A Few Examples of Shi`i Interpretations of the Verses of the Qur’an

A Few Examples of Shi`i Interpretations of the Verses of the Qur’an Continued
April 14, 2016
The Origin of These Interpretations, Their Roots and a Few Examples
April 14, 2016

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A Few Examples of Shia Interpretations of the Verses of the Qur’an


The leading Shia scholar of his time, who is referred to when the word ‘Allamah is used without any name after it, Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli, says whilst trying to prove that ‘Ali was the one who deserved to be the khalifah:


البرهان الثلاثون قوله تعالى مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَیْنِ یَلْتَقِیٰنِ ﴿19﴾ بَیْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لَّا یَبْغِیٰنِ ﴿20﴾ قال على و فاطمة بَیْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لَّا یَبْغِیٰنِ ﴿21﴾ النبى صلى الله عليه و سلم یَخْرُجُ مِنْهُمَا اللُّؤْلُؤُ وَ الْمَرْجَانُ ﴿22﴾ الحسن و الحسين

The thirtieth proof: The statement of Allah, “He released the two seas, meeting [side by side]. Between them is a barrier [so] neither of them transgresses,” they are ‘Ali and Fatimah. “Between them is a barrier [so] neither of them transgresses,” this refers to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. “From both of them emerge pearl and coral,” this refers to Hassan and Hussain.


When Ibn Mutahhar tried using this as proof, Ibn Taymiyyah stated:


Indeed this, and all those arguments similar to it can only emerge from one who does not understand that which he articulates. It is closer to being a mockery, than being a commentary of the Qur’an. It is from the interpretations of the irreligious and the Qaramitah Batiniyyah. In fact it is worse than many of their interpretations. This kind of commentary is the pathway towards disbelieving in the Qur’an and finding fault with it. This is undoubtedly the greatest form of insults to the Qur’an.[1]


I wonder what his reaction would be if he had to see all that which is preserved in al Kafi, al Bihar, Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi, al Qummi, al Burhan, Tafsir al Safi and others. I have in front of me a huge collection of this type of drivel. Quoting them would require volumes.[2] They are truly a scary amount of narrations. The Shia have been deprived of the illumination and guidance of the Qur’an.

Towhid, which was at the core of the call of the prophets and the crux of their mission is interpreted by them to be the Wilayah of the Imam. They narrate from Abu Jafar (al Baqir):


ما بعث الله نبيا قط الا بولايتنا و البراءة من عدونا و ذلك قول الله فى كتابه وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِیْ كُلِّ اُمَّةٍ رَّسُوْلًا اَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللّٰهَ وَ اجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوْتَ

Allah did not send any Nabi except with (the message of) our Wilayah and denouncing our enemies. This is established from the statement of Allah, “and We certainly sent into every nation a Rasul, [saying], ‘worship Allah and avoid Taghut.’”[3], [4]


They have many narrations under this chapter, as will appear.

The word Ilah (deity) is the Imam. Have a look at the interpretation of this verse:


لَا تَتَّخِذُوْٓا اِلٰـهَیْنِ اثْنَیْنِۚ اِنَّمَا هُوَ اِلٰهٌ وَّاحِدٌۚ

Do not take for yourselves two deities. He is but one deity.[5]


Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) says, as they allege:


يعنى بذلك و لا تتخذوا امامين انما هو امام واحد

What is meant is do not take two Imams, there is only one Imam.[6]


“Rabb” also refers to the Imams according to them. They could have got away with this one, as the word Rabb is used for other meanings as well, such as rabb al bayt (the owner of the house) and rabb al mal (the owner of the money). However, they chose to interpret it in this way in such verses which are definitely referring to Allah alone. They interpret the verse wherein Allah speaks about the mushrikin:


وَ یَعْبُدُوْنَ مِنْ دُوْنِ اللّٰهِ مَا لَا یَنْفَعُهُمْ وَ لَا یَضُرُّهُمْؕ وَکَانَ الْکَافِرُ عَلٰی رَبِّهٖ ظَهِیْرًا

But they worship rather than Allah that which does not benefit them or harm them, and the disbeliever is ever, against his Rabb, an assistant [to Satan].[7]


Al Qummi says in his Tafsir:


الكافر: الثانى كان على امير المؤمنين عليه السلام ظهيرا

The second kafir (referring to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu) was an assistant against Amir al Mu’minin.[8]


Thus, he took Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali to be the Rabb. Al Kashani reports in al Basa’ir[9] that al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam was asked regarding its meaning, to which he replied:


ان تفسيرها فى بطن القران على هو ربه فى الولاية والرب هو الخالق الذى لا يوصف

The interpretation according to the inner meaning of the Qur’an is that ‘Ali is his Rabb in Wilayah and the Rabb is the creator who is beyond description.[10]


This is a definite lie, as the verse is regarding Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. The author of Tafsir al Safi tries to do away with this matter, so he explained this verse in the following manner:


يعنى ان الرب على الاطلاق الغير المقيد بالولاية هو الخالق جل شانه

Wherever the word Rabb is used without the word Wilayah added to it, it refers to the Creator…[11]


