Chapter Eight – The doctrine of Raj’ah

 

Before we go into the traditions in the next chapter, allow us to first of all discuss the doctrine of Raj’ah since some of these traditions are linked to this belief system. We will not go into the basics of the doctrine since most of the material on this topic is available on the internet but allow us to present a tradition which will summarize the whole doctrine of Raj’ah. In Tafseer Qummi, Volume 2 page 33 we read two similar conversations Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) had with Hamaad and Bakr bin Muhammad al-Azdi:

Imam Sadiq (as) said: “What do people say about this verse: ‘And on the day when We will gather from every nation a party’? I said: ‘They say it is in Judgement Day’. He (as) said: ‘Its not as they say – It is referring to Raj’ah. Would Allah gather (Yahshur) only a group from each nation and leave the rest? Rather the verse that is referring to Qiyamah is: ‘And we will gather them and not leave a single one of them behind’

Now, in this chapter we will only be dealing with the typical way of criticism on the part of the Nawasib at the Shia belief of Raj’ah.

Azam Tariq in “Khutbaat-e-Jail” page 230, 231 discusses the doctrine of Imam Mahdi (as) under the subheading “The belief of the Shi’ah in Raj’ah and the introduction of the twelfth Imam”.

He starts as follows:

“There is only the stage of Barzakh between death and the day of Judgment and there is no other stage, especially the resurrection and return of a person after death before Qayamah…and then dying again and a return to Barzakh is absolutely impossible……”

Later on under the title of “Introduction to the belief in Raj’ah of the Shi’a” he presents supporting evidence from “Ahsan Al-fawaiyd fi Sharah Al-‘Aqaiyd” which is as follows:

“Through the verses, successive narrations, and through of the Shia scholars of past and present, you’ve come to know that the concept of Raj’ah is true and authentic and there is no doubt in it whatsoever. Its denier is outside the boundaries of Islam as this belief is amongst the necessary beliefs of the madhab Imamiyah. The narrations about the trials of the path and the balance of justice etc., the description about the Day of Judgment that are a vital part of faith, are not more reliable, numerous, or logical than those we find about the belief in Raj’ah. Some of the specifics or details on this matter may be controversial in the same way we find controversy in the specifics and details of the things to come on the Day of Judgment, albeit there doesn’t exist any controversy about the fact that Raj’ah is an authentic concept and belief in Islam. Therefore it is important to believe in Raj’ah and that certain sincere Momineen and certain pure Infidels will be brought back to life but leave the details to the Imams” – [Ahsan Al-fawaiyd fi Sharah Al-‘Aqaiyd by Shaykh Abu Jafar ali bin Hussain, page 322]…“It is in Tuhfat-ul Awaam and it’s also Wajib to believe in Raj’ah which describes that when Imam Mahdi returns, certain pure believers (Momineen) and certain Infidels and Hypocrites shall return to life and each one shall receive justice and condemnation and the guilty shall be convicted and punished (Tuhfat-ul Awaam, page 5)… From these two books that are considered authoritative sources among the Shias, we can ascertain that those who deny Raj’ah are not within the boundaries of Islam therefore it is worth writing that all of us Muslims are absolutely and most certainly deniers of Raj’ah and our ancestors would probably have never even heard of this certain belief…….”
(Khutbat-e-Jail, page 232, 233)

Reply

There exists plenty of corroborative evidence from the Qur’an and authentic hadeeth literature, proving the concept Raj’ah that shall start after the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as). Many historic personalities whose characters have been nothing less than prime antagonists and arch villains as well as many of their innocent victims who were pious and sincere believers shall come back to life so that justice may be served immediately and right here in this world. This belief is not limited to Shi’ah believers alone, the Qur’an, Hadeeth literature and the past adherents of prophets of Allah also attested to this. We find in the Bible, at the end of the book of Daniel that when the Kingdom of Heaven shall arrive, the greatest of pure as well as the greatest of evil characters shall be resurrected so they may receive their appropriate recompense and rewards in this world. Similarly we read in the book of Yohanna in Bible, it’s chapter 19, that a lesser day of Judgment shall be convened when Jesus of Nazareth returns before Armageddon. The prime antagonists and extremely cruel and evil personalities of time shall be resurrected along with their victims as well as some particularly pious and righteous people. This will be done so that an example of the actual Day of Judgment may be demonstrated right here in our world.

The Jews before the appearance of Islam believed in Raj’ah according to the Holy texts but later denied this belief due to their hatred for Islam and personal reasons. While discussing the beliefs of the Jews, Allamah Abdul Kareem Sharastani writes:

مسائلهم تدور على‏:‏ جواز النسخ ومنعه وعلى التشبيه ونفيه والقول بالقدر والجبرن وتجويز الرجعة واستحالتها‏ ۔۔۔ وأما جواز الرجعة‏:‏ فإنما وقع لهم من أمرين‏:‏ أحدهما حديث عزير عليه السلام إذ أماته الله مائة عام ثم بعثه والثاني حديث هارون عليه السلام

“The matters (beliefs) of Jews revolve around (the following things), reason and an absence of reasons for abrogation, the establishment of analogy and its denial, establishment of free will and fatalism and its denial, and the establishment of Rajat and its impossibility…The statement (belief) of the establishment of Rajat has appeared because of two reasons, first is the Hadeeth for Aziz (as) according to which Allah caused his death for a hundred years and then resurrected him. Second is the incident of Harun (as).”
Al-Milal wal-Nihal, vol. 1, page 211 and 212, published Cairo

Perhaps Abdul Kareem Sharastani failed to thoroughly study the Bible, had he read the Book of Daniel then he wouldn’t had just cited the narrations about Aziz (as) and Harun (as) but infact also relied on the Bible as proof.

