Chapter Five – Raj’ah (The Return)

The Representation of the Hidden Mahdi
November 3, 2017
Chapter Six – The Doctrine of Zuhur (Emergence)
November 9, 2017

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Chapter Five

Raj’ah (The Return)

 

Raj’ah is one of the fundamentals of the Shia dogma, one of their narrations state:

 

ليس منا من لم يؤمن بكرتنا

He who does not believe in our return is not from amongst us.[1]

 

And Ibn Babawayh mentions the following in his al I’tiqadat:

 

واعتقادنا في الرجعة أنها حق

Our belief regarding the Raj’ah is that it is true.[2]

 

And al Mufid says:

واتفقت الإمامية علي وجوب رجعة كثير من الأموات

The Imamiyyah are unanimous regarding the return of many of the deceased.[3]

 

Likewise al Tabarsi, al Hurr al ‘Amili, and other Shia scholars assert that it is a locus of consensus between the Shia,[4] that it is one of the categorically established aspects of their Din[5] and that they are ordered to verbally profess it, believe in it and acknowledge it in their prayers, visitations, on Fridays and every given moment, just as a person is required to acknowledge the oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the prophethood of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Imamah of the Imams, and the Day of Judgement.[6]

The meaning of Raj’ah: Returning to the world after death.[7] Ibn Athir mentions that it was a well-known belief of an Arab tribe in the days of ignorance.[8]

Many Shia sects believed that their Imams will return to this world: some acknowledged their death and believed in their subsequent arrival, whilst others asserted that they have not died but have gone into occultation and will return after a period of time, as has passed already in the discussion of occultation. The first person to espouse the idea of Raj’ah was Ibn Saba’, he, however, believed that ‘Ali disappeared, he did not die, and will return.

Initially the doctrine of Raj’ah was specific to the return of the Imams according to the Saba’iyyah and the Kaysaniyyah. According to the Twelvers, however, it evolved into believing in the return of the Imam and various other people as well. Al Alusi suggests that this important evolution transpired in the third century.[9]

Some Shia sects even became known as the Raj’iyyah due to their strong belief in Raj’ah and lending it a lot of importance.[10]

As for the general understanding of the doctrine of Raj’ah according to the Twelvers, it comprises of three types:

  1. The twelve Imams, for the Mahdi will emerge from his hiding place and the remaining Imams will be brought to life after their demise and made to return to this world.
  2. The Muslim rulers who usurped the Khilafah, according to them, from its Shar’i and rightful candidates, i.e. the twelve Imams. These rulers will be raised, at the forefront of who will be Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman. They will be made to return to this world, as the Shia dream, so that retribution is taken from them, hence they will be punished, killed, or crucified.
  3. Common people, more specifically, those who had pure faith, i.e. The Shia because they are only ‘believers’, as is conclusively suggested in their narrations and the verdicts of their scholars,[11] and those who were steeped in disbelief, i.e. all the people besides the weak and vulnerable.[12]

They have, therefore, said the following in defining Raj’ah:

 

رجعة كثير من الأموات إلي الدنيا قبل يوم القيامة وعودتهم إلي الحياة بعد الموت في صورهم التي كانوا عليها

The return of many of the dead to this world before the Day of Judgement and their life after death[13] in the appearances which they had in this world.[14]

 

And those who will return to this world will be:

 

النبي الخاتم وسائر الأنبياء والأئمة المعصومون ومن محض في الإسلام ومن محض في الكفر دون الطبقة الجاهلية المعبر عنها بالمستضعفين

The last prophet, all the Prophets, the infallible Imams, those sincere in faith, and those steeped in disbelief, with the exemption of the people who lived during the era of ignorance who are known as the weak.[15]

 

Or in other words, as al Mufid states:

من علت درجته في الإيمان، ومن بلغ الغاية في الفساد كلهم يرجعون بعد موتهم

Those who have high ranks in faith and those who reach the utmost degree of corruption, all of them will return to the world.[16]

 

Likewise, the one who has to take retribution, even though he is not high in ranking will return and take revenge from his murderer.[17]

The period of the general Raj’ah will be, as their scholar al Mufid asserts, during the emergence of the Mahdi of the family of Muhammad and his return from his occultation.[18] However, one of their scholars avers that the general Raj’ah is not linked with the emergence of the Mahdi due to the Raj’ah being distinct from the emergence. Because the Imam is alive and in occultation, and he will emerge, if Allah wills, when dominion will not have been snatched due to which he will have to return. Hence the beginning of the Raj’ah will be from the return of Hussain to the world.[19]

This is in harmony with some of their narrations which state:

 

أول من تنشق الأرض عنه ويرجع إلي الدنيا الحسين بن علي عليه السلام

The first person for who the land will split where after he will return to the world is Hussain.[20]

 

Some of their narrations state that the Raj’ah will begin after demolishing the room of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and removing the pure bodies of the two rightly guided successors of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as they envisage, for their narrations state that the Mahdi said:

 

وأجيء إلي يثرب، فأهدم الحجرة، وأخرج من بها وهما طريان فآمر بهما تجاه البقيع وآمر بخشبتين يصلبان عليهما فتورقان من تحتهما، فيفتتن الناس بهما أشد من الأولي، فينادي منادي الفتنة من السماء يا سماء انبذي ويا أرض خذي. فيومئذ لا يبقي علي وجه الأرض إلا مؤمن (أي إلا شيعي) ثم يكون بعد ذلك الكرة والرجعة

