By Molana Khalid Mahmud Sialkoti
The declaration of Islam—There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Rasul of Allah—comprises of two parts. The first part, “There is none worthy of worship…” explains the essence of our din (religion), whilst the second part, “Muhammad is the Rasul of Allah”, describes the breakdown of our shari’ah (codes of law). The Prophets are like half-brothers who share the same father but have different mothers. Thus, they may share the same din:
اُولٰئِكَ الَّذِیْنَ هَدَی اللّٰهُ فَبِهُدٰهُمُ اقْتَدِهْ ؕ
Those are the [people] whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance.
However, their shari’ah differs from one another. The final shari’ah was the one that was revealed to Nabi Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself says:
الانبياء اخوة لعلات امهاتهم شتى و دينهم واحد اوكما قال صلى الله عليه وسلم
The Prophets are consanguine brothers. Their mothers are different, but their din is one.
Sometimes the word din is used in a more general sense, where it will include the shari’ah as well. An example of such usage is the verse:
اَلْيَوْمَ اَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِيْنَكُمْ
Today I have perfected for you your din.
In the verse:
اَطِيْعُوا اللّٰهَ وَ اَطِيْعُوا الرَّسُوْلَ
Obey Allah and obey the Rasul,
The very same instruction is being directed towards us. In this day and age, the word Islam is confined to following of Allah and His Final Messenger; no person of knowledge will doubt this. Prior to taking up his journey to the Hereafter, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam emphasised this very same principle in the following words:
تركت فيكم امرين لن تضلو ما تمسكتم بهما-كتاب الله و سنة نبيه
I leave amongst you two such matters that you will never go astray as long as you hold fast onto them; the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Nabi.
These fundamental guidelines of Islam weighed heavily upon the rejecters of hadith. They have accepted the first part, but the second part was altered by them. They thus replaced the Sunnah by a new term, which they coined, namely Markaz Millat (nation of Islam). The result is that, according to them, Islam is based on two primary sources, namely the Qur’an and the Markaz Millat. Mr Parwez writes:
In some places the words Allah and Rasul are substituted by the words Qur’an and Rasul. Both have the same meaning, i.e. the Markaz Millat who will implement the laws of the Qur’an.
This group asserts that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the Markaz Millat of his era. They view the ahadith as a mere historic recording of the implementation of the laws and guidelines of the Qur’an by Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his era. Hence the laws recorded in the hadith—according to them—are confined to that era. After the passing of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, this right to implement the laws of the Qur’an now shifts to the next person entitled to being the Markaz Millat. He will extract his own rulings in accordance to his understanding of the Qur’an. These rulings will now be the code of law of that era. In the like manner, the Markaz Millat of every era will then deduce their own code of law. Hence—according to them—the only two sources of eternal guidance will be; the Qur’an and the Markaz Millat, which will change in every era.
The rejecters of hadith believe that a deceased individual cannot be the proof of Allah against mankind. Mr. Parwez writes:
If the laws chosen by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were necessary and binding to be kept up until the day of Qiyamah in the same manner as the Qur’an, i.e. without being changed or interpolated, then why were these laws not specified in the Qur’an? They would have all been mentioned and preserved in one place… If it was the intention of Allah that two and a half percent should be the stipulated amount for zakat until the day of Qiyamah, then he would have mentioned it in the Qur’an.
The hadith narrations are a mere historical record of that noble era, preserving the manner in which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and those around him extracted laws from the Qur’an. This was the code of law of that era… This is the soul right of that Markaz Millat as well its advisory council which was established on the correct Qur’anic guidelines. In light of the principles set out by the Qur’an, they will deduce rulings regarding those matters which the Qur’an has not explicitly defined. Thereafter, these rulings can be changed in every era, in accordance to the need thereof. This will serve as the code of law of that era.
This erroneous and irreligious view is nothing new. The highway to this ideology was put up when an effort was made to discard the Sunnah by using the words:
كتاب اللّٰه و عترتى
The Book of Allah and my ‘itrah (family).
In opposition to the words:
كتاب اللّٰه و سنتى
The Book of Allah and my Sunnah.
[This was done in the hadith which explains the two fundamental sources of Islam. This hadith is also referred to as Hadith al Thaqalayn.] Mr. Parwez asserts that, after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the position of being the proof of Allah belongs to the Markaz Millat (nation of Islam).
