A lengthy debate ensued on the issue of loving the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family, the Ahlul Bayt, between myself and my ill-tempered interlocutor, a Palestinian from Nablus.
I said to him, “The books of Hadith in your tradition do not mention reports from Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, just as a group of Sunnis bear hatred for the Ahlul Bayt and curse them.”
I thought to myself, “He dares to challenge me?” True to my unpersuadable nature, being a native of Qatif, I accepted this challenge with bullheadedness and intemperate hubris. I proceeded to visit a friend with the unwavering confidence that I would easily find what was needed to support my claims. Having borrowed a number of books, I found what I was seeking effortlessly: dozens of citations of Sunni scholars vilifying the Imams, accessibly collected, and neatly arranged by our scholars.
These books were a treasure-trove. I could access the statement of any given Nasibi  which was cited verbatim and referenced to the original books in which these statements could be found, with page and volume number. I gleefully wrote my findings on a page, eager to deal the fatal blow to my belligerent interlocutor.
At our next meeting I said to him, “I have found dozens of examples of Sunni scholars disparaging the Imams ‘alayhim al Salam, and I have recorded some of these statements on this page.”
His reply annoyed me. Without raising his voice or objecting, he calmly requested me to read out these statements as they appear. I had nothing to fear, so I proceeded to read what I had copied down verbatim from the books of our [Shia] scholars:
Ibn Taymiyyah, the ‘Nasibi’, says in his book, Minhaj al Sunnah
‘Ali only waged war against the people for them to obey to him, not for them to obey Allah. Whoever takes lives for his own obedience, then he is one who seeks an elevated status and chaos in the world. This is the exact condition with which Allah describes Firoun when He says, “The abode of the Next World, we grant it to those who do not seek neither exaltation nor corruption in the earth. The successful outcome is for those who are Godfearing.”
“They then have the audacity to claim that they love the Ahlul Bayt! Listen to this and see their lies,” I thought to myself petulantly.
I then proceeded to read out the remaining examples that I had written down, whilst my interlocutor stood up to fetch his copy of Minhaj al Sunnah from his bookshelf. He said, “I wish to verify what you have said.” Having dealt him a deathblow, I exhaled, triumphant, and in anticipation of the eventual frown of indignation on the forehead of my tenacious opponent. I could barely contain myself out of elation at my imminent victory.
After a short while, he turned to me and remarked stoically, “Perhaps you ought to read the statements from their original source; you will discover the error in your citations.”
Discombobulated, it took a few moments before I actually registered what he had said. I was still recovering from the shock from his unexpected reply that I could not believe my eyes after I began to read the discussion from the primary source first hand. I was dumbstruck to find that what I had previously cited was a distortion of fact! The original text read as follows:
Also, it has been authentically transmitted in the Sahih that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “A renegade group will appear at a time of strife, from the Muslims, They shall be killed by the one closer to the truth from the two battling parties.”
He also said, “This son of mine is a leader, and Allah will reconcile through him two great factions from the Muslims.”
He also said to ‘Ammar, “The rebellious group will kill you,” and he did not refer to them as ‘the disbelieving group’.
These narrations are authentic according to the scholars of Hadith, and they are narrated from various chains, it is not a case of them narrating from a common source. This necessitates the certainty of the purport of these narrations.
The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam affirmed that the opposing parties are both Muslim, and he praised the one who would be the means of reconciliation between them. He also said that a renegade faction will appear, and that the closer of the two groups to the truth will kill them.
Then, it will be said to these people that should the Nasibis say to you, “‘Ali justified spilling the blood of the Muslims and fought them; not on the command of Allah and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam but to secure his rule, whereas the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Cursing a Muslim is sinfulness and to fight him is disbelief,’ and he said, ‘Do not turn disbelievers after me, such that some of you strike the necks of the others’, as a consequence of which, ‘Ali is a disbeliever;’” then your argument is not any stronger than theirs. This is because the narrations that they take as evidence are authentic; they say, “Taking a life is corruption. Thus, whoever takes lives for his own obedience then he is one who seeks an elevated status and chaos in the world. This is the same state that Allah describes Firoun with, where He says, ‘the abode of the Next World, we grant it to those who do not seek neither exaltation nor corruption in the earth. The successful outcome is for those who are Godfearing.’ So whoever is a seeker of worldly elevation and corruption, they are not from the people of salvation in the next life.
Notice the statement, “should the Nasibis say to you,” meaning that Ibn Taymiyyah is quoting the statement of the Nasibis; not positing these ideas as his own. However, the Shia scholar, in his ‘fairness’, attributed it to Ibn Taymiyyah himself.
Thereafter, as we reviewed all of the statements that I had written down from our venerable [Shia] scholars, I found all of them distorted and misquoted in a similar manner.
I was overwhelmed in embarrassment for my failure; all of the books that I had sifted through and carefully collected for an entire week turned out to be nothing more than lies and distortions!
I remained in a state of grief for days, enveloped by melancholy and helplessness. I was surrounded by the feeling that I could not trust anyone around me, and that my world around me was no more than a mirage that could not be trusted.
I looked at my library, specifically the shelf that contained religious literature, and felt a strong impulse to set fire to the library and all the lies contained therein. For what reason would these people be so deceptive?
I began to recall questions that once used to entice me, only to have me ignore them out of fear that entertaining them would eventually raise doubts about the way of the Ahlul Bayt.
