali’s (as) succession after the Prophet should be viewed similarly)

3. The indispensability of Imam ‘Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn in the following of the precepts of the Holy Prophet could no longer be disputed.

4. Notwithstanding their childhood, al-Hasan and al-Husayn did nevertheless serve as two active partners of the Holy Prophet on the field of Mubahala. This yields the conclusion that age is no criteria for the greatness of those infallible souls.

5. That the Holy Prophet’s act of having preferred a few obviously elevates their status above all others.

6. Traditions from the Prophet with regards to this event clearly indicates who the Ahlul-Bayt are.

7. Imam ‘Ali (as) has been mentioned as the ‘Self’ of the Prophet (S) according to the revelation of Allah, and is, in fact, superior to all others with regard to the matter of succession.

p: 48

Is It Just Blood Relationship?

It is narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Any relation will end on the day of Judgment except my relation. And the root (identification) of everyone is his father, except the progeny of Fatimah, since I am their father and their root (identification)."

Sunni references:

• Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Bayhaqi, and al-Darqunti, al-Dhahabi on the authorities of Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Zubair, and Ibn Umar.

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p239

• Similar tradition has been narrated by Abu Ya’la, al-Tabarani on the authority of Fatimah (sa) and Ibn Umar

The above precious tradition proves that, blood relationship is of little value in Islam and it will soon melt away when the day of Judgment appears. But what makes the relationship of the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt different than others is the qualifications and spiritual purity that they have besides their pure gene (which is also necessary).

It is worth mentioning that Lady Fatimah (sa) is the only surviving child of the Messenger of Allah (S) who left progeny for him. All other children of the Prophet died in their early ages, without being able to leave an issue behind themselves. The infidels of Hijaz (Arabia) used to dishonor the Prophet by saying that he does not have a son to preserve his generation. For that reason, Allah revealed the Chapter of "al-Kawthar":

"Lo! We have given you Abundance (i.e., a long-standing pure progeny). So pray unto your Lord, and sacrifice. Lo! It is your insulter (and not you) who is without progeny.”(Qur’an, Chapter 108).

p: 49

إِنَّا أَعْطَیْنَاکَ الْکَوْثَرَ ﴿١﴾ فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّکَ وَانْحَرْ ﴿٢﴾ إِنَّ شَانِئَکَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ ٣

In the above Chapter, Allah refers to Fatimah al-Zahra (sa) as Abundance who brings for the Prophet a sanctified progeny. Again, by progeny we do not mean all those whose ancestor are the Prophet (S). We rather mean those among his descendants who have been thoroughly purified by Allah, and the history and the Hadith can not count more that 14 of them (including the Prophet). Here is the commentary of the above Chapter by Yusuf ‘Ali (the translator of Qur’an):

Abu Jahl and his Pagan confederates vented their personal spite and venom against the holy Prophet by taunting him with the loss of his two infant sons by Khadija, but where were these venomous detractors a few years afterwards, when the divine Light shone more brilliantly than ever?

Fatimah received severe injuries and was martyred at the age of eighteen, just six months after the demise of the Prophet, leaving two sons: al-Hasan, and al-Husayn. After martyrdom of Imam ‘Ali (as), Imam al-Hasan came to power.

But Muawiyah, the disloyal governor of Syria, continued his aggression by preparing another attack (after the war of Siffin), and meanwhile he bought the key elements of the army of Imam al-Hasan by money and bribe, and by corrupting his army, was finally able to complete a peaceful military coup, and to take over the power. Imam al-Hasan was poisoned to death shortly after.

The second (and the last) grandson of the Prophet was Imam al-Husayn (as), who was slaughtered along with his family (except one of his sons), relatives, and companions, in the desert of Karbala, by the army of Yazid, the corrupt and drunk son of Muawiyah. That catastrophe took place only 50 years after the demise of the Prophet!!!

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The above was a very short horrible story of what happened to Ahlul-Bayt, whom Qur’an and the Prophet (S) ordered us to love them and obey them beside the book of Allah.

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 4

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

Matrimonial Relationship

In the previous parts, we quoted extensive authentic traditions from Sahih Muslim and else, proving that during the lifetime of the Prophet, his Ahlul-Bayt constituted only Imam ‘Ali, Fatimah al-Zahra (sa), al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, and also the purification sentence in Qur’an (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed on their virtue and NOT for the wives of the Prophet (S). These facts were proven based on the testimony of the Messenger of Allah as well as the testimony of his wives and his companions.

Here I would like to quote another interesting tradition from Sahih Muslim, in which another famous companion of the Prophet (S) swears in the name of Allah that wives of the Prophet are NOT included in his Ahlul-Bayt. The tradition explains the reasoning of this companion and his justification. Here is the tradition recorded in Sahih Muslim:

Narrated Yazid Ibn Hayyan:

We went to Zaid Ibn Arqam and said to him: You have found goodness (for you had the honor) to live in the company of the Prophet (S) and offered prayer behind him, and the rest of the Hadith is the same (as 3 traditions before) but the Prophet said: "Behold, for I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, one of them is the Book of Allah...", and in this (Hadith) these words are also found: We said: "Who are his Ahlul-Bayt (that the Prophet was referring to)? Are they his wives?”

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Thereupon Zaid said: "No, by Allah! A woman lives with a man (as his wife) for a while; he then divorces her and she goes back to her parents and her people. The Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet are his lineage and his descendants (those who come from his blood) for whom the acceptance of charity (Sadaqah) is prohibited."

Reference:

• Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of the virtues of ‘Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1874, Tradition 37 (For the English version of Sahih Muslim, please see Chapter CMXCVI, Tradition 5923)

Here is the Arabic text of the above tradition narrated by Sahih Muslim:

قلنا: "مَنْ أهل بیته؟ نساؤه؟”قال: "لا، وأیم الله، إن المرأه تکون مع الرجل العصر من الدهر، ثم یطلقها فترجع إلی أبیها وقومها، أهل بیته: أصله وعصبته الذین حرموا الصدقه من بعده"

As we see, even some of the companions of the Prophet swear in the name of Allah that Ahlul-Bayt do NOT include the wives of the Prophet (S). However Sahih Muslim has another tradition from Zaid Ibn Arqam in the very same chapter which is:

Zaid Ibn Arqam said: I have grown old and have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him). So accept whatever I narrate to you, and which I do not narrate do not compel me to do that. He then said: One day, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khum (Ghadir Khum) which is situated between Mecca and Medina.

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He praised Allah, Extolled Him and delivered the sermon and exhorted (us) and said: "Now to our purpose, O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I shall answer that call (would bid good-bye to you). But I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah... The second are the members of my household (Ahlul-Bayt). By Allah I remind you (of your duties) to the Members of my House (saying three times)."

He (Husayn Ibn Sabra) said to Zaid: Who are the members of his household? Aren’t his wives the members of his family? Thereupon Zaid said: His wives are among Ahlul-Bayt but here Ahlul-Bayt are those for whom acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. And he said: Who are they? Thereupon he said: ‘Ali and the offspring of ‘Ali; Aqil and the offspring of Aqil, and the offspring of Ja’far and the offspring of Abbas.

Reference:

• Sahih Muslim, Chapter of the virtues of companions, section of the virtues of ‘Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1873, Tradition 36.

(For the English version of Sahih Muslim, see Chapter CMXCVI, p1286, Tradition 5920)

Please note that the second Paragraph of the above tradition is NOT the saying of the Prophet (S). It is the alleged opinion of Zaid Ibn Arqam. In contradiction to the previous tradition, here Zaid asserts that: "The wives of the Prophet are among his Ahlul-Bayt BUT HERE (what the Prophet meant by) Ahlul-Bayt (were some other people who) are ‘Ali and his offspring,... and the offspring of Abbas."

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My question is that: Should we obey the saying of the Prophet who specified who Ahlul-Bayt are, or we should accept the opinion of a companion which, in this case at least, is in contradiction with the opinion of the Prophet?

Besides, the history tells us that there were many tyrant rulers among the Abbasid (the descendants of Abbas). So how can we obey them and love them? Allah in Qur’an said:

"...and obey not from among them a sinner or an ungrateful one.”(Qur’an 76:24).

Were Abbasid tyrants among Ahlul-Bayt who the Messenger of Allah put them beside Qur’an as one of the two precious thing that he left for his community to be obeyed after him?!

This shows Ahlul-Bayt are special individuals and do not cover all the relatives of the Prophet (S). The word Ahlul-Bayt, linguistically, does not cover all relatives at all. It means family who come from his blood as pointed in the first tradition of Zaid. Thus, even the Prophet’s wives are not going to be included in Ahlul-Bayt.

Those of Sunni brothers who believe all the traditions in Sahih Muslim are authentic, can find a contradiction here between the two traditions which are in the same chapter and only tree traditions away from each other.

In one tradition, Zaid said that the Prophet’s wives are among Ahlul-Bayt, and in three traditions away from it, the very same person (Zaid) is swearing in the name of Allah that the Prophet’s wives are NOT among his Ahlul-Bayt? What should we conclude?

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• Should we disregard the clarification of the Prophet and stick to the opinion of a companion?

• If yes, then should we accept the saying of a companion who tells two contradicting opinion while he himself said in the second tradition that he has grown old and he does not remember too much?

• Should we accept such contradicting narrations as Sahih (authentic)?

• If yes, then should we accept the one in which he swears in the name of Allah, or the one in which he does not swear for?

When the Prophet clearly excludes his wives from Ahlul-Bayt, and when his wives such as Aisha, Umm Salama and Safiyya also testify to this fact (please see part I), and when Zaid Ibn Arqam swears by Allah that the wives of the Prophet are NOT among Ahlul-Bayt, then there will remain no choice but to accept the fact that the wives of the Messenger of Allah were NOT included in the Ahlul-Bayt.

It might be possible to accepts both narrations, if we carefully look at what Zaid said: "The wives are among his Ahlul-Bayt but here (what the Prophet meant by) Ahlul-Bayt (were some other people who) are ‘Ali and his offspring, ..."

Zaid is saying that we may say (in general sense) the wives included in Ahlul-Bayt, BUT HERE the Prophet meant a special meaning for Ahlul-Bayt which does not cover the wives of the Prophet. It is with this meaning that the Prophet put Ahlul-Bayt beside the Qur’an. In this case, the contradiction between the two traditions can reconciled.

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Now, let us focus on the last part of saying of Zaid in the above tradition where he said:

"A woman lives with a man (as his wife) for a while; he then divorces her and she goes back to her parents and her people. The Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet are his lineage and his descendants (those who come from his blood) for whom the acceptance of charity (Sadaqah) is prohibited."

This is a correct reasoning. The matrimonial relation between and a man and a woman can never be considered permanent; it is only circumstantial and can be given up at any moment since the wife could be divorced. In fact two wives among the wives of the Prophet, namely Aisha (the daughter of Abu Bakr) and Hafsa (the daughter of Umar) were threatened to divorce by Qur’an, because of a secret news that they released to their parents. It is well-known that the following verses of Qur’an were revealed about Aisha and Hafsa:

When the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (i.e., Hafsa) and she then divulged it (to Aisha) and Allah made it known to him, he made known (to her) part thereof and passed over part. Then when he (i.e., the Prophet) told her thereof, she said: "Who told you this?”He said "He who knows and is well-aware (of all things) told me.”(Qur’an 66:3)

If you two (i.e., Aisha and Hafsa) turn unto Allah repentant, (you have cause to do so) for your hearts indeed desired (against the order of the Prophet); and if you two aid one another against him (Muhammad) then lo! Truly Allah is his Protector and Gabriel and the righteous one among those who believe and furthermore the angels will back (him) up. (Qur’an 66:4)

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If he divorces you, Allah may give him instead wives better than you who will be submissive (to Allah), believing, pious, penitent, inclined to fasting, widows and maids.”(Qur’an 66:5)

Explanation Sahih Al-Bukhari On Verse 66:5

In the Volume 6 of the Arabic-English version of Sahih al-Bukhari, in a chapter titled: "It may be, if he divorces you, that his Lord (Allah) will give him, instead of you, wives better than you ... (66:5),”we read:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 6.438

Narrated Umar:

The wives of the Prophet out of their jealousy, backed each other against the Prophet, so I said to them, "It may be, if he divorced you all, that Allah will give him, instead of you wives better than you.”So this Verse (66.5) was revealed.

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 6.436

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

I intended to ask Umar so I said, "Who were those two ladies who tried to back each other against the Prophet?”I hardly finished my speech when he said, They were Aisha and Hafsa."

If the Allah threatened the two wives of the Prophet by divorce, because they backed each other against the Prophet, then how can we render them as pure and sinless? Moreover, the following tradition states that the Prophet (S) deserted Aisha and Hafsa for one full month as punishment for revealing the secret news:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 7.119

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

I had been eager to ask Umar bin al-Khattab about the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet regarding whom Allah said ‘If you two (wives of the Prophet namely Aisha and Hafsa) turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes). (66.4) till Umar performed the Hajj and I too, performed the Hajj along with him... Then I said to him, "O chief of the Believers! Who were the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet regarding whom Allah said:

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‘If you two (wives of the Prophet) turn in repentance to Allah your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes)?”(66.4)

He said, "I am astonished at your question, O Ibn Abbas. They were Aisha and Hafsa.”

Then Umar went on narrating the Hadith and said, "... I shouted at my wife and she retorted against me and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said to me, ‘Why are you so surprised at my answering you back? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet answer him back and some of them may leave (do not speak to) him throughout the day till the night.’

The (talk) scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever has done so will be ruined!’ Then I proceeded after dressing myself, and entered upon Hafsa and said to her, ‘Does anyone of you keep the Prophet angry till night?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘You are a ruined losing person! Don’t you fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of Allah’s Apostle and thus you will be ruined?

So do not ask more from the Prophet and do not answer him back and do not give up talking to him. Ask me whatever you need and do not be tempted to imitate your neighbor (i.e., Aisha) in her manners for she is more charming than you and more beloved to the Prophet."

Umar added, "At that time a talk was circulating among us that (the tribe of) Ghassan were preparing their horses to invade us. My Ansari companion, on the day of his turn, went (to the town) and returned to us at night and knocked at my door violently and asked if I was there. I became horrified and came out to him.

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He said, ‘Today a great thing has happened.’ I asked, ‘What is it? Have (the people of) Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘No, but (What has happened) is greater and more horrifying than that: Allah’s Apostle; has divorced his wives. Umar added, "The Prophet kept away from his wives and I said "Hafsa is a ruined loser.’ I had already thought that most probably this (divorce) would happen in the near future. So I dressed myself and offered the morning prayer with the Prophet and then the Prophet entered an upper room and stayed there in seclusion. I entered upon Hafsa and saw her weeping. I asked, ‘What makes you weep? Did I not warn you about that? Did the Prophet divorce you all?’ She said, ‘I do not know. There he is retired alone in the upper room.’ ...

I said (to Allah’s Apostle) chatting, ‘Will you heed what I say, O Allah’s Apostle? We, the people of Quraish used to have power over our women, but when we arrived at Medina we found that the men (here) were overpowered by their women.’

The Prophet smiled and then I said to him, ‘Will you heed what I say, O Allah’s Apostle? I entered upon Hafsa and said to her, "Do not be tempted to imitate your companion (Aisha), for she is more charming than you and more beloved to the Prophet.’ ...Then the Prophet kept away from his wives for twenty-nine days because of the story which Hafsa had disclosed to Aisha. The Prophet had said, ‘I will not enter upon them for one month,’ because of his anger towards them ... Some of his wives were the cause of him taking that decision, therefore he deserted them for one month. See Qur’an: (66.4)

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Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 6.435

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

For the whole year I had the desire to ask Umar bin al-Khattab regarding the explanation of a Verse (in Surat al-Tahrim) ... Umar went aside to answer the call of nature by the Arak trees. I waited till he finished and then I proceeded with him and asked him. "O chief of the Believers! Who were the two wives of the Prophet who aided one another against him?”He said, "They were Hafsa and Aisha.”...

Then Umar added, "Once while I was thinking over a certain matter, my wife said, "I recommend that you do so-and-so.”I said to her, "What have you got to do with the is matter? Why do you poke your nose in a matter which I want to see fulfilled?”

She said, How strange you are, O son of al-Khattab! You don’t want to be argued with whereas your daughter, Hafsa surely, argues with Allah’s Apostle so much that he remains angry for a full day!”Umar then reported how he at once put on his outer garment and went to Hafsa and said to her, "O my daughter! Do you argue with Allah’s Apostle so that he remains angry the whole day?”Hafsa said, "By Allah, we argue with him.”

Umar said, "Know that I warn you of Allah’s punishment and the anger of Allah’s Apostle . . . O my daughter! Don’t be betrayed by the one who is proud of her beauty because of the love of Allah’s Apostle for her (i.e. Aisha).”... Umar added, (One day) my Ansari friend unexpectedly knocked at my door, and said, "Open Open!”I said, "Has the king of Ghassan come?”He said, "No, but something worse; Allah’s Apostle has isolated himself from his wives.”I said, "Let the nose of Aisha and Hafsa be stuck to dust (i.e., humiliated)!"

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In the above tradition, Hafsa swears by Allah that she argues with the Messenger of Allah and keeps him angry for the whole day! Is this a sign of purity and righteousness? According to Qur’an (the last sentence of Verse 33:33), perfect purity and sinlessness is the characteristic of Ahlul-Bayt.

The above verses of Qur’an as well as the above traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari proves that some of the wives of the Prophet were not righteous and pure, otherwise Allah would not have threatened them in Qur’an by divorce.

This is the main reason why I preferred the reference from Sahih Muslim on the authority of Zaid Ibn Arqam in which he “swears by Allah “that the Prophet’s wives are NOT among Ahlul-Bayt since they can be subject to divorce and being substituted with women better than them (Qur’an 66:5).

Another astonishing tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari is as follows:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.336

Narrated Abdullah:

The Prophet stood up and delivered a sermon, and pointed to the house of Aisha, and said: "Fitna (trouble/sedition) is right here,”saying three times, "and from where the side of the Satan’s head comes out."

قام النبی خطیباً فأشار نحو مسکن عائشه فقال: ها هنا الفتنه، ثلاثاً، من یطلع قرن الشیطان.

All these traditions give us more alarms not to include the wives of the Prophet into the Ahlul-Bayt who are spotless and sinless based on the testimony of the Messenger of Allah:

Ibn Abbas Narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah recited "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O’ People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you a perfect purification". (Qur’an, the last sentence of Verse 33:33) and then the Messenger of Allah said: "Thus Me and my Ahlul-Bayt are clear from the sins."

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فأنا و أهل بیتی مطهرون من الذنوب

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, as quoted in:

• al-Durr al-Manthoor, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v5, pp 605-606,198 under the commentary of Verse 33:33 of Qur’an

• Dala’il al-Nabawiyyah, by al-Bayhaqi

• Others such as al-Tabarani, Ibn Mardawayh, Abu Nu’aym, etc.

Please note the word "thus”in the highlighted part of the above tradition. It means the Prophet himself is CONCLUDING that the verse MEANS Ahlul-Bayt are sinless.

In his exegesis, Ibn Jarir Tabari quotes Qatadah who interpreted the sacred verse of Tat’hir that people of the Holy Prophet’s family are those whom Almighty Allah has purified from every sin and showered special blessings on them. He also stated in explanation of the verse:

"It is this and nothing else that Allah willed to ward off every badness and indecency from the people of the family of Muhammad and to keep them clear from every contamination and sin!"

Sunni reference: Tafsir al-Tabari, v22, p5 under commentary of verse 33:33

Thus the Purification Verse (Ayah al-Tat’hir) and the Tradition of Mantle (Hadith al-Kisaa) confer a special distinction and honor upon the Holy Family that is: being free from every blemish and uncleanness, being infallible, and being kept purified by Allah and absolved of any sin.

They are therefore entitled to absolute obedience from the Muslim Ummah not only as a logical inference, but as a fulfillment of the very intention and utmost desire of the Prophet of Islam in pin pointing them and making them distinguished from the rest of the Muslim Ummah.

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As we discussed earlier, in the special meaning that the Prophet elucidated in the previously mentioned traditions, Ahlul-Bayt even does NOT cover all those who come from his blood. Only those among them who are pure and sinless (Qur’an 33:33) are the Ahlul-Bayt. These are a very selected individuals among his progeny.

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 5

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

The Mother Of Believers

One thing that our Sunni brothers/sisters usually say as means of justifying Aisha is that she was "Ummul Mu’minin”-- the mother of believers. In fact, Qur’an states that the wives of the Prophet (S) are the mothers of the believers. But let us ponder the following points:

1. Let’s consider someone who is a believer. It naturally follows that his mother becomes a mother of believer. Does it automatically mean that his mother is also a good believer? Most certainly not! Being a mother of believer does not make that mother a good believer and righteous. The same argument applies for the mother of all the believers.

2. All the Sunni collections of traditions are replete with the traditions reported by Ummul Mu’minin Aisha. The Prophet (S) had many other wives, and all of them were mothers of believers. Many of the wives of the Prophet were highly pious and righteous, such as Umm Salama and Umm Ayman.

But unfortunately there are not many traditions from them in the Sihah Sittah (not even 5% of what is conveyed by Aisha). But we hear from Aisha in a bulk rate. Was it because she was the daughter of Abu Bakr? Or because she was the only one among the wives of the Prophet who fought Imam ‘Ali (as)?

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3. According to Islam, a believer is required to respect his mother. However, if such mother goes against the instruction of the Messenger of Allah, conducts and leads the rebellions, and kills innocents, we are religiously required to disassociate ourselves from such mother, and more importantly, we can NOT trust such mother for transmitting the traditions of the Prophet in such volume.

4. Indeed, there is a good reason why Allah gave them the title of "Mothers of Believers.”Allah gave them this title in order to prevent people to marry them after the demise of the Prophet (S). We cannot marry our mother. Right?

If Allah wouldn’t have given this title to them, some influential people would have married them and would probably have brought sons from them and would have ordered people to follow them as the Ahlul-Bayt, or even worst, they might have claimed that they are the real sons of the Prophet and would have claimed prophethood for them and many more possible dangerous consequences. As such, Allah (SWT) gave them this title (the mother of believers) to prevent such marriages.

The Best Wife Of The Prophet Vs. The Most Envious

It is well-known among Muslims that the best wife of the Prophet (S) was Khadija (ra). She was the first woman who embraced Islam and spent all her wealth for the cause of Allah and the Prophet never married another woman as long as Khadija was alive.

The Messenger of Allah gave the name of the best women of the world in chronological order and one should not be surprised that the name of Aisha is missing:

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The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "The most excellent of the women of all worlds whom Allah chose over all women are: Asiya the wife of Pharaoh, Mary the daughter of Imran, Khadija the daughter of Khuwaylid, and Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad."

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p702

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p157, who said this tradition is authentic based on the criteria of two Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, p135

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p755, Tradition1325

• Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v2, p344

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p223

• al-Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v4, p377

• al-Awsat by al-Tabarani, as well as Ibn Habban, etc.

Furthermore, Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated:

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Four women are the mistress of the worlds: Mary, Asiya (the wife of Pharaoh), Khadija, and Fatimah. And the most excellent one among them in the world is Fatimah."

Sunni references: Ibn Asakir, as quoted in Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor

Moreover, after the demise of Khadija (ra) when the Prophet (S) married Aisha and others, he explicitly preferred some of them over Aisha and said they are better than Aisha (see Sahih al-Tirmidhi; al-Isti’ab by Ibn Abd al-Barr; and al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, in the biography of Safiyya).

Also the verse:

"Perhaps if he divorces you, his Lord will give him wives who are better than you, who submit and believe (Qur’an 66:5)”

clearly indicates that there were believing women among the Muslims who were much better than Aisha.

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Envy so controlled her heart and her mind that she conducted herself in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (S) without respect or manners. On one occasion, Aisha said to the Prophet (S), when he mentioned Khadija in her presence:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 5.168.b

... Narrated Aisha: Once Hala Bint Khuwailid, Khadija’s sister, asked the permission of the Prophet to enter. On that, the Prophet remembered the way Khadija used to ask permission, and that made him sad. He said, "O Allah! Hala!”So I became jealous and said, "What makes you remember an old woman amongst the old women of Quraish an old woman (with a teethless mouth) of red gums who died long ago, and in whose place Allah has given you somebody better than her?"

The Prophet of Allah (S) became very angry at this until his hair stood. (also reported in Muslim). Moreover, al-Bukhari narrated that Aisha confessed:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 5.166

Narrated Aisha:

I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadija though I did not see her, but the Prophet used to mention her very often, and whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would cut its parts and send them to the women friends of Khadija. When I sometimes said to him, "(You treat Khadija in such a way) as if there is no woman on earth except Khadija,”he would say, "Khadija was such-and-such, and from her I had children."

Khadija was the foremost believing woman, to whom Gabriel gave Greetings, and was given the glad tidings of Paradise:

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Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 9.588

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said that Gabriel said, "Here is Khadija coming to you with a dish of food or a tumbler containing something to drink. Convey to her a greeting from her Lord (Allah) and give her the glad tidings that she will have a palace in Paradise built of Qasab wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue (trouble)."

Similar traditions was reported by the authority of Isma’il and Aisha (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Traditions: 3.19, 5.164, 5.165, 5.167, 5.168, 7.156, 8.33, and 9.576).

When Aisha was jealous, she would exceed her bounds and would do strange things like breaking dishes or tearing clothes. On another occasion when the Prophet was in the house of Aisha, one of the mothers of the believers (namely Safiyya) sent to the Prophet a dish that he really loved. She destroyed the dish, together with the food in it. Let us see how Aisha herself described this episode:

Aisha said: "Safiyya, the wife of the Prophet (S), sent a dish she had made for him when he was with me. When I saw the maidservant, I trembled with rage and fury, and I took the bowl and hurled it away. The Prophet of Allah (S) then looked at me; I saw the anger in his face and I said to him: ‘I seek refuge from Allah’s Apostle cursing me today.’ The Prophet said: ‘Undo it’. I said: ‘What is its compensation, O Prophet of Allah?’ He said: ‘The food like her food, and a bowl like her bowl.’"

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Sunni references:

• Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p227

• Sahih al-Nisa’i, v2, p148

Al-Bukhari confirms this episode as well:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 7.152 (The Chapter of Envy)

Narrated Anas:

While the Prophet was in the house of one of his wives, one of the mothers of the believers sent a meal in a dish. The wife at whose house the Prophet was, struck the hand of the servant, causing the dish to fall and break.

The Prophet gathered the broken pieces of the dish and then started collecting on them the food which had been in the dish and said, "Your mother (my wife) felt jealous.”Then he detained the servant till a (sound) dish was brought from the wife at whose house he was. He gave the sound dish to the wife whose dish had been broken and kept the broken one at the house where it had been broken.

And on another occasion, speaking of herself:

Aisha said: "I said to the Prophet (S) ‘Enough for you about Safiyya is such and such.’ The Prophet of Allah (S) said to me: ‘You have uttered words which, if they were mixed with the waters of the sea, would color it.’"

Sunni reference: Sahih al-Tirmidhi, and al-Zamakhshari has related it from him on, p73

By this Aisha was trying to disclose Safiyya’s faults. Glory be to Allah! How far was this mother of the believers away from the ethics and basic rights which Islam has enjoined concerning forbidding of backbiting and slander? No doubt her speech: "Enough for you about Safiyya is such and such”and the response of the Prophet of Allah (S) "You have uttered words which, if they were mixed with the waters of the sea, would color it”shows what Aisha had said regarding Safiyya was a grave thing and of immense concern. The narrators of the Hadith found it repulsive, and since they respected her, they changed the words to "so and so”as is their normal practice in such scandals.

p: 68

And here is Aisha, the mother of the believers, narrating, once again, of her envy of Mariya (another mother of the believers). Aisha said:

"I have never been as jealous of any woman as I have been of Mariya. That was because she had beautiful ringlets. She used to stay in the house of Haritha Ibn al-Numan. We frightened her and I became concerned. The Prophet of Allah (S) sent her to a higher place and he would visit her there. That was very hard upon us, and then Allah blessed him with a boy through her and we shunned him".

Sunni references:

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v8, p212

• al-Ansab al-Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, p339

Aisha’s jealousy went beyond the person of Mariya, and was directed even against Ibrahim, the innocent, newly born suckling baby:

Aisha said: "When Ibrahim was born, the Prophet of Allah (S) brought him to me and said: ‘Look how much he resembles me.’ I said: ‘I do not see any resemblance.’ The Prophet of Allah (S) said: ‘Don’t you see how robust and fair he is?"‘ Aisha said: "I said: ‘Whoever is fed with the milk of sheep becomes fair and robust.’"

Sunni references:

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v1, p37

• also in al-Ansab al-Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri

Aisha was very partial and yielded to emotions and selfish motives. When some people maliciously accused Mariya (the wife of the Prophet), she was Aisha who supported the accusers and tried to confirm the false blame.

p: 69

But Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, absolved her from blame and saved her from injustice, through the Commander of Believers, Imam ‘Ali (as). (For details refer to the account of Lady Mariya, may Allah be gracious to her, in al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v4, p30, or Talkhis of al-Mustadrak, by al-Dhahabi).

When she was overcome by suspicion and devilish insinuation, her jealousy crossed all boundaries and was beyond the expression of words, leading her to suspect the Prophet of Allah (S). Quite often, she used to pretend to be asleep when the Prophet stayed the night at her house, but, in fact, she would closely observe her husband, spying upon him in the darkness, following behind where he went. Here is a report, in her own words, which was narrated by Muslim in his Sahih, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad and other Sunni scholars:

Aisha said: When it was my turn for Allah’s Messenger to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle, and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep.

He then took hold of his mantle and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed the door lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil, and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached (the cemetery of) al-Baqi.

p: 70

He stood there for a long time and then he lifted his hand three times and then returned, and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I also ran. He came (to the home) and I also came (to the home). I, however, preceded him and entered and lay down on the bed. He entered and said: Why is it, O Aisha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware will inform me. I told him the story. He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain and the said: Did you think Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?

Sunni references:

• Sahih Muslim, English version, chapter CCCLII (titled: What is to be said while visiting the graveyard), v2, pp 461-462, Tradition 2127

• Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, v2, pp 669-670, Tradition 103

• Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p147

On another occasion, she said:

"I lost track of the Prophet of Allah (S), and I suspected that he had gone to another of his wives. I went looking for him and I found him in prostration, saying. "O My Lord! Forgive me"

Sunni reference: Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p147

On another occasion:

Aisha said: "One night, when he was with me, the Messenger of Allah (S) went out". She said: "I became jealous. When he came and saw what I had done, he said: ‘What is the matter, O Aisha? Are you jealous?’ I replied: ‘And why should not those like me be jealous of those like you?’ The Prophet of Allah (S) then said: ‘Has your devil taken possession of you?’".

p: 71

Sunni reference: Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p115

No doubt Aisha was quite often overcome or confused by her devil, for he found a way to her heart through jealousy. It has been narrated that the Prophet (S) said: "Jealousy for a man is faith and for a woman disbelief", meaning that a man may get jealous concerning his wife, for his wife is not religiously allowed to have sexual relation with another man.

The woman, however, does not have the right to be jealous of her husband, because Allah, Glory be to Him, has allowed him to marry more than one wife. An upright and believing woman who submits to the rulings of Allah, accepts her co-wife wholeheartedly, especially if her husband is just, upright, and God-fearing. How about the leader of humanity, the symbol of perfection and justice, and the most noble character, the Messenger of Allah?

Once the Prophet asked Aisha to collect certain information about a particular woman, namely, Sharraf, the sister of Dihya al-Kalbi. The information that she conveyed to him was not the information she had gathered, but wrong information prompted by selfish motives. When the Prophet (S) informed her of the truth of what she had observed, Aisha replied: "O Prophet of Allah! No secret is unknown to you. Who is able to hide anything from you?"

Sunni references:

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p294

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v8, p115

She said once she addressed to the Messenger of Allah: "I smell Maghafir (a kind of flower having a very bad odor) from you.”She said this in order to prevent him from visiting the house of Umm al-Mu’minin Zainab (ra) and eating honey there. This is the claim of Aisha. No other people mentioned this. As I will point out shortly, the story said by Umar regarding the revelation of divorce verses, is much different than the context of what Aisha said.

p: 72

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 6.434

Narrated Aisha:

Allah’s Apostle used to drink honey in the house of Zainab, the daughter of Jahsh, and would stay there with her. So Hafsa and I agreed secretly that, if he come to either of us, she would say to him "It seems you have eaten Maghafir (a kind of bad-smelling resin), for I smell in you the smell of Maghafir."

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith 7.192

Narrated ‘Ubaid bin Umar:

I heard Aisha saying, "The Prophet used to stay for a long while with Zainab Bint Jahsh and drink honey at her house. So Hafsa and I decided that if the Prophet came to anyone of us, she should say him, "I detect the smell of Maghafir (a nasty smelling gum) in you. Have you eaten Maghafir?’... So there was revealed: ‘O Prophet! Why do you ban (for you) that which Allah has made lawful for you . . . If you two (wives of Prophet) turn in repentance to Allah,’ (66:1-4) addressing Aisha and Hafsa. ‘When the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to some of his wives.’(66:3)

Tradition 8.682 of Sahih al-Bukhari is also similar to above and is narrated by Aisha himself. No other person narrated the story of honey in connection with the divorce verses. Please also see the previous article where we mentioned Sahih al-Bukhari, Tradition 7.119. In that tradition which is narrated by Umar, the Prophet (S) did not enter to the house of Aisha and Hafsa for one full month as a punishment for their aggressive actions.

p: 73

Considering the compassionate and the gentle personality of the Prophet (S), such severe punishment and the threat to divorce just for their saying to the Prophet "You smell Maghafir”(as Aisha claimed) does not seem reasonable. Qur’an confirms that the charges against Hafsa and Aisha was revealing a secret news:

When the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (i.e., Hafsa) and she then divulged it (i.e., to Aisha) and Allah made it known to him, he made known (to her) part thereof and passed over part. Then when he (i.e., the Prophet) told her thereof, she said: "Who told you this?”He said "He who knows and is well-aware (of all things) told me.”(Qur’an 66.3)

It seems that the report of Umar is more accurate. Umar said: "The Prophet kept away from his wives for twenty-nine days because of the story which Hafsa had disclosed to Aisha.”(See Sahih al-Bukhari 7.119 and 6.435). This is much different than the story made by Aisha about honey.

After one month that the Prophet deserted his wives, and when the words of Allah: "You may defer any one of them you wish and take to your self any you wish and there is no sin for you to take back any of them you have (temporarily) set aside (33:51)”were revealed, Aisha said to the Prophet:

"It seems to me that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desire!"

Sunni references:

• Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DLXXII (titled: Permissibility of bestowing the turn on one’s fellow wife), v2, pp 748-749, Traditions 3453-3454

p: 74

• Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, v2, pp 1085-1086, Traditions 49-50

Her evil conduct in the presence of the Prophet of Allah (S) reached a point that while he was praying, she would spread her feet towards his direction of prostration. When he prostrated and pinched them, she retracted them. When he stood up for the rest of the prayer, she would spread her feet out again:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 1.492 1.379

Narrated Aisha:

"I used to sleep in front of Allah’s Apostle with my legs opposite his Qibla (facing him); and whenever he prostrated, he pushed my feet and I withdrew them and whenever he stood, I stretched them."

One day, in the presence of her father, she started a quarrel with the Prophet and told him: "Be just.”Her father punished her for the impudence by giving a powerful a slap on her face so that she bled profusely and the blood ran onto her clothes.

Sunni references:

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v7, p116, Tradition 1020

• Ihyaa al-Ulum, by al-Ghazzali, Chapter 3, Bab al-Nikah, v2, p35

• Mukashifat al-Qulub, by al-Ghazzali, Chapter 94, p238

If Aisha got angry at the Prophet - which she did quite often - she would avoid uttering the name of the Prophet (S). She would not mention the name of Muhammad, but rather used to say: "By the Lord of Abraham”(Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition 7.155 and8.101, The Chapter of Jealousy and Wiles of a woman).

p: 75

Once she angrily said to the Messenger of Allah (S):

"It is you who pretend to be a prophet from Allah."

Sunni references:

• Ihyaa al-Ulum, by al-Ghazzali, Chapter 3, v2, p29, The Book on the Etiquettes of Marriage

• Mukashifat al-Qulub, by al-Ghazzali, Chapter 94

Subhana Allah!!! This is the Messenger of Allah, and submitting to his order is obligatory for every believing men and women. Disputing him is a sign of great impurity and the one who does that cannot be regarded as pure and righteous since s/he has committed a grave sin, let alone casting doubt on the prophethood of Muhammad (S).

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 6

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

The Most Beloved Wife?

Some people claim that Aisha was the most beloved and affectionate wife of the Prophet, and that the Prophet could not be separated from her. They even report that some of his wives gave up their turn of visitation for her when they came to know that the Prophet (S) loved her and could not wait for her turn!!! Such claims are in clear contradiction with authentic reports mentioned previously about Khadija being the best wife of the Prophet, and about Aisha being the most jealous one.

For if Aisha was the most beloved wife, can we find any justification or explanation for Aisha’s excessive jealousy? More over, in that case, one would have assumed that the opposite, i.e., that the rest of the wives of the Prophet (S) would have been jealous of Aisha due to his intense love and inclination towards her, according to what they report and claim. If she was pampered by the Prophet of Allah (S), what was the need for the jealousy?

p: 76

Here we relate another narration which al-Bukhari and several others of the Sunni transmitters have reported. It speaks of the extent of aversion which Aisha felt towards her husband, the Prophet of Allah (S). al-Bukhari reports that Aisha swears in the name of Allah that the Prophet wishes Aisha dies! Here is the tradition:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 7.570

Narrated al-Qasim bin Muhammad:

Aisha, (complaining of headache) said, "Oh, my head"! Allah’s Apostle said, "I wish that (i.e., your death) had happened while I was still living, for then I would ask Allah’s Forgiveness for you and invoke Allah for you.”Aisha said, "A likely story! By Allah, I think you want me to die; and If this should happen, you would spend the last part of the day sleeping with one of your wives!"

Does this narration indicate that the Prophet of Allah (S) loved Aisha so much so that he could not live without her?! Aisha, filled with jealousy, is confessing that the Prophet wishes to be with his other wives than to spend time with Aisha! Forecasting her future deeds, the Prophet wished she would have died in his lifetime so that he could have asked Allah for her forgiveness.

Moreover, how could the Prophet (S) love someone who would lie, backbite, slander and would doubt Allah and his Prophet, suspecting them of injustice? (See the traditions in the previous part as well as the traditions below). How could the Prophet of Allah (S) love someone who spied upon him, going out of her house without his permission to find out where he had gone? How could the Prophet of Allah (S) love someone who, in his presence, insulted his wives (like Khadija) even though they were dead? How could the Prophet of Allah (S) love someone who hated his son Ibrahim, and accused his wife, Mariya, of lying?

p: 77

How could the Prophet of Allah (S) love someone who hated his daughter, Fatimah al-Zahra (sa), and who hated his brother and cousin, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, to the extent where she could not mention his name and think any good of him? (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, traditions 3.761 and 5.727 and 5.736).

All these deeds are detested by Allah and His Prophet (S), and they do not love those who committed them, for with Allah is the truth, and His Messenger (S) is the reflection of the truth, and as such, it is not possible for him to love one who is against the truth. In fact, not only the Messenger of Allah did not love Aisha, but also, he warned the nation against her seditions/Fitna.

The weak reports claiming excessive love of Prophet for Aisha are, in fact, fabricated by the rivals of Imam ‘Ali (as). They gave her the highest preference when she served their interests. She narrated for them what they loved to hear, and she fought against their enemy, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as).

We should also point out that due to their hatred against the Prophet, the Umayad strove to distort the truth and turn everything head over heels, from the time the Caliphate fell into the hands. They, thus, elevated to the zenith of power people who were, during the life of the Prophet (S), ordinary, with no special standing, while they ignored others who were at the peak of honor and nobility during the lifetime of the Prophet (S).

p: 78

As we have partially witnessed so far, and if we study the actual events which occurred, ignoring the spurious narrations which the Umayad composed, we will observe that the Prophet of Allah (S) was, on many occasions, severely troubled and angered by Aisha.

Once I asked some Sunnis the reason for the Prophet’s (S) excessive love for Aisha, specifically to the exclusion of his other wives.

One of them said: "Because she was beautiful and young, and she was the only virgin he had, for no man had taken her before him!"

Another said: "Because she was the daughter of Abu Bakr, the truthful one, his companion in the cave."

The third said: "Because she memorized half the religion from the Prophet of Allah (S) and was a learned jurist!"

Non of the above claims has any basis, and non is acceptable to either the intellect or to reality. We will refute these answers with indubitable proofs.

As for the first claim, if the Prophet loved her because she was beautiful and the only virgin that he had, what prevented him from marrying the beautiful virgins who excelled her in charm and beauty, and were the role models among the Arab tribes, and who were at his beck and call?

On the other hand, the historians mentioned that Aisha’s jealousy towards Zainab Bint Jahsh, Safiyya Bint Huyayy, and Mariya the Copt, was because they were more beautiful than her. Furthermore, Ibn Sa’d and Ibn Kathir reported that:

p: 79

The Prophet (S) married Malika Bint Ka’b who was known for her outstanding beauty. Aisha went to see her and said to her: "Aren’t you ashamed to marry your father’s killer?”She then sought refuge against the Prophet of Allah (S), whereupon he divorced her. Her people came to him and said: "O Prophet of Allah, she is young and lacking in perception. She was deceived, so take her back". The Prophet (S) refused to do so. Her father was killed on the day of the conquest of Mecca, and his killer was Khalid Ibn al-Walid al-Khandama."

Sunni references:

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v8, p148

• Ibn Kathir, v5, p299

This narration clearly proves that the Prophet of Allah (S) was not concerned with youth and beauty in his marriages, otherwise, he would not have divorced Malika Bint Ka’b when she was young and of outstanding beauty.

This narration, and others like it, also show us the methods which Aisha adopted in deceiving the innocent believing women, and prohibited them from marrying the Prophet of Allah (S). Here, Aisha was instigating in Malika feelings for her father’s death, and that the killer was the Apostle of Allah (S), saying to her: "Aren’t you ashamed to marry your father’s killer?”What could this poor woman do but seek refuge against the Prophet of Allah (S)?

Perhaps she said more than that, at a time when people still had traits of Jahiliyya in them, which instigated people to retaliation and reproached whoever did not exact revenge against his father’s killer. This is while the Prophet was not the killer of his father as the above report also testifies.

p: 80

Other than the above divorce case, history testifies the case of divorce of Asma Bint Nu’man, who due to her beauty, was also targeted by the envy of Aisha. Her envy reached a point whereby she lied to Asma when she was married to the Prophet. It has been reported that:

When Asma Bint Nu’man was being led as a bride to her groom (i.e., the Prophet), Aisha told her that the Prophet was highly pleased with the woman who, when he approaches her, says to him: "May Allah save me from you."

Sunni references:

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v4, p37, on the account of Asma

• al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v4, p233

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, p104, v8, p145

• Tarikh al-Ya’qubi, v2, p69

Her underlying aim was to have the Prophet (S) divorce this naive woman for these offensive words, and the Prophet (S) did divorce her before consummating the marriage due to these words as the above references further testify.

It is now left for us to ask why did the Prophet of Allah (S) divorce these two naive women (Asma and Malika), who both fell victims to the plotting and deception of Aisha?

Before anything else, we must realize that the Prophet of Allah (S) was infallible, and as such, he would not oppress anyone nor would do anything which was not right. Therefore, in divorcing the two women, there must have been some wisdom known to Allah and His Prophet (S). Similarly, in spite of Aisha’s deeds, there must have been wisdom in him not divorcing her which we will talk shortly.

p: 81

As far as the second woman is concerned, i.e., Asma Bint al-Nu’man; her naive disposition became apparent when Aisha’s tricks captured her, and the first words that she greeted the Prophet of Allah (S) with, when he stretched out his hand to her were: "I seek refuge in Allah from you". Despite her excessive beauty, the Prophet (S) did not let her remain due to her simple mindedness.

Along with some other narrators, Ibn Sa’d, in his al-Tabaqat, v8, p145, on the authority of Ibn Abbas said: "The Prophet of Allah (S) married Asma Bint al-Nu’man, and she was among the most beautiful and complete women of her time". Perhaps the Prophet of Allah (S) wanted to teach us that the importance of intelligence outweighs that of physical beauty, for how many pretty women have been led by their foolishness towards corruption?

As for the first mentioned woman, i.e., Malika Bint Ka’b, who Aisha incited by telling her that her husband was her father’s killer, the Prophet (S) did not want this poor girl (who was young and lacked perception as her people testified) to live in fear and terror which would cause great problems for her, especially since Aisha would never let her live in peace with the Prophet of Allah (S). No doubt, there are other reasons known to the Prophet which are not known to us.

The important thing to realize is that the Prophet of Allah (S) did not crave for beauty or physical and sexual desires, as some ignorant persons and orientalists assume. They claim that Muhammad was pre-occupied with beautiful women. We have observed how the Prophet (S) divorced these two women despite their tender age and beauty. They were the most beautiful women of their times, as documented in the historical and Hadith books. Thus the claim of those perverts who say that the Prophet (S) loved Aisha for her youth and beauty is baseless and unacceptable, and rather insulting.

p: 82

If we also recall the narration reported by Aisha (mentioned in the previous part), she said that the Messenger of Allah (S) did not wait for long before he thought she was asleep, then he took his upper garment, slowly opened the door, went out and then closed it, we can perceive the lie of the claim that he could not do without her.

Also as we quoted from Sahih al-Bukhari in the previous part, the Prophet of Allah (S) never lost an opportunity to mention Khadija. This used to cause Aisha’s heart burn with jealousy, and she would lose control of herself and forget her manners. She would abuse (Khadija) as she liked, with no respect for her husband’s feelings. Aisha said to the Prophet (S): "Why do you mention that old woman of the Quraish? She who had reddened cheeks that time had destroyed!”(See the previous part for references).

Dare we ask Aisha who never saw Khadija for a single day in her life nor ever met her, how did she know that she was an old woman with red cheeks? Is this the conduct of the average believer who is forbidden to speak ill of a believer in his/her absence if that person is alive? How about if that person is dead and has been taken up to the Lord?

And how severe is the crime if the person being backbitten is the lady in whose house Gabriel came down and gave her the tidings of a house in paradise, a house without noise or trouble? (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Traditions: 9:588, 3.19, 5.164, 5.165, 5.167, 5.168, 7.156, 8.33, and 9.576).

p: 83

There is no doubt that all these authentic narrations refute the contention of the claim that Aisha was the most beloved wife of the Prophet’s (S) wives. It is clear that Aisha’s jealousy and hatred increased when the Prophet of Allah (S) informed her that His Lord had not given him someone better than Khadija.

Once again, the Prophet (S) teaches us that he did not have any sort of inclination for base desires, and had no inclination towards beauty and virginity, because Khadija (S) had been previously married twice and was older than himself by fifteen years.

Despite this, he loved her and never ceased to praise her. By my life, this is the true character of the Prophet of Allah (S), who loved for Allah’s sake and hated for Allah’s sake. There is a huge difference between these authentic traditions and the forged one which claims the Prophet preferred Aisha, so much so that his wives sent to him someone imploring him to show fairness with regard to the daughter of Abu Quhafa (i.e., Abu Bakr)!!!

As for those who allege that he loved her because she was the daughter of Abu Bakr, this is also untrue. We can say that he married her for the sake of Abu Bakr’s tribe. The Messenger of Allah (S) married into several tribes for political reasons so as to placate their hearts and foster affection and feelings of mercy between those tribes, replacing rancor and hatred.

The Prophet (S) married Umm Habiba, the sister of Muawiyah and the daughter of Abu Sufyan, the foremost enemy of the Prophet (S). The Prophet’s compassion and love for the Arab tribes led him to marrying Jews, Christians and Copts so that the people of the scriptures could get closer to each other.

p: 84

This is especially so if we realize, from our readings of the biographical works, that it was Abu Bakr who asked the Prophet (S) to marry his daughter Aisha, just as Umar had asked him to marry Hafsa. The Prophet (S) accepted these proposals because his heart encompassed all mankind. Allah, the Exalted, states:

"And if you were harsh and of severe heart, they would have deserted you.”(Qur’an 3:159)

Muslim in his Sahih as well as many other Sunni traditionists reported that:

Umar Ibn al-Khattab reported: When Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) kept himself away from his wives, I entered the mosque and found people striking the ground with pebbles and saying: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) has divorced his wives, and that was before they were commanded to observe seclusion. Umar said to himself: I must find this today. So I went to Aisha and said (to her): O Daughter of Abu Bakr, have you gone to the extent of giving trouble to the Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him)?

Thereupon she said: Son of Khattab! You have nothing to do with me. You should look to your own receptacle (i.e., your own defects, or your own daughter). He (Umar) said: I visited Hafsa, daughter of Umar and said to her: O Hafsa! This (news) has reached me that you cause Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) trouble. By Allah! You know that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) does not love you, and had I not been (your father) he would have divorced you. (On hearing this) she wept bitterly ...

p: 85

Sunni references:

• Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DLXXXI (Titled: Ila and Keeping away from the wives), v2, p763, Tradition 3507.

• Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, v4, p188, The book of Divorce, Chapter on separation and being away from them, giving them a choice and Allah’s words: ‘And if you two support each other against him...’

This narration clearly illustrates for us, without doubt, that the Prophet’s (S) marriage to Hafsa was not due to love, but rather, for the political needs that circumstances dictated. What makes us certain of our deduction is the fact that Umar Ibn al-Khattab swore by Allah that the Prophet of Allah (S) did not love Hafsa.

Therefore not even the slightest of doubt is left in our minds about the marriage to her being for political considerations when he said to her: "Had it not been for me, the Prophet of Allah (S) would have divorced you".

Also we will quote later on, there are in numerous traditions in which the Prophet (S) ordered Muslims to love his Ahlul-Bayt as an order from Allah. This is also mentioned in Qur’an. Yet, in the above tradition Umar swears by Allah that the prophet does not love Hafsa. This clearly shows that Hafsa (the wife of the Prophet) was not among Ahlul-Bayt whose love is obligatory to all the believing men and women.

This narration also gives us some idea about the Prophet’s (S) marriage to Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, and that, despite all her troubles, he exercised patience and perseverance for the sake of Abu Bakr’s tribe.

p: 86

Otherwise, Hafsa was more worthy of the love and affection of the Prophet of Allah (S), for she did not do a tenth of the things that Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, did to offend the Prophet (S).

If we return to the claim that the Prophet of Allah (S) loved Aisha since she had memorized half the religion from him, and that he used to say, "Take half your religion from this Humayra", we realize that this tradition is fabricated and has no basis of truth, nor is it compatible with the ridiculous and sorrowful rulings which have been reported from Aisha.

As such, it is not fitting that the Prophet (S) should have mentioned them. It would be sufficient to refer to the incident of the suckling of an adult, which she used to report from the Prophet of Allah (S), and which was narrated by Muslim in his Sahih and by Malik in his Muwatta’. All the other wives of the Prophet (S) rejected this detestable claim and refused to act according to it. Even the reporter of the Hadith remained silent for a complete year and was scared to mention it due to its repulsive and shameless nature.

One of the methods for a person to become "Mahram”(intimate; forbidden to marry) is through fosterage. A woman may suckle the child and become her foster-mother when the child is less than two years old. It is forbidden for a female to show any parts of her body such as breasts, chest, hair, and so on, to a grown male who is not Mahram.

p: 87

However, Aisha claimed that a woman can suckle a grown up man who understands sexuality and has even beard! For a female who wants to suckle such adult male for the first time, she must do the following:

1) To allow this grown-up man to enter her house,

2) To open her clothes intentionally (by the intention of suckling)

3) To allow such stranger adult to see parts of her body, chest, breasts, and so on,

4) To allow this man to touch her body.

This is for the first time when the person in question is not Mahram as yet based on the Fatwa of Aisha, he will become Mahram after being suckled, and nothing would be wrong! Here are some traditions from Aisha attributing such shameful thing to the Prophet:

Aisha reported that Sahla Bint Suhail came to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, I see on the face of Abu Hudhaifa (signs of disgust) on entering of Salim (who is an ally) into (our house), whereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man?

Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) smiled and said: I already know that he is a young man. Amr has made this addition in his narration that he participated in the Battle of Badr and in the narration of Ibn Umar (the words are): Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) laughed.

p: 88

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition 3424.

Ibn Abu Mulaika reported that al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr had narrated to him that Aisha reported that Sahla Bint Suhail Ibn Amr came to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, Salim (the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa) is living with us in our house, and he has attained (puberty) as men attain it and has acquired knowledge (of the sex problems) as men acquire, whereupon he said: Suckle him so that he may become unlawful (in regard to marriage) for you.

He (Ibn Abu Mulaika) said: I refrained from narrating this Hadith for a year or so on account of fear. I then met al-Qasim and said to him: You narrated to me a Hadith which I did not narrate (to anyone) afterwards. He said: What is that? I informed him, whereupon he said: Narrate it on my authority that Aisha had narrated that to me.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition 3426.

Zainab daughter of Abu Salama reported: I heard Umm Salama, the wife of Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him), saying to Aisha: By Allah, I do not like to be seen by a young boy who has passed the period of fosterage, whereupon She (Aisha) said: Why is it so? Sahla daughter of Suhail came to Allah’s messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah’s messenger, I swear by Allah that I see in the face of Abu Hudhaifa (the signs of disgust) on account of entering of Salim (in the house), whereupon Allah’s messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She (Sahlah Bint Suhail) said: He has a beard. But he (again) said: Suckle him, and it would remove what is there (expression of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa. She said: (I did that) and , by Allah, I did not see (any sign of disgust) on the face of Abu Hudhaifa.

p: 89

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition 3428.

Umm Salama, the wife of Allah’s Apostle, used to say that all wives of Allah’s Apostle disclaimed the idea that one with this type of fosterage (having been suckled after the proper period) should come to them... and no one was going to be allowed to enter (our house) with this type of fosterage and we do not subscribe to this view.

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition 3429.

Aisha herself testified that:

Aisha reported: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) visited me when a man was sitting near me, and he seemed to disapprove of that. And I saw signs of anger on his face and I said: Messenger of Allah, he is my brother by fosterage, whereupon he said: Consider who your brothers are because of fosterage since fosterage is through hunger (i.e. in infancy).

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, English version, v2, Chapter DLXVI, titled: Suckling a Young boy, Tradition 3430.

Also al-Bukhari narrated:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.815

Narrated Aisha:

Once the Prophet came to me while a man was in my house. He said, "O Aisha! Who is this (man)?”I replied, "My foster brothers”He said, "O Aisha! Be sure about your foster brothers, as fostership is only valid if it takes place in the suckling period (before two years of age)."

The last three traditions in the above show that the prophet (S) does not approve an adult male to be with his wife (Aisha). He said that fosterage relationship is only possible if the male is less than two years old. These set of traditions are in clear contradiction with the claim of Aisha stated in the early traditions. Besides, I would like you to think whether you would allow your wife to suckle a grown-up man? If no, why do you think that the most honorable man on the earth, the Prophet (S), will allow it?

p: 90

Regarding the scandal of the above traditions, the translator of Sahih Muslim (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, Saudi Arabia) wrote in the footnote of the above traditions that:

This Chapter (i.e., suckling a young boy) is one of the most difficult chapters of this book. Fosterage which makes marriage unlawful is only that which has been referred to in the Holy Qur’an:

"And the (divorced) mothers may nurse their children for two whole years if they wish to complete the period of nursing.”(2:233)

It implies that the fosterage within two years of the child’s birth is effective in determining the nature of relationship, and that of the subsequent period, and specially in a grown-up age, is NOT effective. This view is held by Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmad, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Muhammad, and is supported on the authority of Ibn Mas’ud, Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar.

Sunni reference: Footnote of Sahih Muslim, English version, by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, v2, p43

The above astonishing issue was just one of the false verdicts of Aisha. Let us now turn to Sahih al-Bukhari in the Chapter on: "Whoever Leaves his Place of Residence Must Shorten the Prayer."

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.206

Narrated Ibn Umar:

I accompanied Allah’s Apostle and he never offered more than two Rakat during the journey. Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman used to do the same.

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.188

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:

I offered the prayer with the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umar at Mina and it was of two Rakat. Uthman in the early days of his caliphate did the same, but later on he started praying the full prayer.

p: 91

It is clear that Uthman changed the regulation of the prayer of the traveler in the later years of his reign. For more traditions concerning this innovation, please also see Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition 2.190.

It is noteworthy that Aisha also followed this innovation as al-Bukhari testified:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.196

Narrated Aisha:

"When the prayers were first enjoined they were of two Rakat each. Later the prayer in a journey was kept as it was but the prayers for non-travelers were completed.”al-Zuhri said, "I asked ‘Urwa what made Aisha pray the full prayers (in journey).”He replied, "She did the same as Uthman did."

Muslim also reported the first tradition in "The Chapter on the Prayer recited by the Travelers and Shortening it”He narrated on the authority of al-Zuhri from ‘Urwa from Aisha, that: "The prayer was first decreed as two rak’ah. Then this ruling was preserved for the prayer during a journey, and the prayer at (a person’s town of) residence was made complete". al-Zuhri said: "I said to ‘Urwa ‘So how come Aisha (recites the) complete prayer on a journey?’ He replied: ‘She interpreted (the ruling) as Uthman interpreted it.’

The above traditions show that the action of Aisha was in opposite of her own claim. For she is the one who reports that the prayer of a traveler was decreed as two units but she opposes what Allah has made obligatory, and what the Prophet of Allah (S) followed, and she changed the ruling of Allah and His Prophet, reviving the practice of Uthman.

p: 92

Aisha had not lived with the Prophet of Allah (S) for more than six to eight years, according to different reports, along with nine other co-wife who had also share from the time of the Prophet (S). She spent the first years of this period playing games that children play whilst she was the wife of the Prophet (S). She was, as Barira, the slave girl of the Prophet of Allah (S), described her: "A young girl, who sleeps leaving the dough (unguarded) that the goats come and eat". (Sahih Bukhari Hadith, Arabic-English version, Tradition 9.462).

