Shattering the Mirage: A Response to ‘Abdul Hussain Sharaf al Din’s al Muraja’at: Letter 17 and 18

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Letter 17 

 

Thul-Hijjah 3, 1329 A.H.

 

I. Appreciating the debater’s sentiments

II. Admitting There is no Objection if Ahl ul-Sunnah Rely on Shi’a Authorities

III. His belief in the Miracles of Ahlul Bayt

IV. Dilemma at Compromising the Above with what Ahl Al Qibla do

 
 

1) I swear by your eyes that I have never seen anyone more good-hearted, faster in dealing with the topic, more attentive, deeper in vision, stronger in argument, clearer in proof, than you. Your letters have come like a flowing waterfall, and your arguments have taken control over all my senses and sentiments. Your latest letter twists the necks of men, smashes the head of falsehood.

 

2) The Sunni no longer has any excuse for not relying on his Shi’a brother if the latter is trustworthy. Your view in this regard is the clear truth, and that of your opponents is nothing more than fanaticism and intolerance. Their argument that it is wrong to rely on the Shi’as contradicts their actual deeds, and their deeds in fact contradict their arguments. Their arguments and deeds do not race with each other in the arena, nor do they pursue the same goal, due to the clash between them which causes them to clash.

For this reason, their argument has been proven faulty, while yours remains invincible. During such a short time, you have produced what I would consider a dissertation for which a title like “Shi’a Authorities in Support of Sunni Authorities” may be appropriate. The objective is not to defend this sect or that or win an argument; rather, I hope it will, if Allah so wills, bring a glorious reform to the Islamic world.

 

3) We believe in all Allah’s miracles, in those of our Master the Commander of the Faithful, and in those of Ahlul Bayt, peace be upon them, more than what you indicate.

 

4) The question now is why have the people of the qibla turned away from following the path of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam? Why didn’t they worship Allah through their own concepts of usul and furu’? Why have they not taken their word as the final word in the matter in which they differed? Why have the nation’s scholars not been researching their views?

Why have they instead opposed them ideologically? The nation’s scholars have always been, from sons to fathers, referring to those besides Ahlul Bayt without denying doing so. If the Book’s verses and the Sunnah’s texts are as you indicate, Ahl al Qibla would not have turned away from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt, nor would they have accepted any alternative to them. But they did not understand of the Book and the Sunnah other than the praise of Ahlul Bayt, and the necessity of loving and respecting them. The ancestors are closer to the truth and more familiar with the meanings of the Sunnah and the Book

 

(“and follow their own guidance (Qur’an, 6:90),”

 

Wassalam.

Sincerely,

S

 

Letter 18

 

Thul-Hijjah 4, 1329

 

I. Sentiments Reciprocated

II. Debater’s Error in Generalizing Regarding Ahl al Qibla

III. The Nation’s Politicians are the Ones Who Turned Away from Ahlul Bayt

IV. The Imams of Ahlul Bayt are not Inferior to others

V. Which Fair Court Judges Calling Their Followers “Strayers”?

 

1) Thank you for thinking so highly of me, the unworthy that I am, and I appreciate your compliments as well as the contents of my letters; therefore, I look humbly to such gracefulness, and I bow down before such kindness to honour its greatness and prestige.

 

2) But I request you to reconsider what you have stated regarding those who turned away from Ahlul Bayt, generalizing them about all Ahl al Qibla. I remind you that half of Ahl al Qibla are the Shi’as of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who have not turned away nor shall ever turn away from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt in as far as the origins and branches of the faith are concerned.

It is their view that following their sect, peace be upon them, is one of the strict commandments of the Book and the Sunnah; therefore, they worship Allah Almighty thus in every time and place. This is the way of their good ancestors as well as that of their posterity since the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away.

 

3) Those who have turned away from the beliefs of Ahlul Bayt in as far as the roots and branches of the creed are concerned are the nation’s politicians, the ones who control its destiny, due to their turning away from the succession (to the Prophet), affecting such a succession by elections, although they knew for sure that it was assigned for the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam.

They saw that the Arabs would not tolerate such a succession if restricted to one dynasty; therefore, they started interpreting its texts, assuming power through elections so that every suburb of theirs may enjoy it sooner or later. So, it was here and it was there. They sacrificed their means and might to keep it that way and support that principle, eradicating all contrary views and trends. Necessity forced them to turn away from the school of thought of Ahlul Bayt.