Hakim Tusi, whilst commenting on the necessity of Imamah, writes:
ان الحافظ للشرع ليس هو الكتاب لعدم احاطته بجميع الاحكام التفصيلية ولا السنة لذلك ايضا
Indeed the Book (Qur’an) does not preserve the shari’ah, as it does not encompass all the detailed laws. Similar is the condition of the Sunnah.
These people believe that after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his position was given to the Markaz Imamat. It is their belief that the primary sources of guidance are, the Qur’an and the family members of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
We learn from the above that Mr. Parwez’s idea is no ‘feat’ of his own, rather he is merely following in the footsteps of those who subscribe to the doctrine of Imamah, as they believe that the position of being the proof of Allah shifted to the Markaz Imamat after the demise of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The only difference between the two is that, Mr. Parwez elects his Markaz Millat from the entire nation, whilst the Imamiyyah have confined the post to the (certain) family members of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Both of them agree upon the view that after the demise of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he cannot be the proof of Allah.
Mansur ibn Hazim, a famous narrator from amongst the companions of Imam Jafar al Sadiq, narrates his experience regarding his propagation of his beliefs to the Imam and requests his supplications in the following words:
قلت للناس تعلمون ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان هو الحجة من الله على خلقه؟ قالوا بلى. قلت فحين مضى رسول الله ص لى الله عليه وسلم من كان الحجة على خلقه؟ فقالوا القران فاذا هو يخاصم به المرجئ والقدرى والزنديق الذى لا يؤمن حتى يغلب الرجال بخصومته فعرفت ان القران لا يكون حجة الا بقيم فما قال فيه من شىئ كان حقا….فاشهد ان عليا عليه السلام كان قيم القران وكانت طاعته مفترضة وكان الحجة على الناس بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم
I said to the people, “Do you not know that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the proof of Allah upon his creation?” They replied, “We most certainly know that!” I then asked, “Then, after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who was the proof of Allah against his creation?” They replied, “The Qur’an.” So I pondered regarding the Qur’an. I found that it was being used by everybody to win his arguments, be it the Murji’ah, the Qadariyyah and even the Zindiq, who has no iman. I thus realised that the Qur’an cannot be a proof unless it is supported by one is able to assess and evaluate it. Whatever he says regarding the Qur’an will be regarded to be the absolute truth… Therefore I testify that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the one who could interpret the Qur’an. It was binding to obey him, as he was the proof of Allah against humanity after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu only served as a proof for his era. After his demise, this position was held by the Imam of every era. Imam ‘Ali al Naqi stated in his era:
ان الارض لا يخلو من حجة وانا والله ذلك الحجة
The earth is never vacant of a proof of Allah, and I swear by Allah that I am that proof (in this time and era).
At this juncture, we do not wish to discuss the proofs and evidences that the Shia have or do not have to substantiate their beliefs, we are simply pointing out that just as we regard Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to be the proof of Allah against his creation right up until the Day of Qiyamah, these people grant that position to the Imam of the time. Mr. Parwez simply substitutes the position of Imamah with his Markaz Millat. Whether the Markaz Millat is given the position of being the second proof of Allah (after the Qur’an), or that position is given to the post of Imamah is irrelevant to us. This is a difference of opinion amongst these two groups.
We, as the majority of those who have adopted Islam as our religion, still uphold that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the intermediate between us and Allah, as well as the proof of Allah against his creation. We firmly believe that the judgements that will be passed in the Hereafter, which will be fair and just, will be in accordance to “the Book of Allah and my Sunnah.” It will neither be in accordance to “the Book of Allah and Markaz Millat” nor will it be in accordance to “the Book of Allah and Markaz Imamat”. Our declaration and testimony of faith will always be “There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Rasul of Allah”. Neither will we reduce it to the equivalent of a posted message, nor will we strive towards weakening it from the position of it being a proof, and replacing it with Imamah.
The glorious Qur’an suffices, at one point, with the august being of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a proof for the reckoning that will take place on the day of Qiyamah:
یٰاَهْلَ الْکِتٰبِ قَدْ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُوْلُنَا یُبَیِّنُ لَكُمْ عَلٰی فَتْرَةٍ مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ اَنْ تَقُوْلُوْا مَا جَآءَنَا مِنْۢ بَشِیْرٍ وَّلَا نَذِیْرٍ فَقَدْ جَآءَكُمْ بَشِیْرٌ وَّنَذِیْرٌ ؕ
O people of the book, indeed our Messenger has come to you, explaining to you (the shari’ah of Islam), at a time when the succession of the Messengers had been paused, so that you do not say, “There has neither come to us a bearer of good news nor a warner!” Indeed there has come to you a bearer of good news as well as a warner!”