After the demise of the Prophets, she modified the religion as she wished, and issued scandalous verdicts, and as such, it is quite impossible that Aisha’s husband, the Prophet of Allah (S), would be pleased with her and would order the people to follow her. In fact, as implied in the following tradition which has been related in Sahih al-Bukhari, Muslim and the other Sunni documents, obedience to her is disobedience to Allah:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 9.220

Narrated Abu Maryam Abdullah bin Ziyad al-Aasadi:

When Talha, al-Zubair and Aisha moved to Basra, ‘Ali sent Ammar bin Yasir and al-Hasan bin ‘Ali who came to us at Kufa and ascended the pulpit. al-Hasan bin ‘Ali was at the top of the pulpit and Ammar was below al-Hasan. We all gathered before him. I heard Ammar saying, "Aisha has moved to al-Basra. By Allah! She is the wife of your Prophet in this world and in the Hereafter. But Allah has put you to test whether you obey Him (Allah) or her (Aisha)."

p: 93

This Hadith indicates that obedience to her is disobedience to Allah, and to oppose and disobey her is to obey Allah. We can also note in the Hadith, that the Umayad narrators have added the phrase "and the hereafter”to the saying of Ammar (ra) and making it "She is the wife of your Prophet in this life and the hereafter”so that they may lead the masses into thinking that Allah has forgiven her every sin she Committed, and allowed her to enter the heaven, and to continue to live with her husband.

Otherwise, how did Ammar know that she will be his wife in the hereafter? How could Ammar take an oath about something he did not know? Did he have a verse from the book of God? Or was it a covenant promised to him by the Prophet (S)? Thus, excluding what has been falsely added, we are left with the true Hadith, i.e., that Aisha traveled to Basra, and that she is the wife of your Prophet, but Allah is testing you through her to know whether you obey Him or her.

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 7

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

(Note: I apologize in advance, if my Sunni brothers/sisters feel offended by the content of these parts of the article due to their previous background on Aisha. The purpose of this article is not to make you feel bad, but to provide you with some pieces of information that the Sunni collections carry, but they have been ignored due to some scholars who prevented discussing them. The final judgment is with you.)

p: 94

Aisha After The Prophet’s Demise:

Another important approach to realize who Ahlul-Bayt are, is studying the historical events after the demise of the Prophet. According to the purification sentence in Qur’an (the last sentence of Verse 33:33), Ahlul-Bayt are free from any dirt and impurity.

On the other hand, the documented Sunni history testifies that Aisha (one of the wives of the Prophet) was not righteous. If we examine her life after the demise of the Prophet, we will find her misconducts more horrible than what she did during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S).

Undoubtedly, on of her most terrible misconduct was instigating the Battle of Camel during the Caliphate of Imam ‘Ali (as). The battle was named Camel (Jamal) since Aisha was riding a Camel to lead the rebels. How can she be pure when she fought against the legitimate Caliph of his time and when she is responsible for shedding the blood of more than 10,000 Muslims? What impurity can be imagined greater than this horrible Fitna which caused to disunite the Muslim Ummah once and forever. Let us first briefly discuss the event preceding to this strife.

Agitation Against Uthman:

Aisha claimed that the reason for her rise against Imam ‘Ali (as) (which was manifested in the battle of Camel) was getting revenge of the blood of Uthman. Yet, the history testifies that Aisha herself was one of the main figures of agitation against Uthman which ended up with his murder. Once she went to Uthman and asked for her share of inheritance from the Prophet (after so many years passed from the demise of the Prophet).

p: 95

Uthman refrained to give Aisha any money, and reminded her that she was one of those who counseled Abu Bakr not to pay the share of inheritance of Fatimah al-Zahra (sa). So if Fatimah does not have any share, then why should she? Hearing this, Aisha became very angry at Uthman, and came out and said to the people:

"Kill this old fool (Na’thal), for he is unbeliever."

Sunni references:

• History of Ibn al-Athir, v3, p206

• Lisan al-Arab, v14, p141

• al-Iqd al-Farid, v4, p290

• Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v16, pp 220-223.

The following paragraph from the History of al-Tabari shows the struggle of Aisha to agitate against Uthman and to push the famous companions against him. It also shows her position toward Imam ‘Ali (as), and her plots with Talha for overthrowing Uthman when Talha was able to take over the treasury of state during the siege against Uthman:

While Ibn Abbas was setting out for Mecca, he found Aisha in al-Sulsul (seven miles south of Medina). Aisha said: "O’ Ibn Abbas, I appeal to you by God, to abandon this man (Uthman) and sow doubt about him among the people, for you have been given a sharp tongue. (By the current siege over Uthman) people have shown their understanding, and light is raised to guide them. I have seen Talha has taken the possession of the keys to the public treasuries and storehouses. If he becomes Caliph (after Uthman), he will follow in the path of his parental cousin Abu-Bakr.”Ibn Abbas said: "O’ Mother (of believers), if something happens to that man (i.e., Uthman), people would seek asylum only with our companion (namely, ‘Ali).”Aisha replied: "Be quiet! I have no desire to defy or quarrel with you."

p: 96

Reference: History of al-Tabari, English version, v15, pp 238-239

Another Sunni historian, al-Baladhuri, in his history (al-Ansab al-Ashraf) said that when the situation became extremely grave, Uthman ordered Marwan Ibn al-Hakam and Abdurrahman Ibn Attab Ibn Usayd to try to persuade Aisha to stop campaigning against him and to help him pass this difficult time. They went to her while she was preparing to leave for pilgrimage, and they told her:

"We pray that you stay in Medina, and that Allah may save this man (Uthman) through you.”Aisha said: "I have prepared my means of transportation and vowed to perform the pilgrimage. By God, I shall not honor your request... I wish he (Uthman) could fit to one of my sacks so that I could carry him. I would then through him into the sea."

Reference: "al-Ansab al-Ashraf", by al-Baladhuri, v4, part 1, p75

The Battle Of Camel

Some traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari imply to the reader that the dislike of Aisha toward Imam ‘Ali was because ‘Ali suggested the Prophet to divorce her. The fact is that the Prophet was about to divorce her because he himself found her troublesome since Aisha and Hafsa backed each other against the Prophet to the extent that Allah sent down a revelation in this regard.

(Please see Part IV for the verses related to divorce of Aisha and Hafsa and the corresponding traditions from Sahih al-Bukhari). She often used to offend the Prophet (S) and caused him distress, but the Prophet (S) was compassionate and kind, his character lofty, his patience deep, therefore he frequently said to her, "Your Satan has confused you, O Aisha."

p: 97

Even if we suppose the story is true (that Imam ‘Ali advised the Prophet to divorce her), is it a sufficient excuse for her to disobey the words of God and her husband? Allah, in the beginning of the verse 33:33 of Qur’an, orders the wives of the Prophet saying:

And stay in your houses. Bedizen not yourselves with the bedizenment of the Time of ignorance. ... (Qur’an 33:33)

Aisha was required by the above verse of Qur’an to stay at home, but she disobeyed the order of God. Is this a sign of piety, purity and righteousness? All of other wives of the Prophet obeyed the above injunction with the exception of Aisha. Historians relate that Hafsa Bint Umar wanted to go with her for the battle of the Camel.

But her brother, Abdullah, reproached her and recited the aforementioned verse to her. Hafsa then canceled her plans. Aisha, however, rode the camel that that Prophet had forbidden her from riding and warned her about the barking of al-Haw’ab’s dogs:

The Prophet (S) said to his wives: "I wonder which one of you will be the instigator of the Camel Affair, at whom the dogs of Haw’ab will bark, and she will be the one who has deviated from the straight path. As to you Humayra (i.e., Aisha), I have warned you in that regard."

Sunni references:

• History of Ibn al-Athir, v3, p120

• al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah

This prophecy of the Messenger of Allah (S) took place 28 years later in the plain of al-Haw’ab. The story that all historians tend to agree is that during her journey to Basra (to lead the war of Camel), Aisha passed by the waters of al-Haw’ab and heard the dogs barking. She remembered the warning of the Prophet, and she cried and said: "Take me back! Take me back!”

p: 98

But Talha and Zubair brought fifty men and bribed them to testify in front of her that the place was not the plain of al-Haw’ab. Many Sunni historians believe that those fifty men gave the first falsified testimony in the history of Islam. (al-Tabari, Ibn al-Athir, and al-Mada’ini who wrote on the events of the year 36 AH. See also "The Great Sedition”-- "al-Fitna al-Kubra", by Taha Husayn).

I believe that this narration was fabricated during the time of the Umayad to reduce the severity of disobedience of Aisha, thinking that she would be exonerated after her nephew, Abdullah Ibn al-Zubair, deceived her, coming with fifty men who swore by God and gave false testimony that the water was not that of al-Haw’ab.

Did the fabricator of the report who forged this narration find an excuse for her disobedience to the order of the Prophet of Allah (S) to stay within her house and the prohibition of riding a camel before arriving at the well of al-Haw’ab, the watering place of the barking dogs? Did they find an excuse for her after she rejected the advice of the Mother of Believers, Umm Salama? Historians have recorded that:

Umm Salama said to Aisha: "Do you remember the day the Prophet of Allah (S) proceeded and we were with him and he turned left from (a place called) Qadid and sat alone with ‘Ali and whispered to him for a long time? You wanted to force yourself on them; I tried to prevent you, but you disobeyed me and intruded. It did not take long before you returned in tears. I asked: ‘What happened to you?’ And you replied: ‘I approached them and they were in conversation, so I said to ‘Ali: ‘I get with the Prophet of Allah one day out of nine, so can you not, O son of Abu Talib, leave me with him on my day?’ The Messenger of Allah came towards me and he was red with anger, and said: ‘Go back! By Allah, none except those who have abandoned faith can hate him’. Then you returned repentant and sad.”Aisha said: "Yes, I remember that."

p: 99

Umm Salama continued: "I also remind you that you and I were with the Prophet of Allah and he said to us: ‘Which one of you will be the rider of the trained camel, at whom the dogs of Haw’ab will bark, and she will have deviated from the right path?’ We said: ‘We seek refuge from Allah and His Prophet from that’. He touched your back and said: ‘Don’t be that one, O Humayra.’“Aisha said: "I remember that."

Umm Salama said: "Do you not remember that day when your father came with Umar, so we put on our veils. They came in and spoke about what they wanted to, until they said: ‘O Prophet of Allah (S) we do not know how long you will be with us. If only you were to tell us who will succeed you as Caliph over us, so that there will be after you a place we can turn to.’ He said to them: ‘As for me, I have seen his position (in front of you). Were I to do this, you would all fall into disunity as the Israelites dispersed from Aaron’. They remained quiet and left. After they had departed, we came out to the Prophet of Allah and you said to him, as you were more forthcoming with him than all of us: ‘O Messenger of Allah who did you appoint as Caliph over them?’ He said: The wearer of the mended shoe.’ we went out and we saw it was ‘Ali. You said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, I do not see anyone apart from ‘Ali’. He replied- ‘He is the one.’“Aisha said "Yes, I remember that.”Umm Salama said to her: "So then, Aisha, how can you go ahead after all these"? She replied "I venture forth to reconcile the people."

p: 100

Sunni reference: Commentary of Ibn Abil Hadid, v2, p77

Umm Salama also sought to prevent her from the uprising, using strong words, saying:

"The pillars of Islam, if they lean, are not set erect by women; and if they crack, are not joined by women. The praiseworthy things for women are lowering their gazes and protecting their chastity. What would you say if the Messenger of Allah (S) appear before you in one of these deserts and finds you driving your camel from one watering place to another? By Allah, if I were to embark upon this journey of yours, then it was said to me: ‘Enter paradise’ I would be ashamed to face Muhammad after having thrown off the veils he has placed upon me.’"

Sunni reference: Kitab al-Musanif fi Gharib al-Hadith, by Ibn Qutaybah, Chapter of Imamat and Politics.

Just as Aisha did not accept the advice of many sincere companions, al-Tabari in his history related that:

Jariyah Ibn Quddama al-Sa’di said to her: ‘O mother of the believers, by Allah, the murder of Uthman is less despicable than you going out on this accursed camel from your house and bearing arms. Allah has imposed on you the veil and sanctity, you have destroyed your cover and defiled your respect. Surely, whoever sees your uprising, sees your destruction. If you come to us obeying, then go back to your house. If you have come to us in coercion, then seek the help of the people".

Sunni reference: History of al-Tabari, v6, p482

p: 101

Historians have recorded that she was the general leader of the battle, supervising, separating people and issuing commands. Even when Talha and al-Zubair argued as to who should lead the prayer, and when both of them wanted to lead, Aisha intervened and removed them both and ordered Abdullah Ibn Zubair, her nephew, to lead the dissents in prayer.

She would dispatch messengers with letters which she sent to several regions, requesting their assistance against ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib and urging them with the Jahili zeal. She even recruited twenty thousand or more rabble and greedy Arabs to fight and depose the Commander of the Faithful. Her urging resulted in zealous discord, where large numbers of people were killed in the name of defending and aiding the mother of the believers.

The historians say that when the companions of Aisha came to Uthman Ibn Hanif, the governor of Basra, they took him along with seventy of his officers who were in charge of the public treasury as prisoners. They brought them to Aisha who ordered that they be put to death. They were slaughtered as sheep are slaughtered. It is even reported there were 400 men in all and that they were the first Muslims whose heads were cut off whilst they were patient.

Sunni references:

• History of al-Tabari, v5, p178

• Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v2, p501

al-Sha’bi reported from Muslim Ibn Abi Bakra from his father "When Talha and Zubair reached Basra, I put on my sword as I wanted to help them. I visited Aisha, she was ordering, prohibiting; she was in command. I remembered a Hadith from the Prophet of Allah (S) which I used to hear him say: ‘A community which has its affairs administered by a woman will never succeed.’ I (therefore) withdrew from them and left them". (reported by al-Bukhari, v8, p97; al-Nisa’i, v4, p305; al-Hakim, v4, p525)

p: 102

One of the things that makes us laugh and weep at the same time is that Aisha, went out of her residence in disobedience to Allah and His Prophet and then ordered the companions to remain in their houses. This is surely an amazing phenomena! Ibn Abil Hadid, in his Sharh, along with some other historians, reported that Aisha sent a letter when she was in Basra to Zaid Ibn Sawhan al-’Abdi in which she said to him: "From Aisha, the mother of the believers, daughter of Abu Bakr, the truthful one, wife of the Prophet. To her devoted son, Zaid Ibn Sawhan. Remain at home and make the people abandon the son of Abu Talib. I hope to hear what I would love from you, since you are the most trustworthy of my family...Wassalam".

This righteous man replied to her thus: "From Zaid Ibn Sawhan to Aisha Bint Abi Bakr: Allah issued a commandment to you and, He also issued a commandment to us. He ordered you to remain in your residence, and He ordered us to fight. Your letter has come to me instructing me to do contrary to what Allah has ordered me to do, (You have asked me) to do what Allah has ordered you to do, and that you do what Allah has asked me to do! Your order to me is (something) that I cannot obey, therefore there is no reply (necessary) to your letter."

From this, it becomes clear to us that Aisha was not content with leading the army of the Camel, but rather, she craved for absolute control over the believers in all the corners of the land. In all matters, she would command Talha and al-Zubair, who had been nominated for the Caliphate by Umar. Due to this, she made it lawful for herself to correspond with the chiefs of the tribes and with the governors, enticing them and seeking their help. If the heroes and men, famous for their courage, abandon and flee from the lines of battle when facing Imam ‘Ali (as) and would not stand in front of him, she stood, inciting, screaming and arousing the people.

p: 103

Aisha permitted the killing of innocent people, and led the first civil war against Imam ‘Ali who was chosen by people as Caliph. The result was massacre of thousands of Muslims according to the historians (See the History of al-Tabari and the History of Ibn al-Athir on the events of the year 36 AH). Allah to whom belong Might and Majesty stated in Qur’an:

"And Whoever kills a believer deliberately, his reward is Hell forever, and the Wrath of Allah is upon him, He cursed him and prepared a great punishment for him.”(Qur’an 4:93)

Nevertheless, the Prophet (S) did not divorce her. So why all this hatred toward Imam ‘Ali (as)? History has recorded some of her aggressive actions that could not be explained. When she was on her way back to Mecca, she heard that the plot of Killing Uthman finally took place, so she became very delighted.

But when she heard that people had chosen Imam ‘Ali (as) to succeed him, she became very angry and said: "I wish the sky would collapse on the earth before son of Abu Talib (i.e., ‘Ali) could succeed the Caliphate". Then she said: "Take me back,”and thus she started the civil war against Imam ‘Ali (as) whose name she disliked to mention. Sunni traditionists narrated that:

When Ubaydullah Ibn Utbah mentioned to Ibn Abbas that Aisha said "In his death-illness the Prophet was brought to (Aisha’s) house while his shoulders were being supported by Fadhl Ibn Abbas and another person", then Abdullah Ibn Abbas said: "Do you know who this ‘other man’ was?”Ibn Utbah replied: "No.”Then Ibn Abbas said: "He was ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, but she is averse to name him in a good context."

p: 104

Sunni references:

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, pp 34,228

• al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, part 2, p29

• History of al-Tabari (Arabic), v1, pp 1800-1801

• al-Ansab al-Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 544-545

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, part 2, p29

• al-Sunan al-Kubra, by al-Bayhaqi, v3, p396

• A milder version of the above tradition has also been mentioned by al-Bukhari. (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, traditions 3.761 and 5.727 and 5.736).

The hatred of Aisha toward Imam ‘Ali (as) is well known. This was not just limited to waging war against Imam ‘Ali. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal recorded that:

"Ata Ibn Yasar, who says that a certain person came to Aisha and began to use impudent and abusive words for ‘Ali while Ammar, was in her presence. She said to him: "As regards ‘Ali, I have nothing to tell you, but as regards Ammar, I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying about him that if he has to make a choice between two things he will always choose that which is better from the point of view of good guidance and salvation."

Sunni reference: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p113

Aisha’s hatred for Imam ‘Ali (as) was so much that she always tried to distance him from the Prophet (S) whenever she could find the means to do so. Ibn Abil Hadid, in his commentary on the Nahjul Balagha reported:

The Prophet of Allah (S) beckoned to ‘Ali to come close. He came close until he sat between him and Aisha, and he and the Prophet (S) were clung together. She said to him "Can you not find a seat for this one except on my thigh?”

p: 105

Ibn Abil Hadid also reported that one day the Prophet of Allah (S) was walking with Imam ‘Ali and the conversation became prolonged. Aisha approached as she was walking from behind until she came between them saying: "What is it between you two that you are taking so long?”Upon this the Prophet of Allah (S) became angry.

Sunni reference: Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v9, p195

It is also reported that she once came upon the Prophet (S) whilst he was conversing quietly with ‘Ali. She screamed and said: "What is it with you and me, O son of Abu Talib? I have (just) one day with the Prophet of Allah (S)". Thereupon the Prophet (S) became angry.

Would the Prophet (S) be pleased with any believing man or woman whose heart was filled with hatred and malice towards his cousin, the leader of his progeny, about whom he said: "He loves Allah and His Prophet, and Allah and His Prophet love him"? He also said about him: "Whoever loves ‘Ali has loved me, and whoever hates ‘Ali has hated me.”(al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p130 who said this Tradition is authentic as set by the two standards of Muslim and Bukhari).

Had Aisha not heard the saying of the Prophet about ‘Ali that "Non but a believer would love him, and none but a hypocrite would nurse grudge against him"? (Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter XXXIV, p46, Tradition 141; Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p643; Sunan Ibn Majah, v1, p142; Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal v1, pp 84,95,128; Tarikh al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari, v1, part 1, p202; Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v4, p185; Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v14, p462).

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This saying of the Prophet was so well-known that some of the companions used to say: "We recognized the hypocrites by their hatred of ‘Ali.”(Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p639, Tradition 1086; al-Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p47; al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v3, p242; Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p91).

Moreover, Had Aisha not heard the saying of the Prophet: "Whoever I am his master, ‘Ali is his master. O God! Love those who love him and be hostile to those who are hostile to him"? (Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v2, p298, v5, p63; Sunan Ibn Majah, v1, pp 12,43) Undoubtedly she heard all of them, but she did not like them, and when she heard of the assassination of Imam ‘Ali (as), she knelt and thanked Allah!!! (See the History of al-Tabari and the History of Ibn al-Athir on the events of the year 40 AH).

She was also involved in the intercepting the funeral procession of al-Hasan, the leader of the Heaven’s youth, and prevented his burial beside his grandfather (the Prophet), and she said: "Do not let anybody that I don’t like enter my house.”She forgot, or maybe ignored the saying of the Prophet (S) about al-Hasan and al-Husayn that: "I love them, and Allah loves those who love them”(Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, Traditions 5.90 and 3.333), or the saying of the Prophet that: "Nothing has been dearer to me than al-Hasan.”(Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, Tradition 7.772).

Who Are Ahlul-Bayt? Part 8

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

Background Of Enmity Of Aisha Against Imam ‘Ali (as)

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During the Prophet’s life, Aisha used to see that the son of Abu Talib way excelled her father on every occasion, and that the Prophet (S) continued to love him and preferred him above everyone else. she also knew that her father had returned defeated with the forces who were with him on the day of Khaibar, and that the Prophet (S) was pained by this and said: "I will give the standard tomorrow to a man who loves Allah and his Prophet, and whom Allah and his Prophet love, (a man) who will be steadfast and will not flee".

The next day Allah’s Apostle gave ‘Ali the flag and Allah granted victory under his leadership. (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Traditions 5.52, 5.520). After ‘Ali had captured Khaibar, he returned with Safiyya Bint Huyayy who the Prophet (S) married. This descended like a flash of lightning upon the heart of Aisha.

She also knew that the Prophet of Allah (S) had sent her father to proclaim the Chapter al-Bara’a (Ch. 9) to the pilgrims, but then had sent ‘Ali after him, to taking back the responsibility from him. Her father returned in tears and asked the reason for this action, whereupon the Prophet of Allah (S) responded: "Allah commanded me that none should proclaim this except me or someone from my Ahlul-Bayt". and thus he sent ‘Ali for this mission.

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v2, p183, v5, pp 275,283

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, pp 3,151, v3, pp 212,283

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• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p562, Tradition 946

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p51

• Khasa’is al-Alawiyyah, by al-Nisa’i, p20

• Fadha’il al-Khamsa, v2, p343

• Sirah al-Nabi, by Shibli Numani, v2, p239

She also knew that the Prophet (S) had appointed his cousin, ‘Ali, as the Caliph over the Muslims after him and had ordered his companions and his wives to congratulate him for this leadership over the believers in Ghadir Khum. Her father was among the first people to say: "Congratulations, Congratulations to you, O son of Abu Talib. Today you became the master of every believing man and woman".

Sunni references:

1. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v4, p281

2. Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, v12, pp 49-50

3. Mishkat al-Masabih, by al-Khateeb al-Tabrizi, p557

4. Habib al-Siyar, by Mir Khand, v1, part 3, p144

5. Kitabul Wilayah, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari

6. al-Musannaf, by Ibn Abi Shaybah

7. al-Musnad, by Abu Ya’ala

8. Hadith al-Wilayah, by Ahmad Ibn ‘Uqdah

9. Tarikh, by Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v8, pp 290,596 from Abu Huraira

... and more.

Aisha fully realized that the Prophet (S) preferred Imam ‘Ali (as) over her and her father. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad narrates that:

Abu Bakr once came to the Prophet of Allah (S), and sought permission to enter. Before he went in, he heard Aisha’s voice raised, saying to the Prophet (S): "By Allah! I surely know that ‘Ali is dearer to you than me and my father", she repeated this twice or three times".

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Sunni reference: Musnad Ahmad Hanbal, v4, p275

She also knew that the Prophet (S) had put Usamah Ibn Zaid in command over her father a youth with no hair yet grown on his cheek, for Usamah Ibn Zaid was only seventeen years old, yet the Prophet commanded Abu Bakr to go on military expeditions under the leadership of Usamah and to pray behind him. He ordered all the immigrants and Helpers except ‘Ali to go with Usamah and to fight the Romans.

There is no doubt that Aisha was influenced by these events. Deep inside she was concerned for her father, and his competing for the Caliphate. Her envy and hatred for ‘Ali grew, and she tried her best to intervene, at all costs, to change the situation to her father’s advantage using various methods. We know how she sent for her father, supposedly on behalf of her husband, ordering him to lead the people in prayer, after she learnt that the Prophet of Allah (S) had summoned ‘Ali for this duty.

When the Prophet (S) learnt of this plot, he was forced to come out, remove Abu Bakr from his place and lead the people in prayer while he was sitting. He was angry at Aisha and said to her: "You women are like the companions of Joseph (Yusuf)”meaning that their plots were great. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition 1.680).

A researcher of this event will find clear contradiction since it is explained by Aisha in several different and discordant ways. The Prophet had called her father to join the army and commanded him to embark under the leadership of Usamah Ibn Zaid three days before that prayer. It is known logically that the leader of the army also leads the prayer. Usamah Ibn Zaid was, therefore, the Imam of Abu Bakr on that expedition. Aisha sensed this disdain and understood the Prophet’s motive, especially as he had not drafted ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib into that army in which even the notable Emigrants and Helpers, leaders and people of stature from the Quraish, had been drafted.

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al-Bukhari reported that, Aisha narrated that the Prophet (S) ordered Abu Bakr to lead the prayer, but later the Prophet decided to go to mosque and he went in front of Abu Bakr and led the prayer instead of Abu Bakr. Here is the tradition of al-Bukhari as claimed by Aisha:

Sahih al-Bukhari Tradition: 1.680

Narrated Aisha:

When the Prophet, became ill in his fatal illness, Someone came to inform him about the prayer, and the Prophet told him to tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer. I said, "Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted man and if he stands for the prayer in your place, he would weep and would not be able to recite the Qur’an.”The Prophet said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer.”I said the same as before.

He (repeated the same order and) on the third or the fourth time he said, "You are the companions of Joseph. Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer.”So Abu Bakr led the prayer and meanwhile the Prophet felt better and came out with the help of two men; as if I see him just now dragging his feet on the ground. When Abu Bakr saw him, he tried to retreat but the Prophet beckoned him to carry on. Abu Bakr retreated a bit and the Prophet sat on his (left) side. Abu Bakr was repeating the Takbir (Allahu Akbar) of Allah’s Apostle for the people to hear.

The fact, however, is that the Prophet never ordered Abu Bakr to lead the prayer. This can be proven by the following reasons:

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1. Based on the above Tradition, if the Prophet was the one who ordered Abu Bakr to lead the prayer, then why he later went to mosque and lead the prayer by himself? (Based on other traditions, the Prophet even pushed Abu Bakr away with his hand). Why such humiliation toward Abu Bakr?

This proves that once the Prophet realized the plot of Aisha, he became very angry and with all his illness, he decided to go to mosque to prevent what others now claim!!! Remember What Aisha said in the above tradition: "The Prophet came out (to lead the prayer) with the help of two men; as if I see him just now dragging his feet on the ground.”This shows that the condition of the Prophet was severe, yet he was so angry at the plot of Aisha and the implication of leading the prayer by Abu Bakr that he decided to stop it at any cost.

2. All Muslims agree that the Prophet had ordered Abu Bakr and Umar to join the camp led by Usamah Ibn Zaid, and as such they should have been outside Medina where the camp was located. Then, the existence of Abu Bakr and Umar and others inside Medina was illegal and was against the order of the Prophet (S). How can, then, the Prophet order Abu Bakr to lead the prayer inside Medina while he was supposed to be outside Medina with the direct order of the Prophet?!

The Messenger of Allah said: "May the curse of Allah be upon those who turn away from the army of Usamah”and he ordered the army to be dispatched immediately, and ordered all Helpers and all Immigrants except ‘Ali to leave Medina. But some companions disobeyed and complained about the leadership of Usamah (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition 5.552, 5.744 and 5.745) and they delayed in joining the camp, and finally returned to Medina, in order to prepare themselves for discussion about successorship as soon as the Messenger of Allah passes away.

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Aisha further claimed that the Prophet (S) expired while he was resting on her chest. This claim contradicts the narrations transmitted and recorded by others. In the tradition reported by Imam ‘Ali as recorded by Ibn Sa’d who named consecutive sources up to Imam ‘Ali, we read:

‘Ali said: "In the last moments of his life, the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Call me my brother.’ So I approached him. He asked me to get nearer to him and I got quite close to him. He leaned on me and continued resting on my chest and speaking to me till his spittle fell on me and the Messenger of Allah breathed his last."

Sunni references:

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, part 2, p51, in the Chapter entitled "The Prophet demised in ‘Ali’s lap"

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v1, p392

In connection this event, it has also been narrated that:

Imam ‘Ali said: "The Messenger of Allah at that time (before his last breath) taught me one thousand chapters (Bab) of knowledge, every one of which opened for me one thousand other chapters."

Sunni references:

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v1, p392

• Hilyatul Awliyaa, by al-Hafidh Abu Nu’aym

• Nuskhatah, by Abu Ahmad al-Faradi

• and many others...

Also, in a tradition which is recorded by Muslim and others, Aisha said:

"The Messenger of Allah left behind neither a single Dinar nor a Dirham, nor a sheep nor a camel, nor did he make any will."

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If she meant that the Prophet (S) did not leave left behind anything at all and was devoid of everything worth making a will about, it is definitely incorrect. The Prophet who has strongly encouraged others to write their will, should have made a will for himself as well. Of course, he did not leave behind, like other worldly people, things which are regarded as worldly vanities, for he was the most religiously devoted person and most indifferent person to worldly pleasure.

However when he passed away, he had some outstanding debts (see Kanz al-Ummal, v4, p60) to be cleared, some promises and commitments to be fulfilled, and certain goods for which it was incumbent upon him to make a will. He left behind himself enough cash and property for repayment of his debts, fulfillment on his promises and commitments, and for inheritance in favor of his daughter, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (sa). This latter fact is supported by Fatimah’s claim to the property as the heir of the Prophet.

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter of "The battle of Khaibar", (Arabic-English), Traditions 5.546, and 4.325;

• Sahih Muslim, Chapter of Jihad, v2, p72

Aisha Was A Test

The Prophet (S) sensed the depth and danger of the schemes that revolved around him from all sides. He knew specifically that one of his wives, Aisha, was the instigator of the dangerous role because of the hatred and rancor that she felt towards his successor ‘Ali in particular and his family in general.

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How could he not know, when he lived observing her role and her enmity towards them? He sometimes got angry; sometimes his face would change color and he would try to placate her at all times, informing her that one who loved ‘Ali loved Allah, and the one who hated ‘Ali was a hypocrite, whom Allah hated.

As a result, the Prophet of Allah (S) was patient when he realized that she was the test that Allah had sent to the Ummah, to examine it as He had tested the previous nations. "Do the people think that they will be left alone when they say: ‘We believe’ and they will not be tested?”(Qur’an 29:2)

The fact that she was a test for people is clear from the previously quoted tradition of al-Bukhari where Ammar Ibn Yasir said to people before the battle of Camel that: "Allah has put you to test whether you obey Allah or her (Aisha).”(See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition 9.220).

The Prophet of Allah (S) warned the Ummah against her on several occasions. In Sahih al-Bukhari, there is a chapter about what went on in the houses of the wives of the Prophet in which there is the following tradition:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.336

Narrated Abdullah:

The Prophet stood up and delivered a sermon, and pointed to the house of Aisha, and said: "Fitna (trouble/sedition) is right here,”saying three times, "from where the side of the Satan’s head comes out."

قام النبی خطیبا فأشار نحو مسکن عائشه فقال: ها هنا الفتنه، ثلاثاً، من حیث یطلع قرن الشیطان.

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In the above tradition the Prophet predicted the sedition which Aisha will bring for Muslims and that she will be seduced by Satan for instigating the first civil war in the history of Islam.

Muslim has also related in his Sahih from Ikrima Ibn Ammar from Salim from Ibn Umar who said:

"The Prophet of Allah (S) emerged from the house of Aisha and said. ‘The pivot of disbelief is from here, where the horns of Satan will rise.’"

Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, the Chapter of Seditions, v4, p2229

A Sunni brother mentioned that the following two traditions have the same reference to "one side of Satan’s head", and they show that the Prophet (S) was pointing to Najd where the Wahhabis later emerged.

Thus the above tradition (about Aisha) must be referring to the same thing (i.e., Najd). It might be that the house of Aisha was located in the east, and the Prophet was perhaps referring to Najd and not the house of Aisha. Here are the two traditions:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.147:

Narrated Ibn Umar:

(The Prophet) said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen.”People said, "Our Najd as well.”The Prophet again said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen.”They said again, "Our Najd as well.”On that the Prophet said, "There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan."

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.672:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Belief is Yemenite while afflictions appear from there (the east) from where the side of the head of Satan will appear."

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This argument does not seem to be correct for the following reasons:

1. al-Bukhari has put the tradition related to Aisha in a section named: "what went on in the houses of the wives of the Prophet". This shows that al-Bukhari did not understand the tradition as this brother proposed.

If the author ever thought that the Prophet (S) meant Najd in that particular tradition, he wouldn’t have put the tradition in the section of what was going on in the houses of the wives of the Prophet (S). He probably would have put it in the Chapter of al-Fitan or else. You agree that Najd has nothing to do with what was going on in the house of Aisha! Do you claim that you know better than the author of Sahih al-Bukhari?

2. The name of Aisha has been explicitly mentioned in that tradition while those of related to Najd do not have reference to Aisha.

3. Although the Prophet himself did not name Aisha, yet he mentioned in that particular tradition "right here”and the pointing was so clear that the companions understood that he was pointing to the house of Aisha as it is mentioned in the text of the tradition. Najd can not be "right here”in Medina in front of the Prophet.

That is why the Messenger of Allah used "there”in the traditions related to Najd. I have highlighted the phrase "right here”in the tradition referring to Aisha, and the word "there”in the traditions referring to Najd for comparison. (See above).

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4. The brother mentioned that the other traditions have the same reference to "one side of Satan’s head", so this particular tradition must be referring to the same thing (i.e., Najd). Well, you agree that Satan’s head does not have one side (or one horn) only.

In fact, any Fitna is the manifestation of Satan. This includes all major Fitna which happened in the past (in the early history of Islam and civil wars, as well as the Wahhabi emergence in Najd) and also the great incoming Fitna by al-Dajjal and Sufyani as predicted in the traditions. Satan does not belong to Najd Metropolitan only!

Like it or not, Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhab (the inventor of Wahhabism) and Aisha were both Fitna as the documented history proves. However they have been in different era. When the Messenger of Allah mentions anywhere the phrase "one of the horns of Satan", it is a symbolic way to say "one of the great Fitna induced by Satan.”You agree with me that the inducing of Fitna by Satan has not been particular to one occasion. In fact, this has been Satan’s business for long!

5. The problem is not Aisha alone. In a similar tradition in Sahih Muslim it is said that the Prophet was pointing the house of Hafsa (daughter of Umar). In the other tradition in Sahih Muslim (same page), the Prophet uses the phrase "The Chief of Unbelief/Blasphemy (Kufr)”instead of "Fitna”(see Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, the Chapter of Seditions, v4, p2229).

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6. There is a great possibility that the additions which exist in other traditions parallel to the genuine Hadith and their explanation: "That means the east”is a mere fabrication to dilute the accusation against Aisha. The way of adding words to genuine traditions was a typical scheme of the Umayad to face the widespread traditions of the Prophet (S). Nonetheless, the two traditions mentioned above about Aisha from al-Bukhari and Muslim, do not include such additions.

Examples Of Women Mentioned In Qur’an

Most surely, there has been other examples in history of religions that the wives of some prophets went astray, and this is not anything exclusive to the history of the religion of Islam. In the very same chapter that Allah, the most Glorious, had warned Aisha and Hafsa jointly in His words (Chapter 66), He also provided for both of them a significant parable to teach them and the rest of the Muslims that the mother of the believers will NOT enter heaven without any reckoning or punishment, simply because they is the wives of a prophet.

Most Certainly not! For Allah has informed His servants, male and female, that mere spousal relationship will neither harm nor benefit a person, even if the husband is a prophet of Allah. What benefits or harms a person, in the eyes of Allah, are an individual’s deeds. Allah stated in the very same chapter of Qur’an:

Allah has set forth an example to the disbelievers, the wife Of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were both married to two servants from among our righteous servants, but they were deceitful/treacherous to their husbands. And they benefited nothing before Allah on the account of their (husbands). Instead they were told: "Enter the Fire with those who enter.”(Qur’an 66:10)

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Allah cited an example for the believers, the wife of Pharaoh when she said: "O my Lord, build for me a house in paradise, and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds; and save me from the people who do wrong.”(Qur’an 66:11)

And Mary, the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity and We breathed Our spirit into her. She testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His scriptures and she was one of the devout (servants).”(Qur’an 66:12)

Allah informed Prophet Noah (as) and Prophet Lot (as) that those of their wives who do not follow their instructions are not related to them and they will perish along with the rest of unbelievers. By this it becomes clear to all that spousal relationship and companionship, even though they both have a lot of merits, do not, in themselves, prevent the punishment of Allah unless they are accompanied by righteous deeds.

If they are not, punishment is, in fact, increased. Allah’s justice dictates that He does not punish the distant one who does not hear the revelation as much as he punishes the close one in whose house the Qur’an was revealed. A man who knows the truth and yet opposes it and an ignorant person who does not know the truth, are not alike. This is also confirmed in the following verse of Qur’an:

"O’ Consorts of the Prophet! if any of you were guilty of evident misconduct the Punishment would be doubled to her and that is easy for Allah.”(Qur’an 33:30)

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Conclusion

The above was just few pages of the thick file of Aisha in the history of Islam, which gives enough evidence to prove that she does not have any compatibility whatsoever with the virtues mentioned in the purification verse of Qur’an (Ayah al-Tat’hir). Therefor it is inconceivable that one could consider such a personality to be from Ahlul-Bayt who are sinless and pure and should be obeyed beside Qur’an.

The removal of filth and purification is as remote from Aisha as the sky is from the earth, and that those who believe otherwise are the victims of the forgery of the Umayad without realizing it. This is beside many authentic traditions were mentioned earlier, in which the Messenger of Allah himself excluded even his righteous wives from the Ahlul-Bayt.

As for the question that whether or not Aisha was a believer, I would say Allah knows best, and we are not in a position to judge on that. Based on the traditions of the Prophet (S) which are even recorded in the authentic Sunni collections, anybody who fights Ahlul-Bayt has declared war on the Prophet and is an infidel unless he/she truly repents and Allah accepts his/her repentance. There are some claims that Aisha repented when she was defeated in the battle of Camel.

Other Sunni reports (some of which we quoted above) show that she continued her misconduct even after the battle of Camel. What is clear, however, is that such questionable individuals are not trustworthy in transmitting the Sunnah of the Prophet (S).

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We do not have to bear the hatred of Aisha or others in our heart. We believe that these individuals were fallible and committed some small and some very big sins. We are not here to sentence them to Hell or Paradise, for this is Allah’s business. It is not for us to be pleased with Aisha or to curse her. We cannot, however, follow her nor can we condone her deeds.

We speak of all this so as to enlighten the people about the truth on who should be followed as the guardian of the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) after him. We should study the history of Islam to take lessons from the events and to analyze the action of the influential individuals in order to learn which of them were trustworthy for transmitting the Sunnah of the Prophet (S).

We can not take Hadith from any one who saw the Prophet (S) since some of them have done gross injustice in the history by shedding the blood of thousands of Muslims and usurping the rights of those whom the Messenger of Allah put them beside Qur’an and ordered us to follow them. Logic requires us not to blindly follow what the unjust individuals said or attributed to the Prophet (S).

Again I apologize from Sunni brothers/sisters if they feel offended by the content of the final parts of this article. However the above information were referenced by the most important Sunni collections of Hadith/History which provides undeniable and conclusive pieces of evidence for our Sunni brothers and sisters with regard to the question of who Ahlul-Bayt are.

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The Word "House" (Ahlul-Bayt) in Qur’an

House Of Abraham (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

Qur’an testifies that Sarah, the wife of Prophet Abraham (as), was blessed by angels and was given the glad tiding that she will give birth to two prophets of God:

And his wife, standing by, laughed when We gave her good tidings (of the birth) of Isaac, and, after Isaac, of Jacob. (Qur’an 11:71)

She said: "Alas for me! Shall I bear a child when I am an old woman and my husband now is an old man? That would indeed be a strange thing!”(Qur’an 11:72)

The (angles) said: Do You wonder at Allah’s decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings be upon you, O People of the House! He is indeed worthy of all praise full of all glory!”(Qur’an 11:73)

Since in the mercy and the bounty of God offered in the above verse to the People of the House of Abraham, it has been a tendency of some Sunni commentators and their anxiety to find some argument for their counting the wives of the Holy Prophet (S) in the terms Ahlul-Bayt. They argue that since Sarah the wife of Abraham is included in the term Ahlul-Bayt mentioned in the above verse, then all the wives of the Prophet (S) are included in the verse 33:33 relating to the purity and the excellence of the Ahlul-Bayt of Prophet Muhammad.

However, these commentators intentionally or otherwise ignore the significance of the address by the Angels. If Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is included in the term Ahlul-Bayt used in the above verse, it is not because she was the wife of Abraham, but because she was going to be the mother of two prophets (Isaac and Jacob). She was mentioned by angles in the above verse as a member of Ahlul-Bayt, after she received the glad tiding that she is pregnant of Prophet Isaac (as).

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The matrimonial relation between and a man and a woman is only circumstantial and can be given up at any moment. She could never be a permanent partner to any husband to be included in the heavenly address who are endowed with the unique and heavenly excellence UNLESS she brings a son who becomes a Prophet or an Imam.

Thus if we consider Sarah as a member of the House, it would be only because she would be the mother of Isaac, and not being the wife of Abraham. The verses 11:71-73 quoted above show that Sarah was called among Ahlul-Bayt after she got to know that she is having Isaac (as).

House of Imran (as)

Likewise, Qur’an mentions the mother of Moses among the Ahlul-Bayt of Imran. Again, as we can see in the following verses, the emphasis here is the MOTHER of Moses and not the wife of Imran:

And We ordained that he refuse to seek any foster mother before so she said: Shall I point out to you a household who will take care of him for you, and will be kind to him? (Qur’an 28:12)

So We restored him to his mother that she might be comforted and not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true. But most of them know not. (Qur’an 28:13)

The mother of Moses is termed as Ahlul-Bayt, not for being the wife of Imran, but for being the mother of Moses, otherwise the wives who are subject to divorce and being substituted with women better than them (Qur’an 66:5) can’t be considered as Ahlul-Bayt as pointed out by Zaid Ibn Arqam as well. This is illustrated with the wife of Noah and Lot, though they were the wives of such great servants of God, they were not considered Ahlul- Bayt. They perished along with the rest of community.

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Let’s remember what Zaid Ibn Arqam said: "Ahlul-Bayt (household) of the Prophet are his lineage and his descendants (those who come from his blood) for whom the acceptance of charity (Zakat) is prohibited."

The wife of Imran was in the lineage of the Moses, so was the wife of Abraham who was in the lineage of Isaac and Jacob. Similarly, if Fatimah (sa) is among the Ahlul-Bayt Prophet of Islam, it is because not only she was the daughter of the Prophet (S), but also she was the mother of two Imams.

House Of Noah (as)

And Noah Cried unto his Lord and said: "My Lord! Verily my son is of my family; and verily Your promise is true, and You are the most just of the judges."

He (Allah) said: "O Noah! Verily he is not of your family; Verily he is (of) conduct other than the righteous; Therefore do not ask what you have no knowledge about; Verily I advice you not to be of the ignorant ones.”(Qur’an 11:45-46)

Abul Ala Maududi wrote in his commentary of the above verse that:

"If a part of the body of a person becomes rotten and the surgeon decides to cut it off, he will not comply with the request of the patient, who says ‘Do not cut because it is a part of my body’. The surgeon will reply, ‘It is no longer a part of your body because it is rotten.’ Likewise when a righteous father is told that his son is a worthless act, it means to imply that the efforts that you made to bring him up as a good son have gone waste for the work is spoilt and ended in utter failure."

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Sunni reference:

• Commentary of Qur’an by Abul Ala Maududi (published by the Islamic Publications (Pvt) Limited), p367, under verse 11:45-46

Prophet Noah (as) was pleading for his own son and the reply was that the lad was not worthy of being his son. It is made crystal clear by this verse that though one might be of the same blood and flesh, born through the same parents, but if the issue doesn’t possess the good qualities of the parents then he or she is not of his parents’ stock (as said in the second verse).

Noah had three other sons, Aam, Sam and Yafas who were believers and who with their wives entered the Ark and were saved and Kanan was Noah’s son by his OTHER wife who was a disbeliever and perished along with her son.

It can be concluded that if any one does not hold the goodness of the correct faith in Allah, be he the son of the Apostle, he is not to be of the stock of his parentage; His very birth through his own parents is denied to him, even the right to be on God’s earth is withdrawn from him, and he is to be destroyed.

Thus, even one is to be the son of a prophet of Allah, the lack of righteousness gets him disowned from the progeny (Itrat) of the apostolic family. It is for this reason that the term Ahlul-Bayt is restricted to the deserving members of the House of the Prophet and doesn’t cover all of those who are born from his blood. Ahlul-Bayt are only the individuals among Prophet’s descendants who also had close affinity in character and utmost spiritual attainment with Prophet (S).

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Sunni Feedback on the Issues of Infallibility and Ahlul-Bayt

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

In this article, we reply on the comments of the Sunni brothers who studied the previous articles regarding to who Ahlul-Bayt are, and why they are infallible. More discussions on the issue of infallibility will be presented later in the next chapter.

A Sunni brother mentioned that the verse 33:33 expresses the decision of Allah to purify Ahlul-Bayt and make them spotless. How could this imply that they are flawless/sinless? This is adding an incorrect implication to the Arabic language!

To answer this question, we would like to ask: Isn’t sin a kind of impurity? A person who commits sin is not a pure person.

If you think this is adding an incorrect meaning to the Arabic language, then I would ask you to quote one example where a scholar of Qur’an, Arabic grammar, and literature claims that committing sin is a sign of purity!!!

Also, based on your translation, you used the word "spotless". Then what will be the difference between "spotless”and "flawless"? Any spot is a flaw and is sin; and vice versa.

Moreover, which scholar of Arabic language can we find better than the Messenger of Allah? We quoted from the authentic Sunni collections that The Messenger of Allah recited "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O’ People of the House (Ahlul- Bayt), and purify you a perfect purification". (Qur’an, the last sentence of Verse 33:33) and then the Messenger of Allah said: "Thus Me and my Ahlul-Bayt are clear from sins."

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The word "thus”in the highlighted part means that the Prophet himself is CONCLUDING that the verse means Ahlul-Bayt are sinless. Is the Prophet violating the Arabic language?

Another Sunni brother commented that the Verse 33:33 does not make Ahlul-Bayt infallible any more than verse 5:6 makes anyone who performs ablution infallible! Allah sates:

O you who believe! when you prepare for prayer wash your faces and your hands to the elbows; rub your heads and your feet to the ankles. If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity bathe your whole body. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you had call of nature or you have touched women and you find no water then take for yourselves clean sand or earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not wish to place you in a difficulty but to make you clean and to complete His favor to you that you may be grateful. (Qur’an 5:6)

To answer this brother, we would like to point out that purification/ cleansing has degrees and is of different types. If ones hand and face become dirty, and then if he washes them with soap and warm water they will become cleansed. The above verse (5:6) also tells us by ablution one can become cleansed. Now if somebody argues that the degree of cleansing with ablution is not any more than cleansing the hands and face with soap, then what will be your answer to him? You will tell him that ablution make different type of cleansing than of washing the body by soap.

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The same goes for the difference between cleansing of every kind of impurity and the cleansing of ablution. Surely if a murderer makes ablution, he will not cleans his crime by that, because the impurity caused by murder can not go away by ablution even though Allah sent down the verse 5:6. Qur’an never said that by ablution you will get a Perfect purification.

There are different degrees of Purification. The only place that Allah said I intend to do a perfect purification is in verse 33:33 where He is addressing the Ahlul-Bayt. The word "perfect”comes from the emphasis of Allah by "Tat’hiran”which has been used only in verse 33:33. This emphatical word occur in any other place in Qur’an. Do you see the difference brother?

Do you agree that any small sin is a type of impurity? If yes, then a perfect purification will not leave any small sin for the Ahlul-Bayt. If Allah intends to keep off every kind of uncleanless from Ahlul-Bayt, no impurity, no matter how small, will reach them, because Allah is omnipotent. (The phrase "every kind of “is due to article of "al-”at the beginning of the world "al-Rijs").

A Sunni mentioned that saying ‘we have respect for the pious wives among the wives of the Prophet’ indicate that you consider some of them to be otherwise!

This is not something strange. After all, they were non-infallible humans who may have had some or many mistakes. That’s exactly why they are not among Ahlul-Bayt. Even Qur’an confirms that some of the wives of the Prophet might have been wrong-doers:

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But if you seek Allah and His Apostle and the Home of the Hereafter verily Allah has prepared for the well-doers amongst you a great reward. (Qur’an 33:29)

In the above verse, Allah states that He will only give the good reward to the well-doers among the wives of the Prophet. If all the Prophet’s wives were well-dowers, then there was no need for Allah to say this. Allah would have said, "all of you will receive a great reward". Now look at the next two verses after the above verse:

O’ Consorts of the Prophet! if any of you were guilty of evident misconduct conduct the Punishment would be doubled to her and that is easy for Allah. (Qur’an 33:30)

But any of you that is devout in the service of Allah and His Apostle and works righteousness to her shall We grant her reward twice, and We have prepared for her a generous Sustenance. (Qur’an 33:31)

Again Allah is threatening the wives of the Prophet that they will receive a double punishment if they have misconduct, while giving glad tidings that the good wives of the Prophet will receive twice reward. You see, God is selective toward the wives of the Prophet (S), but you are not!

Please check the traditions narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari on the misconduct Aisha and Hafsa, some of which I provided in Parts IV through VIII of the article of "Who are Ahlul-Bayt?”and then let me know what you think of them? This is exactly what I mean by non-pious. If the Allah threatened Aisha and Hafsa by divorce, because they backed each other against the Prophet (S), then how can we render them as pure?

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The verse of Qur’an tells us that Ahlul-Bayt are perfectly pure. According to the traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari, Hafsa is swearing by Allah that she argues with the Prophet (S) and keeps the Prophet angry for the whole day. Umar is advising her not to imitate Aisha who is proud of her beauty! Are these attitudes signs of perfect purity mentioned for Ahlul-Bayt? Perhaps you might want to also look at the history, and see who rode the Camel and allowed shedding the blood of ten thousand Muslims.

I also would like to remind you there have been some prophets in the past that some of their wives were not pious. Among them are the wife of Prophet Noah, the wife of Prophet Lot, and so on. Allah informed those prophets that those wives who don’t follow your instructions are not related to them and they will perish along with the rest of people. Non of those prophets took it as insult.

I also would like to say that it happened to me that I heard from a Sunni Muslim claiming that Shi’a believe that Aisha committed adultery! (May Allah protect us). This is a false accusation. Shi’a do NOT attribute such a thing to any of the wives of the Prophet (S). The problem of the Shi’a with Aisha is mainly around the line of politics and her hostility toward Ahlul-Bayt.

A naive contributor mentioned that:

It is reported on the authority of ‘Akrama that Ibn Abbas said this verse (33:33) is addressed to the wives of the Prophet.

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There is no denial to the fact that the above report exists in some Sunni books. Such reports also indicate that Akrama even had the audacity to yell in the public places that the verse was revealed only for the wives of the Prophet (S).

But the issue doesn’t stop here, and it is important to look at the very personalities of those individuals involved. Surprisingly, al-Dhahabi wrote in his work:

The very first reason to reject the tradition(s) of Akrama is based on the fact that he was Kharijite. Secondly his being a Kharijite, he even justified the killings of the fellow Muslim(s).

Sunni reference: al-Kashaf, by al-Dhahabi, v2, p272

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani quoting from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and others, wrote:

In the season of Hajj Akrama came to Africa, and said: It would be very dear to me if I were at Hajj at this moment, I would have had swords in both my hands, and I would massacre the Muslims. After these statements by Akrama, the people of Africa avoided him.

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal says: Akrama narrates contradictory Hadiths.

Yahya Ibn Sa’id Ansari says: Akrama is a compulsive liar.

Sunni reference: Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v8, p268

In fact, Akrama was a slave of the son of Ibn Abbas. Abdullah Ibn Harith reported:

I once went to ‘Ali Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abbas, and I was surprised to see that Akrama was tied to the rest room. I said to ‘Ali: Is this how you treat your slaves, and he replied: Akrama associates many lies to my father (Ibn Abbas).

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Sunni reference: Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v8, p268

At this point, it would be nice to quote another report which is also falsely attributed to Ibn Abbas:

Abul Qasim Abdurrahman Ibn Muhammad Siraj says: it is related through Muhammad Ibn Yaqub, through Hasan Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Affan through Abu Yahya al-Hamanithrough Saleh Ibn Musa al-Qurshi through Khaseef through Sa’id Ibn Jubair through Ibn Abbas that the verse 33:33 was revealed for the wives of the Prophet.

Sunni reference: Asbab al-Nuzool, by al-Wahidi, p239

The scrutiny of the above tradition by the Sunni scholars yields the following facts about three individuals in the chain of authorities of the above report:

Imam al-Nisa’i says: Abu Yahya al-Hamani (one of the narrators in the chain) is not a reliable reporter.

Sunni references:

• al-Kashaf, by al-Dhahabi, v2, p152

• Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v1, p469

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal says: Sa’id Ibn Jubair (one of the narrators in the chain)is not an authority and this Hadith is not a reliable Hadith. Abu Hatem Salah says: He has a weak memory and tends to mix up Hadiths.

al-Dhahabi writes: Khaseef Ibn Abdurrahman (one of the narrators in the chain) is the slave of the Umayad, but he has a weak memory and Ahmad has declared him as weak.

Sunni references:

• Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v3, pp 143-44

• al-Kashaf, by al-Dhahabi, v1, p280

A contributor claimed that there exists a tradition narrated by both Shi’a and Sunni which reads: "al-Salmanu minna Ahlal-Bayt”and translates to: "Salman (al-Farsi) is one of us, Ahlul-Bayt". This contradicts the Shi’ite doctrine that Ahlul-Bayt are some selected individuals from the progeny of the Prophet (S).

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My comment is: Yes, there is a tradition with the above mentioned Arabic words. However the correct translation is as follows:

The Messenger (S) of Allah said: "Salman is from us Ahlul-Bayt."

which means he is our agent and is attached to us Ahlul-Bayt. In fact, Salman was an agent and a trustee for Ahlul-Bayt to the end of his life-time. His affinity to Ahlul-Bayt was to the extent that he was attached to them. An analogy would be a friend who would visit a family a lot, such that one would consider him attached to the family, although the blood relation is the only thing missing. Salman (ra) was one of the best companions of the Messenger of Allah. It is narrated that:

The Messenger of God said: "Certainly Allah commanded me to love four persons and informed me that He loves them.”The companions asked the Prophet: "O’ Messenger of God, who are those four persons?”The Prophet (S) replied: "‘Ali is from them (repeating that three times), Abu Dharr, Salman al-Farsi, and Miqdad."

Sunni References:

• Sunan Ibn Majah, v1, p52, Tradition 149

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p130

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p356

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p648, Tradition 1103

• Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v1, p172

Notice that the Prophet (S) said, "Salman is from us Ahlul-Bayt". This does NOT necessarily mean that "Salman is one of us Ahlul-Bayt". The Arabic word "min”has different meanings. In the above tradition (about Salman) as well as many other traditions "min”does not mean "one of". For instance, al-Bukhari recorded that:

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The Prophet (S) said to ‘Ali: "You are from me, and I am from you"

أنت منی و أنا منک

Sunni reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, v5, Tradition 553.

There is no mention of Ahlul-Bayt here. So if we suppose that the only meaning of "min”is "one of", then the saying of the Prophet will become:

"‘Ali is one of me and I am one of ‘Ali"

What a beautiful translation! How many persons is the Prophet, so that one of the Prophet is ‘Ali? Funnier phrase in this translation is the latter part, that is, the Prophet is one of ‘Ali!

Now, similarly it is narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Husayn is from me and I am from al-Husayn."

حسینٌ منی و أنا من حُسین

Sunni references:

(1) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v4, p172

(2) Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, v2, p772, Tradition 1361

(3) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p177

(4) Amali, by Abu Nu’aym al-Isbahani, p64

(5) al-Kuna wal Asmaa, by al-Dulabi, v1, p88

(6) al-Tabarani, v3, p21

(7) Adab by al-Bukhari, also al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, as quoted in:

(8) al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 3, p291

(9) Mishkat al-Masabih, by Khatib al-Tabrizi, English Version, Tradition 6160

Again, if we suppose that the only meaning of "min”is "one of", then the saying of the Prophet will become:

"Husayn is one of me and I am one of al-Husayn."

So this does not make sense either (specially the second phrase which is "The Prophet is one of al-Husayn").

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One meaning for the saying of the Prophet (S) who said: "Husayn is from me and I am from al-Husayn,”is that al-Husayn is attached to him and he is attached to al-Husayn. In other words, the path of the Prophet Muhammad and the path of al-Husayn are non-separable. And their instructions are the same and will not contradict each other.

Another contributor commented that if based on Sunni references we quoted, Ahlul-Bayt are the Prophet, Fatimah, ‘Ali, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, then how can you include the nine descendants of al-Husayn?

As we have already pointed out, only five members of Ahlul-Bayt were alive at the time of the Prophet (S). They were Prophet Muhammad, Lady Fatimah, Imam ‘Ali, Imam al-Hasan, and Imam al-Husayn. They were mentioned as Ahlul-Bayt by the Prophet (S) and the most important Sunni collections testify to this fact.

However the nine descendants of Imam al-Husayn were not alive at that time so that the Prophet could not cover them by his mantle! But the Prophet did, in fact, mention their names and their numbers. Let us review some traditions from Sihah Sittah:

The Prophet (S) said: "al-Mahdi is one of us Ahlul-Bayt."

Sunni reference: Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, Tradition 4085

also:

The Prophet (S) said: "The Mahdi will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatimah (the Prophet’s daughter).

Sunni references:

• Sunan Abi Dawud, English version, Ch. 36, Tradition 4271 (narrated by Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet)

• Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, Tradition 4086

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• al-Nisa’i and al-Bayhaqi, and others as quoted in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p249

By the above traditions, the Prophet extended Ahlul-Bayt up to Imam al-Mahdi (as). So Ahlul-Bayt are not just those five, and Imam al-Mahdi is the last member of Ahlul-Bayt, but he was not born at the time of the Prophet so that he could take him into the Cloak as well! Also the messenger of Allah said:

"There shall be twelve Imams/Caliphs/Amirs for my nation"

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v9, Tradition 329;

• Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DCCLIV, v3, pp 1009-1010, Traditions 4476 --> 4483;

• Sunan Abi Dawud, v2, p421 (three traditions);

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v4, p501;

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p106;

• Others such as al-Tiyalasi, Ibn al-Athir, etc.

