Are the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah on the same page with regards to accepting or rejecting the Jafari School, or are there details in this viewpoint which are hidden from some of those who are associated to knowledge and din in the present day?
Indeed, whoever explores the books of the Ahlus Sunnah will realize that undoubtedly there is unanimity that the school, known presently as Jafari School, does not represent in any way, the Fiqhi school of Jafar ibn Muhammad al Sadiq, let alone representing the school of the Ahlul Bayt in general. The only difference amongst these luminaries is in some specific rulings of this school and in the authenticity of associating it to Jafar al Sadiq, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, or others like Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Investigating the reasons that resulted in these luminaries taking a dismissive stance on the structures of the present day Jafari School and doubt in the authenticity of its association to Jafar, is the subject of this book. Most of its pages will be dedicated to answering this.
However, it will be appropriate to indicate, under this topic, the differences in accepting some specific rulings of the Jafari School and in viewing their jurists like the reliable jurists.
After probing the views and stances of the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah, 3 approaches are possible in dealing with the Jafari School:
No consideration is given to the Imami differences. This is the stance of most of the jurists of the four Mazhabs, former and latter.
The books of fiqh merely relate their views in some Fiqhi rulings. Sometimes it mentions it together with some sort of criticism and objection of their main proofs and response to it.
Al ‘Allamah Ibn al Salah (d. 634 AH) states:
خلاف الشيعة لا يعتد به عند الأئمة ولذلك لا يذكرون في كتب اختلاف العلماء في الأحكام إلا على ندرة وقد تقرر في الأصول إن الإجماع ينعقد وإن خالفوا فلا ينبغي إذاً التعرض لذكر خلافهم فيما نحن فيه
Differences of the Shia are not considered by the Imams. Thence, they are very rarely mentioned in the books of the differences of scholars in rulings. It is an established principle that Ijma’ (consensus) will take place even though they differ. Therefore, it is not appropriate to mention their differences in our rulings.
Similar statements are also narrated from the following scholars:
Muhy al Din al Nawawi (d. 676 AH) in al Majmu’, Taqi al Din al Subki (d. 756 AH) in his Fatawa, Badr al Din al Zarkashi (d. 794 AH) in al Bahr al Muhit, Jalal al Din al Suyuti (d. 911 AH) in al Hawi li al Fatawa, and Ibn Hajar al Haytami (d. 974 AH) in his Fatawa Fiqhiyyah.
These jurists attribute the failure to consider the Imami fiqh—in brevity and in detail—to this school’s indifference towards the verses of the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Companions and their followers or majority of them, in speech and in action, (let alone opposing it when it is authenticated from the Ahlul Bayt) or the skepticism in the authenticity of the Imamiyyah’s narrations from Jafar al Sadiq.
Imam al Haramayn al Juwayni, while discussing the Zahiriyyah, adds regarding refutation of Qiyas (This will apply, more so, to the Imamiyyah because of their stance regarding Qiyas):
الذي ذهب اليه أهل التحقيق: أن منكري القياس لايعدون من علماء الأمة ، ولا من حملة الشريعة ، لأنهم معاندون مباهتون فيما ثبت استفاضة و تواترا لأن معظم الشريعة صادر عن الإجتهاد ولاتفي النصوص بعشر معاشرا وهؤلاء ملتحقون بالعوام
The researchers have declared that the deniers of Qiyas are neither regarded as scholars of this Ummah nor the bearers of Shari’ah, because of their stubbornness and slander in a matter that has been proven extensively and consecutively, as majority of Shari’ah is derived through Ijtihad. Clear text only covers one tenth of Shari’ah. These people are considered to be amongst masses.
According to this stance, they don’t regard it appropriate to give any consideration to the views of the Imamiyyah, to entertain any Fiqhi differences with them, or pay attention to collect their books due to their shunning of Qiyas, which is a fundamental pillar of Ijtihad, as Ijtihad cannot be established without it, in addition to the consensus which has been mentioned before.
Haydar Hubb Allah’s view is that comparation (the majority and the minority), to a great extent, contributed to the reluctance of the Ahlus Sunnah’s scholars from pursuing the narrative and Fiqhi legacies of the Imami Shia till the era of al ‘Allamah ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli (d. 726 AH).
Relative consideration to Imami Fiqh. This is represented by Ibn Taymiyyah, then his distinguished student Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah, who would rarely differ from his views.
Ibn Taymiyyah is of the view that the Imamiyyah, even though they differ with the Ahlus Sunnah in some of the schools’ fundamentals as well as some of their isolated Fiqhi rulings, they conform with the Ahlus Sunnah in most of the Fiqhi rulings. In the course of his rebuttal of ‘Allamah Taqi al Din al Subki (d. 756 AH) regarding the issue of divorce, he states:
و جمهور ما ينقلونه من الشريعة موافق لقول جمهور المسلمين فيه ما هو من مواقع الإجماع و فيه ما فيه نزاع بين اهل السنة فليس الغالب فيما ينقلونه عن هؤلاء الأئمة من مسائل الشرع الكذب بل الغالب عليه الصدق و فيه ما هو كذب خطأ أو عمدا بلاريب وأقوالهم كأقوال نظائرهم من أئمة المسلمين
Majority of the Shari’ah which they narrate is in conformity with the majority of Muslims. Some reach the stage of Ijma’ (consensus) while in others there are differences of opinion amongst Ahlus Sunnah. Thus, most of that which they narrate from these Imams regarding rulings of Shari’ah are not lies. In fact, majority of it is the truth. Undoubtedly there are some lies in it, whether intentional or unintentional. Hence, their views are like the views of other Muslim Imams. 
He repeats this stance in al Minhaj, wherein he states:
وإنما يزعمون أنهم تلقوا عن الأئمة الشرائع وقولهم في الشرائع غالبه موافق لمذهب أهل السنة أو بعض أهل السنة ولهم مفردات شنيعة لم يوافقهم عليها أحد ولهم مفردات عن المذاهب الأربعة قد قال بها غير الأربعة من السلف وأهل الظاهر وفقهاء المعتزلة وغير هؤلاء فهذه ونحوها من مسائل الاجتهاد التي يهون الأمر فيها بخلاف الشاذ الذي يعرف أنه لا أصل له في كتاب الله ولا سنة رسوله ولا سبقهم إليه أحد.
They merely claim to receive their Shar’i rulings from the Imams. Most of their views in Shar’i rulings conform to the Ahlus Sunnah or some of the Ahlus Sunnah. They hold some outrageous isolated views which no one agrees with. Some of their views are isolated from the four Mazhabs; however, other predecessors, the Zahiriyyah, jurists of the Mu’tazilah etc, hold these views. These are rulings through Ijtihad, wherein leniency can be shown, contrary to those rare views which have no basis in the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and no one has held that view before.
