Chapter Five: The doctrine of Imamate from a Shi’a perspective (Part I)
In this section we will discuss in detail the objections raised by the Nasibi authors in their respective work on the following topics:
: Understanding the concept of appointment from a logical perspective
: Imamate is a Divine Rank
: The twelve Imams to be followed
: Imamate and Prophethood are two separate ranks
: Do Shias worship their Imams?
: The authority to abrogate religious laws
: The multi faceted role of Imamate
: Infallibility of the Imams
: Taking religion from the infallible Imams
: Hadith narrated by the Imams
: Understanding the concept of appointment from a logical perspective
As part of their rant:
Madrassa Inaamiya states:
There is no difference of opinion among the Shias regarding their belief of the equality between Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)and the Imaams of Shi’ism. The abovementioned statements testify to this claim. The same book, viz., ‘The Faith of Shia Islam’, states:‘We believe that the Imaamat, like Prophethood, must be an appointment from Allah through His Messenger, or an appointed Imaam. From this point of view, the Imaamat is the same as the prophethood.’
Position One: The Prophet (s) who Allah (swt) sent as a Mercy for Mankind eternally for the Ummah, remained silent on the issue of guidance after him, and transferred this right to the Ummah to appoint whomsoever they liked,It is here that we ask people to think about the two opinions logically, and then decide on which one makes more sense:
Position Two: Allah (swt) through Rasulullah (s) appointed a successor ensuring that the station of Imamate was occupied by that individual best placed to sit on it.
We would ask those with open minds whether there is anything objectionable to believing that appointing an Imam to lead the Ummah after Rasulullah (s) is a duty of Allah (swt) through his Prophet (s)? What sounds more logical, that Rasulullah (s) appointed an Imam, or the Sunni position epitomised by the Sunni scholar Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry:
“Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not nominate his successor nor left any explicit an instruction on the question of selection or appointment of his successor”.
An introduction to Islamic State and Government, by Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry, p 56, (Islamic Bk Publishers, Kuwait).
The Sunni Ulema acknowledge the necessity for appointing an Imam, which is why Mullah Ali Qari had said that the appointment of the Imam was so important that “the companions preferred it to attending the Prophet’s funeral”
Sharh Fiqh Akbar, by Mulla Ali Qari, p 175 (publishers Muhammad Sa’eed and son, Qur’an Muhall, Karachi).
If these individuals deemed the appointment of an Imam to be a necessity that should be afforded greater priority than attending the funeral of the Holy Prophet, would Allah (swt) and his Rasul (s) also not have likewise recognised this necessity? Is it logical that a Prophet who commented on the minutiae of every aspect of Islam, down to how we eat, sleep and enter the toilet, would remain silent on a matter as crucial as leadership? Were the Shaykhayn smarter than him? The Ahl’ul Sunnah believe that in the absence of the appointment by the Prophet (s) the Imam is appointed by ijma , logically whilst that person can be referred to as a representative of the people he cannot be a representative of Allah (swt) or his Prophet (s). If the appointment via ijm is a valid method, we would like to know whether Rasulullah (s) could be included in this ijma?
If Rasulullah (s) did not see this appointment as a necessity then what right do the Ummah have to deem it as one? The Qur’an is very clear that all matters are to be decided by Allah (swt) and his Rasul (s):
It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.
But no, by the 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.
When Rasulullah (s) was present to resolve all matters of dispute, why would he remain completely silent on the issue of leadership that followed him (s)? Are we to believe that he was so naïve as to not have envisaged that could be decisive enough to curb division after him? Even the least enlightened leader dies with at least indicating his preferred choice of successor. If a leader leaves his people there is always a deputy appointed to deal with Home Affairs in case the Premier dies or is killed. The primary motive here is of course to ensure that in the event of war that the nation is not left leaderless with no commander-in-chief, for even the smallest time interval. That’s just temporary and here we see that one leader is just not going away temporarily but rather is departing on a permanent basis, would he be that careless to leave his people without a leader? It is common sense that when a Leader is departing permanently from this world he will seek to appoint in his place a Leader with similar qualities, virtues to him, with the capabilities to lead the people to the right path. Rasulullah (s) was a mercy to mankind and the Seal of all Prophets can there be someone more logical and conscious of the needs of the people than him? Rasulullah (s) came to provide guidance to the world, would he leave his nascent Ummah leaderless without any focal point to turn to for guidance? We see how Rasulullah (s) would not even temporarily leave his Ummah without a Leader, even when he left from Madina he appointed a successor, who would be his example and have a firm grasp of matters relating to Shari’ah. Ahl’ul Sunnah texts confirm that when Rasulullah (s) left on the military campaign of Tabook, he appointed ‘Ali (as) to deal with affairs in the city in his absence, when hypocrites began saying incorrect things about the reason for this decision Maula ‘Ali (as) went to the Prophet, as we read in Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5914:
Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) left ‘Ali b. Abi Talib behind him (as he proceeded) to the expedition of Tabuk, whereupon he (‘Ali) said: Allah’s Messenger, are you leaving me behind amongst women and children? Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Aren’t you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses but with this exception that there would be no prophet after me.
This example demonstrates that the Prophet (s) deemed the appointment of an Imam to be such a necessity that would not even leave the Ummah leaderless without an Imam for a temporary basis. Surah Ahzab confirms the station of Muhammad (s) as the Seal of all Prophets, and there is no issue that he (s) failed to convey to his People as part of his role of propagator, hence it is illogical to believe that he remained silent on such a crucial matter. We as Shi’a do not believe that Rasulullah (s) would be that irresponsible, remaining silent on such a crucial matter. We believe that only Allah (s) is in the best position to decide who the Imam should be. One that is not himself a Mujtahid is unable to recognise a Mujtahid, his rank / station requires verification from an existing scholar, with existing excellence on matters of Shari’ah, Fiqh etc. Along the same line Imamate’s rank is one that no ordinary man can recognise, it requires verification from those already in the position of authority namely Allah (swt) and his Prophet (s). We believe that it was the duty of the Prophet (s) to appoint someone as an Imam, who would act as the focal point of guidance for the Ummah.
In the same way that the role of a GP is to identify the condition of his patients and potential risks to their health we can point to the fact that the Prophet (s) did just that. He told the companions not to become kaffirs by killing each other (Sahih al Bukhari Arabic – English, Volume 9 hadith number 198 – 200) and predicted that afflictions would fall on to their homes in the same way that rain drops fall (Sahih al Bukhari Arabic – English, Volume 9 hadith number 18) and that some would become apostates after him (Sahih al Bukhari Arabic – English, Volume 8 hadith number 586 ) with the majority perishing in the fire (Sahih al Bukhari Arabic – English, Volume 8 hadith number 587).
At the same time the Prophet (s) was fully aware of the threat imposed by the neighbouring Byzantine and Persian empires, what better time would there have been to attack the Muslims when their Prophet (s) had died? In the same way that a GP after identifying a condition prescribes medication for his patient, we believe that the Prophet (s) was fully aware of the risks facing the nascent Ummah and provided a remedy by fixing in to position an Imam (Leader) to guide the Muslims after him. If one is unfamiliar with matters related to the Shari’ah how will you turn to him? If a non Muslim tribe go out on a quest for truth to ascertain whether Muhammad the Arab was indeed the Last Prophet where will they turn to for guidance? What will be there focal point for directions? Does logic not suggest Rasulullah (s) would himself deem it necessary to have in that position one that is his example, that shares the attributes of excellence, perfection, knowledge, wisdom of the Prophet (s), had the capabilities to guide and is perfect in respective of his own personal deeds? This is essentially the Shi’a position on Imamate, like the Ahl’ul Sunnah we deem the appointment of an Imam to be an absolute necessity, but we do not believe that fallible beings are in the position to appoint guides for themselves, Allah (swt) and his Rasul (s) would never allow the people to appoint whoever they liked as guides, this a major responsibility that can only be decided by those appointed by Allah (swt) and his Prophet (s).
: Imamate is a Divine Rank
As far as the nature of their appointment is concerned, it is a matter of consensus amongst the Shi‘ah that the right of their twelve Imams to lead the Ummah was bestowed by Allah Ta‘ala Himself. No distinction is made between the appointment of Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam as the Messenger of Allah and the appointment of the twelve Imams as his successors. Underscoring this vital aspect of Imamah, ‘Allamah Muhammad Hussain Kashif al-Ghita, who was the most prominent Shi‘i ‘alim of Najaf in Iraq during the seventies, writes in his book Asl ash-Shi‘ah wa-Usuluha:
Imamah is a divine station, just like Nubuwwah. Just as Allah chooses whomsoever He wants to for Nubuwwah and Risalah … similarly, for Imamah too, He selects whomsoever He wishes.
We believe that in the same way that the people have no right to designate Prophets; the same rule applies with Imamate, since both are divine stations. Sunni Ulema have advanced that Imamate is an absolute necessity upon the people, because his (s) presence is required for:
Reply One – The Quran confirms that only Allah (swt) designates Imamate
- the implementation of the Shari’ah,
- instructions on jihad,
- the protection of subjects
These are all religious obligations, when all these are a necessity, then the Ummah must likewise appoint an Imam to ensure these issues are addressed. We agree with the Ahl’ul Sunnah that these religious matters merit the necessity of having an Imam at the helm of the State, but our contention is that this is the duty to appoint the Imam is borne on the shoulders of Allah (swt) through his Prophet (s). When the Ummah are not duty bound to implement these matters, then the appointment of an individual to implement them, is not duty bound upon them either. The Qur’an tells the stories of past peoples as a learning curve for us, and when it comes to the doctrine of appointment, whether that be Proprhets or non Prophets the common thread is one and the same, that Allah (swt) has the exclusive right of appointment, an no one individual has the right to interfere in such a matter. At this point, this is just a summary argument, we shall now delve into the matter by citing more explicit verses.
The basic view about the position of Imamate being divine comes from the Holy Quran itself. There are many verses in which we come to know that it’s only Allah (swt) who bestows Imamate while we are yet to see any proof from the Quran which stipulates that it’s the people’s right to choose the Imam. We will discuss the verses about Imamate in another chapter but by way example we see Allah (swt) declaring:
“I will create a vicegerent on earth.” Al-Baqara, Verse 30
”O David! We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth” Surah Sad verse 26
”Thy Lord does create and choose as He pleases: no choice have they (in the matter)” Surah Al-Qasas verse 69
These verses negate the power of the people. Whether it be Takwini or Tashrii matters, in the way that birth, death, wealth, illness, health, is a matter people cannot control of their own accord. Simillarly Tahsri matters, that deal with ordinances on what is halaal or haraam are matters in the Hands of the Creator (swt), people cannot intervene in such matters.
Whilst we have just selected a few verses here, in this chapter we shall shed light on two verses (a) Surah Baqrah, verse 124 (b) Surah Baqarah verses 246 to 247, and (c) Surah Inshira verse 7-8.
We read in Surah Baqrah the appointment of Prophet Ibrahim (as) as Imam:
And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.”
When Prophet Ibraheem (as) was made an Imam (of the humans) by Allah (swt); referring to this very imamate, he pleaded of Allah (swt) to bring about more such imams from his offspring. Thus, the imams to emerge from prophet Ibraheem (as)’s offspring held the imamate of prophet Ibraheem (as). And since, the first stage of imamat comes after the ulil azm stage of risalat; and a rasool is always divinely appointed, how logical would it be to say that an Imam is not? If anything, the request made by Ibraheem (as) that Imamate be placed in his lineage to Allah (swt), is clear proof that the right to appoint the Imam is the right of Allah (swt) alone, if it was the right of the people there would have been no need for Ibraheem (as) to make such a supplication / request, rather he would have simply appointed an Imam. When Hadhrat Ibraheem, an Ul’il Uzm Prophet (s) had no right to use his own discretion to appoint an Imam, then the right of ordinary people to exercise such discretion does not even come into the equation.
Allah (swt) whilst accepting the supplication of Ibraheem then imposed the condition that the unjust would be exempt from this station ‘But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers’, that proves that one that falls in this category of promise, can only be appointed by Allah (swt), He chooses whoever He (swt) wants. People through self appointment have no way of determining whether such a person meets this condition. If the right fell on the people to choose whoever the liked, Allah (swt) would have never replied ‘Al Yahnul’, rather He (swt) would have said ‘there is no need for making such a request, I don’t make decision on this subject matter, you choose whoever you like future generations can choose whoever they like’, when he did not do this then it is clear proof that the appointment of the Imam is a right of Allah (swt) alone.
Ignorant Nawasib claim that the promises, is a promise of Prophethood, which is false because Hadhrat Ibraheem was already on the station of Proprhethood, he (as) did not make this specific supplication until Allah (swt) granted him the station of Imamate:
…Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!”
Shaykh ul Islam Allamah Dr. Tahir ul Qadri known for his anti-Shia sentiments in his book ‘Zibeh-e-Azeem’ pages 41-42 comments:
“Ibrahim supplicated twice, firstly of that was ‘O Allah (swt) provide the Seal of Prophets from my lineage’ and second one was ‘Provide the position of imamate to my ummah’. Thus, the Seal of Prophets appeared in the shape of Muhammad al Mustafa (s). With Prophethood ending on Muhammad (s) it was obligatory that the station of Muhammad’s Prophethood appear and move forward in the shape of Imamate and Wilayah. Wilayah then appeared in the lineage of Ibrahim (as). The Prophet (s) did not have a natural son, the station of Muhammad’s Prophethood appeared as the Imamate and Wilayah of al Mustafa, which is why it was necessary for it to be continue by a revered and respected family, those that may not be the natural son of the Prophet (s) but should be the body part of Rasulullah (s),. Therefore, Allah (swt) focussed on Ali (k) and the beloved daughter of Fatima al Zahra (ra) , Leader of the Women of Paradise for the same exalted position.
The Heaven’s decision of the marriage of Ali (ra) and Sayyida Fatima (ra)
“In accordance with Allah (swt) and the desire of the Prophet (s) decided on the marriage of these great personalities:
“ Abdullah Ibn Masud narrates that the Prophet (s) said ‘Verily Allah (swt) has ordered me to marry Fatima to Ali” [Muajim al Kabir al Tabarani, Volume 10 page 156].
Rasulullah (s) said that the marriage if Ali and Fatima had been ruled on in the Heavens, this marriage was in accordance with the order of Allah (swt) because the Wilayah of Rasulullah (s) had to continue with Ali, and he (ra) had to become the fulfilment of the supplication of Ibrahim, to attain this the King of the World (s) through him (ra) and Fatima (ra) attained a pure association”
Zibeh-e-Azeem, pages 41-42 (Minhajj al Quran publications, Model town, Lahore)
Reply Two – Allah (swt) told Rasulullah (swt) to appoint an Imam to succeed him; Surah Inshirah, verse 7-8
Like Ansar.Org these bunch of ignorant people also attacked this Shi’a belief as follows:
Madrassa Inaamiyah states:
‘We believe that the Imaamat, like Prophethood, must be an appointment from Allah through His Messenger, or an appointed Imaam. From this point of view, the Imaamat is the same as the prophethood.’
“Oh Muhammad! Have we expanded not your breast? And didn’t we ease your burden, which weighed down on your back, and increased your name, certainly after every difficulty comes ease, so when you finish appoint and return to your Lord” (The Qur’an 94:7-8)We read in Surah Inshirah, verse 7-8
This verse has been the victim of the greatest tahreef (change, corruption) with regards to Sunni translations of the Holy Qur’an. The word used is fansab, which means to “appoint” in the sense of appointing or fixing in position a successor or vicegerent. One would speak, for example, about the appointed Imam by calling him al-imam al-mansub, the appointed or designated Imam. This meaning is the one that is most clear from the verse, but in spite of this Sunni translators and commentators have sought to distort this verse, and translate the words fansab in accordance to some of its other meanings, meanings which are alien to the surah.
The word that Allah (swt) uses is nasb. The Hans-Wehr English-Arabic dictionary defines this word as:
Nasb: To raise, rear, erect, set up, put; to prepare, get ready, fit up, to pitch (a tent), to plaint, raise (a standard, a flagstaff), to hoist (a flag), to plant (a tree); to level, to aim (a cannon); to install, appoint (to an office); to show, manifest, display; to direct, aim; to cheat, swindle, dupe, gull, deceive…to fight, combat, oppose; to rise up, to straighten up, draw up, to plant, to rise, to get up, to stand up, to get on one’s feet…To distress, trouble, fatigue, wear out, exhaust; to be tired, fatigued, jaded, worn out; exhausted; to exert to the utmost.
“A Dictionary of Modern Arabic Writing”(3rd Edition) by Hans Wehr pages 968-969
We see from this definition that almost all the words ultimately relate to putting something in place, to establish something in a place. This is why it is used to mean “appoint” somebody, because somebody who is appointed to a position is made “to stand” in that office and is “planted” in that position the way one would plant a tree. We can see examples from Sunn Hadith literature wherein the word has been used in the context of appointment by Rasulullah (s).
The Prophet said, “At every womb Allah appoints (al Nasibi) an angel…
Sahih Bukhari, Book 6 Hadith 315
The Prophet said, “No, we do not appoint (al Nasibi) for our jobs anybody who demands it earnestly.”
Sahih Bukhari, Book 36 Hadith 462
Unfortunately Sunni Muslims (past and present) that have adhered to a belief that appointing an Imam is the exclusive right of the people, have vigorously opposed any suggestion that a successor to the Prophet (s) was appointed by the Prophet (s) himself, for entertaining such a thought in fact brings the Sunni concept of Imamate crashing to the ground, and with it the legitimacy of all those appointed as Khalifas by the people. The Sunni Ulema have therefore deemed it necessary to provide a different meaning to Funsub rather than translate it as ‘appoint’, they have translated it as ‘physically work harder’. Some add extra words to the commentary so that they actually add to the Qur’an. Others dodge the verse’s implications totally and miss out the last word so it now reads ‘and when you finish…and return to your Lord.’
We will now proceed to translate each word, from Arabic to English, lest our opponents allege that we have added words to the Qur’an in order to support our minority viewpoint. The reader is urged to study what is said below very carefully and then make up his own mind. The Qur’an, Surah 94; verses 7-8:
“..Fa iza faraghta funsub wa illa Rubika farghab”
and with translation:
Fa (So) itha (when) faraghta (you finish) fainsab (appoint) Wa (and) ila (towards) rabbika (your Lord) fairghab (return)
In truth there shouldn’t be much difference in the translation, you may get one or two extra words, so that the verse makes sense in the English language but since our critics’ belief is the Prophet left no successor (which is the belief of most Muslims), it has become necessary to give the key word Funsub an alternative meaning, which is to ‘work harder’.
