Their Belief That the Imam can Prohibit and Make Lawful What he Desires

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Discussion Four

Their Belief That the Imam can Prohibit and Make Lawful What he Desires

 

One of the fundamental aspects of Tawhid is the belief that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala alone is the legislator; He can authorise what He desires and prohibit what He desires. The Messengers ‘alayhim al-Salam of Allah are merely propagators of His law. Whoever claims that his Imam can make lawful or prohibit whatever he desires is indeed included in the verse of the Qur’an:

 

أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ شَرَعُوْا لَهُم مِّنَ الدِّيْنِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَنْۢۢ بِهِ اللّٰهُ

Do they believe in associates who have legislated for them a religion which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has not sanctioned? [1]

 

The Shia claim, as stated in their narrations:

 

خلق الله محمدا و عليا و فاطمة فمكثوا ألف دهر ثم خلق جميع الأشياء فأشهدهم خلقها و اجري طاعتهم عليها و فوض أمورهم اليها فهم يحلون ما يشاءون و يحرمون ما يشاءون.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala created Muhammad, ‘Ali, and Fatimah. He made them witnesses over the creation which he created a thousand years later, ordained obedience to them upon it, and handed its affairs over to them. They, therefore, have the authority to authorise or prohibit whatever they want.[2]

 

Al Majlisi has also quoted a portion of this narration:

 

و أجري طاعتهم عليها أي أوجب وألزم علي جميع الأشياء طاعتهم حتي الجمادات من السماويات و الأرضيات كشق القمر و إقبال الشجر و تسبيح الحصي و أمثالها مما لا يحصي و فوض امورها إليهم من التحليل و التحريم و العطاء و المنع أحكام التحليل و التحريم إليهم

‘And ordained obedience to them upon it’ means that he has made obedience to them compulsory in everything including inanimate entities, the heavenly creations, as well the earthly ones; e.g. the splitting of the moon, the submission of trees, the glorification (Tasbih) of pebbles, etc. ‘And has handed its affairs over to them’ i.e. in terms of legitimisation (Tahlil), prohibition (Tahrim), granting (‘Ata’) and deprivation (Man’).[3]

 

He then goes on to explain that the evident meaning of this text proves that the prerogative of legitimisation and prohibition was accorded to them.

Al Mufid in his book al Ikhtisas and al Majlisi in his book al Bihar, among others, have quoted an explicit narration in this regard from Abu Jafar (Muhammad al Baqir):

 

من احللنا له شيئا أصابه من أعمال الظالمين فهو حلال لأن الأئمة منا مفوض اليهم فما أحلوا فهو حلال وما حرموا فهو حرام.

The one for who we make lawful a vice usually considered from the doings of oppressors[4] which he does is permissible for him. Because the Imams amongst us have been accorded the divine authority; thus whatever they make lawful is lawful and whatever they prohibit is forbidden.”[5]

 

In this way the Shia affirm that their Imams have the prerogative of legislation, legitimisation, and prohibition. Thus whatever they deem lawful from the general treasury of the Muslims is fine and whatever they deem forbidden is forbidden… They have made their Imams deities other than Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala by attributing the prerogative of prohibition, legitimisation, and legislation to them; thus ascribing partners to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in his exclusive oneness as a Rabb. The reason being that sovereignty and divine legislation are the exclusive qualities of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, just as their adherence to a law which is in complete contrast with the law of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and which might at times abrogate, confine, or specify elements of the law introduced by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, equates to the worship of deities other than Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

Nevertheless, the prerogative of legislation is the sole right of the Rabb of Man. The Messengers salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are merely propagators on his behalf. They cannot prohibit or legitimise anything besides that which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala orders them to or reveals to them.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has plainly mentioned in the Qur’an the status of a person who follows his seniors in what they allow and prohibit after having discarded the law of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

اتَّخَذُوْا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّنْ دُوْنِ اللّٰهِ

They have taken their priests and Rabbis as deities besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[6]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala equates their obedience to their seniors in matters which they legitimate and prohibit (as appears in the exegesis of the verse[7]) to worshipping them:

تلقوا الحلال و الحرام من جهتهم و هو أمر لا يتلقي إلا من جهة الله عز و جل

They were receptive to the self-prescribed permissions and prohibitions of their leaders, whereas they ought to be received only from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[8]

 

This Shia belief resembles the Christian belief regarding their leaders in that they all have taken their priests and rabbis as deities other than Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

After the Shia considered their Imams to be the source of legislation, they took a step further by claiming that all people are the slaves of the Imams. This makes their polytheism even more obvious. Al Rida states:

 

الناس عبيد لنا في الطاعة موال لنا في الدين فليبلغ الشاهد الغائب.