Ibn Taymiyah has based his argument, regarding considering their views in differences on including them as part of the Ummah (followers of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and that the protected Ijma’ (consensus) is the Ijma’ of the Ummah and they are part of the Ummah. Hence, whilst advocating consideration of the Imami view in the ruling of ‘sworn divorce’, he states:
وأيضا فالنزاع في الطلاق المحلوف به والطلاق المعلق مشهور في كتب الشيعة وهم ينقلونه عن أئمة أهل البيت كأبي جعفر الباقر وابنه أبي عبد الله جعفر بن محمد وغيرهما فإن كانوا صادقين في هذا النقل عنه فلا يستريب مسلم في الاعتداد بنزاع هؤلاء وأنه لا يتعقد إجماع التابعين مع مخالفة أبي جعفر الباقر وأمثاله ولا إجماع تابحي التابعين مع مخالفة جعفر بن محمد وأمثاله وفي ذلك نقول كثيرة متعددة بأسانيد مختلفة يمتنع أن تكرن كلها كذبا لكن يقع فيها الخطأ أو كذب متعمد في بعضها فإن هذا يقع كثيرا
وبتقدير أن يكون كل ما نقل عن أهل البيت كذبا فهؤلاء عدد كثير ولهم نظر واستدلال يقولون إن الطلاق المعلق بالصفة لا ىقع والطلاق المحلوف به لا يقع وليس ذلك مما انفردوا به عن أهل السنة بل وافقهم طائفة من أهل السنة
وقد تنازع الناس في أهل الأهواء والبدع هل يعتد بخلافهم علي قولين مشهورين في مذهب أحمد ومذهب أبي حنيفة وغيرهما وهذا قول عامة أصحاب الشافعي وهو اختيار أبي الخطاب وغيره من أصحاب أحمد واكثر الناس يقولون إنه يعتد بخلانهم إذا كانوا من اهل الملة فإنهم داخلون في مسمي الأمة و المؤمنين
واختلفوا أيضا في الاعتداد بأقوال أهل الفسق الذين يعرفون فسق أنفسهم ولكن أكثرهم لا يعتد بأقوال هؤلاء كما لا تقبل شهادتهم باتفاق العلماء ولا فتياهم وأما المتأولون من أهل الأهواء فأبو حنيفة والشافعي وغيرهما يقبلون شهادتهم مطلقا وأما مالك وأحمد وغيرهما فيردون شهادتهم ولكن التحقيق مذهب أحمد وغيره من فقهاء الحديث أنهم يفرقون بين الداعية و غير الداعية في الشهادة والحديث والهجر فمن كان داعية إلى البدعة هجروه فلم يحدثواعنه ولم يستشهدوا به بخلاف غير الداعية ولهذا لم يخرج أصحاب الصحيح والسنن عن الدعاة إلى البدع وخرجوا عن عدد من الخوارج والشيعة والقدرية والمرجئة والداعية هجروه لكونه أظهر المنكر فاستحق العقوبة وأدناها الهجر
وأما مناظرتهم في الشريعة فما زال السلف والخلف يتكلمون معهم ولا يقولون لهم أنتم خالفتم الإجماع فلا قول لكم وكان ابن عباس يخاطب نجدة الحروري ونافع بن الأزرق وغيرهما
وإذا نازعوا الناس في مسألة من مسائل الشرع لم يقولوا لهم قد انعقد الإجماع على خلافكم في هذه المسألة بل يحتجون عليهم بالكتاب والسنة وذلك أنهم وإن كانوا ضالّين فيما خالفوا فيه أهل السنة فلا يلزم ضلالهم في كل شيء لا سيما إذا كان قد وافقهم بعض أهل السنة والجماعة في تلك المسائل ولا يجوز أن يكون الله أقام عليهم الحجة بقول منازعيهم الذين لم يقم دليل شرعي على عصمتهم فإن أدلة الإجماع إنما دلت على عصمة المؤمنين بلفط المؤمنين ولفظ الأمة كقوله تعالى ويتبع غير سبيل المؤمنين وقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم لا تجتمع أمتي على ضلالة فإذا كان اسم المؤمنين وأمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم يتناولهم ولهم نظر واستدلال ولهم دين يوجب قصدهم الحق لم يبق وجه لمنع الاعتداد بهم فإن المانع من الاعتداد بهم إما عدم العلم وإما سوء القصد فمن لم يكن عارفا بأدلة الشرع فهو عاص بخلافهم، يجب عليه اتباع العلماء
Also, the differences regarding sworn divorce and pending divorce are well known in the Shia books. They narrate it from the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt like Abu Jafar, his son Abu ‘Abdullah Jafar ibn Muhammad, and others. If they are truthful in this narration from them, then any Muslim cannot have any doubt in considering their differences, as Ijma’ of the Tabi’in (followers of the Companions) cannot be convened with opposition to Abu Jafar al Baqir, etc., and the Ijma’ of the Tab al Tabi’in (followers of the followers of the Companions) without Jafar ibn Muhammad etc. There are so many different narrations, with various chains, regarding this that for all of them to be lies is not possible. Yes, mistakes can occur and there can be intentional lies in some, as this often happens.
Assuming that whatever they narrated from the Ahlul Bayt is lies, even then, these people are in large numbers who possess views and ability to deduce. They say that the divorce which pending on some action or a sworn divorce does not take place. This is not a view which is isolated from the Ahlus Sunnah. In fact, a group of the Ahlus Sunnah conform to this view.
Scholars have differed regarding heretics and innovators. Should their differences be considered? There are two popular views in the Mazhab of Ahmed, Abu Hanifah, and others. This is the view of most of the Shafi’is and it is the preferred view of Abu al Khattab from the followers of Ahmed. Majority of people say that their views will be considered if they are part of the religion and these people are regarded to be part of the Ummah and Mu’minin (believers).
Similarly, they differed regarding the sinners who are aware of their sins. Majority do not consider their views as their evidence and fatwas are not accepted unanimously.
As for the interpreters from amongst the heretics, Abu Hanifah, Shafi’i, etc., accept their evidence in general. Malik, Ahmed, etc., reject their evidence.
However, the researched view of Ahmed and other jurists of Hadith is that they differentiate between those who propagate and those who do not propagate with regards to their evidence, Hadith, and discarding them. Whoever propagates his innovation, they discard him and do not narrate any Hadith from him and do not accept his evidence, contrary to those who do not propagate. Hence, the authors of Sahih and Sunan (different books of Hadith) do not narrate from those who propagate their innovation but they narrate from some of the Khawarij, Shia, Qadariyyah, and the Murji’ah. They abandon the one who propagates because he has attested to evil, which deserves punishment and the lowest form of punishment is abandonment.