These 12 Imams will cover till the day of resurrection as Sahih Muslim testifies. The last of them is surely Imam al-Mahdi (as) who will appear in the last days and who is also from Ahlul-Bayt as the above tradition specified. There are other traditions in the Sunni collections in which the Prophet (S) has even mentioned the name of all these twelve individuals one by one. (see Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi).

Referring to the tradition narrated by Aisha where the Messenger of Allah named the members of his house, a Sunni brother commented that Aisha is by no means a trusted source of Hadith for the Shi’a. Then why do the Shi’a take her narration in this instance?

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The first part is true. The Shi’a believe that all the narrators in the chain of a document should have been just. If Aisha used to argue with the Prophet, and keep him angry for the whole day, or led the battle of Camel (the first civil war) then we consider these as BIG injustice. If any narrator has done any injustice in the history their narrations are void for us unless the same tradition has been narrated via another chain of authorities who are all trustworthy. Thus some of the traditions of six Sunni collections fall in this category, i.e., accepted for us.

Although Aisha is not a trustworthy narrator in the opinion of the Shi’ites, any part of his narrations that has also been transmitted by a trustworthy narrators such as Umm Salama (who also, by the way, reported the tradition of Cloak), will be accepted. All those traditions which we quoted from Sunni sources in support of the Shi’ite views, fall in this category, and we believe in them.

Moreover, the reason that we brought the Tradition of Aisha is that this is a tradition which is reported in Sahih Muslim and the Sunnis can not dispute its authenticity.

After reading my article on the necessity of following Ahlul-Bayt, a Sunni brother asked me what exactly following Ahlul-Bayt means, and if there is anything which is taught by the Imams and not explained by the Prophet himself?

As we have pointed out, following Ahlul-Bayt means to inquire about the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) only through them. In fact, Ahlul-Bayt are THE MEANS of identifying the true Sunnah of the Prophet from the innovations.

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No doubt that the Prophet (S) explained all the fundamentals of the religion. However, people around him did not benefit from his knowledge equally. We have only one companion whom the Prophet called him the Gate of the City of Knowledge. Others got their knowledge based on their capacity. The major duty of the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt was to PRESERVE the Islamic teaching in its true spirit and reject the innovations and mutilation of the religion.

The deputies/successors of the Prophet don’t bring any new massage, and they just serve as leaders (Imams), Guardians for their true followers. They explain/elaborate Shari’ah (Divine law) for people. They clear up confusing things and events that may happen in each era. Also they are the only individuals who can be trusted for the correct interpretation of the Qur’anic verses as pointed in Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet (S). Adhering to Qur’an is not enough to guarantee our survival, because Qur’an only specifies very general rules, and has lots of ambiguous (Mutashabihat) verses which only Ahlul-Bayt know its true meaning:

He is Who has revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations, which are the Essence of the Book, and others (verses which are) ambiguous. But those who have sickness in their hearts follow the part of which that is ambiguous, seeking discord and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge who say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed. (Qur’an 3:7)

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The term "Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge”refers to Ahlul-Bayt. In fact Ahlul-Bayt are "Qur’an, the Speaker.”In another verse, Allah states:

"Ask the people of Reminder (the possessors of the Message, i.e., Qur’an) if you do not know.”(Qur’an 21:7)

Again this is referring to Ahlul-Bayt. Ahlul-Bayt know the internal meaning/commentary of Qur’an which was revealed to Prophet along with Qur’an but were not a part of Qur’an. These pieces of information are hidden but to the purified ones:

None touches (the depth of meaning of Qur’an) save the purified ones. (56:79)

Please refer to the article titled: "Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt”in which we quoted authentic traditions from the Sunni sources where the Messenger of Allah declared that Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt are non-separable.

Regarding the necessity of following Ahlul-Bayt, a Wahhabi mentioned:

No thanks I am not a Christian, I only obey God and he is my savior . not Christ, not Ahlul-Bayt.

This reminds me of what Imam ‘Ali said to al-Khawarij when they said what is highlighted above! Imam ‘Ali commented: "kalimatu haqqin yuridu biha al-batil”(a word of truth, but falsehood was meant by it). I should even say that there is no truth in what you said. Do you believe in Qur’an, or you say you only follow God and not Qur’an?! If you are a true believer in Qur’an, then read the following verse please:

"O’ you who believe! Obey Allah, and Obey Apostle and those from among you who are given authority (by Allah).”(Qur’an 4:59)

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Allah tells you to obey His Messenger and His Ulul-Amr (Imam), but you say you ONLY obey Allah! Khawarij said exactly the same thing! Don’t you reflect? You insist to ONLY obey Allah while Allah orders you to obey others also.

If you come down and say (for heck of it) you also obey the Prophet, then according to the most authentic traditions the Prophet order you to OBEY Ahlul-Bayt. But you mentioned you do not obey them. What kind of rhetoric is this? You said you are not Christian. Do you think if you obey the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt, you will become Christian? Exalted be Allah (SWT) from such ignorant and stupid allegations against His commandments by people who lack all knowledge!

You are mixing apples and oranges, my friend. Christians believe that Jesus went on cross to save them. So if they commit any sins, they are already forgiven by the Christ. And in this way they do what they wish to do.

However, to your surprise, the Shi’a think exactly the other way around. They say:

"The Prophet ordered you to OBEY him and his Ahlul-Bayt. The most important books of the major Islamic schools testify to this fact. If you do not OBEY them you will be doomed to Hell."

Do you see the difference? Christians say you do not really have to obey to be saved. It is enough if you believe in Jesus. However Prophet Muhammad (S) said that you should obey Ahlul-Bayt to be saved from Hell. A person who calls himself a Shi’a, but does not really obey the instructions of Ahlul-Bayt, is not any better than a Christian.

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As I mentioned, true love requires the person to obey the one who loves. If one claims the love of Ahlul-Bayt, but he does not obey their instructions, then he is only fooling his own soul. Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

"Whoever wishes to live and die like me, and to abide in the Garden of Eden after death, should acknowledge ‘Ali as WALI after me, and take his WALI (i.e., Imams after him) as WALI, and should follow the Imams after me for they are my Ahlul-Bayt and were created from my clay and are gifted with the same knowledge and understanding as myself. Woe unto those who deny their virtues and those who disregard their relationship and affinity with me, for my intercession shall never reach them."

Sunni references:

(1) Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v1, pp 84,86

(2) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p128

(3) al-Jami’ al-Kabir, by al-Tabarani

(4) al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani

(5) Kanz al-Ummal, v6, p155

(6) al-Manaqib, by al-Kharazmi, p34

(7) Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, p149

(8) History of Ibn Asakir, v2, p95

Who Offended the Blind?

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

_Chapter 80 (Abas)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

He (a certain Umayad chieftain) frowned and turned away (while he was with the Prophet). (Qur’an 80:1)

_ Because there came to him the blind man (Ibn Um-Maktoom). (Qur’an 80:2)

_ And what would make you know, but that, per chance, he (the blind man) might grow in purity, (Qur’an 80:3)

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_ Or become reminded so that the reminder should profit him? (the blind man) (Qur’an 80:4)

_ As for him (the Umayad chieftain) who considers himself free from need (rich), (Qur’an 80:5)

_ To him do you address yourself? (Qur’an 80:6)

_ And it is not necessary for you (to preach that arrogant chieftain) if he does not purify himself. (Qur’an 80:7)

_ And as to him who comes to you striving hard, (Qur’an 80:8)

_ And he fears (Allah), (Qur’an 80:9)

_ To him (his question) you did not pay attention? (Qur’an 80:10)

_ Nay! surely this is (this chapter) a reminder. (Qur’an 80:11)

The occasion for the revelation of this Chapter was a historic event which took place. Once the Holy Prophet (S) was with some the rich individuals of Quraish from the tribe of Umayad, among them was Uthman Ibn Affan, who took the office of caliphate later. While the Messenger of Allah was preaching them, Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktoom who was blind and was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) came to see him. The Holy Prophet received him with honor and pleasure and gave him the closest place to himself.

However, the Prophet did not answer the question of the blind immediately Since he was at the middle of his speech with the Qurashites. Since Abdullah was poor and blind, the chieftains of the Quraish looked down upon him and they did not like the honor and the respect bestowed upon him by the Prophet (S). They also did not like the presence of the blind among themselves and his interrupting their conversation with the Prophet (S). Finally one of the wealthy Umayad (namely Uthman Ibn Affan) frowned at Abdullah and turned his back to him.

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This act of the chieftains of Quraish displeased Allah and thus He revealed the Chapter 80 (Abas) through Gabriel at the same time. This Chapter commended Abdullah’s position though poor and blind. In the first 4 verses, Allah denounced the detesting attitude of the chieftain of the Quraish. And in the later verses, Allah “reminds” his Prophet (S) that preaching an unbeliever is not necessary if the unbeliever does not intend to purify himself and offenses a believer just because of his lack of wealth and health.

There are some Sunni commentators who align the Holy Prophet (S) along with below-average ordinary morals, and accuse him of insulting Abdullah, and by that, they try to say that he was not free from the weakness of character and conduct. This is while the one who insulted the poor man was a wealthy member of Umayad who was either still non-Muslim, or had recently joint the companions (namely Uthman).

Yet some people, in order to clear the face of Uthman from such misconduct, do not have any hesitation to accuse the Prophet of such action, and to put down the Prophet in favor of Uthman. Such twist of the event was done by the Umayad during their reign through pay-roll narrators. It is well-known that Umayad were the most ardent enemies of the family of the Prophet (S) and Islam; as such, it was not befitting of them that their leader, Uthman, be reprimanded in the Qur’an; thus, the scholars who worked for the Umayad were forced to write that this verse was revealed to reprimand the Prophet (S), not Uthman. Such flat-out lie was to preserve the dignity of Uthman with the price of humiliating the master of all the prophets. Here is the opinion of some Sunni commentators:

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It is said that these verses came down concerning Abdullah Ibn Maktoom, he is Abdullah Ibn Shareeh Ibn Malik Ibn Rabi’a al-Fihri from (the tribe of) Bani ‘Amir Ibn Louay. He came to the Messenger of Allah while he was trying to convert these people to Islam: Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah, Abu Jahl Ibn Husham, al-Abbas Ibn Abd al-Muttalib, Ubay and Umayyah sons of Khalaf. The blind man said: "O Messenger of Allah read me and teach me from what Allah has taught you.”

He kept calling the Prophet and repeating his plea, not knowing that the Prophet was busy facing someone else, until the hatred appeared on the face of the Messenger of Allah for being interrupted. The Prophet said to himself these great people will say that his followers are but the blind and the slaves, so he turned away from him and faced the people he was talking to. Then the verses were revealed.

After that the Messenger used to be kind to him and if he sees him he would say "welcome to the one whom my God reproached me in him". He used to ask him if he needed anything and kept him behind as the deputy on Medina twice during wars.

The above Sunni commentary has also been mentioned in "al-Durr al- Manthoor", by al-Suyuti, with some minor differences. Abul Ala Maududi who is another Sunni commentator of Qur’an has a more moderate view. Here is his interpretation of Verse 80:17:

Here displeasure has been expressed directly for the disbelievers who were being indifferent to the Message of truth. Before this, from the beginning of the Chapter to the Verse 16, the address though apparently directed to the Holy Prophet (S), was actually mean to reprimand the disbelievers.

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Sunni reference:

• Commentary of Qur’an, by Abul Ala Maududi, p1005, under the commentary of verse 80:17 (Islamic Publications (Pvt.), Lahore)

However, the fact is that Qur’an does NOT give any evidence that the person who frowned at the blind was the Prophet (S), and does not state who is being addressed. In the above verses of Qur’an Allah (SWT) did NOT address the Prophet either by name or title (i.e. O Muhammad, or O Prophet, or O Messenger). Moreover, there exists switching in the pronoun from "he”in the first two verses to "you”in the later verses of the chapter. Allah did NOT state: "You frowned and turned away". Rather, Almighty stated:

_ He frowned and turned away (while he was with the Prophet), (Qur’an 80:1)

_ Because there came to him the blind man. (Qur’an 80:2)

_ And what would make you know, but that, per chance, he (the blind man) might grow in purity, (Qur’an 80:3)

Even if we assume that "you”in the third verse addresses the Prophet (S), then it is clear from the above three verses that the words "he”(the one who frowned) and "you”address two different individuals. The following two verses support this as well:

_ As for him who considers himself free from need (rich), (Qur’an 80:5)

_ To him do you address yourself? (Qur’an 80:6)

Thus the one who frowned was other than the Prophet himself due to distinction between "him”and "you". In Verses 80:6 Allah addresses his Prophet (S) saying that preaching arrogant members of Quraish who frown at a blind is not worthy and is not necessary to be preferred over preaching a blind, even though the blind came later. The reason is that preaching anyone who does not intend to purify himself (to the extend that he frowns at a believer) is not fruitful.

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Moreover, frowning is not from the manners/descriptions of the Prophet (S) even with his obvious enemies, let alone believers seeking guidance! One may question how can a Prophet (S) who was sent as a mercy to mankind be cruel when an AVERAGE believer does not in such behavior? This allegation is also in contradiction with the announcement of the sublime morals and the ethics of the Holy Prophet (S) by God himself:

_ "And most certainly you are on sublime morality (exalted standard of character).”(Qur’an, al-Qalam 68:4).

A man who insult others does not deserve such compliments. It is agreed that Chapter al-Qalam (Ch. 68) came before Chapter Abas (Ch. 80). It was even revealed next after Chapter Iqra’ (Ch. 96 -- the first revealed chapter). How could it be reasonable that Allah bestow greatness on his creature in the very beginning of his prophethood, declares that he is in the sublime morality, and thereafter reverts to reproach and criticize him on some apparent misgiving in his moral actions.

Also Almighty said:

_ And warn your near tribe, And be kind to him who follows you of the believers. (Qur’an 26:214-215)

It is well known that these verses are early Meccan revelation. The same words can be found in the tail of verse 15:88. Allah, Exalted He is, furthermore said:

_ Therefore declare openly what you are bidden and turn aside from the polytheists. (Qur’an 15:94)

He was ordered to turn away from the unbelievers in this verse which is known to have been revealed at the beginning of the "open call to Islam”(after the initial secrecy period).

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How could it be imagined that after all these earlier commandments that the great, kind Prophet would err in such a way that would require pronounced interdiction?

The commentators of Qur’an from the school of Ahlul-Bayt further argue that even the questioning in the third and forth verses of the Chapter concerning the doubt about Abdullah being benefited by the talk with the Holy Prophet (S) or not, has been in the mind of one who had not yet embraced Islam, and was not aware of the sprite of Islam.

This could never have occurred in the mind of the Holy Prophet (S) who has been sent to preach the faith to every one and all, irrespective of any worldly position of the People. Based on that, they conclude that the word ‘you’ in the third verse does not still apply to the Prophet, rather it applies to one of the Umayad attendees, and that none of the first four verses of this chapter (80:1-4) addresses the Prophet (S) even though the latter verses address the Prophet (S).

Those who are familiar with the language of Qur’an and read the original Arabic Qur’an are aware of the constant jumping between the first, second, and third person writing style of Qur’an. In many verses in Qur’an Allah changes the address sharply, and as such, it is not always easy to figure out who is being addressed when the name of addressee is not mentioned.

That’s why the Prophet has ordered us to refer to Ahlul-Bayt (as) for the interpretation of the verses of Qur’an since they are "firmly grounded in knowledge”(Qur’an 3:7) and are "The People of Reminder”(Qur’an 16:43, 21:7) and they are the purified people who have touched the meaning of Qur’an (see 56:79).

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It is narrated that Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) said:

It came down regarding a man from the Umayad; he was at the Prophet’s (S) presence, then Ibn Umm-Maktoom came, when he saw him he despised him, withdrew himself, frowned and turned his face away from him. So Allah said what He said in disapproval of his action.

Also it is told that Imam al-Sadiq (as) said:

"Whenever the Messenger of Allah (S) saw Abdullah Ibn Umm- Maktoom, he said: Welcome, welcome, by Allah, you won’t find Allah reproaching me in you ever (80:5-11). He used to get kindness from the Prophet so much that he used to avoid from (being in the presence of) the Prophet (S), because of what the Prophet used to do to him.”Out of shyness.

In Tafsir of Sayyid Shubbar it is reported from al-Qummi that:

The verse was revealed about Uthman and Ibn Umm-Maktoom, and he was blind. He came to the Messenger of Allah (S), while in the company of companions, and Uthman was there. The Messenger introduced him to Uthman and Uthman frowned and turned his face away.

Allah Almighty said in Qur’an about Prophet Muhammad that:

_ Nor does he (Muhammad) speak out of his desire. It is nothing but revelation that is revealed. (Qur’an 53:3-4).

وَمَا یَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَیٰ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْیٌ یُوحَیٰ

So how can the Prophet (S) say something offensive if his speeches are revelation or inspiration?! The Prophet never speaks out of his own desire. Interestingly, Sunnis confirm that Chapter Abas (Ch. 80) was revealed right after Chapter al-Najm (Ch. 53) where it states the Prophet does not speak out of his desire.

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Also Verse 33:33 of the Holy Qur’an confirms that Ahlul-Bayt are perfectly pure and flawless. We all know that the virtue of the Prophet was higher than that of his family. He is also counted among Ahlul-Bayt. Then how can he offend a believer and yet maintains PERFECT purity?!

Also note that in the revealed verses Allah states:

And it is not necessary for you (to preach that arrogant chieftain) if he does not purify himself. (Qur’an 80:7)

The above does not mean that what the Prophet did was a mistake, because Allah uses the phrase "it is not necessary for you". This means the Prophet’s choice was not wrong, but it was not something necessary to do.

Also when Allah states: Preaching him is not necessary "IF”the Qurashite does not purify himself. Well, the Prophet (S) did not know beforehand that the Qurashite is going to frown at the blind, as such, the "IF”condition has not been satisfied and therefore what the Prophet did was necessary before the time that man frowned (because the Prophet was at the middle of his speech with those Qurashites when the blind man arrived). And as soon as the Qurashite frowned, the Prophet stopped preaching, and the verses were revealed. As we can see, what the Prophet (S) did was his duty second by second.

The reminder was for future, as is the case of another verse of Qur’an where Allah reminds his Prophet that it is not necessary for him to bother himself too much for guiding people since some of them can never be guided, and the Prophet should not be unhappy about those.

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In conclusion, we provided evidences from Qur’an, Hadith, History, and Arabic grammar, to support the fact that the very early verses of this chapter do NOT refer to the Prophet Muhammad (S) and the one who frowned at the blind was not the Prophet (S). We also mentioned that Verses 80:5-11 were just a reminder for the future to the Prophet Muhammad that preaching an unbeliever is not fruitful if the unbeliever does not try to purify himself and when the unbeliever offends a believer just because of his lack of wealth and health.

Wassalam.

Shi’i references:

1. al-Mizan, by al-Tabataba’i (Arabic), v20, pp 222-224

2.al-Jawhar al-Thameen fi Tafsir al-Kitab al-Mubeen, by Sayyid Abdullah Shubbar, v6, p363

Side Comments

A Sunni brother mentioned that the scholars of Tafsir wrote the verses of Chapter 80 was revealed after the Prophet was trying to convince the four most powerful people of Quraish to join Islam, namely, Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah, Abu Jahl (Amr Ibn Hisham), Umayyah Ibn Khalaf, and his brother, Ubayy (no mention of Uthman Ibn Affan). Furthermore, al-Qurtubi mentioned in his Tafsir book that these verses are Medanite (revealed in Medina) meaning that Uthman was already a Muslim by that time.

My response was as follows: Muslims agree that the Chapter Abas (Ch. 80) was revealed in Mecca long before the migration of the Prophet to Medina. More interestingly, they agree that Chapter Abas (Ch. 80) was revealed right after Chapter al-Najm (Ch. 53) where Allah said the Prophet does not speak out of his desire! Again, based on Sunnis, Chapter al-Najm was the 23rd revealed chapter of Qur’an and Chapter Abas was the 24th revealed chapter and both of them were early Meccan revelation.

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Perhaps, what al-Qurtubi has mentioned was merely to drift the reader’s attention from the issue of Uthman being addressed in the Chapter, and thereby preserving his integrity Uthman with the price of accusing the Prophet (S).

Another bug in the above report is that, you said one of those Qurashite whom the Prophet was talking to, was Abu Jahl. What was Abu Jahl doing in Medina? Do you know, brother, that Abu Jahl lived in Mecca, and was one of the biggest enemies of the Prophet, and never moved to Medina to see the Prophet, and was among those who was killed in the Battle of Badr (the first war).

The other people mentioned in the above report: Utbah and Umayyah were also killed along with their leader, Abu Jahl, in the Battle of Badr. None of them ever had a chance to meet the Prophet (after the migration of the Prophet) except in the battlefield in Badr where their corpse were taken to that famous well!

Infallibility of the Prophets

Infallibility of the Prophets Part 1

Introduction

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

This article deals with the contention of whether or not the prophets and the messengers of Allah are infallible (sinless). In Part 1, we will examine the Sunni point of view, and then we will present the Shi’a opinion on the matter with reference to the verses of Qur’an. In Part 2, we will provide logical reasoning behind the issue of the infallibility. In addition, we look at some of the authentic Sunni traditions in support of the infallibility. In Part 3, we respond to the arguments of the opponents in this regard.

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Is it possible for a human being to be sinless? Is it realistic to believe that Allah (SWT), the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, would send forth a sinful man to guide mankind? What about the Qur’an, what information and evidence about the matter does it provide? These are the questions, among others, that the article at hand is attempting to answer.

Disclaimer

The Twelver Shi’ites do NOT hold ANY human being, whether he be a prophet, a messenger, or an Imam, to be divine. We do not worship human beings, nor do we approve of such a custom. Allah (SWT) is never compromised in Shi’ite theology or philosophy! All the negative stuff you may hear about us is pure propaganda with political motives. Allah (SWT) is Exalted above all that scratches dignity and justice.

We hold Allah (SWT) to be the JUST Creator (SWT), Who never commits any injustice against His creation. Allah (SWT) is indivisible, and He does not relinquish His (SWT) Majesty and Sovereignty to anyone. No one is permitted to interfere with His Wishes, except by His leave. This is the Authentic Twelver Shi’ite Creed, and everything else that is negative in nature, and is attributed to the Shi’a, is crap.

Infallibility According to the Sunnis

The Sunni scholars do not speak in one voice on this subject. Some Sunnis claim that the Prophet (S) is sinless or infallible ONLY in the delivery of Allah’s message. Other than that, he (S), just like others, sins and makes mistakes in many things.

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This faction of Sunnis base their opinion on the traditions narrated in their books about how the Prophet (S) falls asleep and forgets the prayer time, and even forgets to perform the necessary ablution (Wudu) for prayer (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v1, p37,44,171). Furthermore, they claim that he (S) used to sit with Aisha and watch a dance with music (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v3, p228).

They also claim that he (S) was affected by a magical spell that caused severe episodes of hallucination on his part (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v7, p29; and v4, p68). These are but a FEW of the most heinous of acts that these "scholars”attribute to the Mercy to Mankind, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S).

Note that according to the Shi’a, these traditions are NOT authentic, nor do they constitute ANY truth whatsoever. Again, these traditions were inserted into their books by the Umayad, among others, to justify their own corruption and insolence. For when the Prophet (S) sins so heinously as they depict him (S) in the above traditions, we can no longer blame Uthman, or Muawiyah, or Yazid, or Amr Ibn al-Aas, among others, when they sin. It is to their advantage to portray the Prophet (S) as a man who listens to music and watches a dance with his wife, to justify the dancing and the music that was (and still is) rampant in their palaces.

The current state of the Ummah is NOT because a few of us aren’t praying or fasting,; it is because some people have changed and mutiliated the religion of Allah (SWT) to satisfy their lusts, just like the Christians and Jews did. That’s exactly what we have fallen into. We sin, then we say: so what -- the Prophet (S) himself was a sinner! Purified be the prophets and messengers of Allah (SWT) from being of such a sinful nature!

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By Allah, to say such a thing is more of an insult to Allah, than it is to the prophet and messengers. Because when we assert that Allah sends forth sinful men, we are claiming that Allah (SWT) Himself approves of sin; or why, then, would he send forth a sinful man? Yet, on the other hand, Allah (SWT) forbids us from doing evil! What kind of twisted logic is this? Exalted be Allah (SWT) from such an insult!

Infallibility According to the Shi’a

The Shi’a, on the other hand, state that ALL the prophets and messengers of Allah, with NO exception, are sinless and infallible, even before they became prophets and messengers. For instance, although Prophet Muhammad (S) became Messenger at the age of forty, the Shi’a assert that even in the first forty years of his life, he was sinless and infallible -- an assertion that history attests to as well.

It is indeed frustrating to conceive of a human being who is NOT sinful. So, let us first define the concept of infallibility:

The Concept of Infallibility

According to the scholar Muhammad Jawad Mughniyah (May Allah rest his soul in peace), in his book "al-Islam Wa al-’Aql -- Islam and Reason,”the concept of Ismah (Infallibility) is very often misunderstood. What we mean by that concept is that a prophet, by virtue of his prophethood, has a pure soul. As the Qur’an states:

"...the (human) soul certainly incites evil, UNLESS my lord do bestow His Mercy... (Qur’an 12:53)"

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Clearly Allah (SWT) has made an exception (by using the term "UNLESS") to the human soul that incites evil. We can understand, based on Shi’ite philosophy, that the attachment of the soul (Nafs) to being is that of a relationship of control and administration. Therefore, the soul may incite evil; but the individual has the freedom and the authority to reject that invitation to evil. If the individual accepts the invitation to evil, he becomes accountable for that evil which he commits. This is a very simplified explanation, but it serves the purpose.

Now, the prophets or the messengers, are among the exception as Allah (SWT) has indicated. That is, there is something in the soul of these virtuous HUMANS that precludes the incitement of evil, and as such they never commit it. Their virtue is so high that they never even think of committing a sin. It is NOT that if a prophet or a messenger wanted to commit a sin, he can’t; rather, it is that "Mercy,”mentioned in the above verse, that is bestowed upon him from Allah (SWT) that precludes him from doing so. As such, he is sinless and infallible even though they have full ability of committing any kind of sin.

When Satan refused to prostrate to Adam, He was driven away and became an accursed one. Qur’an states that thereupon Satan said:

He said: My Lord, Because You has sent me astray, verily I shall adorn the path of error for them on the earth, and shall deceive them all. (Qur’an 15:39)

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_ Except those of them who are Your perfectly devoted Servants. (Qur’an 15:40)

_ (Allah) said: "This (Way of My sincere servants) is indeed a Way that leads straight to Me. (Qur’an 15:41)

_ Lo! as for My slaves, you have NO way into them except the wrong-doers who follow you. (Qur’an 15:42)

_ And verily for all such people, hell is the promised place. (Qur’an 15:43)

It is clear from the above conversation that Allah has promised that Satan has NO WAY into His sincere Servants, and only wrong-doers will follow the Satan. Thus the Sincere Servants of Allah are not wrong-doers and shall not be deceived. Also Allah confirms that the Path of His Sincere Servants is a path which leads straight to Him. All these facts prove that the Sincere Servants of Allah never fall into the trap of Satan, and as such they are infallible, due to Allah’s Mercy.

One side remark here is that there is no mention of "prophet”or "messenger”in the above verses. In other words, the "perfectly devoted Servants”who are infallible are not necessarily "prophets”or "messengers". The issue of the infallibility of the Imams will be discussed in a separate article, however.

The Qur’an Speaks About the Prophets

First, it would be of help to take a look at the commandment of obeying the messenger, to see how all-encompassing and all-pervading this commandment is, and how great the authority of the messenger of Allah is. Allah states in Qur’an:

"And we did not send any messenger, unless he should be obeyed by Allah’s authority.”(Qur’an 4:64)

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The prophet or the messenger of God is to be obeyed and followed; the followers are not expected to check every order of the Prophet to decide what is to be obeyed and what is not to be obeyed. There is no way to check his commands, because he himself gave us all the rules and divine laws in the form of Scripture and his traditions (sayings/actions/satisfactions). If we become suspicious to some of the actions of the prophet, this suspicion can cause all his commands and laws that he has already conveyed to go under question. This shows that the prophets and messengers were free from error and sin; otherwise Allah would not have ordered people to obey them unconditionally.

There are many verses in which Allah commands us to obey the prophet:

"O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and do not burn your deeds (by disobeying him).”(Qur’an 47:33)

Allah, Exalted, also states:

"Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah.”(Qur’an 4:80)

In the above verses as well as many other verses of the Qur’an, obedience of Allah has become synonymous with the obedience of the prophets. Such assertion would have been impossible if the prophets were not infallible (Ma’soom). Now, note the following verse:

"....and obey not from among them a sinner or an ungrateful one.”(Qur’an 76:24)

The picture is complete! "The prophets are to be obeyed,”and "the sinners are NOT to be obeyed.”The only conclusion is that the prophets were NOT sinners or wrong-doers. In other words, they were infallible (Ma’soom) and sinless.

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Looking specially at the Holy Prophet of Islam (S), Allah tells us:

"And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it; and from whatever he forbids you, keep back.”(Qur’an 59:7)

This is another indication that whatever the Prophet (S) offered must be accepted unconditionally and with no doubt. This means that the permission or prohibition of the Holy Prophet was always in accordance with the will of Allah and was always favored by Him. It proves that the Holy Prophet was protected (Ma’soom). No one can be so sure about the commands of a man who is not infallible.

Now, if the Prophet (S) was a sinner as some people falsely allege, then how can Allah (SWT) order us to accept that which could be sinful? Fear Allah (SWT) in your reasoning. For those who argue that the above verse is specific only to religious injunctions, and the Prophet (S) is sinless in that matter only, I would say such assertion is baseless. This is a basic rule that to the time that there is no exclusion or condition or particularization has been mentioned in conjunction with a text of Qur’an, it covers all aspects. Second, everything the Prophet (S) spoke had something to do with Allah (SWT) and His religion; then how can you claim that Allah (SWT) is making a separation?

Haven’t you heard what Aisha said when she was asked about the Prophet’s behavior? She said: "His life was the Qur’an, especially the first ten verses of the Chapter al-Noor, the Light.”Now, if the Prophet’s (S) life was the Qur’an verbatim, how can he (S) be a sinner? That means that the Qur’an is full of sinful things! Exalted be Allah (SWT) from revealing such a book!!! There is another verse in which Allah said:

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"(O prophet) tell (people) If you really love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.”(Qur’an 3:31)

Here the love of Allah is made contingent on following the orders of the Prophet of Islam. Both sides of love are included in it. If you love Allah follow the Prophet; if you follow the Prophet, Allah will love you. Does it not show that the Prophet was absolutely free from any type of blemish?

Not only the orders of the Prophet, but also all his decisions are protected from error for Allah said to his Prophet:

But no by thy Lord! They can have no (real) Faith until they make thee judge in ALL disputes between them and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions but accept them with the fullest conviction. (Qur’an 4:65)

If ALL the decisions of the Prophet should be accepted unconditionally, then the Prophet should be protected from error in ALL his decisions.

Beside his actions and his decisions, even any single word of his speeches was the Commands of Allah. Almighty states in the Qur’an:

_ By the Star when it sets, (Qur’an 53:1)

_ Your companion (i.e., Prophet) does not err/wander, nor is he deceived (Qur’an 53:2)

_ Nor does he speak out of his desire; (Qur’an 53:3)

_ It is no less than a revelation that is revealed. (Qur’an 53:4)

_ The Mighty in Power has taught him. (Qur’an 53:5)

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The above verses not only proves that the Prophet did not err or sin, but also testifies that all his speeches were revelation (either directly or indirectly). These verses unequivocally clears the Messenger of Allah (S) from ever saying anything of his (S) own desire. That includes his (S) tradition and the Qur’an.

For those who argue otherwise, don’t forget that the tradition is used in ANY interpretation of the Qur’an; and in matters of Jurisprudence (Fiqh), as well as in other areas. If the tradition is corrupt because you claim that the Prophet (S) is a sinner (May Allah forgive us!!!), then the interpretation of the Qur’an is also corrupt!!! Fear Allah (SWT) in your reasoning!

For those who claim that the Prophet (S) is sinless in the delivery of the Message of Allah (SWT), and that includes the Hadith, then you have already admitted what the Shi’a say!!! It is unanimously agreed that the Sunnah of the Prophet covers the Prophet’s sayings, actions, and thought/satisfaction. Since the Sunnah are reflections of the Prophet’s actions, he (S) is then sinless in the actions as well.

Allah also said:

"Have We not caused thy bosom to dilate? And removed from thee thy burden? That which weighed down thy back? And exalted the esteem (in which) thou (art held)?...”(Qur’an 94:1-4)

I will not personally comment on the above verse, but here’s what Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali, a Sunni translator of the Qur’an, has to say in his footnotes to the verse:

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"(This is also) the prayer of Moses (asking for the expansion of the breast). The breast is symbolically the seat of knowledge and the highest feelings of love and affection, the treasure-house in which are stored the jewels of that quality of human character which approaches nearest to the divine. The holy Prophet’s human nature had been purified, expanded, elevated, so that he became a Mercy to all Creation. Such a nature could afford to ignore the lower motives of ordinary humanity which caused shameful attacks to be made on him. Its strength and courage could also bear the burden of the galling work which it had to do in denouncing sin, subduing it, and protecting Allah’s (SWT) creatures from its oppression.

It is indeed a grievous and galling burden for a man to fight single- handed against sin. But Allah sends his grace and aid, and that burden is removed, or converted into joy and triumph in the service of the One True God.

The Prophet’s virtues, the magnanimity of his character, and his love for mankind were fully recognized in his lifetime, and his name stands highest among the heroic leaders of mankind. The phrase used here is more comprehensive in meaning that used for various prophets..."

(End of quote from A. Yusuf ‘Ali)

Do I need to say more? Let us see if Allah said any more:

_ "It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth...”(Qur’an 9:33)

_ "And the unbelievers say: Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord? But thou art truly a warner and for every nation there exists a guide.”(Qur’an 13:7)

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_ A Messenger, who rehearses to you the Signs of Allah containing clear explanations, in order to lead forth those who believe and do righteous deeds from the depths of Darkness into Light.”(Qur’an 65:11)

The above verses of Qur’an testify that the Prophet Muhammad (S) was a Guide sent to lead forth people from the depths of Darkness into Light. (65:11) And that he (S) is a warner (27:91) and one of the guides for people. (13:7). Sin is darkness, and as such, how can the Prophet was sent to move people from darkness into light when he himself is sitting in the darkness?! May Allah protect us from slandering His Prophet (S).

Similarly Qur’an informs us that the Prophet has come to us to sanctify and cleanse us and to teach us wisdom:

As We have sent unto you a messenger from among you who recites unto you Our revelations and cleanses you, and teaches you the Scripture and wisdom, and teaches you that which you knew not. (Qur’an 2:151)

Allah did bestow a great favor unto the believers when He sent among them an Messenger from among themselves reciting unto them the Signs of Allah sanctifying them and teaching them the Scripture and Wisdom while before that they had been in manifest error. (Qur’an 3:164)

See also Qur’an 2:129, 62:2 which also testify that one of the missions of the Prophet (S) was to cleanse the true believers. Then how could a prophet purify others of wrong-doings if he himself were not pure? How could Allah send an impure and sinful person to cleanse others?

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How could a man teach others wisdom if he had no wisdom to distinguish right from wrong; or worst still, if he had no willpower to resist from doing wrong? The Prophet was to teach people the Book of Allah; this means that he KNEW the Commandment of Allah. He was to purify them and teach them wisdom. This means he himself had wisdom and purity.

Witness to the perfection of his character is found in Qur’an where Allah states:

_ "And most certainly you are on sublime morality (exalted standard of character).”(Qur’an 68:4)

A man committing mistakes does not deserve such compliments. All these verses clearly prove two things:

1.The authority of the Holy Prophet upon the believers was unlimited and all-comprehensive. Any order given by him, under any condition, in any place, at any time, was to be obeyed unconditionally.

2.Supreme authority was given to him because he was sinless (Ma’soom) and free from all types of errors and sins. Otherwise, Allah would not have ordered us to obey him with no questioning or doubt.

Infallibility of the Prophets Part 2

Infallibility of the Prophets Part 2

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

In this part, we discuss the logical support for the infallibility of the Prophets, and we then provide some traditions from Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Tirmidhi with regard to the issue of infallibility.

Reason And Logic

Apart from the analysis of the character of a prophet historically or as a character from the Qur’an, such character can also be judged within the confines of reason and logic. As such, the obvious question is: Is it rational and/or realistic for a Prophet sent by the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe to be a sinner? Let’s find out:

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First, when Allah (SWT) sends forth a Prophet, He (SWT) distinguishes him from all the creatures by cleansing him from evil and sin, so that he may serve as an example. Indeed, Allah (SWT) asserts:

"You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remember Allah much. (Qur’an 33:21)”

As such, a man that has been chosen by the Creator of the Universe to represent Him (SWT) on the Earth, cannot be of an evil nature, nor can he be a sinner that commits ignoble acts. If the Prophet is sent to advice humanity to do good deeds, then he himself commits sins, do you believe that he will serve as an outstanding example to be followed? That would be like an Imam of Mosque who waves his right hand saying: "Don’t drink beer!”while a holds a beer can in his left hand!!!

Second, if the Prophet (S) enjoins righteousness and forbids evil when he himself is a sinner who commits evil, he has gone against what Allah said in Qur’an that:

O you who believe! why do you say that which you do not act? It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not act. (Qur’an 61:2-3)

Based on the above verse of Qur’an, if prophet was a sinner, he should not have preached others in the first place!! As such, a sinful prophet faces a dilemma: If he does not preach, he has disobeyed the order of God who has ordered him to convey the message (Qur’an 5:67).

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On the other hand, if he preaches, he again has disobeyed God where Allah states "O you who believe! why do you say that which you do not act? It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not act.!!!"

Didn’t Allah (SWT) reprimand the Jews by saying:

"Do you enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (to practice it) yourselves, and yet you study the Scripture? Will you not understand? (Qur’an 2:44)”

Clearly, a Prophet cannot order a layman to perform prayer on a timely basis, when the Prophet himself forgets to pray, and when he remembers, he prays without ablution (Wudu) (as Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v1, p123; and v1, p37)!!! Purified be the Representatives of Allah (SWT) from such false accusations!

Third, a prophet that sins is a repulsive character. We, as humans, detest a person who comes to us and says don’t do this and don’t do that, yet he himself commits wicked acts. He automatically becomes repulsive to us, and we cannot stand to listen to him anymore.

Similarly, if Prophet Muhammad (S) was cruel to a blind man, which he was not, how can he ask us to have good manners? (Note again: The blind man’s story is not related to the Prophet (S) as some Sunnis state; it was a chapter revealed to reprimand Uthman Ibn Affan, who was the one who frowned in the face of the blind man. Please see the earlier article which was exclusively in this regard).

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Do you seriously believe that a Prophet of Allah (SWT) was a sinner and so offensive? Why do you follow him then? I, personally, will not believe in a man who claims to be sent by Allah (SWT), the Creator of the Universe, and then sins and behaves in a manner that is not even befitting of a beast!

Forth, was Allah (SWT) so incapable as to make His (SWT) prophets and messengers sinless? Why would Allah (SWT) even bother to send a sinning prophet to be an example to a community? If sin is something that even the prophets and messengers can not avoid, then what is the purpose of sending a religion to the mankind any way? Does God expect the ordinary people to follow his instructions when his own deputies can not?

Fifth, a prophet or messenger is an interpreter of Allah’s commands. As such, if the prophet is the first to violate these commands, who among the Ummah will abide by these commands? Or if he is in a state that deprives him of his mental faculties causing him to err, then he will MISinterpret the commands of Allah (SWT). If that happens, then surely Allah (SWT) is playing a game with His creation!

For He (SWT) sends them a man to interpret the religion for them, yet this man is subject to magical spells, as the Israelites reports claim, and mental hallucinations that cause him to become unaware of his own behavior (See Sahih Bukhari, Arabic version, v7, p29)! What kind of interpreter is that? Exalted be Allah (SWT) from such allegations against His Prophet (S)!

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sixth, for those among Sunnis who say that the Prophet (S) is sinless or infallible ONLY in the delivery of Allah’s (SWT) message, and other than that, just like any other man, he (S) sins and makes mistakes in many things, such assertion is full of logical holes. For instance, Sunnis narrated that once the Prophet gave advice on agriculture, and people did it, but they suffered a big loss by following that advice!! Then Prophet told them that what he said was his personal advice and not revelation!!! (which is, by the way, in contradiction with the verse:

"Nor does he (prophet) speak out of his desire. What he says is nothing but revelation that is revealed.(Qur’an 53:3-4)")

How do we know which of the Prophet’s sayings are from Allah (SWT), and which are his personal sayings? He (S) may say something which the companions take as Allah’s command, but it may be that he (S) was only expressing his OWN opinion. If that happens, then all of Allah’s laws will be in chaos and disarray!

That is why, even the Prophet’s opinion has to conform with Allah’s orders, for fear of misinterpretation by the people. In fact the Prophet had a perfect reason and his Ijtihad was in perfect compliance with the Allah’s orders and satisfaction and that is why Qur’an orders us to obey WHATEVER he states without condition.

Also, how can we understand which acts of the Prophet are wrong, and which are right? What is the measure for us? Isn’t a part of this measure the practice of the Prophet (S) himself? Since the practice of the Prophet (S) is considered to be one of the sources of deriving the rules of Islam, we can NOT evaluate the Prophet’s actions by the rules which are derived from his actions! As such all the actions of the Prophet should have been protected.

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Seventh, for the Prophet (S) to be chosen to deliver Allah’s (SWT) message (one of which was the Qur’an) and be himself a sinner, will cast doubt on the authenticity of the Qur’an. When the Prophet (S) recites a verse from the Qur’an, how do we know that that verse is indeed from Allah (SWT), and not a side effect from the hallucinative episode that the Prophet (S) was allegedly experiencing as a result of the magical spell cast upon him?! That would mean that Allah’s (SWT) Book will be distorted by the same man who was sent to deliver it!

Eighth, just imagine what impossible situation would have been created if any prophet begin to exhort his followers to commit a mistake or sin. The wretched followers would be condemned to the displeasure of Allah in any case.

If they obey the Prophet and commit that sin, then they have disobeyed the command given by Allah and thus are disgraced. If, on the other hand, they disobey the Prophet, they again have disobeyed the command of Allah about obeying the Prophet. So, it appears that a fallible prophet could bring nothing but disgrace and condemnation to his people.

Ninth, a punishable sin will cause sadness and depression to the soul of the believer. The believer who sincerely loves Allah (SWT) is angered and depressed by the sin he has committed. Feelings of sadness begin to roam the mind, and the believer will lose confidence many times.

Feelings of doubt are evoked in the sense that the believer feels that Allah (SWT) may not support him at a certain point in time as punishment for what he has rendered. This doubt is NOT in the sense that he feels Allah (SWT) is not merciful enough to forgive him; rather, it is the doubt about what will happen if Allah ever decides to retaliate for what he has done.

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With the above in mind, a prophet should not be a sinner, because that would entail that he loses confidence at certain stages in his mission. If doubt strikes the soul of a prophet, you can be assured that his mission is in jeopardy.

Also, from a political and psychological standpoint, doubt automatically translates into disaster. On the other hand, it is a known historical fact that the Prophet (S) never displayed any doubt in his mission, and thus he could not have been guilty of sins. Having doubt could not have only undermined his mission, but it would also have undermined his credibility among the believers.

Tenth, a Prophet is a teacher by virtue of his prophethood. If a teacher errs when he is supposed to be sent directly by Allah (SWT) as a mercy to mankind, then he will need a more knowledgeable and a more virtuous teacher to guide him and to punish him in the case that he violates the limits of God; which means that the Prophet himself will need an unerring teacher sent by God, and so on, ad infinitum. Thus, it cannot be except that the Prophet MUST be the number one teacher and the highest in virtue among his own people, and that he be sinless and infallible to begin with.

As for the Imams (divinely appointed Caliphs), the same argument applies, but they are NOT prophets or messengers. They are, however, successors and vicegerents to the Seal of Prophethood. As such, if these Imams are to guide the Ummah of Muhammad (S), they also must have the same qualities that the above argument illuminates. Please see the next article which is exclusively about the infallibility of Imams.

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Reference To Infallibility In Sahih Al-Bukhari

There is an interesting tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari which asserts that there are people who are Ma’soom (infallible/protected). The tradition clearly specifies that these people are the prophets and their successors (Caliphs). The tradition also illuminate the fact that He is Allah who gives the position of Caliphate to the Caliph which implies that the infallible Caliph is the one who is assigned by Allah, not by people.

Moreover, the tradition asserts that there are good advisors/companions and bad advisors/companions for the prophets and their successors, but those who are protected by Allah will not be deceived by the evil advisors around them. Here is the tradition:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.306

Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, "Allah never sends a prophet or gives the Caliphate to a Caliph but that he (the Prophet or the Caliph) has two groups of advisors: A group advising him to do good and exhorts him to do it, and the other group advising him to do evil and exhorts him to do it. But the protected person (Ma’soom) is the one who is protected by Allah.’"

فالمعصوم من عصم الله تعالی

Do I need to make any comment?!

Is Any One Like Him?

The Holy Qur’an states that the Prophet (S) is HUMAN being like us Human beings. The likeness between us and him is in the sense that both of us are human and both are accountable for our deeds. However there is no similarity between us and him in terms of virtue, knowledge, closeness to Allah. Allah gave him abilities and authorities which were not given to us ordinary beings. In the following traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari, the Prophet clearly stated that he is not like any of us, meaning that although he is human, we can not compare our weak and sinful soul with his:

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Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.182

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet said, "Do not practice al-Wisal (fasting continuously without breaking one’s fast in the evening or eating before the following dawn).”The people said to the Prophet, "But you practice al-Wisal?”The Prophet replied, "I am not like any of you, for I am given food and drink (by Allah) during the night.”(Qala: Lastu Ka ahadin minkum).

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.183

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar:

Allah’s Apostle forbade al-Wisal. The people said(to him),"but you practice it?”He said, "I am not like you, for I am given food and drink by Allah.”(Qala: Inni lastu mithlikum).

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.184

Narrated Abu Sa’id:

That he had heard the Prophet saying, "Do not fast continuously (practice al-Wisal), and if you intend to lengthen your fast, then carry it on only till the Suhur (before the following dawn).”The people said to him, "But you practice (Al-Wisal), O Allah’s Apostle!”He replied, "I am not similar to you, for during my sleep I have One Who makes me eat and drink.”(Qala: Inni lastu ka Hay’atikum).

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.185

Narrated Aisha:

Allah’s Apostle forbade al-Wisal out of mercy to them. They said to him, "But you practice al-Wisal?”He said, "I am not similar to you, for my Lord gives me food and drink.”(Qala: Inni lastu ka Hay’atikum)

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.187

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said twice, "(O you people) Be cautious! Do not practice al-Wisal.”The people said to him, "But you practice al-Wisal?”The Prophet replied, "My Lord gives me food and drink during my sleep. Do that much of deeds which is within your ability."

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Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.188

Narrated Abu Said al-Khudri:

Allah’s Apostle said, "Do not fast continuously day and night (practice al-Wisal) and if anyone of you intends to fast continuously day and night, he should continue till the Suhur time.”They said, "But you practice al-Wisal, O Allah’s Apostle!”The Prophet said,

"I am not similar to you; during my sleep I have One Who makes me eat and drink.

It appears from these authentic Sunni evidences, among others, that the Prophet is like us ONLY in the sense that he is human being (i.e., like us, he has choice to do right or wrong and has a human flesh). Other than that, there is no similarity between his Supreme soul/virtues and ours.

Reference To Infallibility In Sahih Al-Tirmidhi

In fact, the Prophet (S) himself testified that he and his Ahlul-Bayt are sinless. Interesting to see that Messenger of Allah used the purification verse of Qur’an to prove his point. Ibn Abbas Narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah recited "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O’ People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you a perfect purification". (Qur’an, the last sentence of Verse 33:33) and then the Messenger of Allah said: "Thus Me and my Ahlul-Bayt are clear from sins."

فأنا و أهل بیتی مطهرون من الذنوب

Sunni reference:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, as quoted in:

• al-Durr al-Manthoor, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v5, pp 605-606,198 under the commentary of Verse 33:33 of Qur’an

• Dala’il al-Nabawiyyah, by al-Bayhaqi

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• Others such as al-Tabarani, Ibn Mardawayh, Abu Nu’aym, etc.

Please note the word "thus”in the highlighted part of the above tradition. It means the Prophet himself is concluding that the verse means Ahlul-Bayt (including himself) are sinless.

Infallibility of the Prophets Part 3

Infallibility of the Prophets Part 3

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

This part addresses the questions and counter arguments on this subject in the current and the previous rounds of discussions, and the responses to them.

Side Comments

Comment 1

A person asked how we explain the following verse of Qur’an considering the subject of infallibility:

Was Allah to seize the people immediately for their Dhulm (wrong-doing; injustice), no living creature would be left on earth. He gives them respite for an appointed time. When their term is over, they will not be able to change the inevitable. (Qur’an 16:61)

My comment is as follows: First, "the people”at the beginning of the verse refers to "the unjust people”and "the disbelievers". Note that in the preceding verse the disbelievers have been explicitly addressed.

The above verse does not imply that everyone on Earth is unjust. It rather refers to the fact that, unlike the Hereafter, when an earthly punishment comes as a result of injustice of the unjust people it will inflict all leaving creatures on the Earth including good and bad people as well as the animals. Of course, the affliction is a total loss and punishment for wrong-doers while for the believers it will be test. In another verse, Allah states:

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And fear the affliction that affects not just those of you who do wrong: and know that Allah is strict in punishment (Qur’an 8:25)

Thus, the verse (16:61) does not prove that everyone is Dhalim (unjust).

Moreover, the term "Dhulm”was used in Qur’an with different meanings. Only one of the general meanings of Dhulm is "wrong doing”that entails punishment in the Hereafter. Surely, the Prophets and the Imams were not wrong-doers (Dhalim) and we can readily prove this by Qur’an (see few paragraphs later).

However, before presenting the Qur’anic argument and in order to get a better picture of the issue, let me quote a famous explanatory statements of the Sufis mentioned by the Sunnis scholars including al-Razi and al-Baidhawi, which states:

"The good deeds of the righteous people are sins for those who are close (to Allah)."

حسنات الابرار سیئات المقربین

This means that for people who are very close to Allah such as the Prophets, sin has a much subtle meaning, and its meaning is much different from what we usually consider as sin. In their high level, they consider themselves sinful when they question themselves by saying: "I should have done more good deeds than of what I have done till now.”

This is while they did their best. Or "I did not worship Allah to the extent that He deserves by His Majesty.”Or "I could be closer to God.”These are the sort of sins to them which is much more different than what we think of as sin. Their sin is just a feeling of shyness toward the Glory of Allah.

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According to his genuine nature, an advanced human being does not make any hesitation in following the path of Almighty God. In every step that he takes towards development, the greatness and grandeur of the power of the Almighty will become more obvious him, and he will look at his past from a higher level. For what he has done he will sometimes apologize, even if what he has done was his duties. That is because he now comprehends its inadequacy.

He interprets his past worships as sin and does not see any value for his work when presented to the Great position of the Lord. With his elevated view, he perceives his submission to God’s presence as sinful and even an action far from politeness.

The prophets and the divinely-appointed Imams have reached this point. Since they realize the Magnificence of their Lord and comprehend the position of the Life-Giver, they see themselves, their activities, and their prostrations and praises so little that they interpret the worship of that much affluence and greatness as sin, and with supplication and invocation, they ask for pardon and they hope for forgiveness.

When they face the divine commandments and consider the Holy Position of the Almighty, they submit themselves to the Master. They see their action in front of the Lord as nothing, and recognize it as not suitable for praise. They hope it would be accepted by the Generosity and Majesty of the Creator, otherwise it is a sin to submit such inadequate worship to the Holy Presence of the Lord.

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Those people like the Prophet Muhammad and his Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them all) realized the Divine position with a much wider view. Continuously upon the two wings of knowledge and action, they progressed to a higher and superior position. They were, at every moment, finding out more about the Magnificence of the Life-Giver of the world, and more about their own needs; consequently better understanding of their inadequate actions in comparison with that much Power and Greatness.

To compensate for that, they confessed to their sins and asked the Lord for the permission to apologize with the excuse that they can NOT do to the extent of what Allah deserves, and with the hope that He would guide them to a higher and superior position until they could continue their development process in order to reach the sublime morality.

Now the verse you mentioned should be understood in this context. No HUMAN could warship Allah to the extent of what Allah deserves to be worshipped. It is like one wants to pay an infinite debt by finite resources. Thus everybody is sinful and shameful in front of His Glory. The closer to God, the more shameful of your insufficient worship in front of God you are.

Let me also give you a proof from Qur’an that "Dhulm”for prophets has much different meaning. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty states in Qur’an:

"And when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands and he fulfilled them. Then He said: Lo! I appoint you an Imam for mankind. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring (will there be Imam)? He said: My covenant does not reach the wrong-doers (among them).”(Qur’an 2:124).

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In the above verse Allah states that the position of God-assigned leadership does not reach to a person who is "Dhalim”(wrong-doer). Now, there is no dispute that Prophet Muhammad (S) was a divinely appointed leader and a descendant of Abraham (as). Not only him, but also Moses, Jesus, David, Sulayman (Solomon) were also descendants of Abraham and all of them were assigned by Allah as Imam. This goes to prove that non of them were "Dhalim”(wrong-doer), otherwise the last sentence of Verse 2:124 will become untrue!

Thus, there is no conflict amongst verses 16:61, 2:124, 33:33, etc. since firstly, the verse 16:61 does not attribute the Dhulm to all people, and secondly, Dhulm has been used in Qur’an with more than one meaning and not just the "wrong-doing”that deserves Allah’s punishment in the Hereafter. Sin has a different meaning for those who are close to Allah.

Their sins can only be interpreted as insufficient good deeds or worship before Allah in comparison to the infinite worship that Allah deserves. Such type of sin -- that is even unobservable to the righteous people-- does not cause the wrath of Allah, nor does it lead to punishment in the Hereafter.

Comment 2

A Muslim convert (former Catholic) stated that there is a report of David’s adultery in the Old Testament. The Prophets were human. Remember that Muhammad’s past and future sins were forgiven. It is not that he didn’t have any. The Prophet (S) used to ask forgiveness for himself. Clearly, that would constitute the attitude of a sinner repenting after an act of sin.

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In reply to the disparaging quote about David (as) from the Bible, I won’t even dignify that statement by the Bible writers with a comment! one should know better than to quote a mutilated book!

As for the Prophet (S) asking for forgiveness from Allah (SWT), I have just answered this few lines before and proved it by Qur’an and Hadith that the sin of the Prophets and Imams are much different than what we consider sin (which is punishable), and as such they will not be held accountable for that. That is why Allah informed the Prophet (S) that his past and his future "sins”are forgiven!

If Allah (SWT) had inspired "sinful”prophets and messengers to lead people to the Right Path, it would mean that Allah (SWT) approves of sinfulness! Why then does He prohibit it? What kind of game is Allah (SWT) playing? What kind of Creator is He Who approves of something while prohibiting it at the same time? Cease and desist from insulting Allah (SWT) by claiming that His prophets and messengers were sinners. Fear Allah (SWT) O People before the day comes when you will account for your deeds! Exalted be the Merciful from these ludicrous insinuations!

Comment 3

A reader mentioned that Moses (as) killed a man with his fist. What sin could be greater than killing a human?

Well, The Prophet Muhammad (S) and Imam ‘Ali (as) killed many unbelievers! They did this to comply with Allah’s regulations. Also killing a person during self-defense or when protecting believers from the assault of a non-believer, is not a crime.

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Moreover, in many instances the sin of the prophets mentioned in Qur’an is the act they have committed which is considered violation by the tyrants of their time and NOT by Allah. It means that the governor considered such prophet is GUILTY of a specific act. This does NOT mean that they are guilty before Allah. The case of Prophet Moses killing a non-believer in defense of one of his Shi’a (followers) falls into this category. In fact Qur’an testifies the above mentioned fact by saying:

Behold your Lord called Moses: "Go to unto the wrongdoing folk: (Qur’an 26:10)

The people of Pharaoh, will they not fear Allah? (Qur’an 26:11)

He said: "O my Lord! I do fear that they will charge me with falsehood"(Qur’an 26:12)

"My breast will be straitened and my speech may not go (smoothly), so send Aaron (to help me). (Qur’an 26:13)

"And (further) they hold a charge of sin against me; and I fear they may slay me.”(Qur’an 26:14)

وَلَهُمْ عَلَیَّ ذَنبٌ فَأَخَافُ أَن یَقْتُلُونِ ﴿الشعراء: ١٤﴾

As we can see in the last verse, the sin of murder is what the people of Pharaoh considered to be sin and not Allah. They considered Moses guilty. As such, that was not a sin before Allah, but rather the charge of the government.

Prophet Moses did what he was supposed to do, that is helping the oppressed believer against the oppressor. Although he did not intend to kill the oppressor, it happened during that defense. It was a Satan’s plan to make the situation more difficult for Moses (as). By that unplanned murder, life was made harder for Moses (as) since he had to stay away from Egypt, but this does not mean that he sinned. Sometimes defending the truth may cause trouble but not sin.

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Despite all such troubles, Allah finally granted Moses (as) victory over the unbelievers. Again, Prophet Moses (as) was not a wrong-dower (Dhalim) otherwise it contradicts Verse 2:124 where Allah said that the position of God-assigned leadership shall not reach to the wrong-doers.

Comment 4

Another brother argued that Allah (SWT) has forbidden us from purifying anybody in verse: "... hold NOT yourselves purified (53:32)”As such, even prophets and messengers can not be considered purified.

My response was that the verse is taken out of context, and thus has clouded the meaning. Let us carefully study the WHOLE verse:

Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, and only fell into small reprehensible faults, verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth and when you are hidden in your mother’s wombs therefore justify not yourselves. He knows best who (among you) guards against evil. (53:32)

This verse is saying: those who have committed small reprehensible faults should not justify themselves. They should be careful not to fall victim to their egoism and pretend that they are the best when only Allah (SWT) knows what is really in their hearts.

As such, this verse does not apply to the Prophet (S) who did not have any fault, or Allah (SWT) would have directed the verse at him (S) as He (SWT) does when talking to or about him (S). Therefore, the verse does not even come close to supporting an argument that the Prophet (S) was a sinner.

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Moreover Allah mentioned in Verse 33:33 of Qur’an that the Ahlul-Bayt of Prophet (S) are perfectly pure and flawless, then we can conclude that Allah is the one who is confirming that the Prophet is pure and thus it is in conformity with the above quoted verse which states only Allah knows who is the best and most purified. No need to mention that the Prophet (S) is the first member of the Ahlul-Bayt, and if the Ahlul-Bayt are perfectly pure, so is the Prophet (S).

