Chapter Six: The Shi’a concept of Imamate
Before launching directly into a reply it would be best to first of all set out to our objective readers the concept of Imamate from the texts of Ahl’ul Sunnah and Shi’a.
To begin the leading Imam of the Deobandi’s Shah Ismail Shaheed states as follows:
“One should remember that there may be some that inherit one, two or three traits with the Prophets, hence Imamate is of different states, some are superior to others, this is ‘Absolute Imamate’ when an individual shares all the traits of Prophets – his Imamate is superior to all people, the only difference is that he is not a Prophet. We can say, in support of such a person that had Prophethood continued after our Prophet (s) it would have been this person”.
Mansab-e-Imamate, page 42
Shibli Numani in al Faruq Volume 2 page 96 whilst discussing the topic of Imamate and Jihad states:
“The position of Imamate is in fact the mirror image of the Prophet, an Imams nature is like that of Prophets”.
Both of these renowned Hanafi scholars had said that Imamate was like Prophethood, and the Imam shared characteristics with Prophets, with the exception that he (The Imam) is NOT a Prophet.
Compare these comments to the Shi’a position as vouched for by Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi in Haq al Yaqeen Volume 1 page 29:
“The position of Imamate is like that of Prophethood”.
Can those with open minds show us the difference between the Shi’a and Sunni viewpoints on Imamate based on these comments?
Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Mir Seyyed Shareef in Sharh Muwaffaq page 729 states:
“Before discussing the appointment of the Imam it is imperative that we define Imamate. Our Ulema have deemed Imamate to be ‘Kingdom’ in the spiritual and physical sense…it means to uphold and protect the Ummah, it is succession to Prophethood, its obedience is compulsory on the Ummah”.
Similarly Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Ibn Abideen Shami in Fatawa Shami Volume 1 page 384 comments:
“Imamate is that Kingdom that is spiritual and worldly, it acts on behalf of Prophethood”.
Who appoints the Imam?
Whilst there is no difference on the importance of having an Imam, the difference lies on the method of appointment. The Shi’a believe Allah appoints the Imam, Sunni’s believe this is the right of the Ummah. For the Sunni argument we need to go no further than quote Mulla Ali Qari’s book “Sharh Fiqh Akbar”, which sets out the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifa, this is what we read in the Chapter “Masala Nusbul Imamah” (Issue of appointment of the Imam):
“It is the majority opinion that there is a duty to appoint an Imam. But there is a difference, as to whether this is Allah’s duty or whether this is incumbent on the public. The belief in the eyes of Ahl’ul Sunnah and Muttazalites is that the duty to appoint an Imam is a duty of the public. In terms of hadith and logic this is a duty of the public. In accordance with this belief, there is a hadith in Sahih Muslim, narrated by Abdullah ibne Umar ‘He who dies without giving bayah to an Imam dies the death of one belonging to the days of jahiliyya’. This is why the Sahaba viewed the appointment of the Imam as so important that they preferred it to attending the Prophet’s funeral, because the Muslims need an Imam so that orders can be made on Jihad, and so that Islamic Laws can be implemented”
Taken from Sharh Fiqh Akbar, by Mulla Ali Qari, p 175 (publishers Muhammad Saeed and son, Qur’an Muhall, Karachi
Here lies the difference between the two Sects
1. Ahl’ul Sunnah believe that the Imam is appointment by the People
2. Shi’a believe that Allah (swt) and his Prophet (s) appoint the Imam
It is common sense that the Imam was just not needed after the death of Rasulullah (s) but is ‘always needed’ because failure to recognise the Imam of the Time leads to a Muslim dying the death of jahiliyya. At the same time Numani stated that the Imamate is the mirror image of Prophethood. Recognising the Imam saves a Muslim from dying as a Kaffir, and yet when we look at previous Imams from the Banu Ummayya and Abbaside era, can it really be said that recognising these Imams prevented the death of jahiliyya? Can Imams like Mu’awiya, Yazeed and Marwan etc be deemed to be the mirror image of Prophethood? Are these Imams who in Shah Ismails words shared characteristics with Prophet’s that made them ‘absolute Imams’?
Let us leave the past, what about today, which Imams recognition will prevent us from dying the death of jahiliyya? The Imam is said to be the mirror image of Prophethood, whilst the Imams are the mirror image of American-Israeli policy. And yet the duty is to have an Imam, but there are so many to choose from, and Mullah Ali Qari states in Sharh Fiqh Akbar page 178:
“We are not allowed to have two Imams at any one given time, otherwise disputes shall break out”.
As Shi’a we believe that Allah (swt) knows what is best for His servants in the same way he appointed Prophet’s to guide mankind, he also appointed Imams to continue the mantle of guidance. We believe that the fallible human being is not competent enough to appoint an Imam that shall represent the Deen on a complete level. Many factors ‘influence’ appointment.
If one assesses the politics of the world we see regular change, with regards to the selection of people. People are appointed on to different positions. That can be at different levels, at a Committee level, a Council level, a Governmental level. When we choose that person, we do so having a specific expectation, a faith in that individual. Unfortunately the person elected often does not live up to expectation. You become disillusioned with that individual, he has not fulfilled the promises he made during the elections, pledges you relied on when deciding to vote for him.
Man chooses without knowledge of the unseen, he does not know what the future holds. He elects an individual via his own limited capacity, his own limitations. The person elected likewise has limitations, he has limited knowledge, and he is unaware of what will happen in the future.
When Allah (swt) selects an individual who is perfect on all accounts, his knowledge is perfect, he has blessed knowledge; Allah (swt) has endowed him with his treasures such as the Ghayb to help him. We believe that Allah (swt)’s individual is without fault he is not an Alim (learned) he is Aleem (Exalted). When man selects an individual he comes out defective, when Allah (swt) selects an individual he is ma’sum (infallible).
The leader elected by men has weaknesses, he can make mistakes, Allah (swt)’s chosen leader faultless. The leader elected by men will seek the counsel / advice of others, they are dependent on others for help. Allah (swt)’s leader has no such worries, he is being guided by Allah (swt) alone and does not need to turn to others for assistance.
When the man made leader comes to power he is frequently subject to stern criticism by his opponents, Allah (swt)’s select individual is so pious that even his enemies are unable to pick any fault in him.