People are our slaves in worship and sincerely faithful to us in religion. Hence, those who are present should convey this to those who are absent.[9]

 

Whereas Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in the Noble Qur’an:

 

مَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَنْ يُّؤْتِيَهُ اللّٰهُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ ثُمَّ يَقُوْلَ لِلنَّاسِ كُوْنُوْا عِبَادًا لِّيْ مِنْ دُوْنِ اللّٰهِ

It is not behoving of a human that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala endows him with a divine book, wisdom and nubuwwah then he goes about preaching to people: Become my servants rather than Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[10]

 

So, people in totality are the servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, not of anyone else even if he be from among the Messengers of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala bestowed with divine revelation, wisdom and nubuwwah. What can be said then about the Imams of the Shia or anyone else who is claimed to be an Imam.

Furthermore, just as the Imams are the source of legitimisation and prohibition, they equally have the right to either convey these laws to people or conceal them. It appears in al Kafi and other books:

 

عن معلي بن محمد عن الوشاء قال:سألت الرضا رضي الله عنه فقلت له:جعلت فداك فَاسْأَلُوْا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُوْنَ فقال نحن أهل الذكر و نحن المسؤولون قلت فأنتم المسؤولون و نحن السائلون؟ قال نعم قلت حقا علينا أن نسألكم؟ قال نعم قلت حقا عليكم أن تجيبونا؟ قال لا ذاك إلينا إن شئنا فعلنا و إن شئنا لم نفعل.

I asked al Rida saying, may my soul be sacrificed for you (what is the explanation of the verse) “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.”

He said, “We are the people of knowledge and we are a reference for the people.”

I asked, “So you are the reference and we are the seekers?”

He said, “Yes”

I further added, “So, it is our duty to refer to you?”

He responded in the affirmative. I then asked, “Is it then equally your duty to respond to our questions?”

He replied, “No! That is left to our discretion; we can answer if we want to and if we desire we can refuse.”[11]

 

There are many other narrations in this regard.

This privilege was not even accorded to the Rasul of guidance salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the best of all the prophets ‘alayhim al-Salam. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ

We revealed the admonishment (al Dhikr) to you so that you may preach to the people that which has been revealed to them.[12]

 

Likewise he says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُوْلُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَّبِّكَ ۖ وَإِنْ لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ

O Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! Convey that which has been revealed to you by your Lord. And if you do not do so you have not conveyed your message (holistically).[13]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has sounded a very grave warning for the one who conceals the truth and guidance which He has revealed. He says:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يَكْتُمُوْنَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِنْۢ بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللّٰهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُوْنَ

Verily those who conceal the clear verses and guidance which we have revealed after we have plainly mentioned them in the book, upon them is the curse of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and the curse of the cursers.[14]

 

Likewise, there is a tradition which has been narrated in variant ways from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in which he states:

 

من سئل عن علم ثم كتمه الجم يوم القيامة بلجام من النار

A person who is asked about knowledge which he keeps concealed will be bridled with a bridle of fire on the Day of Judgment.[15]

 

Is it still then possible to claim that the propagation of the guidance and truth which is indispensable for the commonality is based upon personal motives, temperament, and desire; owing to which it is claimed that:

 

ليس علينا الجواب إن شئنا أجبننا و إن شئنا أمسكنا.

Answering is not compulsory upon us; if we desire we answer or else we don’t.[16]

 

It is due to the preaching of religion being left to the discretion of the Imams that the Shia have remained in the dark with regards the teachings of their faith as is attested to in their traditions:

 

لايعرفون مناسك حجهم و حلالهم و حرامهم حتي كان أبو جعفر (محمد الباقر) ففتح لهم و بين مناسك حجهم و حلالهم و حرامهم.

They were unaware of the rites of their Hajj, likewise of permissible and impermissible matters, till eventually Abu Jafar Muhammad al Baqir came. Who explicated their faith for them, educated them regarding the rites of Hajj, and permissible and impermissible affairs.[17]

 

The Shia did not suffice on this, rather they postulated that their Imams have the prerogative of leading people astray and giving them various conflicting answers. In al Ikhtisas by al Mufid—and other books as well—there appears a narration from Musa ibn Ashyam. He relates:

 

دخلت علي أبي عبد الله فسالته عن مسألة فأجبني فيها بجواب،فأنا جالس إذا دخل رجل فسأله عنها بعينها فأجابه بخلاف ما أجابني، فدخل رجل آخر فسأله عنها بعينها فاجابه بخلاف ما اجابني و خلاف ما اجاب به صاحبي، ففزعت من ذالك و عظم علي، فلما خرج القوم نظر إلي و قال:يا ابن اشيم إن الله فوض إلي داود أمرملكه فقال: هذا عطاؤنا فامنن أو أمسك بغير حساب و فوض إلي محمد صلي الله عليه وسلم و آله وسلم أمر دينه فقال وما ءاتاكم الرسول فخذوه وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا. و إن الله فوض إلي الأئمة منا و إلينا ما فوض إلي محمد صلي الله عليه وسلم فلا تجزع