The reason why sometimes it may be used to refer to “working hard” is that somebody would be planting themselves firm in their work; hence, it they would be nasb-ing themselves in their dedication to work. We have one such example in the Qur’an itself:
When they had passed on (some distance), Moses said to his attendant: “Bring us our early meal; truly we have suffered much fatigue (nasaban) at this (stage of) our journey.” YUSUF ALI 18:62
Here we see that the journey is not complete, and Musa (as) is tired, is logical that Nasaba here means tired / fatigue, the content is clear tiredness has set mid way through his journey. The meanins is Nasab is clear from the context of the Surah. But as we have seen, when it comes to Surah Inshirah this meaning is alien to the surah: it contradicts other verses that instruct the Prophet (s) not to fatigue oneself, and yet we see that the meaning of nasb in the sense of “hard work” means to absolutely distress and exhaust oneself, and this is precisely the manner in the Sunni Ulema have transliterated this verse ‘hard manual labour till one is tired to the brink of physical exhaustion’ – in other words they interpret the verse as ‘so when you finish work manually harder till you are exhausted to the brink of physical endurance and return to your Lord’. Was the Prophet (s) a mere bricklayer!
Yet Allah (swt) said:
“O thou the wrapped up in thy mantle! Rise thou in the night to pray but a little! Half of it or curtail of it a little” (Surah Muzamil: 1-3)
As such, we do not need any tafsir to establish that this ayat is a command for Allah (swt) to appoint a successor. The argument that the verse means “still toil” is to translate nasb in its meaning of stand fast or plant something in the grown, meaning that Allah is ordering the Prophet (s) to firmly devote himself to his task and work. Yet this does not fit with the general meaning of the verses, for the assumption is that the Prophet (s) has finished whatever his general task was at the time, not merely the obligatory salat, as well as the fact that there is no textual basis from this surah to establish that meaning. It does not make sense for Allah (swt) to be ordering the Prophet (s) to do one thing (pray), tell him he is finished, and then tell him to keep doing it. Allah (swt) has told the Prophet (s) “When you have finished…” It does not make sense to tell somebody “When you have finished, still labor hard.” This is a contradiction, for then there would be no reason for Allah (swt) to say: “When you have finished…” Why would Allah (swt) address somebody who has finished the job that Allah himself has appointed, and then tell the person to keep working? In understanding these verses, we should always make reference to ‘urf (common understanding) of what the language under consideration refers to, and follow the plain meaning (zahir) of the Qur’an. As such, we may give an everyday example: One brings one’s car to the mechanic, and tells the mechanic to fix the brakes. Does it make any sense to tell the mechanic: “Once you have finished fixing the brakes, keep working”? Keep working on what? This is not a logical order to make for a normal human being in his everyday life, so it is most certainly not logical to attribute such non-sense to Allah (swt).
The only way this would make sense is if Allah (swt) is ordering the Prophet (s) to move on to a second task after he has finished his first task, and the commentators disagree as to what this first task was (some say prayer, some da’wah. It is not of importance here). But in any case, it is not rational to say: “When you have finished this task, keep doing it.” Rather, Allah must be ordering the Prophet (s) to a second task. Yet if we argue that the word nasb here means “to stand fast,” which is one of the meanings of the word, Allah (swt) must be ordering the Prophet (s) to stand fast on some task or activity, and it cannot be the previous task (whatever it is) which the Qur’an already describes as finished. Yet if we translate nasb as “stand fast” or “work hard” there is nothing in the surah to establish what the Prophet (s) has been ordered to stand-fast to, i.e., what this second task is. Therefore, if we accept Pickthall and Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation, then Allah (swt) has commanded the Prophet (s) to do something and yet not told him what that something is. This is not rational nor is it in accordance with the wisdom and justice of Allah (swt). After ‘finishing’ (faraghta) you cannot ‘work harder’ (one of two possible meanings of funsub), you can ‘appoint’ a successor or vicegerent. Therefore the translation of the word as “nominate” is indicated, and this is precisely what the Imams have taught.
Furthermore, if the meaning is “stand fast,” then there should be some sort of a direct object for the imperative verb in this sentence. It would have made more sense for Allah (swt) to say “fansabik” (may yourself firm) or something to this effect, rather than “fansab” (make firm). Make what firm? This is not in accordance with the beauty or clear meaning of the Holy Qu’ran, and as such this is not in any way a reasonable translation.
It has been argued that this verse means that once the Prophet (s) finishes with his obligatory salat, he should stand fast in mustahab salat. The idea that the first task was the obligatory salat and the second task was the mustahab salat at least has the advantage of making more logical sense than the translations given by Yusuf ‘Ali. But unfortunately such an interpretation requires evidence, of which there is none, and conflicts with the apparent meaning of the Qur’an. It is also not the generally used meaning of the word nasab, since the word is not used to refer to the salat. The standing up for salat is referred to using the word qam (as in the iqamah, where we say qad qamat as-salat, lit. the salat is rising, is standing). Nasab does not mean so much to stand up but as to put your feet in the ground. If Allah (swt) had been ordering the Prophet (s) to establish mustahab salat after the wajib salat, He would have used the same word which he uses all through the Qur’an for establishing salat, namely iqimu as-salat, “lit. stand the salat.” Never does he say ansab as-salat, and this would sound somewhat strange in the Arabic language. The interpretation that this ayat refers to establishing mustahab salat, therefore, is really in contradiction to the general usage of words in the Arabic language, as well as requiring evidence of which there is none. However, if we translate the word as “nominate,” which is one of the word’s main and most important meanings (we describe our Imams as being mansub, appointed), the verse is very clear in meaning and does not require any mental-gymnastics or tafsir bi ar-ra’i (commenting on the Qur’an by one’s own personal opinion) to make sense out of it. If we accept Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation, then it makes no sense at all, and if we accept the opinion of those that the Prophet (s) is being ordered to do mustahab salat or du’a after the wajib salat, then the word nasb is being used in a very strange and alien meaning indeed. As such, it can only mean to appoint a successor, and anybody with a real knowledge of the Arabic language and a sincere heart will understand that.
We would ask our readers to compare the two transliterations:
“so when you finish appoint and return towards your Lord”
“so when you finish work harder and return to your Lord”.
A child can see this doesn’t make any rational sense. Reading various translations of the Qur’an one cannot help but wonder how whereas everything else is usually translated coherently, this verse rarely is. Below are just a few examples of how the scholars, which the majority of the Muslims seek guidance from, have sought to translate this verse:
|Name of Sunni Tafsir / author||Transliteration of the verse|
|Tafsir by Mahmood Hasan and Shabbier Ahmad Uthmani||“..so when you have finished work harder and return to your Lord”|
|Tafsir Bayan ul Qur’an, by Ashraf Ali Thanvi||“..so when you are free from your daily Tabligh, do other kinds of worship, with hardship which is peculiar to you, and work hard in it, and whatever you want, turn towards God”.|
|Tafhim al Qur’an, Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi||“When you’ve finished, so do hardship in your worship, and turn to your Lord”.|
|Kanz’ul Iman, Ahmad Raza Barelvi||“When you’ve finished, so do hardship in your worship, and turn to your Lord”.|
|The Qur’an, as translated by Mufassir Muhammad Ahmadi||“After completing prayers strive to preach the faith, and fervently seek your Lord.”.|
|“Interpretations of the meanings of the Noble Qur’an in the English Language – A summarized version of Al Tabari, al Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Bukhari”: by Dr Muhummud Taqi ud Din Al Hilali’s||“So when you have finished (from your occupation) then stand up for Allah’s worship (ie Stand up for prayer), And to your Lord (Alone) turn (all your intentions and hopes and) your invocations”..|
|The meaning of the Holy Qur’an by Abdullah Yusuf Ali||“Therefore, when thou art Free (from thine immediate task), Still labour hard, and to thy Lord turn (all) thy attention”.|
|The Holy Qur’an by Marmaduke Pickthall||“So when thou art relieved, still toil and strive to please thy Lord”|
|The Holy Qur’an by TB Irving||“So whenever you have finished still toil on! Towards your Lord direct your longing”|
|“In the shade of the Qur’an” by Syed Qutb Shaheed , English translation by M. A. Salahi translates the verse as follows:||“So when thou art relieved, still toil and “When you have completed your task resume your toil and seek your Lord with all fervour”|
|Zia al Qur’an by Pir Muhammad Kurum Shah||“So when you are free from the duties of Prophethood then continue praying to God”.|
|Tafsir Durre Manthur by Jalaladeen Suyuti, taken from Abdullah Ibn Masud||“When you’re free from your duties work hard in your night prayers”.|
|Tafsir Durre Manthur by Jalaladeen Suyuti, taken from Hasan (no mention of which Hasan)||“When you’re free from Jihad, then work hard in your prayer”|
|The Message of The Qur’an, by Muhammad Asad||“Hence, when thou art freed [from distress], remain steadfast, and unto thy Sustainer turn with love”.|
|The Holy Qur’an translated by Muhammad Sarwar||“When you are free from (your obligations), strive hard (to worship God) and be devoted to your Lord’s service”.|
|The Holy Qur’an translated by Moulvi Sher Ali||“So when thou art free from thy immediate task, strive hard, And to thy Lord do thou turn with full attention”.|
|An Authorized English Version, Translated from the original by Dr. Rashad Khalifa, Ph.D.||Whenever possible you shall strive, Seeking only your Lord.|
This is just a sample of transliterations from where we can see the utter confusion of the Sunni Ulema in relation to this verse. The desire to protect Sunni aqeedah on man appointed Imamate has lead to the addition of words into the transliteration to hide the true meaning of Funsub (appoint). It is common sense that when one finishes; they do not work harder, since their task is already complete. That is logical, yet rather than understand the verse in a logical manner the preference has been to confuse readers by suggesting that when Rasulullah (s) finished, it did not mean following the completion of all duties, rather it meant from:
- daily tabligh
- your occupation
- your Immediate task
- duties of Prophethood
- from Jihad
Whilst the absurdity and contradictions espoused by a sample of Sunni scholars are clear for all to see, interpreting finishing in this manner is the only manner in which they can dilute the key word in this verse Funsub. After all were they to simply translate the verse literally so when you finish then the word Funsub can only point to the term appoint, after all you cannot work harder when you finish. The only way that Funsub can be interpreted as work harder, is when additional words are slotted in as the Sunni Ulema have done.
In addition to flying in the face of rationality and our belief in the perfection of the Qur’an, to believe the word Funsub in the context of this verse means work harder and not to appoint is to suggest that Muhammad (s) was in some way lax in his mission! It is to suggest that the Prophet (s) did not fully dedicate his life and all his energies to the revelation! It is to suggest that what came after the revelation was more important than what came during the revelation. And the Prophet (s) did not even live for much longer after the revelation of the Qur’an had been completed. For Prophet Muhammad (s), revelation was his life, as he died a few weeks after the revelation of the Qur’an to him, so there was not even any time for him to work harder after he had finished his mission, if that is what our critics are hinting at! The grammatically and rationally correct meaning is as ‘appoint’.
Surah Inshira was an early Makkan verse telling Rasul (s) to appoint when his mission was completed. He accordingly did that at Ghadhir Khumm, when all else had been Allah (swt) revealed told the Prophet (s).
“O Apostle! Announce what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you do not do it, you have not Announced his message (at all); and Allah will protect you from the people” (5:67)
Rasulullah (s) had been told to convey that which had already been given, all else had been fulfilled save the duty to appoint upon set out in Surah Inshira. This makes logical sense when we link up the two verses:
“so when you finish appoint…”
With the mission complete, Allah (swt) told the Prophet (s) ‘Announce what has been sent down to you”
The duty to appoint someone had to occur with the completion of the Prophetic Mission, and what clearer event to convey the final message than at the time of the first and last Hajj of Rasulullah (s) wherein Muslims from all over the Arabian Peninsula were in attendance to hear each and every word of our Prophet (s). It was here that Rasulullah (s) gave his final sermons summarising the teachings that he conveyed that then lead into the final sermon of appointment. We will allow Sunni scholar Dr Tahir Qadri to expand on this point, we are citing the 23rd tradition he recorded from ‘The Ghadir Declaration’:
“Imam Razi comments on the mode of revelation of this verse:
(O (honoured) Messenger! Whatever has been revealed to you from your Lord, convey (it all to the people). Qur’an (al-Ma’idah, the Table spread) 5:67.
“This verse has been revealed to stress ‘Ali’s excellence, and when the verse was revealed, the Prophet (s) caught hold of ‘Ali’s hand and said: One who has me as his master has ‘Ali as his master. O Allah! Be his friend who befriends him, and be his enemy who is his enemy. (Soon) after this, ‘Umar (r) met him (‘Ali (r)) and said: O Ibn Abi Talib! I congratulate you, now you are my (master) and the master of every male and female believer.
“It has been narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas, Bara bin Azib and Muhammad bin ‘Ali (r).”i Razi related the tradition in at-Tafsir-ul-kabir (12:49, 50).
Ibn Abi Hatim Razi has copied Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri’s tradition from ‘Atiyyah al-Awfi in Tafsir-ul-Quran-il-‘azim (4:1172 # 6609) to point out that the verse (5:67) was revealed in praise of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (r).
The following also related the tradition:
i. Wahidi, Asbab-un-nuzul (p. 115).
ii. Suyuti, ad-Durr-ul-manthur fit-tafsir bil-ma’thur (2:298).
iii.alusi, Ruh-ul-ma‘ani (6:193).
iv. Shawkani, Fath-ul-qadir (2:60)”.
The Ghadir Declaration, page 46-47
Acting on the cited verse of Surah Inshira, appointing one’s successor was also the sunnah of all the imams. Relevant to the fact is that Shah Abdul Aziz Muhhaddis Dehlvi explains the Imamate assigned to Prophet Mohammad (s) and Imam Ali (as) in the following words:
“Thus, it is the greatness of Prophet (s) which is the fountainhead of different kinds of Wilayah, which continuously flow through Ahl-ul-Bayt (as) and Imamate means that each one of them appointed the other as his successor.”
1. Tafseer Azizi, Surah al Haaqa, page 125-126 (Published by H. M Saeed Co. Karachi)
2. Tauhfa Athna Ashari, page 338 (Noor Muhammad Kutub Khana, Karachi)
Reply Three – According to Sunni sources Rasulullah (s) said that Allah (swt) designates leadership
The early books that deal with Seerah and Tarikh record the invitation of Rasulullah to the Makkan tribes to embrace Islam, and support him. Some placed a conditional acceptance of the offer provided they be given the station of Khilafah after the death of the Prophet (s). Rasulullah (s) stated explicitly that he could not agree to any such condition, rather this was a matter that Allah (swt) alone decides upon. In this regards we read in the History of Tabari, Volume 6 page 121:
He went to the Banu Amir b. Sa’saa’ah called them to God and offered himself to them. One of them called Bayharah Bin Firas addressed at him, “By God if I could take this young man from Quraysh I could conquer all the Arabs with him”. Then he said, “Do you think that if we follow you and God gives you victory over your opponents we shall have the command after you?”. He replied “Command belongs to God, who places it where He wills”.
Muhammad, by Muhammad Ridha, page 116 similarly records:
وروى ابن إسحاق أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم عرض نفسه على كندة وكلب وعلى بني حنيفة وبني عامر بن صعصعة فقال له رجل منهم : أرأيت إن نحن بايعناك على أمرك ثم أظفرك الله على من خالفك أيكون لنا الأمر من بعدك ؟ فقال : الأمر إلى الله يضعه حيث يشاء ، فقال له : أناقتل العرب دونك فإذا أظفرك الله كان الأمر لغيرنا ؟ لا حاجة لنا بأمرك
Ibn Ishaq reported that he declared (his Prophethood) to the tribes of Kinda,Kalb, Bani Hanifa and the Bani Amer bin Sasa. Thus a man from them said: “If we followed your religion and God granted you victory over your opponents will you then let the authority (Khilafa) go for us after you? He (the prophet) replied: ‘Authority (the Khilafa) is up to Allah, he gives it to whoever he wants’. He (man) replied: ‘Do you want us to fight the Arabs for you and then when you achieve victory you will give the authority (Khilafa) to someone else? We don’t need your religion’.
Similarly we read in Sirah Al-Halabya by Burhanuddin Al-Halabi, Volume 3 page 307:
وذكر أن عامر بن الطفيل قال لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقد قال له أسلم يا عامر، فقال: أتجعل لي الأمر بعدك إن أسلمت؟ فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ليس ذلك لك ولا لقومك: أي إنما ذلك إلى الله يجعله حيث يشاء: أي وقال له: يا محمد أسلم على أن لي الوبر ولك المدر، فقال: لا، فقال: ما لي إن أسلمت؟ فقال: لك ما للمسلمين وعليك ما عليهم، فقال: أما والله لأملأنها عليك خيلا ورجالا، وفي رواية: خيلا جردا ورجالا مردا، ولأربطن بكل نخلة فرسا، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: يمنعك الله عز وجل.
It’s reported that Allah’s apostle said to Amir bin Tufail: ‘O Amir, convert to Islam’. He (Amir) replied: ‘If I convert to Islam would you transmit the authority to me after you?’ Allah’s apostle replied: ‘This can’t be transmitted to you nor to your tribe’- [Halabi added: The Prophet meant that this is up to Allah, he transfers it to whomsoever he wills]. He (Amir) said: ‘I convert to Islam on condition that you grant me authority over the nomad people and you have the authority over sedentary people’. He (prophet) replied: ‘No’. He (Amir) said: ‘Then what I can have if I convert to Islam?’ He (the Prophet) replied: ‘You will get what every Muslim will get and you will have duties like every Muslim’. He (Amir) said: ‘By God I will refill this yard with knights and warriors against you’. Allah’s apostle said: ‘Allah (swt) will prevent you from doing this’.