When people elect their fellow citizens to power they do so in their limited capacity. It is not necessary that they like that individual have factors which have forced them to vote for him, i.e. external pressure such as duress from, family, friends, and powerful figures in the community.
In Feudal Europe and the present third world it is common for landlords to exert pressure on their tenants / subjects to vote for their choice of individual, failure could do so could lead to severe consequences such as loss of employment, home etc. Individuals vote not out of choice but through fear.
People will also take in to account factors such as relationship to the election candidate, they might have some tribal / familial loyalty which forces them to vote in a particular way. On the other hand, when Allah (swt) chooses a leader he does so without considering such factors, neither does he have a family or tribal loyalty, he will not be swayed in this way because as Surah Ikhlas makes clear He (swt) is:
‘Lum ya lid wa lum yu lad’
(‘Neither is he begotten nor has been begotten’)
When man makes his selection he looks at his own problems / situation and he asks himself ‘how will my voting this individual benefit me/my family, my business’. Mans’ selection is based on self interest. Allah (swt) has no such self-interest; his concern is for the welfare of the Ummah and individual who will benefit the entire community and not just a class of individuals.
That is why we believe Allah (swt) knows what is best for his people and out of his compassion for us he has appointed Imams to ensure that we are tread the path of salvation in this world and the next.
With the Sunni / Shi’a viewpoint briefly summarised let us now look at the objections that had been raised by Minhajj al Nasibi on the Shi’a concept of Imamate.
Infallibility of the Imams
The Imami Shi’a consider the Imams to be utterly infallible, incapable of even the slightest error.
And by the Shi’a believing that the Imams are infallible how does that make them Kaffir? It would have been better for Minhajj al Nasibi to set out what their aqeedah is on this point. They will no doubt proclaim that Isma (infallibility) is a right bestowed only on Prophets. What they fail to inform the people is there 100% conviction in the authenticity of Sahih al Bukhari means that they cannot even prove the Isma of Rasulullah (s). Isma means aloof from sin, and in Shi’a aqeedah it is deemed to be a right, that was bestowed on Allah (swt)’s Prophet’s and after them on the Imams from Ahl’ul Bayt (as). From a logical point we argue that the Imam is that individual that is occupying the position of Rasulullah (s); he is the guide over the nation and hence in the same way the Prophet (s) was ma’sum so are his Imams who have been entrusted the duty to guide mankind. How can the people have faith in an Imam that is capable of making mistakes, whose character is one that does not reflect the seat that he occupies? How can a man capable of mistakes ensure the smooth running of the Islamic State, free from incorrect edicts, rulings etc? This could naturally lead to disastrous consequences and we believe that this would go against the Justice of Allah (swt). Hence we argue that the Imam as the legitimate leader at the helm of the State has to be ma’sum, since he shall rule solely by the rule of law, he shall be untouched by personal views, bribery, corruption and his goal shall be one, that of serving Allah (swt).
Like the Shi’a viewpoint leading Ulema of Ahl’ul Sunnah have also vouched for the fact that Isma (infallibility) can be bestowed on non Prophets.
Al Muhaddith Shah Waliyullah Dehlavi states in At-Tafhimatu l-Iahiyah Volume 2 page 21:
“No one doubts that truthfulness, purity, piety and good deeds were present in those individuals before they were appointed as Prophets. Similarly non Prophets can also naturally posses such virtues, this is called Isma (infallibility)”.
So the question arises ‘who are these people (other than Prophet’s) that have attained the rank of infallibility. Shah Waliyullah answers this question as follows:
“Finally the Prophet’s Waris (Executors) are of three types, those that possess Hikmah (Sagacity, wisdom), Isma (Infallibility) and Qutbiyat Batiniyah (are Spiritual Pivots) they are his Ahl’ul bayt and special people”.
At-Tafhimatu l-Iahiyah Volume 2 page 14
Shah Waliyullah then proceeds to expand on the concept of Isma of the Ahl’ul bayt (as) yet further:
“And He is (Allah’s) beloved, and whatever Allah has created was created for him. And when ‘Isma is completed, all his actions become Haqq (true, correct). I do not say that his actions occur according to the Haqq: but (I say that) his actions are the Haqq (personified); rather, the Haqq is a thing which is reflected from those actions as the rays are (reflected) from the sun. And the messenger of Allah has pointed to this rank when he prayed to Allah Ta’ala about ‘Ali, saying: “O Allah! turn the Haqq with him wherever he (‘Ali) turns”; and he did not say: Turn him (‘Ali) wherever the Haqq turns.”
At-Tafhimatu l-Iahiyah Volume 2 page 22
As his (s) executors, the Imams from the Ahl’ul bayt inherited the knowledge and wisdom of Rasulullah (s). After Rasulullah (s) Imam ‘Ali (as) was the yardstick of truth. Shah Waliyullah was an open advocate of the Isma of the Ahl’ul bayt (as) that Minhajj al Nasibi have taken issue with the Shi’a on. His student Mullah Muhammad Moin ibn Muhammad Amin al-Sindi (d. 1161 H) expanded on this yet further in his discussion on the verse of purity (33:33):
“Whoever has the slightest integrity in him cannot doubt that the hadith and verse refers to the 12 Imams and Leader of Women of Paradise Sayyida Fatima Zahra. There exists no doubt of their infallibility, they are free from sin, in the same way that Imam Mahdi (who is from among them) is Ma’sum – for there are hadith where we are told that he shall tread the path of Rasulullah (s), similarly Shaykh Akbar elaborated on this, as we cited in response to a previous question”.
Derasat al-Labib fi al-Auswa al-Hasana bel Habib, pages 208-209
In connection with this it would be most apt to cite the comments of classical Sunni scholar Fakhraddin Razi states as follows in his discussion of this verse:
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and his Apostle and those in authority among you”.
Qur’an, Surah Nisa, Verse 59
The type of obedience that Allah (swt) has ordered is unconditional obedience, it must relate to that individual who is ma’sum, if he was non ma’sum and could mistakes, then Allah (swt) would be telling us to follow such a person and adhere to him…Allah (swt) told us to follow the Ul il Umr unconditionally, he MUST be Ma’sum, a fact that is testified to by this verse”.