The Author’s dishonesty

Unfortunately, the author, blinded by his intolerance and hatred for the Shi’ah, has committed to blatant dishonesty in his book when he quotes a line from the book “Ahsan Al-fawaiyd fi Sharah Al-‘Aqaiyd” that is actually as follows:

“It’s (Raj’ah’s) denier is outside the boundaries of Islam”.

The author has omitted the word “Iman” from that line, and replaced it with “Islam” , and has therefore destroyed his own credibility. While the learned author of the book Ahsan Al-Fawaiyd, has in fact quoted a line from the book of Allamah Seyyed Abdullah Shabar (Rehmatullah ‘alayh) called “Haqq ul-Yaqeen” after translating it into the Urdu language from Arabic in which the words “Zumrah Iman” are present.

Acceptance of Raj’ah by a famed Sahabi

It has been centuries that we are hearing from these Nawasib about the belief coined by these people which is to respect and follow each and every Sahabi and this is the belief which these people use to make their Takfeer agasint Shias. Though, there isn’t any need to say much about this absurd Nasibi belief, but still for refreshing memories allow us to cite the comments of Sunni scholar Muhammad al-Khamis who wrote in his book Etiqad Ahl al-Sunnah, page 135:

وجوب اتباع الصحابة والتابعين في جميع مسائل الدين

“Following the Sahaba and Tabayeen is obligatory in all religious issues”

We read similar thing in Ejmal al-Isaba by Khalil al-Alaaei (d. 761 H), page 66:

أن التابعين أجمعوا على اتباع الصحابة فيما ورد عنهم والأخذ بقولهم والفتيا به من غير نكير من أحد

“There is an Ijma among the Tabayeen to follow the Sahaba, adopt their opinions and give fatwa according to their statements without any condemnation”

Imam of Salaief Ibn Qayim in his book Elam al-Muwaqeen, Volume 4 page 123 wrote a separate chapter about proving the obligation of adhering the Sahaba and he gave the following title to the chapter:

الادلة على ان اتباع الصحابة واجب

“The proofs that following the Sahaba is obligatory”

Since the Nawasib revere the companions to the extent of deifying them by virtue of the hadeeth “My companions are like the stars of the sky and you shall be guided no matter which one of these you follow” , allow us to present the biography of the popular Sahabi, Abul Tufayl (ra). Imam Ibn Qutaiba writes while mentioning him:

أبو الطفيل عامر بن واثلة رأى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وكان آخر من رآه موتا ومات بعد سنة مائة وشهد مع علي المشاهد كلها وكان مع المختار صاحب رايته وكان يؤمن بالرجعة

“Abul Tufayl Aamir bin Wathla (ra) saw the Prophet (s) and was from among those who have had the honor of seeing our Prophet (s) he was the last one to have left this world when he died in the year 100 A.H. He participated in all the wars with Ali, he was the standard bearer in Mukhtar’s army, and believed in Raj’ah.”
Kitab Al-Ma’arif, page 149, published in Egypt

We read in Sahih Muslim Book 30, Number 5777:

Jurairi reported: I said to Abu Tufail: Did you see Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him)? He said: Yes, he had a white handsome face. Muslim b. Hajjaj said: Abu Tufail who died in 100 Hijra was the last of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him).

In his another book al-Kashif, Volume 1 page 527, Imam Dahabi stated:

“He was the seal of Sahaba”

Ibn Hajar stated in Taqrib al-Tahdib, Volume 1 page 464:

“He was the last one of Sahaba who died”

Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti records in Esaf al-Mubata, page 52:

وهو آخر الصحابة موتاً

“He is the last Sahabi who died”

Ibn Hajar in his book Tajeel al-Manf’a, page 160 and Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Volume 9 page 215 recorded him as a Sahabi while Imam Ibn Hazm records in al-Muhala, Volume 3 page 174:

أن أبا الطفيل صاحب راية المختار وذكر أنه كان يقول بالرجعة

“Aba al-Tufail was the standard bearer in Mukhtar’s army, it has been said that he believed in Raj’a”

Aamir bin Wathla Abul Tufayl (ra) is a worthy companion of the Prophet (s). He should be afforded the same respect, honor and consideration from the believers as any other Sahabi. Accordingly, his belief in Raj’ah is not baseless or mere “ijtihad”. It’s not a matter in which conjecture may be used to come up with a belief. It is understood that he must have consulted the Qur’an or heard from the Prophet (s) in his lifetime and in this case no one should deem it an error in his “ijtihad”. By virtue of the Hadeeth, “My companions are like the stars of the sky and you shall be guided no matter which one of these you follow” this companion’s beliefs flawlessly represent the correct faith and Islam and anyone who follows him when he believes in Raj’ah is also a rightly guided believer. It would be absurd to claim that Raj’ah does not conform to the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. If we are to here to the Nasibi belief that Raj’ah is unislamic then this constitutes slander against the Sahabi that we mentioned. If attempts are made to attack him for being a deviated Shi’ah where does that leave the belief that all the companions are like just? If Sipah-e-Sahaba rebel against the Sahaba then who will continue to defend them?