These narrations informs us of the Arab mentality at the time that command ‘Amr’ referred to leadership, sovereignty, that they wanted a share of. The reply of Rasulullah (s) to the Kuffar leaves us with no doubt that the decision to appoint the Imam to succeed Rasulullah (s) is based upon the appointment by Allah (swt) alone. If Imamate that succeeds the Prophet (s) was a right to the people, then why didn’t the Prophet (s) say (as per the Tabari tradition) ‘This matter will be left in the hands of the people, who will be given free to devise a process for appointing whoever they liked”?
We are in no doubt that like Nubuwwah, Imamate or the Khalifatullah is indeed a divine system of appointment, in the same way that Allah (swt) chooses Prophets to guide the people He (swt) likewise appoints the Imams. The Imam or caliph appointed by Allah (swt) is also called Khalifatullah due to the fact that he has been divinely appointed while the caliph selected or elected by the people cannot be referred to as Khalifatullah. The example about the appointment of Khalifatullah by Allah (swt) can be found in Sahih al Bukhari, Volume 9 Hadith 306 and also in Volume 8, Book 77, Number 608:
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 (against such evil advisors) is the one protected by Allah.’ “
The tradition illuminates the fact that Allah (swt) bestows the Khilafah to the Khalifa and since the creator designates the leadership and not the people therefore He designates it to the person who is infallible (protected person) or in other words He makes the one infallible that he chooses to bestow leadership.
Reply Four – A Sunni scholar’s admission that the appointment of the Imams was divine
If we believe that the appointment of the 12 Imams was via Allah (swt) then the author should know that Dr Tahir ul Qadri al Hanafi also said exactly the same thing in his preface of the Ghadir Declaration. Whilst the author sought to protect the Sunni position on Imamate by distinguishing between manifest and hidden Caliphate (thus upholding the Khilafah of Abu Bakr) he makes these crucial comments:
“I propose to establish the point that three forms of legacy are derived from the person of the Prophet (s):
i.The spiritual legacy of internal (hidden) sovereignty.
ii.The political legacy of external (manifest) sovereignty.
iii.general legacy of religious sovereignty.
-The first form of legacy was given to the members of the Prophet’s family.
-The second form of legacy was given to the rightly-guided caliphs.
-The third form of legacy was given to the Companions and the Successors (r)……
The Ghadir Declaration, page 6
Qadri expands on the matter on page 9 as follows:
2.The manifest caliphate is an elective and consultative issue.
The hidden caliphate is an inherent and selective act.
3. The manifest caliph is elected by the people.
The hidden caliph is elected by God.
4. The manifest caliph is elected.
The hidden caliph is selected”.
The Ghadir Declaration, page 9
Reply Five – Ayesha acknowledged that the appointment of Khalifas is a divine one
What is interesting is the fact that Ummul Momineen Ayesha albeit intentionally also endorses the Shi’a viewpoint. Esteemed Sunni scholar Sulaiman Nadwi, in his biography of Ayesha notes that prior to the battle of Jamal she said these words (taken from Balaghut un Nisa, by Ahmad bin Abi Tahir):
“I pray to God to shower his blessings on His Apostle Muhummud and to appoint His successors as He appointed successors of Prophets”
Hadhrat Aisha Siddiqa her life and works, by Allamah Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, (Publishers Dar ul Ishat, Pakistan, 1997) page 43
Reply Six – The Ahl’ul Sunnah believe that the appointment of Imam Mahdi (as) is a divine one
Proof that the rank of Imamate is divinely appointed can be evidenced from Sunni Hadith literature that confirm that Imam Mahdi (as) will be the Khalifathullah. In his book ‘The Awaited Imam’ page 29, Dr Tahir Qadri records this tradition from various Sunni sources under the sub heading Imam Mahdi (as) as Allah’s Caliph:
“Thawban narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: Three persons will wage war near your treasure. All three will be sons of the Caliph and yet this treasure will not be transferred to any one of them. Then black flags will appear from the east and they will wage war on you with such intensity that no nation had waged war with such aggression before.
“Thawban says): Then the Messenger of Allah (s) said something (which I could not remember). Then the Prophet (s) said: when you people see him, you should take the oath of allegiance on his hand even if you have to come dragging on snow. Indeed he will be the Caliph of Allah, Mahdi”.
[Ibn Majah narrated it in as Sunan, b. of fitan (turmoils) 4:453 (number 4084) with a sound chain of transmission and its men are trustworthy…”]
The Awaited Imam, page 29
Similarly Shaykh al-Albaani in his al-Sahiyah, volume 4 page 38 Hadith 1529 records a Sahih hadith that the Messenger of Allah said (pbuh):
لتملأن الأرض جورا و ظلما , فإذا ملئت جورا و ظلما , بعث الله رجلا مني , اسمه اسمي , فيملؤها قسطا و عدلا , كما ملئت جورا و ظلما
The earth will be filled completely with evil deeds and injustice. When it is fully filled with evil deeds and injustice, Allah will send a man from me, his name will be the same as my name, and he will re-fill it completely with equity and justice, just as it was previously filled completely with evil deeds and injustice.
Jalaluddin Suyuti also declared it ‘Sahih’ in al-Jame al-Saghir, v1 page 100, al-Hakim termed it “Sahih according to the standards of two Sheikhs” in al-Mustadrak, v4 p510 where as Dhahabi in his Talkhees echoed the same.
If Sunnis interpret this by suggesting that Khalifatullah here means that individual who is appointed by the consensus of the community, we will counter this by pointing out that they also believe that Abu Bakr was appointed by the consensus of the community, yet he never referred to himself as the Khalifa of Allah (swt) rather he said he was the Khalifa of the Prophet (s). There is a plethora of Sunni material wherein the Prophet (s) referred to the coming of Imam Mahdi (as), yet there is not a single Sunni tradition that refers to him being appointed by the community, whether that be via a shura committee or an electoral process, rather they refer to him (as) as the Khalifathullah. If there remains any doubt on this reality, then allow us to cite a further tradition from the Salafis own beloved Shaykh al-Albaani who in his al-Sahahiyah, Volume 4 page 38, Hadith Number 1529 records that the Messenger of Allah said (s):
لتملأن الأرض جورا و ظلما , فإذا ملئت جورا و ظلما , بعث الله رجلا مني , اسمه اسمي , فيملؤها قسطا و عدلا , كما ملئت جورا
The earth will be filled completely with evil deeds and injustice. When it is fully filled with evil deeds and injustice, ALLAH (swt) WILL APPOINT A MAN FROM ME, his name will be the same as my name, and he will re-fill it completely with equity and justice, just as it was previously filled completely with evil deeds and injustice.
This tradition is in complete conformity with the Shia viewpoint on Imamate, Rasulullah (s) made it clear that “Allah (swt) will appoint” that completely negates the dogged Sunni insistence that only the appointment of Prophets is divine, all others are appointed via the people, whatever guise that may take. Interestingly, the word used for the manner of appointment of Imam al-Mahadi (as) is the SAME used for the appointment of the prophets (as) in the Quran. For instance, Allah states (2:213):
كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ
Humanity was one Ummah. Then Allah (swt) APPOINTED prophets to give glad tidings and to warn.
Allah (swt) in his Glorious Book states (16:36):
وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ ۖ
And verily, We have APPOINTED among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid the Taaghoot.
This tradition makes it absolutely clear that the Khalifathullah Imam Mahdi (as) is appointed in the same manner as the Prophets and Messengers (s), with the exception being that he is only an Imam, a caliph and not a Prophet (s). This reality tells us that caliphs, prophets and messengers are appointed in the same manner by Allah (swt) that thus renders a belief that man decides who leads as a doctrine that is alien to the design of Allah (swt). If our opponents continue to insist that belief in divinely appointment Imamate is a baseless notion coined by Abdullah Ibn Saba, perhaps they would be so kind to elaborate on why they await the arrival of Imam Mahdi (as). After all according to their aqeedah “The appointment of the Imam is the duty of the public”. This being the case what is preventing them from appointing Imam Mahdi? The answer is as we have evidenced from the aforementioned tradition that Mahdi (as) will be appointed by Allah (swt). This needs to be borne in mind, if the people cannot appoint the last Imam, what gave the companions the right to gather at Saqifah and appoint the first Imam?
The very fact that the Ahl’ul Sunnah have not appointed Imam Mahdi (as), rather they await his coming serves as conclusive proof that his Imamate is divinely appointed. If the Ahl’ul Sunnah are prepared to accept the Imamate of Imam Mahdi (as) as divine, why the opposition if we adhere to the same position about the other Imams?
Reply Seven – A Salafi scholar’s attempts to revise his aqeedah to match that of the Shi’a
It seems that the Salafis have now recognised the absurdity of the view that the Prophet (s) left no successor, and have sought to revise their aqeedah accordingly. In “The Muslims Belief”; the Wahabi scholar, Shaikh Muhammad al Saleh Al Uthaimin, seeks to set out what a Muslim should believe. In the chapter entitled ‘the Rightly Guided Caliphs’, this is what he writes:
“We believe that the Prophet, peace be upon him, had rightly guided successors who carried out his Sunnah in spreading knowledge, calling to Islam and managing the Muslims affairs. We believe the best among them and the most entitled to Caliphate was Abu Bakr as Siddiq, then Umar Ibn al Khattab, then Uthman Ibn Affan, then Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with them all. Thus their succession to the Caliphate was according to their virtues. Allah, the Exalted, who possesses the infinite wisdom, would not appoint a ruler over the best generations unless he was the most superior among them and had the best claim to Caliphate”
The Muslim’s Belief, by Shaikh Al Saleh Al Uthaimin, translated by Ar Maneh Hammad al Johani, page 22
Worthy of note is the fact that this assertion completely contradicts the aqeedah of the Ahl’ul Sunnah who deem Imamate to a man appointed system! We will ask Afriqi:
‘If the Shi’a concept of Imamate is indeed so abhorrent, then why has the above mentioned Salafi scholar sought to revise Muslim belief, deeming Khilafah to be divinely appointed, thus bringing it in line with the Shi’a?’
You only seek to revise a belief structure when there is something inherently wrong with it, the attempts of this modern Salafi to alter his views on Imamate can only be because he recognises how weak the Sunni position on man made appointment is.
Reply Eight – The testimony of Hajr-e-Aswad (Stone of the Kaaba) to the Imamate of Imam Zayn’ul Abideen (as) proves that the appointment of Imams is a divine one
Mufti Ghulam Rasool al-Hanafi (d. October 2010) in his book ‘Jawahir al Uloom’ published by ‘Anjuman Fatmiyah UK’ [one of the most vibrant Sunni groups in the country, on account of its famed leader Pir Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani] states:
“Muhammad bin Hanafeeya claimed that he was more deserving of Imamate
In Shawahid un Nubuwwa we read that following the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as), Muhammad bin Hanafeeya approached Imam Zayn’ul Abideen (as) and said ‘I am your uncle, I am older than you and more deserving of Imamate, give me the turban of the Prophet (s) that you have in your possession’. Imam Zayn’ul Abideen said ‘Do not make such a claim’, Muhammad bin Hanafeeya reiterated his stance, and he replied ‘Uncle let us go to a Judge to resolve the matter, and we shall act on thee ruling accordingly. Muhammad bin Hanfeeya said ‘Who is the Judge? He replied ‘Hajr-e-Aswad’. They both approached Hajr-e-Aswad, he said ‘O Uncle speak to it’, he spoke but received no reply. Following this Imam Zayn’ul Abideen supplicated; he held aloft his hand and recited the special attributes of Allah (swt) that caused Hajr-e-Aswad to speak.
Imamate and inheritance was the right of Imam Zayn’ul Abideen (as)
Then Imam Zayn’ul Abideen (as) directed his face towards Hajr-e-Aswad and said ‘I swear by Allah (swt) in whose name this man has testified in your name, tell who has the right to the Imamate and inheritance of Imam Hussain. Hajr-e-Aswad then began to shake and nearly, it then began to speak in a clear voice ‘Muhammad bin Hanafeeya the matter has been decided that after Hussain, Imamate and inheritance belongs to Hussain bin Ali (Imam Zayn’ul Abideen).
Jawahir al Uloom, pages 283-284 (published in London)
If Imamate is (according to the Ahl’ul Sunnah) a matter that man decides then there would have been no need for Imam Zayn’ul Abideen (as) to seek the affirmation of Hajr-e-Aswad over who the rightful Imam was. Imam Zayn’ul Abideen’s (as) act of asking Hajr-e-Aswad to clarify the matter proves that the rank of Imamate is divine, moreover the reply of Hajr al-Aswad ‘Muhammad bin Hanafeeya the matter has been decided that after Hussain, Imamate and inheritance belongs to Hussain bin Ali’ proves that the matter had been decided by Allah (swt) not by the people. Had Imamate been a man made right there would have been no need for Hajr-e-Aswad to make any such comment. This episode provides us with clear evidence that the appointment of the Imam is the exclusive right of Allah (swt) nobody else.
: The Twelve Imams to be followed
Before going any further it would be well-advised, for the benefit of those who may not be fully aware of what the Imamah of the Shi‘ah means, to expand somewhat upon the detail of the issue. Once the reader has a proper focus of what Imamah means to the Shi‘ah, and what its position in the belief structure of the Shi‘ah is, we will continue with our discussion of that doctrine in the light of the Qur’an.
Essentially, Imamah is about leadership of the Ummah after the demise of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. The Shi‘ah believe that just as Allah chose Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam as His Messenger to mankind, he chose and appointed a line of twelve men to succeed him as the leaders of the Ummah in all matters, spiritual as well as temporal. The first of these leaders, or Imams as they are called, was ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiyallahu ‘anhu. He was succeeded by his eldest son Hasan, and he by his brother Hussain. After Hussain the Imamah continued in his progeny until the year 260AH, when the twelfth Imam, a child of five, disappeared upon the death of his father. He is believed to be the Awaited Mahdi who will return from occultation to establish justice upon the earth. To these twelve men from amongst the family of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam alone belongs the right to assume leadership of the Ummah. There are two aspects to Imamah that need to be looked at with attention. The first is the nature of the appointment of the Imams, and the second is the nature of their office
Reply One – This is indeed our belief and we have accordingly interpreted the twelve Khalifa’s Hadith in this way
We believe that in the same way that Allah (swt) sent his elected prophets to guide mankind towards His Deen which was completed with the Seal of all Prophets, Muhammad al Mustafa (s) he also appointed Imams to provide the correct teachings of the Qur’an / Sunnah to the people. Whilst the divine revelation ended with the Prophet Muhammad (s) and was encoded within the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of his Messenger, both of the sources cannot speak of their own accord, both require an individual to provide the correct interpretation of the Deen. We do not believe that Allah (swt) would just leave religious guidance to be borne out of a social experiment, one where people appoint their leader and then turn to him for guidance. In the same way that Mankind had no choice on the appointment of Prophets the same issue arises in connection with Imams. This crucial post of eternal guidance, to the correct teachings of Islam, can only be given to those that Allah (swt) appoints as His true guides, after all Allah (swt) is all knowing, all seeing. He selects that individual upon He bestows guidance and blessings, mankind cannot benefit from such a right, their selection is macabre and can only be based on the individual as he appears, it can be a choice clouded by duress, self interest or bribery.
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 people elect their fellow citizens to power they do so in their limited capacity. 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. 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 to do so could lead to severe consequences such as loss of employment, home etc. Individuals vote not out of choice but through fear.
Allah (swt) in his infinite wisdom knew that fallible humans could fall into such a trap which is why He (swt) took it on Himself to ensure that religious guidance would fall on His shoulders and He (swt) alone would choose Imams to guide the Ummah to the correct teachings of Islam, and bestowed upon them the same right over the Ummah as the Prophet (s) did. In this context allow us to cite a tradition recorded by Shaykh de Jour al-Albani in his “Sahih al-Targheeb wa al-Tarheeb” Volume 2 Hadith 2188, records this hadith and declares it authentic:
“The Imams are from the Quraysh. Verily I have a right over you and they have right over you just like it whence they are sought for mercy, give it, and if they promise, they keep it, and if they judge/rule, they are just, and verily whomsoever doesn`t do this from them, then God`s curse, as well Angels, as well as humans are upon them.”
The right of Rasulullah (s) in obedience is based on the right of Allah (swt) in obedience. His obedience is that which is at one with Allah (swt). He has a right to be followed in all aspects that he commands and teaches, the question we would like to as is whether this is a right peculiar to Rasulullah (s) alone? The Quran makes reference to Imams (that we shall discuss in a later chapter), and this tradition confirms the existence of Imams whose characteristics and it is made clear that if they failed top adhere to this, God`s curse would be upon them, and this concurs with the Quranic verse wherein Allah (swt)’s wrath is upon those with , as Allah (swt) says in Surah Baqarah verse 124: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers“.
This is similar to the words of Allah (swt) in the Quran wherein He (swt) made it clear that if Prophets would deem themselves Gods Allah would punish them, this was of course merely underlining a concept, those divinely appointed to do Allah (swt)’s work whether they be Prophets or Imams would never do such a thing.
We will expland in a later chapter in the faact that the Imams are appointed by Allah (swt) in the Quran and they are made to guide by Allah’s Command. This is what Imams means in revelation language.
The said tradition also refers to Allah (swt)’s disassociation with bad leaders. Whilst the true Imams acquire rights that equate with those of Rasulullah (s), bad leaders are cursed and kept aloof from Allah (swt)’s mercy.
Now who are these Imams that have acquired such a right?
We know that the number of these Imams would be twelve. We have already cited the tradition from Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Imara Book 020, Number 4483:
The Islamic religion will continue until the Hour has been established, or you have been ruled over by twelve Caliphs, all of them being from the Quraish.
This tradition has fixed the period of Islam’s supremacy till the day of Qiyamat and also fixed the number of Imams for this Ummah as twelve.
There may well be normal temporal leaders, they exist from all sorts of tribes, not just the Quraysh, from all around the world. The leadership that Rasulullah (s) refers to is that which is sui generis in nature, it is is special in that it exists only in the Quraysh. It refers to the Divine Imamate successorship. Whilst the Saheeh Muslim tradition informs us that Rasulullah (s) said that these 12 leaders from the Quraish who have an existence up unil the day of Judgement, the membership of which family from the Quraish is broken down yet further in other traditions.