Comment 5

A reader mentioned that: We identify with the Prophets and Messengers through their sin. That is, we look at the sin of the Prophets and the Messengers, and we identify our OWN sins with theirs!

The above assertion is off base. We do NOT identify with the Prophets through their SIN; we rather identify with them through their suffering. There is a big difference between the two: Suffering necessitates patience in times of tribulation and adversity to survive through the ordeal one is undergoing.

All the prophets and messengers (May Allah bless them) suffered greatly by virtue of their title as representatives of the of Supreme Being, Allah (SWT). We identify with that, and remain steadfast during our times of despair. As such, a prophet did NOT sin, but rather suffered.

The Mercy from Allah (SWT) is not, as you state, that the prophets and messengers sin, but rather that they were sent to communicate and deliver the message of Allah (SWT) to us. And in so doing, they were not kings or high priests who would not be able to identify with the oppressed masses. Indeed, look at Moses (as), the great Messenger from Allah (SWT), whose entire life was a miracle. The suffering that Moses (as) endured evoked a sense of peace in the minds of his (as) followers that served to strengthen them in times of great hardship under Pharaoh’s oppression.

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Similarly, the Messenger of Allah (SWT), Muhammad (S), suffered when he was struck in his head, causing a severe injury to his jaw. He also suffered from hunger, rejection, a boycott from disbelievers, sarcasm, temptation, wars, mutiny, distrust from some of his followers, the hypocrites, betrayal, and then he, after his demise, also suffered by virtue of the massacring of his family.

It is an authentic tradition that the Prophet (S) during his lifetime said: "No Prophet has EVER suffered as I have suffered.”The indication here was to how his own flesh and blood, his family-- which were dearer to him than his own soul, would be treated after his demise; not to mention the hardship he was exposed to during his lifetime. It is that kind of suffering that allows us to identify with the Prophets, NOT their sins!

Again, the argument clearly fails when we analyze it from the perspective of the "example or model”par excellence sent to humanity: If Allah (SWT) says:

"You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remember Allah much. (Qur’an 33:21),”

(Emphasis Mine) He (SWT) means that our lives should be modeled around that "excellent exemplar.”That’s where the word "Sunnah --- the Prophet’s (S) custom or tradition”comes from. Now, if that model was corrupt (May Allah forgive us), then how can we model ourselves around it; we, then, will NEVER be able to cleanse ourselves!

Comment 6

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Another brother stated To be human is to be a sinner; that is, sin is an innate part of us as human beings. I find highly disturbing the tendency among Muslims, Shi’a and Sunni likewise, to regard the Prophet Muhammad (saws) almost as a species of infallible demigod.

I would like to first ask this brother if knows Muslims believe that angels are infallible, i.e., they do not make any mistakes. (Otherwise, some major flaws, among many, would be that the validity of Qur’an transmitted by Gabriel which will go seriously under question; and that the angels who record our deeds may write things incorrectly; and also the angel of death may take the life of a wrong person instead of another!!!!). Allah stated in Qur’an:

"...the angels do not violate the Commands of Allah, and do (precisely) what they are ordered. (Qur’an 66:6)"

If you also agree that angels are infallible, and if your above statement is true, then you consider angels are either god or demigod (?!) (may Allah protect us). Therefore, your above statement is wrong. I just gave you an example of infallible species who are nothing but the creatures of God. They are neither God nor semi-god, nor demi-god, yet infallible.

Angels are programmed and work like faultless bug-free computers. They can not go against the orders of Allah. However, the prophets are NOT angels. They are all human, but purified human beings. That purification by Allah (SWT) as alluded to in the previously mentioned verses does NOT make them divine, but it does elevate them above the level of ordinary human beings in terms of denouncing sin.

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The advantage of human over angel is that human is able to willingly obey God. In other words, the prophet has choice to either go right or wrong, but he chooses to go right always, and such, he is infallible while he has choice.

A human can make mistakes, but he does not have to. If we make mistakes, it is not because we have to, but it is because of our foolishness, ignorance and lack of knowledge, or else because of the lack of control of our carnal desires. Those who say human has to make mistakes to be human, are generalizing their own weak soul to all others. They follow their lusts, and are envious to see if one never does that.

Based on Qur’an, the level of human CAN BE much higher than angels. (and of course, could go even lower than animals, on the other side!) Qur’an states that all angels prostrated Prophet Adam (as). This is enough to prove that the rank of the prophets is higher than that of angels. In fact, the best human beings (in terms of Taqwa) are the best of all the creatures, and the most honored before Allah. Remember also the story of Mi’raaj where there were places in the heavens that only Prophet Muhammad (S) could get into, but the Angel Gabriel could not fly to. The Gabriel said to the Prophet that he (Gabriel) will burn if he wants to go further with the Prophet (S).

One side remark, here, is that, Satan is not an angel. He was from Jinn (unseen creatures). Witness to that is Qur’an where it quotes the statement of Satan saying: "You have created me from fire.”The unseen (Jinn) creatures are made of fire, and as such, they are not the angels. The Jinns, like human beings, have choice to go right or wrong, and will be accountable for their acts in the day of judgment.

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Comment 7

A brother mentioned that there is a religious part of the prophet’s life and a non-religious part. The danger of believing that every thing the prophet did was by order of God, causes that Muslims should imitate the prophet (S) to the finest details otherwise they won’t be obeying God!!! Even to what the prophet liked to drink and eat,...

My response to him was that ALL the acts of the Prophet were acts of worship. Even his eating, sleeping, etc., were worship, and as such, there was no non-religious part in his life! All he did were in full accordance with Allah’s wishes and commandments. But religion is not limited to what is obligatory and what is forbidden. Most of the Prophet’s actions fall in the category of what is "Mustahabb”(i.e., recommended) or what is "Mubaah”(i.e., OK either way).

Moreover, no one said we are required to imitate all the actions of the Prophet. If one eats what the Prophet preferred to eat, it will be all right and no one can blame him unless he claims that one should eat only what the Prophet ate. Obeying the Prophet (S) means that if the Prophet ordered to do something or forbade to do something, then one is religiously required to follow it, no matter if the order does not seem to be religious (which is a false imagination).

In fact, all the orders and prohibitions of the Prophet were a part of religion. This is actually what the religion is about. Even his Ijtihad was in full accordance with the wish of Allah for Allah granted him the most perfect reason. Whatever came to the heart of Prophet (S) is the order of God, and such it is a part of religion. Forget about that fabricated Hadith on agriculture.

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As for eating food: Everything is Halaal, unless the Prophet prohibited it explicitly or implicitly. For instance, pork has been prohibited explicitly. Also any today’s new product which was not at the time of the Prophet but has some ingredients which are extracts from those Haraam products, becomes Haraam implicitly.

Therefore, if the Prophet (S) did not eat a special food, but he did not prohibit it either, we still can eat it, because we follow his general order that whatever has not been made Haraam, is Halaal. Also if he preferred a special food, but he did not mention that it is obligatory to eat it, it does not become obligatory to eat.

Thus, the preference of the prophet for a special food is not considered to be the order of Prophet as you tried to imply. In religion, there are many things that are neither obligatory nor prohibited, and we have choice to do it or not. What the Prophet ate might be considered as recommended food, and not obligatory unless otherwise specified.

Comment 8

Regarding the verse:

"Nor does he (Muhammad) speak out of his desire. It is no less than revelation that is revealed (Qur’an 53:3-4),”

a brother said: The above verse is only limited to Qur’an. The pagan Arabs were calling the Prophet insane, and discrediting the Qur’anic revelations as the handiwork of the prophet. The meaning of the above verses is that the Qur’anic verses which the prophet is speaking about are not out of his desire, but are indeed Revelation. If everything the prophet said or did is revelation, then what is the difference between Qur’an and authentic Hadith?

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My answer to this brother was that: Neither the above verses, nor the verses surrounding them specify limitation of any kind. There is no mention of "Qur’an”in the above verses nor the verses before and after, and therefor, your claim is unsupported, at least from the Qur’an.

The Verse 53:3 exactly talks about "the speech”of the Prophet and not necessarily Qur’an, and thus, the rule mentioned in the next verse covers ALL his speeches. The pagan Arabs did not criticize the Prophet for the Qur’an alone. They also criticized him for his claim of prophethood as well as his teachings and ideas.

As for the difference between Qur’an and Hadith: Both Qur’an and genuine Hadith are from Allah. The Prophet did not say anything of his own desire. However, there is a difference between Qur’an and Hadith:

• Qur’an is well-proven, but is NOT well-understood (see note below)

• Hadith is NOT well-proven, but is well-understood.

What I meant by "Qur’an is well-proven", is that we have no doubt about its authenticity, genuineness, and that has not been fabricated.

What I meant by "Qur’an is NOT well-understood", is that most of its verses are ambiguous and only "Those who are Firmly Grounded in Knowledge”(i.e., the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt) have touched the depth of its meaning. Also Qur’an only specifies the general rules. For all these and many other reasons, Qur’an can not be considered as the sources of Guidance ALONE. It needs an interpreter, and this is where the Hadith plays its role. By genuine Hadith we can get close to the understanding of Qur’an. Allah said in Qur’an:

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He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book, in it are some clear verses; they are the Essence of the Book; and others which are ambiguous. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part there of that is ambiguous seeking discord and searching for its hidden meanings but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge (Qur’an 3:7)

What I meant by "Hadith is NOT well-proven", is that, since we have not personally met the Prophet (or his successors), we are not sure if such and such Hadith are genuine. The important point which has the answer to your question is: If we were at the time of the Prophet and would have heard the Hadith from the mouth of the Prophet (S), then that Hadith would have been as binding as Qur’an for us, and we can not prefer Qur’an over that Hadith, rather I would say, that Hadith which was heard in person is preferred to our defective understanding of Qur’an because most verses of Qur’an are ambiguous, but the Hadith we heard from the Prophet is clear. Also, there are many cases where the Hadith explains the exceptions of the general Qur’anic rules, and as such, it may seem to be contradictory with the Qur’an.

However, since we have not personally heard the Hadith from the Prophet (or his true successors), we need to examine its documentation (i.e., the chain of narrators who passed the Hadith) and the number of similar narrations in that regard to determine the overall strength of what has been attributed to the Prophet (S). Some of the requirements of the authenticity of Hadith are as follows:

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• It should not be in clear contradiction with well-established concepts in Qur’an;

• It should not be in clear contradiction with other well-established traditions;

• All the transmitters of the Hadith in the chain of transmitters should be righteous and just, etc.

Most Sunnis, however, do not consider the justice of the narrators as a criterion. They narrate from whoever saw the Prophet (S) and claimed to be Muslim.

The bother, then, asked: If the speech of prophet are the literal word of God, then why are they not included in the Qur’an itself?

Not all the traditions are literal words of God. Only some traditions are the literal words of God such as Hadith al-Qudsi. They are not a part of Qur’an though. Some other traditions are the commands of Allah transmitted by Gabriel, and thus, they are indirect words of Allah.

They include the divine commentaries of the verses of Qur’an which were revealed along with Qur’an, but not as a part of Qur’an. The rest of genuine traditions are the information and commandments that Allah induced into the heart of the Prophet directly, and as such, they are the indirect words of God. This includes his Ijtihad and whatever passed through his mind.

Therefore, the some traditions are direct literal word of God, and some are indirect words of God, and as such, all of them are either revelation or inspiration, and are all from Allah. The Prophet did not say anything of his own. The reason that they are not a part of Qur’an, is because they were not supposed to be! A better answer is: Qur’an is an encapsulated database which provides general information for all ages. The Hadith is more specific and furnishes more details and also provides commentary to the Qur’anic injunctions without which Qur’an can not be understood correctly.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, I repeat the question: If Allah (SWT) had inspired "sinful”Prophets and Messengers to lead people to the Right Path, it would mean that Allah (SWT) approves of sinfulness! Why then does He (SWT) prohibit it (sin, that is)?

Allah and His Angels, send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (Qur’an: 33:56)

Wassalam.

Did Muhammad Receive Revelation by Mistake?!

Did Muhammad Receive Revelation by Mistake?!

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

The following article is adopted from the "Shi’ites Under Attack”by Muhammad Jawad Chirri with some modification.

Do The Shi’ite Muslims Say That The Revelation Came To Muhammad By Mistake, And That It Was Intended For ‘Ali?

This (false accusation is) widely spread in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries in order to discredit the followers of the members of the House of the Prophet. This accusation was made during periods of oppression against the Shiites. The rulers of the periods of the Omayads and Abbasids used to consider every follower of the Members of the House of the Prophet revolutionary and dangerous. They conspired against these Shiites and accused them of heresy and disbelief in order to encourage the Muslims to shed their blood and usurp their rights and wealth.

The centuries of oppression passed with all their injustices and terrors. It was expected that during the new period of freedom, the mistakes of the past would be corrected. It was hoped that Muslim scholars would make a serious study in order to see if there is any justification for such terrible accusations.

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It is very easy to know the truth.

There are hundreds of books written by Shiite scholars about their beliefs. Had the Sunni scholars read any of these books, they would have found that the Shiite beliefs are in full agreement with the Book of God and the well- known statements of the Prophet.

We are living in the era of speed and easy movement. It is easy for Muslim scholars to have conferences, discuss problems, and find solutions.

The simplest principle of justice is to follow the commandment of the Holy Qur’an:

"Oh you who believe, if a transgressor comes to you with news, try to verify it, lest you inflict damage on people unwittingly; then you may consequently regret your hasty action”(ch. 49, v.6)

The Almighty commanded us to try to find out whether an accusation is true or false, and that we ought not to try people and convict them without questioning them.

We do not know of any court in the world in which the judge convicts a person before interviewing him, provided the accused is available and honors the summons.

In spite of the ease with which one can find the correct information nowadays, we find that those who accuse and spread hatred among Muslims do not take one single step in order to find the truth which may unite the Muslim world.

While writing these words, I recollect that the Egyptian government during the fifties sent the late Dr. Muhammad Bisar to Washington, D.C., as director of the Islamic Center there. I went to visit him and he received me kindly and informed me of the knowledge that he had acquired concerning

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American Muslims. He initiated a dialogue between us, saying:

"Some of the Muslims in this country asked me about the various Islamic sects. I declared to them that all Muslim sects are good except the Shiite Ithnashari."

I immediately realized that R. Bisar did not know the meaning of Shiite Ithnashari. Otherwise, he would not have been rude enough to say that to me while I am a Shiite Ithnashari (meaning The Twelvers). Thus, we had the following dialogue:

Chirri: What is wrong with the Ithnashari?

Bisar: They believe in things opposed to Islam.

Chirri: Give us an example of their wrong belief.

Bisar: They say the revelation came to Muhammad by mistake, and that ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib was supposed to receive the revelation.

Chirri: How did you learn that?

Bisar: I read it in the book of al-milal and al-nihal by al-Shahristani.

Chirri: Have you asked any Shiite scholar about this subject?

Bisar: No, I have not.

Chirri: Then you have convicted millions of Muslims and considered them "kafir”without asking any of them about this serious accusation. Did the Almighty command you to do that? And did Egypt send you to propagate such (an unjust) message?

A year after our meeting in Washington, I met Dr. Bisar in Philadelphia at an Islamic conference. He informed me that he re-examined the book of al- milal and al-nihal by al-Shihristani and found that what was attributed to Shiites, that the revelation came to Muhammad by mistake, was not the

belief of the Ithnashari Shiite school of thought. It was rather, a sect which existed and disappeared hundreds of years ago. Hearing that from him, I accepted his apology. Yet, I was amazed that it took him a whole year to re-read the book and discover the truth.

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I spent years studying hadith and Islamic history in books which were written by Sunni and Ithnashari scholars. I never found in any Shiite book a hadith or a historical report indicating that ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib was hugher than or equal to Muhammad. As a matter of fact, I found only the opposite. The Shittes consider ‘Ali to be the best man after the Messenger because he was the most obedient to him.

One of the hadith which the Shiites pride themselves upon is a hadith attributed to the Messenger of God:

The Prophet (S) said to the tribe of Wolai-ah:

"Bani Wolai-ah, you must change your attitude, or I shall send to you a man who is from me to punish you severely."

Some of the people who were present asked the Prophet "Who is the man you are going to send to them?”The Prophet replied: "He is the man who was patching the sole of my shoes.”They looked around and found ‘Ali patching the sole of the Prophet’s shoes.

Sunni references:

- Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p634

- Fada’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, v2, p571, Tradition 966

- al-Riyad al-Nadirah, by al-Muhib al-Tabari, v3, p152

- Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v1, p349

- Matalib al-’Aliyah, v4, p56

- Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p163

It is inconceivable that the Shiites can be proud of the fact that ‘Ali was the patcher of the Prophet Muhammad’s shoes and claim that the Imam is higher than or equal to the Prophet. Therefore, I do not find any justification for directing such an accusation at the Shiites who glorify the Prophet the most.

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The Shiites say that the highest honor that Imam ‘Ali acquired is that he was chosen by the Prophet to be his brother. When the Prophet commanded every two Muslims to become brothers, he held ‘Ali’s hand and said, "This is my brother.”Thus, the Messenger of God, the highest Messenger, the Imam of all righteous people, the one who had no equal among the servants of God, made ‘Ali his brother. (Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiyah, by Ibn Hisham, part 1, p505).

Side Comments

A Wahhabi mentioned that:

There was a sect that claimed Gibreel (Alaihi Alsalam) erred in delivering the message. This sect were called the "Sheeah Ghurabiah". They might no longer exist by that name -- and they are a different sect than the Twelvers sect. ...

Dear friend, the Ghurabiyyah and similar sects are fictitious sects created y some story tellers such as al-Shahrastani and Abdul-Qahir Ibn Tahir al- Baghdadi, etc.

Nonetheless, we do not deny that there existed some extremist sects (al- Ghulat) who departed from the body of Shi’a, who believed ‘Ali is God, or those who believed in incarnation (Hulool). The reason was that they found so many virtues in Imam ‘Ali, and by their narrow-minded-brain, they could not believe that a human can possess all such virtues. As a result of that, they believed in the deity of ‘Ali. Surely they have gone astray. Thanks to God that they have perished in the course of History in a great deal.

However the leaders of such extremist groups and other deviated groups from Shi’a (whose leaders falsely claimed to be Imams) were not as simple minded as their followers. Those leaders were agents of the tyrranical rullers and their activities were purely political.

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The Imams of Ahlul-Bayt and their followers disassociated themselves from these groups who were being established by the governments of each era to deviate the followers of Ahlul-Bayt and to destroy their path by keeping them away from the Imams and moving them toward the puppets of governments.

But these groups were melting down few months after their appearance, since people soon recognized the falsehood and ignorance of their leaders and their connection with the rulers, and thus people did not subscribe to these groups. A group without followers can not live for long, and its leader becomes out of business shortly after. Allah, Exalted He is, said in Qur’an:

"... and in this way, Allah strikes the examples of truth and falsehood. Then, as for the bubbles, it passes away (like disappearance of scum/foam upon the banks), while that which is for the good of mankind, remains in the earth...”(Qur’an 13:17)

What remained from these artificial groups was just a history written by those officials (who created those groups in the first place) which also includes fictitious stories.

We do not call such bankrupt groups Shi’a. From the demise of Prophet till today, the followers of Imam ‘Ali (as) are The Twelver Shi’ites. There are however few Zaydis and Ismailis around the world. Although the majority of scholars believe that they are Muslims (except those of them who abandoned the Islamic practices), yet we consider them out of the circle of Ahlul- Bayt. All other groups such as Alavi (or Nudhayri), etc. are NOT Shi’a for sure, and their emergance did not have anything to do with the Shi’a. To be a Shi’a one should meet all the following specifications:

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1. Believing in all the articles of faith. These are comon amongst Muslims.

2. Believing that Imam ‘Ali is the immediate successor/executor of the Prophet Muhammad (S), appointed by Allah.

3. Believing that one should follow the genuine Sunnah of Prophet, and this Sunnah is transmitted by Ahlul-Bayt who are pure and sinless according to Qur’an. Furthermore, the instructions of the twelve Imams of Ahlul-Bayt are binding since they are in fact the instructions of the Prophet (S).

4. Believing that Imam Mahdi (as), the son of the 11th Imam is the Imam of our time and is living (contrary to the majority of Sunnis who believe he will be born later).

If any of the above conditions is missing for a person, he is not considered to be a Shi’a. Also in contrary to the rumors, to curse any of the companions is not a part of our belief.

The wahhabi contributor further mentioned:

The muslims who say one of the beliefs of shia is the above are not wrong; therefore, because the Ghurabi sect is a part of the shiaah herecy throught the history - but to attribute this claim to the

Ithnaasharis "official”beleifs is not just to say the least.

It is interesting to see that the above writer forgot that many deviant groups departed from the body of Sunnis such as Nation of Islam who believe God was a human, yet I haven’t heard of any Shi’a to say:

The muslims who say one of the beliefs of Sunni is the above are not wrong, because the Nation of Islam parted from the Sunnis - but to attribute this claim to the "official”beleifs of Sunnis is not just

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to say the least.

You may replace the "nation of Islam”with "Ahmadis", "Qadianis", ... and the followers of Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhab, and you can see how silly the above statement is going to be. Thanks to God that Shi’a do not attribute such things to the four Sunni schools.

Leadership and Infallibility

Leadership and Infallibility Part 1

Part 1

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

Imamat Is Of Allah’s Grace

From the Shi’ite point of view, Imamat (God-assigned leadership) is an Allah’s bounty upon mankind by which the religion was perfected. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, said:

"Today I have perfected your religion and completed my bounty upon you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion.”(Qur’an 5:3)

See the articles on "Ghadir Khum”in Chapter 3 which provides the list of Sunni commentators of Qur’an who confirmed the revelation of the above verse in Ghadir Khum after the Prophet (S) announced ‘Ali (as) as the master of all believers.

Imamat is the Grace (Lutf) of Allah which attracts mankind towards His obedience and keeps them away from His disobedience, without compelling them in any way. When Allah orders mankind to do something yet He is aware that either they can not do it, or it is very difficult for them to do it without His assistance, then if Allah does not provide His assistance, He would be contradicting His own aim. Obviously, such negligence is evil according to reason.

As such, Grace (Lutf) is one of Allah’s character, and He is purified/exalted from inadequacy of lacking such attribute. In fact, the holy Qur’an states that: "Allah is Gracious to His servants...”(Qur’an 42:19). And, there are many other places that Almighty uses the word Grace (Lutf) in His book. See for instance, 6:103, 12:100, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34, 42:19, 67:14, etc.

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The messengers of God were entrusted the responsibility of bringing new commandments from Allah to the people. They were warners as Qur’an testifies. However, some of the messengers were Also Imams/Guides. The successors of the last Messenger of God were not messengers/prophets, and as such, they did not bring any new massage nor did they cancel any of the regulations set by the Prophet (S).

They just served as guides and guardians of religion. Their mission is to explain, elaborate Shari’a (Divine law) for the people. They clear up confusing things and events which may happen in each era. Also they are the only individuals who have the full knowledge of Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad (S) after him, and as such, they are the only qualified people who can properly interpret the verses of the holy Qur’an and explain its meaning, as mentioned in Qur’an itself (See 3:7 and 21:7).

Imamat is a great bounty of Allah, because when people have a righteous leader who guides them, they can get closer to righteousness and depart from corruption and deviations in the matter of religion.

A divinely appointed Imam is also the most liable person to rule as the head of the community who can maintain justice and remove oppression. Of course, people have been given free will and can refrain from accepting the Imam, but they will be held responsible for that, as was for the case of the prophets. Nonetheless, the Imam would remain as a Proof of God on the earth and as spiritual leader for the believers among people who benefit his guidance.

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Superiority Of The Imam

The Shi’a believe that, like the prophets, a divinely appointed Imam should excel the community in all virtues, such as knowledge, bravery, piety, and should possess complete knowledge of divine law.

If he does not, and Allah entrusts this high position to a less perfect person when a more perfect person is available, the inferior has been given preference over the superior, which is wrong rationally, and is against divine justice. Therefore no inferior person may receive Imamat from Allah when there exists a person superior to him.

Infallibility Of The Imam

If a divinely appointed leader is not infallible (Ma’sum), he would be liable to errors and to deceive others as well. In such a case, no implicit confidence may be placed in his sayings/commands/actions. A divinely appointed Imam is the most liable person to rule as the head of the community, and people are supposed to follow him in every matter.

Now if he commits a sin, people would be bound to follow him in that sin as well, because of their ignorance of whether that action is sin or not (Keep in mind the assumption that Imam is the most knowledgeable person in his community).

Such a situation is not acceptable by the Grace of Allah since obedience in sin is evil, unlawful, and forbidden. Moreover it would mean that leader should be obeyed and disobeyed at the same time, that is obedience to him is obligatory yet forbidden which is clearly a contradiction and is not commendable.

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Besides, if it would be possible for an Imam to commit sin, it would be the duty of other people to prevent him from doing so. (Because every Muslim is obliged to forbid other people from unlawful acts.) In such a case, Imam will be held in contempt, and instead of being the leader of community, he will become their followers, and his leadership will be of no use as far as religion is concerned.

Imam is the defender of divine law, and this work can not be entrusted to fallible hands, nor can any such person maintain this task properly. Thus infallibility is an indispensable condition for a divinely appointed Imam or Caliph who is the protector and interpreter of the religious law.

Allah, Exalted, stated in Qur’an that:

"O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority (Ulul-Amr) from among you.”(Qur’an 4:59).

یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا أَطِیعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِیعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِی الْأَمْرِ مِنکُمْ

This verse obliges the Muslims to obey two things: First, to obey Allah; second, to obey Messenger and those vested with authority (Ulul-Amr). The arrangement of the words shows that the obedience of Ulul-Amr is as much obligatory as is the obedience of the Messenger because Qur’an uses just one verb for both of them without repeating the verb again.

Naturally, it means that Ulul-Amr should be of the same importance as the Messenger; otherwise Allah would not have joined them together in this verse (Waw of Atf) under one verb. Interesting to note that Allah employs a separate verb for Himself before mentioning the Messenger and Ulul-Amr which shows that Allah has higher authority than that of the Messenger and Ulul-Amr.

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It is also clear from the above verse that Ulul-Amr are not restricted to messengers otherwise Allah would only have said: "Obey Allah, and Obey Messenger only.”But He added Ulul-Amr (those who are given authority by Allah). This is one of the places where the concept of Imams and the necessity of obedience to them come from.

In the previous article titled "Infallibility of the Prophets,”we quoted many verses of Qur’an to prove the infallibility of the Prophet (S). All those verses proved the following two points:

1. The authority of the Messenger of Allah (S) upon the believers was unlimited and all-comprehensive. Any order given by him, under any condition, in any place, at any time, was to be obeyed unconditionally.

2. Supreme authority was given to him because he was sinless (Ma’sum) and free from all types of errors and sins. Otherwise, Allah would not have ordered us to obey him with no questioning or doubt.

In that Article, we also gave reference to a tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari which proves that both prophet and divinely appointed Caliphs are infallible (Ma’sum).

Also from the verse 4:59 we concluded that Ulul-Amr have been given exactly the same authority over Muslims as of Messenger, and that the obedience of Ulul-Amr has the same standing as the obedience of the Messenger.

It naturally follows that Ulul-Amr must also be sinless (Ma’sum) and free from any type of error, otherwise, their obedience would not have been joined with the obedience of the Prophet and without any condition. The Commander of Believers, Imam ‘Ali (as), said:

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The one who disobeys Allah is not to be obeyed; and "verily obedience is for Allah and of His Messenger and those vested with authority.”Verily, Allah ordered (people) to obey the Messenger because he was sinless and clean (pure), who would not tell people to disobey Allah; and verily He ordered (people) to obey those vested with authority because they are sinless and clean (pure), and would not tell people to disobey Allah.”(Ilal al-Sharaye’, by Shaikh al-Saduq, v1, p123).

Does Ulul-Amr Mean Muslim Rulers?

Many of our Sunni brothers tend to interpret "Ulul-Amr Minkum”as the rulers from among yourselves, i.e., Muslims rulers. This interpretation is not based on any logical/Qur’anic reasoning; it is solely based on the twists of history. The majority of the Muslims have remained as a vassal of the monarchs and rulers, interpreting and reinterpreting Islam and the Qur’an to strengthen their own kingdom.

The history of Muslims (like any other nations) is replete with the names of rulers whose injustice, debauchery and tyranny have tarnished the name of Islam. Such rulers have always been and will be. And we are told that they are the Ulul-Amr mentioned in this verse!

If Allah were to order us to obey such kings and rulers, an impossible situation would be created for Muslims. The wretched followers would be condemned to the displeasure of Allah, no matter what they do. If they obey these rulers, they have disobeyed the Command of Allah:

"Do not obey a sinner”(Qur’an 76:24).

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And if they disobey such rulers, they have again disobeyed the Command of Allah: "Obey the Muslim rulers”(if it would mean so). Therefore if we accept this interpretation, Muslims are condemned to eternal disgrace whether they obey or disobey their fallible (sinful) Muslim rulers.

Also, there are Muslim rulers of different schools and persuasions. There are Shafi’is, Hanbalis, Malikis, Hanafis, as well as the Shi’a and Ibadis. Now, according to this interpretation the Sunnis residing under an Ibadi king (like in Amman) should follow Ibadi tenets; and those residing under a Shi’a ruler (like in Iran) should follow the Shi’a beliefs. Do these people have the conviction of courage to follow their professed interpretation to its logical end?

The famous Sunni scholar, Fakhr al-Razi, concluded in his Tafsir al-Kabir that this verse proves that Ulul-Amr must be infallible (Ma’sum). He argues that Allah has commanded people to obey Ulul-Amr unconditionally; therefore, it is essential for the Ulul-Amr to be infallible; because if there is any possibility of their committing sin (and sin is forbidden), it means that one has to obey them and also disobey them in that very action, and this is impossible!

However, in order to dissuade his readers from the Ahlul-Bait, Fakhr al-Razi invented the theory that the Muslim community as a whole is infallible!!! (Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhruddin Muhammad Ibn Umar al-Razi, v10, p144)

This interpretation is unique, and no Muslim scholar ever subscribed to this theory and it is not based on any tradition. It is quite surprising that Fakhr al-Razi accepts that each individual of the Muslim nation is fallible, yet claims that their sum total is infallible. Even a primary school student knows that 200 cows plus 200 cows makes 400 cows and not one horse.

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But Fakhr al-Razi says that 70 million fallible people plus 70 million fallible people will make one infallible! Does he want us to believe that if all the patients of a mental hospital join together they would be equal to one sane person?

Obviously, with his knowledge of Qur’an, he was able to conclude that Ulul-Amr must be infallible; yet he did not pause to see that the verse contains the word "minkum”(from among you) which shows that Ulul-Amr should be part of Muslim community, not the whole Muslim nation. Moreover, if the whole Muslim nation is to be obeyed, then who is there left to obey?

Moreover, the whole community have never had a single voice. Then who should we follow among them? Also, the opinion of majority is not a good criteria to distinguish the false from the truth. Looking at the Qur’an, one could see that Qur’an severely denounces the majority of by frequently saying that "the majority do not understand,”"the majority do not use their logic,”"the majority follow their whims"... since the vision of the majority of people is always impaired due to their tendencies.(see e.g. 6:116, 5:49, 10:92, 30:8)

The Real Meaning Of Ulul-Amr

We now turn to the correct interpretation of the above verse, that is the interpretation of the verse by Ahlul-Bait. Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (the 6th Imam) said that this verse was revealed about ‘Ali, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be upon them. Upon hearing this, someone asked the Imam: "People say, why did Allah not mention the name of ‘Ali and his family in His Book?”Imam answered: "Tell them that there came the command of Salat (prayer), but Allah did not mention whether three or four units to be performed; it was the Messenger of Allah who explained all the details. And (the command of) Zakat (religious tax) was revealed, but Allah did not say that it is one in every forty Dirhams; it was the Messenger of Allah who explained it; and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) was ordered but Allah did not say to perform Tawaf (turning around Ka’ba) seven times; it was the Messenger of Allah who explained it. Likewise, the verse was revealed: Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority from among you, and it was revealed about ‘Ali and al-Hasan and al-Husayn (who were the only living Imams at the time of the Prophet)."

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It is quite obvious that if Allah would have ever mentioned the name of Imam ‘Ali (as) in Qur’an explicitly, those who bore mountains of hatred against him would have attempted to alter the Qur’an. Thus this was the Grace of Allah that He codified all the branches of knowledge of religion in Qur’an to be understood only by the processors of the understanding mind. And in this way, Allah kept Qur’an intact.

On the commentary of the verse 4:59 of Qur’an in which Allah orders us to obey Ulul-Amr, al-Khazzaz in his book, Kifayatul Athar, gives a tradition on the authority of the well-known companion of the Prophet (S), Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari (ra):

When the verse (4:59) was revealed, Jabir asked the Prophet (S): "We know Allah and the Prophet, but who are those vested with authority whose obedience has been conjoined to that of Allah and yourself?"

The Prophet (S) said: "They are my Caliphs and the Imams of Muslims after me. The first of them is ‘Ali; then al-Hasan; then al-Husayn; then ‘Ali son of al-Husayn; then Muhammad son of ‘Ali who has been mentioned ‘al-Baqir’ in the Torah (the old testament). O Jabir! You will meet him. When you see him, convey my greetings to him. He will be succeeded by his son, Ja’far al-Sadiq (the Truthful); then Musa son of Ja’far; then ‘Ali son of Musa; then Muhammad son of ‘Ali; then ‘Ali son of Muhammad; then al-Hasan son of ‘Ali. He will be followed by his son whose name and nick name will be the same as mine. He will be Proof of Allah (Hujjatullah) on the earth, and the one spared by Allah (Baqiyyatullah) to maintain the cause of faith among mankind. He shall conquer the whole world from the east to the west. So long will he remain hidden from the eyes of his followers and friends that the belief in his leadership will remain only in those hearts which have been tested by Allah for faith."

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Jabir said: "O Messenger of Allah! Will his followers benefit from his seclusion?”The Prophet said: "Yes! by Him who sent me with prophethood! They will be guided by his light, and benefit from his leadership during his seclusion, just as people benefit from the sun even though it is hidden in the clouds. O Jabir! This is from the hidden secrets of Allah and the treasured knowledge of Allah. So guard it except from the people who deserve to know.”(Kifayatul Athar, by al-Khazzaz, p53).

Now that we know who "those vested with authority”are, it is evident that the question of obeying tyrant and unjust rulers does not rise at all. Muslims are not required by the above verse to obey rulers who may be unjust, tyrannical, ignorant, selfish and sunk in debauchery. They are, in fact, ordered to obey the specified Twelve Imams, all of whom were sinless and free from evil thoughts and deeds. Obeying them has no risks whatsoever. Nay, it protects from all risks; because they will never give an order against the order of Allah and will treat all human beings with love, justice, and equity.

Leadership and Infallibility Part 2

Is Imamat A Matter Of Inheritance?

According to the Shi’a, Imam is chosen by Allah. It is not the matter of inheritance, for if it was the case, then Imam al-Husayn (as) should not have become Imam after the martyrdom of Imam al-Hasan (as). Imam al-Hasan had many children and descendants, yet non of them became Imam. Rather, his brother, Imam al-Husayn (as), became Imam after him.

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Also there have been some heretical sons and grandsons for some of the Imams, non of whom received the position of Imamat. This shows that leadership is not hereditary. Of course, a pure gene is necessary for the Imam, but Imam needs many other qualifications as well. Allah knows who has all such qualifications. It was just Allah’s wish to put all the Imams in the Progeny of the Prophet (S).

In fact, if one study the history of the prophets of God, he will find that they were from the same family. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, said:

"And when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands and he fulfilled them. Then He said: Lo! I appoint you an Imam for mankind. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring (will there be Imam)? He said: My covenant does not reach the wrong-doers (among them).”(Qur’an 2:124).

In the above verse, Allah did not deny leadership from the descendants of Abraham, but He rather limited this position to the qualified progeny of the Prophet Abraham. Allah said that God-assigned leadership does not reach to a person who is a "Dhalim”(wrong-doer), even if such person is the descendant of Abraham. Thus being the descendant of Abraham does not necessarily make the person Imam because there should be other qualifications beside it.

Those among them who were not wrong-doer (free from sin) were qualified, since they not only had pure gene, but they have gained other qualifications through hardship. As Allah had the foreknowledge of their patience and qualifications, He entrusted them with this position, and preferred them above all His creation:

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Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the Family of Abraham and the Family of ‘Imran above (all His) creatures. (3:33)

Prophet Muhammad’s lineage goes back to Prophet Ishmael (Isma’il) (as), the son of Prophet Abraham (as). Also Prophet Moses (as) and Prophet Jesus (as) were both from Prophet Isaac (as) who was the other son of Prophet Abraham (as). In fact ALL the prophets after Abraham were from his House. Yet, we do not claim that Prophethood is hereditary. He was Allah who chose them one by one.

In other words, we do not say that the son of the Prophet should always be a prophet. There should be many other qualifications beside it, otherwise Kan’an, the son of Noah (as), would have survived. Prophet Noah (as) had three other sons: Aam, Sam and Yafas who were believers and who with their wives entered the Ark and were saved. They were from different mother than that of Kan’an, however. Therefore being son of a prophet or an Imam does not necessarily make the person prophet or Imam or even righteous. In short, pure gene for the prophets and Imams is necessary but NOT sufficient.

Ulul-Amr/Imam is assigned by Allah, the same way that prophet is assigned by Allah. Look at Holy Qur’an in which Allah frequently stated that He is the one who assigns Imam. (see Qur’an 2:124, 21:73, 32:24, etc.)

There are twelve Imams who are assigned by Allah as the successors of Prophet Muhammad (S). There is a widespread tradition in the Sunni documents which states that the number of Imams after the Prophet are twelve. (See for instance, Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, v9, p250, tradition 329; Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DCCLIV, v3, p1009, traditions 4477, 4478; Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v4, p501; Sunan Abu Dawud, v2, p421 ; Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p106). There are other Sunni documents in which the Prophet (S) even mentioned these twelve Imams name by name. (see, for instance, "Yanabi’ al-Mawadda”by al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi).

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Allah assigned these twelve Imams, not just because they were from the House of the Prophet (S), but because they were, in their times, the most knowledgeable, the most illustrious, the most god-fearing, the most pious, the best in personal virtues, and the most honored before Allah; and their knowledge was derived from their ancestor (the Prophet) through their fathers, and also by direct teachings from Allah through inspiration (Ilham).

The successors of the prophets (except the successors of Prophet Muhammad) were also prophets, and thus they were all assigned by Allah. Also Qur’an tells that some prophets, with the order of Allah, assigned Imams (who were not prophets). Let me give you some verses of Qur’an:

Didn’t you turn your vision to the chiefs of the children of Israel after Moses? They said to a Prophet (that was) among them: "Appoint for us a king that we may fight in the cause of Allah.”(Qur’an 2:246)

Anyone who has been specifically assigned by Allah as king is an Imam. A prophet can also be Imam/king but not all the prophets were Imam. If one becomes a divinely appointed king/Imam, it does not necessarily mean that he will physically govern. The above verse of Qur’an is about Talut (as) Below is another verse of Qur’an which provides more details:

Their Prophet(1) said to them: "Allah has appointed Talut (Saul) as king(2) over you.”They say: "How can he exercise authority over us when we are better fitted than he to have authority and he has not been given wealth enough?(3)”He (i.e., their Prophet) said: "Allah has chosen him(4) above you and has gifted him abundantly with knowledge(5) and bodily prowess; Allah grants His authority to whom He pleases.(6) Allah cares for all and He knows all things.”(Qur’an 2:247)

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The first part of the above verse (marked 1) proves that the community had a prophet and Talut was among the people of that community, so that their Prophet was the prophet of Talut also. Thus Talut was not a prophet.

The part marked 2, shows that Allah appointed Talut as Imam/leader/king. Part 3 shows that divinely appointed king is not chosen based on wealth. This kingship is primarily spiritual, and of course Talut is the most qualified person to govern physically also, but the latter depends on the adherence of people to them while the former position (spiritual leadership) is always fixed for the Imam.

Electing Imam/king is not the duty of People, and as Part 4 suggests, Allah chooses king/Imam for He knows who is the most qualified for such eminent position. King here means the person who has authority by Allah. This is proved by Part 6 of the above. The person who has this authority is replete with knowledge and wisdom as Part 5 testified. In the next verse, we read:

And (further) their Prophet said to them: "A sign of his authority is that there shall come to you the Ark of the Covenant with (an assurance) therein of security from your Lord and the relics left by the family of Moses and the family of Aaron carried by angels. In this is a Symbol for you if you indeed have faith.”(Qur’an 2:248)

Also in another verse, Allah mentions:

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Or do they envy mankind for what Allah has given them of His bounty? But We have bestowed the House of Abraham the Book and Wisdom and bestowed upon them a great kingdom. (Qur’an 4:54)

Again this kingdom is Imamat since only very few members of the House of Abraham physically governed.

Can People Choose Imam?

The Sunnis claim that the issue of successor of the Prophet is resolved by consultation (Shura) for Allah stated in Qur’an that their matter is resolved through Shura.

The claim that the very issue of leadership is to be resolved through consultation is unsupported. such claim is due to misunderstanding the meaning of consultation (Shura). Consultation is different than voting/election, and for that very reason, it can not be used for the issue of Caliphate. Let me explain why:

When a leader wants to decide on a matter, based on the Islamic regulations he may attempt to consult with a group of experts to get their opinion on that specific matter. But he finally decides HIMSELF. He does not take any vote. To prove my point, let us see the following verse:

"... And consult with them (Shawirhum) in the matter, then when thou (Prophet) decided, put thy trust in Allah”(Qur’an 3:159)

The above verse asks for the Shura, but Allah states "fa itha azamta...”means only Prophet takes the final decision. There is no voting at all. It is just the matter of getting the opinion. The final decision by the Prophet may be different than of the majority of people being consulted (because of "Maslaha”(discretion for the goodness) that the leader realizes and because the leader is supposed to be superior in knowledge, smarter, etc.).

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One side remark here is that, due to his supreme knowledge, the Prophet (S) did not even need to get the opinion of any of his people. However, he did in some circumstances just to teach people the importance of consultation.

In the issue of consultation (Shura), the existence of a leader is already assumed who makes the final decision. This clearly proves that, in the issue of successorship, consultation is meaningless (unless it is done by the previous leader before his death).

After the death of a leader, there exists no leader who could do consultation, unless such late leader had a deputy (or say vice-president) who could carry out this function. Usually such appointed deputy is the most qualified person for the position of leadership, and even if he decides on somebody else to be the leader, such leader is still appointed by this previously-appointed deputy, and not by people!

Voting, however, is a totally different issue. In a democratic community, all people have a chance to elect the choice of their nominee. Such procedure has no support in Qur’an and Sunna for the issue of leadership of the whole Muslims, because Islam is based on theocracy (kingdom of Allah) and not democracy (government of people over people).

In fact, Qur’an denounces the opinion of the majority of people (see 6:116, 5:49, 10:92, 30:8) since the vision of the majority of people is usually impaired due to their tendencies. Also, such popular election did not happen for the first three rulers who came after the Prophet (S), not even among the people of Medina.

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Also, what if people choose an unqualified person who seems to be qualified in their eyes, like a hypocrite? How can such corrupt person becomes Ulul-Amr and his obedience becomes necessary? Certainly Allah and His Prophet know better who is more qualified to be successor of the Prophet (S).

Believe In Ulul-Amr

If Qur’an tells us to unconditionally obey a person, it means that we

should believe in him and in his authority over us voluntarily (with satisfaction). Note, however, that one should distinguish between "believing that we should obey Ulul-Amr”and "obeying Ulul-Amr".

If one believes that he should obey Ulul-Amr, yet he sometimes disobeys Ulul-Amr, he is a sinner and a weak believer. However if one does NOT believe that he should obey Ulul-Amr, then such person is unbeliever since he does not believe in a part of the religion of Allah, which is explicitly mentioned in Qur’an.

In fact, both Shi’a and Sunni believe in Ulul-Amr since it is the clear text of Qur’an. However they differ in how to choose Ulul-Amr. According to the Shi’a, leadership of the whole Muslims is not a choice of people so that the leader could be elected by people or selected by a committee, and then is artificially made the Ulul-Amr whom Allah has ordered people to obey!

I also remember a claim by a Sunni brother who mentioned that this verse commands Muslims to obey people in authority (i.e., rulers) as long as they do not interfere with religion!

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To answer this claim, we would like to stress that there is no restriction whatsoever given by Qur’an for obeying Ulul-Amr. In fact, in the above verse, Ulul-Amr have been given exactly the same authority over Muslims as that of Messenger, because both the Messenger and the Ulul-Amr have been jointly mentioned (Waw of Atf) under one word "Obey", which shows that the obedience of Ulul-Amr has the same standing as the obedience of the Messenger, and therefore Ulul-Amr is the head of religious affairs also.

He is the one who can properly interpret Qur’anic verses (See 3:7 and 21:7) and is the most knowledgeable to the Sunna of the Prophet (S). Thus claiming that Ulul-Amr should not interfere with the religious affairs is absurd, for he is the most qualified individuals to do exactly such thing.

The Twelve Imams

The Twelve Imams Part 1

The Twelve Imams Part 1

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

This article is in reference to the question that: Where did the twelve Imams (as) come from and why should the number of Imams be twelve and twelve only?

As a matter of fact, the answer is right inside the Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim. There are numerous Sunni collections of traditions which all recorded the following authentic tradition from the Prophet (S). Here, for the sake of brevity, I only quote from Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

In Sahih al-Bukhari (Arabic-English version), the tradition is as follows:

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Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.329

Narrated Jabir Ibn Samura:

I heard the Prophet saying, "There will be twelve commanders (Amir).”He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, the Prophet added, "All of them will be from Quraish."

سمعتُ النبی یقول: یکون إثنا عشر أمیراً. فقال کلمه لم أسمعها. فقال أبی کلُّهم من قریش.

In Musnad Ahmad, the tradition is as follows:

The Prophet (S) said: "There shall be twelve Caliphs for this community, all of them from Quraish."

یکون لهذهِ ألامه إثنا عشر خلیفه کلُّهَم من قریش.

Reference: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p106

In Sahih Muslim, the traditions are as follows: Narrated Jabir Ibn Samura:

The Prophet (S) said: "The matter (life) will not end, until it is passed by twelve Caliphs.”He then whispered a sentence. I asked my father what the Prophet said. He said, the Prophet added: "All of them will be from Quraish."

إنَّ هذا الامر لا ینقضی حتَّی یمضی فیهم إثْنا عشر خلیفه. ثمَّ تکلم بکلام خفیٍّ. فقلتُ لإبی: ما قال؟ قال: کلُّهُم من قریش.

Sunni references:

- Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, Kitab al-Imaara, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, v3, p1452, Tradition 5

- Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DCCLIV (titled: The People are subservient to the Quraish and the Caliphate is the Right of the Quraish), v3, p1009, Tradition 4477

Again from Sahih Muslim:

The Prophet (S) said: "The affairs of people will continue to be conducted (well) as long as they are governed by the twelve men."

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لا یزال أمرُ الناس ماضیاً ما ولیَهُم إثْنَی عشر رجلاً.

Sunni references:

- Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, Kitab al-Imaara, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, v3, p1453, Tradition 6

- Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DCCLIV (titled: The People are subservient to the Quraish and the Caliphate is the Right of the Quraish), v3, p1010, Tradition 4478

Also:

The Prophet (S) said: "Islam will continue to be triumphant until there have been twelve Caliphs."

لا یزال الاسلامُ عزیزاً إلی إثْنَی عشر خلیفه.

Sunni references:

- Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, Kitab al-Imaara, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, v3, p1453, Tradition 7

- Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DCCLIV (titled: The People are subservient to the Quraish and the Caliphate is the Right of the Quraish), v3, p1010, Tradition 4480

Again:

The Prophet (S) said: "The Islamic religion will continue until the Hour (day of resurrection), having twelve Caliphs for you, all of them will be from Quraish."

لا یزالُ الدین قائماً حتَّی تقوم الساعه أو یکون علیکم إثْنا عشرَ خلیفهً کُلُّهُم من قریش.

Sunni references:

- Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, Kitab al-Imaara, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, v3, p1453, Tradition 10

- Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter DCCLIV (titled: The People are subservient to the Quraish and the Caliphate is the Right of the Quraish), v3, p1010, Tradition 4483

More Sunni references of similar traditions:

- Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v4, p501

- Sunan Abu Dawud, v2, p421 (three traditions).

- Others such as al-Tiyalasi, Ibn al-Athir, etc.

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Also in another wording, the Messenger of Allah uses the word "Imam”instead of "Caliph". It is widely narrated that:

The Prophet (S) said: "The Imams are from Quraish"

ألأئِمه من قُریش.

Sunni references:

- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p149

- Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal

- Sahih al-Nisa’i, from Anas Ibn Malik

- Sunan, by al-Baihaqi

- al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, by Ibn Hajar al-Haithami, Ch. 11, section 2, p287

Obviously, the above traditions are not fit to the first four Caliphs all together, as they were less than twelve.

And they can not be applied to the Umayad Caliphs, because

(a) they were more than twelve;

(b) all of them were tyrants and unjust (except Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz);

(c) they were not from the Hashimites and the Holy Prophet had said in another tradition that: "All of them will be from the Bani Hashim..."

Also they cannot be applied to the Abbasid Caliphs, because:

(a) they were more than twelve;

(b) they persecuted the descendants of the Prophet every where which means they did not comply with the Qur’anic verse: "I don’t ask you any wage except to love my family.”(42:23).

My recollection about the unfortunate history of Caliphate indicates that, even from the Sunni point of view, there was no good Caliph left after the first 4 Caliphs (It would be 5 if we include Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz. Some Sunnis are very generous and they add Imam al-Hasan (as) and Imam al-Mahdi (as) to the list as well.)

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To fill out the twelve set, some even included the well-known tyrants to the list such as Yazid Ibn Mu’awiya, Marwan Ibn al-Hakam, Abdul-Malik Marwan, and Husham Ibn Abdul-Malik. The reason is clear and as I stated previously, it is due to the lack of decent and sincere rulers in the History of Islam.

I would like to remind you that "Caliph”means successor/deputy. The successor of the Prophet (or the preceding Caliph) should come immediately after the demise of the Prophet (or the preceding Caliph). If there is any gap between the successors, the word "successor”does not make any sense. So successors should come right after the other without any gap. Also as the Prophet (S) suggested in the above traditions, those twelve Caliphs will cover till the day of resurrection.

As you may know, the Followers of the Members of the House of the Prophet (S) refer to these 12 Caliphs as of their 12 Imams starting with Imam ‘Ali (as) and ending with Imam Mahdi (as) the leader of our time. There are Caliphs because Allah made them Caliphs (They are vice-regents of Allah on the earth). With the passage of time and through historical events, we know that by the above traditions the Holy Prophet (S) meant the twelve Imams from his Ahlul-Bait who are the descendants of the Prophet since we have no other 12 pure candidates in the history of Islam upon whose righteousness all Muslims agree. It is interesting to know that even the enemies of Shi’a have NOT been able to find any fault in the virtues of the twelve Imams of Shi’a. Moreover these twelve Imams came one after another without any gap.

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It is now clear that the only way to interpret the previously mentioned traditions which are narrated by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal is to accept that it refers to the Twelve Imams from the Prophet’s Ahlul-Bait, because they were, in their times, the most knowledgeable, the most illustrious, the most god-fearing, the most pious, the best in personal virtues, and the most honored before Allah; and their knowledge was derived from their ancestor (the Prophet) through their fathers. These are the Ahlul-Bait whose sinlessness, flawlessness, and purity is confirmed by the holy Qur’an (the last sentence of verse 33:33).

Also the above mentioned traditions of the Prophet which are considered to be authentic by the Sunnis, proves beyond doubt that the concept of "Twelve Imams”can NOT be a Twelver Shi’ites concoction! It is amazing that despite the acknowledgment of al-Bukhari and Muslim and other prominent Sunni scholars about the twelve Imams, the Sunnis always stop at the four Caliphs!

More interestingly, there are Sunni reports in which the Messenger of Allah named these twelve members of his Ahlul-Bait one by one starting with Imam ‘Ali (as) and ending with Imam al-Mahdi (as). (see Yanabi’ al-Mawadda, by al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi).

Now after reviewing all these straightforward authentic traditions which ALL Muslims unanimously agree upon, I would like to ask, based on the Sunni point of view who are those twelve Caliphs after Prophet Muhammad (S)?

Please support your assertion by references from Qur’an and or the six Sunni collections of traditions, and also justify their deeds in the course of history. Remember that the instructions of these twelve successors of the Prophet should be obeyed. As such, if you don’t know your twelve leaders, how do you want to obey them? Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (S) said:

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He who dies while he does not know the Imam of his age, is like the one who died during days of Jahiliyya (the era before Islam).

من ماتً و لم یعرف إمام زمانهِ مات میته جاهلیه.

Few Facts About The Twelve Imams Of Ahlul-Bait

The First Imam: The Commander of Believers, Abul-Hasan, ‘Ali al-Murtadha, son of Abu Talib, was born on the 13th of Rajab, 10 years before the declaration of the Prophethood (600 A. D.), inside Ka’bah. He became Imam, on the demise of the Prophet on the 28th of Safar 11/632, and was fatally wounded by the poisoned sword of Ibn Muljam while engaged in prayers at the Mosque of Kufa (Iraq), and expired two days later on the 21st of Ramadhan 40/661, and was buried at al-Najaf (Iraq).

The Second Imam: Abu Muhammad, Al-Hassan al-Mujtaba, son of ‘Ali, was born on the 15th of Ramadhan 3/625 in Medina; martyred of poison on the 7th or 28th Safar 50/670 in Medina by the order of Mu’awiya.

The Third Imam: Abu Abdillah, al-Hussain, The Chief of Martyrs (Sayyid al-Shuhadaa), son of ‘Ali, was born on the 3rd of Sha’ban 4/626 in Medina; was martyred with his sons (except one), relatives and companions, on the 10th of Muharram (Ashura) 61/680 in Karbala (Iraq) by order of Yazid (LA). He and his elder brother, al-Hasan, were sons of Fatimah, the daughter of the holy Prophet.

The Fourth Imam: Abu Muhammad, ‘Ali Zain al-Abidin, son of al-Husayn, was born on the 5th of Sha’ban 38/659; martyred of poison on the 25th of Muharram 94/712 or 95/713 in Medina by the order of Husham Ibn Abdul-Malik.

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The Fifth Imam: Abu Ja’far, Muhammad al-Baqir, son of ‘Ali, was born on the 1st of Rajab 57/677 in Medina; martyred of poison by Ibrahim on the 7th Dhul-Hajja 114/733 in Medina.

The Sixth Imam: Abu Abdillah, Ja’far al-Sadiq, son of Muhammad, was born on the 17th of Rabi’ul-Awwal 83/702 in Medina; martyred there of poison on the 25th of Shawwal 148/765 by the order of al-Mansur.

The Seventh Imam: Abul-Hasan al-Awwal, Musa al-Kadhim, son of Ja’far, was born in al-Abwa (7 miles from Medina) on the 7th Safar 129/746; martyred of poison on the 25th of Rajab 183/799 in the prison of Harun al-Rashid in Baghdad and was buried at al-Kadhimiyya, near Baghdad (Iraq).

The Eighth Imam: Abul-Hasan al-Thani, ‘Ali al-Ridha, son of Musa, was born in Medina on the 11th Dhul-Qa’da 148/765; martyred of poison on the 17th of Safar 203/818 in Mash’had (Khurasan, Iran) by the order of Ma’mun.

The Ninth Imam: Abu Ja’far al-Thani, Muhammad al-Taqi al-Jawad, son of ‘Ali, was born on the 10th of Rajab 195/811 in Medina; martyred of poison by the order of Mu’tasim in Baghdad on the 30th Dhul-Qa’da 220/835; was buried near his grandfather at al-Kadhimiyya.

The Tenth Imam: Abul-Hasan al-Thalith, ‘Ali al-Naqi al-Hadi, son of Muhammad, was born on the 5th of Rajab 212/827 in Medina; martyred of poison in Samirra (Iraq) on 3rd of Rajab 254/868 by the order of Mutawakkil.

The Eleventh Imam: Abu Muhammad, Al-Hassan al-Askari, son of ‘Ali, was born on the 8th of Rabi al-Thani 232/846 in Medina; martyred of poison by Mu’tamid in Samirra (Iraq) on the 8th of Rabi’ul-Awwal 260/874.

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The Twelfth Imam: Abul-Qasim, Muhammad al-Mahdi, son of al-Hasan, was born on the 15th of Sha’ban 255/869 in Samirra (Iraq). He is our present and alive Imam. He went into Lesser Occultation in 260/874 which continued until 329/844. Then the greater occultation began which still continues. He will reappear when Allah allows him to establish the kingdom of Allah on earth and to fill the world with justice and equality as it would be full of injustice and tyranny. He is al-Qa’im (the one who shall stand to establish the rule of Allah); al-Hujja (the proof of Allah over His creatures); Sahib al-Zaman (the master of our time); and Sahib al-Amr (the one who is supported by divine authority).

The Twelve Imams Part 2

The Twelve Imams Part 2

There is an interesting tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari as well as Sahih Muslim, in which the Prophet (S) said the following:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.422

Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, "You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure (lizard), you would follow them.”We said, "O Allah’s Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?”He said, "Whom else?"

As the above tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari confirms, the Prophet stated that the history of the Children of Israel will be repeated for Muslims. In fact, Qur’an has mentioned the stories of the Children of Israel to give us a way to understand the true history of Islam itself. There are many striking similarities in this regard written in Qur’an including the similarities of the leaders and the similarities of the people. I just mention few of them here. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, said:

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"Surely Allah aforetime took a covenant from the Children of Israel and We appointed twelve leaders among them”(Qur’an 5:12)

وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِیثَاقَ بَنِی إِسْرَائِیلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنْهُمُ اثْنَیْ عَشَرَ نَقِیبًا

Who are those twelve leaders among the Children of Muhammad (S)?

Allah, Exalted, also said:

"And when Moses prayed for water for his (thirsty) people; We said: ‘Strike the rock with your staff.’ Then from there surged forth twelve springs so that each group knew its own place to drink.”(Qur’an 2:60).

وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَیٰ مُوسَیٰ لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاکَ الْحَجَرَ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَهَ عَیْنًا قَدْ عَلِمَ کُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ

Who are those twelve springs (streams) of knowledge who quench the thirst of Muslims to the end of the world so that each generation is utilized with one of them? He, Exalted He is, also said:

"We divided them into twelve nations. We directed Moses by revelation when his (thirsty) people asked him for water: ‘Strike the rock with your staff;’ out of it there gushed forth twelve springs so that each group knew its own place for water. We gave them the shade of clouds and sent down to them manna and quails (saying): ‘Eat of the good things We have provided for you,’ (but they rebelled.) To Us they did no harm but they harmed their own souls.”(Qur’an 7:160).

Verily those who did not follow those twelve leaders, harmed non but themselves. The above verse suggests that the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (S) in the span of history (after his demise till the day of judgment) are divided into 12 intervals of time which coincides with one Imam who is assigned as leader for them. In the next verse Allah said:

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"And when it was said unto them: ‘Dwell in this Town and eat therein as you wish, and say Repentance, and enter the Gate (of the city) in a posture of humility, in order that We forgive you your sins and increase (the portion of) those who do good.’“(Qur’an 7:161)

or:

"And when We said: ‘Enter this Town and eat of the plenty therein as you wish; but enter the Gate (of the City) with humility in posture and in words so that We forgive you your sins and increase (the portion of) those who do good.’“(Qur’an 2:58).

The Gate in the above verses has a striking similarity with one of the attributes of Imam ‘Ali (as) mentioned by our Prophet (S) that is: "The Gate of the City of Knowledge."

The Messenger of Allah said: "I am the City of Knowledge, and ‘Ali is its Gate. So whoever intends to enter the City and the Wisdom, he should enter from its Gate."

إنا مدینه العِلْم و علیٌ بابها، فَمَنْ أرادَ المدینه و الحکمه فلیأتِها من بابها.

- Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 201,637

- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, pp 126-127,226

- Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p635, Tradition 1081

and many more...

Furthermore the following Prophetic tradition gives the utmost similarity with the above two verses:

The Messenger of Allah said: "My Ahlul-Bait are like the Gate of Repentance of the Children of Israel; whoever entered therein was forgiven."

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إنما مثل أهل بیتی فیکم مثل باب حطه فی بنی إسرائیل من دخله غفر

Sunni References:

- Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haithami, v9, p168.

- al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani, Tradition 18

- Arba’in, by al-Nabahani, p216

- A fairly similar tradition reported by al-Darqunti and by Ibn Hajar al-Haithami in al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, Ch. 9, section 2, p193, in which the Prophet (S) said: "‘Ali is the Gate of Repentance, whoever entered therein was a believer and whoever went out was an unbeliever."

Also Allah (SWT) stated in Qur’an:

Lo! The number of the months with Allah is twelve which is Allah’s ordinance when He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred. That is the firm religion. So wrong not your souls in them. (Qur’an 9:36)

إِنَّ عِدَّهَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِی کِتَابِ اللَّهِ

In connection with the above verse of Qur’an, it would be nice to look at the following tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.688

Narrated Abu Bakra:

The Prophet said, "Time has taken its original shape which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. The year is of twelve months, four of which are sacred... Surely, you will meet your Lord, and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not become infidels after me, cutting the throats of one another. It is incumbent on those who are present to convey this message (of mine) to those who are absent. May be that some of those to whom it will be conveyed will understand it better than those who have actually heard it.”He (i.e. Prophet) then added twice, "No doubt! Haven’t I conveyed (Allah’s Message) to you?"

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Now one may ask that what was in the above message that could not be understood by the companions who were listening to the speech of the Prophet during his last pilgrimage in Mecca? (For timing see also Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.798).

The Message of the Prophet (S) had twofold meaning. The obvious meaning is that the number of months are twelve and four months, namely Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hajja, Muharram, and Rajab are sacred months. In fact, these months were believed to be sacred even before Islam. So there was nothing in this message that the audience could not comprehend.

Moreover, the fact the above mentioned sacred months of the year were accepted by the Jews and Christians, makes it clear that these months can not be "the firm religion”as mentioned in the verse. So one should look for a more delicate meaning.

The other meaning (as interpreted by Ahlul-Bait) is that the Prophet in his last pilgrimage (less than three month before his demise) wanted to convey that he will be followed by twelve Imams and people should not wrong their souls by disobeying them in their leadership periods. Among these twelve Imams, four have a sacred name, i.e., "‘Ali", which is derived from the name of Allah. In fact, four Imams of Ahlul-Bait (peace be upon them all) have been named "‘Ali".

In the Sira of Ibn Hisham, there is an extra sentence of the Messenger of Allah which is, in fact, the verse of Qur’an. The Messenger of Allah (S) said:

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"‘Postponement of a sacred month is only an excess of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled; they allow it one year and forbid it another year that they may make up the number of months which God has hallowed so that they permit what God has forbidden (Qur’an 9:37),

and forbid what God has allowed. Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the day that God created the heavens and the earth. The number of months with God is twelve. Four of them are sacred."

Sunni references:

- Sira, by Ibn Hisham at the end of Chapter of "Farewell Pilgrimage", p968

- The Life of Muhammad (English translation of Sira Ibn Hisham), Translated into English by A. Guillaume, 1955 Edition, London, p651

Postponement of the sacred month is delay in accepting their leadership and as the messenger of Allah said, those who disbelieve in their leadership will be misled. They permit what God has forbidden, and forbid what God has allowed. They try to make up the twelve Imams by that which Allah has not honored.

The fact that some sects departed from the main body of the Shi’a in the history was because they only accepted first few Imams and rejected the rest. It is interesting to know that he who acknowledged all four "‘Ali”among the Imams, he has acknowledged all the twelve Imams, since there did not remain any sect believing in these four Imams and rejecting others. In a tradition on the authority of Jabir (ra), Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the fifth Imam of Ahlul-Bait, interprets the above verse which is as follows:

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Jabir said: I asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir about the meaning of the verse: "Verily the number of the months … (9:36).”He (as) breathed long (out of sorrow) and said: "O Jabir, The ‘year’ is my grandfather, the messenger of Allah (S), and his family are its ‘months’ who are the twelve Imams, and are … (naming the Imams one by one). They are the Proofs of Allah on His creation, and Trusties of His revelations and His knowledge. And Those of ‘four sacred who are the firm religion’ are those four who have the same name, and are ‘Ali, the Commander of Faithful (as), and my father ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn (as), and later ‘Ali Ibn Musa (as), and ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad (as). Thus acknowledging these four is ‘the firm religion, so wrong not your souls in them’ and believe in all of them to be guided."

Shi’i reference: Kitab al-Ghaiba, by Shaikh Tusi.

Side Comments

Comment 1

A Sunni brother mentioned that there is a tradition which states "The Caliphate will last 30 years after me then there will be kings.”These 30 years covered the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, as well as the 6 month rule of al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali. After these 30 years, the leadership went to Mu’awiya. As for the 5th Caliph through the 11th Allah knows best, and the 12th will be al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar.

The above alleged tradition seems to be very odd, because Caliph means successor/deputy. The successor of the Prophet (or the preceding Caliph) should come right after the demise of the Prophet (or the preceding Caliph) without any gap so that the word "successor”or "deputy”make any sense. Also as narrated in Sahih Muslim, The Prophet (S) suggested those twelve Caliphs cover till the day of resurrection.

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See Qur’an 13:7 in which Allah states that Prophet Muhammad is a warner, and for every community (generation) there exists a Guide (Imam). Who was the Guide after the fifth Caliph? Who is the Guide today? Who is the Ulul-Amr whose obedience is as much obligatory as the Prophet? Who is the one spared by Allah (Baqiyyatullah) about whom Allah said:

That who is spared by Allah (on the earth) is better for you if you are believers. (Qur’an 11:86)

The above verse is another proof for the fact that there exists one individual at each era whom Allah has spared on the earth to maintain the cause of faith and he is the Imam of that age. Thus the position of God-assigned leadership is never vacated so long as the earth carries even one human being. (Please see the article titled: "Necessity of the Existence of Imam al-Mahdi (as)”for more detailed discussion of this subject).

Moreover, You still did not answer who the rest of those twelve Imams are? You claimed that Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, ‘Ali, al-Hasan are the first five Caliphs, but you did not mention the rest. There is no doubt that the Caliph should be known to his followers, otherwise an imaginary Caliph can not be followed while the Prophet had asked us to closely follow them. If you don’t know your leaders, how can you obey them?

It is very important to know that the saying of whom should be followed (Which Caliph or Imam) since Allah unequivocally ordered us in Qur’an to follow them as Ulul-Amr, and moreover, the Prophet ordered us to follow them as one of the two weighty things. Obeying them is the only way of salvation as the Prophet testified (Please see the article titled: "Qur’an and Ahlul-Bait").

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Now tell me my brother, what happened that after 30 years the kings were going to come? Do you agree that misconduct of some people like Mu’awiya caused such scandal for the Muslim nation? What went wrong? You claim that these people were the best generation. Then how could they allow themselves to convert the caliphate into a hereditary monarchy? It is quite probable that the very same kings fabricated the tradition of "Thirty Years”in order to dissuade people from the issue of twelve Imams and to justify their usurping the rule.

Another Sunni brother commented that out of the twelve Shi’a Imams, only Imam ‘Ali and his son Imam al-Hasan physically governed, and as such, how do the Shi’a assert that the Prophet was referring to these individuals when he mentioned the twelve Caliphs?

The answer is: Allah by His Grace, has assigned Prophets and their successors to warn us and to guide us to the Right Path. It is upon our decision whether we use our wisdom and accept their instructions or not. We are not compelled to follow a divinely appointed Imam, though we will be held responsible for that. It is our choice to go right or wrong.

Leadership has two parts. The first part is the leader. We believe that since Allah knows who is the best for such position, He assigns the leader for mankind, as indicated in Qur’an (see Qur’an 2:124, 21:73, 32:24, etc.). The appointment of Imam may be known through the declaration of the Prophet or the preceding Imam.

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In order that the leadership manifests itself in rulership, there is a second part necessary, that is the followers. There should be some followers for that leader to lead them and eventually be able establish his government.

Allah has completed His bounty upon us by assigning leadership. It is upon us to do the other part, that is to follow the leadership of the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bait. If we do so, the leader will come automatically into power in this worldly life. However, if we disobey them, the leader seemingly has no power in appearance and he will remain as the spiritual leader for his few loyal followers (Imam al-Muttaqin/ leader of god-fearing people).

Muslims can not deny that prophets (some of whom were Imams of their time as well) were assigned by God. Now, if we study their lives, some of which have been explained in Qur’an, we see that the majority of them were oppressed in their communities. Let us look at the life of Prophet John (Yahya). He was a prophet assigned by Allah, and people were supposed to obey him, but they did not support him. Instead, they slaughtered him and chopped his head off. Now, one may ask: Was not he an Imam? Did Allah fail to support his Prophet? The answer is that Allah has given people some free will to either accept or reject the leadership He assigns. In the case of Prophet John, people rejected him, and obviously they will go to Hell for their disobedience. The same goes for the Prophet Abraham (as) who was also Imam. Qur’an states:

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"And when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands and he fulfilled them. Then He said: Lo! I appoint you an Imam for mankind.”(Qur’an 2:124).

People were supposed to follow such divinely appointed who was assigned by Allah, but they stood against him. They even went as much as throwing him into fire. Thus the above verse clearly shows that the Imam who is assigned by Allah may not physically govern in appearance.

Therefore leadership has two parts. Allah does His part out of His Grace. It is our choice if we fulfill the other part by adhering to such leader in order to attain the prosperity of this world and of the hereafter. In the case of our Imams, though they were the best qualified people for leadership and though they were assigned by Allah and His Prophet, the majority of people disobeyed them. This is not surprising since the history of mankind repeats itself.

As such, Imam ‘Ali (as) was Imam during the time of the first three rulers after the demise of the Prophet (S), and what these rulers could take from him was the rulership and not the position of Imamat.

In other words, a divinely appointed Imam is the most the qualified individual to be the ruler, but concept of Imamat has much more than just rulership. Imam is the Guide for the God-fearing people, and possesses the full knowledge of Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet, and is the protected place of refuge for the disagreements in the matter of religion.

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A remark, however, is that the case for Imam al-Mahdi (as) would be different. He is the one who will en his rule with the help of Allah when Allah let him appear. That is why he has been given the title of al-Qa’im (the one who shall stand).

Comment 2

A Sunni brother replied that according to Qur’an Abraham (as) said: And make me for the God fearing an Imam. Imam- you translate it as leader, but with political connotation; however, it is clear here that the meaning is leader in the sense of first. You make it seem as if he is seeking to campaign for the position of Namrud or govern Iraq, or something like that when the message of Abraham was to lay out the road for the people to know Allah and worship him which is the main thing prophets were sent for.

My response was: As to whether the Prophet Abraham was supposed to be merely a spiritual Imam for the believers or an Imam who rules on the earth, my argument was clear, and apparently this brother did not comprehend it. I mentioned that a divinely appointed Imam such as Abraham, is an Imam whether people follow him or not. If (say the majority of) people follow him, he will automatically come into power, and if they disobey him, he will still possess his spiritual leadership for his few faithful followers (the God fearing people).

Brother, do you claim that Allah ordered only Muttaqin (the God fearing people) to follow Abraham, and other people were not ordered to follow him?! Every body at that time was supposed to obey Abraham, and those who did not are doomed to Hell. Also the verse 2:124 of Qur’an clearly sates Allah assigned him Imam for "mankind", not a specific group.

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Moreover, your above comment that the prophets did not have any political agenda is not correct. By the above statement you are unintentionally opposing Prophet Muhammad who campaigned against the unbelievers of the Arabian Peninsula like Abu Sufyan, and made the first Islamic government. It is true that all the prophets were sent to educate people and make them mindful of Allah. But this can not be fully achieved without any political power.

Also I never mentioned that governing the state is the first goal of a divinely appointed leader. Rather, I said that such leader is the most qualified person for such position. People should realize this fact and submit to his command, and if they do that he will be automatically on the head of community without a need for "agenda".

A Sunni brother mentioned that even some individuals who disliked Shi’a very much such as Ibn Kathir in his book "al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya”has mentioned that al-Husayn (ra) is considered to be one of the twelve Caliphs.

About this, I would like to comment that if these Sunnis really believe that Imam al-Husayn (as) was one of the Caliphs, then they have already acknowledged what the Shi’a say! That is, the position of deputy/successor of the Prophet is not identified with the one who gains the control of power, otherwise Imam al-Husayn who did not physically govern, could not have been counted among the twelve Caliphs.

Also I agree that Ibn Kathir along with Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya hated the Shi’a, and most probably they learnt their hatred from their teacher Ibn Taimiyya. None of these personalities are admired by the Sunnis even though the Wahhabis have filled the libraries with the books of these individuals.

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The Holy Qur’an and the Pure Imams

Assalamu Alaykum brothers/sisters:

Here are some verses from the Holy Qur’an concerning true and pure Imams:

_ It is Allah’s wish to remove all blemish from you, O Ahlul-Bayt, and purify you with a perfect purification. (Qur’an 33:33)

_ Say, I ask no reward from you for it except the love of my kinsfolk. And whosoever does a good deed we add unto it a greater good for him. Lo, Allah is Forgiving, Responsive. (Qur’an 42:23)

_ And whoever disputes with thee concerning him after the inspired knowledge which has been given unto thee, tell him, "Come, let us call our sons and your sons; our women and your women; and ourselves and yourselves; then let us pray and invoke Allah’s curse upon those who lie.”(Qur’an 3:61)

_ Hold fast to the Rope of Allah, all of you together and do not diverge. (Qur’an 3:103)

_ Be careful of your duty to Allah and be with the Truthful. (Qur’an 9:119)

_ Lo, this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow other ways or else you will diverge from His way. (Qur’an 6:153)

_ O you believe, obey Allah and obey His Messenger and those amongst you who are give supreme authority (by Allah). Qur’an (4:59)

_ Whoever opposes the Prophet after the guidance has been made manifest unto him and follows any path other than the path of the true believers, We will turn him towards that unto which he himself has turned, and We will expose him to Hell and a bad journey it will be. Qur’an (4:115)

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_ (O Prophet) Lo! thou art a warner and for every community there is a guide. (Qur’an 13:7)

_ Guide us in the Straight Path: The Path of those whom Thou hast blessed... (Qur’an 1:6-7)

_ They are those whom Allah has blessed among the prophets and the verifiers, the martyrs and the righteous. (Qur’an 4:69)

_ They (i.e., prophets and Imams) do not say anything until He orders, and they act (in all things) by His command. He knows what is before them and what is behind them and they (i.e., those saints) offer no intercession except for anyone whom Allah accepts, and they are in awe and reverence of His (glory). Qur’an (21:27-28)

_ Verily your master is only Allah, and His messenger and those among the believers who establish worship and pay the poor due while they are bowing down in prayer. Qur’an (5:55)

_ And lo! Verily I am the Most forgiving towards him who repents and believes and does good and then follows the guidance. Qur’an (20:82)

_ O you who believe, enter into peace, all of you, and do not follow the footsteps of the Satan. (Qur’an 2:208)

_ Then, on that day, you will be asked concerning the blessing. (Qur’an 102:8)

_ O you Messenger, convey what has been revealed unto you by your Lord, for if you do not do so, you will not have conveyed His message at all. And Allah will protect you from the people. Lo! Allah guides not the disbelieving folk Qur’an (5:67)

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_ This day have We perfected for you your religion and finalized Our blessing upon you, and We are pleased that Islam be your religion. (Qur’an 5:3)

_ A questioner asked for the inevitable punishment to befall the disbelievers which no one can avert. (Qur’an 70:1-2)

_ And when your Lord brought forth from the lions of the Children of Adam their seed, and made them bear testimony about their souls (He asked):"Am I not your Lord?”They said: "Yes, we bear witness.”(Qur’an 7:172)

_ Or are they jealous of those men because of that which Allah has bestowed upon them in His bounty? (Qur’an 4:54)

_ None touches (the depth of meaning of Qur’an) save the purified ones. (Qur’an 56:79)

_ No one knows its interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly ground in knowledge. (Qur’an 3:7)

_ Ask the people of Reminder if you do not know. (Qur’an 21:7, 16:43)

The Reward of Loving Ahlul-Bayt

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

I found the following astonishing tradition in one of the most famous Tafsir book of the Sunni brothers, that is, "Tafsir al-Kabir", by Fakhr al-Razi who is a leading Sunni scholar with multiple specialties in Tafsir, Fiqh, and theology.

The full address of the document is given at the end. I have provided Arabic text for each sentence of this tradition. This tradition can also be found in other Sunni commentary books of Qur’an, "Tafsir al-Kashshaf,”written by al-Zamakhshari, as well as "Tafsir al-Tha’labi."

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Before going over the text of the tradition, it is important to point out that a true love is always accompanied by obedience. A person who is crazy about somebody, does every thing to satisfy the lover, and does not allow himself to disobey the one who loves.

That is why the "true love”is necessary and sufficient. A true love affects every single action of human being and directs it to a special direction in harmony with the one who loves. Thus anyone who claims to love the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them all), but he insists in disobeying them, is simply a liar.

After giving the text of the tradition I shall quote the related verse of Qur’an under whose commentary this tradition was mentioned. I will also present some other traditions transmitted by the Sunnis which clearly specify the individuals whose love is obligatory.

The Messenger of Allah said:

من مات علی حب آل محمد ، مات شهیداً

He who dies with love of the family of Muhammad is a Martyr.

ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، مات مغفورا له

And behold! He who dies with love of the family of Muhammad is forgiven.

ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، مات تائبا

And more! The one who dies with love of the family of Muhammad is died repented.

ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، مات مؤمنا مستکمل الإیمان

Lo! He who dies with love of the family of Muhammad is died as a believer with a COMPLETE belief.

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ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، بشره ملک الموت بالجنه ،ثم منکر ونکیر

And no doubt! The one who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, the angle of death gives him the glad tiding of Paradise, and so do the two angels who question him (Munkar Nakeer).

ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، یزف إلی الجنه کما تزف العروس إلی بیت زوجها

And verily he who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, will be led toward the Paradise as the bride is led to the house of her husband.

ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، فتح له فی قبره بابان إلی الجنه

Behold! And he who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, for him there will open two gates in his grave toward the Paradise.

ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، جعل الله زوار قبره ملائکه الرحمه

Lo! And the one who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, Allah will make his grave a sacred place of visit for the angels of mercy.

ألا ومن مات علی حب آل محمد ، مات علی السنه

And verily he who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, has died on Sunnah.

ألا ومن مات علی بغض آل محمد جاء یوم القیامه مکتوب بین عینیه "آیس من رحمه الله"

And no doubt! The one who dies with the HATE of the family of Muhammad, will arrive in the day of judgment while it is printed on his forehead that he is desperate from the Mercy of Allah.

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ألا ومن مات علی بغض آل محمد ، مات کافرأ

Behold! He who dies with the hate of the family of Muhammad, has died unbeliever.

ألا ومن مات علی بغض آل محمد ، لم یشم رائحه الجنه

And verily he who dies with the hate of the family of Muhammad, will never hear the smell of Paradise.

Sunni references:

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Din Muhammad Ibn Umar al-Razi, Pub. in Egypt (1357/1938), under commentary of verse 42:23, Part 27, pp. 165-166.

• Tafsir al-Kashshaf, by al-Zamakhshari

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by al-Tha’labi

***

Fakhr al-Razi and others mentioned the above tradition under the commentary of the following verse of Qur’an, in which Allah tell his Messenger:

"(O Prophet) tell (people) I don’t ask you any wage (in return for my prophethood) except to love my near kin. And if anyone earns any good We shall give Him an increase of good (in return for it)”(Qur’an 42:23).

قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُکُمْ عَلَیْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّهَ فِی الْقُرْبَیٰ

It has been widely reported by the Sunni commentators of the Holy Qur’an that:

Ibn Abbas narrated: When the above verse (42:23) was revealed, the companions asked: "O’ the Messenger of Allah! Who are those near kin whose love Allah has made obligatory for us?”Upon that the Prophet (S) said: "‘Ali, Fatimah, and their two sons.”He (S) repeated this sentence thrice.

Sunni references:

1. Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Part 27, pp 165-166

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2. Tafsir al-Tha’labi, under the commentary of verse 42:23 of Qur’an

3. Tafsir al-Tabari, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, under verse 42:23

4. Tafsir al-Qurtubi, under commentary of verse 42:23 of Qur’an

5. Tafsir al-Kashshaf, by al-Zamakhshari, under commentary of verse 42:23

6. Tafsir al-Baidhawi, under the commentary of verse 42:23 of Qur’an

7. Tafsir al-Kalbi, under commentary of verse 42:23 of Qur’an

8. al-Madarik, in connection with verse 42:23

9. Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p25

10. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal,

11. al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259

12. Shawahid al-Tanzeel, Hakim Hasakani, al-Hanafi, v2, p132

13. Many others such as Ibn Abi Hatam, al-Tabarani, etc.

Then the Prophet (S) continued:

"Verily Allah has dedicated my wage (of prophethood) to love of my Ahlul-Bayt, and I shall question you about it on the day of judgment."

Sunni references:

• Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p26

• al-Sirah, by al-Mala

In another tradition, we read:

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "I advice you to be kind to my Ahlul-Bayt for verily I will dispute you about them on the day of Judgment, and whoever I dispute him shall enter the Fire.”He (S) also said: "One who regards me by regarding my Ahlul-Bayt, he has taken a promise from Allah (to enter the Paradise)."

Sunni references:

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d

• al-Sirah, by al-Mala

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p231

Furthermore, al-Kateeb and Ibn Hajar narrated on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik saying:

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The Prophet (S) said: "The title of the Book (Saheefah) of believer is love of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib."

Sunni references:

• Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, section 2, p193

In the above tradition, "The Book of believer”refers to the way a believer conducts the affairs, i.e., his daily life, and his diary.

On the commentary of the Qur’anic verse: "Lo! those who believe and do good, the Beneficent will appoint for them love (Qur’an 19:96),”al-Hafidh al-Salafi wrote: Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah said: "There will not be a believer unless in whose heart love of ‘Ali and his family exists.”In this connection, al-Bayhaqi, Abu al-Shaikh, and al-Daylami reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "A servant (of God) will not be a (true) believer unless he loves me more than his own soul, and loves my progeny more than his own soul and his own family.”See al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, pp 261-262 quoted from al-Hafidh al-Salafi, al-Bayhaqi, Abu al-Shaikh, and al-Daylami).

al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad narrated:

The Messenger of Allah said: "He who loves me and loves these two: al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and loves their father and mother, he will be with me in Paradise."

Sunni reference:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p641

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, on the authority of Imam ‘Ali (as)

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p693, Tradition 1185

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p264

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It is also narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Verily the prosperous and the only prosperous and the true prosperous is he who loves ‘Ali in his lifetime and in his hereafter."

Sunni reference:

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p658, Tradition 1121

• al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v3, p176

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p132

• Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v2, p429

Sunni scholars also narrated that Imam al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali (as) said the following in a discourse which he delivered on the martyrdom of Imam ‘Ali:

"... I am among Ahlul-Bayt whom Allah has made their love obligatory for any Muslim when He revealed to His Prophet (S): "Say: I don’t ask you any wage except to love my near kin. And if anyone earns any good We shall give Him an increase of good (Qur’an 42:23).”

Thus earn the good deed through loving us Ahlul-Bayt."

Sunni references:

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, "Chapter of understanding the virtues of companions,”v3, p172

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259

• Many others such as al-Bazzar, al-Tabarani, etc.

Furthermore, it is narrated from Ibn Abbas:

Ibn Abbas said:

"The good deed in the verse: ‘And if anyone earns any good We shall give Him an increase of good (Qur’an 42:23)’ is the love of family (Aal) of the Muhammad (S)."

Sunni references:

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as mentioned in:

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• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259

Sunni traditionists also narrated that:

After the murder of al-Husayn when his family were taken prisoners and were moved to Damascus, a man in the city (who among others was looking at the passing of prisoners in the city) said to Zain al-Abideen (Imam ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn) that "Praise be to Allah who destroyed you and made you helpless and cut the root of sedition.”On that, Zain al-Abideen said: "Didn’t you read ‘Tell I don’t ask you any wage except to love my near kin’?”The man answered: "Are you those?”He (Zain al-Abideen) said: "Yes."

Sunni references:

• Tafsir Ibn Kathir (complete version), v4, p112, under commentary of verse 42:23 of Qur’an

• al-Tabarani, as mentioned in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259

In contrary to all above traditions, Yusuf ‘Ali has a very strange commentary for the verse 42:23. He wrote:

No sort of tangible reward does the Prophet of Allah ask for proclaiming the Glad Tidings of Allah. But at least he has the right to ask that his kith and kin should not persecute him and put all sorts of obstacles in his way, as did the Quraish against the holy Prophet. (Yusuf ‘Ali’s commentary of 42:23)

What Yusuf ‘Ali implied was that, by the above verse, the Prophet was asking his kin not to prosecute him and they should love his kin, i.e., the Prophet. The fact is that the above mentioned traditions of the Prophet regarding the revelation of verse 42:23, contradict what Yusuf ‘Ali commented. I wonder if we Should take the opinion of the Prophet or the opinion of Yusuf ‘Ali?! It is noteworthy that the above mentioned traditions were narrated by the prominent Sunni traditionists through various transmitters. Yusuf ‘Ali was not a traditionist nor do Sunnis consider his commentary an authoritative one.

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Besides, we can prove logically that Yusuf ‘Ali’s commentary is incorrect. "Those of near kin”are the kin of the Prophet himself. Because Prophet Muhammad is only one person. If Allah wanted to say "Love the Prophet because he is your kin", He could say so, and He would not use "Those of near kin". Moreover, from the verse it is clear that Allah was not addressing non-Muslims, because the verse is about his wage in return for his prophethood. Thus those unbelievers (among his kin or else) who do not recognized him as a prophet, were not being addressed. What kind of wage could the Prophet expect from an unbeliever (among his kin or else) who do not recognize him as a prophet?!

Thus they are Muslims who are being addressed by the verse. Now, if Yusuf ‘Ali meant that the verse was addressing those Muslims who were his kin, then I would like to ask: Who among the near kin of the Prophet who was Muslims but tried to prosecute the Prophet? The answer is Non. If you think otherwise, please present your evidence from the history of the life of the Prophet (S).

Therefore, the Yusuf ‘Ali’s commentary is neither in harmony with the above-mentioned Sunni traditions in this regard, nor in harmony with logic.

I do not intend to discuss all the mistakes which exist in the Yusuf ‘Ali’s works. I myself have found some trivial mistakes in his translation of Qur’an, and there is even a book named "Discussion on the errors of Yusuf ‘Ali", (Paperback, $12.00 in the United States) which discusses some of his errors. Although I do not intend to fully discredit his works, it would be beneficial to mention his translation of a verse of Qur’an in connection with the current topic, and then compare it to other translations. This verse is very similar to the above-mentioned verse of Qur’an (42:23). Allah, to whom belong might and majesty, similarly said:

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"(O Prophet) tell (people) whatever I asked you as wage (in return for my prophethood) is in the benefit of you (people)”(Qur’an 34:47).

Here is the Pickthall’s translation:

"Say: Whatever reward I might have asked of you is yours”(34:47).

Now, let us look at the Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation:

"Say: No reward do I ask of you; it is (all) in your interest”Yusuf ‘Ali (34:47).

One can see that the translation of Yusuf ‘Ali provides meaning quite contradictory to the others. In the translation of the above verse, Yusuf ‘Ali states that the Prophet did not ask any wage. By that, Yusuf ‘Ali contradicted his own translation of the other mentioned verse (42:23) where he states the Prophet did, in fact, ask for the wage:

"Say: No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin.”(42:23)

There is no doubt that the reward of the Prophet is with Allah. However, with the above order of Allah, the Prophet did ask People to love his family as his wage. Such request is, in fact, for the benefit of people as verse 34:47 testifies. The verses of Holy Qur’an explain one another. More Surprisingly, there is a third verse with another wording which implies that the benefit that people get by fulfilling the Prophet’s request (i.e., affection and devotion to Ahlul-Bayt) is that they will be led to the path (Sabeel) of Allah:

"Say: I ask of you no reward for it except that one who wishes, may adopt a Path (Sabeel) toward his Lord.”(Qur’an 25:57)

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Pickthall’s translation:

"Say: I ask of you no reward for this save that whoso will, may choose a Way unto his Lord.”(25:57)

Putting verse 25:57 beside 42:23 and 34:47 gives evidence to the fact that each member of Ahlul-Bayt is the Right Path (Sabeel) toward Allah, and the way toward His satisfaction. The Right Path of Allah is no more than one even though it manifested in a sequence of divinely appointed leaders. As such, each of these leaders were the unique Path (Sabeel) of Allah in their own time, and through whom people can attain protection against disagreement in religious matters. In fact, the Messenger of Allah confirmed the above conclusion from the latter verse. Ibn Sa’d and Ibn Hajar recorded that:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Me and my Ahlul-Bayt are a tree in Paradise whose branches came to this world (Dunyaa). Thus whoso will, may choose a Path unto his Lord (by taking a branch and reaching to the stem in Paradise)."

Sunni references:

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d

• Sharaf al-Nubuwwah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, on the authority of Abu Sa’id

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p231

The above underlined part of the Hadith of the Prophet (S) is the Qur’anic verse mentioned above (25:57). The true love for Ahlul-Bayt will, in fact, oblige us to follow their Right Path which guarantees the human prosperity in this world as well the Paradise in the world after.

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Wassalam.

How to Send Greetings to Prophet Muhammad?

How to Send Greetings to Prophet Muhammad?

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

When sending greetings to Prophet Muhammad,

• some say: Peace be upon him (PBUH)

• others say: Peace be upon him and his family (S)

• some others say are more generous and say: Peace be upon him and his family (Aalihi) and his wives (wa Azwajihi) and all his companions (wa Sahbihi Ajma’een).

Now let us see how the Prophet himself thought us to send blessing for him:

The Messenger of Allah (S) said, "Do not salute for me in short!”The companions asked, "What is saluting in short?”The Prophet replied, "Saying that Blessing of Allah be upon Muhammad.”They asked, "what should we say?”the Prophet (S) answered, "Say: Blessing of Allah be upon Muhammad and his Ahlul-Bayt.”In another wordings the Prophet replied: "Say: O Allah bless Muhammad and his household the same way as you blessed Abraham and his household. Verily you are worthy of all praise full of all glory!".

Sunni reference:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p225

This saying of the Prophet was in connection with the following verse of Qur’an which was related about the House of Abraham (as):

They said: "Do you wonder at Allah’s decree? The Mercy of Allah and His Blessings be upon you O people of the house! for He is indeed worthy of all praise full of all glory!”(Qur’an 11:73)

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Moreover, Ibn Hajar also mentioned that some of the Sunni commentators of Qur’an have narrated from Ibn Abbas (ra) that the Qur’anic verse "Peace be upon the family of Yaaseen (Qur’an 37:130)”refers to the family of Muhammad. (See al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p228).

From the tradition given earlier, one can see that the Messenger of Allah (S) mentioned his name and his Ahlul-Bayt together, and disliked mentioning his name alone. He specifically ordered that his followers SHOULD include his family in all their greetings to the Prophet Muhammad. This because ONLY those individuals whom Qur’an testifies to their perfect purity (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) are worthy of being saluted. Let us look at more traditions, this time from Sahih al-Bukhari:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 6.320

Narrated Ka’b bin Ujra:

It was said, "O Allah’s Apostle! We know how to greet you, but how to invoke Allah for you?”The Prophet said, "Say: O Allah! Send your blessings/greetings (Salawat) on Muhammad and his family, the same way as You sent Your blessings/greetings on Abraham’s family. You are indeed worthy of all praise, full of glory.’"

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 6.321

Narrated Abu Said al-Khudri:

We said, "O Allah’s Apostle! (We know) this greeting (to you) but how shall we invoke Allah for you?”He said, "Say: O Allah! Send your greetings on Muhammad who is Your servant and Your Messenger, the same way as You sent Your greetings on Abraham’s family. And send Your blessings on Muhammad and on Muhammad’s family, the same way as You sent Your blessings on Abraham’s family."

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Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 6.322

Narrated Ibn Abi Hazim and Ad-Darawardi:

Yazid reported (similarly with the following wordings) "...And send Your blessings on Muhammad and on Muhammad’s family, the same way as You sent Your blessings on Abraham and on Abraham’s family."

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.368

Narrated ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Laila:

Ka’b bin ‘Ujra met me and said, "Shall I give you a present? Once the Prophet (saw) came to us and we said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! We know how to greet You; but how to send Salat upon you?’ He said ‘Say: O Allah! Send your greetings (Salawat) on Muhammad and his family, the same way as You sent Your Salawat on Abraham’s family. O Allah! Send Your blessings on Muhammad and on Muhammad’s family, the same way as You sent Your blessings on Abraham’s family. You are indeed worthy of all praise, full of glory.’"

Two more traditions are as follows:

Abu Masud Badri relates: (Once) we, were sitting with Sad bin Ubadah when the Holy Prophet came to us. Bashir Ibn Sad asked the Holy Prophet: O Messenger of Allah, we have been commanded by Allah to invoke blessings on you by reciting Salat, then how shall we do this ? The Holy Prophet kept quite for sometime, so much so that we wished that Bashar bin Sad had not asked the question from the Holy Prophet. After some time the Holy Prophet said these words:

O Allah, send Thy blessings on Muhammad and on the children of Muhammad as Thou didst send Thy blessings on Abraham, and bless Muhammad and the children of Muhammad as Thou didst bless Abraham. Indeed Thou art the praiseworthy, the Glorious. Continuing, the Holy Prophet said: and the salutation is already known to you.

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Sunni reference: Riyadh al-Saliheen, by al-Nawawi, English version, Tradition 1406

Although the above traditions confirm that the Prophet (S) ordered people to send Salawat on him and his family. This cannot be regarded as self-esteem, rather it was the order by Allah to do that. It served as teaching the Sunnah to people. Specially the highlighted part in the last tradition shows that the Prophet was hesitating to salute himself at first, but since it was the order of Allah, he conveyed the message. In another tradition:

When the Messenger of Allah noticed that a blessing from Allah was to descent, he told Safiyya (one of his wives): "Call for me! Call for me!”Safiyya said: "Call who, O the Messenger of Allah?”He said: "Call for me my Ahlul-Bayt who are ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn.”Thus we sent for them and they came to him.

Then the Prophet (S) spread his cloak (upper garment) over them, and raised his hand (toward sky) saying: "O Allah! These are my family (Aalee), so bless Muhammad and the family (Aal) of Muhammad.”And Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, revealed: "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O’ People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you a thorough purification (Qur’an, the last sentence of Verse 33:33)".

Sunni references:

• al-Mustadrak by al-Hakim, Chapter of "Understanding (the virtues) of Companions, v3, p148. The author then wrote: "This tradition is authentic (Sahih) based on the criteria of the two Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim)."

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• Talkhis of al-Mustadrak, by al-Dhahabi, v3, p148

• Usdul Ghabah, v3, p33

Similarly, it is narrated that in another occasion, when the Messenger of Allah gathered ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, al-Husayn (peace be upon them all) under his cloak, he said:

"O Allah! Verily they are from me and I am from them. Thus place Your blessings and Your mercy and Your satisfaction on me and them."

and:

"O Allah! These are Aale-Muhammad (family of Muhammad). Thus place Your blessings and Your bounty upon the family of Muhammad, for, indeed You are the praiseworthy, the Glorious."

Sunni reference:

al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p225, quoted from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal

Also it is narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "If one prays, and in it he does not send blessings to me and my family, his prayer will not be accepted."

Sunni references:

• al-Darqunti, and al-Bayhaqi, as quoted in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, p349

In fact, invoking Salawat on the Prophet’s family was so important that it has been included in ANY Salawat on the Prophet (S). Invoking Salawat on the family of the Prophet is a sign of pledging allegiance to them, and affirming what Allah Himself has affirmed for them: They are perfectly cleansed and worthy of being saluted.

Side Comment

Earlier, a Sunni brother mentioned that,

I thought that "SWS”and "AS”were used for the prophets whereas "RA”was used for others including ‘Ali (ra)

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The abbreviation "(as)”stands for "Alayhi-s-Salam”meaning "peace be upon him". I am interested to know from where you concluded that we can not use this term for a non-prophet? Could you quote a verse from Qur’an or an authentic tradition that we can not use the phrase "Peace be upon him”after his (as) name?

Dear brother, if we want to follow the Sunnah of Prophet (S), we are ordered by the above authentic traditions to send peace not only to Imam ‘Ali (as) but also to all the members of the House of Prophet. If the Prophet (S) ordered us to send Peace and blessing to his family, then who are we to set regulations in contrary to that and yet claim to follow the Sunnah of Prophet?

The phrase "May Allah be please with him”(ra) can be used for the companions, not for Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt who are perfectly pure, flawless, and sinless.

Shiism

Is Being a Member of a Party Forbidden in Islam?

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

Some people claim that a Muslim should not call himself other than Muslim. They quote the verses of Qur’an which denounces sectarianism, and as such, they conclude that being a member of any party is not allowed for Muslims.

It is true that Islam is against sectarianism and dividing into sects. However, being a member of a party does not necessarily mean sectarianism unless such party is a sect itself.

The opinion that one should not call himself other than Muslim, contradicts Qur’an. As a matter of fact, Allah sometimes has used other terms than Muslim, when referring to a subset of Muslims. For instance, in a couple of places in Qur’an, Allah mentions a group of Muslims with the name "Hizbullah”which means "The Party of Allah". If being a member of any party is resented in Qur’an and one should call himself Muslim and Muslim only, then Allah will become sectarian (may Allah protect us) by promoting His own party! The fact is that, Allah uses a different name because He wants to address a highly virtuous subset of Muslims. In fact, any member of "The Party of Allah”is a Muslim, but the reverse is not necessarily true. Some Muslims are weak Muslims, and some are just Muslim in ID, and as such, these people do not belong to the Part of Allah about whom Allah said:

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"Verily the Party of Allah are the real prosperous.”(Qur’an 58:22)

This goes to prove that not any party within Islam are condemned. In fact, the origin of the word Muslim goes back to Prophet Abraham (as). Qur’an states that Prophet Abraham (as) was a Muslim:

Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was an upright man and MUSLIM, and he was not of the idolaters. (Qur’an 3:67)

Also in another verse Allah states that Prophet Abraham is the one who has named us Muslims:

It is the religion of your father Abraham who has called you MUSLIM from before and in this (revelation). (Qur’an 22:78)

In another verse, Prophet Abraham (as) advises his sons not to die without being Muslim:

And this was the advise that Abraham left to his sons and so did Jacob; "O my sons! Allah has chosen the faith for you; then die not except in the faith of Islam.”(Qur’an 2:132)

Now, surprisingly enough, Qur’an testifies that the Prophet Abraham was a Shi’a (follower; a member of the party) of the Prophet Noah (as):

"And most surely Abraham was among the Shi’a (followers) of him (i.e., Noah)”(Qur’an 37:83)

وَإِنَّ مِن شِیعَتِهِ لَإِبْرَاهِیمَ ﴿الصافات: ٨٣﴾

One may ask, why Prophet Abraham (as) who has been called Muslim and also advised others to be Muslim till death, has been named Shi’a? This leaves no room but to believe that his being the Shi’a of Noah (as) does not contradict his being Muslim.

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Now, we realize that being a member of a party does not contradict our identity as being Muslim as long as the leader of the Party is assigned by Allah, or at least, as long as the leader does not order something against the order of Allah and His Prophet.

Suppose there exists a party with a leader whose name is Imam xxxx. One may subscribe to this party as long as he does not prefer the order of Imam xxxx over the order of the Prophet (S).

When does a party become a sect and thereby denounced by Allah? The answer is that it will be a sect if Imam xxxx states something against the commandments of Allah or His Prophet, and when we as followers prefer the order of Imam xxxx over the order of Allah and his Prophet (S). This has been severely condemned in Qur’an, and such party is no longer a school of though within Islam but it rather has divided his followers from the religion of God and has split into a sect. May Allah protect us from such parties.

The Term Shi’a in Qur’an and Hadith

The Term Shi’a in Qur’an and Hadith

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

The word "Shi’a”means "followers; members of party". As such, the term "Shi’a”alone has no negative or positive meaning unless we specify the leader of the party. If one is a Shi’a (follower) of the most righteous servants, then there is nothing wrong with being Shi’a, specially if the leader of such party has been assigned by Allah.

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On the other hand, if one becomes the Shi’a a tyrant or a wrong-doer, he shall meet with the fate of his leader. In fact, Qur’an indicates that on the day of Judgment people will come in groups, and each group has its leader in front of it. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, said:

One day We shall call every group of people by their respective Imams. (Qur’an 17:71)

In the day of judgment, the destiny of the "followers”of each group highly depends on the destiny of his Imam (provided that they really followed that Imam). Allah mentioned in Qur’an that there are two types of Imams. Some Imams are those who invite people to Hell fire. They are tyrannical leaders of each era (like Pharaoh, etc.):

And We made them (but) Imams inviting to the Fire; and on the Day of Judgment no help shall they find. In this world We continued to curse them; and on the Day of Judgment they will be among the hateful. (Qur’an 28:41-42).

Certainly, being the members of the parties of such Satanic Imams has been severely denounced in Qur’an, and the followers of such parties will meet the fate of their leaders. However, Qur’an also reminds that there are Imams who are appointed by Allah as Guides for the mankind:

"And We assigned from among them some Imams who GUIDE by Our authority since they were patient and believed firmly in Our Signs.”(Qur’an 32:24)

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Certainly, the true followers (Shi’a) of these Imams will be the real prosperous on the day of resurrection. Thus being a Shi’a does not mean anything, unless we know the Shi’a of whom. Allah mentioned in Qur’an that Some of His righteous servants were Shi’a of His other righteous servants. An example was Prophet Abraham who was mentioned in Qur’an specifically as the Shi’a of Noah:

"And most surely Abraham was among the Shi’a of him (i.e., Noah)”(Qur’an 37:83)

وَإِنَّ مِن شِیعَتِهِ لَإِبْرَاهِیمَ ﴿الصافات: ٨٣﴾

(Notice that the word "Shi’a”is explicitly used, letter by letter, in the above verse as well as the following verse.) In another verse, Qur’an talks about the Shi’a of Moses versus the enemies of Moses:

"And he (Moses) went into the city at a time when people (of the city) were not watching, so he found therein two men fighting, one being of his Shi’a and the other beinghis enemy, and the one who was of his Shi’a cried out to him for help against the one who was of his enemy”(Qur’an 28:15)

فَوَجَدَ فِیهَا رَجُلَیْنِ یَقْتَتِلَانِ هَٰذَا مِن شِیعَتِهِ وَهَٰذَا مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ ۖفَاسْتَغَاثَهُ الَّذِی مِن شِیعَتِهِ عَلَی الَّذِی مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ...

In the above verse of Qur’an, one is named the Shi’a of Moses (as) and the other one is named the enemy of Moses, and the people at that time were either the Shi’a or the enemy of Moses (as). Thus Shi’a is an official word used by Allah in His Qur’an for His high rank prophets as well as their followers. Do you want to say Prophet Abraham was sectarian? How about Prophet Noah and Prophet Moses?

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If somebody calls himself a Shi’a, it is not due to any sectarianism, nor any innovation. It is because Qur’an has used the phrase for some of His best servants. The above verses that I mentioned in support of Shi’a, has used this term singular form (i.e., one group of followers).

This means that it has special meaning, such as: The Shi’a of Noah (as), The Shi’a of Moses (as). Also in the History of Islam, Shi’a has been specially used for the "followers of ‘Ali". The first individual who used this term was the Messenger of Allah himself:

The Messenger of Allah said to ‘Ali: "Glad tiding O ‘Ali! Verily you and your companions and your Shi’a (followers) will be in Paradise."

یا علی أبشر فإنک و أصحابک و شیعتک فی الجنَّه

Sunni references:

1. Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p655

2. Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v4, p329

3. Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v12, p289

4. al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani

5. Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v10, pp 21-22

6. al-Darqunti, who said this tradition has been transmitted via numerous authorities.

7. al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami , Ch. 11, section 1, p247

Thus the Messenger of Allah (S) used to say the phrase of "Shi’a of ‘Ali". This phrase is not something invented later! Prophet Muhammad (S) said that the TRUE followers of imam ‘Ali will go to Paradise, and this is a great felicity. Also Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari narrated that:

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The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "The Shi’a of ‘Ali are the real victorious in the day of resurrection/rising"

شیعه علی هم الفائزون یوم القیامه

Sunni references:

• al-Manaqib Ahmad, as mentioned in:

• Yanabi al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, p62

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, who quotes the tradition as follows: "We were with the Holy Prophet when ‘Ali came towards us. The Holy Prophet said: He and his Shi’a will aquire salvation on the day of judgment."

The "day of rising”may also refer to the day of rising of al-Mahdi (as). But in more general term, it means the day of judgment. Also it is narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said: "O ‘Ali! On the Day of Judgment I shall resort to Allah and you will resort to me and your children will resort to you and the Shi’a will resort to them. Then you will see where they carry us. (i.e. to Paradise)"

Sunni reference: Rabi al-Abrar, by al-Zamakhshari

Furthermore, it is narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said: "O ‘Ali! (On the day of Judgment) you and your Shi’a will come toward Allah well-pleased and well-pleasing, and there will come to Him your enemies angry and stiff-necked (i.e., their head forced up).

Sunni references:

• al-Tabarani, on the authority of Imam ‘Ali

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p236

A more complete version of the tradition which has also been reported by the Sunnis, is as follows:

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Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated:

When the verse "Those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of the creation (Qur’an 98:7)”

was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (S) said to ‘Ali: "They are you and your Shi’a.”He continued: "O ‘Ali! (On the day of Judgment) you and your Shi’a will come toward Allah well-pleased and well-pleasing, and your enemies will come angry with their head forced up. ‘Ali said: "Who are my enemies?”The Prophet (S) replied: "He who disassociates himself from you and curses you. And glad tiding to those who reach first under the shadow of al-’Arsh on the day of resurrection.”‘Ali asked: "Who are they, O the Messenger of Allah?”He replied: "Your Shi’a, O ‘Ali, and those who love you."

Sunni references:

• al-Hafidh Jamaluddin al-Dharandi, on the authority of Ibn Abbas

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, pp 246-247

Then Ibn Hajar provides a bizarre commentary for the first tradition, saying:

The Shi’a of ‘Ali are the Ahlussunnah since they are those who love Ahlul-Bayt as Allah and His Prophet ordered. But others (i.e., other than Sunnis) are the enemies of Ahlul-Bayt in reality for the love outside the boundary of law is the great enmity, and that was the reason for their fate. Also, the enemies of Ahlul-Bayt were al-Khawarij and their alike from Syria, not Muawiyah and other companions because they were Muteawweloon, and for them is a good reward, and for ‘Ali and his Shi’a is a good reward!

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Sunni reference:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p236

And this is how Sunni scholars cope with the prophetic traditions in favor of "Shi’a of ‘Ali"! They say that they are the real Shi’a!

Let us look at one more tradition in this regard:

The Messenger of Allah said to ‘Ali: "The first four individuals who will enter the Paradise are me, you, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, and our progeny will be behind us, and our wives will be behind our progeny, and our Shi’a will be on our right side and in our company."

Sunni references:

• al-Manaqib, by Ahmad

• al-Tabarani, as quoted in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami , Ch. 11, section 1, p246

From the above pieces of evidence, the word "Shi’a”is used by Allah in Qur’an for His prophets as well as their followers. Further, His blessed Prophet, Muhammad (S) has repeatedly used this word for the followers of Imam ‘Ali (as). The word Shi’a is used here in its special meaning, and moreover, it is not in plural form (Parties), rather the above verses and traditions are referring to a special party, i.e., one single party. If Shi’a meant sectarian, neither Allah would use it for His high rank prophets nor Prophet Muhammad (S) would have praised them.

However there are some verses in Qur’an which uses the plural form of Shi’a that is "Shi-ya’a”which means "Parties/groups". This is a general meaning of this term, and not the special meaning in singular form which has been given in previous examples. Of course, only one single party is accepted by Allah and the rest are severely denounced because they have separated from that unique party. So it is clear why Allah denounced "Groups/Parties/sects”(plural form) who separated from that unique group in some verses of Qur’an. There can’t be two righteous groups (with conflicting ideas) at the same time, because between the two leaders one is surely better and more qualified, and thus the claims and the motives of the other leader goes under question.

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However I did not locate the exact term of "Ahlussunnah wal-Jama’ah", nor did I find "al-Wahhabiyyah", "al-Salafiyyah”anywhere in the Holy Qur’an or the traditions of the Prophet. I agree that we should follow the Sunnah of Prophet, but I would like to discover the origin of the exact term here. We Shi’a are proud to follow the Sunnah of Prophet.

However, the question is that which Sunnah is genuine and which one is not. The word "Sunnah”by itself does not serve the purpose of knowledge. All Muslims irrespective to their persuasions claim that they follow the Sunnah of Prophet (S). Please refer to the article titled "Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt”for a detailed discussion in this regard.

It should be emphasized that the Messenger of Allah never wished to divide Muslims into groups. Prophet ordered all people to follow Imam ‘Ali (as) as his agent during his life time, and as his Caliph after him. Prophet wished everybody does that.

But unfortunately those who heeded him were few and were known as "Shi’a of ‘Ali”who were subject to all sort of discrimination and prosecution, and suffered from day one of the demise of the Mercy to Mankind, Muhammad (S). If every one (or say the majority Muslims) had obeyed what prophet wished, then there wouldn’t exist any group or school within Islam. Allah said in Qur’an:

"Hold fast to the Rope of Allah, all of you together and do not separate”(Qur’an 3:103)"

The Rope of Allah which we should not separate from, are the Ahlul-Bayt. In fact, some Sunni scholars narrated from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) saying:

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"We are the Rope of Allah about whom Allah has said: ‘Hold fast to the Rope of Allah, all of you together and do not diverge (3:103)’"

Sunni references:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami , Ch. 11, section 1, p233

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by al-Tha’labi, under commentary of verse 3:103

Thus, if Allah denounces the sectarianism, He denounces those who separated from His Rope, and not those who hold fast to it! Also some said the Rope of Allah is Qur’an. This is also true. But by looking at the following tradition narrated by Umm Salama who said:

The Messenger of Allah said: "‘Ali is with Qur’an, and Qur’an is with ‘Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Sunni references:

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p124 on the authority of Umm Salama

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, section 2, pp 191,194

• al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani; also in al-Saghir

• Tarikh al-Khulafa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p173

Then we can conclude that Imam ‘Ali is “the Qur’an verbatim “. That is, Imam ‘Ali is the Strong Rope of Allah also, because they (Qur’an and ‘Ali) are non-separable. In fact, there are a huge number of traditions in authentic Sunni sources where Prophet said Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt are inseparable and if Muslims want to remain in the right path, they should stick to both of them. (Please refer to the article titled: Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt). Therefore, one can conclude that those who separated from Ahlul-Bayt are the sectarian who divided into sects and were denounced by Allah and His prophet due to their divergence.

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In fact, the opinion of majority is not a good criteria to distinguish the false from the truth. If you look at the Qur’an, you will see that Qur’an severely denounces the majority of by frequently saying that "the majority do not understand", "the majority do not use their logic", "the majority follow their whims"...

In another verse, Allah said:

"You are the best nation (Ummah) that has been raised up for the (benefit of) people. You enjoin the good and forbid the evil...”(Qur’an 3:110).

The best nation is also the Ahlul-Bayt. Let us remember that according to Qur’an, "nation”does not mean the whole people. This is even clear from the above verse that such Ummah (nation) are raised FOR benefiting the people. Thus Ummah can be only a subset of people and not the whole people. In fact one person can be a nation. Sometimes the act of a single person is worthier than the deeds of the whole nation. This was the case for Prophet Muhammad, Imam ‘Ali, as well as the case for Prophet Abraham, peace be upon them all. Qur’an states that Abraham (as) was a nation (Ummah), meaning that his deeds was more valuable than all other people. Allah stated:

"Lo! Abraham was a nation (Ummah) who was obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the idolaters”(Qur’an 16:120)

Thus, one single individual can be a nation in the language of Qur’an. As for the Verse 3:100, it is interesting to note that some Sunni scholars have narrated from Abu Ja’far (Imam Baqir (as)) that:

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Abu Ja’far (as) said about the verse ‘You are the best nation raised up for the (benefit of) people...(3:110)’: "The Members of the House of the Prophet."

Sunni references:

• Ibn Abi Hatam, as mentioned in:

• al-Durr al-Manthoor, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti under commentary of verse 3:110 of holy Qur’an.

Also Allah mentioned in Qur’an:

"O’ you who believe! Fear Allah and be with the truthful”(Qur’an 9:119)

According to some Sunni Commentaries, "the truthful”means Imam ‘Ali (as):

Sunni reference:

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, two reports: one from Ibn Mardawayh by Ibn Abbas and the second from Ibn Asakir by Abi Ja’far (as).

This means that people should have feared Allah and should not have separated from Imam ‘Ali (as) after the demise of Prophet (S). This unfortunately did not happen at large, and therefore, unfortunate divisions followed it.

With respect to the world al-Siddeeq -- "The Truthful", there are many Sunni narrations in which the Messenger of Allah said:

The Truthful are three: Hazqeel (who was) the believer of the family of Pharaoh (see Qur’an 40:28), and Habeeb al-Najjar (who was) the believer of the family of Yaasin (see Qur’an 36:20), and ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib who is the most virtuous one among them (see Qur’an 9:119)."

Sunni references:

• Abu Nu’aym and Ibn Asakir, on the authority of Abu Layla

• Ibn al-Najjar, on the authority of Ibn Abbas

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, section 2, pp 192-193

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In conclusion, we have shown in this article that the term Shi’a has been used in Qur’an for the followers of the great servants of Allah, and in the traditions of the Prophet for the followers of Imam ‘Ali (as). One who follows such divinely appointed Guide is safe from the disputes in the religion and has grasped the Strong Rope of Allah, and has been given the glad tiding of Paradise.

Side Comments

A Sunni brother wrote: Sunni means the one who follows the traditions (Sunnah) of the Prophet, and this is supported by the following verse of Qur’an:

Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar (beautiful pattern of conduct) for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much. (Qur’an 33:21)

لَّقَدْ کَانَ لَکُمْ فِی رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَهٌ حَسَنَهٌ لِّمَن کَانَ یَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْیَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَکَرَاللَّهَ کَثِیرًا ﴿الأحزاب: ٢١﴾

My comment was as follows:

1)In the above verse neither the word "Sunnah”nor any of its derivative has been used. As I mentioned earlier, Allah has used the terminology of "Muslim”in its exact form, letter by letter, in the verse 22:78. Also Allah used the word "Shi’a”again in exact form in verse 37:83 for the Prophet Abraham. However, Allah never used the words such as "Sunni”or as "Ahlussunnah”for the followers of the Prophet (S).

2)If you say we do not find such exact terminology, but we understand that the Prophet is our pattern, then one may say that Qur’an testifies that Prophet Abraham (as) was a pattern for us as well:

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"Indeed, there is for you an excellent exemplar (beautiful pattern of conduct) in Abraham...”(Qur’an 60:4)

قَدْ کَانَتْ لَکُمْ أُسْوَهٌ حَسَنَهٌ فِی إِبْرَاهِیمَ

Notice that in the above verse, the phrase which has been used for Prophet Abraham (as) is exactly the same as that of the previous quoted verse used for Prophet Muhammad (S). That is true for the following verse as well:

Certainly there is for you in them (Abraham and his followers) an excellent exemplar (beautiful pattern of conduct) for him who fears Allah and the last day; and whoever turns back, then surely Allah is the Self-sufficient, the Praised. (Qur’an 60:6)

لَقَدْ کَانَ لَکُمْ فِیهِمْ أُسْوَهٌ حَسَنَهٌ لِّمَن کَانَ یَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْیَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَمَن یَتَوَلَّ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِیُّ الْحَمِیدُ ﴿الممتحنه: ٦﴾

Now please tell us if we can be called a Sunni because we follow Abraham’s traditions? Certainly Prophet Muhammad followed the tradition of Prophet Abraham, yet Muhammad (S) was never called Sunni, as that result. Similarly, Prophet Abraham followed the traditions of Prophet Noah, but he was never called a Sunni. Qur’an mentioned that he was a Shi’a of Noah.

3) The word "Sunnah”has used in Qur’an to refer to the custom of God and the way Allah conducts the affairs and the rules governing the universe (Sunnatullah). But here we are discussing the word Sunnah referred to the Prophet (S), and not the rules governing the universe. As such we are looking for the term such as "Sunnatu Rasoolillah".

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4) A word XXXX can be used in two ways:

XXXXX by definition

or

XXXXX by label

All Muslims are Sunni by definition, but only a group of people, which are famous to this name, are Sunni by label. How they got such label needs to be investigated though.