However, the wording of the verse does not support his claim, as the word Rabb therein did not have the word Wilayah after it. Thus it could only refer to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Furthermore, there is no indication due to which the word should be interpreted against its meaning. It is for this reason that some of the predecessors said regarding its interpretation, “the kafir was a helper of shaitan against his Rabb, and he helped him to disobey Him.”[12]


Regarding the verse of Allah:


وَ اَشْرَقَتِ الْاَرْضُ بِنُوْرِ رَبِّهَا

And the earth will shine with the light of its Rabb.[13]


The mufassirin have stated:

The earth will be lit on the Day of Qiyamah when Allah’s manifestation takes place for the creation when he will judge.[14]


However, the leading mufassir, according to the Shia (Ibrahim al Qummi) reports with his chain from Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar that he heard Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) saying regarding the verse:


وَ اَشْرَقَتِ الْاَرْضُ بِنُوْرِ رَبِّهَا

And the earth will shine with the light of its Rabb.[15]


رب الارض يعنى امام الارض فقلت فاذا خرج يكون ماذا قال اذا يستغنى الناس عن ضوء الشمس و نور القمر و يجتزون كذا بنور الامام

The Rabb of the earth refers to the Imam of the earth. I asked, “so when he emerges, what will happen?” He replied, “then, people will no longer need the light of the sun and moon. They will take guidance from the light of the Imam.”[16]


They interpret the verses regarding the attributes of Allah to be a reference to the Imams. As an example, they say:


ان الاخبلر المستفيضة تدل على تاويل وجه الله بالائمة عليهم السلام

A large amount of narrations indicate that the interpretation of the face of Allah is the Imams.[17]


Obviously, these can only be Shia narrations. Al Majlisi mentioned many of these narrations under a chapter which he titled:


باب انهم جنب الله و روحه و يد الله و امثالها

Chapter: They are the side of Allah, His soul, His hand and all similar (descriptions).


This chapter contains thirty-six narrations.[18]

Does this mean that they interpret these verses to mean the Imam:


كُلُّ شَیْءٍ هَالِكٌ اِلَّا وَجْهَه

Everything will be destroyed except His Face.[19]


وَّ یَبْقٰی وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُوالْجَلٰلِ وَ الْاِكْرَامِ

And there will remain the Face of your Rabb, Owner of Majesty and Honour.[20]


Will the Imams remain forever? In fact will they be the only ones to remain? I did not think that their matter would be this severe, until my eyes fell upon their narrations in their books. Al Sadiq says, as they claim, regarding the first verse:


نحن وجه الله

We are the face of Allah.[21]


Regarding the second verse he says:


نحن وجه الله الذى يؤتى منه

We are the face of Allah from which He will be brought.[22]


However, the Imams, just like all humans, were overtaken by death. Allah says:


كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَیْهَا فَانٍ

Everyone upon it [i.e., the earth] will perish.[23]


The author of al Kafi tried granting the Imams of the Shia a distinguishing feature as far as death was concerned. Thus he said:


ان الائمة يعلمون يموتون و لا يموتون الا باختيار منهم

The Imams know when they will die and they do not die except by choice.[24]


Nonetheless, there is no doubt that death did overcome them. Also, if their death occurred in accordance to their decision and choice, then taqiyyah would not exist. Another blasphemous claim is that the Imams are referred to when Allah speaks of the Asma’ al Husna (best of names) in this verse:


وَ لِلّٰهِ الْاَسْمَآءُ الْحُسْنٰی فَادْعُوْهُ بِهَا

And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them.[25]


As usual, they forged a narration from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq)that he said:


نحن والله الاسماء الحسنى الذى لا يقبل من احد الا بمعرفتنا قال فَادْعُوْهُ بِهَا

By the oath of Allah, we are the best of names. (Prayers) are not accepted from anyone unless he knows us. He said, “so invoke Him by them.”[26]


More details will appear when the attributes of Allah will be discussed, if Allah wills. Nevertheless, these interpretations which turn the “Ilah”, “Rabb”, “Allah” and His attributes into Imams are the effects of the Saba’iyyah, who believe that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a deity. This poisonous effect has remained among the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, and has become part of their religion. Thus, till today some scholars of this sect continue to proclaim this view.[27]

Rijal al Kashshi contains narrations which highlight the displeasure of Imam Jafar regarding these batini interpretations. One such narration states that it was said in the presence of Jafar that some Shia (as reported by al Kashshi) opined that the Imam was referred to in the verse:


وَ هُوَ الَّذِیْ فِی السَّمَآءِ اِلٰهٌ وَّ فِی الْاَرْضِ اِلٰهٌ

And it is He [i.e., Allah] who is [the only] deity in the heaven, and on the earth [the only] deity.[28]


قال هو الامام فقال ابو عبد الله لا والله لا ياوينى و اياه سقف بيت ابدا هم سر من اليهود و النصارى و المجوس و الذين اشركوا و الله ما صغر عظمة الله تصغيرهم شيئ قط…والله لو اقررت بما يقول فى اهل الكوفة لاخذتنى الارض و ما انا الا عبد مملوك لا اقدر على شيئ ضر و لا نفع

Abu ‘Abdullah responded, “By the oath of Allah, no roof will house me or him (the one who accepted this interpretation). They are worse than the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and polytheists. By the oath of Allah, the grandeur of Allah has not decreased in the least by their mockery. By the oath of Allah, if I have to accept that which the people of Kufah say, the earth will devour me. I am only a slave of my master. I have no control over any goodness or evil.[29]