I will come to Yathrib (Madinah) and demolish the room. I will take out its inmates fresh and alive and will order that they be taken to Baqi’. I will then order that two planks be erected whereupon they will be crucified. Subsequent to which they (the planks) will grow leaves which will confuse the people more than the first time. The announcer of the tribulation will announce, “O heavens throw, and O earth catch.” On that day no one besides a believer (a Shia) will remain. Thereafter the Raj’ah and the return will begin.[21]

 

The objective for the Raj’ah will be the vengeance of the Imams and the Shia from their enemies,[22] namely all the Muslim besides the Shia and the weak; the swords of the Shia will be dripping with blood due to killing the Muslims excessively, so much so that Abu ‘Abdullah is reported to have said:

كأني بحمران بن أعين وميسر بن عبد العزيز يخبطان الناس بأسيافهما بين الصفا والمروة

It is as if I can see Humran ibn A’yan and Maysar ibn ‘Abd al ‘Aziz dropping the people between Safa and Marwa with their swords.[23]

 

There is no doubt in the fact that specifying the holy Haram for killing very strongly suggests that the Muslims will be the targets of murder, and that this is what the Shia dream of doing. This narration and others of its like, their fictitious nature notwithstanding, give us an image of the thoughts of the Shia figures who fabricated these narrations, and of their plans and goals; they are projections of a people whose endeavours were defeated and whose tendencies were subdued, of a people who wait for calamities to befall this Ummah.

These narrations which were being circulated clandestinely[24] also clarify the mass-murder that the Qaramitah carried out upon the Hujjaj in the Holy Haram. They would use this type of narrations which are falsely attributed to the Ahlul Bayt in order to defend their positons of massacring the Muslims.

They also explain why the contemporary Shia are enthusiastic about conquering Makkah and Madinah as if they currently exist in the hands of disbelievers.[25]

Another prominent event which will take place during the Raj’ah is the accountability of people’s actions at the hands of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Abu ‘Abdullah says:

 

إن الذي يلي حساب الناس قبل يوم القيامة الحسين بن علي عليه السلام، فأما يوم القيامة فإنما هو بعث إلي الجنة وبعث إلي النار

The person who will be responsible for taking people’s reckoning before the Day of Judgement will be Hussain. As for the Day of Judgement, it is meant for sending people either to Jannat or Jahannam.[26]

 

Likewise, during the Raj’ah the Prophets ‘alayhim al Salam, who are the paragons of Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala creation, will be demoted to the position of soldiers in the army of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as these fraudsters assert:

 

لم يبعث الله نبيا ولارسولا إلا رد جميعهم إلي الدنيا حتي يقاتلوا بين يدي علي بن أبي طالب أمير المؤمنين

There is no Nabi or Rasul who Allah has sent to this world but that he will return to this world and fight in front of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.[27]

 

Similarly, the Shia dream that during the period of Raj’ah they will be living in such bliss and prosperity as cannot be imagined:

 

يكون أكلهم وشربهم من الجنة، ولايسألون الله حاجة من حوائج الدنيا والآخرة إلا يقضي لهم

Their foods and drinks will be from Jannat.[28] And they will not ask Allah for any need of this world or the hereafter but that it will be fulfilled for them.[29]

 

A Shia will be given the choice in his grave to either return to this world or to stay in the grave. It will be said to him:

 

يا هذا إنه قد ظهر صاحبك فأن تشأ أن تلحق به فالحق وإن تشأ أن تقيم في كرامة ربك فأقم

O you! Your companion has emerged, if you thus desire to join him, join him, and if you desire to remain in the boons of your Lord, then stay.[30]

 

The Raj’ah for the Shia will end with the killing of those who died naturally and the death of those who were killed previously. This end is stated as one of the objectives of the Raj’ah, they say:

 

ليس أحد من المؤمنين قتل إلا سيرجع حتي يموت ولا أحد من المؤمنين مات إلا سيرجع حتي يقتل

There is no believer who was previously killed but that he will return and die naturally, nor will there be any believer who died naturally but that he will be killed.[31]

 

Nevertheless, the doctrine of Raj’ah was a secret from the secrets of the Shia dogma, Abu al Hussain al Khayyat, one of the scholars of the Mu’tazilah,[32] states:

بإنهم قد تواصوا بكتمانها وألا يذكروها في مجالسهم ولا في كتبهم إلا فيما قد أسروه من الكتب ولم يظهروه

They have sworn to keep it a secret and not to mention it in their gatherings and their books, with the exception of those books which they keep to themselves.[33]

 

There are narrations in the books of the Twelvers which indicate to the aforementioned claim of al Khayyat, for the Shia narrate the following from Abu Jafar:

لاتقولوا الجبت والطاغوت ولاتقولوا الرجعة، فإن قالوا لكم فإنكم قد كنتم تقولون ذلك فقولوا: أما اليوم فلا نقول

Do not say Jibt and Taghut[34] and do not say Raj’ah. If they say to you that you used to say that, retort, “As of today we don’t say.”