Also, all Muslims are "obedient”by definition, but there is no special group among Muslims who are called "obedient". This shows that having a certain characteristic by definition does not force us to specify such characteristic in our label. In fact, in most cases (not all cases) the label is just a stereotype and does not reflect the real attributes of the holder of such label.

Sometime the label is used to allure people to specific version of something which is found in various versions, each of which is claimed to be genuine one, by different groups. As such, it wouldn’t be an intelligent practice, in general, to identify the genuineness of something with its label.

Surely, the followers of the Prophet are supposed to follow his Sunnah by definition. But were they called Sunni when Prophet Muhammad was alive? or even few years after his demise? In other words, the question to be answered is: When did the title "Ahlussunnah wal Jama’ah”come into existence in the history of Islam for a specific group of Muslims?

Al-Azhar Verdict on the Shi’a

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

What follows is the Fatwa (religious verdict/ruling) of one of the Sunni world’s most revered scholars, Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot with regard to the Shi’a. 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 Shi’a 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".

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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 Qur’anic 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 Shaikh Shaltoot made the declaration whose translation is appended below. It should be made unequivocally clear as well, that al-Azhar’s official position, vis a vis the propriety of following any of the Madhaahib, including the Shi’ite Imami school, has remained unchanged since Shaikh Shaltoot’s declaration.

Some people who follow pseudo-scholars in Hijaz may beg to differ; that notwithstanding, what you see below is the view held by the overwhelming majority of Sunni scholars, and not just those at al-Azhar. Let it be known to those who strive to divide us, that their efforts are but in vain.

For the readership’s reference the phrase "al-Shi’a al-Imamiyyah al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah”means the Twelver Imami Shi’ite School of thought which comprises the overwhelming majority of Shi’ites today. The phrase "Twelver Shi’ites”is used interchangeably with "Ja’fari Shi’ites”and "Imami Shi’ites”in various literature. They are merely different names for the same school of thought.

"al-Shi’a al-Zaidiyyah”are a minority among the Shi’ites, concentrated mainly in Yemen located in the Eastern part of Arabian peninsula. For a more detailed description of the Zaidis vs. the Twelver Shi’ites, please refer to the book, "Shi’ite Islam”written by the great Shi’ite scholar, Allamah Tabataba’i, and translated by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and published by the State University of New York Press (SUNY).

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And as for Shaikh Shaltoot’s declaration:

Head Office of al-Azhar University:

In the name of Allah, the Benefient, the Merciful

Text of the Verdict (Fatwa) Issued by His Excellency Shaikh al-Akbar Mahmood Shaltoot, Head of the al-Azhar University, on Permissibility of Following "al-Shi’a al- Imamiyyah”School of Thought

His Excellency was asked:

Some believe that, for a Muslim to have religiously correct worship and dealing, it is necessary to follow one of the four known schools of thought, whereas, "al-Shi’a al-Imamiyyah”school of thought is not one of them nor "al-Shi’a al-Zaidiyyah.”Do your Excellency agree with this opinion, and prohibit following "al-Shi’a al-Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah”school of thought, for example?

His Excellency replied:

1) Islam does not require a Muslim to follow a particular Madh’hab (school of thought). Rather, we say: every Muslim has the right to follow one of the schools of thought which has been correctly narrated and its verdicts have been compiled in its books. And, everyone who is following such Madhahib (schools of thought) can transfer to another school, and there shall be no crime on him for doing so.

2) The Ja’fari school of thought, which is also known as "al-Shi’a al- Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah”(i.e., The Twelver Imami Shi’ites) is a school of thought that is religiously correct to follow in worship as are other Sunni schools of thought.

Muslims must know this, and ought to refrain from unjust prejudice to any particular school of thought, since the religion of Allah and His Divine Law (Shari’ah) was never restricted to a particular school of thought. Their jurists (Mujtahidoon) are accepted by Almighty Allah, and it is permissible to the "non-Mujtahid”to follow them and to accord with their teaching whether in worship (Ibadaat) or transactions (Mu’amilaat).

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Signed,

Mahmood Shaltoot.

The above Fatwa was announced on July 6, 1959 from the Head of al-Azhar University, and was subsequently published in many publications in the Middle East which include, but are not limited to:

1. al-Sha’ab newspaper (Egypt), issue of July 7, 1959.

2. al-Kifah newspaper (Lebanon), issue of July 8, 1959.

The above segment can also be found in the book "Inquiries about Islam", by Muhammad Jawad Chirri, Director of the Islamic Center of America, 1986 Detroit, Michigan and it is easily downloadable on

The Major Difference Between the Shi’a and the Sunni

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

All the Muslims agree that Allah is One, Muhammad (S) is His last Prophet, the Qur’an is His last Book for mankind, and that one day Allah will resurrect all human beings, and they will be questioned about their beliefs and actions. There are, however, disagreements between the two schools in the following two areas:

1. The Caliphate (successorship/leadership) which the Shi’a believe is the right of the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt.

2. The Islamic rule when there is no clear Qur’anic statement, nor is there a Hadith upon which Muslim schools have agreed.

The second issue has root into the first one. The Shi’a bound themselves to refer to Ahlul-Bayt for deriving the Sunnah of Prophet (S). They do this in conformity with the order of Prophet reported in the authentic Sunni and Shi’i collections of traditions beside what the Qur’an attests to their perfect purity.

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The disagreement about the caliphate should not be a source of division between the two schools. Muslims agree that the caliphate of Abu Bakr came through election by a limited number of people and was a surprise for all other companions. By limited number, I mean, the majority of the prominent companions of prophet had no knowledge of this election. ‘Ali, Ibn Abbas,

Uthman, Talha, Zubair, Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas, Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr, Ammar Ibn Yasir, Miqdad, Abdurrahman Ibn Owf were among those who were not consulted nor even informed of. Even Umar confessed to the fact that the election of Abu Bakr was without consultation of Muslims. (See sahih al-

Bukhari, Arabic-English, Tradition 8.817)

On the other hand, election implies choice and freedom, and that every Muslim has the right to elect the nominee. Whoever refuses to elect him does not oppose God or His Messenger because neither God nor His Messenger appointed the nominated person by people.

Election, by its nature, does not compel any Muslim to elect a specific nominee. Otherwise, the election would be coercion. This means that the election would lose its own nature and it would be a dictatorial operation.

It is well known that the Prophet said: "There is no validity for any allegiance given by force."

Imam ‘Ali refused to give his allegiance to Abu Bakr for six months. He gave his allegiance to Abu Bakr only after the martyrdom of his wife

Fatimah al-Zahra (sa), Daughter of the Holy Prophet, six month after the departure of Prophet. (see Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition 5.546). If refusal to give allegiance to an elected nominee was prohibited in Islam, Imam ‘Ali would not have allowed himself to delay in giving his allegiance.

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In the same tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari, Imam ‘Ali (as) said that he had some rights in Caliphate which was not honored, and he complained why Abu Bakr should have not consulted him in deciding upon the ruler. He later gave his allegiance when he found that the only way to save Islam is to leave the isolation which occured due to his refusal of giving the oath of allegiance.

What’s more? The well known companions, Abdullah Ibn Umar and Sa’d Ibn Abi

Waqqas, refused to give their allegiance to Imam ‘Ali for the entire duration of his caliphate. (Ibn Al-Athir, his history Al-Kamil, v3, p98). But the Imam did not punish these companions.

If it was permissible for a Muslim, who was a contemporary of the caliph,to refuse to give his allegiance, it would be more permissible for a person who came in a later century to believe or not to believe in the qualifications of that elected caliph. In doing so, he would not be sinning, provided that the Caliph is not assigned by Allah.

The Shi’a say that Imam must be appointed by God; that appointment may be known through the declaration of the Prophet or the preceding Imam. The Sunni scholars say that Imam (or Caliph, as they prefer to say) can be either elected, or nominated by the preceding Caliph, or selected by a committee, or may attempt to gain the power through a military coup (as was in the case of Muawiyah).

The Shi’a scholars say that a divinely appointed Imam is sinless and Allah does not grant such position to the sinful. The Sunni scholars (including Mu’tazilites) say that Imam can be sinful as he is appointed by other than Allah. Even if he is tyrant and sunk in sins (like in the case of Muawiyah and Yazid), the majority of the scholars from the schools of Hanbali, Shafi’i, and Maliki discourage people to rise against that Caliph. They think that they should be preserved although they disagree with the evil actions.

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The Shi’a say that Imam must possess above all such qualities as knowledge, bravery, justice, wisdom, piety, love of God etc. The Sunni scholars say it is not necessary. A person inferior in these qualities may be elected in preference to a person having all these qualities of superior degree.

Imam Al-Mahdi a.s

The Last Luminary

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

There is no doubt that the Holy Qur’an is the book of Allah and that all Muslims of the world are required to accept its teachings and instructions. When one opens Qur’an and casts a glance at its verses he will come across to what seems to be a clear landscape of an extraordinary, sensational, and exciting future and the end of the universe.

Qur’an indicates that the ultimate mission of the Prophet of Islam was to make this religion prevail over all other religions in the world; and one day this holy aspiration will finally be fulfilled. Allah stated in Qur’an:

"It is He who has sent His messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the Religion of truth, to prevail over all religions, even though the idolaters may detest.”(Qur’an 9:33)

The Holy book of the last Messenger of Allah gives the glad tidings that the rule over the earth shall finally belong to the righteous and virtuous servants of Allah:

"The earth is Allah’s. He gives it as a heritage to whom He wills, and the good end is for the righteous people.”(Qur’an 7:128)

إِنَّ الْأَرْضَ لِلَّهِ یُورِثُهَا مَن یَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَالْعَاقِبَهُ لِلْمُتَّقِینَ ﴿الأعراف: ١٢٨﴾

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And He, Exalted, also said:

"And We wrote in Psalm (Zabur) after the Reminder that surely My righteous servants will inherit the earth.”(Qur’an 21:105)

وَلَقَدْ کَتَبْنَا فِی الزَّبُورِ مِن بَعْدِ الذِّکْرِ أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ یَرِثُهَا عِبَادِیَ الصَّالِحُونَ ﴿١٠٥﴾

The earth which will be full of corruption destruction and ignorance, like a lifeless body, will be revived with the glowing light of justice as indicated in His book:

"Know that Allah gives life to earth after its death!”(Qur’an 57:17)

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ یُحْیِی الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ...

We also read in Qur’an:

"Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good deeds that He will surely make them succeed (the present rulers) in the earth as he caused those who were before them to succeed others and that He will surely establish for them religion which He has approved for them and will give them safety after their fear to worship Me and not to associate anything with Me.”(Qur’an 24:55)

Allah also stated:

"They intend to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will complete His Light even though the unbelievers may detest.”(Qur’an 61:8)

He, Exalted He is, also said:

"And We desired to show favor unto those who were oppressed in the earth to make them symbols and to make them inheritors.”(Qur’an 28:5)

These were some short examples of the divine glad tidings mentioned in Qur’an. By studying these matters and tens of other similar indications, it is deduced that the Islamic message will reach its complete fulfillment when these holy aspirations will take place.

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All fabricated and superstitious objectives will disappear and then only the Islam, the unique and true religion, will be the faith of the people in the east and west of the world. Injustice, oppression, and inequality shall vanish, and instead, justice and equality which is the law of the creation of the world will be established everywhere.

The Kingdom of the divinely appointed Caliph (Khalifatullah) will manifest itself in all the corners of the world. The light of the guidance of Allah will shine and the earth shall belong to the virtuous ones. Yes, Qur’an gives the Good News which the day that all Muslims of the world are enthusiastically waiting for it, will arrive.

Beside Qur’an, the sayings of the Prophet (S) are the most important and worthiest treasure of Islamic learning. In the sea of jewels of Islamic traditions glad tidings on the Government of Justice can be seen which is regarding to the "Divine Revolution”and the "divinely appointed leader”who will fulfill this holy aspiration.

In a tradition upon whose authenticity all Muslims agree, the Messenger of Allah (S) has said:

"Even if the entire duration of the world’s existence has already been exhausted and only one day is left before Doomsday, Allah will expand that day to such length of time as to accommodate the kingdom of a person from my Ahlul-Bayt who will be called by my name. He will fill out the earth with peace and justice as it will have been full of injustice and tyranny (by then)."

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(Please see the next article for the list of Sunni references for the above tradition as well as many other traditions.)

لو لم یبقَ من الدنیا إلا یوم واحد لطوَّل الله ذلک الیوم حتی یبعث فیه رجلاً من أهل بیتی یواطیء إسمُهُ إسمی یملأ الأرض قِسْطاً و عدلاً کما مُلِئَتْ ظلماً و جوراً.

The above precious tradition testifies that the golden divine promises will take place, sooner or later, one way or another, as also mentioned in most of the Shi’ite and Sunnite sources.

In both subjects of prophecy and Imamat (leadership) it is discussed that as a result of the law of general guidance which governs all of creation, human is of necessity endowed with the power of receiving revelation through prophecy, which directs him toward the perfection of the human norm and the well-being of the human species.

Obviously, if this perfection and happiness were not possible for human, the very fact that he is endowed with this power would have been meaningless and futile. But there is no futility in creation.

In other words, ever since he has inhabited the earth, human has had the wish to lead a social life filled with happiness in its true sense and has striven toward this end. If such a wish were not to have an objective existence it would never have been imprinted upon human’s inner nature, in the same way that if there were no food there would have been no meaning for hunger (since hunger is understood when one compares a person who has eaten food and a person who has not), and if there were no water there would have been no thirst and if there were no reproduction there would have been no sexual attraction between the sexes.

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Therefore, by the reason of inner necessity and determination, the future will see a day when human society will be replete with justice, when all will live in peace and tranquillity, and when human beings will be fully possessed of virtue and perfection. The establishment of such a condition will occur through human hands but with Divine Assistance. And the leader of such a society is called in the language of the traditions, al-Mahdi (the Mahdi; the guided one).

In the different religions that govern the world (either divine or not) such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam there are references to a person who will come as the savior of mankind. These religions have given glad tidings of his coming, although there are naturally minor differences in detail that can be discerned when these teachings are compared carefully.

However one thing that all these teachings have in common is that "A human will come to establish peace and tranquillity all over the earth". Every religion has a different attachment to it, however. The least thing that a human being (regardless of his religion) is supposed to do, is to accept what all these teachings have in common. This goes to prove the necessity of belief for "his coming". Thus, the saviors of all these religions who are all expected to come at the end of the time, are manifested in one individual, since the foundation of such belief is established by all.

The attachments of different religions can be reconciled on their own tendencies, and thus rejected. The fact remains that the teachings of the previous religions have been under a long alteration process, and only Islam has been guaranteed its survival.

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Thus we should accept the attachment that the traditions of the Prophet (S) has offered us with regard to the one who is coming whose name is Imam al-Mahdi (and, of course, there will come Jesus as one of the Imam al-Mahdi’s follower, based on the prophetic traditions).

There are numerous traditions cited in the Sunni and the Shi’i sources from the Holy Prophet concerning the appearance of the Mahdi, such as that he is of the progeny of the Prophet and that his appearance will enable human society to reach true perfection and the full realization of spiritual life.

In addition, there are numerous other traditions concerning the fact that the Mahdi is the son of the Eleventh Imam, al-Hasan al-Askari, and that after being born and undergoing a long occultation (disappearance; living among people while he is not identified) the Mahdi will appear again, filling the world with justice as it has been corrupted by injustice and tyranny.

In a tradition the holy Prophet (S) said to the Commander of believers, ‘Ali (as), that:

"There will be twelve Guides after me, the first of whom is you, O’ ‘Ali, and the last one will be the ‘Support’ (al-Qa’im) who, with the grace of Allah, will gain victory over the whole east and west of the world."

Imam ‘Ali al-Ridha (the eighth Imam) said, in the course of a tradition:

"The Imam after me is my son, Muhammad, and after him his son ‘Ali, and after ‘Ali his son, al-Hasan, and after al-Hasan his son Hujjat al-Qa’im (the proof of Allah who shall stand), who is awaited during his occultation and obeyed during his manifestation. Even if there remain from the life of the world but a single day, Allah will expand that day until he becomes manifest and fills the world with justice in the same way that it had been filled with injustice. But when? As for news of the hour (i.e., the moment of appearance), frequently my father told me, having heard it from his father who heard it from his father who heard it from his ancestors who heard it from ‘Ali (as), that it was asked from the holy Prophet, O Prophet of God, when will the ‘Support’ (al-Qa’im) who is from your family appear? He said, His case is like that of the Hour (of time of the resurrection). ‘Allah alone knows it and He will manifest it at its proper time. It is heavy in the heavens and the earth. It cometh not to you save unawares’ (Qur’an 7:187)."

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Musa al-Baghdadi said, I heard Imam Hasan al-Askari (the eleventh Imam) who said:

"I see that after me differences will appear among you concerning the Imam after me. Whoever accepts the Imams after the Prophet of God but denies my son is like the person who accepts all the prophets but denies the prophethood of Muhammad, the Prophet of God, upon whom be peace and blessing. And whoever denies (Muhammad) the Prophet of God is like one who has denied all the prophets of God, for obeying the last of us is like obeying the first of us and denying the last of us is like denying the first of us. But beware! Verily, for my son there is an occultation during which all people will fall into doubt except those whom Allah protects."

There are hundreds of prophetic traditions about Imam al-Mahdi (as) which have been recorded in both the Shi’ite and Sunnite collections of traditions. A large number of religious scholars form all Islamic schools of thought have independently compiled books about Imam al-Mahdi, the leader of the time. Their number runs to tens of volumes. (For more information in this regard, please see the next article.) Thus believing in Imam al-Mahdi is not exclusive to the Shi’ites, and the Sunni scholars believe in him, though they do not have the extensive information about him that the Shi’a possess.

For more information about Imam al-Mahdi (as), You may look at the following English books:

1- "The Awaited Savior,”by B. al-Sadr and M. Mutahhari. ($3.5)

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2- "An Inquiry Concerning al-Mahdi,”by B. al-Sadr. ($8)

3- "A Reply To: Belief of Mahdism in Shi’a Imamia". ($6)

Please add $3 shipping and handling and send to:

al-Khoei Foundation,

89-89 Van Wyck Expressway,

Jamaica, NY 11435-4123 USA

Sunni Documentation on Imam al-Mahdi (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

For the Sunni brothers, there are six major collections of traditions based on the Sunni standards for verifying the authenticity of a tradition. These six books are: Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sahih al-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah, Sunan Abu Dawud, and Sahih al-Nisa’i. I just quote few traditions from these six books to prove that a knowledgeable Sunni brother/sister can NOT deny that:

• al-Mahdi (as) will come in the last days to make a universal Government,

• al-Mahdi (as) is from the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (S),

• al-Mahdi (as) is from the progeny of Fatimah (sa), the daughter of the Prophet (S),

• al-Mahdi (as) is different than Prophet Jesus (the Messiah),

• Prophet Jesus (as) will come as one of the followers of Imam al-Mahdi and will pray behind him in congressional prayer.

Another undeniable fact is that many leading Sunni scholars have written books after books exclusively about Imam al-Mahdi (as) which I included some of their names at the end of this article.

Moreover, Insha Allah in the next article, I will give a list of Sunni scholars who believe that Imam al-Mahdi (as) is son of Imam Hasan al-Askari (as), and is alive and went into occultation. In that article will also discuss the special specifications of Imam al-Mahdi which are the points of disagreement between the Shi’a and the Sunni.

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The following are only some of the traditions about Imam al-Mahdi which Sunnis admit to their authenticity and existence:

The Prophet (S) said: "Even if the entire duration of the world’s existence has already been exhausted and only one day is left (before the day of judgment), Allah will expand that day to such a length of time, as to accommodate the kingdom of a person from my Ahlul-Bayt who will be called by my name. He will fill out the earth with peace and justice as it will have been full of injustice and tyranny (by then)."

Sunni References:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v2, p86, v9, pp 74-75

• Sunan Abu Dawud, v2, p7

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, pp 84,376; V3, p63

• al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihayn, by al-Hakim, v4, p557

• Jami’ al-Saghir, by al-Suyuti, pp 2,160

• al-Urful Wardi, by al-Suyuti, p2

• al-Majma’, by al-Tabarani, p217

• Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v9, p144

• Fat’h al-Bari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, by Ibn Hajar Asqalani, v7, p305

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p249

• al-Tathkirah, by al-Qurtubi, p617

• al-Hawi, by al-Suyuti, v2, pp 165-166

• Sharh al-Mawahib al-Ladunniyyah, by al-Zurqani, v5, p348

• Fat’h al-Mugheeth, by al-Sakhawi, v3, p41

• Kanz al-Ummal, v7 P186

• Iqd al-Durar Fi Akhbar al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, v12, Ch. 1,

• al-Bayan fi Akhbar Sahib al-Zaman, By Ganji al-Shafi’i, Ch. 12

• al-Fusool al-Muhimmah, by Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki, Ch. 12

• Arjahul Matalib, by Ubaidallah Hindi al-Hanafi, p380

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• Muqaddimah, by Ibn Khaldoon, p266

• and also in the works of Ibn Habban, Abu Nua’ym, Ibn Asakir, etc.

Also:

The Prophet (S) said: "al-Mahdi is one of us, the members of the household (Ahlul-Bayt)."

Sunni reference: Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, Tradition 4085

It is evident from the above traditions that Imam al-Mahdi (as) is from the Ahlul-Bayt of Prophet Muhammad, so he can not be Jesus (the Messiah; al-Maseeh). Thus, al-Mahdi and Messiah are two different personalities but they come at the same time, al-Mahdi as Imam and Jesus as his follower. The following tradition clearly mentions that Imam al-Mahdi is one of descendants of the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S):

The Prophet (S) said: The Mahdi will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatimah (the Prophet’s daughter).

ألمَهدیُّ مِن عترتی من ولد فاطمه

Sunni references:

• Sunan Abu Dawud, English version, Ch. 36, Tradition 4271 (narrated by Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet)

• Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, Tradition 4086

• al-Nisa’i and al-Bayhaqi, and others as quoted in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p249

Also:

The Prophet (S) said: "We the children of Abd al-Muttalib are the Masters of the inhabitants of the heaven: Myself, Hamza (ra), ‘Ali (as), Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib (ra), al-Hasan (as), al-Husayn (as), and al-Mahdi (as)."

Sunni references:

• Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, Tradition 4087

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik

• al-Daylami

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p245

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The Prophet (S) said: "The Mahdi will appear in my Ummah. He will appear for a minimum of 7 or a maximum of 9 years; at that time, my Ummah will experience a bountiful favor like never before. It shall have a great abundance of food, of which it need not save anything, and the wealth at that time is in great quantities, such that if a man asks the Mahdi to give him some, and the Mahdi (as) will say: Here! Take!"

Sunni reference: Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, Tradition 5083

Remark: According to Shi’i sources, the Government of Peace and equality that Imam al-Mahdi will establish will last hundreds of years with no rival, and then the day of Judgment will commence. What is mentioned in the above tradition as 7 or 9 years is the length of time that Imam al-Mahdi (as) will fight to conquer the world when he starts his mission.

The Prophet (S) said: "We (I and my family) are members of a household that Allah (SWT) has chosen for them the life of the Hereafter over the life of this world; and the members of my household (Ahlul-Bayt) shall suffer a great affliction and they shall be forcefully expelled from their homes after my death; then there will come people from the East carrying black flags, and they will ask for some good to be given to them, but they shall be refused service; as such, they will wage war and emerge victorious, and will be offered that which they desired in the first place, but they will refuse to accept it till they pass it to a man from my family (Ahlul-Bayt) appears to fill the Earth with justice as it has been filled with corruption. So whoever reaches that (time) ought to come to them even if crawling on the ice/snow since among them is the Vice-regent of Allah (Khalifatullah) al-Mahdi."

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Sunni references:

• Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, Tradition 4082,

• The History Tabari

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, pp 250-251

Also:

The Messenger of Allah said: "The world will not perish until a man among the Arabs appears whose name matches my name."

Sunni reference: Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v9, p74

In Sahih Muslim, in the Chapter of al-Fitan, there are some interesting traditions on what will happen in the last days of the world. I would like to quote two of them here:

Abu Nadra reported: We were with the company of Jabir Ibn Abdillah... Jabir Ibn Abdillah kept quite for a while and then reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) having said: "There would be a Caliph in the last (period) of my Ummah who would freely give handfuls of wealth to the people without counting it.”I said to Abu Nadra and Abu al-Ala: Do you mean Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz? They said: NO, (he would be Imam Mahdi).

Sunni references:

• Sahih Muslim, English version, v4, chapter MCCV, p1508, Tradition 6961

• Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, Kitab al-Fitan, v4, p2234, Tradition 67

(NOTE: What are inside the parentheses in the above tradition are NOT my comments. They are the words of the translator of Sahih Muslim (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui).)

Similarly, we read in Sahih Muslim:

Abu Sa’id and Jabir Ibn Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: "There would be in the last (phase) of the time a Caliph who would distribute wealth but would not count."

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Sunni references:

• Sahih Muslim, English version, v4, chapter MCCV, p1508, Tradition 6964

• Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, Kitab al-Fitan, v4, p2235, Tradition 69

It is also narrated:

In the end of the time, my Ummah will undergo very hard affliction like never before, so that man can not find any way out. Then Allah will appear a person from my progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt, who will fill the earth with justice as it was filled with injustice. The inhabitants of the earth and the inhabitants of the heaven love him. The sky will bring down its water everywhere and the earth will bring all what it can offer and will become green all over.

Sunni references:

• al-Sahih fi al-Hadith, by al-Hakim, as quoted in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p250

Ibn Majah in his Sunan quotes Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah and Imam ‘Ali saying that the Holy Prophet (S) said:

"al-Mahdi is from our Ahlul-Bayt, no doubt Allah will enforce his appearance within a night (i.e., his coming is very unpredictable and is very sudden)."

Sunni references:

• Sunan Ibn Majah, v2, p269

• Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as quoted in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p250

Moreover, it is narrated that:

‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) said: "When the ‘Support’ of the family of Muhammad (al-Qa’im Aale Muhammad) rises Allah will unite the people of east and the people of west."

Sunni references:

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• Ibn Asakir, as quoted in:

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p252

Ibn Hajar wrote that:

Muqatil Ibn Sulayman and those who followed him among the (Sunni) commentators of Qur’an said that the verse: "And he shall be a Sign for (the coming of) the Hour”(Qur’an 43:61) was revealed about al-Mahdi.

Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p247

Also Ahmad Ibn Hanbal recorded:

The Prophet (S) said: "Allah will bring out from concealment al-Mahdi from my Family and just before the Day of Judgment; even if only one day were to remain in the life of the world, and he will spread on this earth justice and equity and will eradicate tyranny and oppression."

Sunni references:

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p99

• A close version has also been narrated in Sunan Abu Dawud, English version, Ch. 36, Tradition 4270 narrated from ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as).

It is narrated in Sahih Muslim that:

Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari (ra) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: "A group of my Ummah will fight for the truth until near the day of judgment when Jesus, the son of Marry, will descend, and the leader of them will ask him to lead the prayer, but Jesus declines, saying: "No, Verily, among you Allah has made leaders for others and He has bestowed his bounty upon them."

Sunni reference:

• Sahih Muslim, Arabic, part 2, p193

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, pp 45,384

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• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p251

• Nuzool Isa Ibn Maryam Akhir al-Zaman, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p57

• Musnad, by Abu Ya’ala which provides another version of the tradition with more clear words on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: "A group among my Ummah will continue to fight for the truth until Jesus, the son of Marry, will descend, and the Imam of them will ask him to lead the prayer, but Jesus replies: "You have more right to it, and verily Allah has honored some of you over others in this Ummah."

• Sahih Ibn Habban, whose tradition reads: "their leader al-Mahdi”and the rest of tradition is the same.

• Ibn Abu Shaybah, another Sunni traditionist, and the mentor of al-Bukhari and Muslim, has reported several traditions about Imam al-Mahdi (as). He has also reported that the Imam of the Muslims who will lead Prophet Jesus in prayer is Imam al-Mahdi himself.

Jalaluddin al-Suyuti mentioned that: "I have heard some of the deniers of (truth) deny what has been conveyed about Jesus that when he descends will pray the Fajr prayer behind al-Mahdi. They say, Jesus has higher status than to pray behind a non-Prophet.

This is a bizarre opinion since the issue of prayer of Jesus behind al-Mahdi has been proven strongly via numerous authentic traditions from the Messenger of Allah, who is the most truthful.”And then al-Suyuti goes on narrating some of the traditions in this regard. (See Nuzool Isa Ibn Maryam Akhir al-Zaman, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p56).

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Also al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentioned that:

"The Mahdi is of this Ummah, and that Jesus (S) will come down and pray behind him."

Sunni reference: Fat’h al-Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v5, p362

This is also mentioned by another Sunni scholar, Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, who wrote:

"The Ahlul-Bayt are like the stars through whom we are guided in the right direction, and if the starts are taken away (or hidden) we would come face to face with the signs of the Almighty as promised (i.e., the Day of Resurrection). This will happen when the Mahdi will come, as mentioned in the traditions, and the Prophet Jesus will say his prayers behind him, the Dajjal will be slain, and then the signs of the Almighty will appear one after another."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p234

Also Ibn Hajar quoted Abu al-Husayn al-Ajiri saying:

The traditions of al-Mustafa (S) on the rising of al-Mahdi has been transmitted via numerous authorities and is more than the level of (being sufficient for) Mutawatir, describing that he is of his Ahlul-Bayt, and will fill the earth with justice, and that Jesus (as) will come at the same time and he will assist Jesus for killing al-Dajjal in the land of Palestine, and that he will lead this nation and Jesus will pray behind him.

Sunni reference:

• Abu al-Husayn al-Ajiri as quoted in al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p254

So if al-Mahdi and Jesus are to be the same person as some ignorants claim, then how can one prays behind himself?! Moreover this shows that Imam al-Mahdi and Jesus (the Messiah) will come at the same time so that they could pray the morning prayer together in Jerusalem.

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In fact, the equivalent word of "Messiah”in Arabic is "al-Maseeh”which means "Wiped Clean; Purified". This word has been used in Qur’an as the title of Prophet Jesus (as). As such, the "Messiah”is the Prophet Jesus (as) and not the Imam al-Mahdi (as).

However, the word "Messiah”in English has another meaning, that is "savior". As a result, there have been some English translators who used the word "Messiah”for Imam al-Mahdi (as) with the meaning of "Savior”which does NOT have anything to do with Arabic word "al-Maseeh".

I should point out that, there exists a fabricated tradition which is mainly used by Ahmadis and Qadianis to prove that al-Mahdi and Jesus are the same. The tradition states: "And no Mahdi except Jesus.”

This tradition has been rated by al-Hakim as unknown and strange and he said there are discrepancy in its chain of authorities. al-Bayhaqi said Muhammad Ibn Khalid said this tradition is single (Mufrad). al-Nisa’i has mentioned that this tradition is unfamiliar and is denied, and that the memorizers of traditions confirm that the traditions which state that al-Mahdi is the descendants of Fatimah are authentic and reliable. (See al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, Ch. 11, section 1, p252 for details).

Prophet Jesus is not the Imam of Muslims, and when he comes back, he will be the follower of the Imam of Muslims who is known as Imam al-Mahdi (as).

In Sahih al-Bukhari, it is narrated that:

The Prophet (S) said: "What would be your situation if the Son of Marry (i.e. Jesus) descends upon you and your Imam is among you?"

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Sunni reference:

• Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v4, Tradition 658

NOTE: The above is my own translation. The Saudi-paid translator of Sahih al-Bukhari (Muhammad Muhsin Khan) has shown pure dishonesty in translating the above tradition. His translation of the last portion of the tradition does not bear any similarity what so ever with the Arabic text of the tradition which is as follows:

کیف أنتم إذا نزل اْبنُ مریم فیکم و إمامکم منکم؟

Now let us look at the false translation of Mr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 4.658

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said "How will you be when the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Qur’an and not by the law of Gospel.

Mr. Muhsin Khan has trimmed the last part of the tradition which states that the Imam of Muslims (i.e., Imam al-Mahdi) is among Muslims when the son of marry descends. Instead, the translator has added another sentence which does not exists in the Arabic text. I should mention that this is not the only place that he has altered the text, and there are much more examples in this regard which proves his bias and his dishonesty.

Al-Hafidh Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali al-Shawkani (d. 1250/1834) wrote in a book called "al-Tawdhih fi twawatur ma jaa’a fil muntadar wad-djjal wal masih”(the explanation about the frequent reports concerning the Awaited one, the Dajjal, and the messiah) in which he wrote about Imam al-Mahdi (as) that: "The traditions about al-Mahdi have been related by numerous authorities and are therefor reliable beyond doubt or confusion, because in jurisprudence the qualification of Mutawatir is valid even for (traditions) with less than this number of narrations.

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There are also many sayings of the companions (of the Prophet) which explicitly mention the Mahdi, which have the status of narrations from the Prophet since there is no question of establishing such saying through Ijtihad (one’s opinion and research)". The author gives the same opinion in his other book "al-Fat’h al-Rabbani". (In this connection see also Mawsu’atil Imam al-Mahdi, v1, pp 391-392,413-414,434, and also Tuhfatul Ahwadhi, v6, p485).

The author of the book, "Ghayah al-Ma’amool,”mentioned that: "It is a famous narration among the Scholars of the past and the present that there has to appear a man from the family of the Prophet (S) named al-Mahdi. In addition, the traditions about the Mahdi have been narrated by the most renowned companions of the Prophet (S), as well as by the most renowned scholars such as Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Tabarani, Abu Ya’ala, al-Bazzar, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, and al-Hakim (May Allah be pleased with them all); furthermore, those who claim that the traditions narrated with regard to the appearance of the Mahdi are weak, are themselves in error."

Al-Saban in his book, "Is’af al-Raghibeen,”mentioned that: "The news about the appearance of the Mahdi are traceable back to the Prophet (S), and that he is one of the members of the family of the Prophet (S); and that he will fill the Earth with justice."

Al-Suwaydi in his book, "Saba’iq al-Dhahab,”reported that: "The scholars have a consensus that the Mahdi (as) will appear at the end of time and fill the Earth with justice; and the traditions supporting his appearance are indeed numerous."

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al-Hafidh Abul-Hasan Muhammad Ibn al-Husayn al-Sijistani al-Aburi al-Shafi’i (d. 363/974) said: "The traditions were related by numerous authorities and were spread far and wide by many narrators, from al-Mustafa (S) concerning al-Mahdi who is from the household (of the Prophet) and who will fill the world with justice..”

This statement was accepted by the subsequent scholars as testified by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (See Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, v9, p144; Fat’h al-Bari, v7, p305), al-Qurtubi (al-Tathkirah, p617), al-Suyuti (al-Hawi, v2, pp 165-166), al-Muttaqi al-Hindi (al-Burhan fi Alamat Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, pp 175-176), Ibn Hajar al-Haythami (al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, Ch. 11, section 1, p249), al-Zurqani (Sharh al-Mawahib al-Ladunniyyah, v5, p348), al-Sakhawi (Fat’h al-Mugheeth, v3, p41), etc.

The best formulation of the belief of all Muslims about al-Mahdi (as) has been given by a person who himself did not believe in his coming and who denied the validity of the traditions concerning this matter. He was Ibn Khaldoon (d. 808/1406), a famous historian, in whose book, "al-Muqaddamah,”wrote:

"Let it be known that it is a narrated event by ALL Muslims in EVERY era that at the end of time a man from the family of the Prophet (S) will, without fail, make his appearance and will strengthen Islam and spread justice; Muslims will follow him and he will gain domination over the Muslim realm. He will be called al-Mahdi.”(An Introduction to History, by Ibn Khaldoon, English version, London, 1967 Edition, pp 257-258)

The above quote proves that even Ibn Khaldoon was in the opinion that the belief in Imam al-Mahdi was not a characteristic of a special sect of Islam, but was a common belief to ALL Muslims.

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Sunni scholars openly criticized those elements (like Ibn Khaldoon) who tried to cast doubt the traditions about al-Mahdi (as), and have strongly asserted that the belief in Mahdi is well-established for ALL Muslims. See for instance: "Awnul Ma’bud”(which is the commentary of Sunan Abu Dawud), by al-Azimabadi, v11, pp 361-362, Tuhfatul Ahwadhi (which is the commentary of Sahih al-Tirmidhi), by al-Mubarakfuri, v6, p484, al-Tajul Jami’ lil Usul, by Shaikh Mansoor ‘Ali Nasif, v5, p341.

Shaikh Ahmad Muhammad Shakir (d. 1377/1958), one of the greatest contemporary scholar of Hadith and Tafsir, whose major work was his commentary on Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (for a biography of Ahmad Shakir, see al-Aalam, v1, p253; Mu’jam al-Mu’allifeen, v13, p368) wrote in his commentary: "Belief in al-Mahdi is not particular to the Shi’a because it is from the narration of many companions of the Prophet in such way that NO one can cast doubt the truth (of this belief).”After this, he proceeds to a strong refutation of Ibn Khaldoon’s weakening the traditions regarding al-Mahdi. (see Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal with commentary of Ahmad Muhammad Shakir, Pub. by Dar al-Ma’arif, Egypt, v5, pp 196-198, v14, p288).

Al-Sayid Sabiq, the Mufti for the "Muslim Brotherhood,”in his book, "al- ‘Aqa’id al-Islamiyyah,”that: "The idea about the Mahdi is indeed valid, and is one of the Islamic tenets that one must believe in.”Mr. Sabiq also narrated a variety of traditions relating to the appearance of al-Mahdi (as) in the above book.

The recent Fatwa in this issue was given in Mecca by "The Muslim World League”(Rabitatul ‘Alamil Islami) on Oct. 11, 1976 (23 Shawwal 1396). This Fatwa states that more than twenty companions narrated traditions concerning al-Mahdi, and gives a list of those scholars of Hadith who have transmitted these narrations, and those who have written books on al-Mahdi. The Fatwa states:

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"The memorizers (Huffadh) and scholars of Hadith have verified that there are authentic (Sahih) and acceptable (Hasan) reports among the traditions related to al-Mahdi. The majority of these traditions are related through numerous authorities (Mutawatir). There is no doubt that the status of those reports are Sahih and Mutawatir. (They have also verified) that the belief in Mahdi is obligatory, and that it is one of the beliefs of Ahlussunnah wal Jama’a. Only those ignorant of the Sunnah and innovators in doctrine deny it.

For the transcription and reproduction of this Fatwa, see, among others, the Introduction of al-Ganji al-Shafi’i, in the book named "al-Bayan,”Beirut, 1399/1979, pp 76-79 and in Appendix.

Two Shafi’i scholars, Ganji in his book "al-Bayan", and Shablanji in his book "Noor al-Absar", on the verse 48:28 of Qur’an: "He is the One who sent his Messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the true religion that in order to prevail over all the religions”narrated from Sa’id Ibn Jubair that "this promise to Prophet Muhammad will be fulfilled by al-Mahdi who is in the progeny of Fatimah (sa)."

Even Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728/1328), who is acclaimed by the Wahhabis, wrote in his book "Minhaj al-Sunnah”(v4, pp 211-212) that the traditions concerning the Mahdi are certainly reliable, and his student, al-Dhahabi, conformed with him in his summary of his teacher’s book. (See Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Sunnah, pp 533-534).

Among the Shi’a scholars, I would like to mention the masterpiece of Lutfullah al-Safi al-Golpaygani, who compiled an encyclopedia named "Muntakhab al-Athar". In this book, there is a comprehensive narration of the traditions regarding to the appearance of Imam al-Mahdi (as) and the description of the world before and after his appearance. He has used over 60 Sunni sources, including their six major book of Hadith; and over 90 Shi’ite sources to illuminate the fact that al-Mahdi is not a fabricated event.

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As far as we have been able to discover, at least 35 prominent Sunni scholars have written 46 of books exclusively about Imam al-Mahdi (as), the leader of our time. Here are some of the name of some of these books:

(1) "Kitab al-Mahdi,”by Abu Dawud.

(2)"Alamat al-Mahdi,”by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti.

(3)"al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar,”by Ibn Hajar.

(4)"Al-Bayan fi Akhbar Sahib al-Zaman,”by Allamah Abu Abdillah Ibn Muhammad Yusuf al-Ganji al-Shafi’i.

(5)"Iqd al-Durar fi Akbar al-Imam al-Muntadhar,”by Shaikh Jamaluddin Yusuf al-Damishqi.

(6)"Mahdi Aale Rasool,”by ‘Ali Ibn Sultan Muhammad al-Harawi al-Hanafi.

(7)"Manaqib al-Mahdi,”by al-Hafidh Abu Nu’aym al-Isbahani.

(8)"Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman,”by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi.

(9)"Arba’in Hadith fi al-Mahdi,”by Abdul Ala al-Hamadani.

(10)"Akhbar al-Mahdi,”by al-Hafidh Abu Nu’aym.

In conclusion, the belief in the coming Mahdi (as) who is a person other than Jesus (as), is an undeniable fact for the Sunnis. As we discussed above, the Sunni scholars affirm that belief in "Mahdi of the House of the Prophet”is one of the Islamic tenets for "Ahlussunnah wal Jama’a". In the next part, however, we will discuss the points of differences between the Shi’a and most Sunnis on the issue of Imam al-Mahdi.

Special specifications of Imam al-Mahdi (as)

Special specifications of Imam al-Mahdi (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

In the previous part, I provided extensive traditions from the six authentic Sunni collections concerning the fact that Imam al-Mahdi (as) who is different than Jesus (the messiah) WILL come and he is the descendant of the Prophet (S) and his daughter Fatimah (sa). The traditions further illuminated the fact that Jesus (who was a great Prophet) will pray behind al-Mahdi (who is a divinely appointed Imam).

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Also I gave some of the Fatwa of Sunni scholars which state that the belief in "the Mahdi of the House of the Prophet”is one of the Islamic tenets for "Ahlussunnah wal Jama’a", and any one who denies it is either ignorant or an innovator.

In this part however, I would like to talk about some special attributes of Imam al-Mahdi which are not acknowledged by most Sunnis.

Imam Al-Mahdi’s Identification

The Shi’a believe that Imam al-Mahdi is the only son of Imam Hasan al-Askari (the 11th Imam) who was born on the 15th of Sha’ban 255/869 in Samarra, Iraq. He became the divinely appointed Imam when his father was martyred in 260/874. Imam al-Mahdi went into occultation (disappearance; leaving among people while he is not identified) at the same time. He will re-appear when Allah wills. More specifically:

• His title is "al-Mahdi”which means "The Guided One."

• His name is Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan (as).

• His lineage, traced back to Imam ‘Ali (as), is: Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Musa Ibn Ja’far Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as).

On the other hand, most Sunnis are not so sure that he has been born yet! They believe he will be born some time before his mission. The name of Imam al-Mahdi is Muhammad (which is the same as what the Shi’a believe). There is, however, one Sunni report which adds that the name of the father of Imam al-Mahdi is Abdullah. Now let us see what is the argument of each side:

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Questions

Question 1

Q1) Some Sunnis question the Shi’a that how a five year old boy can become the Imam of mankind?

First, we must question whether or not in the history of religion, the phenomenon of young leaders has a parallel. Undoubtedly, there is. The Qur’an strikes a number of examples which are worthy of mentioning:

We have the example of Jesus (as) who became prophet and spoke to people when he was a baby in the cradle:

"But she pointed to the baby. They said: ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?’ He said: ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah. He has given me Scripture and assigned me a prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I be, and has enjoined on me Prayer and Zakat as long as I live.’“(Qur’an 19:29-31)

فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَیْهِ قَالُوا کَیْفَ نُکَلِّمُ مَن کَانَ فِی الْمَهْدِ صَبِیًّا ﴿٢٩﴾ قَالَ إِنِّی عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِیَ الْکِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِی نَبِیًّا﴿٣٠﴾ وَجَعَلَنِی مُبَارَکًا أَیْنَ مَا کُنتُ وَأَوْصَانِی بِالصَّلَاهِ وَالزَّکَاهِ مَا دُمْتُ حَیًّا ﴿٣١﴾

Thus Jesus (as) became prophet and received revelation and Book while he was less than two years old!

Furthermore, in few verses before, Qur’an mentions the case of Prophet Yahya (John), to whom Allah (SWT) said:

"‘O Yahya! Take hold of the Book with might,’ And We gave him the appointment (of prophethood) in his childhood.”(Qur’an 19:12)

یَا یَحْیَیٰ خُذِ الْکِتَابَ بِقُوَّهٍ وَآتَیْنَاهُ الْحُکْمَ صَبِیًّا ﴿١٢﴾

So if a two-year old boy can become a prophet and receives revelation and Scripture, then why cannot a five-year old boy become an Imam?

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The third example is Prophet Solomon (Sulayman) who was appointed by Allah the heir of his father, David (Dawud), and became the king of his community while he had not reached the age of puberty.

Have you ever heard of prodigies? They are kids between the ages of four to 18 that exhibit signs of exceptional skills that are usually found in highly qualified adults only. Here are some examples from the modern history:

John Stuart Mill (1806-73), a 19th-century English philosopher and economist, advocated utilitarian reforms in his many writings and as member of Parliament. A child prodigy, Mill had mastered Greek by the age of 7 and studied economics at the age of 13. His works express his social thought with great clarity and thoroughness. (The Bettmann Archive).

The French thinker, mathematician, and scientist Blaise Pascal (1623-62) has been credited not only with imaginative and subtle work in geometry and other branches of mathematics, but with profoundly influencing later generations of theologians and philosophers. A prodigy in mathematics, Pascal had mastered Euclid’s Elements by the age of 12. Pascal invented and sold the first calculating machine (1645).

Wolfgang was the greatest musical child prodigy who ever lived. He began composing minuets at the age of 5 and symphonies at 9.

Beethoven’s own talent was such that at the age of 12 he was already an assistant to the organist Christian Gottlob Neefe, with whom he studied.

Sarah Caldwell, born Maryville, Mo., Mar. 6, 1924, is a conductor and producer. A child prodigy in both mathematics and music, before reaching the age of ten.

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While not exhaustive, the list serves the purpose of demonstrating that this phenomenon occurs naturally among normal human beings from all walks of life. Therefore, scientifically speaking, it is quite possible that a child demonstrates abilities that adults can not. Also religiously speaking anything Allah desires will happen no matter how strange. Indeed Allah (SWT) asserts unequivocally in Qur’an that if He wanted something, all He has to do is to say to it is: "Be! and it will be!".

Question 2

Q2) Every human is mortal. Then, how can Imam al-Mahdi (as) live so long?

Yes, every one but Allah is mortal, and in fact, Imam al-Mahdi will pass away too. But the difference is the length of life in this world. The holy Qur’an and the prophetic traditions inform us that some people have had/have long life in this world. Thus the possibility of the occurrence of such phenomena is confirmed by the religion of Islam.

Are you aware that according to the Qur’an (see 29:14), Prophet Noah has just been prophet for 950 years? His age should have been even more than that because we should add his age before prophethood to the above number.

Do you agree that Prophet Jesus (as) is still alive? He is, in fact, 1995 years old by now. Of course, he is not living on the earth. He is rather in the heavens, and according to the Muslim’s belief, he will come back to the earth, and will pray behind Imam al-Mahdi (as).

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Do you agree that al-Khidr (as) is still alive? Qur’an mentions the story of his meeting with Prophet Moses (as). He existed before the time of the Prophet Moses (as), and as such, al-Khidr (as) is now more than 3000 years old! He lives right here on the earth, but we can not recognize him (fairly similar to the case of Imam al-Mahdi). He serves Allah (SWT) as one of His agents.

The Hanafi scholar, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, in his book "Tathkirat al-Khawas al-Ummah", pp 325-328 gives the names of 22 people believed by Muslims to have lived various ages from 3,000 down to 300 years! No doubt! Allah has the ability to give a very long life to His servants, but He also has assigned a death time for everyone (including the above mentioned individuals) which can be very soon or very late.

Moreover, scientifically speaking, there are no objections whatsoever to the extended life span assertion. A group of scientists conducted a series of experiments at the Rockefeller Institute in New York in 1912 on certain "parts”of plants, animals, and humans. These scientists included Dr. Alex Carl, Dr. Jack Lope, and Dr. Warren Lewis and his wife, among others. Among the experiments conducted was one that directly treated the nerves, muscles, hearts, skin, and kidneys of human beings.

These organs were not connected to a human body; they were independent organs that were perhaps donated for the experiment. It was concluded by the scientists that these "parts or organs”can continue to live almost indefinitely as long as they are nourished properly, and as long as they are shielded from external negative interactions like microbes and other obstacles that might inhibit the growth of these organs; furthermore, the assertion was made that the cells would continue to grow normally under the above conditions, and that the growth is directly related to the nourishment provided.

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Again, aging had no effect on these organs, and they grew every year without any signs of deterioration. The scientists concluded that these organs will continue to grow as long as the patience of the scientists themselves is not exhausted, causing them to abandon the nourishment process.

Question 3

Q3) Where is Imam al-Mahdi (as) now?

Imam al-Mahdi disappeared in 260/874 when he became Imam. The last time that he was seen, was in the cellar of his father’s house in Samarra, Iraq. That is why it is rumored regarding Shi’a that they believe al-Mahdi is in the cave!!!

Some Sunni historians ignorantly attributed that Shi’a believe al-Mahdi is hiding in the cellar. Shi’a do NOT believe that Imam al-Mahdi is in the Cave or Cellar! He was just seen there for the last time. He can be anywhere Allah wishes. However one thing is clear is that he lives on the earth among people while people do not perceive.

If that cellar has become famous as "Cellar of Occultation”(Sardab al-Ghaybah), it is because it was made so by the non-Shi’i sources. There is NO mention of such name by the Shi’a scholars. Imam al-Mahdi (as) may sometimes live in one place and travels around the world, just the same as the common belief of Muslims about al-Khidr (as). (For more details see Kashf al-Ghummah, by Abul Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Musa al-Irbili, v3, p283; Kashf al-Astar, by Mirza Husayn al-Noori, pp 210-216).

Second, with regards to the occultation of al-Mahdi (as), the Qur’an does NOT rule out such an occurrence at all. Again, the examples of Jesus (as) and al-Khidr (as), who are both in occultation, are worthy of mentioning.

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Question 4

Q4) Why did Imam al-Mahdi (as) disappear?

The above question shares the same answer with the following two questions:

Q4.b. Why does not Imam al-Mahdi (as) appear now?

Q4.c. When will he (as) come?

There are MANY reasons behind it. The most important reason of it will be disclosed when Imam al-Mahdi (as) will appear. However, I mention few reasons that I know.

1. A very easy answer would be: This is Allah’s Will. His Will is based on His infinite wisdom. The appearance of Imam al-Mahdi solely depends on the decision of Allah. He knows best how to act. The question might be as naive as asking: Why some people are black and some are white? Why some are beautiful while others are not? This is Allah’s decree.

2.A better answer (which also answers why some are beautiful and others are not, etc.) would be: IT IS A TEST. Allah could send all people to paradise directly. But He didn’t, because He wanted to TEST us. (The test of Allah is actually a test that proves the facts for ourselves as witness, otherwise Allah has the foreknowledge of everything).

Only those who are obedient to Allah deserve paradise. Now, Allah is testing us that how we react in the sinful environment. If somebody preserve himself in today’s world has much more reward than if he does that at the time when Imam al-Mahdi appears, because at that time the environment will be absolutely healthy and it will be much easier to preserve oneself.

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This was just one aspect, however. Remember that ONLY Imam al-Mahdi will have an opportunity to conquer the whole world. Even our Prophet (S) could not do that. So the difficult test was for all era and was not just for us.

3.Imam al-Mahdi (as) will come as soon as people become ready for him. People throughout the history were NEVER ready. They killed prophets, and Imams one after the other. However Allah continued to send prophets till He finally sent Prophet Muhammad who brought the last message at the time when the evolution of the mind of human being reached its maturity, and thus Allah provided them with the most complete and final religion. After that there was no need to send a new message.

Thus He sent Guides (Imams) who preserved and explained the message during the time of tribulation, for people. They also did that, and we are proud that we have had Imams like Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) who explained all aspects of Jurisprudence, etc. He had a golden opportunity of teaching during the clashes between the Umayad and the Abbasids. During that short period when the tyrants of both sides were busy with each other, the Imam was teaching Jurisprudence and theology in classes with as much as 5000 students. (No need to mention that Abu Hanifa was one of his students). Now the time is for action. But unfortunately the majority of people were/are reluctant to follow the right path, and instead, they opposed and killed the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt, and treated them in the same way that their ancestors treated the prophets. (Even Prophet Muhammad said: "No Prophet was ever annoyed as much as me").

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The situation will continue till such time when people realize that they need a divinely appointed Imam who rule over them since they can’t solve their problems by themselves. When this happens universally, and when people become frustrated and disappointed from any type of "ism”(way of life, ideology), and when all raise their hands for help, then people are then ready for him. They will not kill him like they did with the others, nor do they treat him unjustly. They will rather accept him.

Of course, this will not happen till people of the word undergo much heavier afflictions, world-wide wars, mass destructions by satanic powers (such as Dajjal and Sufyani) which are not difficult to foresee in a near future.

4.Imam al-Mahdi will come when all types of ideologies are tested and they fail. At that time people will understand that they do not have any more solution and they will accept the solution of Imam al-Mahdi easily. For instance, look at communism which came to practice in Russia 100 years ago. People of the world at that time thought that this would be the best way of life which guarantees the prosperity of mankind.

But to their surprise, it crashed recently from within itself showing that this solution is failed in practice. Now some people think that Capitalism may solve their problems completely. This system is also about to crash, because the whole system is based on interest (Riba). The situation has reached to the point that people of the USA have the heaviest debt in the world. The studies even show that People here will never be able to pay their debt in full. And this was just from economy point of view.

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People also suffer from other type of corruption, lust, and lack of spiritualities, etc. Such system is subject to crash sooner or later, one way or another. And when all type of ways of life showed their deficiency IN PRACTICE, people will, then, honor the truth.

5.Imam al-Mahdi (as) will come when he has 313 top virtuous helpers become available. Imam al-Mahdi can not govern the world with no helper, minister, etc. The communities should generate these top individuals. In fact, non of our other 11 Imams had such number of high rank followers. Let me give you two examples:

Before his demise, Prophet Muhammad (S) instructed Imam ‘Ali (as) that if the number of his followers loyal to him (after the demise of the Prophet) exceeds 40 men, he should use force to restore his right and take the power, otherwise he should keep silent since the only remaining pious people would be killed without being able to help Islam. Unfortunately, the number of people who remained loyal to Imam ‘Ali (as) did not reach to this amount, at that crucial moment. Another example:

Sahl Ibn al-Hasan al-Khurasani who was one of the followers of Ahlul- Bayt in Khurasan (a province in Iran) came to Medina to meet Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as). Sahl al-Khurasani said: "O son of the Messenger of Allah! You are of the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt. What prevents you from getting your right (i.e., the rule) while you find more than one hundred thousand Shi’a who are ready to fight for you?”

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The Imam (as) asked him to sit down, and then ordered to turn on the oven that was in the house. After the oven became very hot and turned red, the Imam (as) said: "O Khurasani step into the oven and sit in it.”The Khurasani said: "My master, O son of the Messenger of Allah! Do not punish me by fire and make it easy for me.”At this time, Harun al- Makki (ra) entered the room, and after the greetings exchanged, the Imam (as) told him to put down his shoes and to sit down inside the oven. He did so and the Imam (as) started talking to Sahl about Khurasan as if nothing has happened.

After some time, the Imam (as) said: "O Khurasani stand up and look inside the oven.”Sahl looked into the oven and saw Harun sitting cross-legged inside the fire. Then Imam al-Sadiq (as) asked Harun to come out of oven and he came out healthy with no burn or injury. At this time, the Imam (as) asked Sahl: "How many individuals do you know in Khurasan like this man?”Sahl replied: "By Allah, not even one.”The Imam (as) confirmed his saying and said, "We do not rise at this time when we do not even have five helpers (like him). We know better about the proper time.”(al- Bihar, v47, p123, Hadith 172; also in Manaqib by Ibn Shahr Ashub)

The traditions state that Imam al-Mahdi needs 313 followers which are not only sincere and faithful, but also possess supreme knowledge and wisdom. Imam al-Mahdi should also have another 40,000 faithful followers who will fill the secondary positions. These people will not fall out of sky! It is up to us to educate our communities which could help to bring up such people, by first starting from our family, and friends, then school, then city, and then country to the extent our ability. We should however start from ourselves to avoid sin and to acquire more knowledge and wisdom and become more obedient to Allah.

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Question 5

Q5) The Shi’a state that the mother of Imam Mahdi (as) was a bondwoman. Isn’t it shameful that he (as) should be born to a slave-girl?

The answer would be in the form of the following questions: Wasn’t Hagar (as), the Prophet Abraham’s wife, a bondwoman? Did she not bear Isma’il (Ishmael) (as), whom the Prophet Muhammad (S) is a direct descendant of? If it is acceptable for the Prophet Muhammad (S), the Seal of Prophethood, to be a descendant of Isma’il (as) who was born to a bondwoman, then why should that be shameful for Imam al-Mahdi (as)?

The Imam al-Mahdi’s mother was Narjis and was a roman captive who was bought by Imam al-Askari (as) and then was married to him. She actually saw the Lady Fatimah (sa) in dream who told her to travel near the border where the Muslim army were fighting, and to become captive, and to be sold to the agent of Imam al-Askari who would be waiting for the arrival of the captives to the city.

I need to mention that the birth of al-Mahdi (as) was an event surrounded with secrecy, because the Abbasid authorities knew that the Mahdi who is to bring about a revolution is going to be the son of the eleventh Imam of Ahlul-Bayt, and were awaiting his coming to capture him for execution. Owing to that, Imam Hasan al-Askari (as), the Mahdi’s father, could not behave conspicuously by revealing who the mother of the Mahdi (as) was. Notwithstanding, what has created the confusion among the critics of the Shi’a is the fact that Imam al-Askari (as) did not refer to her with one name.

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A variety of names were used in an effort to fool the authorities, and to prevent them from recognizing who she was. That was part and parcel of the plan to protect the Mahdi (as). Had the father (as) been slightly negligent in protecting his son, it is clear that al-Mahdi (as) would not have survived. The story of birth of Imam al-Mahdi is like that of the Moses. All the women in the house of Imam al-Askari were being regularly inspected by female specialists of the Abbasid to find out if anyone has become pregnant.

In fact, the word "al-Askari”became the title of the father of Imam al-Mahdi, because he was forced to live inside an army base so that his house could be under full control of the authorities. Similar to Moses’s mother, the Mahdi’s mother did not have any sign of pregnancy to the last hours. But no doubt that what Allah wishes will certainly take place.