The Imam (who is referred to as Rabb and Ilah by them) is also referred to as Rasul. The author of Mir’at al Anwar says:


قد ورد تاويل الرسول بالامام و الرسل بالائمة فى بعض الايات بحيث يمكن سحبه الى غيرها

The interpretation of Rasul to mean Imam has been narrated, as well as Rusul (its plural) to mean Imams, in some verses where the word can be applied to a meaning other than its own.[30]


This means that wherever the word Rasul appears, it can be interpreted as Imam. The following text supports our understanding:


ان عمدة بعثة الرسل لاجل الولاية فيصح تاويل الرسل بما يتعلق بها

The primary reason behind sending the Rusul was Wilayah. Therefore, it is correct to interpret Rusul to be something to which it is related to.[31]


This, far from being a reason or proof behind their interpretation, is actually a mockery of Islam. Allah himself says that the primary reason behind sending them was towhid:


وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِیْ كُلِّ اُمَّةٍ رَّسُوْلًا اَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللّٰهَ وَ اجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوْتَ

And We certainly sent into every nation a Rasul, [saying], “worship Allah and avoid Taghut.”[32]


وَ مَآ اَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رَّسُوْلٍ اِلَّا نُوْحِیْٓ اِلَیْهِ اَنَّهلَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّآ اَنَا فَاعْبُدُوْنِ

And We sent not before you any Rasul except that We revealed to him that, “there is no deity except Me, so worship Me.”[33]


Among the examples of their interpretation of the word Rasul to mean Imam is that which they report from al Sadiq under the commentary of the verse:


وَ لِكُلِّ اُمَّةٍ رَّسُوْلٌ

And for every nation is a messenger.[34]


قال اى فى كل قرن امام يدعوهم الى طريق الحق

He said, “this means that in each era there will be an Imam who will call them towards the truth.”[35]


The Imams are also referred to as angels in the Qur’an. Their narrations state, as they claim, that the meaning of angels in the Qur’an is the Imams, according to the inner interpretation. This is irrespective of whether the word ‘angels’ is used or they are referred to without mention of the word ‘angels’ such as the phrase, “those who carry the ‘Arsh,” and its likes.[36] As explained previously, the Imams are also the Qur’an and they are “the Book”. Tafsir al Qummi reports from al Sadiq regarding the verse:


ذٰلِكَ الْکِتٰبُ لَا رَیْبَۚ فِیْهِ

This is the Book about which there is no doubt.[37]


قال الكتاب على

He said, “‘the Book,’ is ‘Ali and there is no doubt regarding that.”[38]


The Imam is the “the word” in the following verse:


وَلَوْ لَا کَلِمَةُ الْفَصْلِ لَقُضِیَ بَیْنَهُمْ

But if not for the decisive word,[39]


قالوا الكلمة الامام

“The word,” is the Imam.[40]


Regarding the verse:


لَا تَبْدِیْلَ لِکَلِمٰتِ اللّٰهِ

No change is there in the words [i.e., decrees] of Allah.[41]


قالوا: لا تغيير للامامة

They say, “no change is allowed in Imamah.”[42]


Their Imam, Abu al Hassan ‘Ali ibn Muhammad says regarding the verse:


سَبْعَةُ اَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ کَلِمٰتُ اللّٰهِ

… seven [more] seas, the words of Allah would not be exhausted.[43]


نحن الكلمات التى لا تدرك فضائلنا و لا تحصى

We are the words of Allah. Our virtues can neither be realised nor can they be counted.[44]


Their narrations regarding this are many in number. Al Majlisi quoted twenty five of them in his Bihar.[45] Interpreting ‘word’ to mean Imam reflects the degree to which they borrowed beliefs from Christianity, as the Messiah ‘alayh al Salam was referred to as “the word of Allah”. However, the glaring difference between the Messiah and the Imam (‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu) is that the creation of the former was similar to the creation of Adam ‘alayh al Salam. (He created him from sand and then said to him, “Be (in existence)!” and so he was. Thus, he was created by the word of Allah .) The latter was created in a manner that was no different to the creation of the rest of humanity.[46]

The straight path is another reference to the Imam (Amir al Mu’minin) according to them. Thus they believe that he is referred to[47] in this verse:


اِهْدِ نَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِیْمَ ۙ

Guide us to the straight path.[48]


He is also referred to as the Sun. they report from al Sadiq the interpretation of the verse:


وَ الشَّمْسِ وَ ضُحٰهَا

By the sun and its brightness.[49]


قال الشمس امير المؤمنين و ضحاحا قيام القائم

He said, “the Sun is Amir al Mu’minin and its brightness is the appearance of al Qa’im (their awaited Imam).”[50]


The Masjid, Masajid (plural of Masjid), Ka’bah and Qiblah are all used to refer to the Imam. They report from al Sadiq regarding the verse:


وَ اَقِیْمُوْا وُجُوْهَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ

… and that you direct yourselves [to the Qiblah] at every place [or time] of prostration,[51]


قال يعنى الائمة

He said, “this refers to the Imams.”[52]