 

In another narration which they attribute to al Sadiq the following appears:

 

لاتقولوا الجبت والطاغوت وتقولوا الرجعة، فإن قالوا: قد كنتم تقولون؟ قولوا: الآن لا نقول، وهذا من التقية التي تعبد الله به عباده في زمن الأوصياء

Do not say Jibt and Taghut and do not say Raj’ah. If they ask you, “You people would indeed say those things?” Tell them, “As of now we don’t say.” This is Taqiyyah which Allah has ordered his servants to practice during the era of the successors.[35]

 

These were secret phenomena which the Shia would discuss, and in order to infuse them with certainty and strength they attributed them to some of the members of the Ahlul Bayt so as to mislead the laymen, the new-Muslims and non-Arabs.

 

Their Evidence for the Doctrine of Raj’ah

The Shia focused their attention to the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in order to derive evidence therefrom to substantiate the doctrine of Raj’ah, a doctrine unique to them apart from the Muslims. When they did not succeed in their endeavour they resorted to, as is their wont, esoteric interpretations; they mounted the conveyance of exaggeration and recklessly contrived such evidences which rather became evidence against them, a proof of the falsity of the doctrine and the invalidity of their dogma. For this reality to become clear to us we are going to analyse some of their strongest evidences in this regard.

Their leading scholar asserts in Tafsir al Qummi that the strongest evidence for the doctrine of Raj’ah is the following:

 

وَحَرَامٌ عَلٰى قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا أَنَّهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُوْنَ

And it is prohibited to [the people of] a city which we have destroyed that they will [never] return.[36]

 

He says regarding the verse:

 

هذه الآية من أعظم الأدلة علي الرجعة، لأن أحدا من أهل الإسلام لاينكر أن الناس كلهم يرجعون يوم القيامة من هلك ومن لم يهلك

This verse is one of the greatest evidences for Raj’ah, for no one from the Muslims denies that all the people will return on the Day of Judgment, those who died and those who never.[37]

 

Whereas this verse is against them, for it rejects the idea of returning to this world. It means, as stated by Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Jafar al Baqir, Qatadah, and many others that it is completely impossible for a nation who was destroyed because of its sins to return to this world before the Day of Judgment.[38] This is akin to the verse wherein Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala states:

 

أَلَمْ يَرَوْا كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّنَ الْقُرُوْنِ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَا يَرْجِعُوْنَ

Have they not considered how many generations we destroyed before them – which they to them will not return?[39]

 

And the verse:

فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُوْنَ تَوْصِيَةً وَلَا إِلٰى أَهْلِهِمْ يَرْجِعُوْنَ

And they will not be able [to give] any instruction, nor to their people can they return.[40]

 

The additional لا (negating particle) in the verse under question is in order to emphasise the negation which is already conveyed in the word Haram. This is one of the profound and eloquent styles of the Qur’an which is very intricate. The reason why Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala informs of there being no return is in order to clearly state that which troubles them the most and hurts them immensely, i.e. their everlasting destruction and the nonrealization of their biggest hope which is staying in this world forever.[41]

And even if the verse intends to prove a return it definitely proves the return of people on the Day of Judgment,[42] i.e. them returning to us for recompense is completely impermissible.[43] And specifically making mention of the impermissibility of them not returning despite it already being included indirectly in the verse:

كُلٌّ إلَيْنَا رَاجِعُوْن

Each one will return to us.

 

is because they denied resurrection.[44]

 

Another verse which the Shia use to substantiate the doctrine of Raj’ah is:

 

وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ مِنْ كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ فَوْجًا مِّمَّن يُكَذِّبُ بِآيَاتِنَا فَهُمْ يُوزَعُوْنَ

And [warn of] the Day when we will gather from every nation a company of those who deny our signs, and they will be [driven] in rows.[45]

 

This verse, as the exegetes of the Qur’an have mentioned, is pertaining to the Day of reckoning and accountability, the day when people will stand before Allah.[46] The Shia however use this verse to prove their doctrine of Raj’ah, hence their scholar Shibr states that it has been explained with their narrations of Raj’ah.[47]

And al Tabarsi says:

 

استدل بهذه الآية علي صحة الرجعة من ذهب إلي ذلك من الإمامية بأن قال: إن دخول من في الكلام يوجب التبعيض. فدل بذلك علي أنه يحشر قوم دون قوم وليس ذلك صفة يوم القيامة الذي يقول فيه سبحانه: وَحَشَرْنَاهُمْ فَلَمْ نُغَادِرْ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدًا

Those of the Imamiyyah who are of the opinion of the validity of the Raj’ah draw evidence from this verse and say, “The ‘من’ (lit. From) in the verse gives the meaning of ‘some’, which implies that some people will be raised and some will not. This will not be the case on the Day of Judgment as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says, “And we will gather them and not leave behind from them anyone.”[48][49]

 

As for ‘من’ (in the first verse) at times giving the meaning of ‘some’, it is completely regular,[50] for every nation comprises of acceptors and beliers, so in light of this the verse would mean: On the day when those who belied our verses will be gathered from every nation from the nations of the prophets ‘alayh al Salam or from the nations of any of the ages.[51] This interpretation of the verse does not in any way suggest any return to this world after death in any condition. But the Shia due to not having any evidence which supports their doctrine resort to all the verses in the Qur’an which talk of people’s return to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in the afterlife and interpret them as Raj’ah.