I went to visit Abu ‘Abdullah and asked him a question which he answered. While I was sitting by him there appeared a man who posed the exact same question, to which he responded differently. Thereafter, a third person emerged who similarly posed the very same question, surprisingly he gave an answer different to the answers he gave me and my companion. I was thus startled and appalled. Hence, when everyone had left he looked at me and said, “O Ibn Ashyam! Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala gave Dawood authority over his kingdom. He thus said, ‘This is our grant to thee. So be gracious therein or withhold without any reckoning.’[18] And he likewise gave Muhammad authority over the affairs of his religion. Hence he said, ‘Embrace that which the Rasul has given you and desist from that which he has prohibited.’[19] And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has conferred upon the Imams from amongst us the authority he had conferred upon Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam so do not worry.”[20]

 

It is in this manner that they fabricate against these illustrious personalities. In essence according to their narrations their Imams are legislators and the authority of legitimisation and prohibition is under their jurisdiction. They have the right to conceal from people that which is indispensable for them with the inclusion of the fundamentals of Islam and its core structures; if they want they can answer and if they desire they can refuse. And thus the Shia were ignorant regarding the rituals of Hajj till the era of al Baqir. For they did not and do not subscribe to the teachings of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They strictly subscribe to the preaching of their Imams who concealed from them the knowledge of worship.

And the chain of forgeries crafted by this cult against the religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, His Book, His Rasul, and the Ahlul Bayt continue unceasingly. By their claim of partisanship for the Ahlul Bayt they camouflage the true nature of these reprehensible doctrines and blasphemous ideas. Thus, one would rightfully ask: Are these people really the Shia (partisans) of ‘Ali, Hassan, Hussain and ‘Ali Zayn al ‘Abidin radiya Llahu ‘anhum despite fabricating all these lies against them, accusing them of not preaching issues permissible or impermissible, and those of Hajj; claiming that concealing the truth and misleading people by offering them conflicting answers is an integral part of their faith?

 

NEXT⇒ Their Belief That the Sand of Hussain’s Grave is a Cure for Every Sickness


[1] Surah al Shura: 21

[2] Usul al Kafi 1/441; Bihar al Anwar 25/340

[3] Bihar al Anwar 25/341-342

[4] The term ‘Oppressors’ according to the Shia refers to all the rulers of the Islamic empire besides ‘Ali and Hasan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, since the other Imams did not rule even for a day. And every other ruler is therefore an oppressor and a usurper of the Imams as they assume.

[5] Al Ikhtisas p. 330; Bihar al Anwar 25/334; Basa’ir al Darajat p.113.

[6] Surah al Tawbah: 31.

[7] Tafsir al Tabari 10/113-114; Tafsir Ibn al Kathir 2/373-374. In Usul al Kafi there is a narration from Abu ‘Abdullah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala which affirms this interpretation. It reads as follows:

Behold! I swear in the name of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala that they had not called them to the worship of idols. Had they done so the people would not have obeyed them. But they legitimised the impermissible and prohibited the permissible so conspicuously that they, the people, did not realise. Usul al Kafi 1/53; Tabarsi: Majma’ al Bayan 3/48-49; al Bahrani: al Burhan 2/120-121; al Kashani: Tafsir al Safi 2/336.

[8] Ibn ‘Attiyah: al Muharrar al Wajiz 8/166.

[9] Al Mufid, al Amali p. 48; Bihar al Anwar 25/279.

[10] Surah Al ‘Imran: 79

[11] Usul al Kafi 1/210-211; Bihar al Anwar 23/172-188; Tafsir al Ayyashi 2/261; al Himyari: Qurb al Isnad p. 152-153.

[12] Surah al Nahl: 44

[13] Surah al Ma’idah: 67

[14] Surah al Baqarah: 159

[15] Musnad Ahmed 2/263, 305, 344, 353, 495, 499, 508; Sunan Abi Dawood 4/67; Sunan al Tirmidhi 5/29. Tirmidhi has graded this hadith as Hasan. Sunan Ibn Majah 1/96; Mustadrak al Hakim 1/101. It is considered Sahih according to al Dhahabi as well. Sahih Ibn Hibban 1/260.

[16] Usul al Kafi 1/212

[17] Ibid 2/20

[18] Surah Sad: 39

[19] Surah al Hashr: 7.

[20] Al Ikhtisas p. 329-330; Bihar al Anwar 23/185.