Tafseer al Kabir Volume 3 page 243
Similarly Shah Ismail Shaheed Deobandi whilst elaborating on the comments of his teacher Sayyid Ahmad, states as follows:
“And the protection afforded to Prophets and wise men is called Isma (infallibility), do not assume that to identify spiritual elevation, wisdom, prestige and infallibility in non Prophets contradicts the Sunnah and constitutes bidah”.
Seerath Mustaqeem page 43
One should also remind our readers that these Deobandi Hanafis are split into numerous groups one group is “Ishaath Tauheed Wa’l Sunnah”. Its leader Shaykh Hasan ‘Ali wan Pachran from Mianwalli, Pakistan also testified to the infallibility of the Imams from the Ahl’ul bayt (as). Discussing the chains of Tassawuf and that of the “Shathreeya order” he states:
“Our infallible Imam Zaynul Abideen (ra)”
Fayouzaath ai Hayneeya Ma’roof ba Taufa Ibraheemiya page 202
We the Shi’a believe that our Imams as the legitimate guides appointed by Allah (swt) have been bestowed with the virtue of infallibility, that ensures they always tread the path of righteousness. Our belief has been vouched for by leading Sunni Ulema, who have made it clear that Isma is NOT the exclusive right of Prophets. If this aqeedah is kufr then perhaps Minhajj al Nasibi would be so kind as to offer their views on Shah Ismail Shaheed, Shah Waliyullah, Fakhraddin Razi, Shaykh Hasan Ali and Shaykh Akarm. It is only when they get their own house in order and issue verdicts on these individuals who share their aqeedah, that they can then look to the views held outside.
Obedience to the Imam
Hence following them, according to Shi’a doctrine is obligatory on all true Muslims until the Day of Judgement.
Yet again the Nasibi have failed to look at what is in their own books on this matter. First and foremost one must understand that adherence is based on recognition. Once the Imam is recognised, unconditional obedience is afforded to him, for as Shi’a we believe the Imams to be the legitimate protectors of the Deen. On this type of recognition the Ahl’ul Sunnah ascribe to the same belief. Suffice it to say, Maulana Abdul Aziz Fehrawi sheds light on this matter as follows:
“The appointment of the Imam is compulsory, its foundation is based on the fact that Rasulullah (s) said whoever dies in a state where he has failed to recognise the Imam of his time….who dies at a time when the Imam is present and fails to recognise him, or dies when no Imam exists (nevertheless), his death shall be the death of jahiliyya (one belonging to the time of ignorance). We have a hadith in Sahih Muslim by Ibn Umar whoever dies without an Imam dies the death of jahiliyya. In the tradition of Muslim we find these precise words “Whoever dies in state, having not had bayya over his neck shall die the death of one belonging to the time of jahiliyya”.
al Nabraas Sharh al aqaid page 512).
To die the death of jahiliyya is definitely kufr. Now that we have addressed this matter we now question these Nasibis, which Imam’s recognition is necessary, Mu’awiya, Yazeed, and the Ummayya and Abbaside khalifas, whose bayah is the difference between dying as a Muslim or as a kaffir? Would giving bayya to Yazeed prevent you from dying a kaffir? Accordingly we believe that the rightful Imams are the Ithna Ashariyya Imams, the Shi’a have always given them bayah and believed in their unconditional obedience. The Nasibis can feel happy in having ancestors that gave bayah to Mu’awiya and Yazeed, we will learn on the Day of Judgement whether Allah (swt) such bayah as one that had protected their ancestors from dying the death of jahiliyya.
The superior rank of Imamate
Ayatullah Khomeini asserts in his book, “Al-Hukumah Al-Islamiyyah”, “Certainly the Imam has a dignified station, a lofty rank, a creational caliphate, and a sovereignty and mastery over all the atoms of creation. It is definitely a basic belief in our school of thought, that our Imams occupy a station unattainable by either an angel or a major Prophet.
So here he is stating that the station of the Imams is superior to:
Are the Imams superior to Prophets?
The Minhajj al Nasibi have sought to intentionally mislead the facts as a means of issuing takfeer on the followers of the Ahl’ul bayt (as). When we are talking about superiority it is with regards to their role in protecting the Din al Islam. Previous Prophets brought a part of the Deen that was completed by Prophet Muhammad (saww). These Imams are the Imams of the completed Deen the Imams of the Final Messenger hence their role in the protection of the deen is far greater than that of previous Prophets, they are the Imams of the complete Deen al Islam, hence their more superior rank. That is why Khomeini had stated “our Imams occupy a station unattainable by either an angel or a major Prophet”. The word ‘station’ is the key word here, the position / role that they hold at that particular time.
Imam Mahdi (as)’s station shall be superior to that of Prophet Isa (as)
The superior station of Imamate is even acknowledged by Sunni Ulema. Hadith confirm that Prophet Isa (as) will pray Salat BEHIND Imam Mahdi (as) – why? Because he is representing the complete Deen whilst Isa (as) only brought a part of it:
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
Also al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentioned that:
“The Mahdi is of this Ummah, and that Jesus (PBUH&HF) will come down and pray behind him.”
Fatah al-Bari, Volume 5 page 362
This is also mentioned by another Sunni scholar, Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, who wrote in his famed anti-Shia work:
“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.”
al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, Ch. 11, section 1, page 234
Ibn Hajar also quoted Abu al-Husain al-Ajiri saying:
“The traditions of al-Mustafa (PBUH&HF) 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.”
al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, Ch. 11, section 1, page 254
In Mishkat al Masabih, the Rasulullah (s) narrates in the Chapter on the descent of Jesus Hadith 2, Volume 4 page 82:
“How will you be when the son of Mary will come down amongst you and your Imam will come from among you”.
In the commentary of Mishkat, the statement of Sunni scholar / English translator Maulana Fazlul Karim is indeed worthy of note since it backs our argument, he writes under footnote 2363a:
“He is said to be Imam Mahdi behind whom Jesus will pray. Jesus will show by example that he is a follower of Muhammad”.
So Minhajj, who will be leading this movement? Imam Mahdi (as) not Isa (as) as his rank as Leader in this circumstance is superior. Now that the truth has been made manifest let us present for the benefit of Minhajj and their Nasibi brethren their viewpoint on infallibility.