Another supposed narration from him states regarding the verse:


ٰبَنِیْٓ اٰدَمَ خُذُوْا زِیْنَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ

O children of Adam, take your adornment [i.e., wear your clothing] at every masjid,[53]


قال يعنى الائمة

He said, “this refers to the Imams.”[54]


And regarding the verse:


وَّ اَنَّ الْمَسٰجِدَ لِلّٰهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوْا مَعَ اللّٰهِ اَحَدًا

And [He revealed] that the masjids are for Allah, so do not invoke with Allah anyone.[55]


قال ان الامام من ال محمد فلا تتخذوا من غيرهم اماما

He said, “the Imam (must be) from the family of Muhammad, so do not take an Imam from any other people.”[56]


They also claim that al Sadiq said:


نحن البلد الحرام و نحن كعبة الله و نحن قبلة الله

We are the sanctified land, the Ka’bah of Allah and the Qiblah of Allah.[57]


Sujud (prostration) is interpreted to be acceptance of the Wilayah of the Imams. This interpretation is applied to the verse:


وَ قَدْ کَانُوْا یُدْعَوْنَ اِلَی السُّجُوْدِ وَ هُمْ سٰلِمُوْنَ

… and they used to be invited to prostration while they were sound.[58]


قالوا اى يدعون الى ولاية على فى الدنيا

i.e. they used to be invited to the Wilayah of ‘Ali in the worldly life.[59]


It is perhaps narrations such as these that are the cause behind the Shia worshipping their Imams and their tombs as well as the cause behind them frequenting the mashahid (mausoleums of the Imams) whilst abandoning the Masajid. They were made to believe that the mashahid were in fact the Masajid and the Imam was the Ka’bah and Qiblah of Allah. This is why they have written books such as Manasik al Mashahid (the rites of the tombs) and Manasik al Ziyarat or al Mazar.[60] Special attention was accorded to explaining their virtues and the etiquettes of visiting them to the extent that these matters made up large portions of their books[61], as will be explained.[62]

The meaning of the word towbah (repenting from sins and turning towards the obedience of Allah) was known to one and all. However, the Shia were not satisfied. Thus, they decided to interpret it to mean denouncing the Khilafah of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and the Banu Umayyah and emphasising the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Thus, three narrations are reported regarding the interpretation of the following verse:


فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِیْنَ تَابُوْا وَ اتَّبَعُوْا سَبِیْلَكَ

… so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way.[63]


The first narration states:


فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِینَ تَابُوا من ولاية فلان و فلان و بنى امية

So forgive those who have repented from the Wilayah of so and so and Banu Umayyah.


(‘So and so’ is with reference to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma).


The second narration states:


فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِینَ تَابُوا من ولاية الطواغيت الثلاثة

So forgive those who have repented from the Wilayah of the three devils.


(Here, they are referring to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum.


The third narration states:


فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِینَ تَابُوا من ولاية هؤلاء و بنى امية وَ اتَّبَعُوْا سَبِیلَكَ هو امير المؤمنين

So forgive those who have repented from the Wilayah of these and the Banu Umayyah, “and followed Your way,” i.e. Amir al Mu’minin.[64]


All of these three narrations are attributed falsely — as usual — to Abu Jafar Muhammad al Baqir, whose piety and knowledge belies that they ever be attributed to him. These narrations establish for us a new meaning to the word towbah. At its core, it is nothing more than loving one man and hating another. There is no other dimension to it. Thus, towbah can only be done regarding Wilayah of the Imam. All else does not demand any repentance or remorse. This is why they did not mention anything besides Wilayah of the Imam.

It is as if the Shia, by means of these interpretations, have exonerated the one who believes in the wilayah of ‘Ali from all sins, even though his crimes are as many as the dust particles on the earth. Conversely, acceptance of the khilafah of the most virtuous ones of all the creation (besides the prophets) — Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum — is believed by them to be disbelief, along with which no amount of virtue holds any weight. Is this Islam? Was this (the Wilayah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu) the only reason why the Rasul and his Sahabah struggled and exerted themselves?

Furthermore, what effects do these narrations have on those who believe that they are the words of Muhammad al Baqir? Will the gravity of sins not leave their hearts? Will it not spur them on to commit every crime and prevent them from good deeds and nobility? These are definitely possible outcomes. Rather, they are realities which have already seen the light of day. I came across an important testimony on the subject in al Kafi, wherein one of the Shia complains to his Imam regarding the poor character of his Shia brethren. He even expresses surprise at the vast difference in character that he noticed between the Shia and the Ahlus Sunnah.[65] Al Showkani relates to us some important observations regarding this, which he penned down during his interactions with the Shia.[66] This will be discussed under the chapter, “their effect upon the Islamic world”.

The fundamental and core commandments of Islam, such as salah, zakat, hajj and siyam (fasting), which appear in the Qur’an are all references to the Imams. They report from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq):


نحن الصلاة فى كتاب الله عز و جل و نحن الزكاة ونحن الصيام و نحن الحج

We are al salah, al zakat, al siyam and al hajj in the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[67]


In, fact, the entire din — according to them — is the Wilayah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Thus, they report from Jafar al Sadiq regarding the interpretation of the verse:


اِنَّ اللّٰهَ اصْطَفٰی لَكُمُ الدِّیْنَ

Indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion,[68]


قال ولاية على رضى الله عنه

He said, “(this is) the Wilayah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.”