Specifying the deniers with this resurrection does not necessarily approve what they claim due to it being in order to rebuke them and punish them after the general and all-encompassing resurrection of the creation.[52] As for the من in the second verse, it is explanatory, it is explaining the words ‘droves’.[53] One of the contemporary Shia exegetes picked up the deviance of the Shia in this regard and said the following in interpreting the verse:

 

من ههنا بيانية وليست للتبعيض تماما كخاتم من حديد، والمعني: أن في الأمم مصدقين ومكذبين بآيات الله وبياناته، وهو يحشر للحساب والجزاء جميع المكذبين بلا استثناء، خصهم بالحشر مع أنه يعم الجميع لأنه تعالي قصد التهديد والوعيد

The من here is explanatory, it is not giving the meaning of ‘some’. It is like when we say a ring from iron. And the meaning of the verse is: Nations are either acceptors of the verses of Allah and his evidences or their deniers, he will raise all the deniers for accountability and punishment without any exception. Allah, however, specifically makes mention of their resurrection because he intends to rebuke them and sternly warn them.[54]

 

One of the verse which they use is:

 

قُتِلَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ

Destroyed [i.e. cursed] is man; how disbelieving is he.[55]

 

In Tafsir al Qummi the following is mentioned under the commentary thereof:

 

قال: هو أمير المؤمنين، قال: ما أكفره أي ماذا فعل وأذنب حتي قتلوه…ثم أماته فأقبره ثم إذا شاء أنشره. قال في الرجعة: كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ، أي لم يقض أمير المؤمنين ما قد أمره، وسيرجع حتي يقضي ما أمره

He said, “He is Amir al Mu’minin.” Allah says regarding him, “What made him a disbeliever,” i.e. what sin did he commit because of which they killed him… Then Allah gave him death, and buried him. And subsequently Allah will raise him when he wants. Allah then says, ‘No! He has not as yet fulfilled what he ordered him,’ i.e. Amir al Mu’minin has not fulfilled that which Allah ordered him with, he will thus return and fulfil the orders of Allah.[56]

 

There are few aspects worth consideration here:

Firstly, their scholar al Qummi has interpreted ‘man’ in the verse: ‘destroyed is man; how disbelieving is he’ as ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, whereas the wording of the verse, and the context wherein it appears both determine that a disbeliever is meant by ‘man’, which is why the early scholars have said the following in the explanation of the verse:

May a disbelieving man be accursed, how ungrateful is he?[57]

 

So is this interpretation aimed at satirising Amir al Mu’minin subtly, or is it the aftermath of the influence of the Kamiliyyah, a sub-sect of the Shia,[58] who excommunicate Amir al Mu’minin and the remaining Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum which the Shia have imbibed, or is it that the fabricator of this interpretation is a non-Arab who is ignorant of the language of the Qur’an and merely wrote what his fanaticism and heresy dictated to him.

Whatever the case maybe, it shows the lack of evidence which these people possess in trying to prove their point.

Secondly, he interprets the verse, ‘And subsequently Allah will raise him when he wants,’ which is emphatic regarding resurrection to mean Raj’ah. Apart from this being a distortion of the meaning of the Qur’an, it averts a person who believes in these narrations from believing in the hereafter to believing in this innovated doctrine. It is for this reason that we find that many Shia sects did not believe in the Last Day but rather believed in the transmigration of souls.[59]

In this regard it should be noted that the Twelvers have taken every verse of Qiyamah and interpreted it with Raj’ah, and it has passed already that this has become a general principle according to them.[60]

Thirdly, these narrations suggest that the purpose for the return of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is due to him not fulfilling the orders of Allah. This is very slanderous, for it suggests that Amir al Mu’minin discarded the commandments of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala so that he could fulfil them after his return. Do they intend to liken him with the polytheists who will desire to return to this world after they will have witnessed the punishment which awaits them? How disrespectful are not these people to the Ahlul Bayt.

Another verse which the Shia use to establish the doctrine of Raj’ah is:

 

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ

Every soul shall taste death.[61]

 

They aver the following in the explanation of this verse:

 

لم يذق الموت من قتل ولا بد أن يرجع حتي يذوق الموت

A person who was killed did not taste death, hence he will have to return to this world to taste death.[62]

 

This narration proves Raj’ah for all the people so that each one of them experiences murder and death, as they believe, whereas, as seen previously, they aver that Raj’ah will be specific to those who are pure in faith and those who are steeped in disbelief. Furthermore, this interpretation is due to being ill-informed in the Arabic language in which the Qur’an was revealed, because it considers murder not to be a type of death which is mentioned in the verse. This unfortunately is the extent of their knowledge.

