Refutation of the article “How to Approach the Shia Brothers”
The article “How to Approach the Shi’a Brother” published at www.allaahuakbar.net, which has been rotating all over the internet since then purports to be an irrefutable method of refuting the Shi’a, using the same arguments about Imamate and the Qur’an made at Ansar.org. The author who claims to be an ex Shi’a that found the right path, has become a revered personalities for the Nasibis, and they extol the author and the worship the article, in the same way that the misguided Jews extolled Samari and worshipped a golden calf, whilst Musa (as) went to Mount Tur! The author opens his article with an observation: that debates between Sunnis and Shi’as revolve around the same old issues, without there ever being a positive result. He lists several such debates:
- The story of Fadak
- The story of Omar (RA) and Pen and Paper
- The battles of Siffin, Jamal
- The attitude of Moawiah against Ali (RA)
- Karbala and the martyrdom of Hussain (RA)
- The story of Ghadire Khom (this is more relevant than others but still far away from the main issue)
- The debates about Tahrif of Quran
- The debates about Bukhaaree and Muslim and their collections
- The stories regarding our mother Ayeshah (RA)
- The stories regarding Saqifah of Bani Saedeh
- Combining the prayers, issues about Azan, ablution and so on
- Things like visiting graves, calling a dead and so on
He then argues that such debates tend to be futile. Instead, the author advises, Sunnis (or “mainstream Muslims” as he refers to them) should not enter into debates with the Shi’a about things like Saqifah, Fadak, or any other such thing, but rather to attack the Shi’a about their core doctrine of Imamate. This, he feels, is the Achilles heel of Shi’ism, and that a Sunni can successfully convert a Shi’a to Sunnism by focusing on this issue and avoiding all else. For according to the article, the doctrine of Imamate has no Qur’anic basis, and once this is proved any un-biased Shi’a will immediately leave his religion to join the “mainstream Muslims.”
The fact that the author of this article is advising the Sunnis to not enter into debates about these issues proves the degree to which the Sunni stance is proven wrong on all of them. The author’s real intent is to do what all Sunni polemicists do: minimize issues of massive importance in Islamic history. He is also attempting to make an artificial separation between the above-listed issues and the question of Imamate. But as we can see, nearly all of the issues listed above figure directly upon the question of Imamate. The author is attempting a very subtle deception here. Certainly, it is the height of madness to think that the hadeeth (not the “story”) of Ghadir Khum, where the Prophet (s) said:: “Whoever I am the Lord [mawla] of, then Ali is his Lord as well” has nothing to do with the issue of Imamate, and that it is a side issue. Let us cite the Hadeeth from the pen of Allamah Dr Muhamad Tahir ul Qadri in the Ghadir Declaration wherein he recorded 51 Hadith in relation to the event of Ghadir, this is the fifth narration:
“It is narrated by Bara’ bin ‘azib (r): We were on a journey with Allah’s Messenger (s). (On the way) we stayed at Ghadir Khum. There it was announced that the prayer was about to be offered. The space under two trees was cleaned for Allah’s Messenger (s). Then he offered the zuhr (noon) prayer, and, holding ‘Ali’s hand, he said: Don’t you know that I am even nearer than the lives of the believers? They said: Why not! He said: Don’t you know that I am even nearer than the life of every believer? They said: Why not! The narrator says that he said while holding ‘Ali’s hand: One who has me as his master has ‘Ali as his master. O Allah! Befriend the one who befriends him (‘Ali) and be the enemy of one who is his enemy. The narrator says that after this ‘Umar (bin al-Khattab (r)) met ‘Ali (r) and said to him: O Ibn Abi Talib! Congratulations, you have become the master of every male and female believer, morning and evening (for ever).”