They started interpreting the texts of the Book or the Sunnah to mean the necessity of following such a concept. Had they yielded to the clear proofs, and referred the elite and the commoners to them in matters relevant to the roots and branches of religion, they would have found no alternative to adhering to their principle. They would have then become among the greatest callers to Ahlul Bayt. But this did not agree with their ambition, scheme and politics.

Whoever looks carefully in these matters will find out that turning away from the imams of Ahlul Bayt in his sect is but turning away from their leadership, which was next only to that of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and that interpreting the arguments regarding their special leadership was adopted after interpreting the arguments regarding their general leadership; otherwise, nobody would have turned away from them.

 

4) Leave their texts and arguments alone, and look at them while overlooking the former; do you then find them, in their knowledge, deeds, or worship, less than Imam al Ash’ari, or the other four Imams, or any others at all? And if the answer is No, then why should others be followed then? Leadership should be given to the most qualified.

 

5) Which just arbitrator decides that those who uphold their rope and follow into their footsteps are strayers? Sunnis are above passing such a judgment, and peace be with you.

 

Sincerely,

Sh

 
 

Discussions

 

Excessive self-praise

The convenience of a forged letter is that ‘Abdul Hussain could praise himself at great lengths with his opponents pen. At the same time he could provide lack-lustre arguments that are built on faulty premises. Naturally these less-than-satisfactory objections provide the platform for ‘Abdul Hussain, from which he is quite free to redress any ‘misconceptions’ and present his own objections without fear of opposition.

 

The Sunni no longer has an excuse to accept Shia narrations

Our discussions over the previous two sets of correspondence has clarified the Sunni position in sufficient detail. It is exceedingly hard to believe that the Sheikh al Azhar would have been oblivious of these elementary principles which are expounded upon in the summarized primers of this discipline, and have been applied in the earliest of primary sources.

‘Abdul Hussain’s sleight of hand is that he passes of individuals like Zurarah ibn A’yan, as the trustworthy Shia narrators who deserve to be relied upon. Wheres even the ‘infallible’ Imams had cursed individuals like Zurarah, accusing them of lying in the names of the Ahlul Bayt.[1] Incidentally, Imam Jafar al Sadiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu is on record having said, “No one has brought innovation into Islam as Zurarah has; may Allah curse him!”[2]

So in essence, the narration of a Shia who is trustworthy, competent, and avoids deception is deserving of acceptance. The problem, however, is that the bulk of the narrations quoted by ‘Abdul Hussain are not by way of those Shia. Unfortunately he primarily relies on those whose reputation is not much different from Zurarah.

 

Would further research forge Sunni-Shia unity?

‘Abdul Hussain uses the pen of Sheikh Salim al Bishri to encourage himself to further research the subject of Shia narrators in Sunni Hadith literature. This is seen as potential public-relations strategy which can bring about Sunni-Shia unity. But is that really possible? Would ‘Abdul Hussain be capable of truly representing the legacy of the Ahus Sunnah considering his outright slander of Abu Hurairah in a book dedicated to the personality of Abu Hurairah and his capacity as a narrator of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Hadith? Would someone like ‘Abdul Hussain resist the temptation to bend the truth after all the deception he is already found guilty of?

 

Neglect of the school of Ahlul Bayt

The objection that is allegedly raised presumes that the Ahus Sunnah have neglected the school of Ahlul Bayt in both the essentials and the secondary issues. The underlying assumptions upon which this objections rests is flawed on many fronts. Who is intended by Ahlul Bayt? Did the Ahlul Bayt have a separate ‘school’? Have the Ahus Sunnah dispensed with the knowledge transmitted by way of the Ahlul Bayt?

As far as the Ahus Sunnah is concerned, the term Ahlul Bayt applies firstly to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives, then his relatives who accepted Islam from Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib.

The evidence that supports this is overwhelming and due to this not being the primary discussion we will suffice with a few proofs from the Qur’an as well as from the Hadith.