Given these adverse conditions and hardships, the birth of the Imam (as) was kept in utmost secrecy, that even the followers of Imam al-Askari (as), did not know of the time of the birth of al-Mahdi (as). Only very few close associates were notified. The obvious contention was that the birth of Imam al-Mahdi (as) constituted a direct threat to the continuance of the corrupt government to rule. This situation is best understood when we refer back to the first few years of Islam when the Prophet (S) preached the religion in utmost secrecy among a few loyal followers. The Prophet (S) feared for the lives of these believers and, as such, he forbade them from revealing any information that might jeopardize the entire mission.

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Question 6

Q 6) Who was the father of Imam al-Mahdi (as)?

The Shi’a along with some Sunni scholars believe that his father was Imam Hasan al-Askari (d. 260/874). Below I have included the name of 31 Sunni scholars who confirm this fact. The overwhelming majority of prophetic traditions about Imam al-Mahdi (some of which I mentioned in the previous part) state that the name of Imam al-Mahdi is the same as the name of the Prophet (i.e., Muhammad).

However there exists a single Sunni report that has an additional phrase concerning that "his father’s name is also similar to that of the Prophet’s father (i.e., Abdullah).”This extra phrase does NOT exist in all other reports transmitted by the Shi’a and the Sunni traditionists who narrated the Hadith. Moreover, the extra phrase in some Shi’i traditions is in the form of: "his nickname is the same as the Prophet’s nickname (i.e., Abul Qasim)”which is correct. In fact, Sunnis narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said to ‘Ali: "An issue will be born to you whom I have gifted him with my name and my nickname."

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p137

• Sunan Abu Dawud, v4, p292

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v4, p278 who said it is authentic based on the criteria of the two Shaikhs (i.e., al-Bukhari and Muslim)

• Ma’arifat Ulum al-Hadith, by al-Hakim, p189

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p95

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p676, Tradition 1155

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v5, p91

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The single report which has the additional phrase (that his father’s name is the same as that of the Prophet’s father) has been probably fabricated by Abdullah Ibn al-Hasan (Muthanna -- the second) Ibn (Imam) al-Hasan (as). Abdullah (d. 145/762) had a son named Muhammad who called him "Nafs al-Zakiyyah”and the Mahdi. (See Ibn Taqtuqa, al-Fikr fi al-Adab al- Sultaniyyah, pp 165-166). Abdullah used all his power and wealth to support the revolt of his son. Abdullah concealed his son several times during the Umayad period when there was still no danger for him. When he was asked why he did this, he said: "What an idea, their time has not come yet.”(Murooj al-Dhahab, by al-Mas’udi, v6, pp 107-108). In the first letter that Muhammad wrote to the Abbasid Caliph, al-Mansoor, he wrote: "From Muhammad Ibn Abdillah, the Mahdi, ...”(Tabari, v3, p29, Ibn Kathir V10, p85, Ibn Khaldoon, v4, p4).

Muhammad Ibn Abdillah started his claims at the end of the rule of the Umayad caliphs. Muhammad became powerful and tried to gain the support of the last Umayad Caliph who was Marwan Ibn Muhammad (132/750), but the Caliph did not pay attention to him:

Abul Abbas al-Falasti said to Marwan: "Muhammad Ibn Abdillah is striving to gain the power for he is claiming to be al-Mahdi". Marwan replied: "What does he have to do with me? (the Mahdi) is not him, nor any of his father’s descendants. He will be the son of a slave woman."

Sunni Reference:

• Maqatil al-Talibeen, by Abul Faraj al-Isbahani, Pub. in Saudi Arabia, pp 247,258

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When Marwan said that al-Mahdi (as) is not one of his father’s descendants, he meant the descendants of Imam al-Hasan (as), for al-Mahdi (as) is the descendant of Imam al-Husayn (as) and is son of a slave woman (umm walad). Even Marwan was aware of these traditions because of which he did not pay attention to Muhammad Ibn Abdillah. This shows that the true versions of traditions from the Prophet were wide-spread at that time.

There is also a possibility that the fabrication of that extra phrase was done the Abbasid Caliph, Abdullah al-Mansoor, who called his son the Mahdi:

Muslim Ibn Qutaybah said: "Mansoor called me and said: Muhammad Ibn Abdillah rebelled and he called himself the Mahdi. By Allah he is not. I will tell you something else which I have told no one before, and will tell no one after you. By Allah my son is not the Mahdi either,... but I did so to make a good future for him."

Sunni Reference:

• Maqatil al-Talibeen, by Abul Faraj al-Isbahani, Pub. in Saudi Arabia, pp 246-247

Also the Caliph al-Mansoor fabricated the following "tradition":

Ibn Abbas (allegedly) said: "These four are from us Ahlul-Bayt: al-Saffah, al-Mundhir, al-Mansoor, and al-Mahdi.”(Recorded by al-Hakim).

It is clear that by fabricating the above reports, al-Mansoor was sorting the chain of Abbasid Caliphs and included his name and the name of his son, Mahdi, among Ahlul-Bayt! Ibn Abbas (ra) never uttered such words, and he himself is not among Ahlul-Bayt, let alone those Abbasid tyrants.

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From all above it can be seen that the fabrication of the report which includes that extra phrase, could be reconciled on Muhammad Ibn Abdillah and/or the Abbasid Caliph, al-Mahdi. This is not the place to examine the Hadith critically, but merely to point out the historical background of it.

As I mentioned, some Sunni scholars rejected that single report. The following are the name of some Sunni scholars who wrote that Imam al-Mahdi has already been born, and is the only son of Imam Hasan al-Askari (as), and he is alive and in occultation, and will re-appear to establish the government of Justice. With this, they are in agreement with the Shi’a. Their names are:

1.Kamal al-Din Ibn Talha, in his book "Matalib al-Su’aal Fi Manaqib Aal al-Rasool"

2.Sulayman Ibn Ibrahim al-Qundoozi, al-Hanafi (known as Khawajah Kalan), in his book "Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah”who has also established from important Sunni sources that love for Ahlul-Bayt is the only right path and the Islamic Way of Life.

3.Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji, al-Shafi’i, (d. 658 AH), the author of "Al-Bayan fi Akhbar Sahib al-Zaman”and "Kifayah al-Talib".

4.Shaikh Nooruddin ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Sabbagh, al-Maliki, from Mecca, in his book "al-Fusool al-Muhimmah", pp 310,319.

5.Ahmad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Hashim al-Baladhuri is one of the great scholars and traditionists who also asserts the Imamat and occultation of the twelfth Imam in his book called "al-Hadith al-Mutasalsil"

6.Ibn Arabi (Muhyiddin Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Arabi), al-Hanbali, in his book "Al-Futuhat al-Makkia”(Chapter 366) discusses a detailed account of the birth of al-Mahdi, son of al-Askari (as), and of his re-appearance before the day of resurrection.

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7.Ibn Khashab (Abu Muhammad Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Khashab), has given a detailed account of the twelfth Imam in his biographical book called "Tawarikh Mawaleed al-A’imma wa Wafiyatihim"

8.Shaikh Abdullah Sha’rani (d. 905 AH), the celebrated Sufi, in his work "Yaqaqeet", Chapter 66, deals with the birth and the occultation of the twelfth Imam. Also He extensively talks about Imam al-Mahdi (as) in his other book "Aqa’id al-Akabir".

9.Shaikh Hasan Iraqi who accepts the twelfth Imam, praises Sha’rani as a pious and a learned ascetic, and narrates the story of Sha’rani’s meeting with the twelfth Imam.

10.Sayyid ‘Ali, known as Khawas, the teacher of Sha’rani, also a believer of the twelfth Imam, confirms what Shaikh Hasan asserted about the meeting of Sha’rani with the twelfth Imam.

11.Nooruddin Abdul Rahman Ibn Ahmad, known as Mulla Jami, in his book Shawahid al-Nubuwwah (The Evidence of Prophethood of Muhammad) gives an account of the birth of the twelfth Imam and his statement is in complete agreement with the Shi’a records.

12.Muhammad Ibn Mahmood al-Bukhari, al-Hanafi, known as Khawaja Parsa in his book "Fasl al-Khitab”gives the account of the birth, occultation, and re-appearance of the twelfth Imam.

13.Shaikh Abdul Haq Dehlawi, in his book "Jazb e Qulub", narrates the statements of Hakima, the daughter of the ninth Imam who was asked by the eleventh Imam, Imam al-Askari, to stay with Narjis, mother of the last Imam during the night at the end of which she gave birth to her son.

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14.Sayyid Jamaluddin Husayni Muhaddith who is the author of the celebrated book "Rawdhat al-Ahbab". According to Dayar Bakri, Mulla ‘Ali Qari, Abdul Haqq Dehlawi, "Rawdhat al-Ahbab”is one of the reliable sources of reference. The author mentions the twelfth Imam in the most reverential terms. He states:

The auspicious birth of the pearl of the Vicegerency and the precious form of the mine of guidance took place on the 15th of Sha’ban in the year of 225 AH at Samarra. He has described the Imam in the following words:

• al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar (the expected Mahdi)

• al-Khalaf al-Salih (the righteous successor)

• Sahib al-Zaman (the master of the time)

15.al-Arif Abdul Rahman Sufi, in his works "Mir’at al-Asrar”(The Mirror of Mysteries) gives a detailed account of the birth, and the occultation of the twelfth Imam.

16.’Ali Akbar, son of Asadullah Maududi, in his book Mukashifaat (Visions), which is a commentary on "Nafahat al-Uns”by Abdurrahman Jami, asserts the existence of the Mahdi as being the pole of guidance after his father Imam Hasan al-Askari, who was also the pole of guidance and Imamat.

17.Malik al-Ulama Dulatabadi who is a well known scholar, in his work "Hidayat al-Saada”has confirmed the Imamat and the occultation of al-Mahdi.

18.Nasr Ibn ‘Ali Jahzami Nasri, one of the most reliable reporters of traditions whom Khateeb al-Baghdadi has praised him in his works on history, and Yusuf Ganji al-Shafi’i, in his book Manaqib has introduced Nasr as one of the masters of al-Bukhari and Muslim. Nasr asserts the existence of:

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Qa’im Aale Muhammad (The ‘Support’ among the family of Muhammad), the one among the Imams of the House of the Prophet (S) whose duty is to establish Islam throughout the world.

19. Mulla ‘Ali Qari, one of the greatest traditionists, in his famous book, "Mirqat", talks about Imam al-Mahdi after mentioning the celebrated statement of the Holy Prophet (S) that after him there would be twelve successors (Caliphs). Mulla ‘Ali states whether they are in power or not makes no difference as they are the rightful Imams.

20. Kazi Jawad Sibti was a Christian but later became a Muslim. He wrote "Baraheen Sibtiyya”(Proofs forwarded by Sibti), which is a refutation of the Christian writers. He narrates the Prophecy from Ashaya (Joshua) concerning the coming of a man from the chosen branch of the chosen lineage of Adam who would be the seat of the spirit. In other words, he will be filled with the spirit of wisdom, sympathy, justice and knowledge and he will be God fearing. God will bestow on him a sound and glorying reason and make him firm.

His judgment would be based on hearing an external evidence, but he will have a guided insight about everything and judge people according to what they really are in their hearts. He further states that his method of judgment is peculiar to him and has not been adopted by any prophet or Vice-regent of God. The Muslims are unanimous that the Mahdi of this description shall be descendant of Fatimah, daughter of the holy Prophet (S). Particularly the view of the Shi’a seems to be real interpretation of this real prophecy.

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21. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Hanafi, (Shams al-Din Abul Mudhaffar Yusuf), the author of "Tathkirat al-Khawas", pp 325-328 gives the names of 22 people believed by Muslims to have lived various ages from 3,000 down to 300 years! He also writes about the twelfth Imam as follows

• He (al-Mahdi) is Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Musa al-Ridha

• His title is Abu Abdillah and Abul Qasim

• He is the last successor of the Prophet (S)

• He is the Last Imam of the House

• He is the authoritative proof of God (al-Hujjah)

• He is the master of time (Sahib al-Zaman)

• and he is the expected one (al-Muntadhar)

22. Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Hasan al-Bayhaqi, the famous Shafi’i jurist, has confirmed the birth of the son of al-Askari and his being as the expected Mahdi.

23.Shaikh Sadruddin, known as Hamavi, who has written a book about the Last Imam of the House of the Prophet (S). He quotes a tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) as follows

Prophet (S) said: "The learned one among my followers are in the rank of the Prophets from among the Children of Israel", also referring to the twelve Naqeeb (chiefs)of the Children of Israel (see Qur’an 5:12). But the last Wali, who is the last of the successors of the Prophet (S) and who is the Twelfth Wali in the chain of Awliaa, is al-Mahdi, "Sahib al-Zaman", his appellation and title should not be used for any one else.

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24.Shaikh Ahmad Jami, (as quoted by Qundoozi, author of "Yanabi al- Mawaddah", and Qadhi Noorullah author of "Majalis al-Mu’mineen") has composed the following poem:

My heart is fine and bright with the love of Haydar

Next to Haydar, al-Hasan is our Guide and Leader.

The dust beneath the Shoes of al-Husayn

is the eyeliner (surmah) for my eyes.

al-Abideen, the ornament of all devotees

is like a crown on my head.

al-Baqir is the light of both my eyes.

The religion of Ja’far is true and the path of Musa is right.

O, loyal, ones: listen to me praising the King of Kings (al-Ridha)

who is buried in Khurasan.

A particle from the dust of his tomb is the cure of all pains

Leader of men of faith is al-Taqi, O dear Muslims

If you love al-Naqi in preference to all other people,

you have done the thing which is proper and right.

al-Askari is the light of the eyes of both Adam and the world.

Where can be found, in the world,

such a chief in command like al-Mahdi?

25. Shaikh Amir Ibn Basri has composed an eulogy called Qasidah Tayya. The composition contains theosophical lore, maxims, mystical points, and matter of etiquette. Here are some lines quoted:

O’ Imam al-Mahdi! How long will You be hidden?

Oblige us, O’ our father, with your return!

We feel sad the waiting time is prolonged.

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For the sake of Thy Lord, bless us with your audience.

O the pole of being! Hasten, O our beloved!

Return, so that we may enjoy the sight.

Surely, it is a great a pleasure

for a lover to meet his beloved after a long absence.

26.Husayn Ibn Hamdan al-Husayni, in his book "al-Hidaya”mentions the twelfth Imam, the master of time, as the son of the eleventh Imam Hasan al-Askari.

27.The well known biographer, Ibn Khallakan in his book "Wafayat al-A’ayan", has given a brief account of the birth of the Imam.

28.Ibn al-Azraq, as quoted by Ibn Khallakan, asserts the existence of the twelfth Imam.

29.Ibn al-Wardi the historian, in his work asserts the birth of the son of al-Askari in 255 AH.

30.Sayyid Mu’min Shablanji in his work "Noor al-Absar”gives the genealogy of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (as), the twelfth Imam.

After these and many more, those who deny his birth and his present life have no proof against those who have accepted this fact, while they still recognize the correctness of traditions about Imam al-Mahdi. The Messenger of Allah (S) said:

"He who dies not knowing the Imam of his era, has died the death of al-Jahiliyya (Days of Ignorance; the era before Islam)."

Necessity of the Existence of Imam al-Mahdi (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

This article addresses the necessity of the existence of the Representative of Allah on the earth at any time. The opponents of Shi’a protest that although Shi’a consider the Imam necessary in order to expound the injunctions and verities of religion and to guide the people, the occultation of the Imam is the negation of this very purpose, for an Imam in occultation who cannot be reached by mankind cannot be in any way beneficial or effective. The opponents argue that if God wills to bring forth an Imam to reform mankind, He is able to create him at the necessary moment and does not need to create him thousands of years earlier.

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In answer to this, it must be said that such people have not really understood the meaning of the Imam, for the duty of the Imam is not only the explanation of the religious sciences and external guidance of the people. In the same way that he has the duty of guiding men outwardly, the Imam also bears the function of "Walayah”and the internal guidance of human.

The divinely appointed Imam directs human’s spiritual life and orients the inner aspect of human action toward God. Clearly, his physical presence or absence has no effect in this matter. Imam is the representative of Allah (Khalifatullah) on the earth, and is His vice-regent.

He is the connection between the heavens and the earth, and is appointed by Allah as the intermediate for the rest of creatures. His existence is always necessary even if the time has not as yet arrived for his outward appearance and the universal reconstruction that he is to bring about.

Let me provide an example to clarify this delicate issue. Any human needs blood to continue his life, and the existence of blood is necessary in every single moment of life. This need is not, in anyway, independent of God. He is God who has created this need for human, and He is the one who has fulfilled it. Similarly the function of Imam over the rest of creatures is not independent of God.

He was Allah who created this need for the universe and He was Allah who has fulfilled it. Allah (SWT) wished the inhabitants of the earth not to be able to live without the existence of His representative on the earth, the same way that Allah wished our body not to be able to survive without blood. Notice that in the above examples, both Imam and blood are no more than the creation of Allah.

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A divinely appointed Imam is a human, but being human does not mean that he could not have any authority over other human by the permission of Allah. The closer the human is to Allah, the more authority he will have. Closeness to Allah is obtained through obedience and piety.

When one reaches that level of perfection, he does not desire anything except Allah’s orders. Imam is not divine, but he is fully supported by divine power. He has been given authority as the Qur’anic verses below testifies. This authority has come from Allah and is also controlled by Allah.

Another example would be to consider a company with a president and some managers and employees. The one who is closer to the president (in his position or any other aspects) has more authority than the others. This authority is given and is controlled by the president at any time. This authority is not in parallel with the authority of president, and remains as long as the president wishes to. The authorized person does not feel independence and can not do anything against the order of the president, otherwise the position will be taken away from him. The president has appointed that person to carry out a task.

Similarly, a divinely appointed Imam is not considered a parallel power beside Allah, and his authority is not independent of Allah since Allah does not relinquish His Majesty and Sovereignty to anyone. If He gives His righteous Servant a certain power or authority, He will still have control over that individual. Qur’an testifies that Allah has assigned some Imams with authority to guide mankind:

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"And We assigned them Imams who guide by our authority and We have inspired in them the doing of good deeds.”(Qur’an 21:73)

وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّهً یَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَیْنَا إِلَیْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَیْرَاتِ

Also:

"And We appointed from among them some Imams who guide by our authority since they were patient and believed firmly in Our Signs.”(Qur’an 32:24)

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّهً یَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا وَکَانُوا بِآیَاتِنَا یُوقِنُونَ

Moreover, on the commentary of Qur’anic verse: "And lo! verily I am Forgiving toward him who repents and believes and does good deeds, and afterward he accept guidance (20:82)", Ibn Hajar mentioned that it is narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) as well as Thabit al-Lubnani that, the end of verse means "he is guided to the Wilayah of the Ahlul-Bayt.”(al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p235).

Allah, Exalted, also said:

"O’ you who believe! Obey Allah, and Obey Apostle and those from among you who are given authority (by Allah).”(Qur’an 4:59)

Who are those Imams whom Allah gave them authority and are to be obeyed beside the Prophet?

The above verses of Qur’an prove beyond doubt that a divinely appointed Imam has authority and he guides. The authority of Imam is not restricted over a group of people but also covers every other creatures (see Qur’an 36:12 which uses the word Imam for keeping the account of everything). Again, this authority is controlled by Allah.

Allah also said in Qur’an:

"(O’ Muhammad!) You are but a Warner, and for every community there exists a Guide.”(Qur’an 13:7).

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إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُنذِرٌ وَلِکُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ

Prophet Muhammad was a Warner, and the Imams of his Ahlul-Bayt were each a Guide for the people of their time. In fact, the following Sunni commentators of Qur’an narrated that the word "Guide”in the above verse was Imam ‘Ali (as):

• Tafsir al-Tabari, v13, p72;

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, on the commentary of verse 13:7

• Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, under verse 13:7 of Qur’an

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p157

• Noor al-Absar, by al-Shablanji, p70

• Kunooz al-Haqa’iq, by al-Manawi, p42.

If there should be a Guide for each time, as the verse 13:7 testifies, then my question is: Who is this guide today? There should be an alive Imam in every instant of time, in order the above verses make sense. This is another proof for the fact that Imam al-Mahdi (as) is alive. Moreover, Allah said:

That which is spared by Allah (on the earth) is better for you if you are believers. (Qur’an 11:86)

بَقِیَّتُ اللَّهِ خَیْرٌ لَّکُمْ إِن کُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِینَ

The above verse is another proof for the fact that there exists one individual at each era who is spared by Allah (Baqiyyatullah) on the earth to maintain the cause of faith and he is the Imam of that age, and this position was never vacated so long as the earth carries even one human being.

This, in fact, is a doctrine of Shi’a Muslims that a "Proof (Hujjah) of Allah”should always exist on earth for earth to continue its function as a living place for human being. It is NOT that Hujjah is god or life-giver, rather it is because Allah has created the world for the best of His servants. The best of Allah’s creation is the one who is the most obedient to him at each time.

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Other creatures are considered to be secondary objects in the sight of Allah. Besides, there are traditions stating that if it happens that there exists only one human on the earth, he is the "Proof (Hujjah) of Allah".

This implies that Allah never left the human on the earth without His representative. At the time of the prophets, the Hujjah were the prophets. Now that there will be no prophet after Prophet Muhammad, the Hujjah is his living Ahlul-Bayt at each era till the day of resurrection. The necessity of the existence of a Hujjah on the earth follows that this world will end when the last Imam passes away.

Beside what we quoted from Qur’an, let us quote some traditions from Sunni sources to support the above assertions. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and many others narrated:

The Messenger of Allah said: "The stars are amnesty for the inhabitants of the heavens, and if the stars go away (i.e., become non-existent), the inhabitants of the heavens will be destroyed. And my Ahlul-Bayt are amnesty for the inhabitants of the earth, and if my Ahlul-Bayt go away (i.e., all die), the inhabitants of the earth will be destroyed."

Sunni references:

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p671, Tradition 1145

• Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p14

• Manaqib Ahmad, and many more such as al-Tabarani, etc.

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p234

• Musnad, Abu Ya’ala, on the authority of Salama Ibn Awka’ in which the wording is: "The stars are amnesty for the inhabitants of the heavens, and my Ahlul-Bayt are the amnesty for my Ummah."

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Also:

The Messenger of Allah said: "The stars help prevent the inhabitants of the earth from being drowned, and my Ahlul-Bayt are the protectors of my community against disputes (in religious matters). Therefore, whichever groups among the Arabs opposes my Ahlul-Bayt, shall be split up by dissensions and will become (a party of) Satan."

Sunni reference:

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p149, who said this tradition is authentic (Sahih).

• al-Tabarani, quoting Ibn Abbas

• Also in al-Manaqib Ahmad, as quoted by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari.

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p234

Ibn Hajar mentioned the above two traditions as well as many other similar ones under the commentary of the following Qur’anic verse:

"It is not for Allah to punish them while you are among them.”(Qur’an 8:33)

Then Ibn Hajar comments that: "Ahlul-Bayt are amnesty for the inhabitant of the earth the same as the Messenger of Allah was amnesty for them.”In the next page, after mentioning a tradition from Sahih Muslim which states that after the end of government of Justice in the last days, just before the day of resurrection Allah sends a wind which takes the souls of all the believers and only wrong-doers will remain when the earthquakes of hour of resurrection occurs. Then Ibn Hajar comments:

To my opinion, it probably refers to the Ahlul-Bayt, since Allah created this world for the sake of the Prophet, and has made its existence conditional to the existence of his Ahlul-Bayt for they have certain virtues in common with the Prophet as Fakhr al-Razi mentioned, and because the Messenger of Allah said on their virtue that: "O Allah! They are from me and I am from them”since they are a part of him as their mother, Fatimah, was a part of him. Thus they (Ahlul-Bayt) are also amnesty for the earth (similar to what the above verse establishes for the Prophet himself).

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Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p234

In another tradition, it is narrated that:

The holy Prophet was asked: "What would be the condition of the people after the Ahlul-Bayt,”and he replied: "Their condition will be like that of an ass whose spine is fractured."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, p143

These traditions, therefore, leave no room for any doubt regarding to existence of Ahlul-Bayt in each era, and that the Imam of the time, Imam al-Mahdi (as), is alive. Now look at the following tradition:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Regard the Ahlul-Bayt among you as the head to the body, or the eyes to the face, for the face is only guided by the eyes."

Sunni references:

• Is’af al-Raghibeen, by al-Saban

• al-Sharaf al-Mua’abbad, by Shaikh Yusuf al-Nabahani, p31, by more than one authority

Also the Messenger of Allah (S) said:

"In every generation of my followers there are going to be just and righteous members of my Ahlul-Bayt to counteract the alterations and corruption’s which the misguided people will try to make in my religion, to remove the false allegations of the untruthful and contradict the misinterpretations of the ignorant. Be aware! Your Imam shall be your representative before Allah, so be careful whom you adopt as your representative."

Sunni references:

• al-Sirah, by al-Mala

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p231 under the commentary of verse: "And stop them, for they shall be questioned! (37:24)"

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And now a saying from Commander of Believers, Imam ‘Ali (as):

"I and my pure holy descendants and my virtuous household are most sober in childhood and when we grow up we are the wisest: we are the means through which Allah shall exterminate falsehood and break the teeth of blood-thirsty wolves and restore you the freedom by removing the ropes that are tied around your necks. Allah wishedto commence (all things) through us, and to complete (all things) through us."

Sunni references:

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p36

• Aydah al-Ishkal, by Abd al-Ghani

The clear and unequivocal terms in which the Holy Prophet has directed us about these matters in the above-mentioned traditions cannot be surpassed or equaled in any other language. The word Ahlul-Bayt can not cover all the family of the Prophet (S). This label applies only to those who occupy the position of Imams by Divine Decree, as established by reasons and upheld by the traditions. Learned scholars from the major section of the Muslims also admit this. For instance, Ibn Hajar writes in his al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah:

"The Ahlul-Bayt, whom the Holy Prophet has designated as protectors are the learned men among his family, since the guidance can be attained only through them. They are like the stars through whom we are guided in the right direction, and if the starts are taken away (or hidden) we would come face to face with the signs of the Almighty as promised (i.e., the Day of Resurrection). This will happen when the Mahdi will come, as mentioned in the traditions, and the Prophet Jesus will say his prayers behind him, the Dajjal will be slain, and then the signs of the Almighty will appear one after another."

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Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p234

This is why the demise of the twelfth Imam will bring the end of the world, and this is one of the reasons that he should be alive. In another place, Ibn Hajar writes:

"The traditions which describe the necessity of adherence to Ahlul-Bayt until the day of Judgment, also imply that the existence of the righteous members of the family of the Prophet will NOT terminate until the day of Judgment the same way as the Book of Allah will remain."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p232

The occultation of the twelfth Imam is divided into two parts: the first, the minor occultation (Ghaybah al-Sughra) which began in 259/873 and ended in 329/939, lasting about seventy year. On that period, people were in contact with him through four special deputies. These four deputies knew the place of Imam and were able to directly contact him. That period served as preparing his followers to the absence of the Imam. The second, the major occultation which commenced in 329/939 and will continue as long as God wills it. There is no special deputy in direct contact with him in this period, and Muslim scholars are his general deputies at this time without having ability to meet him. It might be that the Imam (as) showed himself to someone during the major occultation, but it was never a regular occurrence, and no one can claim to meet him anytime he wishes.

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Moreover, even if Imam (as) appears to a person and gives him an instruction, it is only personal, and is not meant for all people. The Shi’a doctrine quite clearly states that the Imam (as) would not deputize a person at this time. In fact, any claim of receiving new public orders (which are not found in our traditions narrated from Ahlul-Bayt) during the major occultation is considered itself to be the proof of the falsity of such claim.

There is no specific place of residence known for Imam al-Mahdi (as) and no one knows his whereabouts on the earth except Allah, and he has been seen by different people throughout his life in various locations of the world.

Imam al-Mahdi (as) wrote through one of his special deputies during the minor occultation:

"Rest assured, no one has a special relationship with Allah. Whoever denies me is not from my (community). The appearance of the Relief (al-Faraj) depends solely upon Allah. Therefore those who propose a certain time for it are liars.

As to the benefit of my existence in occultation, it is like the benefit of the sun behind the clouds where the eyes do not see it. Indeed, my existence is an amnesty for the inhabitants of the earth. Pray much to Allah to hasten the Relief, for therein also lies the release from your sufferings."

إعلم أنه لیس بین الله عز وجل وبین أحد قرابه، ومن أنکرنی فلیس منی، وأما ظهور الفرج فإنه إلی الله عز وجل و کذب الوقاتون. وأما وجه الانتفاع بی فی غیبتی فکالانتفاع بالشمس إذا غیبتها عن الابصار السحاب، وإنی لامان أهل الارض کما أن النجوم أمان لاهل السماء وأکثروا الدعاء بتعجیل الفرج فإن ذلک فرجکم

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Guidance can be of different ways. Do we need to see God to guide us? How about the Prophet who has already passed away? The above tradition of Imam al-Mahdi (as) gives a very interesting analogy, and the same analogy was given by the Prophet (S) on the account of Imam al-Mahdi (please see the article titled: Leadership and Infallibility).

If we want to see our way and in order to walk safely, we need light. The Sun provides this light for us even if it is hidden behind the clouds where the eyes do not see it directly. Similarly, we benefit from the guidance of Imam al-Mahdi (as) even though we can not see him during his period of occultation.

As I mentioned earlier, Imam al-Mahdi and all other Imams and prophets are not anything but the best creatures of Allah. They were NOT divine in any way. However, I have seen few English translated Shi’i books in which the phrases like "divine Imam”or "divine Prophet”have been used. By looking at those books in the original language, it became evident that by "a divine leader”the translator meant "a divinely appointed leader", that is, a leader who has been assigned by Allah (and not by people).

Such phrases should not any how imply that those leaders are divine themselves. This is the matter of understanding the phrase. Although there are many translated Islamic books which have very poor translation, but fortunately the occurrence of such ambiguous words which are critical to the understanding of the reader, is quite rare.

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Also Imam al-Mahdi (as) is not a prophet, and as such he will bring neither a new religion nor a new religious law. He does not cancel any regulations set by Prophet Muhammad (S), but he will enforce the true Islamic based on the genuine Sunnah of the Prophet (S). However there are some authentic traditions which state that although Imam al-Mahdi does not bring any new law when he comes, some people say: he is bringing a new religion.

Those traditions further explain that it is as a result of many innovations set by pseudo-scholars into to the religion of Islam. Imam al-Mahdi’s mission is to reject all the innovations and to revive the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad which was polluted by people throughout the history. As a result of ignorance of people to the true Sunnah of Prophet, they think he is bringing a new religion. Some traditions say that Imam al-Mahdi will also provide the unique interpretation (Tafsir book; divine commentary) for the Qur’an.

More on Imam al-Mahdi (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

The Shi’ite point of view of living al-Mahdi is not something that is hard to believe if one believes in Allah (SWT) and His (SWT) Book, the Qur’an. Indeed, the Shi’a aggressively assert that the concept of the Mahdi (as) being alive does not violate the Qur’an in any way, shape, or form.

For the believer whose heart has been filled with the love of and belief in Allah (SWT), there is no hesitance whatsoever in accepting the doctrine of al-Mahdi (as). For we as believers in Allah (SWT), believe in many hidden, unknown, miraculous, and seemingly impossible things that are stated in the Qur’an. Not only are they stated in the Qur’an, but a Muslim MUST submit in obedience and believe in these events. We also believe that Allah (SWT) is capable of anything and nothing is difficult or impossible for Him (SWT) to accomplish. Indeed Allah (SWT) asserts unequivocally that if He (SWT) wanted something, all He (SWT) has to do is to say to it: "Be! and it will be!"

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Let us look at some examples of miraculous events reported in Qur’an. Please take note of that NOTHING in the following verses or stories can occur, except by Allah’s (SWT) leave.

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that a man passed by a village and said to himself: "How can Allah (SWT) revive this dead land?”Allah (SWT), in turn, put him to death for one hundred years, and then brought him back to life. Furthermore, Allah (SWT) had left the man’s food INTACT for one hundred years!!! Then Allah (SWT) told the man to look at the donkey and observe how Allah (SWT) brings him back to life by reconstructing his bones and enclosing them with flesh. When the man saw that, he said: "Now I know (for certain) that Allah (SWT) is indeed All Powerful, and is capable of anything."

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that the Prophet Abraham (as) chopped up the birds into pieces and dispersed their parts over the mountains and then called on to them and they came flying by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that the blazing fire prepared by the nonbelievers for the Prophet Abraham (as) turned cool when the Prophet Abraham (as) was placed in it!!! Not only did the fire turn cold, but it turned cold in moderation to prevent the chill from killing the Prophet Abraham (as)!!!

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We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that Jesus (as) was born without a father by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!! We also believe that he (as) is not dead and that he (as) will return to Earth when Allah (SWT) wishes!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that Jesus (as) brought the dead back to life by the leave of Allah (SWT); and that he (as) cured the sick, the blind, and others!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that the stick of Moses (as) turned into a snake!!! We also believe that the ocean was split in half to allow a safe passage for the Jews to escape the persecution of the Pharaoh!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that the water of the Nile River was turned into blood by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that Solomon (as) understood the language of the birds and conversed with them; and with the ants; and with the Jinn; and that his (as) kingdom can fly up in the air; and that the kingdom of the Queen Bilqis was brought before him (as) in the blink of an eye, ALL by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that the people of the Cave (Ahl al-Kahf) were put to death for 309 years or more or less, and then were brought back to life by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!!

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We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that al-Khidr (as) is alive and that he (as) has met the Prophet Moses (as) when they were together in a boat by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that Satan, the accursed, is still alive even though he was born before Adam (as); and that he watches us from where we cannot see him by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) states in the Qur’an that Adam (as) was born without a mother or a father by the leave of Allah (SWT)!!!

We as Believing Muslims, believe that Prophet Noah (as) lived more than 950 years. We as Believing Muslims, believe Jesus (as) is still alive and he is 1,994 years old now. We as Believing Muslims, believe that al-Khidr (as) is still alive.

All the above CANNOT be proved or disproved scientifically, logically, or symbolically for that matter; yet, you ARE to ACCEPT it and BELIEVE it, or you are NOT a Muslim that has TOTALLY submitted to Allah (SWT). Why then believe all the above, but not the notion of the Mahdi (as)?

Now, the question is: If you, as a Believing Muslim, are COMMANDED to BELIEVE (there is no choice here) in the above issues, why is it so strange to you when the Shi’a say that the Mahdi (as) is alive and will return when Allah (SWT) wills? Do you not believe in the Infinite Wisdom of Allah (SWT), in that He (SWT) will bring forth the Mahdi (as) when the time is right? Is it not a clear promise by Allah (SWT) to grant victory to His (SWT) religion?

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Other than the concept of his being alive, there is no fundamental difference between the Shi’a and the Sunni on the subject of the al-Mahdi (as). Since they both believe in his appearance towards the end of this world, and that Jesus (S) will pray behind him in group prayer, and that he will fill the earth with fairness and justice just like it has been filled with injustice and unfairness, and that the Muslims will control the whole earth in his time and that prosperity fills the earth such that there won’t be a poor person, and that all Muslims will unite under his command. So let’s pray together to Allah that He would make that day near, since his appearance is the victory for the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (S).

The Knowledge of The Unseen The Knowledge of The Book

The Knowledge of The Unseen The Knowledge of The Book

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

This article aims at clarifying two concepts namely "Ilm al-Ghayb”(the Knowledge of the Unseen) and "Ilm al-Kitab”(the knowledge of the Book) which both seem to be confusing in many people’s mind. The article provides references to Qur’an and both Shi’ite and Sunnite collections of traditions.

The Knowledge Of The Unseen

The original meaning of "Ghayb”in Arabic is "that which has been concealed", and it is with this meaning which has appeared in the Holy Qur’an (4:34, 12:52, etc.) It signifies a meaning opposite to "Hadhir”which means "present to the senses", and thus denotes with things to the external world (i.e., Ma’lumat; known things). This opposition of Ghayb/Hadhir (unseen/present) should not be confused with the opposition of Ilm/Jahl (knowledge/ignorance) in which the latter pair is concerned with the internal act of knowing. So it may happen that something is "Ghayb”in the dimension of time which does not exist now but it will be or it was; or in the dimension of place that is the knowledge of something which is located elsewhere but not here.

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Thus we can divide own our knowledge into two parts:

A) The knowledge of something which is present to us right here and right now (Ilm bil Hadhir),

B)The knowledge of something which we know but is not here now (Ilm bil Ghayb/Gha’ib; the knowledge of what is concealed from the senses).

It should be noted however that the above division is according to general/original linguistic meaning of the term. The knowledge of Ghayb itself can be divided in two kinds:

1)The knowledge that comes to us through our senses, but indirectly. Examples are our knowledge of history which comes either through narration from one person to another, by speech or in writing or through examining the relics and remainings of the past, and then deducing certain historical facts from them.

2)The type of the knowledge of Ghayb which does not come through our senses.

It should be observed that the first type can be by means of ordinary senses (the five normal senses) or may be by a special sense which has been given to a person like telepathic sense (if there is such a thing). It is, however, only to the second type (the non-sensory one), that the technical/special meaning of "The Knowledge of Ghayb/Gha’ib”is denoted. The historical events mentioned in Qur’an has been named by Qur’an as "the tidings/news of Ghayb”(11:49, 12:102, 25:4-6) which are all the second kind which did not come via senses.

The Holy Qur’an is quite specific about the fact that Allah alone has the knowledge of Ghayb (what is concealed) in the heavens and the earth. Qur’an tells us that there are keys to the Ghayb which are with Allah:

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"With Him are the Keys of the Ghayb; non knows them but He.”(Qur’an 6:59)

and that no one knows anything of Allah’s knowledge except if He will. Qur’an tells about the knowledge and the intercession of the Prophet Muhammad and his twelve successors that:

"Who can intercede with Him except the cases He permits? He knows what is in front of them (the Prophet and the Imams) and what is behind them, and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He will.”(Qur’an 2:255)

This shows that the core/keys of the Knowledge of Ghayb is with Allah, but He may release "a news of Ghayb”to the one He wills.

According to the Qur’an, things which are special property of Allah, such as creation, giving life, curing without medicine, the knowledge of what has happened and what will happen, may either be momentarily given by Him at the moment they are required, or else the power and ability to do them may be given so that they can be used when necessary, by the permission of Allah. An example of the latter comes in the story of Prophet Jesus (as) who, according to Qur’an, said:

"I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; I will create for you out of clay a figure of a bird, then I will breath into it, and it will be a bird by leave of Allah; I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by leave of Allah. I will also inform you of what things you eat and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely, in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.”(Qur’an 3:49; see also 5:110)

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To give a simple example, consider a person who looks at a monitor which displays some part of a database located in the hard drive of a computer. The user can retrieve any part of this database and see it on the monitor. But the whole database is always in the computer and not in the user’s head. Furthermore, the user is unaware of any real-time modifications that may happen to this data base and the formulas behind the modifications.

Allah let the Prophet and Imams know whatever they needed to know. However, they don’t have the whole knowledge within themselves. But Allah would give them whatever they needed any time. It is important to understand that what the prophets or the Imams wish to know is exactly what Allah wished to release to them. They do not wish to know anything that Allah do not want to release to them (among which is the keys to the knowledge of unseen).

Based on Qur’an and the transmitted traditions by Ahlul-Bayt, Allah has two types of knowledge:

1-The knowledge that is withheld (i.e., Ghayb). As I mentioned Nobody has control over this type of knowledge except Allah. Allah may inform "a news from Ghayb”to some of His servants, but this is different than "possessing Ghayb". In fact, there is a whole chapter in Usul al-Kafi which discusses this type of knowledge where it is clearly mentioned that neither the Imams nor the prophets possess the knowledge Ghayb. "The Will (Mashiyyah) of Allah operates on this knowledge. If He wishes He decrees it. And If He wishes He modifies it and does not carry it out.”(See Usul al-Kafi, Kitab al-Hujjah, Tradition 664)

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2-The knowledge that is granted. "This is the knowledge that Allah fore- ordained (Qadar, Taqdeer), He decrees it, and carries it out (with no modification). And this is the knowledge that has 1been passed down to the Prophet Muhammad, and then to the Imams.”(See Usul al-Kafi, Kitab al-Hujjah, Tradition 664)

If the Prophet or Imams possessed any knowledge about the future, it is this second type of knowledge (the knowledge of what has been foreordained), and NOT the first type of knowledge (the Knowledge of the Unseen).

For the First type of knowledge, Qur’an states:

"Allah removes what He wills, and confirms what He wills, and with Him is the Essence of the Book.”(Qur’an 13:39).

یَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا یَشَاءُ وَیُثْبِتُ وَعِندَهُ أُمُّ الْکِتَابِ

The Essence of the Book is the withheld knowledge (Ghayb) which is only possessed by Allah, and nobody possesses this database but Him. Also see the following verses:

He said: "The knowledge of that is with my Lord in a Record. My Lord neither errs nor forgets.”(Qur’an 20:52)

Now, let us look at the following verse:

"He possesses the Ghayb and He does not discloses His Ghayb to anyone except to such a Messenger as He is well-pleased with.”(Qur’an 72:26-27).

عَالِمُ الْغَیْبِ فَلَا یُظْهِرُ عَلَیٰ غَیْبِهِ أَحَدًا ﴿٢٦﴾إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَیٰ مِن رَّسُولٍ...

From the above verse, it is evident that although Allah alone possesses the withheld knowledge (Ghayb), but He may disclose a news from it to Prophet Muhammad (S). On the other hand, Prophet Muhammad transferred whatever he was reached from the news of "Ghayb”to those who qualified, as the following verse testifies:

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"And he (Muhammad) is not niggardly the Knowledge of the Unseen.”(Qur’an 81:24).

وَمَا هُوَ عَلَی الْغَیْبِ بِضَنِینٍ﴿٢٤﴾

Therefore, if the news of Ghayb reached to the Prophet Muhammad (and consequently the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt), it is only because it was given to him by Allah. It is for this reason that according to Qur’an the messengers are all instructed to tell people that they do not possess the Knowledge of Ghayb of their own, for it is reached to them by Allah only as He wishes.

In Usul a-Kafi, it is narrated that:

Ammar al-Sabati said: I asked Abu Abdillah (Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq) concerning if Imam knows al-Ghayb (Unseen). He replied: "No, but when he wishes to know something, Allah causes him to know that.”(Usul al-Kafi, Kitab al- Hujjah, Tradition 666)

Shaikh al-Mufeed (d. 413/1022) who was one the outstanding Shi’a scholars said:

“... Saying that they (Prophet and Imams) possess the knowledge of Ghayb should be refuted as being something clearly incorrect, because the attribute of this can only be for someone who possesses the knowledge of (all) things within himself, not the knowledge obtained from another. And this can only be for Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty. All Imamis agree on this except those who deviated from them and are called Mufawwidah and extremists (al-Ghulat).”(Awa’il al- Maqalaat, p38).

in fact, neither the prophets nor Imams ever claimed that they have all the knowledge within themselves. Obviously they did not know those of information which was "hidden”to them. However, this does not mean that whatever they knew is "visible”to us as well. The information which is considered to be "hidden”to us may be "visible”to them. Thus the visibility of knowledge is relative to the person.

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The Knowledge Of The Book

Qur’an mentions the second type of knowledge, explained above, which has been released to the prophets and the Imams. This is the knowledge of what has been foreordained and the knowledge of the rules governing the universe. This type of knowledge is known as "the knowledge of the Book". Qur’an testifies that some prophets and non-prophets had this type of knowledge by which they could perform many extraordinary things with the permission of Allah. We read in Qur’an that:

So We did show Abraham the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth that he might (with understanding) have certitude. (Qur’an 6:75)

Also earlier, we quoted a verse of Qur’an related to Prophet Jesus who said: "I will also INFORM you of what things you eat and what you treasure up in your houses.”(Qur’an 3:49; see also 5:110). References can also be made in this respect to the power of the interpretation of the tales given to Prophet Joseph (as) (see Qur’an 12:6,15,21,37), to the language of the birds given to Prophet David (as) and Solomon (Sulayman) (as) (see Qur’an 21:79). We also read:

We gave knowledge to David and Solomon, and they both said: "Praise be to Allah Who has favored us above many of His servants who believe!”And Solomon was David’s heir. He said: "O People! we have been taught the speech of Birds and we have been given (some knowledge) from all things. This is indeed manifest favor.”(Qur’an 27:15-16)

Having "the Knowledge of the Book", one can do many extraordinary things with the permission of Allah. For example Qur’an mentions that at the time of Prophet Solomon (Sulayman), a person in the name of Asaf, who was the Minister of Solomon and had only a very small part of "the Knowledge of the Book", was able to bring the throne of Queen Bilqis from another place of the world within the twinkling of an eye:

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"The One with whom was just a part of the Knowledge of the Book said: ‘I shall bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!’ Then when (Solomon) saw (the throne) set in his presence, he said: ‘This is by the grace of my Lord! to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful!’“(Qur’an 27:40).

The source of this Divine Knowledge is God. He gave part of it to Prophet Adam (2:31), Jesus (5:110/113)... and some people who were not prophets like Taloot (2:247), and Asaf (see the above verse). According to Qur’an, "The knowledge of the Book”is for those who are immersed in Knowledge (3:7, 4:162), who are given authority by Allah (4:83), who are assigned by Allah as referee (16:43, 21:7), who are the stars of Guidance (6:97).

According to some traditions, the Knowledge of The Book is a part of the Greatest Name of Allah. The Greatest Name of Allah consists of seventy three units. These are not letters, but they are rather the knowledge of governing the universe. In one of the traditions in Usul al-Kafi, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) explained this issue as well as the mystery of the action of Asaf, the Minister of Solomon:

Abu Ja’far (as) said: "Verily, the Greatest Name of Allah consists of seventy three units (Harf). Asaf possessed only one unit of it, and when he spoke it (i.e., used it) the ground between him and the throne of Bilqis (the Queen of Sheba/Saba) folded/subsided so that he could take the throne with his hands, and then the ground opened out and returned to what it was originally in less than the twinkling of an eye.

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We (Ahlul-Bayt) have seventy two units of the Greatest Name, and one unit remained with Allah which is kept exclusively in His knowledge of Unseen (Ilm al-Ghayb); and there is no efficacy or power except by Allah, the High, the Great.”(Usul al-Kafi, Kitab al-Hujjah, Tradition 613)

As stated in Verse 27:40 of Qur’an, the one who possessed a small part of "the Knowledge of the Book", was able to bring the throne of King Bilqis from another place of the world within the twinkling of an eye. So those who have the whole "Knowledge of the Book”should be able to do more! The whole knowledge of the Book was with Prophet Muhammad and his twelve successors. Allah, Exalted, said in Qur’an:

"(O’ Prophet) say: Enough for witness between me and you is Allah and he who possesses the Knowledge of the Book.”(Qur’an 13:43)

قُلْ کَفَیٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِیدًا بَیْنِی وَبَیْنَکُمْ وَمَنْ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ الْکِتَابِ

From the verse, it is clear that in the phrase "he who possesses the Knowledge of the Book", Qur’an is specifically referring to a person other than Allah and Prophet Muhammad. Of course, the source of this knowledge is Allah and He possesses it and He also granted it to Prophet Muhammad (S) in full.

However, the choice words in the above verse shows that "he who possesses the Knowledge of the Book”referred specifically in the above verse, is a person (or persons) other than Allah and His Prophet (S). It refers to Imam ‘Ali (as) and the Imams after him (see below for details).

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Also notice that in the above verse, Allah does NOT say "a part of the knowledge of the Book”while Allah used the phrase "a part of”for the case of minister of Solomon.

Some Sunnis have mentioned that the above verse refers to Abdullah Ibn Sallam, the Jewish Rabbi who converted to Islam. some other Sunnis said that it refers to all scholars of the Jews and the Christians who found the attributes of the incoming Prophet in their ancient scriptures.

The above interpretation does not seem to be correct. "The knowledge of the Book”as Qur’an mentions in one more place, is not as simple as recognition of the attributes of the incoming Prophet in the scripture. "The knowledge of the Book”includes the knowledge of governing rules in the Universe. As Qur’an stated, Asaf had only a very small part of "the Knowledge of the Book", and was able to do that extraordinary thing.

Thus this type of power has no connection with just knowing the name of an incoming prophet from a book. Furthermore, if the Sunni interpretation is correct, then it means whenever Muslims have a question, they should refer to Christians and Jews, because they have the whole knowledge of the Book while Muslims do not!

Some may argue that if the above verse is referring to Imam ‘Ali and the rest of the twelve Imams, then what sort of evidence will this be for the unbelievers who would not accept the words of Muslims by saying the above verse to them?

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The answer is that the verse starts with the phrase: "And the Kuffar (unbelievers) say: You are not a messenger. Say: Sufficient as witness is...”As such, the verse is about Kuffar (unbelievers). They don’t believe in Allah either. Therefore, the same question may rise again: If the Kuffar do not believe in Allah, then what sort of evidence will be for them to say "Allah is the witness"?

The above verse is, in fact, just a threat by the Prophet (S) to unbelievers, that that will be accounted on the day of judgment for their blasphemy, and he (the Prophet) has enough two witness for that: One is, Allah, the Creator, and the other one is Imam ‘Ali, the Prince of Believers. In general, it refers to all the twelve Imams. But at that time of the Prophet he was just Imam ‘Ali (as).

Witness to the fact that "he who possesses the Knowledge of the Book”in verse 13:43 refers to Imam ‘Ali (as) and no other companions of the Prophet, is the numerous traditions reported by both Shi’a and Sunni.

It is confirmed in the authentic Sunni books that Imam ‘Ali was the MOST knowledgeable man in the Muslim community after the Prophet (S). Those who testified this fact include: The Prophet (S), Imam ‘Ali himself, Abu Bakr, Umar, Aisha, and many other companions.

The Holy Prophet (S) informed his followers of the very existence of a man who was the treasurer of Knowledge of the Holy Prophet (S), and he had declared to them that if they want to reach the Knowledge of the Holy Prophet, they should take that Knowledge from the treasurer:

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The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "I am the City of Knowledge, and ‘Ali is its Gate. So whoever intends to enter the City and the Wisdom, he should enter from its Gate."

إنا مدینه العِلْم و علیٌ بابها، فَمَنْ أرادَ المدینه و الحکمه فلیأتِها من بابها.

Sunni references:

1. Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 201,637

2. al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, pp 126-127,226, Chapter of the Virtues of ‘Ali, narrated on the authority of two reliable reporters: one, Ibn Abbas, whose report has been transmitted through two different but chain of authorities, and the other, Jabir Ibn Abdullah al-Ansari. He said this tradition is Authentic (Sahih).

3. Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p635, Tradition 1081

4. Jami’ al-Saghir, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v1, pp 107,374; Also in Jami’ al-Jawami’; Also in Tarikh al-Khulafaa, p171. He said this tradition is accepted (Hasan).

5. al-Kabir, by al-Tabarani (d. 360); Also in al-Awsat

6. Ma’rifah al-Sahaba, by al-Hafidh Abu Nu’aym al-Isbahani

7. Ihyaa al-Ululm, by al-Ghazzali

8. History of Ibn Kathir, v7, p358

9. History of Ibn Asakir

10. Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v2, p337; v4, p348; v7, p173; v11, pp 48-50; v13, p204

11. al-Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p38; v2, p461

12. Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v4, p22

13. Tahdhib al-Athar, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari

14. Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p114

15. Bahr al-Asateed, by al-Hafidh Abu Muhammad Hassan Samarghandi (d. 491)

16. Siraj al-Muneer, by al-Hafidh ‘Ali Ibn Ahmad Azizi Shafi’i (d.1070), v2, p63

17. Manaqib, by ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Tayyib al-Jalaabi Ibn Maghaazi (d. 483)

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18. Firdaws al-Akhbar, by Abu Shuja’a Shirwayh Hamadani al-Daylami (d. 509)

19. Maqtal al-Husayn, by Khateeb Kharazmi (d. 568), v1, p43

20. Manaqib, by Khateeb Kharazmi (d. 568), p49

21. Alif Ba’a, by Abul Hajjaaj Yusuf Ibn Muhammad Andulesi (d.605), v1, p222

22. Matalib al-Su’ul, by Abu Salim Muhammad Ibn Talhih Shafi’i (d. 652), p22

23. Jawahi al-Aghdi’in, by Noor al-Din al-Shafi’i (d. 911)

24. Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, in Chapter 14

25. Tadhkirat al-Khawas al-Ummah, by Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 654), p29

26. Kunz al-Baraheen, by Shaikh Khathri

27. Kifayat al-Talib, by Yusuf al-Ganji al-Shafi’i (d. 658), Chapter 58

28. Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, part 15, p13, Traditions 348-379

29. al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, section 2, p189

30. Hafidh Salah al-Din al-Ulai, after copying the weakening arguments by al-Dhahabi, has remarked "There are in this only mean attempts to oppose for the sake of opposition, and not a single valid argument."

31. Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Siddeeq al-Hasani al-Maghribi, from Cairo, has compiled a magnificent book named "Fat’h al-Mulk al-’Ali bi Sihah Hadith-e-Bab-e-Madinat al-Ilm”to prove the genuinness of the very above tradition. This book was printed in the year 1354 AH in Matba’ al-Islamiyyah, Egypt.

32. Also reported by Ibn Adi on the authority of Ibn Umar, and by al-Bazzar on the authority of Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari

... and more ...

In the Arabic form of this Hadith, the word "The Knowledge”comes as "al-Ilm”which has the article "al”which makes the word universal. This means that in the city of knowledge of the Prophet (S), all kind of the knowledge (which could possibly be attained by human being) existed.

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Remark: The above tradition also supports the infallibility of Imam ‘Ali (beside what is conveyed by Qur’an 33:33 on the issue of infallibility of Ahlul-Bayt). The reason behind the non-intentional mistakes is lack of knowledge, i.e., not to know what is right to do at the time. Therefore, if Imam ‘Ali (as) contained all the knowledge of the Prophet (S), it reasons that if the Prophet was infallible, so is Imam ‘Ali (as).

In addition to that, al-Tirmidhi also recorded that:

The Messenger of Allah said: "I am the House of Wisdom and ‘Ali is it’s door."

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 201,637

• Ibn Jarir al-Tabari recorder this tradition and wrote: "We believe this tradition to be genuine and authentic.”(as quoted by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi in Kanz al-Ummal, v6, p401)

• Jami’ al-Saghir, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v1, p170; Also in Jami’ al-Jawami’

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 9, section 2, p189

Moreover:

The Messenger said to his daughter Fatimah al-Zahra (sa): "Would it not please you that I have married you to the first Muslim in my nation, their most knowledgeable, and their greatest in Wisdom."

Sunni reference: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, p136; v5, p26

Similarly, Barida narrated:

The messenger of Allah (S) said to Fatimah (sa) that: "I gave you in marriage to the best in my Ummah, the most knowledgeable in them, the best in patience in them, and the first Muslim among them."

Sunni reference: Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p398

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Abu Bakr said: "May Allah never put me in a situation where I can not have access to Abul Hasan (i.e., ‘Ali) to solve a problem.”Similarly, Sa’id al-Musayyib said: "Umar Ibn al-Khattab used to beg God to preserve him from a perplexing case which the father of al-Hasan was not present to decide.”Furthermore Umar said: "If there was not ‘Ali, Umar would have perished."

Sunni references:

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition 1100

• al-Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p39

• Manaqib, by al-Khawarizmi, p48

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, p338

• al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2, p194

• Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

Aisha once said: "He (‘Ali) was the most knowledgeable person among those who remained on the Sunnah (of the Prophet)."

Sunni References:

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d

• Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 9, section 3, p196

• Ibn Asakir

Ibn Abbas (ra) said: "There was 18 exclusive virtues for ‘Ali which was not for any other person in the Muslim community."

Sunni Reference: al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani

Ibn Mas’ud said: "We were talking that the most trustful referee/Judge in Medina to solve the problems was ‘Ali."

Sunni References:

• Tarikh al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari (the author of Sahih), v1, part 2, p6

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p646, Tradition 1097

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p352

• Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

• al-Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, section of word "Ain", v2, p462; v3, p39

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• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, p338, He also reported that Umar said: "‘Ali was our Judge."

• Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v1, p84

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p116

• al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v3, p213

Furthermore:

Ibn Mas’ud said: "The Holy Qur’an has outward and inward meanings, and ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib has the knowledge of both."

Sunni references: Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v1, p65

Much of the knowledge of the Prophet was transferred to Imam ‘Ali (as) when the Prophet was taking his last breath:

Imam ‘Ali said: "The Messenger of Allah at that time (before his last breath) taught me a thousand chapters of knowledge, every one of which opened for me one thousand other chapters."

Sunni references:

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v1, p392

• Hilyatul Awliyaa, by al-Hafidh Abu Nu’aym

• Nuskhatah, by Abu Ahmad al-Faradi

Furthermore, Imam ‘Ali (as) once said:

"By Allah, I am the Brother of the Messenger of Allah and his friend and his cousin and the inheritor of his knowledge. Who has a better title for succeeding him than me?

Sunni references:

• al-Khasa’is al-Alawiyyah, al-Nisa’i

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim v3, p112

• al-Dhahabi in his Talkhis of al-Mustadrak has admitted the above words to be genuine.

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p40

Also Imam ‘Ali (as) himself frequently stated in his sermons:

"Ask me before you lose me. By Allah, if you ask me about anything that could happen up to the Day of Judgment, I will tell you about it. Ask me, for, by Allah, you will not be able to ask me a question about anything without my informing you. Ask me about the Book of Allah, for by Allah, there is no verse about which I do not know whether it was sent down at night or during the day, or whether it was revealed on a plain or in a mountain."

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Sunni References:

• al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v4, p568

• Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v7, pp 337-338

• Fat’hul Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v8, p485

• Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by al-Suyuti, p124

• al-Itqan, by al-Suyuti, v2, p319

• al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2, p198

• at-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, Part 2, p101

• al-Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p1107

Sa’id Ibn Musayyib as well as Umar Ibn al-Khattab said:

"No companion of the Prophet ever said ‘Ask me’ except ‘Ali."

Sunni References:

• Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition 1098

• al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v2, p509

• al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 9, section 3, p196

• al-Faqih wal Mutafaqih, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v2, p167

• Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

• al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, p338

• al-Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p40

• al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v3, p212

• al-Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p83

The conclusion is that "he who possesses the Knowledge of the Book”in verse 13:43 refers to Imam ‘Ali (as) and no other companions. And if "a part of Knowledge of the Book", provided a supernatural power for Asaf, then it is clear that those who have the whole knowledge of the Book, have more ability of this type by leave of Allah.