Shaykh al-Albani records a Sahih narration in his book “Sahih wa Da’if al-Jami’ al-Saghir wa Ziyadatuh” volume 1 page 423 Number 4222:
“I am FOREVER leaving amongst you TWO SUCCESSORS, they are the Book of Allah, which is a rope stretching between the heavens and the earth, and my nearest kindred, my Ahl al-Bayt. BOTH will NEVER separate from each other until they return to me at the Lake-Fount.”
Al-Albani further records another hadith of the Prophet with the same message in his Zilal al-Jannah, vol. 2, p. 37, Number 754:
“Narrated Zayd ibn Thabit:
Allah’s Apostle, peace be upon him, said: “I am forever leaving among you THE TWO SUCCESSORS AFTER ME: the Book of Allah and my nearest kindred, my Ahl al-Bayt. BOTH will NEVER separate from each other until they return to me at the Lake-Fount.”
Rasulullah (s) referred to the Quran and Ahl’ul bayt (as) as his Khalifas, whose existence would remain up unil the Day of Judgment. Rasulullah (s) also made reference to the worlds existence being inter linked with the presence of twelve khalifas. It would make no sense for Rasulullah (s) to refer to the Ahl’ul bayt (as) as the khalifas to follow after him, whose existence would be present up until the Day of Judgment and then make reference to a completely different set of 12 Khalifas whose existence would exist up until the Day of Judgement! By reading both traditions together one can logically deduce that they are one and the same, the twleve khailifas whose existence is up until the Day of Judgment, must refer to the Khailfas from Ahl’ul bayt (as) whose existence is up until the Day of Judgment. The twelve successors from the Quraysh are the twelve Imams (as) of the Ahl’ul bayt.
We deem our Imams to be the true successors of the Prophet (s) who had been tasked with guiding and protecting the Ummah from deviation. In this connection we will cite the comments of Shaykh Saduq in al-I’tiqadat al-Imamiyyah, translated into English as Shi’ite Creed page 84:
“And our belief is that after His Prophet, the Blessing of Allah be upon him, the proofs of Allah for the people are the Twelve Imams, the first of them being the Prince of Believers ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, then al Hasan, then al Hussain, then ‘Ali bin al Hussain, then Muhammad bin ‘Ali, then Jafar bin Muhammad, then Musa bin Jafar, then Ali bin Musa ar Rida, then Muhammad bin ‘Ali, then ‘Ali bin Muhammad, then Hasan bin ‘Ali, then Muhammad bin al Hasan the Proof (al Hujja), who upholds the command of Allah (al-qaim bi-amri’l –lah), The Master of Time (sahibu ‘z-zaman), the Vicegerent of the Beneficent One (Khalifatu-r Rahman)’
In order to open the closed eyes of Ahl ul Sunnah, let us cite a narration from their own literature that affirms this very belief and sequence of Imams. The grand Mufti of Constantinople (Qustantinya), and the Chief Justice of Ottoman Caliphate, Shaykh Suleiman Qundozi al-Hanafi records this narration in Yanabi al-Muwaddat, chapter 76, pages 685-686:
Hamwayni reports from Mujahid who narrates from Ibe Abbas that a Jew named Na’thal came to Prophet [saww] and after asking about Tauhid and Nabuwat, he said:
“Let me know about your successor; who is the person? Every Prophet does have a successor. Our Prophet Musa bin Imran (as) had nominated Yoshe’ bin Nun as his successor.” Prophet [saww] replied: “My successor is Ali ibne Abi Talib. After him my two grandsons Hasan and Hussein. And then nine Imams from the progeny of Hussein.”
The Jew said: “O Muhammad! Let me know their names.”
Prophet [saww] replied: “When Hussein passes away, his son Ali will be Imam, and after him, his son Muhammad will be the Imam, and he will be succeeded by his son Ja’far and after him, his son Musa will be the Imam. After Musa’s demise his son Ali will be the Imam and after Ali his son Muhammad will be the Imam, and after him, his son Ali will be the Imam, and after Ali his son Hasan will be the Imam who will be followed by his son Mehdi. These are the twelve.”
The Jew said: “Let me know about the deaths of Ali, Hasan and Hussein.” Prophet [saww] replied: “Ali will be struck on his head and martyred, Hasan will be poisoned, whereas Hussein will be slaughtered.” The Jew asked: “What will be their destiny?”
Prophet [saww] replied: “They will at my status in paradise.”
We also read in Yanabi al Mawaddah pages 501 to 502:
In the book Manaqib, Abu Tufail bin Wasila narrates that in Madina a Jew appeared before Ali (K) and said ‘I shall question you regarding three things, then another three, followed by one more’. Ali said ‘Why don’t you just say you are going to pose seven questions’. He replied ‘I shall ask three questions, if you answer them correctly I shall ask a further three, if you ask those correctly I shall ask the one question. Ali said, what do you think, shall I answer incorrectly or correctly? The Jew produced from his bag an old book and added, I attained this book as inheritance from my father who attained it from his grandfather, who attained it from his forefather Haroon, it was written by Musa bin Imran. I shall refer to issues written in this book. Ali said ‘Will you embrace Islam if I answer these questions correctly’. He said ‘By God, should you do so I shall immediately embrace Islam on your hands. Ali said ‘Ask away’. He said ‘Inform me about the first stone that appeared on the earth, the first tree planted on the earth, and the first water spring. ‘Ali said ‘The Jews said that the first stone was the dome of the rock, but they lie it was the stone of Hajr-e-Aswat. When Adam was removed from Paradise, he placed it at a place called Rukn, people would touch, kiss and make vows at it. This stone was initially an angel…when Adam left Paradise he also left but was turned into a stone. The Jew said ‘You have spoken the truth’. Ali said ‘With regards to the first tree planted on the earth, the Jews says it was Zaitoon, but they have lied on this matter. It was a date palm tree that Adam brought with him from Paradise; all dates originate from this tree. The Jew replied ‘You have spoken the truth’. Ali said ‘In relation to the first river on the earth, the Jews assume that it was the water that flowed under the stone of the Dome of Rock, but they lie. It is that river where the companion of Musa forgot about the fish. When the fish cams into contact with the water from the river, the fish came to life and remained alive in it. Khider and Musa travelled through this river. The Jew commented ‘You have spoken the truth’. Ali then said ‘Ask me the next three questions’. He asked ‘How many Imams will appear from this Prophets Ummah? What be the destination of Muhammad? Where will he be in Paradise? Tell of your destination, where will you be in Paradise and who will accompany you? ‘Ali said ‘There shall appear twelve Imams from this Prophets Ummah, the efforts of their enemies will be unable to destroy them.’. The Jew said ‘You have spoken the truth’. ‘Ali then said ‘The Jew accompanying hin [Rasulullah] to Paradise will be these twelve Imams, the first being me, the last being the awaited al Mahdi’. The Jew said ‘You have uttered the truth’ Ali then said ‘Ask me the single question’. The Jew said ‘Tell me how long you shall remain alive after the Prophet.’. He [‘Ali] said ‘thirty years, until this will become reddened, he signalled at his beard and forehead’. The Jew then said, ‘I testify that none is worthy of worship save Allah, that Muhammad his Messenger, and I testify that you are the Wasi of Rasulullah’.
Reply Two – Sunni scholars have also affirmed this belief
In summary these are key points that be deduced from this paragraph:
- Imamate is a divine concept, Allah (swt) chooses whoever he wills
- There are twelve Imams, starting with Imam ‘Ali (as) and ending with Imam Mahdi (as)
We shall mention here that in terms of adherence to Ahlulbayt (as), the Sunni sect has always been divided into two types:
- Nawasib, who like their ancestors remained harsh to the Imams of Ahlul’bayt (as) and never deemed them (as) pious and reliable enough as Hadith narrators (inshallah we will discuss it later on) In this era of post modernity Nawasib like those of Sipah-e-Sahabah and Ansar.Org exemplify this group.
- Later Sunni ulema who soon recognised the greatness of the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as), but in the absence of their teachings/hadeeth, were merely left with the ability to praise their (as) greatness. With the passage of time, this group whilst relinquishing their taught Nasibi behaviours learnt more and more about the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as) and recognized their (as) exalted status. Despite the unlocking of these realities they were unable to completely cut away from the Nawasib umbilical chord, and consequently never abandoned their ties with the enemies of Ahl’ul bayt (as). Alhamdulilah, the Shi’a have always been attached to the door of Ahl’ul bayt (as) and have always drunk from their spring of knowledge.
The Nasibi author of ansar.org has intentionally sought to create a ‘them’ and ‘us’ division in this paragraph (while closing his eyes from the aforesaid second group of Sunni thinking) and has sought to draw an inference that Sunnis have nothing whatsoever to do with this aqeedah. Despite being attached to the enemies of Ahl’ul bayt (as) or with those who aided the enemies of Ahlulbayt (as), many Sunni scholars have affirmed their belief in the twelve divinely appointed Imams (as set out in that paragraph). In his efforts to discredit Shi’aism, the author has also managed to rip the heart out of Sunni’ism as well! Here is a small sample of Sunni scholars who have written on the merits and rank of the twelve Imams:
(1). Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Mulla Ali al-Qari (d. 1014 AH) in his authority work ‘Mirqat fi Sharh Mishkat Misabih’ under the commentary of the 12 Khalifa Hadith quoted other esteemed scholars of his school to prove that Sunnis do believe in the 12 Imams of Ahl’ul bayt yet they are different then Rafida (Shia) and Khawarij. He writes:
Shia refer the twelve Caliph as the continuous khalifas of the prophet’s Ahl’ul bayt, the first is Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hasan bin Ali, Husayn bin Ali, Zain Al-Abdeen, Muhammad Al-Baqir, Jafar Al-Sadiq, Musa Al-Kadhem, Ali Al-Ridha, Muhammad Al-Naqi, Ali Al-Taqi, Hasan Al-Askari, Muhammad Al-Mahdi (may Allah be pleased with them all ).
This is like what Khawaja Muhammad Parsa mentioned in detail in ‘Faslu -l Khitab’, followed by Maulana Abdur Rahman Al-Jaami in the last section of ‘Shawahid un Nubuwwa’ where he mentioned their merits, virtues and miracles in general and set out counter-arguments to the Rafida who by their corrupted beliefs and illusions think that the Ahl’ul-Sunnah hate the Ahl’ul bayt but the people of truth love all the companions and AhlulBayt, not like the Khawarij who are enemies to the prophet’s progeny, and not like the Rafida who have enmity to the companions and the esteemed figures of the nation.
Mirqat Sharh Mishkat Volume 11 page 260-261
(2). Mufti Ghulam Rasool from ‘Daar-ul-Uloom Qadriya Jilaniya, London’ is a modern day Hanafi scholar and very acerbic towards Shias. He has authored four books on the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt [Imam Hussain (as) Imam Zaynul Abideen (as), Imam Baqar (as) and Imam Sadiq (as)] in which he advanced the usual pathetic Sunni notion that they are the true adherents of the Imams of Ahlulbayt (as) not the Shi’a. In his writings he continually makes reference to the fact that the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as) are the Imams of Deen, holders of Wilayah (authority), inheritors of the knowledge of the Prophet (s) and most knowledgeable of the Qur’an. By way of example we will cite the preface to his excellent biography of Imam Baqir (as) – Jawahir al Uloom. The preface has been written by Allamah Sayyid Sabir Shah Gilani, who states on page 5:
“The whole Muslim Ummah is in agreement that the treasures of Shar’iah and spirituality were spread by the pure Imams of Ahl’ul bayt. The four Imams [Abu Hanifa, Hanbal, Sha’afi and Malik] attained their knowledge and Irfan from them. All the chains of the Saints of Allah, in terms of recognition come through the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as)”.
Jawahir al Uloom fi Fadail Baqir al Uloom, page 5 (published in London)
Mufti Ghulam Rasool himself writes in one of his books:
“Among the 12 Imams of Ahlubayt the first one is Maula Ali, then Imam Hasan, Imam Hussain, Imam Zain-ul-Abdeen, Imam Baqir, Imam Jafar Sadiq, Imam Musa Kazim, Imam Ali Raza, Imam Muhamad Taqi, Imam Naqi, Imam Hasan Askari and then Imam Mahdi who will come before Qiyamah. These Imams of Ahlulbayt are the Imams of Tareeqat, Wilayat and the religion of Islam”.
Imam Zain-ul-Abdeen, pages 76-77 (Published in London)
(3). Anti Shia scholar Maulana Noor’ud Deen Abdur Rahman Jaami (d. 898 A.H) was famed for being deeply involved in spirituality and various studies. In his book Shawahid’un Nubuwwat [Urdu translation] pages 278-374 he writes details on the twelve Imams, citing those scholars that cited their knowledge, miracles and contributions to the Deen. He makes reference to the fact that the Ahl’ul Sunnah deem the Imams from ‘Ali (as) to Mahdi (as) to be the Imams of Deen and spirituality.
(4). Shaykh Shiblanji in ‘Nur al Absar’ pages 116 to 263 writes on the 12 Imams, Maula ‘Ali through to Imam Mahdi (as) in detail, by relying on the Qur’an, Hadith and true historical facts. He glorifies each of the Imams separately, that includes providing details on the birth and Ghaybah of Imam Mahdi (as).
(5). Shaykh Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanafi (d. 654 H) in ‘Tadhkiratul Khawwas al Ummah’ provides details on the lives of each of the twelve Imams, including Imam Mahdi (as), citing their knowledge and miracles.
(6). ‘Sawaiq al Muhriqah’ by Ibn Hajr Makki al-Haythamni is a book that was written against the Shi’a. Despite its attacking style the book is replete with references about the excellences and miracles of the twelve Imams.
(7). Another prominent anti-Shia figure amongst Ahl’ul Sunnah Shaykh Ahmed Sarhandi (d.1034 A.H./1624 A.D.) popularly known as Imam Rabbani, ‘Mujaddad Alf-e-Thani [the Mujaddid of Second Millenium] also believed in the twelve Imams from Ahl’ul bayt (as). Allamah Prof. Dr. Tahir ul Qadri in the preface of his book “The Ghadir Declaration” quoted him:
“…And there is another way close to the spiritual sovereignty and this is the way of the saints and the general friends of Allah, and this way is marked by its characteristic passion and it carries the guarantee of mediation and the leader and chieftain of the saints of this way is ‘Ali al-Murtada (ra). And this grand office is reserved for him. On this way, the feet of the Holy Prophet S) are on ‘Ali’s head and Fatimah and Hasan and Hussain (as) are included with him. I believe that he enjoyed this position even before his physical birth, as he did after it, and whosoever has received the divine blessing and guidance, has received it through him, because he is closest to the last point on this way and the centre of this spot belongs to him. And when his period ended, the grand office passed on to Hasan and Hussain (ra) and then on to each one of the twelve Imams, individually and elaborately.(Maktubaat, 9:17 # 123)”
The Ghadir Declaration, pages 14-15
Here we present the original page from
Maktubaat Imam Rabbani (Urdu), Volume 3 page 680 letter No.123
(8). A prominent scholar with anti-Shia tendencies respected in various segments of Ahl’ul Sunnah i.e Muhhaddith Shah Waliullah Dehlavi (1703 – 1762 AD) also wrote about the exalted rank of the 12 Imams of Ahlulbayt (as).
“And just as there is a requirement to maintain the correct faith about the sahaba there is also a requirement to possess a similar faith towards Ahlulbayt, in particular the pious ones amongst them, who should be afforded even greater respect. Allah (swt) is infinitely capable, and this faqeer [referring to himself] has come to know that from all the other relations, the 12 Imams (ra) have the relation of central pole leadership (Qutb). The path of Tassawuf (Sufism) was born during their eras. All the orders of Aqaed and Shariah are limited to the ahadeeth of the Prophet (s). They have the order (Amr) of inner (Batin) leadership (Qutbiyat), which is free from the problems of Shariah. With regards to the very leadership (Qutbiyat), each of them had an indication and ‘Nas’ for the next one to come, and the affairs of imamate which they said, actually referred to this kind of central pole leadership (Qutbiyat).”
Maqalaat al Waziyah fi Naseehat al-Wasiyah, page 7 (Lucknow)
(9). One of the most revered scholars of Ahl’ul Sunnah and a Muhhaddith, Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi (d. 1239 Hijri) in his popular anti-Shia book ‘Tauhfa Athna Ashariyiah’ (Gift to twelvers) also affirms the Sunni belief in the imamate of the Imams of Ahlulbayt (as). Mufti Ghulam Rasool quotes him as follows:
“Shah Abdul Aziz Muhadith Dehlavi writes that the Imams of Ahlulbayt are the successors of the Holy Prophet (s) and since the Prophet (s) was the possessor of Sharyah therefore the Imams of Ahlulbayt likewise became the successors to the possessor of the Sharyah, the Imams of Ahlulbayt adopted the tough task which was of chain and wilayah, they remained involved in worship, spiritual discourses and the purification of souls, which is why most aspects of knowledge and Tareeqat have been reported from the Imams of Ahulbayt and Ahle Sunnah wal Jamat regard the Imams of Ahlulbayt as the chiefs of wilayah and tareeqat and Hadith Thaqlayn also attests to the same fact (Tauhfa Athna Ashariyah, page 75)”
Imam Zainul Abdeen, page 86
(10). Renowned Ahl’ul-Hadith/Salafi scholar Allamah Waheed uz Zaman Khan (late) besides being the Urdu translator of Sahah Satta and the author of famed Urdu commentary of Sahih Bukhari is also the author of famed Islamic lexicon ‘Lughaat ul Hadith’ and under the words ‘Jafar’ or other names of Imams from Ahl’ul bayt (as), he attested that they are amongst the twelve Imams. For example we read under the word ‘Jafar’:
“Among the twelve, Imam Jafar is a prominent Imam”
Lughaat ul Hadith, Volume 1 Kitab ‘Jeem’ Page 61
At another place he wrote:
“Imam Jawwad is the title of Muhammad bin Ali bin Musa Raza (as) who is among the twelve Imams.”
Lughaat ul Hadith, Volume 1 Kitab ‘Jeem’ page 123
(11). One of the pioneer Imams of Deoband Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (1829 to 1905) his popular anti Shia book says:
“And the Ahl’ul Sunnah consider the twelve Ai’ma of Ahl’ul Bayt to be the Imams, we believe that they are those that we should follow, and are the Qutb-e-Irshad [pivots of knowledge].”