As for their discussions regarding Shari’ah, the predecessors and the successors have continuously kept dialogue with them and did not say that because you opposed Ijma’, you have no say. Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu used to speak to Najdah al Haruri, Nafi’ ibn Azraq, etc.
When people had differences in any ruling of Shari’ah, they did not say to them that Ijma’ has been convened against you in this ruling, but they debate with them through the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is so, because even though they are deviated in that which they differ with the Ahlus Sunnah, this does not necessitate their deviation in all matters, especially if some of the Ahlus Sunnah conform to them in those rulings. It is not possible that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala established evidence against them through the views of their opposition, who are not protected by any Shar’i proof. The evidence of Ijma’ only indicates to the protection of the believers because the word Mu’minin (believers) and Ummah are used, as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in the Qur’an:
وَىَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيْلِ الْمَؤْمِنِيْنَ
And follows other than the believers’ way.
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
لا تجتمع أمتي علي ضلالة
My Ummah will not unite upon deviation.
When the name Mu’minin and the word Ummah includes them and they possess a view and ability to deduce, and they have a din which obligates them to seek the truth, then there is no reason for not considering their views, because the reason for not considering their views could either be lack of knowledge or evil intention. Thus, a person who has no knowledge of the sources of Shari’ah would be sinning by opposing them. It is necessary for him to follow the scholars.
Despite this, Ibn Taymiyyah criticises the Imamiyyah for their false extremism regarding their Imams and the jurists of the Ahlul Bayt, as they regard them to be infallible like the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, regard all their narrations to be narrated from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Ijma’ of their sect to be protected evidence. They based the rulings of their din on these three principles. Majority of the Shari’ah which they narrate is in conformity with the majority of Muslims. Some reach the stage of Ijma’ (consensus) while in others there are differences of opinion amongst Ahlus Sunnah. Thus, most of that which they narrate from these Imams regarding rulings of Shari’ah are not lies. In fact, majority, of it is the truth. Undoubtedly there are some lies in it, whether intentional or unintentional. Hence, their views are like the views of other Muslim Imams.
It is important to note, he set an important criterion for considering the Imami Fiqhi view. It is not considered unconditionally. The condition is that the view should not be completely isolated from the Ahlus Sunnah to an extent that this view is not narrated from any one of the former scholars (in the era of the Companions and their successors) or latter, during the era of the Mujtahid Imams (and they are a large group).
Ibn Taymiyyah elucidates the intention of this criterion, clarifying that this does not mean restricting the truth to the four Mazhab.The intended meaning is that the view in discussion should not be such that it is isolated from the Muslim Ummah. Thus, he states while responding to Ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli (d. 726 AH):
ولم يقل أحد من علماء المسلمين أن الحق منحصر في أربعة من علماء المسلمين كأبي حنيفة ومالك والشافعي وأحمد كما يشنع بذلك الشيعة علي أهل السنة فيقولون إنهم يدعون أن الحق منحصر فيهم بل أهل السنة متفقون علي أن ما تنازع فيه المسلمون وجب رده إلي الله والرسول وأنه قد يكون قول ما يخالف قول الأربعة من أقوال الصحابة والتابعين لهم بإاحسان وقول هؤلاء الأربعة مثل الثوري والأوزاعي والليث بن سعد وإسحاق بن راهويه وغيرهم أصح من قولهم فالشيعة إذا وافقت بعض هذه الأقوال الراجحة كان قولها في تلك المسألة راجحا ليست لهم مسألة واحدة فارقوا بها جميع أهل السنة المثبتين لخلافة الثلاثة إلا وقولهم فيها فاسد
None of the Muslim scholars maintain that the truth is confined to four Muslim scholars like Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’i, and Ahmed, as the Shia slander the Ahlus Sunnah about it, saying that they claim that truth is confined to them. In fact, the Ahlus Sunnah are unanimous that whenever the Muslims differ in any matter, it is necessary to refer it to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Sometimes there is a view of some of the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum or their followers in all that is good, or a view of anyone of al Thawri, al Awza’i, Layth ibn Sa’d, or Ishaq ibn Rahawayh etc., which differs from the view of the four Imams and it is more authentic than their views. Therefore, if a Shia view conforms to any of these preferable views then their view in that particular ruling will also be preferred. There is not a single ruling wherein they differ with all the Ahlus Sunnah who attest to the Caliphate of the three (i.e. Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman), except that it is rejected.
He also states:
والمقصود أن كل طائفة سوى أهل السنة والحديث المتبعين آثار رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فلا ينفردون عن سائر طوائف الأمة إلا بقول فاسد لاينفردون قط بقول صحيح وكل من كان عن السنة أبعد كان انفراده بالأقوال والأفعال الباطلة أكثر وليس في الطوائف المنتسبين إلىى السنة أبعد عن آثار رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم من الرافضة فلهذا تجد فيما انفردوا به عن الجماعة أقوالا في غاية الفساد
The object is that all groups other than the Ahlus Sunnah and Hadith, who follow the transmissions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, only have a corrupted view if it is isolated from the rest of the Ummah. This isolated view can never be correct. Whoever is further away from the Sunnah, his isolated views and corrupted actions will increase. Amongst the groups associated to the Sunnah, none of them are further away from the traditions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam than the Rawafid. Therefore, one would find, in their isolated views, the most corrupted views.
He presented some examples for this. Some of them are:
Another narration states, “Then complete the number (i.e. 30 days).”
As for Ibn al Qayyim (d. 751 AH), the distinguished student of Ibn Taymiyyah who would rarely differ from his views, mentions, during the course of his discussion about the ruling of taking oath about divorce, a statement similar to that of Ibn Taymiyyah wherein he rules out the possibility that all or majority of what the Imamiyyah narrate from the Ahlul Bayt is lies. He states:
إن فقهاء الإمامية من أولهم إلي آخرهم ينقلون عن أهل البيت أنه لا يقع الطلاق المحلوف به وهذا متواتر عندهم عن جعفر بن محمد وغيره من أهل البيت وهب أن مكابرا كذبهم كلهم وقال قد تواطثوا علي الكذب عن أهل البيت ففي القوم فقهاء وأصحاب علم ونظر في اجتهاد وإن كانوا مخطثين مبتدعين في أمر الصحابة فلا يوجب ذلك الحكم عليهم كلهم بالكذب والجهل وقد روي أصحاب الصحيح عن جماعة من الشيعة وحملوا حديثهم واحتج به المسلمون ولم يزل الفقهاء ينقلون خلافهم ويبحثون معهم والقوم وإن أخطاوا في بعض المواضع لم يلزم من ذلك أن يكون جميع ما قالوه خطأ حتي يرد عليهم هذا لو انفردوا بذلك عن الأمة فكيف وقد وافقوا في قولهم من قد حكينا قولهم وغيره ممن لم تقف علي قوله
All the Imami jurists, from the first to the last, narrate from the Ahlus Sunnah that sworn divorce does not take place. This, according to them, is consecutively narrated from Jafar ibn Muhammad and other Ahlul Bayt. Granted, that a contentious person may falsify all of them by saying that they colluded upon narrating lies from the Ahlul Bayt. However, amongst the group there are jurists, people of knowledge and Ijtihad. Despite the fact they are erroneous innovators with regards to the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum, this does not necessitate the ruling of lies and ignorance for all of them. The authors of authentic books of Hadith narrate from a group of Shia and reported their ahadith, and Muslims deduce from them. The jurists have continuously narrated their differences and debated with them. This group, even though they have erred in some instances, this does not necessitate that whatever they narrate is false, so much so that this view would be rejected even though they are isolated from the rest of the Ummah. How is this possible when their views conform to some of those whose views we have reported and others whose views we do not agree with.