Also according to the above tradition written in Sihah Sittah, in which the Prophet (S) said "I am the City of Knowledge, and ‘Ali is its Gate. So whoever intends to enter the City and the Wisdom, he should enter from its Gate", it is clear that the only source of knowledge after Prophet Muhammad (S) was Imam ‘Ali (as), and those who seek other sources do not gain the genuine Sunnah of the Prophet because nobody can enter this City from a direction other than its door.

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Concluding Remarks

It should be emphasized that The Twelver Shi’a Scholars believe that neither the Prophet nor the Imams possess the Knowledge of Ghayb with the special meaning used in Qur’an, since this type of knowledge is something which belongs to Allah only. However, as Qur’an mentions "news of Ghayb”have been transmitted to the Prophet Muhammad, and from that channel, it has been transmitted to the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt. What they fully possess is the Knowledge of the Book described above.

It should also be noted that the prophets and Imams share with the rest of humanity the means for obtaining knowledge which Allah has given: the senses, the intellect, etc. They also possess special powers and means which other people do not have.

In carrying out the commands of Allah in which people have also responsibility, and likewise in ordinary behavior, the prophets and Imams only make use of the first way of knowing, that is the commonly available means. The second means (extraordinary means) is only used by them in duties and works which are connected with their position of prophethood and Imamat.

Thus in matters such as knowing the beginning of the month, passing judgment, finding out if something is unclean or pure, etc., they make use of ordinary means such as sighting of the moon, and so forth, which anyone else employs. The extraordinary means of knowledge can not be the basis for their action, and what they volitionally do must be determined by the means available to everyone. Thus, such knowledge has spiritual aspect as being the Representative of Allah (Khalifatullah), and the reason for it must be sought on this level, and it is not for the purpose of influencing and controlling the events on the level of ordinary understanding.

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And Allah knows best.

Side Comments

A contributor mentioned that there exists another version of the tradition of "The City of Knowledge”where the Prophet states: "I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its gate, and Abu Bakr is its foundation, Umar its walls and Uthman its roof."

To answer this, I would like to first mention this weak tradition is not reported in any of the six sound collections of the Sunnis, where as the correct version of the tradition provided in our article is, in fact, in the Sihah Sittah of the Sunnis.

Adding the words to the genuine traditions of the Prophet, was another trick which the falsifiers of tradition narrators resorted to during the time of the Umayad. When they found that a tradition was so widespread amongst the people that there was no way to deny or refute it, they decided to add a paragraph or words, or to change some phrases so as to dampen the impact of the tradition or to make it lose its intended meaning.

This trick is not hidden to the objective researchers who refute these additions which, most of the time, indicate the lack of intelligence of the falsifiers and their lack of wisdom in contrast to the light of the Prophetic traditions. Even some well known Sunni scholars were aware of such forgeries and have rated many of such traditions as forged or weak due to the discrepancy in the Isnad as well as the contents.

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For instance, in the above forged tradition, we can observe the saying "Abu Bakr is it’s foundation”means the knowledge of the Prophet (S) is derived from the knowledge of Abu Bakr and this is disbelief (Kufr). Likewise, the statement "Umar is its walls”means Umar prevents people from entering the city, i.e., prevents them from getting to the knowledge. Also the saying "Uthman is its roof”is undoubtedly absurd since there is no city which has a roof!!!

All praise is due to the Lord of the Worlds, who has given us intelligence through which we will be able to differentiate between the truth and falsehood, and He has made clear to us the Right Path and then tests us by many things so that they can bear witness on the day of judgment.

Some Traditions on the Virtues of Imam ‘Ali (as)

Some Traditions on the Virtues of Imam ‘Ali (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

It is narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "He who wants to see Noah (as) in his determination, Adam (as) in his knowledge, Abraham (as) in his clemency, Moses (as) in his intelligence and Jesus (as) in his religious devotion should look at ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as)."

Sunni references:

• Sahih al-Bayhaqi

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as quoted in

• Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v2, p449

• Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhruddin al-Razi, under the commentary of the Verse of Imprecation (Mubahilah), v2 p288. He wrote this tradition has been accepted as all genuine.

• Ibn Batah has recorded it as a tradition related by Ibn Abbas as is stated in the book "Fat’h al-Mulk al-’Ali bi Sihah Hadith-e-Bab-e-Madinat al-Ilm", p34, by Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Siddeeq al-Hasani al-Maghribi.

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• Among those who have admitted that Imam ‘Ali (as) is the store house of the secrets of all the Prophets is the Chief of Gnostics, Muhyiddin al-Arabi, from whom al-Arif al-Sha’rani has copied it in his al-Yawaqeet wa al-Jawahir (p172, topic 32).

It is also narrated that:

The Prophet (S) said: "There is amongst you a person who will fight for the interpretation of the Qur’an just as I fought for its revelation.”The people around him raised their heads and cast inquisitive glances at the Prophet (S) and at one another. Abu Bakr and Umar were there. Abu Bakr inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (S) replied in the negative. Then Umar inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (S), replied "No. He is the one who is repairing my shoes (i.e., ‘Ali)."

Abu Said Khudri said: Then we went to ‘Ali and conveyed the good news to him. He did not even raise his head and remained as busy as he was, as if he had already heard it from the Messenger of Allah (S)."

Sunni references:

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p122, who said this tradition is genuine based on the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

• al-Dhahabi, also records it in his Talkhis al-Mustadrak and admitted that it is genuine according to the standard of the two Shaikhs.

• Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, p40

• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, pp 32-33

• Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p155

• Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p133

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Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and al-Hakim recorded with authentic document from Abu Said al-Khudri, that the Apostle of God said to ‘Ali: "Verily you will do battle for (implementation of) the Qur’an, as you has done for its revelation."

Sunni reference: Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p173

al-Hakim recorded that Anas Ibn Malik narrated that the Holy Prophet said to ‘Ali:

“You shall inform my nation about the truth and what they dispute after me":

Sunni reference:

• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p112, who wrote this is an authentic Hadith according to the stipulation of the two Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim). (This would mean that the chain of narrators are considered to be authentic as stipulated by Bukhari and Muslim)

The First Muslim

It is an undisputed fact that Imam ‘Ali was the first man to embrace Islam after the Holy Prophet (S). Below are some of the references

Ibn Abi Shaybah and Ibn Asakir recorded on the authority of Salim Ibn Abi Jaad that he said: I asked of Muhammad Ibn Hanifah, "was Abu Bakr the first of the people to adopt Islam?”He replied: "No".

And Ibn Asakir on a reliable ascription from Muhammad Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas, that he said to his father Sa’d: "was Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq the first of you in embracing the faith?”He said: "No, for there were more than five people in faith before him"

Ibn Kathir says: "it is clear that Muhammad’s family believed before every other - his wife Khadija, his freedman Zaid and the Wife of Zaid Umm Ayman and ‘Ali and Warakah."

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Sunni reference:

• Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p33 (History of the Caliphs translated by Major Barrett)

It is also narrated that Anas Ibn Malik said: "The Messenger was commissioned on Monday and ‘Ali believed in him on Tuesday."

Sunni reference: al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p112

al-Hakim also narrated that: Salman al-Farsi said that the Messenger of God said: "The first one of you to drink from the Basin on the Day of Judgment is your first Muslim, ‘Ali, the son of Abu Talib."

Sunni reference: al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p112

Ibn Hisham recorded that: ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib was the first male to believe in the Messenger of God and that he prayed with him while he was only ten years old.

Sunni reference: Biography of the Prophet, by Ibn Hisham, v1, p245

The famous Sunni Historian, al-Tabari also wrote: The first three to offer prayers were Muhammad (S) , Khadija and ‘Ali (as).

Sunni reference: History al-Tabari, v2, p65

Also Khateeb al-Baghdadi, in his book quotes Imam ‘Ali that:

‘Ali said: "I was the first one to accept Islam at the hands of the Holy Prophet."

• Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v4, p333

Ghadir Khum

Ghadir Khum Part 1

Ghadir Khum Part 1

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِیمِ

In this year, Thursday, May 18, 1995 coincides with the 18th of Dhul-Hajjah, the anniversary of the event of Ghadir Khum where the Messenger of Allah delivered his LAST sermon. The greatest parallel/frequent (Mutawatir) tradition in the History of Islam is related to this sermon of the Prophet (S).

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Please see Part 3 for a complete list of 110 companions of Prophet who narrated this tradition, as well as classified lists of the Sunni traditionists/historians/commentators of Qur’an who confirmed this tradition to be authentic and frequent, and their corresponding books where the tradition can be found. Also in Part 2 we discuss the meanings of wali, mawla, and wilayah.

The Farewell Pilgrimage

Ten years after the migration, the Messenger of Allah ordered to his close followers to call all the people in different places to join him in his last pilgrimage. On this pilgrimage he taught them how to perform the pilgrimage in a correct and unified form. This was first time that the Muslims with this magnitude gathered in one place in the presence of their leader, the Messenger of Allah. On his way to Mecca, more than seventy thousand people followed Prophet (S). On the fourth day of Dhul-Hajjah more than one hundred thousand Muslims had entered Mecca.

Revelation Of Verse 5:67

On the 18th of Dhul-Hajjah, after completing his last pilgrimage (Hajjatul-Widaa), Prophet was leaving Mecca toward Medina, where he and the crowd of people reached to a place called Ghadir Khum (which is close to today’s Juhfah). It was a place where people from different provinces should say Good bye to each other and take different routes for their home. In this place, the following verse was revealed:

"O Apostle! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you don’t do it, you have not delivered His message (at all); and Allah will protect you from the people ...”(Qur’an 5:67).

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Some of Sunni references confirming that the revelation of the above verse of Qur’an was right before the speech of Prophet in Ghadir Khum:

(1) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, under commentary of verse 5:67, v12, pp 49-50, narrated on the authorities of Ibn Abbas, al-Bara Ibn Azib, and Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali.

(2) Asbab al-Nuzool, by al-Wahidi, p50, narrated on the authorities of Atiyyah and Abu Sa’id al Khudri.

(3) Nuzul al-Qur’an, by al-Hafiz Abu Nu’aym narrated on the authorities Abu Sa’id Khudri and Abu Rafi.

(4) al-Fusool al Muhimmah, by Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki al-Makki, p24

(5) Durr al-Manthur, by al-Hafiz al-Suyuti, under commentary of verse 5:67

(6) Fathul Qadir, by al-Shawkani, under commentary of verse 5:67

(7) Fathul Bayan, by Hasan Khan, under commentary of verse 5:67

(8) Shaykh Muhi al-Din al-Nawawi, under commentary of verse 5:67

(9) al-Sirah al-Halabiyah, by Noor al-Din al-Halabi, v3, p301

(10) Umdatul Qari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, by al-Ayni

(11) Tafsir al-Nisaboori, v6, p194

(12) and many more such as Ibn Mardawayh, etc...

The last sentence in the above verse indicates that the Prophet (S) was mindful of the reaction of his people in delivering that message but Allah informs him not to worry, for He will protect His Messenger from people.

The Speech

Upon receiving the verse, the Prophet (S) stopped on that place (the pond of Khum) which was extremely hot. Then he sent for all people who have been ahead in the way, to come back and waited until all pilgrims who fell behind, arrived and gathered.

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He ordered Salman (ra) to use rocks and camel toolings to make a pulpit (minbar) so he could make his announcement. It was around noon time in the first of the Fall, and due to the extreme heat in that valley, people were wrapping their robes around their feet and legs, and were sitting around the pulpit, on the hot rocks.

On this day the Messenger of Allah spent approximately five ours in this place; three hours of which he was on the pulpit. He recited nearly one hundred verses from The Glorious Qur’an, and for seventy three times reminded and warned people of their deeds and future. Then he gave them a long speech. The following is a part of his speech which has been widely narrated by the Sunni traditionists:

The Messenger of Allah declared: "It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. I am leaving for you two precious things and if you adhere both of them, you will never go astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The two shall never separate from each other until they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Then the Messenger of Allah continued: "Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?”People cried and answered: "Yes, O’ Messenger of God.”Then Prophet (S) held up the hand of ‘Ali and said: "Whoever I am his leader (Mawla), ‘Ali is his leader (Mawla). O’ God, love those who love him, and be hostile to those who are hostile to him."

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ألَسْتُ أولی بالمؤمنین من أنفسهم؟ قالوا بلی یارسول الله. قال: من کنت مولاه فعلی مولاه. اللهم وال من والاه و عاد من عاداه.

Some of the Sunni references:

(1) Sahih Tirmidhi, v2, p298, v5, p63

(2) Sunan Ibn Maja, v1, pp 12,43

(3) Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, pp 4,21

(4) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p129, v3, pp 109-110,116,371

(5) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, pp 84,118,119,152,330, v4, pp 281,368,370, 372,378, v5, pp 35,347,358,361,366,419 (from 40 chains of narrators)

(6) Fada’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, v2, pp 563,572

(7) Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p103 (from several transmitters)

(8) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, v12, pp 49-50

(9) Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur, by al-Hafiz Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v3, p19

(10) Tarikh al-Khulafa, by al-Suyuti, pp 169,173

(11) al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, by Ibn Kathir, v3, p213, v5, p208

(12) Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn Athir, v4, p114

(13) Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v2, pp 307-308

(14) Habib al-Siyar, by Mir Khand, v1, part 3, p144

(15) Sawaiq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, p26

(16) al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v2, p509; v1, part1, p319, v2, part1, p57, v3, part1, p29, v4, part 1, pp 14,16,143

(17) Tabarani, who narrated from companions such as Ibn Umar, Malik Ibn al-Hawirath, Habashi Ibn Junadah, Jari, Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas, Anas Ibn Malik, Ibn Abbas, Amarah,Buraydah,...

(18) Tarikh, by al-Khatib Baghdadi, v8, p290

(19) Hilyatul Awliya’, by al-Hafiz Abu Nu’aym, v4, p23, v5, pp26-27

(20) al-Istiab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, Chapter of word "ayn”(‘Ali), v2, p462

(21) Kanzul Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, pp 154,397

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(22) al-Mirqat, v5, p568

(23) al-Riyad al-Nadirah, by al-Muhib al-Tabari, v2, p172

(24) Dhaka’ir al-Uqba, by al-Muhib al-Tabari, p68

(25) Faydh al-Qadir, by al-Manawi, v6, p217

(26) Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah, by al-Qudoozi al-Hanafi, p297 ... And hundreds more. Please see part 3 for more classified references (traditionists, historians, and commentators).

The above was just a part of speech of the Prophet (S). For a more detailed speech of the Prophet, please see the end of this part.

Revelation Of Verse 5:3

Immediately after the Prophet (S) finished his speech, the following verse of Holy Qur’an was revealed:

"Today I have perfected your religion and completed my bounty upon you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion.”(Qur’an 5:3)

Some of Sunni references which mentioned the revelation of the above verse of Qur’an in Ghadir Khum after the speech of the Prophet:

(1) al-Durr al-Manthur, by al-Hafiz Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v3, p19

(2) Tarikh, by Khatib al-Baghdadi, v8, pp 290,596 from Abu Hurayra

(3) Manaqaib, by Ibn Maghazali, p19

(4) History of Damascus, Ibn Asakir, v2, p75

(5) al-Itqan, by al-Suyuti, v1, p13

(6) Manaqib, by Khawarazmi al-Hanfi, p80

(7) al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, by Ibn Kathir, v3, p213

(8) Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah, by al-Qudoozi al-Hanafi, p115

(9) Nuzul al-Qur’an, by al-Hafiz Abu Nu’aym narrated on the authority Abu Sa’id Khudri.

... and more.

The above verse clearly indicates that Islam without clearing up matter of leadership after Prophet was not complete, and completion of religion was due to announcement of Prophet’s immediate successor.

Oath Of Allegiance

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After his speech, the Messenger of Allah asked every body to give the oath of allegiance to ‘Ali (as) and congratulate him. Among those who gave him the oath were Umar, Abu Bakr, and Uthman. It is narrated that Umar and

Abu Bakr said:

"Well done Ibn Abi Talib! Today you became the leader (Mawla) of all believing men and women."

Sunni references:

(1) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v4, p281

(2) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, v12, pp 49-50

(3) Mishkat al-Masabih, by al-Khatib al-Tabrizi, p557

(4) Habib al-Siyar, by Mir Khand, v1, part3, p144

(5) Kitabul Wilayah, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari

(6) al-Musannaf, by Ibn Abi Shaybah

(7) al-Musnad, by Abu Ya’ala

(8) Hadith al-Wilayah, by Ahmad Ibn `Uqdah

(9) Tarikh, by Khatib al-Baghdadi, v8, pp 290,596 from Abu Hurayra ... and more.

The Number Of People In Ghadir Khum

It was Allah’s will that an increased popularity is associated with this tradition via the tongs of narrators and over the times. So that there is a standing proof for the guiding Imam (peace be upon him). Allah ordered His Prophet (S) to notify people at a time of crowded populous so that all become the narrators of the tradition, while they exceeded a hundred thousand.

Narrated by Zaid Ibn Arqam: Abu al-Tufail said: "I heard it from the Messenger of Allah, and there was no one (there) unless he saw him with his eyes and heard him with his ears."

Sunni reference:

(1) al-Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, p21;

(2) al-Dhahabi said it is sahih (authentic), as said in:

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(3) History of Ibn Kathir, v5, p208

It is also narrated that:

"The Messenger of Allah called at the height of his voice."

Sunni reference: Manaqib al-Khawarizmi, by al-Khawarizmi, p94

"There were with the Messenger (S) from the companions, Arabs, residents around Mecca and Medina one hundred and twenty thousand (120,000) and they are those who were present in the Farewell Pilgrimage and heard this speech."

Sunni reference: Manaqib, by Ibn al-Jawzi

Revelation Of Verse 70:1-3

Some Sunni commentators further claim that the first three verse of the chapter of al-Ma’arij (70:1-3) was revealed when a dispute arose after Prophet reached Medina. It is recorded that:

On the day of Ghadir the Messenger of Allah summoned the people toward ‘Ali and said: "‘Ali is the mawla of whom I am mawla.”The news spread quickly all over urban and rural areas. When Harith Ibn Nu’man al-Fahri (or Nadhr Ibn Harith according to another tradition) came to know of it, he rode his camel and came to Medina and went to the Messenger of Allah (S) and said to him: "You commanded us to testify that there is no deity but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah. We obeyed you. You ordered us to perform the prayers five times a day and we obeyed. You ordered us to observe fasts during the month of Ramadhan and we obeyed. Then you commanded us to offer pilgrimage to Mecca and we obeyed. But you are not satisfied with all this and you raised your cousin by your hand and imposed him upon us as our master by saying `’Ali is the mawla of whom I am mawla.’ Is this imposition from Allah or from You?”The Prophet (S) said: "By Allah who is the only deity! This is from Allah, Mighty and the Glorious."

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On hearing this Harith turned back and proceeded towards his she-camel saying: "O Allah! If what Muhammad said is correct then fling on us a stone from the sky and subject us to severe pain and torture.”

He had not reached his she-camel when Allah, who is above all defects flung at him a stone which struck him on his head, penetrated his body and passed out through his lower body and left him dead. It was on this occasion that Allah, the exalted, caused to descend the following verses:

"A questioner questioned about the punishment to fall. For the disbelievers there is nothing to avert it, from Allah the Lord of the Ascent.”(70:1-3)

Sunni references:

(1) Tafsir al-Tha’labi, by Is’haq al-Tha’labi, commentary of verse 70:1-3 from two chain of narrators.

(2) Noor al-Absar, by Shablanji, p4

(3) al-Fusool al-Muhimmah, by Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki al-Makki, p25

(4) al-Sirah al-Halabiyah, by Noor al-Din al-Halabi, v2, p214

(5) Arjah al-Matalib

(6) Nazhat al-Mujalis from al-Qurtubi

The Events That Imam ‘Ali (as) Reminded The Tradition

Imam ‘Ali (as), in person, reminded others who witnessed the event of Ghadir and the tradition of the Messenger of Allah; these are some of the events:

- On the day of Shura (Election Day for Uthman)

- During the days of Uthman’s rule

- The Day of Rahbah (year 35) where 24 companions stood up and swore that they attended and heard the tradition of the Prophet (S) first hand, of whom were the warriors of Badr.

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- The Day of Jamal (the War of Camel, year 36) where he reminded Talha.

- The Day of the Riders where 9 witnesses testified.

About the Battle of Camel, al-Hakim and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and others recorded that:

We were in the camp of ‘Ali on the day of Battle of Camel, where ‘Ali sent for Talha to talk to him (before the beginning of war). Talha came forward, and ‘Ali told him: I adjure you by Allah! Didn’t you hear the Messenger of Allah (S) when he said: `Whoever I am his MAWLA, this ‘Ali is his MAWLA. O God, love whoever loves him, and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him’?”Talha replied: "Yes.”‘Ali said: "Then why do you want to fight me?”

Sunni reference:

- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, pp 169,371

- Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, on the authority of Ilyas al-Dhabbi

- Muruj al-Dhahab, by al-Mas’udi, v4, p321

- Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, v9, p107

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal recorded in his Musnad that:

Abu Tufayl narrated that He (‘Ali) gathered the people in the plain of Rahbah (on year 35 AH) and adjured in the name of Allah every Muslim male present there who had heard the proclamation of al-Ghadir from the Messenger of Allah (S) to stand up and testify what they had heard from the Messenger on the Day of Ghadir.

Thereupon thirty (30) stood up and gave evidence that the Prophet grasped ‘Ali’s hand and said to the audience: "He (‘Ali) has superior authority over those who believe me to have superiority over their lives. O Allah! Love him who loves him and hate him who hates him.”

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Abu Tufayl says that it was in a state of great mental agitation that he left the plain of Rahbah, the Muslim masses had not complied with the tradition. He therefore called on Zaid Ibn Arqam and told him what he heard from ‘Ali. Zaid told him not to entertain any doubt about it for he himself had heard the Messenger of Allah uttering those words.

Sunni reference: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v4, p370 also:

Abd al-Rahman Ibn Abu Laylah said: I witnessed ‘Ali administering an oath to the people in the plain of Rahbah. ‘Ali said: "I adjure those of you in the name of Allah who heard the Messenger of Allah on the day of Ghadir saying `’Ali is the Mawla of whom I am Mawla’ to stand up and to testify. He who was not an eyewitness doesn’t need to stand up.”Thereupon twelve (12) such companions who had participated in the Battle of Badr stood up. The occasion is still fresh in my memory.

Sunni references:

- Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p119, see also v5, p366

- Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, pp 21,103, narrated similar to above on the authority of three others: Umayah Ibn Sa’d, Zaid Ibn yathigh, and Sa’id Ibn Wahab.

It is also recorded that:

When ‘Ali said to Anas: "Why don’t you stand up and testify what you heard from the Messenger of Allah on the day of Ghadir?”He answered, "O Amir al-Mumineen! I have grown old and do not remember.”Thereupon ‘Ali said: "May Allah mark you with a white spot (of leprosy; Alphosis) unconcealable with your turban, if you are intentionally withholding the truth.”And before Anas got up from his place he bore a large white spot on his face, Thereafter Anas used to say, "I am under the curse of the righteous servant of Allah."

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Sunni references:

(1) al-Ma’arif, by Ibn Qutaybah, p14, in the account of Anas among disabled persons.

(2) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p199, where he testifies to the above anecdote, as he says: "All stood up except three persons who came under the curse of ‘Ali."

(3) Hilyatul Awliya’, by Abu Nu’aym, v5, p27

A More Detailed Speech Of Prophet At The Pond Of Khum

Messenger of Allah said:

"Praise belongs to Allah. We ask Him for help, and we believe in Him, and to Him we trust. We seek refuge to Him from the evil of our souls and the sins of our deeds. Verily there is no guide for the one whom Allah leaves in stray, and there is non who leads astray the one whom Allah has guided."

"O People! Know that Gabriel came down to me several times bringing me an order from the Lord, the Merciful, that I should stop at this place and inform you. Behold! It is as if the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call."

"O Folk! Don’t you witness that there is no deity but Allah, Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle, Paradise is truth, Hell is truth, is truth, resurrection is truth, and that the Hour shall certainly arrive, and Allah shall raise people from the graves?"

People replied: "Yes, we believe in them."

He continued: "O People! Do you hear my voice (clearly)?”

They said: Yes".

The Prophet said: "Behold! I am leaving among you two precious and weighty Symbols that if you adhere to both of them, you shall never go astray after me. Each of these two surpasses the other in its grandeur."

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A person asked: "O Messenger of Allah, what are those two precious things?"

The Prophet replied: "One of them is the Book of Allah and the other one is my select progeny (Itrat), that is family (Ahlul-Bayt). Beware of how you behave them when I am gone from amongst you, for Allah, the Merciful, has informed me that these two (i.e., Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt) never separate from each other until they reach me in Heaven at the Pool (of al-Kawthar). I remind you, in the name of Allah, about my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you, in the name of Allah, about my Ahlul-Bayt. Once more! I remind you, in the name of Allah, about my Ahlul-Bayt.”

"Behold! I am your predecessor at the Pool (of Paradise) and I shall be a witness against you. Thus be careful how you treat these two precious things after me. Do not precede these two for you will perish, and do not stay away from them for you will perish."

"O People! Don’t you know that I have more authority upon you than yourself?”People cried and said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allah.”Then prophet repeated: "O Folk! Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?”People said again "Yes, O Messenger of Allah.”Then Prophet said: "O People! Surely God is my Master, Whoever and I am the master of all believers.”Then he grasped the hand of ‘Ali and raised it and said: I am his master, ‘Ali is his master (repeating three times). O God! Love those who love him. Be hostile to those who are hostile to him. Help those who help him. Forsake those who forsake him. And keep the truth with him wherever he turns (i.e., make him the axis of the truth)."

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"‘Ali, the son of Abu Talib, is my brother, my executor (Wasi), and my successor (Caliph), and the leader (Imam) after me. His position to me is the same as the position of Haroon (Aaron) to Moses, except that there shall be no prophet after me. He is your master after Allah and His Messenger."

"O Folk! Verily Allah has appointed him to be your Imam and ruler. of him is obligatory for all Immigrants (Muhajirin) and Helpers (Ansar) and those who follow them in virtue, and on the dwellers of the cities and the nomads, the Arabs and the non-Arabs, freeman and the slave, the young and the old, the great and the small, the white and the black.”

"His commands should be obeyed, and his word is binding and his order is obligatory on everyone who believes in one God. Cursed is the man who disobeys him, and blessed is the one who follows him, and he who believes in him is a true believer. His WILAYAH (belief in his mastery) has been made obligatory by Allah, the Powerful, the Exalted."

“O Folk! Study the Qur’an. Reflect on its clear verses and do not presume the meaning of the ambiguous verses. For, by Allah, nobody can properly explain them to you its warnings and its meanings except me and this man (i.e., ‘Ali) whose hand I am lifting up in front of myself."

"O People! This is the last time that I shall stand in this assembly. Listen to me and obey and submit to the command of Lord. Allah, He is your Lord and God. After Him, His prophet, who is addressing you, is your master. Then after me, this ‘Ali is your master and your leader (Imam) according to Allah’s command. Then after him leadership will continue through some selected individuals in my descendants till the day you meet Allah and His Prophet."

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"Behold! Certainly you shall meet your Lord and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not become infidels after me by striking the necks of one another. Lo! It is incumbent upon those who are present to inform what I said to those who are absent for perhaps the informed one might comprehend it (understand it) better than some of the present audience. Behold! Haven’t I conveyed the Message of Allah to you? Behold! Haven’t I conveyed the Message of Allah to you?”People replied: "Yes.”The Prophet said: "O God! Bear witness."

References:

- A’alam al-Wara, pp 132-133

- Tadhkirat al-Khawas al-Ummah, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanafi, pp 28-33

- al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, by Noor al-Din al-Halabi, v3, p273

Ghadir Khum Part 2

The Meaning Wali, Mawla, And Wilayah

No Muslim scholar could ever cast any doubt in the documentation of the tradition of Ghadir Khum, for it has been narrated with as much as 150 authentic chains of transmitters by the Sunnis alone. (Please see Part III for the evidences in this regard).

A Mutawatir report is a report which has been narrated unbrokenly and independently by so many people so that no doubt can be entertained about their authenticity. Even the students of Ibn Taymiyyah such as al-Dhahabi and Ibn Kathir who have proven their enmity toward the Shi’a, emphasized that the tradition of Ghadir Khum is Mutawatir and Sahih (authentic) (See al-Bidayah wan Nihayah).

However some people did try to interpret the tradition in a different way. They particularly tried to translate the words Wali (master/guardian), Mawla (master/leader), and Wilayah (mastery/leadership/guardianship) as friend and friendship. Dictionaries give a minimum of 20 meanings for the Arabic word Wali,

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depending on context, most have to do with the position of leadership and guardianship. Only in one instance it could mean a friend.

Arabic References:

- Elias’ Modern Dictionary, by Elias A. Elias, Arabic-English, p815-816, Lebanon.

- al-Munjid fi al-Lughah, v1.

Some suggested that what really the Prophet (S) wanted to say was: "Whoever I am his friend, ‘Ali is his friend.”There was no doubt that Imam ‘Ali (as) had a very high status in comparison with all other people.

He was the first male who embraced Islam (Sahih Tirmidhi, v5, p642; Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal v4, p317; Mustadrak by al- Hakim, v3, pp 111,136; Sirah Ibn Hisham, p345; Tabaqat by Ibn Sa’d, v3, p71,72; al-Istiab by Ibn Abd al-Bar, v3, p30).

He received the title of the "brother”of Prophet (Sahih Tirmidhi v5, p363; Sirah Ibn Hisham, p504; Tahdhib v4, p251).

He was the one for whom Prophet said: "Loving ‘Ali is believing, hating ‘Ali is hypocrisy.”(Sahih Muslim, v1, p48; Sahih Tirmidhi, v5, p643; Sunan Ibn Majah, v1, p142; Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal v1, pp 84,95,128).

Thus it does not seem to be logical for the Prophet (S) to keep more than a hundred thousand people in such unbeatable heat, and keep them waiting in such condition until those who have left behind reach the place, and then all to tell them was that "‘Ali is the friend of believers!"

Moreover how can we justify the revelation of Verse 5:67 which was revealed before the speech of the Prophet in which Allah said:

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"O Apostle! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you don’t do it, you have not delivered His message (at all);

and

Allah will protect you from the people ...”(Qur’an 5:67).

Is it logical to say that Allah warned his Prophet that if he does not convey the message of "friendship of ‘Ali", he has spoiled all he has done?!

Also what danger can be imagined for Prophet if he states "‘Ali is the friend of believers"? Then what danger from the side of people is the above verse referring to?

Furthermore, how can the phrase "‘Ali is the friend of believers”complete the religion? Is the verse of completeness of religion (5:3) which was revealed after the speech of Prophet suggesting that without saying "‘Ali is the friend of believers”the religion is not complete?

Also, as we quoted in the first part, Umar and Abu Bakr congratulated ‘Ali by saying: "Congratulations O son of Abu Talib! Today you became the MAWLA of all believing men and women.”If, here, the word Mawla means friend then why the congratulations? Was ‘Ali the enemy of all believers before that time, so that Umar said that this day you became the friend of them?!

In fact, every Wali is a friend, but the reverse is not always true. This is why the Arabs use "Wali al-Amr”for the rulers, meaning the master of the affairs. Thus, logically speaking, the word Mawla can not be interpreted as friend, and we should rather use its other more-frequently-used meanings which are Leader and Guardian.

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Perhaps one would ask why Prophet didn’t use other words to further explain his intention. In fact, people asked him the same question, and the following Sunni documentations are the answers of the Prophet (S):

1. When the Messenger of Allah (s) was asked about the meaning of "whomever I am his MAWLA then ‘Ali is his Mawla". He said: Allah is my Mawla more deserving of me (my obedience) than myself, I do not dispute him. I am the Mawla of the believers, deserving in them than themselves, they do not dispute me., whomever I was his Mawla, more deserving in him than himself (and) does not dispute me, then ‘Ali is Mawla, more deserving in him than himself, he does not dispute him."

Sunni references:

- Shamsul Akhbar, by al-Qurashi, ‘Ali Ibn Hamid, p38

- Salwat al-’Arifin, by al-Muwaffaq billah, al-Husayn Ibn Isma’il al Jurjani.

2. During the reign of Uthman, ‘Ali protested by reminding people the following tradition. Also, he reminded it again during the war of Siffin:

When the Messenger of Allah spoke of (Tradition of Ghadir)..., Salman stood up and said: "O’ Messenger of Allah! What does WALAA mean? and how?”Prophet replied: "The same way that I am your WALI (Wala-un ka wala’i). Whomever (considered me) I was more deserving in him than himself, then ‘Ali is more deserving in him than himself."

Sunni reference: Fara’id al-Samtain, by Hamawaini (Abu Is’haq Ibrahim Ibn Sa’d al-Din Ibn al-Hamawiyia), section 58.

3. ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib was asked about the saying of the Messenger of Allah "Whomever I am his MAWLA then ‘Ali is his MAWLA". He said: He erected me chief (‘alaman). To the time I am up there, whomever contradicts me then he is lost (misguided in religion)."

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Sunni reference: Zain al-Fata, by al-Hafiz al-’Asimi

4. On the commentary of Verse: "And stop them, they are to be asked (Qur’an 37:24)", al-Daylami narrated that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "And stop them, they will be asked of WILAYAH of ‘Ali."

Also, al-Hafiz al-Wahidi commented on the above verse saying: This WILAYAH that the Prophet (S) affirmed to ‘Ali, will be asked about on the Day of Judgment. It is said that WILAYAH is what Allah meant in the verse 37:24 of Qur’an where He said: "And stop them, they are to be asked (37:24)". This means that they will be asked about the WILAYAH of ‘Ali (ra). The meaning is: They will be asked if they truly accepted him as their WALI as they were instructed by the Prophet (S)? or did they loose and ignore it?"

Sunni references:

- al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, subheading 1, p229 quoted from al-Wahidi; also quoted from al-Daylami on the authority of Abi Sa’id al-Khudri.

- Fara’id al-Samtain, by Hamawaini (Abu Is’haq Ibrahim Ibn Sa’d al-Din Ibn al-Hamawiyia), section 14

- Nudhum Durar al-Samtain, by Jaml al-Din al-Zarandi

- al-Rashfah, by al-Hadhrami, p24

Countless scholars of Qur’an, Arabic grammar, and literature have interpreted the word MAWLA as Awla which means "having more authority."

The following Sunni specialists all confirmed the above meaning:

1. al-Wahidi (d. 468), in "al-Wasit"

2. al-Akhfash Nahwi (d. 215), in "Nihayat al-Uqul"

3. al-Tha’labi (d. 427), in "al-Kashf wal Bayan"

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4. Ibn Qutaybah (d. 276), in "al-Qurtayan", v2, p164

5. al-Kalbi (d. 146, quoted in "Tafsir al-Kabir", by al-Razi, v29, p227)

6. al-Farra’ (as quoted in "Ruhul Ma’ani", by al-Alusi, v27, p178)

7. al-Nasafi (d. 701), in his "Tafsir", v4, p229

8. al-Tabari (d. 310), in "Tafsir al-Tabari", v9, p117

9. al-Bukhari (d. 215), in "Sahih al-Bukhari", v7, p271

10. al-Zamakhshari (d. 538), in "Tafsir al-Kashshaf", v2, p435

11. Qazi Nasiruddin al-Baydawi (d. 692), in "tafsir al-Baydawi", v2, p497

12. al-Khazin al-Baghdadi (d. 741), in his "Tafsir", v4, p229

13. Muhib al-Din al-Afandi, in "Tanzil al-Ayat"

14. Mu’ammar Ibn Muthanna al-Basri (as quoted in "Sharh al-Mawaqif", by al-Sharif al-Jurjani, v3, p271)

15. Abul Abbas Tha’lab (as quoted in "Sharh al-Sab’ah al-Mu’allaqah", by al-Zuzani)

16. Ibn Abbas, in his "Tafsir”written on the margin of Durr al-Manthur, v5, p355

17. Abu al-Saud al-Hanafi (d. 972), in his "Tafsir"

18. and many more such as Yahya Ibn Zaid Kufi (d. 207), Abu Ubaida Basri (d. 210), Abu Zaid Ibn Aus Basri (d. 125), Abu Bakr Anbari (d. 328), Abul Hasan Rummani (d. 384), Sa’d al-Din Taftazani (d. 791), Shaba Uddin Khafaji (d. 1069), Hamzawi Maliki (d. 1303), Husayn Ibn Mas’d (d. 510), Abu Baqa Ukbari (d. 616), Ibn Hajar al-Haythmai (d. 974), Sharif Jurjani (d. 618), Abdul Abbas Mubarrad (d. 285), Abu Nasr Farabi (d. 393) and, Abu Zakariya Khateeb Tarizi (d. 502),...

Thus the word WALI or MAWLA in the tradition of Ghadir Khum does not mean a simple friend, rather it means master and guardian who has more authority over believers than what they have over themselves as Prophet himself mentioned by saying "Don’t I have more authority (Awla) on believers than what they have over themselves?". At least 64 Sunni traditionists have quoted this preceding question of the Prophet, among them are al-Tirmidhi, al- Nisa’i, Ibn Majah, Ahmad In Hanbal.

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Therefore, the opinion of the above Sunni scholars accords with what Prophet (S) said by using the word Awla before the word Mawla. In fact, when a word has more than one meaning, the best way to find out its true connotation is to look at the association (qarinah) and the context. The word Awla (having more authority) used by the Prophet gives a good association for the word Mawla. Also the prayer of Prophet after his declaration in which he said:

"O’ God, love those who love him, and be hostile to those who are hostile to him. Help those who help him, and forsake those who forsake him",

shows that ‘Ali (as) on that day was entrusted with a responsibility (rulership) which, by its nature, would make some people his enemy, and in carrying out that responsibility he would need some helpers and supporters. Are helpers ever needed to carry on a "friendship"?

Moreover, The declaration of Prophet (S) that "It seems the time is approached when I will be called away (by Allah) and I will answer that call”clearly shows that he was making arrangements for the leadership of Muslims after his death.

Also when at the end of his speech, the Prophet (S) said twice: "Behold! Haven’t I conveyed the message of Allah?”or "It is incumbent upon every one who is present to inform the absent for they may understand it better than those who are present”(Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, traditions 5.688, 7.458, and 9.539) shows that the Prophet was conveying a very important message which was going to be transferred to all coming generations. This matter could not have been a simple friendship.

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It is worth mentioning that Prophet did use the word Caliph in his speech in Ghadir Khum, but it does not appear in the majority of Sunni documents since there is no way to tamper the meaning of that word. However the Prophet (S) also used the word MAWLA in his speech to survive this event from being wiped up from the historical records with no trace.

It is interesting to note that the words WALI and MAWLA are also used in Qur’an frequently with the meaning of master and guardian. For instance, the Holy Qur’an states:

"Allah is the Wali of those who believe; He brings them out of darkness (and takes them) into light.”(Qur’an 2:257)

The above verse does not mean that Allah is just a friend of believers, because a simple friend who has no authority can not move anybody into light. Rather it means Allah is the Master of believers and that is why He moves them from darkness to light. In another verse Allah said:

"Surely the Awliyaa of Allah have no fear nor do they grieve.”Qur’an 10:62)

The word Awliyaa is the plural form of Wali. The above verse does not mean that whoever is the friend of Allah does not have any fear. Many good Muslims may have experienced fear for some events in their lifetime while they are not the enemies of Allah. Thus the above verse suggests something else than a simple friend. Here the word Wali is in the form of Faeel with the meaning of Maf’ool. So the above verse means: "Those whose guardian and the master of their affairs is Allah are not subject to fear and apprehension.”

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So if a believer totally submits to Allah, he then will not have any fear. But ordinary believers whose submission are not perfect, will probably be subject to fear of this and that, while we are still friends of Allah. Thus "Wali of Allah”is a person who has totally submitted his affairs to Allah and therefore he is totally protected by Allah from any kind of flaw and sin. This status is much higher than position of being just a "Friend of Allah".

Nevertheless Allah uses the word Awliyaa in its general meaning that is "protectors". The Holy Qur’an states:

"The believers, men and women, are Awliyaa of one to the other: they command to what is just and forbid what is evil”(Qur’an 9:71).

Looking at different translations, one can find that they have used the word "protectors”for the meaning of Awliyaa. The above verse does not want to say that believers are just friends of each other. Rather the believers are under a mutual obligation to one another, and are occupied with each other’s affair. As a result of these obligations, they "command each other what is good and forbid each other what is evil”as the rest of above verse suggests. Thus here the meaning of Awliyaa, though is still higher than "friends", but it is clearly lower than "master”and "leader". Here Awliyaa has been used in its general meaning. But for a special meaning of Wali, see the following verse:

"Only Allah is your Wali, and His Messenger and those among believers who keep alive prayer and pay Zakat while they are in the state of bowing.”(Qur’an 5:55)

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The above verse clearly suggests that not all the believers are our Wali with the special meaning of WALI in this verse which is "master”and "leader". Again, here it is clear that Wali does not mean just friend, because all the believers are friends of each other. The above verse mentions that only three things are your special Wali: Allah, Prophet Muhammad, and Imam ‘Ali for he was the only one at the time of Prophet who paid Zakat while he was in the state bowing (ruku’). Muslim scholars are unanimous in reporting this event. Here are just some of the Sunni references which mentioned the revelation of the above verse of Qur’an in the honor of Imam ‘Ali:

(1) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Tha’labi, under Verse 5:55

(2) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v6, pp 186,288-289

(3) Tafsir Jamiul Hukam al-Qur’an, by Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Qurtubi, v6, p219

(4) Tafsir al-Khazin, v2, p68

(5) Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur, by al-Suyuti, v2, pp 293-294

(6) Tafsir al-Kashshaf, by al-Zamakhshari, Egypt 1373, v1, pp 505,649

(7) Asbab al-Nuzool, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, Egypt 1382, v1, p73 on the authority of Ibn Abbas

(8) Asbab al-Nuzool, by al-Wahidi

(9) Sharh al-Tjrid, by Allama Qushji

(10) Ahkam al-Qur’an, al-Jassas, v2, pp 542-543

(11) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p38

(12) Kanzul Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p391

(13) al-Awsat, by Tabarani, narrated from Ammar Yasir

(14) Ibn Mardawayh, on the authority of Ibn Abbas... and more.

Paying Zakat during bowing (ruku’) is not a Sunnah. This is accepted by ALL Muslim scholars. Thus the above verse does not seek to set down the desirability or the necessity of paying Zakat during bowing (ruku’), nor does it want to lay it down as duty or something recommended legally in the Islamic sense as a kind of Divine Law (Shari’ah).

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Rather it is a reference to an action which took place when someone did something in the external world, and now Qur’an is pointing that action to indicate that person. In an indirect way, the verse wants to say that this WALI is a special WALI whose authority has been put beside the authority of Prophet Muhammad (S) since they are jointly mentioned.

One may object that even though ‘Ali did this action, a plural form has been used in the above verse, thus it might encompass some other people as well. First, the history tells us that there was no other individual who did this at the time of Prophet. Second, this way of approach in Qur’an which uses plural form but actually referring to just one person who did that particular act, is NOT uncommon in Qur’an. For instance Allah mentioned:

"They say: If we return to Medina the mightier (element) will soon drive out the weaker.”(63:8)

Here also Qur’an is referring to a story which took place, and uses the phrase "They say”while the speaker of the above sentence was not any more than one person. According to Shi’a and Sunni commentators he was Abdullah Ibn Ubayy Ibn Salul.

Qur’an tries to avoid using names of people as much as possible. This is done for many reasons such as generality to make it a universal book, and also to make Qur’an safer from any possible alteration by those who hate a special individual who has been praised in Qur’an, or by those who love a person who has been denounced in Qur’an.

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Using plural while referring to single, has another application too. Sometimes the act of a single person is worthier than the deeds of a whole nation. This was the case for Prophet Muhammad, Imam ‘Ali, as well as the case for Prophet Abraham. Qur’an mentions that Abraham (as) was a nation (Ummah), meaning that his deeds was more valuable than all other people.

Allah stated:

"Lo! Abraham was a nation (Ummah) who was obedient to Allah, nature upright, and he was not of the idolaters”(Qur’an 16:120)

The famous and respected companion of Prophet, Ibn Abbas (ra) said:

"There is no verse in Qur’an in which the term `Believers’, unless ‘Ali is at the top of them and the chief of them and the more virtuous one among them. Surely Allah has admonished the companions of Muhammad (S) in Qur’an, but He did not refer to ‘Ali except with honor."

Sunni references:

- Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p654, tradition 1114

- al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v3, p229

- Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

- Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p89

- al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 9, section 3, p196

- Others such as Tabarani and Ibn Abi Hatam

And further, Ibn Abbas said:

"There hath not been revealed in the Book of God regarding any one what hath been revealed concerning ‘Ali,”and that "three hundred verses have been revealed concerning ‘Ali."

Sunni references:

- Ibn Asakir, as quoted in:

- Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

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- al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 9, section 3, p196

Thus the verse (5:55) is actually saying that ONLY Allah is your WALI, and then Prophet Muhammad, and Imam ‘Ali. Thus we can conclude that the WILAYAH (mastership/leadership) of Imam ‘Ali is the same as that of Prophet Muhammad (S) since Allah put them beside each other. The authority of Prophet Muhammad is explained by the following verses of Qur’an:

"The Prophet has a greater priority/authority (Awla) over the believers than what they have over themselves”(Qur’an 33:6)

or:

"O’ you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those from among you who are given authority (by Allah).”(Qur’an 4:59)

One may look at other verses with regard to the authority of Prophet such as 4:65, 59:7, 9:103, 33:21. Putting all these verses beside the verse 5:55, one can derive that this priority and authority will also be for Imam ‘Ali after the demise of the Messenger of Allah.

al-Nisa’i and al-Hakim have also recorded other versions of the tradition of Ghadir Khum with different wordings which provide more insight to the meaning of the tradition. They narrated on the authority of Zaid Ibn Arqam that:

Prophet added: "Certainly Allah is my MAWLA and I am WALI (master/ guardian) of all the faithful.”Then he grasped the hand of ‘Ali and said: "He (‘Ali) is the Wali of all those of whom I am Wali. O Allah! Love those who love him and hate those who hate him."

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Sunni references:

- Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, p21

- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p109

In another wording:

Prophet (S) asked three times: "O’ people! Who is your Mawla? They replied: Allah and His Messenger.”Then he grasped the hand of ‘Ali and raised it and said: "Whoever his Wali is Allah and his Messenger, then this man is his Wali also."

Sunni reference: Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, p6

If WALI means friend, then why people answered only Allah and His Messenger are Wali? They should have answered all the believers are Wali. This clearly shows that people got it right, but they later chose to act otherwise. Now let us look at the following tradition:

‘Ali came to the plain of Rahbah, and some people told him "Peace on you O’ our Mawla!”‘Ali replied: "How can I be your Mawla while you are Arabs (free men)?”They said: "We heard the Messenger of Allah (S) on the day of Ghadir Khum who said: `Whoever I was his Mawla he (‘Ali) is his Mawla.’"

Sunni reference: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p419

If Mawla means friend, then why was ‘Ali (as) asking the above question?

Was friendship new to Arabs? In fact Imam ‘Ali was asking this question to reiterate the importance of the word Mawla and showing that people at that time did not mean it friend for him, and that what they meant is master of the believers.

Concluding the above discussion, it is clear that any individual who tries to trivialize the tradition of Ghadir Khum by saying that Prophet just wanted to say "‘Ali is the friend of believers", is neglecting the above- mentioned traditions of prophet in which he explained what he meant by Wali, and also neglecting the above-mentioned verses of Qur’an (those which were revealed in Ghadir Khum and those which explain the importance of Wali). Finally, the following tradition from Sunni references further illuminates the fact that WALI means Imam since the tradition uses the

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phrase "follow them”and "Imam". Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

"Whoever wishes to live and die like me, and to abide in the Garden of Eden after death, should acknowledge ‘Ali as Wali after me, and take his Wali (i.e., Imams after him) as Wali, and should follow the Imams after me for they are my Ahlul-Bayt and are created from my clay and are gifted with the same knowledge and understanding as myself. Woe unto those who deny their virtues and those who disregard their relationship and affinity with me, for my intercession shall never reach them."

Sunni references:

(1) Hilyatul Awliya’, by Abu Nu’aym, v1, pp 84,86

(2) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p128

(3) al-Jamiul Kabir, by al-Tabarani

(4) al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani

(5) Kanzul Ummal, v6, p155

(6) al-Manaqib, by al-Khawarizmi, p34

(7) Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah, by al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi, p149

(8) History of Ibn Asakir, v2, p95

‘Ali Vs. Truth (Right Path):

In some versions of the Tradition of Ghadir Khum there is an extra sentence that is he Prophet (S) said:

"Wa dara al-haqq ma’ahu haithu dar", literally: "And the truth (the right path) turns with him (i.e. ‘Ali) wherever way he turns."

Sunni reference: Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, under the commentary of "al-Bismilah"

Similarly in Sahih al-Tirmidhi, it is narrated that:

The Messenger of God said: "O God, have Thy Mercy on ‘Ali. O God, make the right and the truth with ‘Ali in all situations."

Sunni reference: Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p297

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In Arabic, linguistically, the wording (balagha) could play tricks on the listener. Logically, truth is absolute and not variable. A person, relative to the truth, could be variable in action.

In this case, the person (i.e. Imam ‘Ali) is placed as the absolute fixed axes around which the event is taking place; such that, if anything changes in the person’s decision, the event is the thing that will change its track -- truth in this case!!! Since, such change is not logically reasonable due to the absolute nature of truth, then one can conclude that the two are married and are inseparable. Hence, ‘Ali (as) stands for truth at all times.

Thus the saying of the Prophet (S) is a metaphoric way to stress ‘Ali’s importance and attachment to the truth (right path) such that ‘Ali (as) and the "right path”are indistinguishable.

Whereas, if put in the reverse order (i.e. ‘Ali turns with truth...) it would leave room, theoretically, for ‘Ali to make other possible turns, by virtue of ‘Ali being the moving object. This would sound weaker, and would imply the nature of a non-infallible person.

Ghadir Khum Part 3

The Chains (Asnad) Of Narrations Of Ghadir Khum

The importance of the tradition of Ghadir Khum in history is reflected in its widespread documentation and mentioned by the multitude of personalities over the centuries. Although, some trivialized, only listed the occurrence among the historical events without giving it a thought, or discussed the matter in a mixture of emotional judgments, none could deny the authenticity of these narrations. The essence of what the Messenger of Allah (S) delivered on the day of Ghadir was not disputed among any, even if they disagreed on its interpretation, for reasons obvious to the alert.

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Let us look at the lists of some of the Sunni traditions, commentators, and historians who have documented the tradition of Ghadir Khum in chronological order:

Sunni Traditionists Who Mentioned The Tradition Of Ghadir Khum

1. Muhammad Ibn Idris al-Shafi’i (Imam al-Shafi’i, d. 204) per "al-Nihayah”by Ibn al-Athir

2. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (Imam al-Hanbali, d. 241), in "Masnad”and "al-Manaqib"

3. Ibn Majah (d. 273), in "Sunan Ibn Majah"

4. al-Tirmidhi (d. 279), in "Sahih al-Tirmidhi"

5. al-Nisa’i (d. 303), in "al-Khasa’is"

6. Abu-Ya’la al-Mousilli (d. 307), in "al-Masnad"

7. al-Baghawi (d. 317), in "al-Sunan"

8. al-Doolabi (d. 320), in "al-Kuna wal Asmaa"

9. al-Tahawi (d. 321), in "Mushkil al-Athar"

10. al-Hakim (d. 405), in "al-Mustadrak"

11. Ibn al-Maghazili al-Shafi’i (d. 483), in "al-Manaqib"

12. Muhammad al-Ghazzali (d. 505), in "Sirrul `Alamayn"

13. Ibn Mindah al-Asbahani (d. 512), in his book

14. al-Khatib al-Khawarizmi (d. 568), in "al-Manaqib”and "Maqtal al-Imam al-Sibt"

15. Abul Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597), in "Manaqib"

16. al-Ganji al-Shafi’i (d. 658), in "Kifayat al-Talib"

17. Muhib al-Din al-Tabari (d. 694), in "al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah”and "Dhakha’ir al-’Aqabi"

18. al-Hamawainy (d. 722), in "Fara’id al-Samdtin"

19. al-Dhahabi (d. 748), in "al-Talkhis"

20. al-Khatib al-Tabrizi (d. 8th century), in "Mishkat al-Masabih"

21. al-Haythami (d. 807), in "Majma’ al-Zawa’id"

22. al-Jazri (d. 830), in "Asna al-Matalib"

23. Abul Abbas al-Qastalani (d. 923), in "al-Mawahib al-Ladaniya"

24. al-Muttaqi al-Hindi (d. 975), in "Kanz al-Ummal"

25. Abdul Haqq al-Dihlawi, in "Sharh al-Mishkat"

26. al-Hurawi al-Qari (d. 1014), in "al-Muraqat fi Sharh al-Mishkat"

27. Taj al-Din al-Manawi (d. 1031), in "Kunooz al-Haqa’iq fi Hadith Khair al-Khala’iq”and "Faidh al-Qadir"

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28. al-Shaikhani al-Qadiri, in "al-Siratul Sawi fi Manaqib Aal al-Nabi"

29. Ba Kathir al-Makki (d. 1047), in "Wasilatul Amal fi Manaqib al-Aal"

30. Abu-Abdullah al-Zarqani al-Maliki (d. 1122), in "Sharh al-Mawahib"

31. Ibn Hamzah al-Dimashqi al-Hanafi, in "al-Bayan wal Taarif"

... and many others.

Sunni Commentators Of Qur’an Who Mentioned Ghadir Khum

The following Sunni commentators mentioned that one or some or all of the mentioned verses of Qur’an (such as (5:67) which was about the Allah’s order to Prophet for announcement of appointment of ‘Ali, (5:3) which was about completeness of religion, and (70:1) which was about the curse of a person who became angry at the Prophet for this announcement) were reported to have been revealed in the event of Ghadir Khum:

1. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310), in "Tafsir al-Bayan”

2. al-Jassas (d. 370), in "Ahkam al-Qur’an"

3. al-Hafiz Abu Nu’aym (d. 430), in "Asbab al-Nuzool"

4. al-Tha’labi (d. 427 or 437), in "Tafsir al-Tha’labi"

5. al-Wahidi (d. 468), in "Asbab al-Nuzool"

6. al-Qurtubi (d. 568), in "Tafsir Jamiul Hukam al-Qur’an"

7. al-Fakhr al-Razi (d. 606), in "al-Tafsir al-Kabir"

8. al-Khazin Baghdadi (d. 741), in "Tafsir al-Khazin"

9. al-Nisaboori (8th century), in "Tafsir al-Nisaboori"

10. Ibn Kathir (d. 774), in his "Tafsir”(complete version) under the verse 5:3 (It is ommitted in coincise version!) narrated from Ibn Mardawayh.

11. al-Hafiz Jalaluddin al-Suyuti (d. 910), in his "Tafsir"

12. al-Khatib al-Sharbini, in his "Tafsir"

13. Abu al-Saud al-Hanafi (d. 972), in his "Tafsir"

14. al-Aloosi al-Baghdadi (d. 1270), in his "Tafsir"

... and many others.

p: 389

Sunni Historians Who Mentioned The Tradition Of Ghadir Khum

1. Ibn Qutaybah (d. 276), in "Ma’arif”and "Imamah wal Siyasah"

2. al-Baladhuri (d. 279), in "Ansab al-ashraf"

3. Ibn Zawlaq al-Laithi al-Misri (d. 287), in his book

4. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310), in an exclussive book "Kitabul Wilayah"

5. al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463), in "Tarikh Baghdad"

6. Ibn Abd al-Bar (d. 463), in "al-Isti’ab"

7. al-Shahristani (d. 548), in "al-Milal wal Nihal"

8. Ibn ‘Asakir (d. 571), in "Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir”and "Yaqoot al-Hamawi"

9. Ibn al-Athir (d. 630), in "Usd al-Ghabah"

10. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 654), in "Tadhkirat Khawas al-Ummah"

11. Ibn Abi al-Hadid (d. 656), in "Sharh Nahjul Balagha"

12. Ibn Khalkan (d. 681), in "Tarikh Ibn Khalkan"

13. Abul Fida (d. 732), in his "Tarikh"

14. al-Dhahabi (d. 748) , in "Tadhkirat al-Huffadh"

15. al-Yafi’i (d. 768), in "Miraat al-Jinan"

16. Ibn al-Shaikh al-Balawi, in "Alef Baa"

17. Ibn Kathir (d. 774), in "al-Bidayah wal Nihayah"

18. Ibn Khaldoon (d. 808), in "al-Muqaddimah"

19. al-Nuwairi (d. ~833), in "Nihayat al-Irab fi Finoon al-Adab"

20. al-Maqrizi (d. 845), in "al-Khitat"

21. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852), in "al-Isabah”and "Tahdhib al-Tahdhib"

22. Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki (d. 855), in "al-Fusool al-Muhimmah"

23. Mir Khand (d. 903), in "Habib al-Siyar"

24. Jalalulddin al-Suyuti (d. 910), in "Tarikh al-Khulafa"

25. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, (d. 974), in "al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah"

26. al-Hafiz Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-’Asimi, in "Zain al-Fata"

27. al-Qirmani al-Dimashqi (d. 1019), in "Akhbar al-Duwal"

28. Noor al-Din al-Halabi (d. 1044), in "al-Sirah al-Halabiyah"

... and many others.

p: 390

The Tradition Of Ghadir Khum Is Parallel (Mutawatir)

The Tradition of Ghadir is narrated in parallel (mutawatir) and is proven by the Sunnis to be from numerous chain of transmitters:

1. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal narrated it from 40 chains;

2. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in more than 70 chains;

3. Abu Sa’id al-Sijistani from 120 chains;

4. Abu Bakir al-Jaabi from 125 chains;

5. al-Amir Muhammad al-Yamani (2nd century) had 150 chains;

6. al-Dhahabi has written a complete book on its chains and passed a verdict that it is Mutawatir;

7. Abul Abbas Ibn `Uqdah has narrated it through 150 chains.

The Tradition Of Ghadir Khum Is Authentic (Sahih)

1. al-Hafiz Abu Isa al-Tirmidhi (d. 279, the author of Sahih Tirmidhi) wrote: "This is an acceptable (Hasan) and authentic (Sahih) tradition.”(Sahih Tirmidhi, v2, p298)

2. Muhammad Ibn Abdillah al-Hakim (d. 405) wrote: "This tradition is authentic (Sahih) with the criteria of two shaykhs, al-Bukhari and Muslim.”(al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain, v3, pp 108-110)

3. al-Hafiz Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Tahawi (d. 321) wrote: "This Hadith is authentic (Sahih) according to the chains of narrators (asnad) and no one has said anything contr