The crux of this verse is that now there remains no room for any excuses. The evidence needed for taking you to account has been established in the form of this bearer of glad-tidings and a warner, who warns you regarding the punishment for disobedience and gives you glad tidings regarding the rewards of good deeds.
The question now arises: is this verse confined to those who existed in the era of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and thereafter this position of being the proof of Allah will be available to others in their respective eras, or will the august being of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam serve as evidence against all those to whom the Qur’an reaches. Upon studying the Qur’an, we can conclude that the august being of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam serves as evidence against every individual that the Qur’an reaches, and this position of serving as an evidence will remain up until Qiyamah. The Qur’an emphatically states:
وَ اُوْحِیَ اِلَیَّ هٰذَا الْقُرْاٰنُ لِاُنْذِرَكُمْ بِهٖ وَمَنْۢ بَلَغَ ؕ
And this Qur’an has been revealed to me so that I may warn you, as well as the one to whom it is conveyed?
In this verse, the word ‘warn you’ refers to those who were present in the era of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whilst the phrase “to whom it is conveyed” refers to all those who will come thereafter right up until the Day of Qiyamah. In the light of this verse, all those narrations in which the august being of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is replaced by anyone else with regards to the position of being the primary source of din after the Qur’an, are worthy of criticism. The isnad of the narrations wherein the family of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is given the position of being compulsory to hold onto and adhere to, and they are given a position second only to the Qur’an are in need of scrutiny.
It is possible that somebody may respond by saying that the position of Imamah is not a replacement of Nubuwwah; rather it is an appointment of a khalifah. This response will hold no weight, as the Imamiyyah do not consider it to be a mere position of leadership, rather they hold the belief that this is a divine decree. According to them, it is not a mere appointment of a khalifah; instead it is an equivalent of Nubuwwah. They believe that an Imam possesses the same traits the Prophets were blessed with, i.e. they are protected by Allah, they are sent to the creation, it is compulsory to follow them, and they are infallible. They also believe that just as Allah specified certain individuals for the post of Nubuwwah, similarly their Imams have been specified and chosen by Allah. There are revealed texts stating the appointment of their Imams, according to them.
The majority of Muslims believe that after Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, there is no divine post open to any individual. Thus, no human who came after him is incumbent to obey and follow regardless his status. Caliphate is a governmental position, not a position that demands unquestioning obedience. A khalifah is he who manages the affairs of the land through consultation. With the passing away of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, divine revelation has terminated and there is no expectation of it to return.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam constructed a practical road and pathway by means of his Sunnah. The solutions to modern day issues are kept in an unapparent manner within the Qur’an and hadith. The unearthing of these solutions is what is termed as ‘Fiqh’. The belief that there is none worthy of unquestioning obedience after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is a well-grounded and unshakable belief. This is the very fact that forms the core of the belief of Khatm al Nubuwwah (termination of Nubuwwah) which the Ahlus Sunnah upholds.
The Imamiyyah on the other hand believe that whilst no human will hold this position in the name of Nubuwwah, it will certainly be held in the name of Imamah.
The Imam—according to their beliefs—is elected by Allah Himself.
It does not end here; the Imam even receives a certain type of inner ‘revelation’ according to them. He alone dictates what is lawful and what is forbidden. Muhammad ibn Muslim narrates from Imam Jafar al Sadiq:
الامة عليهم السلام بمنزلة رسول الله صلى الله علىه و سلم الا انهم ليسما بانبياء و لا يحل لهم من النساء ما يحل للنبى فاما ما خلا ذلك فهم بمنزلة رسول الله
The Imams holds the same position as the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam except that they are not Prophets and they are not permitted to marry that which he was allowed to marry. As for everything else, they hold the same position as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Mulla Muhsin, who is given the title of Fayd, states in Minhaj al Najah:
كل ما يشترط فى النبى من الصفات فهو شرط فى الامام ما خلا النبوة. قال الصادق عليه السلام كل ما كان لرسول الله فلنا مثله الا النبوة والزواج
All the traits which are pre-conditional for a person to be a nabi are also pre-conditional for a person to be an imam with the exception of Nubuwwah. Al Sadiq rahimahu Llah said, “Whatever was granted to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has been granted to us besides Nubuwwah and the right to marry (an unlimited amount of wives).”