 

يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِيْ فِيْ قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوْفًا وَقَرْنَ فِيْ بُيُوْتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُوْلٰى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِيْنَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيْرًا وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلٰى فِيْ بُيُوْتِكُنَّ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللّٰهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ لَطِيْفًا خَبِيْرًا

O wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah, then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech. And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity, O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification. And remember what is recited in your houses of the verses of Allah and wisdom. Indeed, Allah is ever Subtle and Acquainted [with all things].[3]

 

The wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are clearly being addressed in these verses. Thus, their inclusion in Ahlul Bayt is established in the Qur’an. Below, we will present a number of Ahadith which support the fact that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives are included in Ahlul Bayt.

Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال بني على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بزينب بنت جحش بخبز ولحم فأرسلت على الطعام داعيا فيجيء قوم فيأكلون ويخرجون ثم يجيء قوم فيأكلون ويخرجون فدعوت حتى ما أجد أحدا أدعو فقلت يا نبي الله ما أجد أحدا أدعوه قال ارفعوا طعامكم وبقي ثلاثة رهط يتحدثون في البيت فخرج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فانطلق إلى حجرة عائشة فقال السلام عليكم أهل البيت ورحمة الله فقالت وعليك السلام ورحمة الله كيف وجدت أهلك بارك الله لك فتقرى حجر نسائه كلهن يقول لهن كما يقول لعائشة ويقلن له كما قالت عائشة ثم رجع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فإذا ثلاثة من رهط في البيت يتحدثون وكان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم شديد الحياء فخرج منطلقا نحو حجرة عائشة فما أدري آخبرته أو أخبر أن القوم خرجوا فرجع حتى إذا وضع رجله في أسكفة الباب داخلة وأخرى خارجة أرخى الستر بيني وبينه وأنزلت آية الحجاب

A Walimah [wedding feast] of bread and meat was held on the occasion of the marriage of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to Zainab bint Jahsh radiya Llahu ‘anha. I was sent to invite the people (to the Walimah), and so the people started coming (in groups); They would eat and then leave. Another batch would come, eat and leave. So I kept on inviting the people till I found nobody to invite.

Then I said, “O Messenger of Allah! I do not find anybody else to invite.”

He said, “Carry away the remaining food.”

Then a group of three people stayed behind in the house chatting.

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left and went towards the home of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and said, “Assalamu ‘Alaykum Ahlul Bayt.”

She replied, “Peace and the mercy of Allah be on you too. How did you find your Ahl [wife]? May Allah bless you.”

Then he went to the homes of all his other wives and said to them the same as he said to Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and they said to him the same as she had said to him. Then the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam returned and found the same group of three persons still in the house chatting. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a very shy person, so he went out (for the second time) and went towards the home of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. I do not remember whether I informed him that the people have gone away, or he was told of it, so he returned. As soon as he entered he drew the curtain between me and him, and then the Verse of Hijab was revealed.[4]

 

Abu Humaid al Sa’idi radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

قالوا يا رسول الله كيف نصلي عليك فقال ‏‏قولوا اللهم صل على محمد وأزواجه وذريته كما صليت على آل إبراهيم وبارك على محمد وأزواجه وذريته كما باركت على آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد

They asked the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam how they were to ask for blessings upon him and he replied that they should say, “Allahumma Salli ala Muhammadin wa Azwajihi wa Dhurriyyatihi, kama Sallayta ala Ali Ibrihim, wa Barik ala Muhammadin wa Azwajihi wa Dhurriyyatihi, kama Barakta ala Ali Ibrahim, innaka Hamidun Majid.”

O Allah, bless Muhammad and his wives and his descendants as You blessed the Al [family] of Ibrahim, and give barakah to Muhammad and his wives and his descendants as You gave barakah to the Al [family] of Ibrahim. You are worthy of Praise and Glorious.[5]

 

Jubayr ibn Mut’im radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

عن جبير بن مطعم قال مشيت أنا وعثمان بن عفان إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلنا يا رسول الله أعطيت بني المطلب وتركتنا ونحن وهم منك بمنزلة واحدة فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إنما بنو المطلب وبنو هاشم شيء واحد

قال الليث حدثني يونس وزاد قال جبير ولم يقسم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لبني عبد شمس ولا لبني نوفل

When the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam distributed the share for his relatives to Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib, I came to him with ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and we said, “O Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, how come you have given the share (of al Khumus from Khaybar) to Banu al Muttalib and left us, when we both share the same degree of (family) relationship to you.”

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib are the same.”