Hidayat al Shi’a, page 35, old edition, published in Delhi
Mufti Ghulam Rasool also cited this same reference from Hidayat al Shi’a, page 77, in his book
‘Subeh Sadiq’ page 403
(12). Modern day Hanafi scholar Syed Muhammad Saeed-ul-Hasan Shah in his book ‘Khandan e Mustafa (s)’ (Family of Mustafa) draws a complete chart about the lives of all twelve Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as).
Khandan-e-Mustafa (sa), page 725-726 (Maktaba Nuriya Rizwiya, Faisalabad)
(13). Allamah Riyaz Ahmed Samdani has been the resident Imam at Jam’a Masjid Newham, (E-12) London for the past ten years. His Sunni’ism has forced him to cite Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani amongst the possessors of Wilayah, yet at the same time he has made it clear that Wilayah typically belongs to the twelve Imams from the Ahlulbayt (as). He states:
“The fountainhead and aggregate of all the excellences and perfectness of Wilayah is Maula Ali the Lion of Allah (ra). After him the station went to his sons, Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain, then Imam Zainul Abideen, then Hadhath Muhammad Baqir, then Imam Jafar Sadiq, then Imam Musa Kazim, then Imam Ali Raza, then Imam Muhammad Taqi, then Imam Naqi, then Imam Hasan Askari attained it. This station then went to Ghawz al Azam Shaykh Abdul Qadir Gilani, and after it the station will go to the twelfth Ahlul bayt Imam, Imam Muhammad Mahdi (ra), they are the ones who are referred to as the twelve Ahl’l bayt Imams, excluding Ghaws al Azam (ra)”
Bayaan al-Arkaan, page 32 (Published in 1981 by Maktabah Hamidiyah, Gunj Road, Lahore.)
Suffice it to say that the Nasibi author has sought create an unnecessary wedge between the two Sects by fraudulently suggesting that belief in the twelve is a concept foreign to the Ahl’ul Sunnah. The reality is very different, if the followers of Mu’awiya don’t affirm it, then is due to the fact that they are strict Nasibis, who falsely claim to represent Sunni beliefs.
: Imamate and Prophethood are two separate ranks
The mujaddid of Shi‘ism in the eighth century after the Hijrah, Ibn Mutahhar al-Hilli (died 726AH) expresses similar sentiments in the following terms:
Imamah is a universal grace (lutf ‘amm) while Nubuwwah is a special grace (lutf khass), because it is possible that a specific period in time can be void of a living Nabi, while the same is not true for the Imam. To reject the universal grace is worse than to reject the special grace.6
A Nabi or a Rasul is a person whom Allah (swt) designates in order to guide the human beings and show them the right path. There are differences amongst the ranks of respective Prophets (as), therefore Allah (swt) says in Surah al Baqarah verse 253:
“Of those messengers we have exalted some above others”
Some Prophets were also granted the rank of Imamate along with Prophethood. For instance, Harun (as) was for example a Prophet alongside Musa (as) who carried the rank of Imamate. This fact is confirmed by Shah Abdul Qadir Dehalvi (1162 AH to 1230 AH) in his famed ‘Tafseer Moazeh-ul-Quran’ who one of the verses of Surah al-A’raaf whilst advancing his own belief in the Imamate stated:
“Hadhrat Harun and his progeny were the Imams of Hadrat Musa’s Ummah, but when he became his Caliph, the Ummah did not remain obedient.
The Caliphate was destined someone else. A Caliph refers to the individual that holds the ummah in worldly and religious affairs in the manner that the messenger had bettered it, so that supporting the truth remains with them. An Imam refers to that individual who is a reminder of the Prophet, destined and approved with the service and benevolence of the Prophet, the masses approach them in the same manner so as to acquire bounties.”
Tafseer Moazeh-ul-Quran, page 204
‘Reminder of the Prophet’ means that the Imam should be one whose traits remind people of the Prophet a fact cogently described by Shah Ismail Shaheed Deobandi as ‘Imamate is the reflection of prophethood’.
The text informs us that a person can be a Nabi and an Imam at the same time, both designations can be combined in a single person. At the same time Nabuwat and Imamate remain two different ranks, a person awarded the rank of Prophethood will not necessarily also acquire Imamate, and likewise an Imam will not automatically be a Prophet.
: The authority to abrogate religious laws
Imams have authority to declare anything lawful or unlawful:It is related by Mohammad bin Sanan that : “I enquired from Abu Jafar Sani (Muhammad bin Ali Taqi) about the mutual differences of Shias in respect of the lawful and the unlawful. He replied: O Mohammad God has been unique in His Oneness since eternity. He then created Mohammad, Ali and Fatima who remained as they were for thousands of years. Thereafter God created all the other things of the world and made them (Mohammad Ali and Fatima), a witness to the creation of those things and declared obedience to them obligatory for all creatures and entrusted all their affairs to them. Thus they make lawful whatever they like and unlawful whatever they do not like excluding what Allah likes”. (p.278).It is wroth mentioning that while commenting on this tradition. Allama Qazwini has explained that by Mohammad Ali and Fatima are meant not only those three persons but all the Imams of their lineage1.Anyhow, the substance of Imam Jafar Sani’s reply is that since the Imams had been given authority to make anything lawful or unlawful it so happened sometimes, that while an Imam declared a thing or act lawful another declared it unlawful and it was because of this that differences arose among Shias about legality or illegality of a thing.
Reply One: Nawasib present the tradition in twisted form
This is a further example of the deceit, ignorance and stupidity of the author. Allah (swt) is undoubtedly the sole law-giver, the Prophet (s) and the Imams of AhlulBayt (as) deliver, interpret and comment on those laws, to ensure that guidance from Allah (swt) continues. In this course the only accusation that the Nawasib come up with is a narration from Usool al-Kafi which says:
“They (Ai’ma) proclaim things permissible or non-permissible as per their wishes, but they do not wish anything but what Allah wishes.”
This exact narration is also quoted by the slain terrorist Moulana Azam Tariq on page 87 of his ‘Khutbaat-e-Jail’, he too just like his ilk, misunderstood the last part of the narration, which says: “..but they do no wish anything but what Allah wishes”. The fact is the tradition can be understood from its wording, the wishes of the Imams of AhlulBayt (as) replicate those of Allah, they are not slaves of lust or materialistic worldly desires like the Sunni Banu-Umayyah Kings who treated Islam like a child’s toy and forced the so-called Ulema and jurists to issue edicts to concur with their wishes by classifying Halal and Haram to match their desires. When the wishes of Imams of Ahlulbayt (as) are in complete conformity with the wishes of Allah, do our opponents have any grounds for such objections?
When the articles of faith and religious obligations has been formalized, and the process of “Wahi Jalli” has come to an end, there should be no room for mistakes when providing explanations or decisions on religious doctrine, divine guidance in thwe form of Imamate is that formal system devised by the Creator for continuous guidance and supervision. The complexities of Islamic Shariah can be exclusivelyobtained from these Imams, as their knowledge base provide a practical commentary to the term “Rasikhoon fil-Ilm” just as the Holy Prophet (s) had already indicated.
A tradition from Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) in the concerned chapter of Usool al-Kafi further explains the issue as follows:
“Allah (swt) trained his Prophet (s) in the best manner, when the training was perfected, He (swt) said: “And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character”, He (swt) then handed over the duties of Religion and the Ummah to the Prophet (s) so that he may organize the people. The guidance, correspondence and affirmation of the Holy Prophet (s) were carried through Rooh-ul-Quds (Jibrael). He never committed any error in anything he performed in order to guide or organize the people, he had completely learnt the commands of Allah (swt) and followed them.”
Usool al-Kafi, page 163, Bab al-Tafweez ila-Rasool Allah wa ilal-Aima, published in Lucknow.
Reply Two – The Imams ruled according to the Shari’a
The best response to Manzoor Numani’s assertion comes from Imam Raza (as)’s appraisal of the characteristics of the Imams (as) in Usool al-Kafi, Volume 2 page 61:
“The Imams deem halaal what is halaal to Allah, and haraam, what is haraam to Allah”.
We shall now cite some examples of our Imams adhering to the Qur’an and Sunnah. When Maula ‘Ali ruled on the case of a fornicating woman he said:
“O Allah I adhere to your Book and the practice of the Prophet by passing the judgment of stoning”.
Man la yahduruh al-Faqih Volume 4 page 21
In a similar narration Maula ‘Ali (as) says:
“O Allah I am not one that ignores your penal code, neither do I oppose you, nor am I your enemy, not do I pay disregard to your orders, I obey your judgments, and adhere to the Sunnah of your Prophet”
Man la yahduruh al-Faqih Volume 4 page 24
We read in Usool al-Kafi:
An individual came before Imam Jafar sadiq and asked a problem, the Imam replied, and he asked if the problem was like this what would be your reply? The Imam showed signs of anger and said: ‘Silence, I have given you a reply that was given by the Prophet of Allah, it is not my own”.
Ashaafi, Usool al Kafi (Arabic-Urdu) Volume 1 page 108
When teaching on the practices involved in the Hajj Imam Sadiq (as) said:
“The Sunnah of the Prophet is that the Sunnah that must be obeyed”.
Man la yahduruh al-Faqih Volume 2 page 312
Whilst teaching on Hajj rituals, Imam Sadiq (as) said:
“O Allah, I have faith in you, and affirm my belief in your Book, and remain in adherence to the Sunnah of the Prophet (s)”.
Man la yahduruh al-Faqih Volume 4 page 315
If this is not clear enough then in Usool Kafi, Imam Sadiq (as) says:
“Whoever opposes the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Prophet, commits Kufr”.
Ashaafi; Usool al Kafi (Arabic-Urdu), Volume 1 page 123 (published in Karachi)
Let us now cite an unequivocal statement of Imam Abu Abdullah (as) from al-Kafi, Volume 1 page 58 Hadith 19 that has been declared ‘Sahih’ by Shaykh Majlesi in Miraat al-Uqool, Volume 1 page 200:
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn Isa ibn Ubayd from Yunus from Hariz from Zurara who has said the following: “Once I asked Imam Abu Abdullah (as) about lawful and unlawful matters and he said, ‘Whatever the Holy Prophet (s) has made lawful will remain lawful forever up to the Day of Judgment and whatever he (s) has made unlawful will remain unlawful forever up to the Day of Judgment. There will be no one other than him and there will come no one other than him.’ He said that Imam Ali has said: ‘No one has established any innovation (heresy) without abandoning an established noble tradition.’”
Reply Three – The Sunni Ulema have bestowed the powers of abrogation upon their leaders
Ahl’ ul Sunnah have granted the same authority of abrogation, revival or formation of laws to their Imams and Mujtahideen, who due to their internal differences have ruined the image of Islam. Rather than get embarrassed by this they are proud of it, take the example of Dr. Khursheed Ahmad from Delhi University who wrote a book on Umar, in which he collected the “Official Letters” of Umar to his governors. In this book he writes:
“…The Ijtehaad of Hadhrat Umar was free and courageous. If he deemed something to be correct or beneficial to the Khilafaah, he acted upon it without any hesitation even if by doing so he had to go against the Sunnah of Rasool (saww) or Sunnah of Abu Bakr Siddique. If the situation was unfavourable, he would even neglect the Qur’anic rules and reguilations. The Qur’an for example stipulates that conquered lands be given to the Mujahideen (soldiers) who fought but Hadhrat Umar made it a Waqf (Trust) for all Muslims. Hadhrat Umar also took “Double Zakaat” from the Christians of Mesopotamia, whereas the Qur’an stipulates that “Zakaat” is only obligatory upon Muslims…”
“Hadhrat Umar kay Sarkari Khatoot” (The official letters by Hadhrat Umar), page 25, published by Idarah Islamiat, Lahore Pakistan)
Not only did Umar ignore the Qur’an and Sunnah on matters he ruled in contravention to them, will Maulana Manzoor Numani’s spiritual successor care to offer an appropriate Fatwa on their second Khalifa?
Lets us ignore all other differences and just consider the differences in Prayers (Salat), if one observes the differences amongst the Hanafi, Shafiyee, and others of their mujtahideen over Salat, particularly the famed incident wherein Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi sought a practical comparison of Hanafi and Shafiyee Salats should suffice leave our opponents dejected in abject humiliation,.
The so-called Mullahs, who are in reality the enemies of Islam, have always failed on this isssue, because no conflicts amongst the Shia on beliefs, whereas disputes on rules, regulations, the abrogation or formation of laws, permeates throughout the Ahl’ul Sunnah school, gifted to them by their Nasibi leaders so-called ijtehad, due to which all of them are at each other’s throats.
Those that accuse the Shi’a of believing that their Imams had the authority to change the Shariah should answer these questions:
- The Qur’an stipulates that divorcing a woman must be done over three menstrual cycles, why have you changed this divine order?
- The Qur’an orders the faithful to perform Hajj Tamatu (in Surah Baqarah verse 196) why has this divine order been changed?
- The order to provide Khums to the family of the Prophet (s) is set out in Surah Anfal verse 41, why has this order been changed?
On these changes the Sunni Ulema have written major works and have sought to justify the fact that changes in religious law can be made in accordance with changing times / situations. Those wishing to investigate the matter are encouraged to consult the book of Sunni scholar Maulana Muhammad Taqi ‘Ahkaham Shariath mai halaath wa zamana kai rayaath’ and should then ask why the Shi’a are being blamed for a practice that is linked with Sunni Jurisprudence?
: Do Shias worship their Imams?
After reading the about the knowledge, virtues, piety and powers bestowed to the Imams of Ahl’ul lbayt (as) by Allah (swt), some ignorant hate mongers have concluded that the Shia attribute divinity to their Imams or deem them deities (godforbid). This is because the Imams they adhered to were devoid of such virtues and depended on the Imams of Ahlylbayt (as), this inferiority complex caused them to arrive at this absurd conclusion. For example:
“Signs of the prophets are possessed by the Imams” (Ibid, p. 231.) The Shi’ites have once again elevated their Imams to a very high level. The Imams they refer too are only human! So why do the Shi’ites worship them.
So just like islamweb, there have always been people unable to understand the exalted status of our Imams (as) and for such ignorants, one of the lights of the Ahlulbayt (as) Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) elaborated impeccably on the issue in this manner (which is the actual Shia belief):
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from al-Barqi from abu Talib from Sadir who has said that he asked abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) the following. “A certain group of people believe that you are gods. They read to us from the Quran about it. And it is He Who in heaven is God and in earth is God.” (43:84). The Imam (a.s.) said, “O Sadir, my hearing, my sight, my skin, my flesh, my blood and my hair are (all) disdain such people, and Allah also disdains them. They do not follow my religion and the religion of my forefathers. I swear by Allah, Allah will not place me with them on the Day of Resurrection. The only thing from Allah to them will be His anger.” The narrator has said that he said, “Among us there is a group of people who believe that you are messenger and read to from the Holy Quran. “O Messengers, eat of the good things and do righteousness; surely I know the things you do (23:51). The Imam (a.s.) said, “O Sadir, my hearing, my sight, my skin, my flesh, my blood and my hair are (all) disdain such people, and Allah and Hid Messenger also disdains them. They do not follow my religion and the religion of my forefathers. Allah will not place me with them on the Day of Judgment. The only thing from Allah towards them will be His anger.”
The narrator has said that he then asked, “What are you then?” the Imam (a.s.) said, “We are the treasuries of the knowledge of Allah. We are the translators of the commands of Allah. We are infallible people. Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, has commanded people to obey us and prohibited them to disobey us. We are the complete Divine authority over all that is below the heavens and above the earth.”
Usool al Kafi, Volume 1, Kitab al Hujah, Chapter 53 Hadith 6
Manzoor Numani in the concluding remarks of his chapter states:
Imamate is the combination of Prophethood and Divinity:
Whilst the words of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) should suffice to clarify the Shia stance about the rank of their Imams let us teach the followers of Numani; the pathetic Nawasib of Sipah-e-Sahabah (www.kr-hcy.com) about Prophethood and divinity from their esteemed works. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi who in the Deobandi world is known as ‘The Physician of the Muslims’ [Hakim al-ummat] and ‘Reformer of the Nation’ [Mujaddid al-Millat] records the following details on the ‘holy’ rank of his master Muhammad Qaasim Nanotavi:
“Maulana Ahmad Hasan was a great logician and thought that no one excelled him in this field. One day there was a lecture by the hazrat (Muhammad Qaasim) Nanotvi and, by chance, he (Ahmad Hasan) was sitting in front of him and so he became the addressee, and (in Nanotvi’s discourse) there began the rejection of the problems of logic. Upon conclusion of the discourse, he (Ahmad Hasan) exclaimed, Allah is great! Such things (which Nanotvi said) cannot be the product of any human mind. These are but the sayings of Allah.”
Arwah e Thalaasah, by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, page 174 (Daar’ul Ishaa’at Karachi)
It was the tongue of Maulana Qaasim Nanotavi yet those were Allah’s words! Do we need to comment any more?
These stupid Nawasib need to understand that there is a massive difference between loving someone on account of the exalted rank that Allah (swt) has provided them and worshipping that individual. In many ways their ignorance in this regard should be mitigated by the fact that these Nawasib are merely following the sarcastic yet intolerant takfeer attitude that had been taken by their first Khalifa Abu Bakr, who in his momentous inaugural speech, made a direct reference to those Sahaba who ‘worshipped’ the Prophet, as is attested in Sahih Bukhari, Book of Funerals Volume 2, Book 23, Number 333:
Abu Bakr said, “Amma ba’du, whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead, but whoever worshipped Allah, Allah is alive and will never die.
If those companions that Islamweb.com and kr-hcy.com revere were unable to escape from the allegation that they deemed Rasulullah (s) a deity due to their love of him (s), then what is the likelihood for the poor Shi’a being immune from such attacks, particularly when they love and adhere those that Rasulullah (s) had ordered the Ummah to follow? Rather than attack the Sahaba, it would have been far better for Abu Bakr to have looked in the mirror and eradicated the identified shirk running through his veins, a fact testified by Rasulullah (s) who said “Shirk is moving inside you, like the crawling of an ant.”