Ahmad bin Hambal related it from Bara’ bin ‘azib through two different chains of transmission in al-Musnad (4:281); Ibn Abi Shaybah, al-Musannaf (12:78 # 12167); Muhib Tabari, Dhakha’ir-ul-‘uqba fi manaqib dhawi al-qurba (p.125), ar-Riyad-un-nadrah fi manaqib-il-‘ashrah (3:126, 127); Hindi, Kanz-ul-‘ummal (13:133, 134 # 36420); Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh Dimashq al-kabir (5:167, 168); Ibn Athir, Asad-ul-ghabah (4:103); and Ibn Kathir in al-Bidayah wan-nihayah (4:169; 5:464)]
The Ghadir Declaration, page 25
When the Prophet (s) openly announced that all must obey ‘Ali, and brought all the Muslims to come and take ba’yah with ‘Ali, then how can we say such an event has nothing to do with Imamate? The story of Fadak is another critical issue. It is the Shi’a contention that Abu Bakr usurped the inheritance of Fatima (as), the daughter of the Prophet (s). If he actually did this (and all Sunni hadeeth literature bears witness to this event), then any open minded Muslim would have to ask himself: Was Abu Bakr suitable to be the Imam of the Muslims? Was he really the inheritor of the Prophet (s), or not? By telling his Sunni brethren to avoid entering into these issues and focus on theory of Imamate, he is affectively telling his Sunni brethren to avoid discussing some of the most contentious issues surrounding Imamate, and stick to something which he thinks it is easy to attack the Shi’a on (and, as well will see, this is not the case).
Furthermore, by avoiding these issues, the Sunni author opens himself up to another fatal problem: once you have successfully called the Shi’a away from his belief system, what are you calling him to? Is it legitimate to call him to a belief system in which the robbery and murder of the Prophet (s)’s family are subsidiary issues? If the violent oppression of the Prophet (s)’s family is only a side issue, then what is a main issue in Islam? To artificially separate the questions of Fadak, Saqifa, Ghadeer, and Karbala from the issue of Imamate is, indeed, the height of caprice. In the end, the author’s casual dismissal of Karbala and Fadak shows the general casual disregard of the Prophet (s) and his family that exists throughout Sunni aqeedah and fiqh. A Muslim who loves the Holy Prophet (s) can never consider Karbala to be a side event, or something that is not of importance. There is nobody, in the world, who denies that Imam Hussain (as) was brutally murdered, along with almost all of his male relatives (and some female as well) on the plains of Karbala. This happened. If somebody has the slightest love for the Prophet (s) in his heart, how can he not look at such an event with horror, and rage at the ones who did it. This is a sign of belief.
But then one must ask a further questions:what about the people who enabled the despicable tyrant Yazid to murder Imam Hussain (as)? When one realizes that the person who murdered him, Yazid son of Mu’awiyah, was put in power by his father for no other reason except that he was the eldest son, than a real believer will have to ask himself about the character of Mu’awiyah and his suitability to being Imam of the Muslims. When one realizes that Mu’awiyah was also a “companion” of the Prophet (s), one must then begin to doubt the truth in the Sunni belief that all the companions will go to Paradise, that all of them are righteous, and that “whichever one you follow, you will be guided.” Finally, if one looks in the history one realizes that Mu’awiyah was not the first sultan of the vicious Umayyad dynasty that ruled over the Muslims for centuries, but rather that Mu’awiyah owed his power, wealth, and armies to ‘Uthman, the third of the “rightly guided” khalifas. Once that is questioned, it throws the entirety of the Sunni belief system into disarray. These questions are not side-issues; they are integral to one’s faith. To casually dismiss the murder of the Prophet (s)’s grandson, or to casually dismiss the usurption of his only daughter’s inheritance, is the sign of somebody who has never felt genuine love for the Prophet (s).
The real reason, of course, that the Sunni author is telling his brethren to avoid entering into these debates is because victory in these debates is hopeless. How can anybody hope to defend the massacre of Karbala? How can anybody claim that the event of Fadak never happened, when all Sunni hadeeth literature bears witness to it? How can anybody claim that Abu Bakr had not forged the hadeeth“Prophets do not leave any inheritance,” when Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an “Solomon inherited from David?” These arguments are, indeed, futile for those who are attempting to uphold the wilayat of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar over and above the wilayat of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. The author does not say this, of course. Rather, he writes:
The above are the issues for which there are lots of material provided by Shia in Internet and Shia feels very easy and comfortable to find the relevant material and copy and paste it in a discussion. Actually for them it is like repeating a same prescription. Most of the above issues at the end rely on Hadeeth and what happens is that Shia base the argument on certain Hadeeth and mainstream Muslims base their argument on another sort of Hadeeth and they will ended up with fighting to prove a Hadeeth is authentic and the other one is not. From there they usually get no where, because first of all, people generally do not have enough knowledge about verifying if a Hadeeth is authentic and even if they do so, they still cannot prove their points cause verifying if a Hadeeth is authentic is itself depending to the words of mouths of fallible scholars. While I agree that in many of the above cases, Shia people try to disfigure the story and very ruthlessly attack great SAHآBAH on the basis of their biased understanding of these stories, I still remain in my position that talking about the above leads the two sides to no where (as evident in the last 1000 years).