The majority of Muslims regard these kinds of beliefs to be completely contrary to the honour that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was granted by being the final Nabi. To establish all the qualities of a nabi in an Imam and thereafter claim belief in the doctrine of termination of Nubuwwah is nothing but an oxymoronic statement, which is bereft of the very core of the belief. Claiming belief in termination of Nubuwwah is void of any meaning if it is accompanied by the belief of Imamah.
Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi states:
او قال ان النبى خاتم النبوة و لكن معنى هذا الكلاط انه لا يجوز ان يسمى بعده احد بالنبى واما معنى النبوة وهو كون الانسان مبعوثا من الله تعالى الى الخلقمفترض الطاعة معصوما عن الذنوب ومن البقاء على الخطء فهو موجود فى الائمة بعده فذلك هو الزنديق
If a person says that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam marked the termination of Nubuwwah, but he restricts the meaning of this to believing that none will be granted the title “Nabi” after him. As far as the essence of Nubuwwah is concerned, which is for a human to be elected and sent by Allah to the creation whilst being incumbent to follow, protected from sin and from remaining upon a mistake, if he believes that this is also found in the Imams, then this person will be regarded as a zindiq (one who claims to be Muslim, but is in reality a disbeliever).
At this juncture, we do not wish to expound on all the different fundamental beliefs of Islam that are being trampled upon by this belief of Imamah, we simply wish to know: ‘Do the Imamiyyah have any explicit and clear evidence equivalent to the degree of importance that they have attached to this doctrine of Imamah? (Such that they do not regard a person to be a believer until he subscribes to this belief) Is this belief stated explicitly anywhere in the Qur’an? Does is meet the desired standard of certainty corresponding to the degree of importance attached to it? If it cannot be found in the Qur’an, then is it at least stated in any Mutawatir hadith? The Qur’an and Mutawatir ahadith are the only two sources that can be used to establish Islamic doctrine. Ahad narrations—irrespective of their authenticity—are not sufficient to establish any fundamental belief.
لا يخفى ان المعتبر فى العقائد هو الادلة اليقينية واحاديث الاحاد لو ثبتت انما تكون ظنية
It is quite apparent that as far as Islamic doctrine goes, only those evidences which are proven beyond doubt are given consideration. Ahad narrations, even if they are established, they are not beyond doubt.
The luminary of Grenada, Ibrahim ibn Musa al Shatbi writes under the discussion of proofs:
فانها ان كانت من اخبار الاحاد فعدم افادتها القطع ظاهر.وان كانت متواترة فافادتها القطع موقوفة على مقدمات
If it is from the Ahad narrations, then it is quite apparent that the implications thereof are not definite. If on the other hand it is a mutawatir narration, then it will give the benefit of definiteness upon the fulfilment of a few other preconditions.
We understand—in the light of the above—that in order to establish beliefs it is necessary to have such evidences that are both Mutawatir (which is confined to the Qur’an and ahadith reported with tawatur) and definite regarding their meaning. If any belief is not established through evidence which meets the above mentioned criteria, then it cannot be regarded to be a fundamental tenet of din.
If the doctrine of Imamah is considered—while keeping in mind the above-mentioned principles—then its invalidity becomes apparent. The degree of importance attached to the doctrine in no way corresponds to the proof thereof, such that not even one undisputable and explicit proof can be found to prove their claim. The Imamiyyah hold onto the belief that after the demise of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam there remains a post called Imamah, the holder of which is incumbent to follow and is chosen by Allah.
Furthermore, they believe that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well as the other eleven Imams have been appointed to this position by means of clear revealed texts. They were chosen by Allah, and they form part of his eternal evidence against his creation. To believe that each one of them is an ‘infallible’ Imam is as incumbent as belief in the Oneness of Allah, the Risalah of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Day of Resurrection.
We find it distressing that the Imamiyyah do not even have a single definitive proof for their claim. Even if the virtue of the family of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is established from the Qur’an, then too it is not restricted to any specific individual(s), let alone to establish the doctrine of Imamah. This is why the Imamiyyah cannot prove any of their beliefs from these verses without assistance from their narrations. Thus, the reality is that their actual evidence is not these verses but rather their narrations. The Twelve Imams, the doctrine of Imamah and the ruling of following the Imams without any hesitation cannot be found anywhere in the Qur’an. In fact, the Qur’an does not even make mention of the names of ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain.