So the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not give anything to Banu ‘Abd Shams and Banu Nawfal.[6]

 

The narration above shows that Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib are included in the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family. The Ahus Sunnah narrates from the entire spectrum of Ahlul Bayt who were known for knowledge. Al Bukhari alone narrrates from ‘Abbas, ‘Ali, Fatimah, Umm Hani’, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, Fadl ibn ‘Abbas, Kathir ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar ibn Abi Talib, Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘Abdullah ibn al Harith ibn Nawfal, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn al Harith ibn Nawfal, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib [ibn al Hanafiyyah], ‘Ali ibn al Hussain [Zayn al ‘Abidin], Muhammad ibn ‘Ali [al Baqir], ‘Abdullah ibn al Fadl, Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn Hassan ibn ‘Ali, Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah. These are but a few names from the Ahlul Bayt whose narrations are to be found in Sahih al Bukhari.

How could the Ahus Sunnah be accused of disregarding the legacy of the Ahlul Bayt when, if the Asharah Mubashsharah[7] — who are accorded the highest status among the Companions — are considered, then ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the one who has the most narrations recorded among them. Abu al Hajjaj al Mizzi has compiled a phenomenal index of all the narrations appearing in the six major collections titled Tuhfat al Ashraf. He has arranged all the narrations according to the Companion who narrates it from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is no surprise that ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrations number the highest among them, reaching a total of 332 narrations in the six major primary Hadith collections. He is followed by ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whose narrations total 312, and then Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu at 121 narrations.

If we were to widen the scope of the survey and consider some of the other earlier texts, we could include the findings taken from the encyclopedia of Ahmed ibn ‘Ali ibn Hajar who used al Mizzi’s idea and indexed the narrations of eleven other major Hadith collections in a book titled Ithaf al Maharah. The results of surveying this encyclopedia reveals that the narrations from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in these works exceeds the total of any of the other nine. Ahus Sunnah have recorded a total of 877 narrations from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in these other Hadith collections, next is ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu with 787 narrations.

On the other hand, there is not a single narration from Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the entire collection of al Kafi which comprises over 16000 narrations! The number of narrations from the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam grandsons, Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, found in the Sahihayn outnumber the number of narrations in al Kafi. It appears that the Ahus Sunnah have preserved the legacy of the Ahl al Kisa[8] to a greater extent than those who deem them infallible. The shocker is that al Saduq ibn Babawayh acknowledges the fact that very little was passed on from ‘Ali Zayn al ‘Abidin.[9] The poignant question is that if the Ahlul Bayt were advocating an alternative approach to the Ahus Sunnah in terms of doctrine and practise, where were the Shia receiving instruction from for almost a century as the legacy of the Ahlul Bayt in general, and the Ahl al Kisa specifically, was preserved to a greater extent by the Ahus Sunnah?

 

Demolishing the straw-man

‘Abdul Hussain’s responses are primarily targeted at the strawman objection that he penned in the name of his debater. He flatters him for the sake of convenience and to give some credibility to the exchange. While the details of the correspondence might be counterfeight, ‘Abdul Hussain is playing the role of a social influencer to the innocent, unguarded, educated class of his age. The broad assumptions which cloak the innaccuracies of ‘Abdul Hussain’s discourse could not possibly stir a scholar of the stature of Sheikh al Azhar. The distortion of fact, and a calculated misrepresentation of what a potential Sunni argument might be serves as the perfect medium for propoganda.

The first misleading detail is the claim that half of the Muslims never turned away from Ahlul Bayt, and never shall they turn away. We have already demonstrated that nobody turned away from Ahlul Bayt. On the contrary, a forged ideology was retrospectively conceived in the name of the Ahlul Bayt and the later Shia had to develop a counter-narrative to accommodate for this. That being said, even if we were to accept that narrative temporarily we find that people like ‘Abdul Hussain always get caught in their lies. The claim that only fifty-percent of Muslims ‘turned away from Ahlul Bayt’ is grossly inflated. Let any Shia scholar name some of the prominent adherents of the ‘path of Ahlul Bayt’ during that time. Despite the forced conversions during the Safawid reign of terror and recent proselytisation efforts, the Shia — considering all their factions — barely exceed ten-percent of the world’s Muslim.

Compare that with what has been narrated by al Kulayni and ratified by al Majlisi, from Abu Jafar al Baqir:

 

“After the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing the people turned apostate except for three.”