فَلَا تَمُوْتُنَّ اِلَّا وَاَنْتُمْ مُّسْلِمُوْنَ

So do not die except while you are Muslims.[69]


لولاية على

In the sense that you have accepted the Wilayah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[70]


Tafsir al Qummi states regarding the verse of Allah:


اَنْ اَقِیْمُوا الدِّیْنَ

establish the religion.[71]


قال الامام ولا تتفرقوا فيه كناية عن امير المؤمنين رضى الله عنه

i.e. the Imam. Do not be divided therein (the next part of the verse) is an indication towards Amir al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anhu.


کَبُرَ عَلَی الْمُشْرِکِیْنَ مَا تَدْعُوْهُمْ اِلَیْهِؕ

Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them.[72]


من امر ولاية على

This is regarding the Wilayah of ‘Ali


اَللّٰهُ یَجْتَبِیْٓ اِلَیْهِ مَنْ یَّشَآءُ

Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills.[73]


كناية عن على عليه السلام

This is an indication towards ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.


If the matter is as stated by them, why was the din not named “Din al Muntazar” (the awaited one) or “Din al Wilayah” or “al Wilayah”? The truth of the matter is that this religion is a religion other than Islam. The central doctrine of it is the obedience of a mortal. Apparently, the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah have inherited their religion from the Kaysaniyyah[74], as they believe — as stated by al Shahrastani:


They are grouped together on the basis of one belief; din is the obedience of a mortal. This led them to interpreting the fundamental laws of the shari’ah such as salah, siyam, zakat, hajj and other laws to mean men… whoever believes that din is the obedience of a man and he has no man (as he is hidden in his chamber), then he has no din.[75]


Thus, din was now confined to the Wilayah of one man, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Subsequently, the meanings of all of that which indicates towards din — like the obedience of Allah and His Rasul, following the path of goodness and abstaining from evil, etc. — were shifted away from their religious implications according to their narrations.

The word ummah, the meaning of which is well known and it appears forty-nine times in the Book of Allah, is interpreted by the Shia to mean Imams or the Shia. It is stated in Mir’at al Anwar:


ان الذى يستفاد من رواياتنا على اختلاف الفاظها تاويل الامة فيما يناسب بالائمة عليهم السلام و باهل الحق و الشيعة المحقة و ان قلوا

The crux of our narrations (even though their wordings are different) is that the word ummah will be interpreted to mean the Imams wherever possible, and the Ahl al Haq (people of the truth) and the sect (Shia) who are upon the truth, even though they may be few in number.[76]


Thereafter, the author quotes some of their narrations to prove this interpretation from many of their reliable books. If the word ummah is accepted to mean Imams, it would mean that the Qur’an was revealed specifically for them, and the ummah have neither been addressed in the Qur’an, nor is it their responsibility to practice upon it.

Inanimate objects are also used to refer to the Imams. The meaning of the word “well” is not unknown. However, the Shia have a different opinion. They interpret it, as far as the Qur’an is concerned, to mean:


بعلى رضى الله عنه و بولايته و بالامام الصامت – يعنون القران-و بامام الغائب و بفاطمة وولدها المعطلين من الملك

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, his Wilayah, the silent Imam (the Qur’an), the absent Imam and the progeny of Fatimah who were deprived of kingdom.[77]


This interpretation is applied to the verse:


فَکَاَیِّنْ مِّنْ قَرْیَةٍ اَهْلَكْنٰهَا وَهِیَ ظَالِمَةٌ فَهِیَ خَاوِیَةٌ عَلٰی عُرُوْشِهَا وَ بِئْرٍ مُّعَطَّلَةٍ وَّ قَصْرٍ مَّشِیْدٍ

And how many a city did We destroy while it was committing wrong – so it is [now] fallen into ruin – and [how many] an abandoned well and [how many] a lofty palace.[78]


Five narrations appear in al Burhan confirming this interpretation.[79]

The word sea appears more than thirty three times in the Book of Allah, in contexts which make it obvious that the literal meaning is intended. Despite this, the Shia prefer to interpret it to mean the Imam, Imams and their enemies. The author of Mir’at al Anwar quotes many of the narrations of his brethren regarding this interpretation. Thereafter he says:


و لا يخفى ان المستفاد من ذلك جواز تاويل البحر والبحار العذبة..المشتملة على المدح و النفع بالامام و الائمة بل بفاطمة..و تاويل البحر و البحار المالحة باعدائهم

It is obvious that, from that, the permissibility of interpreting sea and sweet seas (rivers)… which contain praise and benefit to mean the Imam, Imams and even Fatimah is established. Salty sea and seas can be interpreted to mean their enemies.[80]


Tafsir al Qummi and others report from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) regarding the verse:


مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَیْنِ یَلْتَقِیٰنِ

He released the two seas, meeting [side by side][81]


قال مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَیْنِ یَلْتَقِیٰنِ على و فاطمة بحران عميقان لا يبغى احدهما على صاحبه

He released the two seas, meeting [side by side] — ‘Ali and Fatimah; they are two deep seas, but neither of them oppresses the other.


بَیْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لَّا یَبْغِیٰنِ

From both of them emerge pearl and coral.


الحسن والحسين

Hassan and Hussain.[82]


Interpreting abstract meanings and “the greatest example” to mean Imamah and the Imams. “Good” is taken to mean Wilayah. Al Kazim says — as claimed by them — regarding the verse:


وَافْعَلُوا الْخَیْرَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُوْنَ

and do good[83]


قال الولاية

He said, “(it is) al Wilayah.”[84]


Regarding the verse:


فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَیْرٰتِ

So race to [all that is] good.[85]


Abu Jafar (al Baqir) said:


الخيرات الولاية

[all that is] good refers to Wilayah.[86]


Verses regarding the universe are also a reference to the Imams. They are referred to as landmarks in the verse:


وَ عَلٰمٰتٍؕ وَ بِالنَّجْمِ هُمْ یَهْتَدُوْنَ

And landmarks. And by the stars they are [also] guided.[87]


Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) said – as reported by them:


النجم رسول الله و العلامات هم الائمة عليهم السلام

“The stars,” refers to the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and “landmarks,” refers to the Imams.[88]


Al Kulayni has a chapter regarding this titled, “the Imams are the landmarks mentioned by Allah in His Book.”[89] Al Majlisi followed in his footsteps and named a chapter, “they are the stars and the landmarks.”[90] The context in which the verse appears as well as that which is reported from the pious predecessors demands that this interpretation of the verse should be rejected.[91]

The conditions and stages of the Day of Judgement are interpreted by them to mean the reincarnation of the Imams or Wilayah. Thus, al Sa’ah (the hour), al Qiyamah, al Nushur (the resurrection) and other names related to the Day of Judgement are interpreted by them, in most cases, to mean the reincarnation of the Imams. The author of Mir’at al Anwar mentions it as a rule:


كل ما عبر به بيوم القيامة فى ظاهر التنزيل فتاويله بالرجعة

Wherever the Day of Qiyamah appears in the apparent wording of the Qur’an, it refers to reincarnation.[92]


Al Majlisi says regarding the word sa’ah (hour) which appears in the Qur’an:


ان الساعة ظهرها القيامة و بطنها الرجعة

The outward meaning of al sa’ah is Qiyamah and the inner meaning is reincarnation.[93]


The interpretation of the word al sa’ah to mean Wilayah has also been reported by them. They report from al Rida regarding the verse:


بَلْ کَذَّبُوْا بِالسَّاعَةِ

But they have denied the Hour.[94]

قال يعنى كذبوا بولاية على

This means that they denied the Wilayah of ‘Ali.[95]


The worldly life refers to the reincarnation, according to them. The author of Mir’at al Anwar says:


جاء ما يدل على تاويل الدنيا بالرجعة و بولاية ابى بكر و عمر

That which indicates that “the world” should be interpreted to mean reincarnation and the Wilayah of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar has been reported.[96]


Imam Jafar said regarding the verse:


اِنَّا لَنَنْصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا فِی الْحَیٰوةِ الدُّنْیَا وَ یَوْمَ یَقُوْمُ الْاَشْهَادُ

Indeed, We will support Our Messengers and those who believe during the life of this world.[97]


يعنى الرجعة

This refers to reincarnation.[98]


Regarding the verse:


بَلْ تُؤْثِرُوْنَ الْحَیٰوةَ الدُّنْیَا

But you prefer the worldly life.[99]


قال ولايتهم

He said, “it is their (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma) Wilayah.”[100]


At this point, we wish to remind you that ‘inner interpretations’ are not governed by any laws. You have just seen that “the hereafter” was interpreted to mean reincarnation, just as the worldly life was interpreted to mean the same. This is despite the vast difference between the two. Similarly, the worldly life is interpreted on one occasion to mean reincarnation and on another occasion to mean Wilayah whereas there is absolutely no link between the two. They are senseless and random statements which have no basis, even as far as logic is concerned.


NEXT⇒ A Few Examples of Shia Interpretations of the Verses of the Qur’an Continued

[1]Minhaj al Sunnah 4/66

[2]  I prepared a table of these interpretations wherein I presented their subjects in alphabetical order. Under each subject, I listed the amount of places that this is repeated in the Book of Allah along with the interpretations of the Shia in these places. This table ended up being really large. However my superior was of the opinion — and I agreed with him — that there is no need for it, as that which has been mentioned thus far is sufficient (on account of methodological reasons).

[3]  Surah al Nahl: 36

[4]Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/261, al Burhan 2/373, Tafsir al Safi 3/134, Tafsir Nur al Thaqalayn 3/60

[5]  Surah al Nahl: 51

[6]Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/261, al Burhan 2/373, Tafsir Nur al Thaqalayn 3/60

[7]  Surah al Furqan: 55

[8]Tafsir al Qummi 2/115

[9]  Basa’ir al Darajat by their scholar al Saffar.