Besides these verses, the Shia latch onto many other verses and interpret them with extremely esoteric interpretations, as is their wont in making excessive interpretations and attributing them to the Ahlul Bayt to lend them credence. Hence according to al Hurr al ‘Amili the amount of verses which they have interpreted with Raj’ah is seventy two;[63] therein their interpretations have reached unprecedented levels of artificiality.[64] Not forgetting that al Hurr al ‘Amili does not cite all their substantiations in this regard, he rather apologises for not penning the rest down due to not having access to all their books.[65]

The Shia also draw evidence from some of the miracles of the Prophets ‘alayhim al Salam, of which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has informed us in the Qur’an. For example, the reviving of the dead by ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam, or from all those incidents in the Qur’an where Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala discusses reviving the dead. One such verse is the following:

 

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِيْنَ خَرَجُوْا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَهُمْ أُلُوْفٌ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ فَقَالَ لَهُمُ اللَّهُ مُوْتُوْا ثُمَّ أَحْيَاهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُوْ فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَشْكُرُوْنَ

Have you not considered those who left their homes in many thousands, fearing death? Allah said to them, “Die”; then He restored them to life. And Allah is full of bounty to the people, but most of the people do not show gratitude.[66][67]

 

In this method of substantiation it seems as if the Shia endeavour to prove the power of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, which is not the point of divergence due to no one ever denying any supernatural occurrence which is recorded and established through undeniable and mass-transmitted reports. The point of divergence, however, is the claim of returning to this world after death for accountability and recompense or retribution. This is so erroneous that there is no evidence to prove it, more so when one of the motives behind it is weakening people’s belief in the Last Day. Aside from that, there is no dispute regarding the miracles of the Prophets and the extraordinary signs of Allah in his creation.

Lastly, the anomaly in their substantiations reaches staggering levels when they assert that the clearest and most conclusive evidence for the validity of the doctrine of Raj’ah is the fact that no one besides the Imami Shia[68] believe in it.[69] They say:

 

لم يقل بصحتها أحد من العامة (وهم ما سوي الشيعة الإمامية) وكل ما كان كذلك فهو حق. لأن الأئمة قالوا في حق العامة: والله ما هم علي شيء مما أنتم عليه، ولاأنتم علي شيء مما هم عليه فخالفوهم فما هم من الحنيفية علي شيئ

No one from the commonality (i.e. everyone besides the Shia) believes in the validity thereof, and whatever is of this sort is the truth.[70] This is because the Imams are reported to have said, “By Allah! You are not on anything which they are on, nor are they on anything which you are on. So oppose them, for they have nothing in common with the Hanifiyyah (the pure religion).”[71]

 

It is owing to this that al Tabarsi asserts that the unanimity of the Shia in this regard is the greatest evidence in this regard.[72]

However, the following should be noted regarding this substantiation:

Unanimity is not evidence according to the Shia, as has passed. How can they then use it as the basis for establishing the doctrine of Raj’ah? But they might treat the acceptance of the doctrine of Raj’ah by all the Shia without exception to be evidence of the fact that the infallible Imam is concurring with them and thus the credence of their unanimity. Because unanimity is only evidence for the Shia when it reveals or leads to the opinion of the infallible.

However, the Zaidi Shia report abundant narrations which emphatically exonerate the Imams from the doctrine of Raj’ah and oppose the narrations of the Twelvers. It is for this reason that the ardent adherents of the Zaidi creed refute this claim very severely, and they debunk it in detail in their books.[73] So how do the Twelvers then assertively attribute the doctrine of the Raj’ah to the Imams when the reports of the Shia sects are at variance? Instead amidst the Twelvers themselves there are individuals who deny the Raj’ah and interpret the narrations thereof with the establishment of the Shia state, as is reported by the scholars of the Shia.[74] Does any unanimity remain thereafter? And are the narrations of the approbation of the Imams really authentic?

Furthermore, nothing has been reported regarding the Raj’ah from any of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum including Amir al Mu’minin as the books of the Ahlus Sunnah, the Shia, and the Zaidiyyah are unanimous in this regard. Had there been anything like the Raj’ah it would have been known and popular. The idea of Raj’ah was initiated by Ibn Saba’, as is established in the books of the Shia, who was an inveterate liar who was cursed by the Imams, as is documented in the books of the Shia and others.

As for the subsequent times, it was Jabir al Ju’fi who opted for the sin of propagating it, he also, however, is suspected of lying in the books of the Shia, let alone the books of the Ahlus Sunnah, as has passed.[75]

 

Analysing the Doctrine of Raj’ah:

The doctrine of Raj’ah is in complete contrast with the text of the Qur’an. It is completely false due to the assertions in many verses of the Qur’an to the contrary. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

حَتّٰى إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُوْنِ لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيْمَا تَرَكْتُ كَلَّا إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا وَمِنْ وَرَائِهِم بَرْزَخٌ إِلٰى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُوْنَ

[For such is the state of the disbelievers] until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “My Lord, send me back. That I might do righteousness in that which I left behind. No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected.”[76]

 

The verse, “And behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected,” is emphatic in there being no return to this world.[77]

 

أَلَمْ يَرَوْا كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّنَ الْقُرُوْنِ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَا يَرْجِعُوْنَ

Have they not considered how many generations we destroyed before them – which they to them will not return?[78]

 

وَأَنذِرِ النَّاسَ يَوْمَ يَأْتِيهِمُ الْعَذَابُ فَيَقُوْلُ الَّذِيْنَ ظَلَمُوْا رَبَّنَا أَخِّرْنَا إِلٰى أَجَلٍ قَرِيْبٍ نُّجِبْ دَعْوَتَكَ وَنَتَّبِعِ الرُّسُلَ أَوَلَمْ تَكُوْنُوْا أَقْسَمْتُم مِّنْ قَبْلُ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ زَوَالٍ