Many Sunni scholars have recorded these words for the sake of brevity we shall name a few:
- Tafseer Durre Manthur, Volume 2 page 51
- Kanz al Ummal Volume 2 pages 98-99
- Izalat ul Khifa Volume 1 page 199
- al Adaab al Mufraad page 234 (by Imam Bukhari)
- Tafseer Ibn Katheer Volume 2 page 465
- Fathul Majeed Sharh Kitab Tawheed page 63
- Hayaath al Haywaan Volume 2 page 80
We wish to make it clear that worship is only for the Creator (swt) of this universe, whilst loving, praising and focussing ourselves on the Ahl’ul bayt Imams is an act of worship as stated by the very creator (swt). If Nawasib have an issue with that, then we suggest they prepare their takfeer edicts for the sahaba, for Suyuti records:
“Ibn Masud, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Looking at Ali is an act of worship’.
It has also been narrated in Hadith of Imran ibn Husayn, Abu Bakr as Siddiq, Uthman ibn Affan, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Anas, Thawban, Jabir ibn Abdullah and Aishah may Allah be pleased with them”
History of the Khalifas who took the right way, page 179; English translation of Tarikh ul Khulafa by al Hafidh Jalaladeen as-Suyuti
We would urge readers to ponder over the significance of the words of the Prophet (s) in this Hadith. The mere looking at Ali (as) is an act of worship. Praying is an act of worship, looking at one that is offering Salat is not an act of worship. Performing Hajj is an act of worship, looking at a pilgrim is not an act of worship. Fasting is an act of worship, looking at one that is fasting is not an act of worship. Performing Jihad is an act of worship, looking at a Mujahid is not an act of worship. Looking at one persforms these meritous acts is not an act of worship, yet when it comes to Maula Ali (as), merely looking at his face is an act of worship. In Islam there are only three things that constitute worship, by merely looking at them, they are as follows:
- Opening the Qur’an is an act of worship
- Looking at the Kaaba is an act of worship
- Looking at the face of Ali (as) is an act of worship.
Al Muhaddith Shah Abdul Aziz in his commentary of Tafseer Azizi, Surah Shams attested that looking the above three is an act of worship and commented that it is because Nur (light) flows from them.
With Maula Ali (as) physically no longer in our midst, all that his Shi’a are left with are the opportunity to speak of his greatness, an act that Rasulullah (s) also graded as worship. Dr Tahir ul Qadri in ‘Zibhe Azeem’ pages 56 narrates the following from Ayesha:
The Prophet (s) said that the Dhikr [talking about] Ali is an act of worship”
Firdaus al Akbar by al Dailmi Volume 2 page 367
Kanz al Ummal Volume 11 page 601
‘Zibhe Azeem’ pages 56-57
: The multi faceted role of Imamate
office of Imamah can thus be seen to incorporate more than just the political leadership of the Ummah. The Imams are more than just heads of state with a divine right to rule.
Reply One – Imamate is a multi faceted divine right
We agree with this statement, Imamate indeed touches all realms, political, spiritual perfection. It is interesting to note that the spiritual and physical domain of Imamate has been accepted by the leading lights of Ahl’ul Sunnah. Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Mir Seyyed Shareef in Sharh Muwaffaq page 729 states:
“…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 Shaami in Fatawa Shami Volume 1 page 384 comments:
“Imamate is that Kingdom that is spiritual and worldly, it acts on behalf of Prophethood”.
In a later chapter we will see that in their commentaries of the verse ‘and obey those in authority amongst you’ the Sunni Ulema have identified three catergoroes of Ul’il Umr, Heads of State, Military Commanders and the the Ulema, the Shi’a concept of Imamate, does not believe in such a demarcation, we believe that Allah (swt) chooses that man to lead the Ummah who excels in all of these catergories, he is politically astute, is the commander in chief of the army on account of his military excellence and is the lead authority on matters pertaining to the Shariah, these excellences exist in one man, provided for us by the Creator (swt) that acts as the focal point for the Ummah on all matters.
We would like to ask this Nasibi whether he believes that the authority of Rasulullah (s) was purely poltical in nature? Clearly not, his authority covered the political and spiritual realm of the believer. If the authority possessed by the Prophet (s) was more than just political in nature then exactly the same domain of authority was transferred to his appointed successor, we shall elaborate on this through reliance on the Sunni work ‘The Ghadir Declaration’ wherein Dr Tahir ul Qadri recorded the following as Hadith No. 19 from various Sunni sources:
“It is narrated by Hudhayfah bin Usayd al-Ghifari (r)… He (s) said: O people! I have been told by a highly reliable source that Allah gave every prophet half the life span of his predecessor and I apprehend I shall (soon) receive the call and I shall accept it. I shall be asked (about my responsibilities) and you will (also) be asked (about me). What do you say (about this)? They said: we bear witness that you struggled hard to groom us in the faith and taught us virtuous things. May Allah bless you with a noble reward! He said: Don’t you bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s servant and His Messenger; Paradise and Hell are a reality and life after death is a reality and there is no doubt about the Day of Judgement and Allah will raise us again from the graves? All of them replied: why not! We bear witness to all this. He said: O Allah! Be you a witness. He said: O people! Surely Allah is my master and I am the master of all believers and I am nearer than their lives. One who has me as his master has ‘Ali as his master. O Allah! Be his friend who befriends him and be his enemy who is his (‘Ali’s) enemy. O people! I am to leave before you and you will meet me at the Fountain (of kawthar). This fountain is even wider than the distance between Basra and San‘a’. It has silver bowls as big as the stars. When you come to me, I will ask you about two highly important things. It is to be seen how you treat them in my absence. The first important thing is Allah’s Book which is related in one aspect to Allah and, in another aspect, to His servants. If you hold on to it firmly, you will neither go astray nor deviate (from truth); and (the second important thing) is my progeny, that is, the members of my family. Hold on to them. The highest authority has told me that surely these two will never deviate from the truth and they will meet me at the Fountain.”
[Tabarani related it in al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabir (3:67, 180, 181 # 2683, 3052; 5:166, 167 # 4971); Haythami, Majma‘-uz-zawa’id (9:164, 165); Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh Dimashq al-kabir (45:166, 167); Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wan-nihayah (5:463); and Hindi in Kanz-ul-‘ummal (1:188, 189 # 957, 958).
Ibn ‘Asakir related it from Sa‘d also in Tarikh Dimashq al-kabir (45:169)]
‘The Ghadir Declaration’, pages 40-41
In the same way that Rasulullah (s) had a divine right to rule over the believers, due to the authority that Allah (swt) had bestowed upon him, exactly the same level of authority was transferred to Imam ‘Ali (as) when Rasulullah (s) declared his station at Ghadhir Khumm. When Imam ‘Ali (as) has exactly the same authority over the believers that is possessed by Allah (swt) and his Prophet (s) then this means his authority is more than just political leadership, it is the divine right to rule that is political and spiritual in nature. This divine right to rule was then transferred to the remaining eleven Imams, we have previously cited from Shawahid un Nubuwwa a dispute over the Imamate between Imam Zayn ul Abideen (as) and Muhammad Hanafeeya, that was resolved by Hajr al-Aswad declaring ‘the matter has been decided that after Hussain, Imamate and inheritance belongs to Hussain bin Ali (Imam Zayn’ul Abideen).
Jawahir al Uloom, pages 282-283 (published in London)
The testimony of Hajr al-Aswad proves that that Imamate is a divine right. They have a divine right to rule because Allah (swt) has bestowed this right on them, they are the elect of Allah (swt). This divine right was transferred to each Imam; ultimately to Imam Mahdi (as) who will establish the Kingdom of God on earth, without relying on any form of endorsement from the Ummah, or participation in an electoral process, he will take control of the reigns of power because it is his divine right. Interestingly Dr Tahir ul Qadri, whilst bestowing political leadership on Abu Bakr, accepts that the spiritual leadership of our Imams (as) is divine. He writes in the preface of his book “The Ghadir Declaration”:
The gist of the discussion is that the Prophet’s declaration at Ghadir Khum proved forever that ‘Ali’s spiritual sovereignty is in fact the Prophet Muhammad’s spiritual sovereignty. Though the door of prophethood was closed after the Holy Prophet (s), Allah opened new avenues for the continuation of the Prophet’s blessings till the Day of Judgement. Some of these avenues were manifest, while others hidden. The hidden avenue led to spiritual sovereignty and ‘Ali al-Murtada (as was the first person to hold this office. Then this chain of sovereignty passed down to his progeny and finally to the twelve Imams. During this period, many leaders appeared on the spiritual horizon but they all, directly or indirectly, expressed their allegiance to ‘Ali al-Murtada (as). No one was disaffiliated from him and this chain will continue up to the Day of Judgement until the appearance of the last Imam (spiritual leader), and he will be Imam Muhammad Mahdi (as), the twelfth Imam and the last caliph. In his person, the manifest and the hidden paths which ran parallel to each other will be rejoined, as he will be the spiritual as well as the political legatee, and he will be the last person to hold these offices. Any one who denies Imam Mahdi (as) will deny both the manifest and hidden forms of religion.
The Ghadir Declaration, pages 15-16
Reply Two – The Ahl’ul Sunnah believe that Imamate is a divine right
One wonders what right this Nasibi has to mock the Shi’a belief that Imamate is a divine right, when Abu Bakr during the secret discussions at Saqifa, pressed forward his case before the Ansar by asserting that Imamate was the divine right of his tribe.
Ibn Khaldun points to the discussion at Saqifa as follows:
“The condition of Qurashite origin is based upon the general consensus on this point that obtained in the men around Muhammad on the day of the Saqifah. On that day the Ansar intended to render the oath of allegiance to Sa’d b. Ubadah. They said “One amir from among us, and another from among you”. But the Qurashites argued against them with Muhammad’s statement, “The imams are from the Quraish”.
The Muqaddimah, by Ibn Khaldun, translated by Franz Rosenthal, Volume 1 page 597 (Princeton University Press)
When (according to Abu Bakr) ‘The Imams are from the Quraish’ – a point that has lead to his leading advocates such as Mawardi and Ibn Khaldun stating that Imamate can only remain in this tribe then this automatically makes Imamate a Divine right to rule for the Quraish. This being the case then this Nasibi has no right to mock the Shi’a for believing that Imamate is the divine right of the Ahl’ul bayt (as), particularly when this divine right was endorsed by Rasulullah (s) who said:
‘Whoever wants to board the boat of salvation, and take the firm handle, and grasp the firm Rope of Allah (swt) should love ‘Ali and be an enemy to his enemies, and from the lineage of ‘Ali he should follow the Imams of Guidance. Verily these are my Khalifas and the Proofs of Allah (swt) after me. These are the Chieftains of my Ummah and the Leaders of the Pious entering Paradise. This group is my group and my group is the group of Allah (swt). Their enemies group is the group of Shaythan”
Yanabi al Mawaddah, pages 503-504
: Infallibility of the Imams
On this point it would be sufficient to say that the Shi‘ah bestow upon their Imams all the perfections and accomplishments of the Ambiya’, and even more.
Like the Prophets the Imams too, are Innocent:Another chapter contains a long sermon of the eight Imam Ali bin Musa Raza in which he extols the virtues of the Imams and respeatedly stresses about them that they were innocent. At one place, he says””Imam is free from sins and faults and defects of all kinds”.And again:”He (Imam) is innocent. God’s special help is with him. God keeps him on the right path and he is protected from error, forgetfulness and prevarication. God bestows upon him the exceptional blessing of innocence so that he may be the Ultimate Argument to His servants and witness to His creatures”. (P. 121-122).
As Shi’a perfection means absolute perfection where an individual is free from sins i.e he should be “Masoom”. One needs to recognise that one of the major distinctions between the two Sects is on infallibility. We believe that Allah (swt) sent 124,0000 Prophets on the earth as models par excellence, upstanding individuals whose characters formed a magnet of attraction for the people. Such attraction could only be achieved if the people could see personalities who whilst human in exterior, possessed such excellent attributes that they exemplified the perfect man, individuals who did not indulge in any form of sin no matter what heinous society they lived in. Infallibility is a core part of Shi’a belief, when Allah (swt) sends Messengers to be Guides then it is logical that such guides must also possess perfect unblemished records that the people can look to as true examples. Allah (swt) in his infinite wisdom sends Prophets on the earth who are free from both minor and major sins, and this chain of perfection continued via Imamate. The majority Ahl’ul Sunnah do not concur with this position, on the contrary whilst they deem Imamate to be a necessary part of the Deen, they believe that the position can be occupied by anyone, his individual excellence is not relevant, to the point that the one occupying the seat of the Prophet (s) can be a Fasiq and Fajir. We reject this notion, since the leadership of the Ummah is not some irrelevant seat that anyone devoid of excellence can occupy.
When it comes to these three roles we see that:
- Creating the Shari’ah is the role of Allah (swt)
- Bringing the Shari’ah is the role of the Prophet (s)
- Protecting the Shari’ah is the role of the Imam
The teachings of each Prophet contributed towards the development of the Deen. We had previously cited the role of Prophethood from a Hadith in Sahih al Bukhari Book 030, Hadeeth Number 5674:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The similitude of mine and that of the Apostles before me is that of a person who built a house quite imposing and beautiful and he made it complete but for one brick in one of its corners. People began to walk round it, and the building pleased them and they would say: But for this brick your building would have been perfect. Muhammad (may peace be upon him) said: And I am that final brick.
The completion of the Palace symbolizes the completion of Allah’s deen, the Shar’iah is complete. Whilst there is no doubting that Muhammad (s) is the final messenger, was there still not a risk of individuals seeking to unlawfully enter the Palace, occupy it, rearrange its fabric or worse still, attack its foundations?
If we have learnt anything from past peoples, it is that whilst every Prophet brought a brick towards the building of the Palace, after their deaths their teachings were corrupted, many had became unrecognizable. It is therefore little surprise that the Prophet (s) warned his companions that his adherents would follow the way of previous nations, so much so “that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure (lizard), you would follow them” (Sahih al Bukhari Arabic-English, Volume 9 hadith number 422).
When Muhammad (s) was the Last Messenger, is not logical that Allah (swt) in his infinite wisdom would appoint guardians to the Palace to ensure that his deen is protected from corruption? It is common sense that when anyone builds a lavish property they will seek to put into place mechanisms to protect whether that be taking out insurance, fitting security etc. When ordinary people are conscious about the risk of their homes being burgled, and invest in strong doors / insurance,do you not think that Allah (swt) who is the best of planners would not seek to put into place some means of protecting the Palace? This is all the more significant when one considers that the Palace that Rasaulullah (s) completed was of much greater importance to one that meets an individuals material needs, it was there to meet the spiritual / physical needs of all humanity. It was therefore necessary for Rasulullah (s) to appoint an Imam as a protector to the Palace. It is common sense that the best mechanism for protecting a door is by having a firm secure door to restrict the opportunity of unlawful entry. If a beautiful palace is composed and rather than a door a cloth is put up, this it discredits the entire Palace. If the door and Palace are nice all will look fine, and if the door is unattractive the characteristics of the Palace get affected. If a door has been poorly constructed, it will simply serve as the perfected opportunity for burglary to dislodge it and enter the Palace. That is why Rasulullah (s) sought to protect the Palace by ensuring that there is a firm entry door, evidenced by his saying ‘I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its Gate’. A palace that includes the brick work of Adam Sifathullah, Ibraheem Khaleelullah, Isa Ruhullah, Muhammad Rasulullah (s) is a the perfect palace with the perfect door of Ali Waliyullah. Ali is the door of the Palace built by Prophets, entry into it is through the door, proving that if anyone needs to meet Prophets they can only do so through via ‘Ali (as), Ali (as) benefited from the brickwork and benefited from the Palace by inheriting the virtues of past Prophets, which is why Rasulullah (s) said:
“He who wants to see Adam (as) in his knowledge, Noah (as) in his determination, in his clemency, Moses (as) in his intelligence and Jesus (as) in his religious devotion should look at Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as)”
Riyadh al Nadira Volume 2 page 239, Dhikr Ali ibn Abi Talib
This is what we see as Imamate, they are Guides divinely appointed to protect the complete Palace, this can only be achieved if they have a complete command of the teachings of the Deen and cannot fall into misguidance. The Imam is present to ensure that the Palace is not harmed in any way. The Imam protects the foundation, they have knowledge of every inch of the Palace, they can provide a commentary on every aspect of the Palace; they can guide you through the Palace, and ensure you don’t get lost inside it. If you are an unlawful occupant they will remind you of that fact, as is recorded by Suyuti:
“Al Hasan ibn Ali came to Abu Bakr when he was upon the mimbar of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said ‘Come down from my father’s seat’. He said ‘You have told the truth, it is your father’s seat,’ and he placed him in his lap and wept’. Ali said ‘By Allah this was not from my command’.
History of the khalifas who took the right path, page 71
If an objection is presented that the completion of the Palace, suffices as security without the need of any person to protect, then allow us to present this Hadith for consideration. We are citing Sahih Muslim Book 001, Number 0293:
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: A section of my people will not cease fighting for the Truth and will prevail till the Day of Resurrection. He said: Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their (Muslims’) commander would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: No, some amongst you are commanders over some (amongst you). This is the honour from Allah for this Ummah.
If the Palace is complete through the existence of the Prophets, without the need for other to protect it, whu would Allah (swt) send Imam Mahdi (as)? Would Nabi Isa (as) as the penultimate brick of the complete Palace not suffice to do the job?
The Imam 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. The Qur’an makes it clear that the duty to obey the Imam is obligatory, if the Imam is not infallible then it means he can fall into error, that could ultimately lead to him issuing edicts in contravention to the Qur’an and Sunnah, if this occurs then what is the Ummah to do? Do they adhere to the Qur’anic ordinance to follow the Ul’il Umr or do they comply with the duty to keep aloof from wrong acts? If the Ul’il Umr is to be obeyed (as the Qur’an instructs) then the entire notion of adhering to the good and keeping aloof from the bad becomes redundant, one will have to accept the Ul’il Umr and submit to all his decisions even if they breach the Shari’ah. 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? What is left of the fallible Imam who either intentionally or unintentionally makes mistakes? He will loose the respect of his people, people will no longer trust this directives / teachings and judgements, since he may deem halal those things that are prohibited under the Shari’ah and prohibit those things that are halal. What stance will one hold of the Imam that instructs people to adhere to religious rules and regulations but does not observe them himself? Such an Imam effect becomes an object of ridicule amongst his subjects, who will deem him a hypocrite adhering to the famous saying ‘do as we say not as we do’, his worth in the eyes of the people is null and void that becomes a severe impediment to the Imams ability to perform Dawah to the people, since they will be repulsed by his hypocrisy. 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).