Despite all this, it has been noticed that the school which in present day is known as Jafari School, depended a great deal on the Sunni Fiqhi branches to fill the great void which it needed, as indicated by ‘Allamah Haydar Hubb Allah in Nazariyyat al Sunnah wherein he states:
فإن الفقه التفريعي خطوة ترجع أقدم محاولة لها إلى الشيخ الطوسي (٤٦٠ه) في المبسوط أو على أبعد تقدير إلي الإسكافي والحسن بن أبي عقيل النعماني وقد قيل في ذلك إن الطوسي أتى بالفروع من مصنفات أهل السنة ولم تكن هذه الفروع متداولة في الوسط الشيعي كما يشهد على ذلك مراجعة الكتب التي سبقت الطوسي مثل كتاب المقنعة للمفيد و الإنتصاروالناصريات للمرتضى و المقنع و الهداية للصدوق ونحو ذلك حتي كانت محاولة الطوسي هذه محلا لانتقاد بعض العلماء الذين أتوا بعده وعلي رأسهم ابن إدريس الحلي) ٥٩٨ه( وهذا معناه أن الموضوعات التي تحتاج إلي الروايات وليس فيها مرجع آخر هي فروعات الفقه والأخلاق وهي موضوعات كانت محدودة جدا
The Fiqhi branch is a step which was first attempted by Sheikh al Tusi (d.460 AH) in al Mabsut, or at the very latest by al Iskafi and al Hassan ibn Abi ‘Aqil al No’mani. It is said that al Tusi brought these branches from Sunni literature and they were not prevalent amongst the Shia, as it can be observed by reviewing those books which preceded al Tusi like al Muqni’ah of al Mufid, al Intisar wa al Nasiriyyat of al Murtada, al Muqni’, and al Hidayah of al Saduq, etc. In fact, al Tusi’s attempt was subjected to criticism by latter scholars, foremost amongst them being Ibn Idris al Hilli (d. 598 AH). This is the meaning of ‘subjects need narrations’. There is no other reference than branches of Fiqh and ethics. These subjects are very limited.
Permissibility of practicing upon Jafari Fiqh in general, except on some isolated views which contradict the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is represented by the late Sheikh of al Azhar Mahmud Shaltut (d. 1383 AH). This view is relatively close to the view of Ibn Taymiyyah which we have mentioned. However, he differs with him in two major issues:
Ibn Taymiyyah, although his view is that the truth is not confined to the four Fiqhi Mazhabs and he attests to relative consideration to the Imami School; however, despite this he did not permit a Sunni to leave his Fiqhi Mazhab, whichever it may be, to follow a Fiqhi School which, according the Ahlus Sunnah, is estranged from the path of the Companions and the family of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Regarding Sheikh Shaltut’s fatwa specifically, there was an excerpt in the beginning of the mentioned Fatwa, about his declaration to the Egyptian newspaper, al Hayat, in the beginning of 1909 CE. He mentions therein, his commitment to introduce a realistic project to create proximity amongst the Islamic Mazhabs, and to establish a seat for comparative fiqh in the faculty of Shari’ah in al Azhar University and to teach Jafari Fiqh under this seat’s program.
Then one of the journalists had the courage to hold an interview with Sheikh Shaltut regarding the above mentioned declaration. The magazine Risalat al Islam reported it with the title ‘historic fatwa’. The magazine al Azhar published it in full with the title ‘between Sunnah and Shia’. The text is as follows:
قيل لفضيلته إن بعض الناس يرى أنه يجب علي المسلم لكي تقع عباداته ومعاملاته علي وجه صحيح أن يقلد أحد المذاهب الأربعة المعروفة وليس من بينها مذهب الشيعة الإمامية ولا الشيعة الزيدية فهل توافقون فضيلتكم علي هذا الرأي علي إطلاقه فتمنعون تقليد مذهب الشيعة الإمامية الاثني عشرية مثلا
١- إن الإسلام لا يوجب عل أحد من أتباعه اتباع مذهب معين بل نقول إن لكل مسلم الحق في أن يقلد بادئ ذي بدء أي مذهب من المذاهب المنقولة نقلا صحيحا والمدونة أحكامها في كتبها الخاصة ولمن قلد مذهبا من هذه المذاهب أن ينتقل إلى غيره أي مذهب كان ولا حرج عليه في شيء من ذلك
٢- إن مذهب الجعفرية المعروف بمذهب الشيعة الإمامية الاثنى عشرية مذهب يجوز التعبد به شرعا كسائر مذاهب أهل السنة فينبغي للمسلمين أن يعرفوا ذلك وأن يتخلصوا من العصبية بغير الحق لمذاهب معينة فما كان دين الله وما كانت شريعته بتابعة لمذهب أو مقصورة علي مذهب فالكل مجتهدون مقبولون عند الله تعالي يجوز لمن ليس أهلا للنظر والاجتهاد تقليدهم والعمل بما يقررونه في فقههم ولافرق في ذلك بين العبادات والمعاملات
The honourable Sheikh was asked, “Some people are of the view that it is incumbent on a Muslim, for his worship and dealings to be correct, that he follows one of the four famous Mazhabs. The Shia Imami and the Shia Zaidi School is not from amongst them. Do you agree with this view in general, that you would prevent others from following the Ithna ‘Ashari Imami Shia School?”
It is clear from Sheikh Shaltut’s fatwa that his fatwa regarding the Jafari School is with regards to its Fiqhi subsidiary rulings and not beliefs and theological theories. Hence, he said ‘and practice upon what is established in their fiqh. There is no difference between acts of worship and transactional dealings’. Therefore, there is no justification for some peoples’ objection on this fatwa by pointing to the Imamiyyah belief of distorting the Qur’an, or declaring disbelief against the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum or their fanaticism regarding their Imams because this is out of the fatwa’s framework, as it is obvious.