However, it became apparent that there was a methodology being followed that was extraneous to the Ahlul Bayt ‘alayhim al Salam, and that there were people who would defend it with a plethora of deceptive tactics in order to protect its best interests by imposing isolation on the part of laity among the Shia, all the while causing strife in the ranks of the Muslims.
Thinkers and scholars like Ustadh Haydar ‘Ali Qalamdaran, the great scholars and Marja’s Abu al Fadl Al Burqa’i, Al Khalisi, Hussain al Mu’ayyid, ‘Allamah Mustafa Hussain Tabataba’i, the famous thinker ‘Ali Shari’ati; are all names of scholars, Marja’s, and thinkers that only a few Shia have heard of. This appears to be the case for no reason other than the fact that they were individuals who called for reform and a return to what the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt ‘alayhim al Salam actually stood for.
As a result, they were attacked by the fanatics, simply because they attempted to clarify to the masses what was wrongfully attributed to the school of the Ahlul Bayt ‘alayhim al Salam. It stands to reason that religious awareness among the general masses, and their being conscientized, is a major obstacle that stands in the way of those who have been exploiting them all this while.
So I tried to be honest with myself, true to my name, and asked myself, “What was my intention before the debate?”
I did not find any genuine motivation except for my own predisposition and partisanship; I did not engage or debate to arrive at the truth. My research and reading served no purpose other than fanatically defending our scholars.
I realized that I was incorrect in my endeavour, as nobody is truly responsible for defending the contents of a book aside from its author. I was not responsible for any opinion besides my own, and had nothing to do with the opinions others may have held.
I pondered over the years of slumber that I had spent in the cave that was my library, never aspiring to leave it in search of the truth. I never questioned myself: was there a Sun whose rays were to be sought outside of that cave, or was my cave the only truth whose solace I had in this world?
I decided that I needed to demolish the walls of that cave and expand my reach. I would read whatever literature I could get my hands on, and subsequently decide for myself whether or not its contents were accurate.
I made a resolution from that day onwards that I would not believe anyone blindly after that, Shia, Sunni, or otherwise, without confirming the truth for myself.
Allah gave me intelligence so that I may search for the truth and follow it, not so that I may blindly follow others. I wouldn’t acquiesce any longer to others without thinking, and neither would I follow what others had to say without confirming the veracity of their statement.
I would discover the reality myself, and I endeavoured to formulate my own convictions, independent of the opinions of others. I gazed at my library once more and asked myself, “How did you read such a vast array of literature for no purpose save your own intellectual gratification, when you have read nothing about your religion except for propaganda that would support the preconceived notions determined exclusively on your geographical position? These ideas were only formulated by those around you, only since they were the same ideas posited by those who preceded them.”
The only thing this propaganda was successful in was concealing some of the pressing questions that were suppressed inside; it was now time to find answers.
Once again, I recalled those books which were used for proselytization and marvelled at the lies and misrepresentations found in them!
It only reinforced my growing conviction that those claims were only to narrow the understanding of the masses, and to increase the internal strife in the Muslims. I came to the realization that the differences between the reformists and the extremists, which I initially dismissed as being nothing more than differing points of view, were effectively a struggle between the actual tradition of the Ahlul Bayt and those foreign ideas that were falsely ascribed to them.
Returning to my discussion with my opponent who hailed from Nablus, he said to me, “Regarding your claim that the books of Hadith do not contain reports from Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, I have found 536 narrations from him, which is substantially greater that the narrations from Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman. Why did you invent the claim that there are no narrations from ‘Ali? Read the words of Ibn Taymiyyah, whom you consider a Nasibi, where he says, “There is no doubt that Muwalat (loving) ‘Ali is compulsory for every Muslim, the same way that it is obligatory for every Muslim to hold that same notion of Muwalat for those who are like ‘Ali among the Muslims.”
He further says:
The books of the Ahlus Sunnah, of all denominations, are filled with his virtues, censuring those who oppress or slander him from any group. They speak out against anyone who vilifies him. Whatever slander took place from the two battling parties is considered to be from the same reprehensible category as the very fighting that ensued. Ahlus Sunnah are among the most outspoken in their denouncement of any slander or warfare against him. Rather, they are all unanimous on the fact that he is of a greater rank, more deserving of leadership, and greater in the eyes of Allah and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the believers than Muawiyah, his father, and his brother.
Regarding the asceticism of Imam ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam he says:
As for the abstinence of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu from worldly possessions; that it is a matter beyond doubt. In fact, he was more abstinent than Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
He says about the killing of Imam Hussain ‘alayh al Salam:
Regarding those who killed Hussain, assisted in his killing, or expressed satisfaction with his killing, then Allah’s curse is upon him as well as the curse of the angels and all of humanity; Allah will accept none of his actions, be they obligatory or optional.
He proceeds to speak about the love of the Ahlul Bayt:
Their love, according to us, is an obligation upon which there is divine reward.
He speaks about those who hate the Ahlul Bayt:
 Nasibi is a term used to refer to those who revile the Ahlul Bayt. According to Sunni doctrine, Nasb, or hatred for the Ahlul Bayt, is considered a reprehensible innovation (Bid’ah). It is not uncommon for Shi’is to refer to Sunnis as Nasibis – Translator.
 Surah al Qasas: 83.
 Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah, 4/498-499.
 Surah al Qasas: 83.
 Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah, 4/498-499.
 Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah, 7/27.
 Ibid, 4/396.
 Ibid, 7/489.
 Majmu’ al Fatawa, 4/487-488.Back to top