[10]  Take note of their disbelief in the attributes of Allah in this quotation, as will be expounded upon. Refer to it in Tafsir al Safi 4/20, al Burhan 3/172, Tafsir Nur al Thaqalayn 4/25, Mir’at al Anwar pg. 59

[11]Tafsir al Safi 4/20, Mir’at al Anwar pg. 59

[12] Tafsir al Tabari 19/26-27, Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/338

[13]  Surah al Zumar: 69

[14]Tafsir Ibn Kathir 4/70

[15]  Surah al Zumar: 69

[16]Tafsir al Qummi 2/253, al Burhan 4/87, Tafsir al Safi 4/331

[17]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 324

[18]Bihar al Anwar 24/191

[19]  Surah al Qasas: 88

[20]  Surah al Rahman: 27

[21]  Refer to Tafsir al Qummi 2/147, al Karajki: Kanz al Fawa’id pg. 219, Ibn Shahrashub: Manaqib Al Abi Talib 3/63, Bihar al Anwar 24/193, Tafsir Shibr pg. 378

[22]  Refer to Tafsir al Qummi 2/345, Ibn Shahrashub: Manaqib Al Abi Talib 3/343, al Kashani: Tafsir al Safi 5/110 Bihar al Anwar 24/193

[23]  Surah a-Rahman: 26

[24]Usul al Kafi 1/258

[25]  Surah al A’raf: 180

[26] Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/42, Tafsir al Safi 2/254-255, al Burhan 2/51

[27]  Refer to the section, “present day Shia and their relationship with their predecessors,” of this book.

[28]  Surah al Zukhruf: 84

[29]Rijal al Kashshi pg. 300

[30]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 163

[31]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 163

[32]  Surah al Nahl: 36

[33]  Surah al Ambiya: 25

[34]  Surah Yunus: 47

[35]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 164, Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/123, al Burhan 2/186, Tafsir al Safi 2/405, Bihar al Anwar 24/306-307

[36]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 303

[37]  Surah al Baqarah: 1-2

[38]Tafsir al Qummi 1/30, Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/26, al Burhan 1/53, Tafsir al Safi 1/91-92

[39]  Surah al Shura: 21

[40]Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/274, al Burhan 4/121, Bihar al Anwar 24/174

[41]  Surah Yunus: 64

[42]Tafsir al Qummi 1/314, Bihar al Anwar 24/175

[43]  Surah Luqman: 27

[44]Bihar al Anwar 24/174, Tuhaf al ‘Uqul pg. 355, Ibn Shahrashub: Manaqib Al Abi Talib 3/508, al Ihtijaj pg. 552

[45]Bihar al Anwar 24/173-175

[46]Minhaj al Sunnah 3/18

[47]Tafsir al Qummi 1/28, Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 1/42, al Burhan 1/89, Tafsir al Safi 1/85, Bihar al Anwar 23/211

[48]  Surah al Fatihah: 6

[49]  Surah al Shams: 1

[50]Al Burhan 4/476, Mir’at al Anwar pg. 200, Tafsir al Safi 1/85, Bihar al Anwar 23/211 (One will also find the interpretation of the day to be Imams here).

[51]  Surah al A’raf: 29

[52]Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/12, al Burhan 2/8, Tafsir al Safi 2/188 Mir’at al Anwar pg. 175, Nur al Thaqalayn 2/17

[53]  Surah al A’raf: 31

[54]Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/13, al Burhan 2/9

[55]  Surah al Jinn: 18

[56]al Burhan 4/393

[57]  Al Karajki: Kanz al Fawa’id pg. 2, Bihar al Anwar 24/303, Mir’at al Anwar pg. 213

[58]  Surah al Qalam: 43

[59]Tafsir al Qummi 2/383 al Burhan 4/372, Tafsir al Safi 5/214-215 Mir’at al Anwar pg. 176

[60]  This is a reference to books such as Manasik al Ziyarat by al Mufid, Kitab al Mazar by Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Fadl, al Mazar by Muhammad al Mash-hadi, al Mazar by Muhammad ibn Humam, al Mazar by Muhammad ibn Ahmed. Al ‘Amili mentioned them in Wasa’il al Shia and he even quoted from them. Refer to Wasa’il al Shia 20/48-49. Also refer to Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah 1/175, al Fatawa 17/498

[61]  This can be seen in books such as Usul al Kafi, al Wafi, al Bihar, Wasa’il al Shia, etc. Further details regarding these texts as well as the texts themselves will be presented shortly.

[62]  Refer to the chapter regarding their beliefs as far as towhid is concerned.

[63]  Surah al Ghafir: 7

[64]Al Burhan 4/92-93, Tafsir al Safi 4/335, Tafsir al Qummi 2/255

[65]  The exact wording is as follows:

‘Abdullah ibn Ya’fur says, “I said to Abu ‘Abdullah:

انى اخالط الناس فيكثر عجبى من اقوام لا يتولونكم و يتولون فلانا و فلانا لهم امانة و صدق ووفاء و اقوام يتولونكم ليس لهم ثلك الامانة ولا الوفاء والصدق؟”

My interaction with people leaves me dumbfounded, as I notice that many people who do not accept your Wilayah and the Wilayah of your family, instead they accept the Wilayah of so and so (i.e. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, which is an obvious reference to the Ahlus Sunnah) are trustworthy, faithful and truthful. On the other hand, those who accept your Wilayah (the Shia) do not have in them the same level of trustworthiness, faithfulness and honesty?