And warn the people of a Day when the punishment will come to them and those who did wrong will say, “Our Lord, delay us for a short term; we will answer your call and follow the messengers.” [But it will be said], “Had you not sworn, before, that for you there would be no cessation?[79]

 

وَلَوْ تَرٰى إِذِ الْمُجْرِمُوْنَ نَاكِسُوْ رُءُوسِهِمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ رَبَّنَا أَبْصَرْنَا وَسَمِعْنَا فَارْجِعْنَا نَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا إِنَّا مُوْقِنُوْنَ

If you could but see when the criminals are hanging their heads before their Lord, [saying], “Our Lord, we have seen and heard, so return us [to the world]; we will work righteousness. Indeed, we are [now] certain.”[80]

 

وَلَوْ تَرٰى إِذْ وُقِفُوْا عَلَى النَّارِ فَقَالُوْا يَا لَيْتَنَا نُرَدُّ وَلَا نُكَذِّبَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّنَا وَنَكُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ بَلْ بَدَا لَهُم مَّا كَانُوْا يُخْفُوْنَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَلَوْ رُدُّوْا لَعَادُوْا لِمَا نُهُوْا عَنْهُ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُوْنَ

If you could but see when they are made to stand before the Fire and will say, “O would that we could be returned and not deny the signs of our Lord and be among the believers.” But what they concealed before has [now] appeared to them. And even if they were returned, they would return to that which they were forbidden; and indeed, they are liars.[81]

 

All the aforementioned people will ask Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to return to this world at the time of death, when being presented before Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and when seeing the fire of Jahannam but their requests will not be exceeded to. It is for this reason that the scholars have considered the idea of Raj’ah to be the worst type of extremism born under the Shi’ism which is foreign to Islam. Ibn Hajar states:

 

التشيع محبة علي وتقديمه علي الصحابة، فمن قدمه علي أبي بكر وعمر فهو غال في تشيعه ويطلق عليه رافضي، وإلا فشيعي، فإن انضاف إلي ذلك السب والتصريح بالبغض فغال في الرفض، وإن اعتقد الرجعة إلي الدنيا فأشد في الغلو.

Shi’ism is all about loving ‘Ali and giving him preference over the Sahabah. A person who gives him preference over Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma is an extremist in his Shi’ism and is known as a Rafidi or else he is known as a Shia. And if vilifying the Sahabah and expressly hating them comes about with that, then he will be an extremist in Rafd. And if he believes in Raj’ah, the extremism then goes to a higher degree.[82]

 

In the Musnad of Imam Ahmed the following narration is narrated:

 

أن عاصم بن ضمرة (وكان من أصحاب علي) قال للحسن بن علي: إن الشيعة يزعمون أن عليا يرجع. قال الحسن: كذب أولئك الكذابون، لوعلمنا ذاك ما تزوج نساؤه ولاقسمنا ميراثه

‘Asim ibn Damurah (who was one of the disciples of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked Hassan ibn ‘Ali, “The Shia claim that ‘Ali will return.”

He said, “They are lying. If we knew that his wives would not have married, nor would his wives get married.”[83]

 

Believing in returning to this world after death for retribution or recompense is in complete contrast with the nature if this world which is not an abode for reward and punishment. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُوْرَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَنْ زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُوْرِ

And you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.[84]

 

It likewise weakens a person’s faith in the afterlife and the Day of Judgement which seemingly was one of the objectives of the doctrine.

This is actually represented by the interpretations of the Twelvers of all the verses of the Last Day with Raj’ah. Likewise it is represented in the impact these interpretations had upon some of the sub-sects of the Shia which led them to denying the Last Day and believing in the transmigration of souls to which the doctrine of Raj’ah is the door. Not forgetting that some of their narrations also espouse the idea of transmigration.

Some research scholars are of the opinion that the doctrine of Raj’ah creeped into Shi’ism due to Jewish and Christian influences,[85] it entered Shi’ism with the influence of the followers of those religions. Their scholar al Sadiqi, a contemporary scholar, concludes that the doctrine of Raj’ah in its origins returns to what features in the books of the Jews[86] and has considered that to be a glad tiding for the Shia.[87]

Ibn Saba’ the Jew, had played an instrumental role in laying the foundation of this doctrine, as is equally transmitted in the books of the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia, but back then it was confined to the return of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu whose death he was unprepared to concede like the Twelvers in their treatment of the Mahdi who they claim is alive.

Apparently, the person who carried the sin of propagating the doctrine, generalising its horizons and interpreting many of the verses of the Qur’an with it was Jabir al Ju’fi, to the extent that the books of the Shia have praised him for having thorough knowledge in the doctrine of Raj’ah. Hence the following appears in Tafsir al Qummi:

 

Abu Jafar said, “May Allah have mercy on Jabir. His knowledge was of such a high level that he knew the interpretation of this verse, ‘Indeed, He who imposed upon you the Qur’an will take you back to a place of return,’[88] i.e. the Raj’ah.[89]

 

In conclusion, the doctrine of Raj’ah is, as al Suwaidi asserts, against that which is categorically known to be part of Din, i.e. that there is no resurrection before the Day of Judgment and that whenever Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala warns a disbeliever or an oppressor he warns him of the Day of Judgement.[90] It likewise opposes the verses of the Qur’an and the mass-transmitted tradition which emphatically mention that there will be no return to this world before the Day of Judgement.[91]

The Shia scholars, however, insist on approving it and they consider their anomaly in this regard to be a sign of its validity. Shaitan has indeed beautified their actions for them and has dictated to them.