If this was not suffice then let us cite an explicit statement from one of the revered Tabyeen and Imams of Ahl e Sunnah namely Muhammad bin Sireen about whom Imam Ibn Saad stated in his book Tabaqat, Volume 7 page 193:
“He was mawla to Anas ibn Malik, and he was Thiqah, believing, high-standing, knowledgeable, Imam with a lot of knowledge and piety”
Now we read in Al-Fetan by Maroozi, page 356:
Ibn Sireen was asked: ‘Is the Mahdi better or are Abu Bakr and Umar may Allah be pleased with them? He replied: ‘He is better than them and he is equal to a prophet’.
Similarly Imam Ibn Abi Shaybah while recording traditions of Imam Mahdi in his book Al-Musnaf, Volume 7 page 513 also recorded the statement of Ibn Sireen:
Muhammad said: ‘There will be in our nation a Caliph who Abu Bakr and Umar will not consider more favorable than him’.
Sunni beliefs, that the ‘infallible’ Shaykhayn were superior to Rasulullah (s)
Although most Ulema of Ahl’ul Sunnah believe that infallibility is restricted to the Prophets of Allah (swt) – Peace be upon them all, we should point out that they have traditions that not only suggest that Abu Bakr and Umar were infallible but had a rank far above Rasulullah (s).
We read in Sahih Bukhari Volume 8 hadith 108:
Umar bin Al-Khattab asked permission of Allah’s Apostle to see him while some Quraishi women were sitting with him and they were asking him to give them more financial support while raising their voices over the voice of the Prophet. When ‘Umar asked permission to enter, all of them hurried to screen themselves. The Prophet admitted ‘Umar and he entered, while the Prophet was smiling. ‘Umar said, “May Allah always keep you smiling, O Allah’s Apostle! Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you!” The Prophet said, “I am astonished at these women who were with me. As soon as they heard your voice, they hastened to screen themselves.” ‘Umar said, “You have more right, that they should be afraid of you, O Allah’s Apostle!” And then he (‘Umar) turned towards them and said, “O enemies of your souls! You are afraid of me and not of Allah’s Apostle?” The women replied, “Yes, for you are sterner and harsher than Allah’s Apostle.” Allah’s Apostle said, “O Ibn Al-Khattab! By Him in Whose Hands my life is, whenever Satan sees you taking a way, he follows a way other than yours
Such is the rank of Umar that Shaythan is unable to follow the way he travels along. One who is untouched by Satan is one who hence is aloof from sin i.e. infallible. Hence in light of this tradition Umar is infallible in all but name.
Compare this to the troubles that Rasulullah (s) is subjected to by Satan, in Sahih al Bukhari Volume 4 hadith number 504:
“The Prophet offered a prayer, and (after finishing) he said, “Satan came in front of me trying persistently to divert my attention from the prayer, but Allah gave me the strength to over-power him.”
We would urge our Sunni brethren to consider these traditions. Hadhhrat Umar is not only Ma’sum (untouched by Satan) but superior to Rasulullah (s) because Iblis does not even stop harassing Rasulullah (s) when he is offering Salat.
In Mishkat al Masabih under the Chapter dealing with the virtues of Umar Volume 4 hadith 14 we read:
“The Prophet returned from one of the Holy Wars. When he came back a black girl came and said ‘O Apostle of Allah! I have taken a vow that if Allah takes you back sound I shall beat this Daf in your presence with a song. The Apostle said “if you have taken a vow then beat, and if not, not”. Then she began to beat. Abu Bakr entered while she was beating, Thereafter Ali entered while she was beating. Usman entered while she was beating. Thereafter when Umar entered, she threw the Daf under her buttock and sat on it. The Apostle of Allah replied “O Umar the Devil certainly fears you. I was sitting and she was beating, then Ali entered and she was beating. Then Usman entered and she was beating. When you entered O Omar she threw down the Daf.”
Do our opponents actually believe this hadith that so belittles the rank of the Ma’sum Prophet (s)? First and foremost it is haraam for a man to listen to a woman singing. The hadith is therefore suggesting that the Prophet (saww) was indulging in a sin! Then it wants us to believe that Hadhhrat Umar was the hero of the hour who brought this activity to an end. Hadhhrat Umar saved the Prophet (saww) from the clutches of Shaythan – he had been taken in by the activity, as were Hadhhrat Abu Bakr and Hadhhrat Ali. There is no other interpretation possible the words of the Prophet “Only Shaythan is afraid of you” would prove that Hadhhrat Umar’s rank is above that of the Prophet (s).
In relation to the superior rank of ‘Abu Bakr, Ibn Hajr records the following in Sawiqh al Muhriqa (Urdu translation page 121)
“Ibn Dhunjuya narrates: Gabriel went to Rasulullah (s) and told him that Allah (swt) had told him to seek the counsel of Abu Bakr”.
In another tradition in the same book on page 251 we read this hadith:
“Allah does not like the fact that Abu Bakr can do any wrong”.
What position can we hold of a Sahaba whose rank according to these traditions is such that Allah (swt) cannot tolerate that he commit any wrongdoing, a man who Rasulullah is told to seek the counsel of. Again one who commits no wrong is infallible and Rasulullah’s seeking his advice clearly indicates his position to be superior to Rasulullah (s).
In addition to these traditions that we have cited we should also point out that their own Nasibi Deobandi Ulema have extolled the Sahabas virtues above those of Ulil Uzum Prophets!
Maulana Muhammad Na’eem Lucknawi declares the following:
“Hadhhrat Abu Bakr’s superiority cannot be matched by Musa or Isa”
Kitab ay Shahaadath by Maulana Muhammad Na’eem Lucknawi, Volume 2 page 11 (Kurzan Press Publishers)
Do we need to say anything further on this topic?
Superiority of the Imams over the Angels
The Nasibi’s by citing the comments of Khomeini are of course seeking to suggest that the viewpoint that man can be superior to Angels is kufr. Yet again the Nasibis do not even know their own aqeedah is that man can have a rank superior to Angels.
Suffice it to say that Rasulullah (s) had stated:
“In the eyes of Allah, the momin is superior to certain angels”.
In his explanation of this hadith classical Hanafi scholar, Mullah ‘Ali Qari declares:
“Thayabi has commented that this hadith means that ordinary people can be superior to ordinary Angels and superior people are superior to ordinary and superior angels in the same way that superior angels are superior to ordinary men”.