Evidences that justify the need for the Prophet (s) to be masum also apply to the Imams. Allah (swt) stated that Imamate wouldn’t go to the unjust, as we read in Surah Baqarah:
And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.“
When Allah (swt) exalted Prophet Ibraheem (as) to the rank of Imam, he (as) made a du’a that this rank remain in his family, but Allah (swt) said that it would not go to the Dhalimeen (unjust). The verse proclaims that wrongdoers or unjust who transgress the bounds of piety and inerrancy, whether they wrong others or their own selves, and who have committed dhulm (injustice), will be denied the rank of Imamate.
And those who when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults—and who forgives the faults but Allah, and (who) do not knowingly persist in what they have done.
Every form of injustice is a sin. Imamate is restricted to those individuals who are purified from all forms of injustice (such as sins); under the Shari’ah such a person is called Masum.
Ahl’ul bayt (as) have been purified of all sin as attested to in the verse of purification. The term rijs incorporates the term Dhanib (Sins) as has been used in the following works of Ahl’ul Sunnah:
- Tafseer Tabari Volume 22 page 5 (published in Egypt)
- Tafseer Gharaib al Qur’an by Nishaburi Volume 2 page 212 in the footnotes of Tafseer Tabari Volume 22 page 10
- Tafseer Kashaf Volume 2 page 212
- Asaf’ul Raghibeen, under the footnotes of Nur al Absar page 154
We read in Asaf’ul Raghiben:
“Rijs refers sins and Taharah means pure from sins “
When we consult the books of Ahl’ul Sunnah we see that this verse descended in honour of five personalities:
- The Prophet
- Fatima (as)
- Ali (as)
- Hasan (as)
- Hussain (as)
Suyuti in his commentary of this verse after narrating the descent upon these individuals in Tafseer Durre Manthur Volume 5 page 378:
“Me and my Ahl’ul bayt are free from sins”
After the death of the Prophet the rank of infallibility fell on these twelve Imams alone. In accordance with the du’a of Ibraheem (as) an unjust individual cannot be an Imam, Allah (swt) therefore chooses whosoever he wishes.
Reply two – The Sunnis believe that non Prophets can be Infallible (Masoom)
If the Ahl’ul Sunnah brethren looked into the matter objectively they would soon recognise that such an aqeedah is in line with the Qur’an and Hadith. Of interest Shah Ismail Shaheed Dehlawi in his esteemed book ‘Mansub e Imamate’ pages 66-67 states:
“One superior rank in the status of Wilayat is infallibility. Ismat means hidden protection that controls all the sayings, acts, manners, relationship, beliefs, and rank of Wilayat and drags him towards the truth, and curtails anything that seeks to drive you away from the truth. When such protection is used in the context of Prophets it is called Ismat, but when it is used for others it is called ‘Hifdh’. In reality Ismat and Hifdh are the same thing but the rules of manners prevent the usage of the title of Ismat for Awliya Allah.
The point is that, just as this hidden protection was bestowed on the Prophets also went to some obedient followers, hence Allah (swt) says:
”Surely (as for) My servants, you have no authority over them; and your Lord is sufficient as a Protector (Surah Bani Israil Verse 65)””.
Mansab e Imamate, page 66-67 (published in Lahore)
Shah Ismail acknowledges that infallibility exists in Prophets and non Prophets the only difference is in terminology. Ma’soom literally means ‘protected’, which comes from asama (protection), like the term mahfoodh that comes from the term hifdh (protection). The terms ma’soom and hifdh mean the same thing.
We Shi’a say that when Allah (swt) says that Shaythan will be incapable of taking control His special people, it refers to non Prophets about whom Allah (swt) made a promise with regards to the ‘Awaleen’ He (swt) was referring to our Imams. They lived their entire lives in accordance with the orders of the Creator, and were never taken into the clasps of Satan. They come within the definition of Masoom as provided by Shah Ismail Shaheed Dehlawi.
Moreover we read in Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 306 & in Volume 8, Book 77, Number 608:
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 (against such evil advisors) is the one protected by Allah.’ “
The Arabic word used in the above Hadith for “the protected person” is “Masoom”. The tradition clearly shows that these people are the prophets and their successors (Caliphs). The tradition also illuminates the fact that He is Allah who gives the position of Caliphate and it is not given by the people and therefore he is Masoom. Allamah Ibn Hajjar Asqalani in the commentary of the words used in this tradition for the divinely appointed infallible caliph “But the protected person is the one protected by Allah” states:
“… And what is meant by it, is to prove that Allah is the controller over all things, so He makes infallible whom He wants from them”. So the Infallible is the one who is made infallible by Allah and not by himself, because there isn’t anyone whose self (nafs) makes him Infallible, except if Allah has made him infallible.”
(Online) Fath al Bari, Kitab al Ahkaam, Hadith 6659
Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Allamah Badruddin al-Aini in his commentary of this tradition writes:
“The difference between the infallibility of believers (Mominin) and the infallibility of prophets is that the Prophet’s infallibility is by the way of necessity and of other’s is by the way of possibility”.
Umada tul Qari Sharah Sahih Bukhari, Volume 23 page 155
Reply Three – Sunni scholars have confirmed that the Shi’a Imams are Masoom
The Hadith that we shall advance to verify our claim also been cited by Shah Ismail Shaheed in connection with this same topic (that we cited in reply 2). He says the Prophet said about ‘Ali:
“The Qur’an is with Ali and Ali is with the Qur’an’.
We also read:
“I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, one of the Book of God, the other is my ahl’ul bayt they shall not separate unto they meet me at the Spring of Kauthar”.
Mansab e Imamate, page 68
We appeal to justice when the Prophet (s) is telling us to hold on to the ahlul-bayt and that we will never go astray if we follow them, does that not equate with absolute obedience to the ahlul-bayt, and their infallibility? And if it is not absolute obedience, how can we understand that from such clear words of the Prophet (s)? Clearly when Rasulullah (s) said that Ali and the Qur’an are not separate and his ‘Itrat’ will not separate from the Qur’an until the meet him at the Spring of Kauthar then it clearly indicates that their whole lives were in accordance with the Qur’an then there is no likelihood of them committing wrong deeds, hence they were Masum. The Sunni Ulema have likewise recognised the Imams as Masum.
In some of the traditions of Hadeeth al-Thaqlayn, Rasulullah specifically cited adherence to the Ahl’ul bayt (as) as a guaranteed method of avoiding deviation. Just contemplate over the words of our blessed Prophet (s) ‘if you follow them you will never go astray’ this directive only has a clear meaning if we accept that these individuals are those that never fall into deviation, misguidance, lesser and greater sins, since such transgressions opens up the obvious risk of falling away from the ruilings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. How can Rasulullah (s) tell his Ummah to grasp the Ahl’ul bayt (as) as a means of protecting oneself from deviance, if (as the Ahl’ul Sunnah believe) no one is infallible and we are all averse to sin and error? This was clearly not the case with the Ahl’ul bayt (as), Rasulullah (s) provided the Ummah with a guarantee, that there was never a risk of deviation amongst these special people ‘if you follow them you will never go astray’. the word ’never’ suffices as conclusive evidence that these selected people are those whose every action and deed is guidance, they can never adhere to the wrong path, not even for a second. The only person that can never fall into error at any time in his life is that person which is infallible. One should also recognise that the words of the Prophet (s), were not just directed at the Sahaba present at the sermon, this was a directive that was applicable to all members of the Ummah, the Qur’an and Ahl’ul bayt (as) will not separate from one another until the Day of Judgement, meaning as long as the infallible Book of God remains on the earth, the infallible Ahl’ul bayt (as) are also present.
Imam Abdur Rauf Munawi in Faiz ul Qadeer Shrah Jami al-Sagheer, Vol 3 page 14 No. 2631 while commenting on the people Hadith Thaqlayn refers to, said:
“…Explaining in detail they are people of cloak from whom Allah kept away the uncleanness and purified them (thorough) purifying…”
Deobandi scholar Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib in his book ‘Shaheed-e-Karbala aur Yazeed’ [The martyred of Karbala and Yazeed] page 77 said whilst discussing the merits of Imam Hussain (as):
“As well as Hussain (ra) being a Sahabi, he is is also the kindred of the Prophet (s) that is specific to the Ahl’ul bayt who have been thoroughly purified and are aloof of all manner of physical and spiritual impurity, a fact reaffirmed by Allah (swt) who had a special plan for them declaring:
“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”.
Sahih traditions attest to this, that Hussain (ra) is from amongst the Ahlul bayt and is part from amongst whom 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” as testified by Aisha, Umm Salmah, Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, as recorded in Saheeh Muslim, Baghdadi, Ibn Jareer, and Tafseer Mazhari wherein all the narrations have been collated together “
Shaheed-e-Karbala aur Yazeed, page 77 (Aram Bagh, Karachi)
Sunni scholar and Muhaddith, Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi replying to the question as to why Sunnis do not follow the Imams of Ahlulbayt and instead follow Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafe’i and Hanbal, he confirmed the infallibility of the Imams of the Ahlulbayt (as) by stating:
“The reply to this accusation is that the Imam in reality is the vicegerent of the Prophet, and the Nabi is the possessor of the Shariah not Mazhab, because Mazhab is a name of the path that is opened for some people from the Ummah, they then make certain rules and regulations and try to understand the issues of Shariah through them; therefore in this there is the chance for both correct understanding as well as errors. Now because the Imam is infallible (Ma’soom) and holds the position of the Prophet, the rationale doesn’t allow Mazhab being attributed to Imam …”
Tauhfa Athna Ashariya, page 108 (published by Noor Muhammad Kutbkhana, Karachi).
At one place while comparing the views of a scholar Khuwaja Naseer with those of ‘Ameer’ Ali bin Abi Talib (as) he stated:
“Therefore we should adhere to Ameer. And we have to rely on His views instead of Khuwaja Naseer and others because Khuwaja Naseer is not Masoom while Ameer is Masoom.”
Tauhfa Athna Ashariya, page 287 (published by Noor Muhammad Kutbkhana, Karachi).
His father 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)”.
At-Tafhimatu l-Iahiyah Volume 2 page 21
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 Numani and Afriqi object to. 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
These comments came to the notice of Allamah Waheed uz Zaman Khan who wrote:
“Amongst the Sunni Ulema the author of Derasat al-Labib recognised the Imams from Ahl’ul bayt as Masum”
Lughaat ul Hadith, letter Swaa, page 125
Maulana Waheed uz Zaman himself also referred to the Ahl’ul bayt (as) as infallible. He said:
“The correct view is that in this verse (of Purity) only these five persons are included (i.e. the Prophet, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hussain), although in Arabic usage, the word Ahlu ‘l bayt is used for wives also. Some people prove by this verse that these five persons were sinless and ma’sum (infallible). But if not ma’sum, then of course they were surely mahfuz (protected from committing any sin or error).”
Anwar ul Lughaat, Banglore, para 22, page 51
The Hanafi scholar Muhammad Shafi Okarvi in his book ‘Imam Paak aur Yazeed Paleed’ [The pure Imam and impure Yazeed] page 236 whilst discussing the verse of purity states as follows:
“The verse proves that the Ahl’ul bayt of the Prophet (s) are aloof from any unacceptable actions, or from those that are immopral or impure, they are purified from all bad things as they have been endowed with cleansed hearts and they are from the esteemed ranks of those that are aloof from physical and spiritual impurities, those that attain this rank of purity do not attain the rank of infallibility possessed by the Prophets, they are however Mahfuz (protected)”
Imam Paak aur Yazeed Paleed, page 236 (Lahore)
The prestigious scholar among Ahle Sunnah, Qadi Thana-ullah Pani Pati is also among those Sunni scholars who believed in the infallibility of Ahlulbayt (as). We read in the Holy Quran:
So when she brought forth, she said: My Lord! Surely I have brought it forth a female—and Allah knew best what she brought forth—and the male is not like the female, and I have named it Marium, and I commend her and her offspring into Thy protection from the accursed Shaitan.
Qadhi Thanaullah Pani Pattee Uthmani writes under the commentary of the cited verse in his esteemed commentary of Holy Quran namely Tafseer Mazhari:
“Abu Hurayra (ra) narrated that the Holy Prophet (s) said: “When a child is born Iblis surely touches him due to which the child cries except Maryam and her child ( means Shaitan did not touch Isa (as) when he was born) (unanimously) because of the blessings of the prayers of Hinah ( Maryam and her child remained protected from being touched by Shaitan). There is another tradition from Abu Hurrarah wherein the Holy Prophet (s) said that Shaitan struck his finger against every child of Adam (at the time of birth) on both of his sides except that of Isa ibn Maryam (as), Shaitan did go to strike his finger but was in the end unable to do so.
I say that it has been mentioned in a ‘Sahih’ tradition that when the Holy Prophet (s) married Fatima with Ali, He(s) said: “O Allah I give her and her progeny under your protection from cursed Shaitan”. He(s) said likewise for Ali. Narrator Ibn Habban and Anas (ra).
It is obvious that the supplication/prayer of the Holy Prophet (s) is more acceptable than that of Hinah therefore I hope that Allah (swt) has protected Fatima and her progeny from Shaitan and Shitan was not able to touch them. In this situation the merit of Maryam and her son for being untouched by Shaitan will not remain exclusive rather there is an addition. It means that whilst Shaitan usually touches every child at the time of birth some specific people are exempted such as Maryam and her son ( and Fatima and her progeny) who were protected by Allah”.
Tafseer Mazhari, Volume 2 page 155 (Published by Daarul Isha`at Karachi)
Worthy to note is that fact that in the index pages of this version of Tafseer Mazhari, this reference is contained under the topic: “Fatima Zahra (ra) and her progeny being Masoom”.
Tafseer Mazhari, Volume 2 Index page 9
What clearer statement can there be than the following one by the Prophet of Allah (s):
“Me and my Ahl’ul bayt are free from sins”
Tafseer Durre Manthur Volume 5 page 377-378
Reply Four- The Deobandis have attributed infallibility to their own Ulema
From amongst the Nawasib, the adherents of Sipah-e-Sahabah are seen as more vocal and active when attacking the Shia doctrine of the infallibility of the Ahl’ul bayt (as). The material that we shall now cite is such that one can easily draw an inference that the Ulema of Sipah-e-Sahabah and Numani’s own Sect deemed themselves infallible.
Let us start with the direct claim of Imam of the Deobandies Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi recorded by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi wherein he linked his acts directly with the instructions of the Holy Prophet (s) in the following manner:
“The Prophet (s) remained in my heart for so many years that I did nothing before asking Him (s)”
‘Arwah e Thalaasah’ by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, page 205 (published by Daarul Ishaat, Karachi)
Deobandies have given such an exalted place to Gangohi that questioning his acts are tantamount to questioning the injunctions of the Holy Prophet (s) who received everything from Allah (swt). If this claim isn’t sufficient for our Deobandi opponents then let us also cite the following shocking claim of Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi:
The Hazrat (Gangohi) declared that: “Allah Almighty has promised me that He will not cause any wrong word to come from my mouth”.
‘Arwah e Thalaasah’ by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, page 206 (published by Daarul Ishaat, Karachi)
If one who is divinely secluded from lies, absurdities and any sort of incorrectness is not called infallible then how else can he be described? It is reported that Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi also said:
“Remember that truth is only what flows from the tongue of Rasheed Ahmad. And I swear to you that I am nothing but guidance in the present times, and redemption depends upon following me”.
Tazkiratur Rasheed,Volume 2 Page 17
According to Imam of Ahle Sunah Ibn Hazm:
“…the Companions were not infallible, and hence made mistakes, so it would be wrong to say that following any of them leads to guidance”
If we accept the statement of Gangohi as true, then the logic of Ibn Hazm would mean that Gangohi is infallible. As we shall cite in details later, Ibn Hazm rejected the concept of adhering to the Sahaba for the purposes of salvation since none of them were infallible. If we look at the claim of Gangohi he is stating that everything that he says is the truth and he swears before Allah (swt) that salvation means following him. Ibn Hazm logic would therefore make Gangohi infallible, since salvation was dependent upon following him. It is incredible that Numani mocks the Shi’a believing that adhering to the Imams of Ahl’ul bayt (as) as the route to salvation, but fails to inspect the open claim of Gangohi that links him directly to salvation!
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (1280 A.H. to 1362 A.H.) on page 377 of his book “Arwaah-e-Thalaasah” also known as ‘Hikayat al-Awliyah’ praised one of his Deobandi scholars as follows:
” Haaji (Imdaadulaah) Sahib was the Ali of his times and truth was subservient to him”.
Arwaah-e-Thalaasah, page 377
So Debandies have associated this scholar directly with these two Hadith of Rasulullah (s)
“Ali is with the Truth and the Truth is with Ali”
Kanz ul Ummal hadith number 33018
“Oh Allah, turn the truth in whichever direction Ali turns”
al Mustadrak, Vol. 3, Page 124
This Hadith demonstrates that the truth is always associated with Maula ‘Ali (as), rather it follows him, meaning every step he takes is the path of truth. Shah Waliyullah Muhaddith Dehalvi had used this Hadith to prove that Maula ‘Ali was infallible. This being the case, when Thanvi compares a Deobandi scholar to Maula ‘Ali (as) by stating that ‘truth was subservient to him’ i.e. his every step was the path of truth and being immune from falsehood, then Shah Waliyullah logic would deem Haaji infallible like Maula ‘Ali (as).
: Taking religion from the infallible Imams
“All the Imams are infallible just like the prophets. The Shi’ites derive their religion from their immaculate Imams” (Ibid, p. 22) Well this is a clear statement of kufr from the Shi’ites, as you can see they admit that they derive their religion from their Imams, well this means that if a Shi’ite Imam made something that in the Qur’an was lawful, forbidden, the Shi’ites would follow their Imams… by this statement the Shi’ites have taken themselves outside Islam.
Reply One – Rasulullah (s) instructed us to take our understanding of religion from the Ahl’ul bayt Imams
Just look at the dishonesty used by this Nasibi when interpreting this narration. The narration is informing readers that our understanding of Islam has come through the Imams from Ahl’ul bayt (as) who attained it from Rasulullah (s). If we have derived our religion from our Imams, it is because the Imams were inheritors of the teachings of Allah (swt). All of the virtues of the blessed Book are with the Creator, this reference is referring to those esteemed personalities whom Allah (swt) blessed with a complete knowledge of his Book, one wherein Allah (swt) declares:
Not a leaf doth fall but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the darkness (or depths) of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry (green or withered), but is (inscribed) in a record clear (Kitab Mubeen).