[The narrator says] I asked who they were.

Abu Jafar replied, “Miqdad ibn al Aswad, Abu Dharr al Ghifari, and Salman al Farisi. May Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon them, for it is them around whom the grinding stone of Islam revolved.”[10]

 

As catastrophic the implications of such a narration might be, it shows that ‘Abdul Hussain’s cajoling was nothing more than an act for his readers. Furthermore it belies the claim that those who — in keeping with the Shia narrative — remained on the path of Ahlul Bayt represented half the Ummah!

The second misleading detail is that ‘the nations politicians’ opted for elections and abandoned the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Wasiyyah [bequest] for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Worse still that this was to apease the various Arab tribes with the hope of future leadership.

This could not be more inaccurate since those present at Saqifah Bani Sa’idah, whom ‘Abdul Hussain dubs ‘the nations poiliticians’,[11] argued that leadership can only be with the Quraysh.

Al Tabari describes the incident at Saqifah thus, from ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

What happened when Allah took his Messenger is that the Ansar had assembled under the canopy of Banu Sa’idah, whilst ‘Ali and Zubair and those with them were absent from us in the house of Fatimah. The Muhajirin gathered around Abu Bakr and I said, “Let us go to our brothers from the Ansar.”

So we set of heading towards them. On the way two pious men who witnessed Badr met us and said, “Where are you heading, O Muhajirin?”

We said, “We intend meeting our brothers from the Ansar.”

They said, “Return and discuss your matter amongst yourselves (Muhajirin).”

We replied, “By Allah! We will go and see them.”

(He said) We went to them and they were gathered at the meeting place of Banu Sa’idah and amongst them there was a man covered with his shawl.

I said, “Who is this?” and they replied, “Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah.”

I asked, “What is the matter with him?”

They replied, “He is sick.”

Then a man amongst them stood up praised Allah and said, “Indeed we are the Ansar and the legion of Islam and you are the Quraysh, the kinsmen of our Prophet, and a group of you has come to us …”

When I realised they intended to leave us without a say and exclude us from the matter… I had prepared an impressive speech in my mind which I intended to present before Abu Bakr in such a manner that it would pacify his anger somewhat (if I spoke out of turn). When I intended to speak he bade me to keep silent and I did not want to disobey him.

Then he stood up and praised Allah, and he was more composed and tolerant than me. He did not omit a single thing I had formulated in my mind that I intended to say if I had to speak except that he expressed it more eloquently.

He said, “O Ansar! You have not mentioned a single virtue about yourselves except that you are worthy of it. (That being said) the Arabs do not recognise leadership except in this tribe of the Quraysh. They are the greatest of Arabs in terms of residence and lineage. I am pleased with either of these two men. Pledge your allegiance to either of the two you prefer,” and he grabbed hold of my hand and the hand of Abu ‘Ubaydah.

By Allah, I approved of everything he said besides this statement. For me to be brought forward and have my neck chopped off was easier for me than to be selected as the leader of a community which included Abu Bakr.

When Abu Bakr completed his speech a man amongst them stood up and said, “I am the one with the solution and most deserving of consultation; a leader from amongst you and a leader from amongst us, O Quraysh!”

Then the voices started to rise and the noise started to increase.

I said to Abu Bakr, “Extend your hand so that I can give you the pledge!” and he extended his hand and I gave him my pledge, and the Muhajirin gave him their pledge, and the Ansar gave him their pledge…”[12]

 

It is evident from this historic report which describes what happened at Saqifah Bani Sa’idah that ‘Abdul Hussain’s reasoning is substantiated only in his imagination and is without any basis, whether from historical sources or from Hadith literature.

To claim that there was a Wasiyyah for ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu leadership is one that is yet to be established. As far as Ahus Sunnah is concerned no such Wasiyyah exists, and the narrations found in the Shia books are clear forgeries. Source evidence aside, the fact that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu fought Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu at Siffin demanding that he gives his pledge of allegiance indicates that he considered his own instatement through Shura a valid instatement. Had he been aware of any bequest from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam he would have demanded that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and the three Khulafa before him, acknowledge his appointment in light of this text. His comportment throughout is inconsistent with someone whose appointment was by way of bequest.

Beyond this, we find that ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu policies and religious practise was not very different from that of his three companions before him radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Does this mean that he succumbed to their ‘schemes and politics’ and even he strayed from the way of Ahlul Bayt? Worse still is the fact that his son, Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, abdicated in favour of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu; was this because he too was influenced?