Mirqat Hadith Mishkat page 510 hadith number 5
We are sure that not even Minhajj would seek to openly deny that the Imams of the Ahl’ul bayt (as) are superior individuals. Hence in accordance with this hadith their rank is superior to that of Angels.
To expand on this further, we shall cite the comments ascribed by the renowned Sunni Sufi scholar Ali bin Usman Al Jullabi Hujwiri in Kashf al Majhub the oldest Persian script on Sufism (translated by Prof Reynold Nicholson). He writes in the Chapter “Discourse on the Superiority of the Prophets and Saints to the Angels” as follows:
“The whole community of orthodox Muslims and all the Sufi Shaykhs agree that the Prophets and such of the Saints are guarded from sin (mahfuz) and are superior to the angels” Page 239.
“….the angels are equal to the Prophets in knowledge but not in rank. The angels are without lust, covetousness and evil; their nature is devoid of hypocrisy and guile, and they are instinctively obedient to God; whereas lust is an impediment in human nature; and men have a propensity to commit sins and to be impressed by the vanities of this world; and Satan has so much power over their bodies that he circulates with blood in their veins; and closely attached to them is the lower soul (nafs) which incites them to all manner of wickedness. Therefore one whose nature has all these characteristics and in spite of the violence of his lust renounces this world, and though his heart is still tempted by the Devil, turns back from sin and averts his face from sensual depravity in order to occupy himself with devotion and persevere in piety and mortify his lower soul and contend against the Devil, such a one is in reality superior to the angel who is not on the battlefield of lust, and is naturally without the desire of food and pleasures and has no care for wife and child and kinfolk, and need not have recourse to means and instruments, and is not absorbed in corrupt ambitions”. (page 240)
“….in short, the elect among the true believers are superior to the elect among the angels and the ordinary believers are superior to the ordinary angels. Accordingly those men who are preserved (ma’sum) and protected (mahfuz) from sin are more excellent than Gabriel and Michael, and those who are not thus preserved are better than the Recording Angels (hafaza) and the noble scribes (kiram-I-katibin)” (page 241)
So Hujwiri is stating:
- There is an ijma amongst Ahl’ul Sunnah that Prophets and some Saints are superior to Angels
- The superiority is because, whilst Angels have no nafs and cannot sin, the individual who has control over his nafs and commits no sin has succeeded – fighting the shackles of worldly desires
- The Head of believers is superior to the Head of Angels
- The individual who is “ma’sum” and “mahfuz” ranks higher than Gabriel (as) and Mikhail (as).
According to Hujwiri one who controls Nafs is superior to Angels, this being the case what about that individual that has not just controlled, but SOLD his nafs for the pleasure of Allah (swt)?
“And among men there is who sells himself (soul) seeking the pleasure of God; and verily, God is affectionate unto His (faithful) servants” (2:207).
So who is this verse praising?
Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Abdul Hamid Ghazzali writes the following in his most famous work ‘Ihya Ulum id din records that:
“The Quraish youths one day surrounded the house of the Prophet in order to kill him. Hadhhrat Ali in order to save his life, thought his life insignificant and went to the bed of the Prophet. God then addressed Gabriel and Michael and said: ‘I have established brotherhood among you and gave you equal period of life. Who is there among you who can sacrifice his life for another?’ Both of them preferred to save his own life. God then said to them: ‘Why could you not show example like Ali? I have established brotherhood between him and Muhammad, and Ali is spending the night by lying upon the bed of Muhammad in order to save the life of the latter. Go to the earth and save him from his enemies. Gabriel began to protect him keeping near his head and Michael near his feet. Gabriel said to Ali ‘blessed you are, blessed you are. There is no comparison with you. God is taking boast of you before the angels. God then sent this revelation ‘There is a man among men who sacrifices his life in search for the pleasure of Allah’ -2:207″
Ihya Ulum id din, by Abdul Hamid Ghazzali, Vol 3 p 237 – English translation by Maulana Fazal Karim
Other Sunni scholars have also recorded this event in exactly the same way:
- Tafseer al Kabir, by Fakhr ad Din al Razi, v 2 p 189;
- Noor ul Absar, p 86
- Hakim al Mustadrak, v 3 p 4
- Ghayatul Maryam, p 344 — 345
- Tafseer e Qurtubi, v 3 p 347
- Asadul Ghaiba fe Marifatil As Sahaba, v 4 p 25
- Tafseer Nishapuri (Allama Nishapuri ) , v 1 p 281
- Kifaytul Talib, p 114
- Zhakhiar al Uqba, p 88
In this tradition both Gabriel (as) and Mikhail (as) the highest ranking Angles are testifying to the superiority of Imam Ali (as) over them, so has the Shi’a aqeedah not been proven or are our opponents going to accuse these great Angels of committing kufr as well?
Do the Imams have control over the atoms of the universe?
“The Imam has a dignified station, a lofty rank, a creational caliphate, and a sovereignty and mastery over all the atoms of creation”..
By citing this reference the Minhajj al Nasibi are suggesting that control of atoms constitutes divinity. To suggest that this is divinity is absurd, for we believe that Allah (swt) gives this powerful to his chosen Servants. If only our opponents had bothered to examine the contents of the Holy Qur’an.
The Great Book informs us of the miracles of the Prophets of God.
“And what is that in thy right hand, O Moses? He said: “This is my staff. On it, I lean, and with it, I beat branches for my sheep, and in it I find other uses”. God said: “Cast it down, O Moses!” He cast it down, and behold! It became a snake, slithering. God said: “Grasp it and fear not. We shall return it to its former state. And draw thy hand to your side, it will come forth white without harm. That will be another miracle.” (ch. 20. vs. 17-22).
This means that the dead cells that composed the rod of Moses were transformed into living cells. Then those living cells miraculously went back to dead cells.
In chapter Al-Shu’ara, we read the following words of the Almighty:
“We revealed to Moses: Strike the sea with thy staff. It parted, and each part was like a huge mountain.” (ch. 26, v.64)
Does this not mean that God made the sea obedient to Musa (as) to such a degree that Moses was able to divide the water of the sea into two solid parts, each of them as huge as a mountain in height and size?