It is reported in the ‘hadith’ collections of the Shia that this very same question (i.e. why does the Qur’an not mention the name of ‘Ali?) was posed to Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah, to which he ‘allegedly’ replied by quoting the hadith:
من كنت مولاه فعلى مولاه
Whoever I am the mawla of, ‘Ali is his mawla.
This makes it clear that there is no concrete and explicit proof from the Qur’an to prove the Imamah of the Twelve Imams. Furthermore, it has already been explained that primary and core beliefs cannot be substantiated from the narrations of Ahad. It was asked of Imam Jafar al Sadiq:
ان الناس يقولون فما له لم يسم عليا و اهل بيته عليهم السلام في كتاب الله عز و جل فقال فقولوا لهم ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم نزلت عليه الصلاة ولم يسم الله لهم ثلاثا ولا اربعا حتى كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم هو الذى فسسر ذلك لهم….و نزلت “اطيعوا الله و اطيعوا الرسول واولى الامر منكم” و نزلت فى على والحسن والحسين فقال فى على من كنت مولاه فعلى مولاه وقال اوصيكم بكتاب الله و اهل بيتى
“The people are saying, why is it that Allah did not mention the name of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the household of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the Qur’an?” He replied, “Tell them, indeed salah was revealed to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, but Allah did not specify three units (rakats) or four units, rather Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself explained this… similarly the verse, ‘Obey Allah, obey the Rasul and obey the people of authority’ was revealed regarding ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain, so Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said with regards to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘‘Ali is the mawla of all those who take me as a mawla.’ He also said, ‘I advise you to hold onto the Book of Allah and my household.’”
In the light of the above narration it becomes abundantly clear that there exists no verse in the Qur’an wherein these Twelve Imams are all specified by name. Hence it would be nothing less than absurd to claim that this concocted doctrine of Imamah holds the same position as the core beliefs of Islam, such as the belief in the Oneness of Allah, the Risalah of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Day of Qiyamah. Claiming this doctrine has been established from the Qur’an is a direct slight against knowledge and integrity.
There is no doubt that the sayings of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also serve as a source of Islamic law. However, this position is dependent upon verifying that it was the actual saying of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Thus, a narration can only be used to prove core beliefs when its attribution to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is established to be sound with absolute certainty and furthermore meets the requisite of tawatur. Additionally, we will not be able to call these narrations the explicit wording of the Qur’an; rather it will be called the explicit wording of the hadith. If these narrations are not from the category of mutawatir then their attribution to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will not be unquestionable. Moreover, if they do not explicitly mention the claim that is being made, then its implication will also not be definite. When this is the condition of hadith (that its attribution to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam first needs to be verified and its implication required to be definitive) then it is obvious that it cannot be used to establish a belief which will share the same position of the primary beliefs such as Oneness of Allah and the Nubuwwah of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
As for the number of units in salah, these have been narrated from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam through mutawatir chains and a number is definitive in its meaning; it is not open to any interpretations. The actual question that needs to be answered is: “Is the Imamah of the Twelve Imams—their names and authority—such that they are compulsory to obey established from such definitive mutawatir narrations?
In light of the narrations presented by the Imamiyyah, Imam Jafar al Sadiq presented two narrations to prove this belief; the narration of Wilayah and the narration of Thaqalayn (two sources of guidance). If these two narrations can be proven to be mutawatir and their meaning definitive, then too it will only establish there to be three Imams whose obedience is incumbent, namely ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Thus, the entire doctrine of Imamah will be shredded to pieces.
The scholars of the Imamiyyah were not unaware of this fact, and therefore exhausted all avenues to somehow prove that these two narrations are mutawatir. They gathered all the different asanid including those which did not have immaculate and complete isnad. However, every knowledgeable person who scrutinised this treasure of narrations was forced to exclaim:
Regrettable is the state of that helpless traveller,
who gets exhausted just before his destination.
The hadith of Wilayah—’Ali is the mawla of all those who take me as a mawla —has been proven ages ago to be a non-mutawatir narration. Let alone this narration being mutawatir, as a narration of Ahad as well, it is not reported any impeccable isnad. However, as far as the hadith of thaqalayn is concerned, many of its asanid were still in need of scrutiny. The Imamiyyah, however, were quite proud of their collection consisting of all sorts of grades, and in fact Mir Hamid Hussain—the mujtahid of Lucknow—dedicated two entire volumes of his book, ‘Abaqat al Anwar, specifically to this hadith.