Similarly, it is incorrect to raise objections regarding Mut’ah (temporary marriage) and Taqiyyah according to the Imami understanding, because Sheikh —whether we agree with him or not—does not permit anything, at all, the prohibition of which is established from the Qur’an of Sunnah.
Yes, Sheikh Shaltut was convinced of his fatwa. It was not merely a case of a fatwa that was issued and the matter ended there. After some time, the magazine al Mujtama’ al ‘Arabi published a lengthy interview with him and subsequently the magazine al Azhar republished it, wherein the Sheikh clarified his intention of the above mentioned fatwa. His intention was the permissibility of practicing on anything that conforms to the Qur’an and Sunnah, even though it differed with the Ijtihad of the four Sunni Mazhabs. In the course of the interview, the following question was posed:
Does teaching the Shia School in al Azhar mean that it is applicable? Or is it taught merely for sake of information, acquisition and increasing a person’s knowledge of din?
He replied saying, “We do not aspire that our lessons in al Azhar should be merely for information and acquisition. We teach for one to absorb and understand, then apply and practice upon all that is possible to practice. Some of the Shia School’s rulings are derived from many of our legislations and many of our scholars practice upon some of their (the Shia) acts of worship. We only refer to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. When any view does not contradict any authentic fundamental principal of Islam and it does not contradict any Shar’i text, then there is no harm in applying and practicing upon it. This is the intended proximity and desired ease.
 Contrary to this stance is another stance which is more severe on the Imami jurists, which at times reaches the point of open criticism and attack on the opposing Muslim, like the statement of al Sheikh Muhammad Hassan al Najafi (d. 1266 AH) in Jawahir al Kalam, while discussing al Talaq al Mu’allaq (pending divorce). He states:
As one can see, this cannot be tracked to any origin from the Imami principles. It is from amongst the myths. They have regarded it as permissible and filled their books with its rulings. All praises is for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala who has protected us from many of that which his creations are afflicted with. If He willed, He would have done it. Our books being devoid of these myths and sufficing on the complete form of the word (when issuing divorce, without considering the intention) is just to expose them.
 Sharh Mushkil al Wasit, 3/569-570.
 Al Majmu’ Sharh al Muhadhab, 1/383, 1/416, 2/62, 2/101, 3/34, 9/80, 9/234.
 Fatawa al Subki, 2/322.
 Al Bahr al Muhit, 6/419.
 Al Hawi li al Fatawa, Risalah – Masalik al Hanafa fi Walidi al Mustafa’, 2/264-265.
 Al Fatawa al Fiqhiyyah al Kubra, 4/105.
 For example, see al Babarti: al ‘Inayah Sharh al Bidayah, 5/254; al Mawardi: al Hawi al Kabir, 9/221.
 Siyar A’alam al Nubala’, 13/105. (Biography of Imam Dawood ibn ‘Ali, Imam of the Ahl al Zahir)
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 13/104.
 Al Madkhal ila Mawsu’at al Hadith al Nabawi ‘Inda al Imamiyyah, pg. 509-510.
 According to the Imamiyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah’s name is associated to two matters:
First: Nasb – enmity towards the Ahlul Bayt and aversion from them. Ibn Taymiyyah is free of this accusation. It originates from prejudice and unfair attribution to some of his statements regarding the Companions and the Ahlul Bayt specifically. Sulaiman al Kharashi in Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah lam Yakun Nasibiyyan, and ‘Amar ibn Salih al Qarmushi in Ahlul Bayt ‘Ind Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, have both embarked in responding to this accusation. However, this matter needs a better treatise than what these two books contain.
Second: Ruling of disbelief from the opposition in general and specifically from the Imamiyyah. The Imamiyyah regard him as the first and the most prominent person who passed the verdict of disbelief and permissibility of killing against them. At times the ISIS joined them in holding this view. Hence, they attribute all kinds of absurdities towards him. There is no doubt that to investigate the attribution of general disbelief to Ibn Taymiyyah, to explore his statements in this ruling, and to respond to some of the texts which are incorrect or taken out of context, needs an independent book; however, here I wish to merely indicate that there is an unjust attribution towards Ibn Taymiyyah—from his supporters and adversaries—that he issued a general verdict of disbelief and apostasy against the Imamiyyah. Sheikh Sultan al ‘Amiri has penned a discussion about Ibn Taymiyyah’s stance regarding the Imamiyyah. He states in it:
– That despite acknowledging their deviation, he did not issue verdict of disbelief against them. In fact he issued a verdict of their Islam clearly, by stating in Majmu’ al Fatawa, 13/96:
وقد ذهب كثير من ميتدعة المسلمين من الرافضة والجهمية وغيرهم إلي بلاد الكفار فأسلم على يديه خلق كثير وانتفعوا بذلك وصاروا مسلمين مبتدعين وهو خير من أن يكونوا كفارا وكذلك بعض الملوك قد يغزو غزوا يظلم فيه المسلمين والكفار ويكون آثما بذلك ومع هذا فيحصل به نفع خلق كثير كانوا كفارا فصاروا مسلمين وذاك كان شرا بالنسبة إلى القائم بالواجب وأما بالنسبة إلى الكفار فهو خير فهذا الكلام من ابن تمية يدل علي أن وصف الإسلام ثابت لهم وأن دخول الكافر في الإسلام على مذهب الإمامية خير له من بقائه علىى كفره
Many Muslim innovators from amongst the Rawafid, Jahmiyyah, and others went to the lands of the disbelievers. Many of them benefitted and accepted Islam on their hand and became Muslim innovators. This is better than them remaining on disbelief. Similarly some kings rage wars wherein they oppress the Muslims and disbelievers, therefore becoming sinners. Despite this, many disbelievers benefit as they become Muslims. This is evil for the duty bearer; however, for the disbelievers, it is good.
This statement of Ibn Taymiyyah indicates that Islam is established for them and that for the disbelievers to enter into Islam, albeit in the Imami School is better than them remaining on disbelief.
This is a viewpoint that the Imamiyyah do not hold regarding their opposition. Thus, Sheikh al Mufid states in Awa’il al Maqalat, pg. 44:
واتفقت الإمامية على أن من أنكر إمامة أحد الأئمة وجحد ما أوجبه الله تعلى من فرض الطاعة فهو كافر ضال مستحق للخلود في النار
The Imamiyyah are unanimous that anyone who denies the Imamah of any of the Imams and rejects obedience to them as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has obliged, he is a deviate disbeliever, deserving perpetual entrance into hellfire.