The Qur’an Informs Us Of Hadhhrat Isa (as) in Al- ‘Imran, we read that the Almighty informed us about Jesus:
“And we will make him a messenger to the children of Israel (with this message): I come to you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird, by Allah’s leave. I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by Allah’s leave . . .” (ch. 3, v.49)
Here we see that the Almighty enabled Isa (as) to transform a piece of clay into a living bird that could fly like other birds. Is this the work of Moses or Jesus? Would the Qur’an invite us to deify someone other than God?
With regard to the Prophet Muhammad (s), we read God’s word in the chapter of The Moon:
“The hour (of judgement) is near, and the moon has been split. But if they see a sign, they turn away and say: This is prolonged magic.” (ch. 54, vs. 1-2)
This verse informs us that Allah split the moon in response to His Messenger Muhammad’s prayer, and this never happened before the time of Muhammad.
Ibn Hisham reported similar to this:
“Rukanah Al-Muttalibi was the strongest man in Mecca. He met the Messenger outside Mecca and the Messenger invited him to Islam. Rukanah said: “If you can prove that you are a true messenger, I will follow you.” The Messenger said: “What do you say if I wrestle you down? Will that make you believe that I am a true prophet?” Rukanah said: “Yes.” The Prophet wrestled him down twice. Rukanah said: “Muhammad, this is really amazing. Did you really wrestle me?” The Prophet said: “I will show you more amazing things than this if you obey God and follow my way.” Rukanah said: “What is it?” The Prophet said: “I will call this tree which you are looking at, and it will come to me.” Rukanah said: “Call it”, and the Prophet called it. The tree came until it stood in front of him. The Prophet said to it: “Go back to your place,” and it went to its original place.
Ibn Hisham, AI-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah, part 1, page 391
These miracles that occurred in response to prayers of the Messenger of God testify, as documented in the Qur’an, that Allah empowers His great servants to perform miracles by His permission. In other words, He responds to the prayers of His Messengers by creating miracles.
What happened through the prophets does not indicate that they had any touch of divinity. On the contrary, it testifies that those prophets were true servants of God. They ascended to the highest degree of servitude to Him, and that their obedience to Him was absolute. Had they been otherwise, they would not have been able to perform any miracles, and no prayer by them would have been answered. They obeyed God completely and He responded to their prayers. The Authority that Allah has given to them is authority via which atoms shall submit to them. Ayatollah Khomeini nor any other leading Shi’a scholars believe that the Imams of Ahl Al bayt without the will of Allah can do anything or change the course of nature.
The Creator GIVES authority to his Faithful Servants. They do NOT act of their own accord, everything they do is by the Will of Allah (swt). This Authority is given to them by Allah (swt) because of their purity, their obedience, their striving in the path of Allah, their knowledge, their merits, virtues and their complete submission to the will of Allah.
Does Minhajj al Nasibi think that Allah will not respond to their prayers if they pray to Allah to change the natural course?
- Did Allah not make the moon obedient to Prophet Muhammad’s command?
- Did Allah not make the sea obedient to Moses command?
- Did Allah not make death obedient to the command of Jesus?
Yes! It was Allah behind all these happenings but the command was from the servants of Allah.
In Surah Aal-e-Imran verse 49, Allah (swt) cites the words of Prophet Isa (as):
“And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead”, The key words are wa uhyil mawtaa – “and I give life to the dead”.by God’s leave”.
We believe that the Imams from Ahl’ul bayt (as) can also with Allah’s leave make every atom submit to them, in the same way that the dead cells in the rod of Musa (as) were turned into living cells.
No doubt the Minhajj will seek to convince their Nasibi flock that this power is only vested in Prophets (peace be upon them all) – we suggest that they take a closer examination of the Qur’an. Allah (swt) gives this power to the Servant of Prophet Sulayman (as):
“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).
A Non Prophet was able to transport the atoms inside of the throne of Bilqis before Hadhhrat Sulayman within the twinkling of an eye. He had a control over these atoms, this does not mean that this faithful Servant was Allah (swt)! How did he attain that feat? Simple the verse states he had a ‘partial’ knowledge of the book. If one with partial knowledge can obtain control over the atoms, what power do you think is possessed by Imam Ali (as) who has a complete knowledge of the Book? As the Sahaba and Hafiz of the Qur’an Ibn Masud himself testified:
“The Holy Qur’an has outward and inward meanings, and Ali Ibn Abi Talib has the knowledge of both.”
Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v1, p65
If Imam Ali possessed a complete knowledge of the Book as is vouched by Ibn Masud and other traditions then he to by the will of his Creator had the ability to control the atoms of the Universe.
Do the Imams possess Knowledge of the unseen?
The Nasibi had cited chapters from Usul Kafi to ‘prove’ that Shi’a are kaffir.
The Imams are thought to have absolute and infinite knowledge, despite what Allah says in the Qur’an; “Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down rain, and it is he that knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn tomorrow, nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)”(31:34) This incredible belief that the Imams know the unseen can be amply attested by the following chapter headings in Al-Kafi fil-Usool. 1) Chapter: The Imams have knowledge of All that was given to the angels and the Prophets. (Al-Kafi p.255) 2) Chapter: The Imams know when they will die, and they only die by their choice. (Al-Kafi p.258) 3) Chapter: The Imams have knowledge of the past and future; and nothing is hidden from them. (Al-Kafi p.260) Clearly, the book Al-Kafi fil Usool contains such extreme statements of kufr (disbelief) and shirk (polytheism) that it alone is sufficient to push anyone who believes in it into the Hellfire for eternity. Yet Ayatullah Khomeini states that the sum total of his religion is contained in it, saying: “Do you think it is enough for our religious life to have it’s laws summed up in Al-Kafi and then placed upon a shelf?” (Al-Hukumah Al-Islamiyyah p.72)
What is Ghayb?
Yet again the Minhajj have used deception citing an isolated verse on Ghayb without examining the whole issue. 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’s the knowledge of something hidden. Hidden can be in several ways. Something you can’t:
Something beyond your understanding can also constitute Ghayb (hidden) its beyond your comprehension. We shall cite an example:
You present a young child with a line in Arabic, he can’t read Arabic for him its Ghayb, hidden its beyond his comprehension.
You present a second child with that same line, he can read it, why? Because he has read Arabic, but if you ask him to interpret the MEANING he cannot, he can read but not understand the words, for this child the meaning is Ghayb.