The verse proves that all knowledge is contained in the Qur’an. If one wishes to attain knowledge they will need to get a correct interpretation and commentary from those with knowledge of the Qur’an, who will have a complete understanding of every verse of the Qur’an. If knowledge could have been obtained from consulting the common Ulema then surely there would at least be some consensus amongst them over the meanings of Alif, Laam, Meem. When these Ulema do not even have an agreement over the meaning of Alif, Laam, Meem, what do we expect from their commentaries of the Qur’an? It is interesting that even the Sahaba whom the Ahl’ul Sunnah deem the cornerstones of the Deen, were not unanimous on the meanings of Qur’anic verses, a fact accepted by Ghazzali:
There are different opinions regarding the interpretation of some verses among the companions. It was not possible for them to be unanimous. Everybody did not interpret it after hearing it from the Prophget. If they said anything after hearing it from the Prophet, then thir own opinions are fit to be rejected. It is well known that the interpreters extracted many meanings by applying their intellect. Even they had seven interpretations of the abbreviated words at the beginning of a chapter. So how can it be said that they interpreted them by hearing everything from the Prophet?
Ihya Ulum id Din Volume 1 page 281, Book of Worship
The Nur of the Qur’an can only be understood by those personalities who are themselves created from Nur, and who have a complete command and understanding over every verse of the Qur’an. Rasaulullah (s) made reference to these personalities at the time of his last Hajj at the plain of Arafat when he declared:
“O people! I am leaving among you what if you follow them, you will never go astray; the book of Allah and my Etra my Ahlulbayt’
Declared ‘Sahih’ by Imam Al-Albaani in Silsila Sahiha, volume 4 page 355.
As well as following the Qur’an the Ummah was told to also grasp the Ahl’ul bayt (Itrat’ai Ahl’ul bayt). The question is why did Rasulullah (s) deem it necessary? Rasulullah (s) told the Ummah how to protect themselves from division. Rasulullah (s) knew that the Muslims would split into Sects with different interpretations of the Qur’an, with a single verse carrying different interpretations amongst the Ulema that would lead to misguidance in the Deen and result in people perishing in the Fire. When Rasulullah (s) knew that all this would happen then it was common sense that he would put into place the appropriate safety mechanism to counter the division, by pointing to those that would provide the true commentaries / understanding of the Glorious Qur’an. We have accordingly taken our religious teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah through these revered personalities because Allah (swt) deemed it obligatory on the Ummah to follow the Qur’an and the Ahl’ul bayt (as).
As for the Nasibi’s false qiyas:
well this means that if a Shi’ite Imam made something that in the Qur’an was lawful, forbidden, the Shi’ites would follow their Imams…
The stupid Nasibi has himself cited the fact that we believe that our Imams are infallible like the Prophets, this being the case their deeming something that was lawful in the Qur’an to be forbidden does not even come into the equation, since Rasulullah (s) said follow Qur’an and Ahl’ulbayt (as) as they will never separate from each other until they appear in the next world. The guarantee of non separation issued by the Prophet (s) suffices as clear evidence that every act, deed, saying, ruling of the Ahl’ul bayt Imam (as) shall be in complete conformity with the dictates of the Qur’an. In this regard we have the assurance of the Prophet. Tahir’ul Qadri records this as his seventh Hadith in ‘The Ghadir Declaration’ page 28:
“It is narrated by Zayd bin Arqam I: When Allah’s Messenger (s) was returning after the Hajjat-ul-wada‘, he stayed at Ghadir Khum. He commanded that a canopy should be put up and so it was done. Then he said: It seems as if I am about to breathe my last which I shall accept. Indeed, I am leaving two important things in your midst which exceed each other in importance: One (is) Allah’s Book and the other (is) my progeny. Now it is to be seen how do you treat both of them after me and they will not be separated from each other, and they will appear before me at the Fountain of kawthar. Then added: Surely Allah is my Master and I am the master of every believer. Then, holding ‘Ali’s hand, he said: One who has me as his master has this (‘Ali) as his guardian. O Allah! Befriend him who befriends him (‘Ali) and be the enemy of one who is his enemy.”
[Hakim narrated it in al-Mustadrak (3:109 # 4576); Nasa’i, as-Sunan-ul-kubra (5:45, 130 # 8148, 8464); Tabarani, al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabir (5:166 # 4969); and Ibn Abi ‘asim related it briefly in as-Sunnah (p.644 # 1555).Nasa’i related it with a sound chain of authorities in Khasa’is amir-il-mu’minin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (pp.84, 85 # 76). Abu Mahasin copied it in al-Mu‘tasar min-al-mukhtasar min Mashkal-il-athar (2:301).
The Ghadir Declaration, page 28
The words of the Prophet (s) show that both sources (the Qur’an and Ahl’ul bayt) compliment one another, this nexus will not separate until the next world. This means that in the same way that the Qur’an is the perfect infallible text book of guidance for the Ummah, the Ahl’ul bayt (as) are likewise the perfect infallible practical guides for the Ummah.
It is interesting that in the foreword of book ‘The Science of Hadith’ by beloved scholar of the Salafies Dr. Suhaib Hasan cites Hadith in the common domain and then comments on their authenticity in the appendix. The fifteenth Hadith he cites is this one:
"My companions are like the stars: whichever of them you follow, you will be guided."
The science of Hadith at www.usc.edu
Dr. Suhaib Hasan provides this commentary to the Hadith by Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Ibn Hazm:
“…the Companions were not infallible, and hence made mistakes, so it would be wrong to say that following any of them leads to guidance”
The science of Hadith at www.usc.edu
This therefore means you can only logically follow that Hadi who is infallible, since it is only that individual that will lead you to guidance. It may be wrong to believe following the Sahaba leads to guidance but the same cannot be said of the Ahl’ul bayt (as), afterall Rasulullah (s) provided a guarantee ‘follow them and you will never go astray’ this acts as clear proof that following them leads to guidance and this would render such people as infallible (in the eyes of Ibn Hazm). Let us not forget that Maula ‘Ali was at the helm of this group and Rasulullah (s) made it clear to the Sahaba that following him was a definite route to guidance after all Rasulullah (s) said:
"If you make Ali your Ameer (Khalifa), although I do not think you will, you will find him to be a Guide (Hadi), one who is Guided (Mahdi), and one who will take you to the Right Path (Sirratul Mustaqim)".
Mansab-e-Imamate, by Shah Ismail Shaheed, page 72
Does this Hadith not prove that following Ali leads to guidance? Leading to the right path is indeed guidance and when Rasulullah (s) refers to Ali (as) as the individual that will act as a Hadi and Mahdi leading people to the right path, then there is no room to contemplate that he could err and made mistakes. If Ibn Hazm’s assertion was that only adherence to an infallible person leads to guidance, then clearly this Hadith and Hadith-e-Thaqlayn prove that Maula Ali and the Ahl’ul bayt are infallible.
These perfect personalities are those who’s every act / deed will never be at variance to the Qur’an. Whatever the time or situation, these personalities are those who will never for a second contravene the regulations of the Qur’an, no action, stop, breath taken or physical state will be against the Qur’an. The purity of the Ahl’ul bayt can best be proven by the fact that they are free from those impurities that would prevent them from practicing religious rituals such as reading the Qur’an or entering the mosque. The blessed Ahl’ul bayt are those esteemed personalities are those who are physically pure at all times, since when one is impure they are aloof from the Qur’an, whilst the Ahl’ul bayt (as) are not at any time aloof from the Qur’an, not even for a second. That is why Rasulullah (s) referred to Sayyida Fatima (as) as Batool that means purity from Menses. Shia scholar Shaykh Seduq records in Ma'ani al-Akhbar, page 64:
Ali bin Abi Talib said: 'Once Allah's messenger was asked: 'What is batool? Oh Allah's messenger, we heard you saying Mary is batool and Fatima is batool?'. He (as) replied: 'Batool is the one who never saw blood, has never had a period, because the daughters of prophets are kept free of menses.''
Imam of Sunnah Tabarani records in Muajam al-Kabir, Volume 22 page 401:
Ayesha said: I saw Allah's messenger (pbuh) kissing Fatima. Thus I said: ‘Oh Allah's messenger! I see you doing some thing you never used to do before?’ He replied: ‘Oh Humayra, the night I was taken on a journey of the heaven, I entered the paradise, I stood next to a tree amongst the trees of the paradise and I never saw any tree looking better than it, nor better leaves than it, nor better fruit than it, hence I took one of it fruits and ate it, then it became a seed in my loin and then when I return back to earth, I had intercourse with Khadija thus she become pregnant by Fatima. Therefore whenever I miss the smell of paradise, I smell Fatima. Oh Humayra, verily Fatima is not like other women and she doesn’t have periods’.
We also have the testimony of the Prophet (s) to Ali:
‘It is not permitted for anyone to be in a state of Janub (requiring the complete washing of the body known as Ghusl) in the Mosque apart from me and you’.
Tarikh ul Kulafa (English), page 179 by Jalaluddin Suyuti
This tradition proves that these pure personalities are always in a state of ritual purity, which is why Allah (swt) endorsed their purification with the descent of the verse of purification, Surah Ahzab verse 33, wherein He (swt) said that the Ahl’ul bayt (as) were aloof from ALL forms of Rijs both of the mind (forbidden practices) and body (ejaculation and menses). They can enter into the mosque in any state. When a woman menstruates she is prohibited from praying / reciting the Qur’an. A man who has ejaculated semen cannot enter the mosque of the Prophet until he performs Ghusl. Sexually impure men and menstruating women are both impure. The Ahl’ul bayt (as) that Allah (swt) refers to in the verse of purification are those that never experience these states, their lives are free from those terms that Allah deems shirk such as Kufr, Shirk and menstruation. In the tradition we see that before using the term Ahl’ul bayt (as), Rasulullah (s) used the term ‘Itratee’, the Ahl’ul bayt (as) are those who are Itratee, Itrat means ‘lineage’. Of interest is the fact that after saying Itratee, Rasulullah did not add the words ‘wa oo Ahl’ul baytee’ i.e. my Itrat and my Ahl’ul bayt (as) had he done so, then people would have suggested that Itrat and Ahl’ul bayt are two separate entities, and the question could have been asked ‘Why didn’t the Prophet (s) say that he was leaving three weighty things?’ Rasulullah (s) referred to two weighty things which means that we have to accept that those that are not Itrat cannot be counted as Ahl’ul bayt (as). The Ahl’ul bayt (as) are those whose position as Itrat is proven, and whose absolute purity is proven from the Qur’an. Rasulullah (s) then confirmed that the Imamate would remain in this pure Ahl’ul bayt (as). Shakyh Ibrahim bin Muhammad Al-Juwayni recorded this tradition:
“I and Ali and Hasan and Hussain and nine of the descendants of Hussain are the purified ones and the inerrant.”
Fara’id al-Simtayn, page 160 (Beirut 1978)
When Allah (swt) has purified the Ahl’ul bayt (as) in such a manner that they can never physically separate from the Qur’an then who is this Nasibi to even think that the Ahl’ul bayt (as) Imams may hold a position that differs to the Qur’an? All of the teachings of Islam are incorporated in the Qur’an and Sunnah of Rasulullah (s), and our Imams as the true inheritors of the mission of the Prophet (s) ensured that they always adhered to the Qur’an and Sunnah and never took any separate position to these tools of guidance. It is for this precise reason that Maula ‘Ali (as) rejected the Khilafah when it was offered to him following the assassination of Umar. Abdur Rahman bin Auf approached the pulpit and said that he (Imam 'Ali) shall be given bayya provided that he follow the Qur'an, Sunnah and that he adheres to the practices of Abu Bakr and Umar. Ali stated that he would adhere to the Qur'an and Sunnah but would not accept the condition that he adheres to the practices of Abu Bakr and Umar. This is recorded in the following Sunni texts:
- al Bidayah wa al Nihaya Volume 7 page 146
- Sharah Fiqh Akbar, page 66 "Fadail Naas badh ai Rasulullah" (Maktabah Haqaniya, Multan. Pakistan)
- Iqd al Fareed Volume 2 page 213
- Tareekh Abu Fida Volume 1 page 166 Dhikr Maqatil Umar
- Tareekh Khamees Volume 2 page 255
- Tareekh Tabari Volume 14 page 158-159
- Tareekh Kamil Volume 3 page 35 Dhikr Shura
Our Imam (as) was so strict in his adherence to the Qur’an and Sunnah he refused flatly to adhere to any additional source of man made legislation. Maula Ali (as)’s refusal to adhere to this third condition has been recorded in "Khilafah" by Hizb at-Tahrir as follows:
"... As for the appointment of the six people by 'Umar, it was a nomination to them by him upon the request of the Muslims. Then 'Abdul Rahman ibn 'Auf consulted the Muslims about whom they wanted from the six people. The majority wanted 'Ali if he adhered to the practices of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, otherwise they wanted 'Uthman. When 'Ali rejected to adhere to the practices of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, 'Abdul Rahman ibn 'Auf gave the pledge to 'Uthman and the people gave their pledge”
The Imams will always provide a correct understanding of the Qur’anic verses, since they are the talking Qur’an. In this regards we shall cite the comments from Mansab-e-Imamate, page 105 by the great Imam of the Deobandis Shah Ismail Shaheed:
"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 Ameer al Momineen Ali Murtuza(ra) 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”.
Mansab-e-Imamate, page 105
Rasulullah (s) had told the Ummah that the Ahl’ul bayt (as) would act as guides, and turning to them would ensure that people would not get lead astray. The main cause of getting lead astray is through incorrect understanding of the Qur’an which is why Rasulullah (s) took it upon himself to make clear that the Qur’an and Ahl’ul bayt (as) were linked with one another. In other Hadith Rasulullah (s) has said that they would never separate from one another until they meet me at the pool, hence for this Nasibi to suggest that the Imams may hold an opinion in opposition to the Qur’an proves that they have no regard for the guarantee of out Prophet (s).
If Nasibi still wish to throw dirt at us, by falsely suggesting that the Shi’a would be prepared to adhere to their Imams, even if they contravened thr Qur’an then allow us to present a Hadith attributed to Rasulullah (s) that suggests that we should follow those Imams that abandon the Sunnah of Muhammad (s)! This is what we read in Saheeh Muslim, Kitab al Imara Book 020, Number 4554:
It his been narrated through a different chain of transmitters, on the authority of Hudhaifa b. al-Yaman who said: Messenger of Allah, no doubt, we had an evil time (i. e. the days of Jahiliyya or ignorance) and God brought us a good time (i. e. Islamic period) through which we are now living Will there be a bad time after this good time? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. I said: Will there be a good time after this bad time? He said: Yes. I said: Will there be a bad time after good time? He said: Yes. I said: How? Whereupon he said: There will be leaders who will not be led by my guidance and who will not adopt my ways? There will be among them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies of human beings. I said: What should I do. Messenger of Allah, if I (happen) to live in that time? He replied: You will listen to the Amir and carry out his orders; even if your back is flogged and your wealth is snatched, you should listen and obey.
Now allow us to interpret this Hadith by paraphrasing the accusation that this Nasabi threw at us:
“well this means that if a Sunni Imam made something that in the Qur’an was lawful, forbidden, the Sunnites would follow their Imams...”
Is this not a fair assessment of this narration? Clealy the author needs to examine his own Hadith literature before jumping to wrong conclusions about adhering to the twelve Imams (as).
: Hadith narrated by the Imams
Numani tries to suggest that the Shi’a texts go back to the Imams and are not the sayings of the Prophet (s).
At the very outset, it should be noted about the Isna Ashariyya books on the tradition that just as among us, the Sunnis, Sahi Bukhari and Sahi Muslim etc., are the collection of the Traditions of the holy Prophet in which his sayings and doings are related with authoritative references in he same way there are books on the Traditions among the Isna Ashariyya Shias as well but in them very little space has been devoted to reports concerning the sayings and doings of the sacred Prophet. – hardly five per cent and the rest of it contains the narrations of deeds and events relating to the Imams from their own sources.
This Nasibi claims that the remainder 95% of the Shi’a traditions are from the Imams. He is ignorant of the fact that our Imams never spoke of their own accord. Whatever they said was a narration of the ahadith received as inheritance through their sinless forefathers. As this fact was known to one and all, there was no need for them to elongate their hadith by mentioning the chain of narrators.
Someone who was unaware of this fact asked Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) about the hadith “which you transmit without mentioning its chain of narrators” The Imam (a.s.) said: “When I narrate a hadith without mentioning its chain of narrators, then my link in that is “my father (Imam Zaynu ‘l ‘Abedeen a.s.) from my grandfather (Imam al-Husayn a.s.) from his father (Imam ‘Ali a.s.) from his grandfather the Messenger of Allah (Blessings of Allah be on him and his progeny) from Jibra’il from Allah the Mighty, the Great.”
1. Kitab ul Irshad, by Shaykh al Mufid, p. 250 (published in Tehran 1377)
2. Bihar ul Anwar, by Al Majlisi, Vol. 46, p. 288 (new ed.)
Similarly we read in Basair al-Darajat by Saffar, page 319:
Abu Yazid al-Ahwal said: ‘I heard Abu Abdullah (as) saying: ‘If we told the rulings to the people through our personal opinion, surely we would be doomed, but we tell the traditions of Allah’s Messenger (s) which we inherited from our forefathers’.
- Defining the concept of Imamate
- The doctrine of Imamah from a Sunni perspective
- The Takwini and Tashri’i authorities of Prophets and Imams
- The doctrine of Imamate from a Shi’a perspective (Part I)
- The doctrine of Imamate from a Shi’a perspective (Part II)
- The Doctrine of Imamate from a Shi’a perspective (Part III)
- The doctrine of Imamate from a Shi’a perspective (Part IV)
- The Doctrine of Imamate from a Shi’a perspective (Part V)
- The doctrine of Imamate from the Qur’an
- Obeying the Ul’il Amr
- Nasibi objection at the false claimants of Imamate
- The Nasibi methodology of producing the Abdullah Ibn Saba card to negate the doctrine of Imamate
- No public Twitter messages.