Sheikh al Ta’ifah al Tusi (460 AH) endorses this view in Talkhis al Shafi, 4/131, wherein he says:
دفع الإمامة كفر كما أن دفع النبوة كفر لأن الجهل بهما على حد واحد
Rejecting Imamah is disbelief just as rejecting prophet hood is disbelief as ignorance regarding any of them is same.
– That he differentiates between the Batini Ismaili and the Ithna ‘Ashari Imamis in Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah , 2/452-453. He says:
والإمامية الإثنا عشرية خير منهم بكثير فإن الإمامية مع فرط جهلهم و ضلالهم فيهم خلق مسلمون باطنا و ظاهرا ليسوا زنادقة منافقين ولكنهم جهلوا وضلوا واتبعوا أهوائهم وأما أؤلئك فأئمتهم الكبار العارفون بحقيقة دعوتهم الباطنية زنادقة منافقون وأما عوامهم ـ الإسماعيلية ـ الذين لم يعرفوا باطن امرهم فقد ىكونوا مسلمىن
The Ithna ‘Ashari Imamis are better than them by far. The Imamiyyah despite their extreme ignorance and deviation, there is a large number of them that are Muslims outwardly and inwardly. They are not apostate hypocrites. However, they are ignorant deviants and followed their desires. As for the others (the Ismailis), their senior Imams, who know the reality of their inner claims, are apostate hypocrites. As for their masses (the Ismailis) who are not aware of the inner secrets, they can be Muslims.
– His refutation of the view that the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and Christians) are better than the Shia, taking into consideration that they are Muslims, as he states in Majmu’ al Fatawa 35/201:
كل من كان مؤمنا بما جاء به محمد فهو خير من كل من كفر به وإن كان في المؤمن بذالك نوع من البدعة سواء كانت بدعة الخوارج والشيعة والمرجئه والقدرية أو غيرهم
Whoever believes in that which Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam brought is better than those who refuted it, even though that Muslim is involved in some innovation, be it he innovation of the Khawarij, the Shia, the Murji’ah, the Qadariyyah, or others.
– That he does not pass verdict of disbelief against any of them specifically except when certain conditions are found or certain preventives are absent as is mentioned in Majmu’ al Fatawa 26/500.
 Al Radd ‘Ala al Subki, 2/697-697.
 Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 2/369-370.
 Surah al Nisa’: 115.
 Al Radd ‘ala al Subki, 2/659-660.
 Al Radd ‘ala al Subki, 2/697-698.
 Al Radd ‘ala al Subki, 2/659-660.
 Those who are of the view that it is necessary to hold on to the four Mazhabs only, base their view on the fact that the Mazhabs of the other Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum, their successors and Imams are not regulated and their principles are not recorded. Contrary to these are the four Mazhabs, that each Imam’s Mazhab’s fundamental and subsidiary principles, as well as their regulations are recorded, so that the rulings can be referred to them and discussions regarding permissible and impermissible matters can be regulated. Conversely the other Mazhabs are not popular and not regulated. At times things could be attributed to them which they did not say or certain meanings could be taken which they did not imply, and there would be no one to defend the Mazhab or clarify the ambiguous matters, contrary to these famous Mazhabs. (see Majmu’ Rasa’il Ibn Rajab, booklet on the rebuttal of those who follow any Mazhab other than the four Mazhabs.)
This statement will be valid if the intended meaning is to adhere to the complete Mazhabs, out of fear of what is mentioned above. When it comes to adhering to the view of one of the Imams, after establishing the authenticity of the narration and the Imams practice on that view—even though it differs with the four Mazhabs—then there is nothing wrong in that, let alone the differences being in understanding or giving preference to one view of the four Imams, as this takes place in the four Mazhabs itself. The critics and the senior scholars did not see any blemish or reason to disregard it.
Hence, Ibn Taymiyyah regards this claim to be inconsistent and weak, particularly the claim that whatever is found in the four Mazhabs is Ijma’ of the Muslims which is impermissible to breach. He explicitly mentions this in one of his answers in Majmu’ al Fatawa, 20/10-11 saying:
وإذا ثبت إجماع الأمة على حكم من الأحكام لم يكن لأحد أن يخرج عن إجماعهم فإن الأمة لا تجتمع عليى ضلال ولكن كثير من المسائل يظن بعض الناس فيها إجماعا ولا يكون الأمر كذلك بل يكون القول الآخر أرجح في الكتاب والسنة وأما أقوال بعض الأئمة كالفقهاء الأربعة وغيرهم فليس حجة لازمة ولا إجماعا باتفاق المسلمين بل قد ثبت عنهم أنهم نهوا الناس عن تقليدهم وأمروا إذا رأوا قولا في الكتاب والسنة أقوى من قولهم أن يأخذوا بما دل عليه الكتاب والسنة ويدعوا أقوالهم ولهذا كان الأكابر من أتباع الأئمة الأربعة لا يزالون إذا ظهر لهم دلالة الكتاب أو السنة علي ما يخالف قول متبوعهم اتبعوا ذلك
When Ijma’ is established in any ruling then it is not permissible for anyone to come out of it, because the Ummah will not unite on deviation. However, in many rulings, some people think that Ijma’ is established but in reality it is not. In fact, sometimes another view is more preferable according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. The views of some Imams like the jurists of the four Mazhabs etc., are not proofs which are incumbent and not Ijma’, agreed upon by all the Muslims. In fact, it has been established from them that they prevented people from following them and instructed them that if they see any view in the Qur’an and Sunnah that is more authentic than their view, then they should practice on that which the Qur’an and Sunnah indicates to and leave out their view. That is why the practice of the senior scholars from followers of the four Imams has been, that, if they find any proof from the Qur’an and Sunnah that differs from the view of their Imam, they would follow that.
 This means that they exclusively cannot be on the truth in any ruling. It is necessary that prior to them a Companion radiya Llahu ‘anhu, or their successors or a distinguished person who is known for his fiqh and din held this view. The method of Sharif al Murtada in al Intisar wa al Nasiriyyat endorses this statement, because in many of the Fiqhi rulings, he points out towards the conformity with the Companions, their successors or the Imams of the Ahlus Sunnah. Hence, Ibn Taymiyyah states in Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 1/381:
ثم إن الواحد من هؤلاء إذا قال قولا لا يطلب دليله من الكتاب والسنة ولا ما يعارضه ولا يردون ما تنازع فيه المسلمون إلي الله والرسول كما أمر الله به ورسوله بل قد أصلوا لهم ثلاثة أصول أحدها أن هؤلاء معصومون والثاني أن كل ما يقولونه منقول عن النبي والثالث أ إجماع العترة حجة وهؤلاء هم العترة وإذا صنف واحد منهم كتابا في الخلاف وأصول الفقه كالموسوي أي الشريف المرتضي وغيره فإن كانت المسألة فيها نزاع بين العلماء أخذوا حجة من يوافقهم واحتجوا بما احتج به أولئك وأجابوا عما يعارضهم بما يجيب به أولئك، فيظن الجاهل منهم أن هذا قد صنف كتابا عظيما في الخلاف أو الفقه أو الأصول ولا يدري الجاهل أن عامته استعارة من كلام علماء أهل السنة الذين يكفرهم ويعاديهم وما انقردوا بها فلا يساوي مداده فإن المداد ينفع ولا يضر وهذا يضر ولا ينفع وإن كانت المسألة مما انفردوا به اعتمدوا عل تلك الأصول الثلاثة التي فيها من الجهل والضلال ما لا يخفي
When any of them mentions a view, he neither looks for its proof from the Qur’an or the Sunnah, nor that which contradicts it, and in the differences of the Muslims they do not refer it to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as commanded by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Conversely they created 3 principles:
First: That they (their Imams) are infallible.