You present the same line to someone who has studied Tafseer of the Qur’an, he can read it, translate it and even provide a commentary to it.
Same line three different responses. What is Ghayb to one person is not Ghayb to another, how are the keys of Ghayb unlocked via Ilm (Knowledge). We will provide another example, ‘is knowledge of tomorrow’s weather not Ghayb? Is it not hidden?’ This being the case how is it that science has developed to such an extent that weather reports can tell us the weather, temperatures etc, not just tomorrow but for the entire week? Simple because this Ghayb has been unlocked via knowledge. If the keys of Ghayb can be unlocked by normal fallible scientists, don’t you think Allah (swt) would also equip his representatives, messengers, Imams to the keys of Ghayb on a bigger level?
The shameless Nasibis had cited this verse as ‘proof that Shi’as are kaffir’.
“Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down rain, and it is he that knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn tomorrow, nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)”(31:34)
Another verse Nasibis quotes against Shi’as is this one (we were somewhat taken aback when Minhajj al Nasibi didn’t quote it):
“With Him are the Keys of the Ghayb; non knows them but He.” (Qur’an 6:59)
According to the Minhajj the Shi’a attribute this power of Ghayb to their Imams hence they are kaffir. If they are simply going to argue that their prosecution case has been proven by these verses suggesting only Allah (swt) has knowledge of Ghayb and he gives it to no one, then kindly explain to me why it is that the Holy Prophet (S) predicted future events? They need to examine Sahih al Bukhari under the chapter Bab al Fitan, it is replete with predictions of future events, afflictions on the Sahaba, the signs of the Day of Judgment the coming of al Mahdi (as), how could the Prophet (S) say these things if we are to rely on the verse that only Allah (swt) has knowledge of Ghayb?
We do not doubt that the knowledge of the unseen belongs to the Creator and in that there is no doubt. It however also needs to be pointed out that Allah (swt) gives this knowledge to his servants.
Rasulullah (s) had declared:
“All the keys of the Universe have been laden onto a horse and have been given to me”.
Sharh Zurqani Volume 5 page 360, Beirut edition
We also cite another tradition:
“Rabiya bin Kab narrates that he was helping Rasulullah (s) perform Wudhu, Rasul said ‘Rabia, ask of me whatever you wish’. Rabia said ‘I ask that I am in Paradise with you’. Rasul (s) said ‘is that all you want, do you want anything else?’ Rabia said ‘I don’t require anything else’. With that Rasulullah (s) said, ‘fight your nafs, worship excessively and help me”.
In his commentary of this tradition Deobandi scholar Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani states:
“Rasulullah’s stating ‘Ask’ for something without restriction, points to the fact, that Allah (s) had given him (s) from his treasures, the power to ‘spend’ and to distribute this right. From this our Imams have deduced one virtue given to Rasulullah (s) was that whatever he wants, or whatever others ask of him can be provided for, by the Will of Allah (swt).
Fath’al Muhum, Sharh Muslim Volume 2 page 96
Similar comments on this hadith have also been echoed by Mulla Ali Qari al Hanafi in his Sharh Mishkat Volume 2 page 322 and al Muhaddith Abdul Haqq Dehlavi Ashiat al Lamaath Volume 1 page 425.
We the Shi’a believe that Rasulullah (s) and the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as) as the Chosen of Allah (swt) have been given the Keys of Allah (swt). One such key is the power of Ghayb. This does NOT in any way mean that Allah (swt) has retired and left administration of the Universe to them (Allah Forbid), they have been given the knowledge such as Ghayb to the extent that they need to do so as to carry out their duties. No Sunni or Shi’a worships anyone other than Allah (swt), we deem our Imams to be the Faithful Servants of Allah (swt) selected by Allah (swt) to guide the people to the right path.
Of relevance here are the comments of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi, whilst discussing God gifted powers bestowed on Saints in Tafseer Azizi page 113, Part “An Meem” states:
“Those Saints that Allah (swt) has selected to guide people were given powers by the Creator, so that that the needy could turn to them for help, they turn to them to resolve their problems, whatever they desire is resolved by them, from their lips they recite the chant ‘turn to us and we shall answer your prayers”.
Allah (swt) undoubtedly holds the keys of Ghayb as stated in the Qur’an, BUT Allah (swt) in other verses makes it clear that Allah (swt) gives this powers to his elects.
We read in Surah Jinn verses 26-27:
“He (alone) knows the Unseen nor does He make any one acquainted with His Mysteries, Except an apostle whom He has chosen: and then He makes a band of watchers march before him and behind him”
In his commentary of this verse Sunni scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali under footnote 5749 makes these crucial comments:
The Unseen has two aspects. The relative Unseen is so with reference to a particular person, because of the intervention of Time, Space, or particular circumstances. For example, I cannot see today a house which I saw last year, because it has since been pulled down. Or I cannot in Lahore see the “Gateway of India” in Bombay, although any one in Bombay can see it. Or I cannot see the satellites of Jupiter with the naked eye, though I can through a telescope. But the Absolute Unseen, the Absolute Mystery, is something which no creature can know or see, except in so far as Allah reveals it to him. And Allah reveals such things to the extent that is good for men, through His chosen messengers, among whom the greatest is Muhammad. The exact time of the Hour of Judgment has not been so shown, because we must not wait for it, but live as if it is to be at this minute. See last note and next note, and the references there.
So the Absolute Unseen is the sole right of Allah (swt) BUT Allah (swt) delegates this powers to his elect. Yusuf Ali had stated that this knowledge is given to Messengers of Allah (swt), we argue that this favour is also extended to the Imams from Ahl’ul bayt (as) as Allah (swt) has made them Guides over the Ummah.
The Holy Qur’an tells about the knowledge and the intercession of the Prophet Muhammad and his rightful successors that:
“Who can intercede with Him except the cases He permits? He knows what is in front of them and what is behind them, and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He will.” (Qur’an 2:255)
We the Shi’a deem this to refer to the Prophet and the Imams. The verse 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.
To give a simple example, consider a person who looks at a monitor that 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.