 

NEXT⇒ Chapter Six – The Doctrine of Zuhur (Emergence)


[1] See Footnote 26 of an earlier post. Click Here

[2] Al I’tiqadat p. 90.

[3] Awa’il al Maqalat p. 51.

[4] Al Tabarsi: Majma’ al Bayan 5/252; al Hurr al ‘Amili: al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 33; al Huwaizi: Nur al Thaqalayn 4/101; al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar 53/123 (al Majlisi has mentioned that the Shia scholars are unanimous regarding this belief throughout the ages).

[5] Al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 60.

[6] Ibid. p. 64.

[7] Al Qamus 3/28; Majma’ al Bahrayn 4/334.

[8] Al Nihayah 3/202.

[9] Ruh al Ma’ani 20/27; Ahmed Amin: Duha al Islam 3/237.

[10] Ibn al Jawzi has made mention of them as a distinct sect in Talbis Iblis p. 22. The following scholars have also mentioned them as distinct groups: al Qurtubi: Bayan al Firaq (manuscript) p. 3; ‘Alam Muhammad Effendi: al Risalah al Firaqiyyah (manuscript) p. 2; al Salkhi: Sharh al Ithnayn wa al Sab’in firqah (manuscript) p. 13.

[11] See Section Two Chapter Four. Click Here

[12] The term Mustad’afun (weak and vulnerable) based on the Shia narrations and the opinions of their ancient and contemporary scholars refers to, as al Majlisi says, people with weak intelligence like old women, dim-witted people, and their likes; it also refers to people upon who the evidence has not been established due to them passing away during the period of Fatrah (discontinuation of prophets) or who did not receive the news of the Imam. The fate of these people is left to the discretion of Allah, he can either punish them, or he can forgive them due to which there will be hope of salvation for them. (Bihar al Anwar 8/363; al Majlisi al I’tiqadat p. 100)

[13] Al Mufid: al Maqalat p. 95.

[14] Awa’il al Maqalat p. 95.

[15] Jawwad Tara: Da’irat al Ma’arif al ‘Alawiyyah 1/253.

[16] Awa’il al Maqalat p. 95.

[17] Karim ibn Ibrahim: al Fitrah al Salimah p. 383.

[18] Awa’il al Maqalat p. 95; al Hurr al ‘Amili: al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 58.

[19] Karim ibn Ibrahim: al Fitrah al Salimah p. 383.

[20] Bihar al Anwar 53/39.

[21] Ibid. 53/104-105.

[22] Al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 58.

[23] Bihar al Anwar 53/40, attributing it al Ikhtisas of al Mufid, however I did not find it in the edition I had before me.

[24] Because Raj’ah was one secret from their many secrets.

[25] See the details thereof under the events of the year 317 A.H. in Ibn al Jawzi: al Muntazam 6/222, onwards; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 11/160; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun 3/191.

[26] Bihar al Anwar: chapter regarding Raj’ah 53/43.

[27] Ibid. 53/41.

[28] Bihar al Anwar 53/116.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 276; Bihar al Anwar 53/92.

[31] Tafsir al Qummi 2/131; al Burhan 3/211; Tafsir al Safi 4/76; Bihar al Anwar 53/40, see also: 39, 41, 53, 77 and 137 of the same volume; Rijal al Kashshi p. 407-408.

[32] He lived before 300 A.H. (See: Mujam al Mu’allifin 5/223).

[33] Al Intisar p. 97.

[34] Al Majlisi comments, “I.e. do not make mention of those two accursed men with these names, or do not make any mention of them.” (Bihar al Anwar 53/40), in this he making reference to the two successors of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his fathers-in-law and his beloveds; Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

[35] Ibid. 53/115-116.

[36] Surah al Ambiya’: 95

[37] Tafsir al Qummi 2/76: on the top of the page he has established the title: ‘the greatest verse which proves Raj’ah’.

[38] Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/205.

[39] Surah Yasin: 31.

[40] Surah Yasin: 50.

[41] Tafsir al Qasimi 11/293.

[42] Some scholars have opined this and assert that this verse focuses at establishing faith in the afterlife; and it is a culmination for what appears before it, i.e. the verse, “Each one will return to us.”’ (al Ambiya’: 93). The ‘لا’ in the verse will then be in its literal meaning and when coupled with Haram it negates the negative which brings about a positive meaning.

The meaning of the verse will then be: It is impermissible for a destroyed nation not to return to the hereafter, it is rather necessary for it to return for compensation and punishment. Hence the verse is in place to debunk the view of those who do not concede the afterlife. (Tafsir al Qasimi 11/293).

[43] Fath al Qadir 3/426.

[44] Ruh al Ma’ani 17/91.

[45] Surah al Naml: 83.

[46] Tafsir al Qurtubi 20/17; Tafsir al Baghawi 3/430; Ibn al Jawzi: Zad al Masir 6/194; al Jami’ li Ahkam al Qur’an 13/238; Abu Hayyan: al Bahr al Muhit 7/98; Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/393; al Shawkani: Fath al Qadir 4/153-154, etc.