Second: That whatever they say, is narrated from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Third: The Ijma’ of the household (of the Prophet saw) is proof and they are from the household.
When anyone of them—like Sharif al Murtada al Musawi etc.—write a book about differences of opinion or principles of Fiqh, and there are differences amongst the scholars on that ruling, they take the evidence of those who conform to their views, use their arguments and take their answers when answering any objections. The ignorant from amongst them thinks that this person has written a great book about differences, Fiqh, and its principles. What this ignorant does not know is that most of it is borrowed from the Ahlus Sunnah, who they despise and regard as disbelievers. What is exclusively their writing is not worth the ink they use because ink is beneficial and not harmful, whereas this is harmful and not beneficial. If the ruling is an isolated one then they rely on the 3 principles which consist of obvious ignorance and deviation.
 Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 2/369-370.
 Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 5/173.
The detailed Hadith regarding this will come in ‘Fourth factor’ of the factors that led to the extinction of Jafar al Sadiq’s Mazhab, which is ‘lack of ability to differentiate between authentic and fabricated.’
 The detailed Hadith regarding this will come in ‘third factor’ of the factors that led to the extinction of Jafar al Sadiq’s Mazhab, which is ‘excessive infusion and forgery in the Mazhab of Jafar.’
 According to the Imamiyyah, hunted of the sea is of two types: fish and everything other than fish. All creatures of the sea other than fish is Haram (unlawful). Amongst the fish there are some who have scales while others do not, like catfish, bagrid catfish, eel, floating fish (that died a natural death) etc. Those with scale are permissible while those without scales are Haram. Refer to the following: Ibn Babawayh al Qummi (d. 381 AH): al Muqni’, pg. 423; al Hidayah, pg. 308; Sheikh al Mufid (d. 413 AH): al Muqni’ah, pg.576; al Sharif al Murtada (d. 436): al Intisar, pg. 400; Sallar (d. 448 AH): al Marasim al ‘Alawiyyah, pg. 209; Sheikh al Ta’ifah al Tusi (d. 460 AH): al Nihayah, pg. 576. The contemporary Shia scholar of reference al Sayed ‘Ali al Sistani states in his academic treatise Minhaj al Salihin, 3/293, Mas’alah: 878:
لايحل من السمك إلا ما كان له فلس ولو بالأصل فلا يضر زواله بالعارض فيحل الكنعت والربيثا والبز والبني والشبوط والقطان والطبراني والإبلامي وغيرها حتي الأربيان المسمي في زماننا هذا ب الروبيان ولا يحل ما ليس له فلس في الأصل كالجري والزمير والزهو والمارماهي وإذا شك في وجود الفلس وعدمه بني علي العدم
Only those fish are Halal (permitted) that originally have scales. Removal of the scales through external means will not harm (its permissibility). Therefore mackerel, caridean shrimp, heckle, binni, different types of carp, king fish, barbel, etc., including Arbayan which is presently known as Rubayan (shrimp) are all Halal. Those fish that do not have scales originally like catfish, bagrid catfish, eel etc., are Haram. If there is a doubt about the scales then it would be regarded as not having scales.
It is stated in Minhaj al Salihin, 3/292, Mas’alah: 877:
لا يحل من حيوان البحر الا السمك
No animal of the sea is Halal except fish.
This is clear contradiction to what Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in the Qur’an:
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ صَيْدُ الْبَحْرِ وَطَعَامُهُ مَتَاعًا لَّكُمْ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ
Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food as provision for you and the travellers. (Surah al Ma’idah: 96)
And contradicting the Hadith of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam about the sea, wherein he says:
هو الطهور ماؤه الحل ميتته
Its water is pure and its dead is Halal.
The reason for the forbiddance of the above-mentioned types of fish is what Sheikh al Mufid mentioned in al Irshad, 1/348:
ومن ذلك ما رواه نقلة الأخبار واشتهر في أهل الكوفة لاستفاضته بينهم وانتشر الخبر به إلي من عداهم من أهل البلاد فاثبته العلماء من كلام الحيتان له في فرات الكوفة وذلك أنهم رووا أن الماء طغى في الفرات وزاد حتي أشفق أهل الكوفة من الغرق ففزعوا إلى أمير المؤمنين فركب بغلة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وخرج والناس معه حتى أتى شاطئ الفرات فتزل عليه وأسبغ الوضوء وصلي منقردا بنفسه والناس يرونه ثم دعا الله بدعوات سمعها أكثرهم ثم تقدم إليى الفرات متوكتا على قضيب بيده حتي ضرب به صفحة الماء وقال انقص بإذن الله ومشيتته فغاض الماء حتي بدت الحيتان من قعر البحر فنطق كثير منها بالسلام عليه بإمرة المؤمنين ولم ينطق منها أصناف من السموك، وهي الجري والزمار والمارماهي. فتعجب الناس لذلك وسألوه عن علة نطق ما نطلق وصموت ما صمت فقال أنطق الله لي ما طهر من السموك وأصمت عني ما حرمه ونجسه وبعده وهذا خبر مستفيض شهرته بالنقل والرواية كشهرة كلام الذئب للنبي صلي الله عليه وسلم وتسيح الحصى بكفه وحنين الجذع إليه، وإطعامه الخلق الكثير من الطعام القليل ومن رام طعنا فيه فهو لا يجد من الشبهة في ذلك إلا ما يتملق به الطاعنون فيما عددناه من معجزات النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم
Amongst them is the narration, from the transmitters which became extensively famous amongst the people of Kufah, and the news spread to other parts of the country, thus the scholars confirmed it, that the fish of the Euphrates in Kufah spoke to him. They narrate that water overwhelmed the Euphrates and it rose to such a level that the people of Kufah feared drowning. Panic stricken, they went to the Amir al Mu’minin (‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu). He mounted the mule of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and came to the banks of the Euphrates with the people following him. He dismounted and performed ablution thoroughly. He performed Salah individually while the people observed. Thereafter he supplicated which most of the people heard. Then he proceeded to the river leaning on the staff in his hand. He struck the surface of the water with it and said, “Recede with the permission and will of Allah.” The water receded till the fish were visible at the bottom of the river. Many of the fish spoke by greeting the Amir al Mu’minin. Some types of fish did not speak. They are the catfish, tube fish and the eel. People were perplexed by this and they asked him the reason for some speaking while others remained silent. He replied, “Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala made those fish speak to me that are pure and kept those fish silent that he prohibited, made impure, and distanced them.” This information has become extensively famous through various narrations like the popularity of the wolf’s speaking to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the pebble’s glorification in his palms, the tree trunk’s yearning for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam feeding a large group from very little food. Whoever hurls any criticism at this incident, he will merely be creating doubt like those who criticise the miracles of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that we mentioned above.