The author of Fulk al Najat boastfully claims regarding this narration:
حديث متواتر تلقته الامة بالقبول ولو انكره الجهول…وهو الذى هو مدار المهام بحيث يدور عليه رحى الاسلام
A mutawatir narration which is widely accepted by the ummah even though the ignorant have rejected it. It is the core of all the fundamental matters and that which turns the mill of Islam.
Therefore it has become necessary to take a deep look and a thorough study of this hadith as far as the isnad of this narration is concerned as well as the meaning and implications of the narration. When this narration is examined with a critical eye, then it is learnt that the Imamiyyah are bankrupt as far as this narration is concerned.
As far as the Hadith of Wilayah is concerned, we will suffice upon these two references:
The leader of the Muhaddithin, Hafiz al Zayla’i (d. 762 A.H) writes under the discussion of reciting tasmiyyah loudly in salah:
احاديث الجهر و ان كثرت رواتها لكنها كلها ضعيفة وكم من حديث كثرت رواته و تعددت طرقه وهو حديث ضعيف كحديث الطير و حديث الحاجم و المحجوم و حديث من كنت مولاه فعلى مولاه بل قد لا يزيد كثرة الطرق الا ضعفا
The narrations which prove the recital of tasmiyyah in a loud voice (in salah), even though it has many narrators, they are all weak. There are many such ahadith, which have many narrators and there asanid are abundant, but the hadith is unauthentic; such as the hadith of the bird, the hadith of the one who does cupping and the one upon whom cupping is done as well as the hadith, ‘Ali is the mawla of all those who take me as a mawla. Many a time, abundant asanid only increase the narration in weakness.
Ibn Taymiyyah writes:
فلا يثبت من طريق الثقات اصلا
This narration cannot be proven in any way from reliable narrators.
As far as the meaning and implications of this narration is concerned, to what degree does it prove their claim? The scholars of the Imamiyyah themselves admit that this narration is not explicit regarding their belief in Imamah. Hence it cannot even be classified as a clear and explicit narration as far as the meaning is concerned.
‘Allamah Tabarsi writes:
اثبت حجة الله تعريضا لا تصريحا بقوله فى وصيه من كنت مولاه فعلى مولاه
Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam established the proof of Allah by indicating towards his position and not explicitly mentioning it in the hadith: “‘Ali is the mawla of all those who take me as a mawla.”
It has been admitted in Sharh Tajrid as well that this narration has been disputed.
اختلفوا فى دلالته على الامامة
It is absolutely amazing that a narration like this; which in addition to not being mutawatir—but rather poorly established—and regarding which there is no consensus upon its meaning is taken to be a decisive proof, whereas an explicit meaning is required for the substantiation of primary beliefs. How is it given the same position as the belief in the Oneness of Allah, the Nubuwwah of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Day of Qiyamah?
According to the narrations of the Shia, Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said:
انى تركت فيكم الثقلين كتاب الله و عترتى اهل بيتى فتمسكوا بهما لا تضلوا فان اللطيف الخبير اخبرنى و عهد الى انها لن يفترقا حتى على الحوض
I leave behind for you the Thaqalayn (two weighty things)—the Book of Allah and my household—so hold onto them, you will never go astray. Indeed the One who is aware of the minutest details and is informed of everything has informed me, and promised me that the two of them shall never separate until they approach me at the well (of Kawthar).
Upon this Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked:
ا كل اهل بيتك
Are all you family members counted as your Ahlul Bayt?
لا ولكن اوصياءى منهم اولهم اخى و وزيرى و خليفتى فى امتى و ولى كل مومن و مؤمنة بعدى هو اولهم ثم ابنى الحسن ثم ابنى الحسينثم تسعة من ولد الحسين واحد بعد واحد حتى يردوا على الحوض شهداء الله فى ارضه و حججه على خلقه
No, only my awsiya (appointed successors) from amongst them. The first amongst them is my brother, my vizier, and my successor with regards to my ummah. He is the guardian of every believing male and female after my demise. He is the first of them, thereafter my son Hassan thereafter my son Hussain. Thereafter nine individuals from the progeny of Hussain will successively occupy this post, until they will all meet me at the well. They are the witnesses of Allah upon his earth and his proofs against his creation.
At this point we do not wish to expound on this ‘home-made’ narration of the Shia, this is their own domestic affair; if they so wish to fabricate narrations and place the burden of it upon Allah and His Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so be it (it will be to their own detriment). However, we will never allow them to attribute these fabrications to us, the Ahlus Sunnah, by claiming that this version of Hadith al Thaqalayn is also established and widely accepted amongst the circles of the Ahlus Sunnah (Allah forbid).