The point, then, is that such debates cannot be finished. But this is non-sense; such debates finish quite easily, if only the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) will drop their prejudices and think rationally. Such debates become circular and endless because of the mind-bending logic used by Sunnis in such discussions. To present a personal example:
I was once arguing with a Sunni about the question of Fadak. I posed him the question: “Do you agree that Fatima (as) was angry at Abu Bakr over Fadak?” To which he replied: “Yes, of course,” for there is no doubt about this, and not a single Sunni ‘alim has ever denied it. I then asked: “Do you think it is rational to believe that the Prophet (s) never got around to telling Fatima (as) that she was not going to get one penny of inheritance from her father? Would not any sane, loving father (much less the Prophet of Islam (s)) tell his daughter about this at some point in her life?” To which he responded: “Well, the Prophet (s) was very busy. Maybe he forgot.”
This type of response is insulting to both parties in the debate. It is really demeaning for a Sunni to utter such non-sense, that any rational person would recognize as foolish. The type of Sunni-Shi’a debates this Sunni author eludes to tend to get nowhere because the Sunni side resorts to such non-sense when they are back into a corner.
The fact is that all of these issues (Fadak, Karbala, etc.) are glaring examples of Sunni Islam’s intellectual and spiritual poverty. This particular author has realized how futile are the arguments and debates offered by websites like ansar.org and Nida al-Islam Magazine. Instead of doing this, because Sunnis are hopeless outclassed by their own ‘ulama and their own hadeeth literature, he is now calling on us to return the issue of Imamate to the Qur’an and put us aside all of Sunni history’s most embarrassing and disgusting moments. Now, let us turn to the Qur’an on this issue.
Imamate and the Qur’an
The Sunni argument that Imamate has no basis in Qur’an is not an original or new one. The author writes:
When you want to help a Shia to realize how deviated he/she is from Islam or to help a fellow Muslim from the mainstream not to be deceived by Shia, there are TWO QUESTIONS that completely do the job for you:
Question One: Where is the doctrine of IMAAMAT in Quran?
Question Two: How does the current IMAAM lead Shia?
Let us deal with the first question, as the second question is dealt with in the final chapter of the book. Before we begin, let us understand the terms of the debate. The author, in using the term Imamate, carefully points out that he does not mean the question of leadership per se. He does not mean Imamate in its general sense, but rather the specifically Shi’ite doctrine of Imamate (infallibility, Divine appointment, etc.).
His question, then, is a challenge to locate this specific doctrine of Imamate in the Qur’an. If we read the article carefully, we will see what a hypocritical question it is. Of course, it is clear that the authors goal in posing this question is immediately shift the debate against the Shi’a, and avoid the question of where the Sunni doctrine of Imamate is to be found in the Qur’an, i.e., that drunkards, homosexuals, and murderers can be given leadership over the Muslims and are owed the same obedience as is owed to God. Note that he writes in his article:
Any groups of people tend to elect some one as their leader. And the rational and most reasonable way to do so is by election. This is a routine social/political practice. Certainly no system of public election was established at that time and the election of Aboobakr was done through negotiation of present people. You might think that it was not a good choice or that not all qualified people were presented at the time, that’s your opinion but it has nothing to do with looking for evidences in Quran about it. It’s just a routine social practice that was and is and will be done in any society and no logical mind would expect a divine evidence for that Having said that, once the SAHآBAH of the holy prophet agree on a great SAHآBAH like Aboobakr (RA) to become the Khalifah, then it is the duty of all Muslims to obey him for the sake of Islam and unity
This is a very bold statement: that we must obey a person, even if we believe he is a sinner and an enemy of Islam, simply because the majority (or even not the majority!) decide to make him the Imam.. Oddly enough, this doctrine has absolutely no basis in the Holy Qur’an. He is saying that it is the duty of all Muslims to obey such an individual, and we should assume that by “duty” he means that it is something obligatory in Islamic law. Yet the author provides no evidence for it, and in fact dismisses the whole question. After calling upon the Shi’a to justify their doctrine in Imamate, he has the audacity to write
You might think that it was not a good choice or that not all qualified people were presented at the time, that’s your opinion but it has nothing to do with looking for evidences in Quran about it.