 

Imams are not inferior

The emotional outburst that the Imams are not inferior to Abu Hanifah, Malik, al Shafi’i, and Ahmed ibn Hanbal that people leave them. The same can be asked of the Shia; the Imams are not inferior to Nafi’, Ibn Kathir, Abu ‘Amr al Basri, Ibn ‘Amir al Dimashqi, ‘Asim, Hamzah and al Kisa’i that the recitation of Qur’an is taken by way of these and the modes of recitation from the Imams are ignored.

How does ‘Abdul Hussain expect the Sunni’s to adhere to the way of Ahlul Bayt when the Imams themselves left behind so little knowledge.[13]

The Ahus Sunnah love, reveres, honours and respects the Ahlul Bayt in its entirety. However, being from the Ahlul Bayt does not automatically render someone a scholar. The Ahus Sunnah love Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Ibn Mas’ud, Aisha, Abu Hurairah, Anas, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas, and all the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum much more than they do Abu Hanifah or Shafi’i. The intellectual legacy of the Sahabah, and those among Ahlul Bayt who were known for their knowledge, is preserved in the teachings of these four.

The Ahus Sunnah does not consider any of these four infallible and free from error; just as they do not consider the Sahabah individually infallible.

It is true that no arbitrator would consider the followers of the Ahlul Bayt as deviant. The real issue is whether or not the Shia truly are followers of the Ahlul Bayt.

 

NEXT⇒ Letter 19 and 20


[1] Al Kashshi p. 147, Mujam Rijal al Hadith vol. 7 pg. 141, Tanqih vol. 1 pg. 443

[2] Al Kashshi pg. 149

[3] Surah al Ahzab: 32-34

[4] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Tafsir, Hadith: 4793

[5] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Da’awat, Hadith 6360

[6] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Maghazi, Hadith 4229

[7] The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam once listed the names of ten of his closest companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum promising their entry into Paradise. These ten are refered to as the ‘Asharah Mubashsharah, translated as the ten who received glad tidings [of Paradise]. They are Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah, ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaid Allah, Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam, Sa’d ibn Abi Waaqas, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Abu ‘Ubaidah ‘Amir ibn al Jarrah, Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

[8] The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his daughter – Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, his cousin – ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and his two grandsons – Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

[9] Kamal al Din wa Tamam al Ni’mah by al Saduq, vol.1 pg. 96, al A’lami 1991 edition

[10] Al Rawdah min al Kafi, vol. 8 pg. 245; Mir’at al ‘Uqul vol. 26 pg. 213

[11] The ‘nations politicians’ comprised of the Ansar and three representatives from the Muhajirin; Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

With regards to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The person to whom I feel indebted and who has favoured me the greatest with his property and company is Abu Bakr. If I were to take a Khalil (close friend) other than Allah, I would certainly have taken Abu Bakr. It is enough that we share the Islamic bond of brotherhood and friendship.” [Sahih al Bukhari, 3654]

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said about ‘Umar, “There were Muhaddathun (Divinely inspired people) among the nations before you. If there is any of such person among my followers, it is ‘Umar.” [Sahih al Bukhari, 3689; Sahih Muslim, 2398]

This is what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said about Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “Every nation has an Amin

. The Amin of my Ummah is Abu ‘Ubaidah.” [Sahih al Bukhari, 3744,4382,7255; Sahih Muslim, 2419]

About the Ansar this is what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said about them, “I advise you to treat the Ansar well. They are my family and with them I found shelter. They have acquitted themselves credibly of the responsibility that fell upon them and now there remains what is for them. The believers will increase, but the Ansar will diminish to the extent that they would be among men as salt is in food. Whoever among you occupies a position of responsibility and is powerful enough to do harm or good to people should fully acknowledge and appreciate the favour that these benefactors have shown, and overlook their faults.” [Sahih al Bukhari, 3799; Sahih Muslim, 2510]

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said, “Love for the Ansar is a sign of iman and hatred for the Ansar is a sign of nifaq [hypocrisy].” [Sahih Muslim, 1845]

[12]Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 2, p. 234-235

[13] Kamal al Din wa Tamam al Ni’mah by al Saduq, vol.1 pg. 96, al A’lami 1991 edition