Whilst writing about this Sahabi, Imam Dhahabi writes:

واسم أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة بن عبد الله بن عمرو الليثي الكناني الحجازي الشيعي. كان من شيعة الإمام علي.

“Abul Tufayl’s name is ‘Aamir bin Wathla bin Abdullah bin Umar Ishi Kinani Hijazi, who was a Shia. He was one of the Shia of Imam Ali.
Siayr Aa’laam al-nabla, volume 3 page 468

Not only this but he has been included amongst the ‘extremist Rafidhi’ by Ibn Qutaiba in his book Al-Maarif, page 340.

He was indeed a Shi’a/Rafidhi Sahabi. Hadhrat Ali (as) held him in highest regard from among all other companions of the Prophet (s). He believed in Raj’ah. This was no conjecture or personal contemplation but in fact the education received from his Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (as) and the effect of being within his righteous aura. Therefore this belief of the Shia is in complete conformity with the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Acceptance of Raj’ah by the researchers of the Ahle Sunnah

When Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his arrival) reveals himself then certain Prophets of Allah (as) including our own Prophet (s) and the Imams of his household as well as other completely faithful believers shall return to this world, so that they may spread justice in this world, unified together happily and gracefully in the company of Imam Mahdi (as), and fight the enemies of Allah together and deliver retribution and have their vengeance. And this belief is not limited to the Shia but infact the prominent and authoritative scholars of Ahle Sunnah accepted this reality. Mullah Muhammad Moin Ibn Muhammad Amin al-Sindi (d. 1161 H) , the student of Shah Waliullah Dehlvi writes:

“I have been informed by certain knowledgeable people that whoever dies with true love for Imam Mahdi in his heart and could not live to witness the time of his appearance shall be resurrected by Allah with the appearance of the Imam, so that such a person may secure great success in his virtuous company. This is called Raj’ah in the time of Imam Mahdi (as)”.
 Derasat al-Labib fi al-Auswa al-Hasana bel Habib, page 219-220

We can see that a just researcher from the Ahle Sunnah has affirmed the belief of Raj’ah with his seal of approval. Those who still consider it illogical should seek out psychiatric help from a professional. Moreover, Dr. Hamid Hafni Dawood is an Egyption Sunni scholar, who was a teacher in Aligrah Islamic university in India and was a student for the renowned Sunni scholar Sheikh Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari (d. 1371 H) affirms the concept of Raj’ah in his book Nadrat fi al-Kutub al-Khalida, pages 180-181:

His mocking statement about Shias that Raj’ah is the deed of the one who doesn’t read Quran carefully…where is Ahmad Amin about Uzair’s story, where is he about the story of the people of cave and these are intact verses and the statement of Allah is sufficient: Or the like of him (Uzair) who passed by a town, and it had fallen down upon its roofs; he said: When will Allah give it life after its death? So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him to life. He said: How long have you tarried? He said: I have tarried a day, or a part of a day. Said He: Nay! you have tarried a hundred years; then look at your food and drink– years have not passed over it; and look at your ass; and that We may make you a sign to men, and look at the bones, how We set them together, then clothed them with flesh; so when it became clear to him, he said: I know that Allah has power over all things. 002.259

The great grandfather of Ashraf Ali Thanvi believed in the Raj’ah of his dead grandfather

We read a fascinating incident in Ashrafus-Sawaneh Volume 1 page 12 (biography of Ashraf Ali Thanvi) about the great grandfather of Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Muhammad Fareed. He was accompanying a marriage procession when it was attacked by a band of thieves. Muhammad Fareed died defending the procession and was buried close to the tomb of Pir Samauddin. An Urs (festival) was held at his grave for many years. The biographer writes:

“After his martyrdom a strange incident occurred. At night, he returned to his home as if he was alive and gave some sweets to his family members saying, ‘If you do not tell (about my visit) to anyone, I shall keep coming this way.’ But the family members feared that the people may suspect something wrong when they see the children eating sweets, so they disclosed the incident and after this he did not return.”
Ashraf us Safaneh, Volume 1 page 12

Azam Tariq and his like minded Nasibi ilk assert that belief that anyone shall return prior to the Day of Judgement is kufr. We invite his followers to take a good long look at this reference. Your great Imams grandfather rose from the grave and was even able to distribute sweets to his grandchildren. If Nawasib are prepared to accept the Raj’ah of an ordinary man, why the abhorrence of we believe in the Raj’ah of the Saints and Prophets during the appearance of Imam Mahdi (as)?

 

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