[47] Tafsir Shibr p. 369.

[48] Surah al Kahf: 47.

[49] Tafsir al Tabarsi 5/251-252

[50] Abu Hayyan: al Bahr al Muhit 7/98; Ruh al Ma’ani 20/26.

[51] Ruh al Ma’ani 20/26; see the previously cited references for the interpretation of the verse (footnote no. 42)

[52] Fath al Qadir 4/154; Ruh al Ma’ani 20/26.

[53] Ruh al Ma’ani 20/26.

[54] Muhammad Jawwad Mughniyah: al Tafsir al Mubin p. 441.

[55] Surah ‘Abas: 17.

[56] Tafsir al Qummi 2/405.

[57] Tafsir al Tabari 30/54.

[58] Kamiliyyah: They excommunicated ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu due to him not revolting against the Sahabah when they pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr. They likewise excommunicated all the Sahabah due to them not acknowledging the right of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to leadership. According to al Nashi’ al Akbar they were known as the Kumayliyyah, they were the followers of Kumayl ibn Ziyad. He then goes onto mention their school of thought. According to al Ash’ari, al Baghdadi, and al Shahrastani they were known as the Kamiliyyah. Al Ash’ari states that they were the followers of Abu Kamil. (See: Masa’il al Imamah p. 45; al Maqalat wa al Firaq p. 14; Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/89; al Farq bayn al Firaq p. 54; al Milal wa al Nihal 1/174).

[59] Al Farq bayn al Firaq p. 272; Wellhausen: al Khawarij wa al Shia p. 248; ‘Abd al Rahman al Wakil: al Baha’iyyah p. 45 (footnote).

[60] See Earlier post on Reincarnation. Click Here.

[61] Surah Al ‘Imran: 185.

[62] Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 1/210; Bihar al Anwar 53/71.

[63] Al Hurr al ‘Amili: al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 72-98

[64] In addition to the above-cited verses, here are some more examples which smack of their appalling indiscretion in this regard. Al Hurr al ‘Amili says, “The third chapter: verses of the Qur’an which prove the validity of Raj’ah”. In this chapter some of the verses that he cites are the following:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ مِنَّا فَضْلًا

And we certainly gave Dawood from us bounty. (Saba’: 10). See the previously cited reference: p. 92.

 

أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ

Do they not travel upon the land? (Al Rum: 9) Ibid. p. 93.

 

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا ۖ

And we have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship. (al Ahqaf: 15) Ibid. p. 94.

 

وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوْعَدُوْنَ

And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. (al Dhariyat: 22) Ibid. 95.

 

This is the level of their substantiation and the height of their evidence. They have in doing so combined the innovative belief of Raj’ah and the interpolation of the meanings of the Qur’an.

[65] Al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 98.

[66] Surah al Baqarah: 243.

[67] See: Bihar al Anwar 53/129; al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 131.

[68] Those who believe in the line of Imams.

[69] Al Iqaz min al Haj’ah p. 98.

[70]Al Iqaz min al Haj’ah. p. 69.

[71] Ibid. p. 69.

[72] Majma’ al Bayan 5/252; Nur al Thaqalayn 4/101; Bihar al Anwar 53/127.

[73] Al Alusi: Ruh al Ma’ani 20/27; Ahmed Subhi: al Zaidiyyah p. 77.

[74] Majma’ al Bayan 5/252; Bihar al Anwar 53/127.

[75] See Discussion regarding Jabir al Ju’fi. Click Here

[76] Surah al Mu’minun: 99-100.

[77] Mukhtasar al Tuhfah p. 201.

[78] Surah Yasin: 31.

[79] Surah Ibrahim: 48.

[80] Surah al Sajdah: 12.

[81] Surah al An’am: 27-28.

[82] Hady al Sari (the introduction to Fath al Bari) p. 459.

[83] Musnad Ahmed 2/312: Ahmed Shakir states that the transmission is authentic; Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d 3/39.

[84] Surah Al ‘Imran: p. 185.

[85] See: Goldzhier: al ‘Aqidah wa al Shari’ah p. 215; Ahmed Amin: Fajr al Islam p. 270; Muhammad ‘Umarah: al Khilafah p. 159.

[86] He has quoted some texts in this regard and he has attributed them to the book of Daniel: 12/1-13.

[87] See: Rasul al Islam fi al Kutub al Samawiyyah p. 239-241.

[88] Surah al Qasas: 85. Ibn Kathir says the following in the explanation of this verse, “Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala instructing Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam tells him to convey the message and read the Qur’an to the people. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala informs him that he will be returned to his abode, which is afterlife, where he will question him regarding the responsibility which he had given him of Nubuwwah. And the meaning of ‘Imposed the Qur’an upon you’ is that he imposed the propagation of the Qur’an to the people upon him (see: Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/419). The word Ma’ad (place of return) has been interpreted in other ways as well, all of which eventually return to approving the Day of Judgement (see: Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/420); also see: Tafsir al Tabari 20/123-126; Tafsir al Baghawi 3/458-459; Zad al Masir 6/249-251.

[89] Tafsir al Qummi 2/147.

[90] But the Shia warn those who oppose them with the Raj’ah.

[91] Al Suwaidi: Naqd ‘Aqa’id al Shia (manuscript) p. 1.

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