After an analysis of this (fabricated) narration, the following messages come to the fore:
According to the Ahlus Sunnah, Hadith al Thaqalayn cannot be found anywhere with these three messages explicitly mentioned with an authentic isnad. A scholarly analysis of their compilations of hadith unveils the reality of this version of Hadith al Thaqalayn. In other words, this version is not narrated with even a single reliable isnad making the baseless claim of it being Mutawatir even more out of the question. It is nothing less than outright deception and propaganda on the part of the Shia that they claim this version of Hadith al Thaqalayn to be accepted by the Ahlus Sunnah, even going as far as claiming that the Ahlus Sunnah have accepted it to be mutawatir. There is no end to our amazement regarding these claims!
According to the Ahlus Sunnah it is incumbent to love all of the Ahlul Bayt, but they are not compulsory to obey; their virtue extending to all members of the Ahlul Bayt and not confined to Twelve individuals only. In addition, the Ahlus Sunnah believes the second aspect to which adherence and obedience is compulsory to be the Sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As for honouring the Ahlul Bayt, this is a separate issue. These Twelve Imams cannot be found equated to the Qur’an in any authentic narration of Hadith al Thaqalayn with the wording ‘they will never be separated’.
Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the occasion of Ghadir Khum said:
اذكركم الله فى اهل بيتى اذكركم الله فى اهل بيتى اذكركم الله فى اهل بيتى
When Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was asked which members of the Ahlul Bayt were being referred to, he replied:
آل على و آل عقيل و آل جعفر و آل عباس
The families of ‘Ali, ‘Aqil, Jafar, and ‘Abbas.
In this narration, Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has taught us the importance of fulfilling the rights of the Ahlul Bayt. He did not make obedience to them in all worldly and religious matters compulsory. Furthermore, the narrator of this narration, Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, did not confine this virtue to Twelve individuals only; rather he understood it to apply to all the members of the Ahlul Bayt upon whom acceptance of zakat is forbidden. The implication of this is that it includes all of the Abbasid Khulafaʼ as well.
Also worthy of note is that the beginning of the hadith indicates that the Ahlul Bayt have not been given the position of the second thiqal. Rather it seems as if Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu has left out the second thiqal (which in fact is the Sunnah) on account of his old age. It is for this very reason that later on in the narration, he does not add the sentence that appears in the unauthentic narrations, namely ‘The Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt will never separate’. Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu cannot be held accountable for this, as he clearly states in the beginning of the narration that he has reached old age and he should not be taken to task if he has forgotten anything. The words “My Ahlul Bayt” which appear in this narration is not found in the narration of Imam al Bayhaqi.
It should be borne in mind that we are not ruling this narration to be unauthentic but rather we are clarifying its meaning. Hadith al Thaqalayn does not have even one authentic chain wherein the following is mentioned:
The Shia present a version of this hadith which contains all of the above and then they do not suffice upon claiming that it is authentic, but go to the extent of claiming that it is mutawatir; as it is the only possible basis for their concocted belief. The reason for this exertion is because the Hadith of Wilayah (‘Ali is the mawla of all those who take me as a mawla) has been proven, ages ago, to be unworthy of consideration as far as establishing Islamic doctrine is concerned. It is only used occasionally in the chapter of fada’il (virtues), as this is a chapter wherein the standards of acceptance are slightly lowered.
If, for arguments sake, we have to consider this narration authentic, then too it will not prove the baseless belief of the Shia. This is what prompted them to add an entire volume in the book Ihtijaj Tabrasi, wherein a complete list of the Twelve Imams has been mentioned. Nevertheless, it is still incumbent upon us to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the vague portion of this hadith so as to ascertain whether these three points—as mentioned by the Shia—are proven with an authentic chain or not.
We express our gratitude to Allah that the embodiment of academic and spiritual virtues, Molana Muhammad Nafi’ has put great effort into thoroughly researching this narration, gathering all the different versions and thereafter scrutinising them. May Allah grant him the best of rewards on behalf of us, as well the rest of the Muslims. Whilst the book was being compiled, Molana and I had a few discussions regarding the topic. I can say with confidence that this long overdue service is the accomplishment of Molana. The Arabic proverb aptly puts it:
كم ترك الاول للاخر
The predecessors have left a lot for the successors to achieve.