The actual Shi’a viewpoint
We believe that Allah (swt) let the Prophet and Imams know whatever they needed to know. It is by the will of Allah (swt) he gives it to them, they don’t possess it exclusively! We read:
“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)
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 (PBUH&HF). 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:
“And he (Muhammad) is not niggardly the Knowledge of the Unseen.” (Qur’an 81:24)
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) one of our great classical 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
We need to stress that neither the prophets nor Imams ever claimed that they have all the knowledge within themselves. Obviously they did not know those of information that 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
Those with a knowledge of the Book can unlock the secrets of Ghayb
The keys to the Ghayb are provided by Allah (swt) to those who have attained a knowledge of the Book. The Holy 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:
“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).
Here a non Prophet was able to transport the throne that was Ghayb (hidden), and bring it before Hadhhrat Sulayman (as).
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 unlock Ghayb and 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. In that, there is no doubt, because Allah (swt) says in Surah Naml verse 75:
“And there is nothing concealed (Ghayb) in the heaven and the earth that is not contained in this Book” - look at the Arabic not the watered down translations! All Ghayb is contained in the Book, so he who has knowledge of the inner and outer meanings of the Qur’an can also attain the power of Ghayb.
Ibn Mas’ud said:
“The Holy Qur’an has outward and inward meanings, and Ali Ibn Abi Talib has the knowledge of both.”
In addition contemplate these words of Imam Ali (as):
“Ask me about the Book of Allah, because there is no Ayah but that I know whether it was revealed at night or in daytime, on the plain or in the mountain”
History of the Khailfa’s who took the right way by Jalaladeen Suyuti, English translation by Abdassamad Clarke, p 194
The Deobandi Hanafi scholar Shah Ismail Shaheed extolled by the Wahabis expands on this point to an even greater depth:
“Imamate is the Shadow of the Prophethood. The Imam’s leadership is openly declared. Whereas history provides evidence of Saints that remained silent, the Imam announces whatever powers he possesses as Imam Ali did when he declared ‘I am the Siddiq al Akbar (The Great Truthful One) and whoever declares this after me is a liar and I am the talking Qur’an”.
Munsub-e-Imamate by Shah Ismail Shaheed page 69
The Imams ‘inherited’ the knowledge of the Unseen from Rasulullah (s)
This incredible belief that the Imams know the unseen can be amply attested by the following chapter headings in Al-Kafi fil-Usool.
1) Chapter: The Imams have knowledge of All that was given to the angels and the Prophets. (Al-Kafi p.255)
There is nothing objectionable here since we believe that the Imams of Ahlul bayt (as) are the true representatives of Rasulullah (s) they inherited his knowledge in the same way Prophet’s inherited knowledge from one another. We believe that the Ahl’ul bayt inherited knowledge from the Holy Prophet (S) in their capacity as Wasis (inheritors) of his blessed knowledge. He who inherits the Holy Prophet (s) mission also inherits the same virtues, such as power over limited Ghayb and it is also common sense that that the person who inherits that mission also executes that mission, which is why the Prophet (s) declared Ali (as) to be his Wasi (executor) and Waris (inheritor).
The Holy Prophet once in the presence of his companions said to Ali (as), “You are my brother and inheritor”, when the Companions asked what previous Prophet’s had left as inheritance, he replied “The Book of God and the teachings of that Prophet”
taken from Riyadh al Nadira, Vol 3 p 123; Izalatul Khifa (Urdu translation), by Al Muhadith Shah Waliyullah Dehlavi, Vol 1 p 444
As further evidence of the inherited power of Ghayb, we shall cite this incident recorded by the renowned Hanafi scholar Abdul Rahman Jami.:
“During the Battle of Sifeen, the army under the command of Ali were unable to find any water. There was a church nearby and Ali went there to ask the people inside where water could be obtained from. They replied that water could only be found several miles away. The army then asked Ali if they could go and drink from it, Ali told them not to worry. The army began to travel west, all of a sudden he stopped and pointed to the ground and told the army to start digging there. They began to dig, and they found a big stone, Ali (as) told them to lift the stone, but they were unable to do so. Ali, then pulled the stone out with his hand, and fresh water began to spurt out of the ground. A Christian priest had been watching the episode, he went up to Ali and asked: ‘Are you a Prophet?’ to which Ali replied ‘No’, the priest then asked ‘Are you an Angel?’, Ali replied ‘No’. The Priest then said ‘You are not a Prophet or Angel, so what are you?’. Ali replied ‘I am a wasi of the Seal of all Prophet’s, Muhummud al Mustapha’. The Priest then said ‘Take out your hand so that I can embrace Islam’. Ali told him what to say (i.e. the Shahada) and the Priest then said the following “I testify there is no God but Allah. I testify that Muhummud is the Prophet of Allah, and I testify that Ali is the wasi of the Prophet Muhummud”
taken from Shawahid un Nubuwwa, by Abdul Rehman Jami, (Urdu edition printers Maktaba Nabavi, Gunjbaksh Rd, Lahore), p 287
Clearly the existence of the spring was Ghayb but Allah (swt) had unlocked the key in this regard on account of Maula Ali (as)’s position as the Wasi of Rasulullah (S).
Ghayb attributed by Ahl’ul Sunnah to Hadhhrat Umar
What amuses us the most is that whilst issuing takfeer on the Shi’as for holding this belief they list this power Ghayb as one of the miracles of Hadhhrat Umar!
Ibn Taymiyya Imam of the Wahabi Nasibis records the following: ?
“Umar ibn Al Khattab once sent out an army and assigned a man named Sariah as its leader. Whilst Umar was giving a khutbah he shouted out while still on the Minbar: O Sariah the mountain! Later a scout from the army came to Madina. When Umar asked him the news of the army, he said, O Leader of the believers, we met the enemy and were being defeated. Suddenly there was someone screaming: O Sariah the mountain! So we put our backs to the mountain, then Allah defeated them.
This is narrated with a good i.e. Hassan chain of narration)” (Taken from the criterion by Ibn Taymiyya page 145
Suyuti also records this in Tarikh ul Khulafa under the Chapter “The miracles of Umar”.
Umar according to this narration has powers of Ghayb, he can foresee a calamity about to befall his army, despite the fact that its hidden from his eyes – if Sunni’s record such a event it is a miracle, if Shi’as attribute such powers to their Imams they are Kaffir! Is this not clear hypocrisy?
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