This, then, is the author’s stance about Imamate: that we do not need to bother going to the Qur’an to see whether or not the Imam selected is a proper Imam or not. It is merely a matter of opinion. If this is the case, than why do we need to even bring this question to the Qur’an? The author is demanding that we prove our belief in our Imams on the Qur’an, while simultaneously saying that we should not go the Qur’an in order to see whether or not the Imam selected by the Muslim community is suitable for that position or not. This is insanity. How would the author feel if the Shi’a response about Imam ‘Ali (as) was: “Well, we don’t have any evidence from the Qur’an, and deciding on who the Imam is has nothing to do with looking for evidences in the Qur’an about it. We just like ‘Ali and think he was really great, and we just don’t like Abu Bakr and think he was really bad.” Is this an Islamic argument?
So let us understand exactly what the author is saying: even though the question of who should be the Imam has “nothing to do with looking for evidences in Qur’an about it,” we are supposed to justify our belief in Imamate based on the Qur’an. This is a wonderful double-standard: Sunnis do not have to ground their belief in Imamate on the Qur’an, but Shi’as do.
In spite of the author’s glaring hypocrisy, however, we will take up his question. We will not ask him to justify his belief in the Qur’an because “Allah does not command a soul more than it can bear,” and most certainly attempting to use the Qur’an to prove that homosexuals, drunkards, and murderers are suitable to be the successors of the Prophet (s) is more than any soul can bear, and as such we will be just and not command them to do the impossible and make 2+2=5.
We may now turn to the debate itself. The challenge is to find the doctrine of Imamate in the Qur’an. This is how the author defines Imamate:
The doctrine of Imaamat: Apart from Prophets, there are another group of God appointed persons called Imams. These are people who are infallible and have access to a knowledge that is not accessible by ordinary people. The world cannot be empty of an Imam otherwise it will be destroyed. In the Islamic context, these individuals are 12 people among the descendants of the Holy Prophet who are appointed by no one but God to lead Muslims. Any one who chooses any leader other than these 12 is misguided and not a complete believer. The twelfth (last) of the above Imams is Mahdi and is alive and in occultation (now) for more than 1000 years and will come out of his occultation when God wants”.
The first problem is that this is not the Shi’ite doctrine of Imamate. The doctrine of Imamate is not that there were Twelve Imams (as) after the Prophet (s), though this is part of the doctrine of Imamate. Rather, the doctrine of Imamate is that there is always an infallible, Divinely appointed guide amongst the human race. Sometimes this person may be a Prophet, sometimes a Messenger, and sometimes merely the inheritor of a Messenger or Prophet, but there is always such a person regardless of his particular status. This is the doctrine of Imamate, pure and simple.
Now, challenging us to prove that this doctrine is in the Qur’an is a bit like challenging someone to prove that there are trees in the forest. Next to the Oneness of God, the doctrine of constant constant human guidance is the singularly most common theme in the Holy Qur’an. It is re-iterated again and again and again. We have in our discussions on Imamate in the Qur’an cited the fact that Allah (s.w.a.) makes statements such as “We made from amongst them leaders who guided by Our command” (Surah as-Sajdah: 23-24), ….”We wished to make them leaders“ (Surah al-Qasas : 5)., …”(Oh Allah!) make us leaders“ (Surah al-Furqan: 74).These verses reiterate the fact that ‘Imams, ‘Khalifas’ (leaders) are selected and appointed ONLY by Allah (swt) and not MEN. This is the clear and unmistakeable position of the Holy Quran on this point which has been FURTHER REINFORCED Besides the specific verses where Allah (swt) praises Himself for sending every people a guide, we also see that every historical account of the past prophets serve to emphasize this fact.
Ask Shia to ONLY give you the verses with NO additions to the translation and NO Hadeeth to support a certain interpretation of the verse and NO personal commentaries. Do this and you will see how helpless the arguments will be.
Alhamdolillah the Qur’anic evidences of Imamate have been refuted in our article on Imamate and we would urge our readers to read it before reading this chapter further.
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