It is our supplication that the Allah Ta’ala accepts this effort and grants all the Muslims the ability to hold onto the Qur’an and the Sunnah. And that is not difficult for Allah.
 Surah al An’am: 90
 Musnad Ahmed vol. 2 pg. 437
 Muwatta Imam Malik pg. 363
 Maqam Hadith; hadith: 4 pg. 292
 Maqam Hadith pg. 391
 Sharh Tajrid pg. 227
 Those who regard faith to be the only differentiator between good and evil, and consider virtue and vice to have no effect on one’s final outcome.
 Rejectors of Taqdir (predestination).
 Those who deny the fundamental tenets of din.
 Usul al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 177
 Ibid pg. 179
 Surah al Ma’idah: 19
 Baqir al Majlisi writes:
The rank of Imamah is akin to the rank of Nubuwwah. In fact, Nubuwwah is deputation by Allah through the medium of an angel and Imamah is in reality Nubuwwah through the medium of the Nabi. (Hayat al Qulub vol. 3 pg. 81 – Iranian print)
Stipulating the Imam through text is in reality Nubuwwah (by way of its meaning) but it is not in the hands of the ummah. (Hayat al Qulub vol. 3 pg. 22)
 The Imamiyyah, specifically, are of the opinion that the Imam must be one who is appointed by divine decree. Hakim al Tusi: Sharh Tajrid pg. 229
 Al Sadiq says regarding Hussain:
انه امام من قبل الله تعالى و مفترض الطاعة على العباد
Indeed he is an Imam who was appointed by Allah and it is incumbent upon humanity to obey him. (Tahdhib al Ahkam by Muhammad ibn Hassan al Tusi pg. 37-Printed in Iran)
Mukhtalif al Mala’ikah wa Mahbat al Wahy, Tahdhib al Ahkam – Kitab al Mazar pg. 33. Shah Waliullah regards these types of beliefs to be against the Islamic doctrine that Nubuwwah has terminated. He states, “The Imam, according to their terminology, is a rank that the occupier thereof becomes necessary to obey. They claim that the Imam receives inner wahi. Thus, in reality they reject the termination of Nubuwwah, even though they verbally claim to believe in it.” (Tafhimat Ilahiyyah pg. 244)
Sharh Tajrid also has the words:
تتابع الوحى والالهام من الله تعالى
Revelation and inspiration from Allah descended continuously. (Refer to pg. 288 of the Qum print)
 Usul al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 270
 انما الوقوف علينا فى الحلال و الحرام فاما النبوة فلا
We only dictate what is lawful and forbidden, as for Nubuwwah we are not granted it. (Usul al Kafi pg. 268 in the Iranian print and pg. 253 in the Lucknow print)
 pg. 280 of the Iranian print.
 Al Musawwa – an Arabic commentary of Al Muwattaʾ vol. 2 pg. 110 – printed in Dehli.
 Mutawatir is that hadith which is narrated with tawatur. Tawatur means that something is narrated by so many people from different places in every era, that it is logically impossible for them to have all fabricated it.
 Ahad refers to ahadith which have been narrated by a very small group of people.
 Sharh al Fiqh al Akbar pg. 122. Printed in Kanpur.
 Al Muwafaqat vol. 1 pg. 35 printed in Egypt
 Usul al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 2479 – Tehran
 Plural of isnad (chain of narration).
 If the hadith is taken to be a mere mention of his virtues, then it will not contradict our beliefs. This is why this da’if hadith is found in many reliable books. It should be remembered that as far as virtues are concerned, the degree of authenticity is not as vital as it is in the chapter of beliefs. In other words, when establishing virtues are concerned then da’if ahadith are accepted to an extent but when one intends to substantiate a ruling therefrom, it becomes necessary to clarify its reality.
 Nasb al Rayah vol. 1 pg. 260
 Minhaj al Sunnah vol. 4 pg. 86
 Kitab al Ihtijaj pg. 135
 Sharh Tajrid pg. 230 (printed in Qum)
 Al Tabarsi: Kitab al Ihtijaj pg. 79
 Ahlul Bayt refers to the household and progeny of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, however the Shia have confined it to specific members from amongst them. The word ‘itrah is used in reference to them.
 Muslim vol. 2 pg. 279, Musnad Ahmed vol. 4 pg. 367, Darimi pg. 424
 Muslim pg. 279
 Muslim vol. 2 pg. 279
 Al Sunan al Kubra vol. 10 pg. 114Back to top