Thereupon, Abu ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu sat up straight and turned to me as if he had been angered. He then said,

لا دين لمن دان الله بولاية امام جائر ليس من الله ولا عتب على من دان بولاية امام عادل من الله

There is no din for the one who worships Allah and accepts the Wilayah of an oppressive Imam who is not from Allah, and there is no criticism against the one who accepts the just Imam appointed by Allah.

I asked, “there is no din for those people and these people are beyond any criticism?”

He replied:

الا تسمع لقول الله عز و جل:اَللهُ وَلِیُّ الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا ۙ یُخْرِجُهُمْ مِّنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ اِلَی النُّوُرِ يعنى من ظلمات الذنوب الى نور التوبة والمغفرة لولايتهم كل امام عادل من الله

Do you not hear the speech of Allah, “Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness’s into the light?” (Surah al Baqarah: 257) This means that He brings them out from the darkness of sins into the light of repentance and forgiveness as a result of them accepting every just Imam from Allah. (Usul al Kafi 1/375)

[66] He says, “I, as well as others, have seen along the course of our experiences that no Rafidi holds back from any of the prohibitions of the din, whatever they may be.” (Talab al ‘Ilm pg. 73) The remainder of his experiences will appear under the chapter, “their effect upon the Islamic world”.

[67]Bihar al Anwar 24/303

[68]  Surah al Baqarah: 132

[69]  Surah al Baqarah: 132

[70]Al Burhan 1/156, Mir’at al Anwar pg. 148

[71]  Surah al Shura: 13

[72]  Surah al Shura: 13

[73]  Surah al Shura: 13

[74]  They are an extremist Shia sect who believe in the Imamah of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah. They were named al Kaysaniyyah as a means of identifying them with Mukhtar ibn Abi ‘Ubaid al Thaqafi, as he was called Kaysan. They are also referred to as al Mukhtariyyah by some authors on the subject of sects. Al Mukhtar claimed that he received revelation and he believed in Bada as well as other deviant beliefs. It is also said that they are called al Kaysaniyyah with reference to a man called Kaysan, who was the freed slave of part of the Bujaylah tribe of Kufah. He is also believed to be the freed slave of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. The Kaysaniyyah divided into many sects, a total of twenty one according to al Ash’ari. They could be divided into two primary sects according to al Baghdadi; one sect who believes that Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah did not pass away and he is the awaited Mahdi, and another sect who believes that Imamah shifted after his demise to others. Thereafter, they differ regarding the one to whom it shifted. Refer to al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/91, al Baghdadi: al Farq bayn al Firaq pg. 23, 38, 53, Ibn Hazm: al Fisal 5/35-36, 40-41, 43, al Razi: I’tiqadat Firaq al Muslimin wa l-Mushrikin pg. 93-95, Nishwan al Himyari: al Hur al ‘Ayn pg. 157, Ibn al Murtada: al Munyat wa l-Amal pg. 82-83, al Nashi al Akbar: Masa’il al Imamah pg. 25,26, al Qummi: al Maqalat wa l-Firaq pg. 21-22, al Nowbakhti: Firaq al Shia pg. 23-24,27, Widad al Qadi: al Kaysaniyyah fi l-Tarikh wa l-Adab

[75]Al Milal wa l-Nihal 1/147

[76]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 81

[77]Bihar al Anwar 36/104-105, Mir’at al Anwar pg. 94, Tafsir al Qummi 2/85, al Burhan 3/96-97, Usul al Kafi 1/427, Ma’ani al Akhbar pg. 111

[78]  Surah al Hajj: 45

[79]al Burhan 3/96-97

[80]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 94

[81]  Surah al Rahman: 19

[82]Tafsir al Qummi 2/344, Tafsir Furat pg. 177, Ibn Babawayh: al Khisal pg. 65, Tafsir al Safi 5/109, al Burhan (twelve narrations are quoted regarding this interpretation) 4/265, Bihar al Anwar (an entire chapter was dedicated to this titled, “they are the sea, pearls and corals” 24/97. Refer to the comments of Ibn Taymiyyah regarding these interpretations quoted previously.

[83]  Surah al Hajj: 77

[84]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 139

[85]  Surah al Baqarah: 148

[86]Tafsir al Safi 1/200, al Burhan 1/163

[87]  Surah al Nahl: 16

[88]Tafsir al Qummi 1/383, Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/255, Usul al Kafi 1/206, al Burhan 2/362, Tafsir al Safi 3/129, Tafsir Furat pg. 84, Majma’ al Bayan 4/62

[89]Usul al Kafi 1/206

[90]Bihar al Anwar 24/67-82

[91]  Refer to Tafsir al Tabari 14/92, Tafsir Ibn Kathir 2/612

[92]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 303

[93]Bihar al Anwar 24/334

[94]  Surah al Furqan: 11

[95]  Al No’mani: al Ghaybah pg. 54, al Burhan 3/157, Mir’at al Anwar pg. 182

[96]Mir’at al Anwar pg. 150

[97]  Surah al Ghafir: 51

[98]Tafsir al Qummi 2/258-259, Tafsir al Safi 4/345, al Burhan 4/100

[99]  Surah al A’la: 16

[100]Usul al Kafi 1/418, al Burhan 4/451

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