Shattering the Mirage: A Response to ‘Abdul Hussain Sharaf al Din’s al Muraja’at: Letter 45 and 46

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Letter 45

 

6 Muharram, 1330

 

I. Resorting to Interpretation Following in the Footsteps of the Predecessors is Unavoidable

 

Had it not been for the caliphate of the Righteous Caliphs, which is correct beyond any doubt, we would not have had any choice other than accepting your view and interpreting this verse and others according to your own judgement, but to cast doubts about the soundness of their caliphate, may Allah be pleased with them, is out of the question. Resorting to interpretation, then, is unavoidable, since we have believed in them as well as in those who swore the oath of allegiance to them, Wassalam.

 

Sincerely,

S

Letter 46

 

Muharram 6, 1330

 

I. Believing in the Ancestors does not Require Interpretation

II. Interpretation is Impossible

 

The three righteous caliphs, may Allah be pleased with them, are, indeed, the subject of the study and debate; to use such caliphate, however, to rebut our arguments is totally rejected.

 

1) To believe in those caliphs, as well as in those who swore allegiance to them, does not require interpreting the arguments. In justifying their caliphate, you yourselves resort to interpretation, as we will clarify if necessary.

 

2) Interpreting the texts which we have stated to you is impossible; so is the case with what we have not stated yet, such as the Ghadir’s hadith and that of the Will, particularly when backed by irrefutable traditions which support one another, the latter being sufficient by themselves to require reference to manifest texts. Whoever acquaints himself with the latter will find them irrefutable testimonials and unequivocable verdicts, Wassalam.

 

Sincerely,

Sh

 

Discussions

 

The premise of the argument attributed to the Sheikh al Azhar is problematic. It proceeds under the notion that all the evidence furnished by ‘Abdul Hussain is reliable; whereas much of it has no academic value.

The evidence for ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu pre-eminence can be divided into two categories; evidence that is explicit in declaring ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu immediate succession, and evidence that mentions his virtues but is silent on his immediate succession. The former was always found wanting in terms of reliability, whereas the latter is often times found to be fairly reliable.

The classical position of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah is that the choice of leadership is left to the Ummah, but prior to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing he gave strong hints on his preferred candidate. Similarly, he predicted that Khilafah on the Prophetic model would last thirty years.

Safinah relates that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The Khilafah will remain in my Ummah for thirty years, then it will become a monarchy after that.” Safinah said, “Count. Abu Bakr’s Khilafah was 2 years, ‘Umar’s was 10 years, ‘Uthman’s was 12 years, and ‘Ali’s was 6 years.” [1]

Similarly, Abu Wa’il, Shaqiq ibn Salamah relates

 

It was said to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “Will you not appoint a successor for us?”

He responded, “The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not appoint a successor that I should do so. However, if Allah wishes good for the people he will unite them behind the best of them, just as he united the Ummah after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing behind the best of them.”[2]

 

The problem is when the ambiguous narrations about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu are given a spin it becomes necessary to point out their correct interpretation. Worse still, all the narrations which mention the virtues of the other companions, especially Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, are ignored and treated as if they don’t exist.

Thus the subject of debate is not the Khilafah of the three who preceeded ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Instead, it is the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.’Abdul Hussain’s promise of irrefutable proof remain as bold as all his previous claims. That is all they are; claims.

 

 


[1] Musnad Ahmed vol. 36 pg. 248 Hadith no: 21919; al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Fitan, Hadith no: 2226; Abu Dawood, Kitab al Sunnah, Hadith no: 4646

[2] Dala’il al Nubuwwah vol. 7 pg. 223