However, his student Sharif al Murtada criticises his teacher’s above mentioned statement, which he claims to be consecutively narrated. He regards this statement as laughable and astonishing. He states:
فأما تحريم السمك الجري وما أشبهه فغير ممتنع لشيء يتعلق بالمفسدة في تناوله كما نقول في سائر المحرمات فاما القول بان الجري نطق بأنه مسخ بجحده الولاية -اي ولابة علي بن أبي طالب- فهو مما يضحك منه ويتعجب من قائله والملتفت إلي مثله
As for the prohibition of the catfish and others like it, its prohibition is not related to anything malicious in eating it, as is our view in all prohibited things. The claim that the catfish spoke and it was disfigured due to refuting the Wilayah of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, is something laughable and to be astonished at someone who mentions it or pays attention to things like this.
 The view of the impurity of liquids touched by the Ahlus Sunnah is based on the view that they (Ahlus Sunnah) are impure. The Imamiyyah is the only sect attributed to Muslims, who regard many of their opposition as impure, apart from regarding them as disbelievers. Sayed Hussain ibn Sayed Diya’ al Din al ‘Amili al Qazwini al Ardabili (d.1001 AH) wrote a treatise called ‘the impurity of the Ahlus Sunnah and prohibition of their slaughter’ and ‘breaking the foundation of differences regarding the disbelief of most of the opposition.’ Mirza ‘Abdullah Afandi al Isfahani states in Riyad al ‘Ulama’:
وله رسالة وجيزة أيضا في بيان حال أهل الخلاف في النثأتين وحكم فيها بكفرهم بل بنجاستهم أيضا وعندنا منها نسخة
He wrote a brief treatise in two geneses regarding the condition of the opposition. He passed verdict of their disbelief and impurity. I have a copy of that treatise.
 Sheikh al Mufid—of the Imamiyyah—wrote a book called Tahrim Dhaba’ih Ahl al kitab (prohibition of the slaughter of the People of the Book). Sheikh Sharif al Murtada states in al Intisar, pg. 403:
ومما انفرد الإمامية به أن ذبائح أهل الكتاب محرمة لايحل أكلها ولاالتصرف فيها لأن الذكاة ما لحققتها وكذالك صيدهم وما يصيدونه بكلب أو غيره وخالف باقي الفقهاء في ذالك
The Imamiyyah are isolated in the view that the slaughter of the People of the Book is unlawful to eat and utilise, as (Islamic) slaughter has not taken place. Similar is the case of their hunted animal and what they hunt with dogs, etc. They have differed with the rest of the jurists in this.
Sheikh al Ta’ifah al Tusi states in al Khilaf, 6/24:
لا تجوز ذبائح أهل الكتاب ـ اليهود والنصارى ـ عند المحصلين من اصحابنا وقال شذاذ منهم إنه يجوز أكله و خالف جميع الفقهاء في ذالك
The slaughter of the people the Book—Jews and Christians—is not permissible according to the learned amongst us. Some of the rare ones’ view is that it is permissible. They have differed from all the jurists in this.
Meanwhile Ibn Taymiyyah states in Majmu’ al Fatawa, 35/323:
ما زال المسلمون في كل عصر و مصر يأكلون ذبائحهم فمن انكر ذالك فقد خالف إجماع المسلمين
Muslims in every era and place have continuously eaten their slaughter. Whoever denies this has opposed the Ijma’ (consensus) of the Muslims.
 The Imamiyyah have differed regarding the slaughter of the opposition. Some stipulate the condition of sectarian belief, i.e. the slaughterer must be an Imami Shia. Thus they prohibit the slaughter of any other opposition. This is the view of Abu al Salah al Halabi (d. 447 AH), al Qadi Ibn al Barraj (d. 481 AH), Ibn Hamzah al Tusi (d. 560 AH) and Ibn Idris al Halabi (d. 598 AH). Others stipulate the condition that he must believe in love of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, even though he is not an Imami Shia. Therefore they prohibit the slaughter of the Nawasib and the Khawarij, not other opposition. This is the view of Sheikh al Mufid (d. 413 AH), Sheikh al Ta’ifah al Tusi (d. 460 AH), and Ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli (d. 726 AH).
 What is meant here is joining two Salah by a non traveller without illness or rain. The Imamiyyah believe that there are three times for the daily five Salah, deducing from the verse:
أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
Establish prayer at the decline of the sun (from its meridian) until the darkness of the night and (also) the Qur’an (i.e., recitation) of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.
Therefore they are unanimous on the permissibility of joining Zuhr and ‘Asr in one time and Maghrib and ‘Isha in one time without any valid excuse. They regard the performance of each Salah separately, in its stipulated time as Mustahab (commendable). The contemporary Shia scholar of reference Sheikh Jafar al Subhani states in al Insaf ila Masa’il al Khilaf, 1/288 that this ruling is regarded as from amongst the obligations of Imami Fiqh. The Ahlus Sunnah state that there are two types of times with regards to the five daily Salah:
Optional time -This is the five stipulated times of Salah.
Emergency time – These are 3 times for excused people. They deduce this from many proofs from the speech and actions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. There are some proofs that many are not aware of, like the instruction of ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Ibn ‘Abbas and others to a menstruating woman, that if she becomes pure before Maghrib then she should perform Zuhr and ‘Asr Salah, and if she becomes pure before Fajr then she should perform Maghrib and ‘Isha. Refer to Majmu’ al Fatawa, 22/75-76 and 24/25-26.
 Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah, 5/173.
 Al Sawa’iq al Mursalah, 2/616-617.
 Nazriyyat al Sunnah fi al Fikr al Imami al Shia – al Takawwun wa al Sayrurah, pg. 63.
That which is correctly associated to the Mujtahid Imam and its fundamentals are derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which are transmitted by the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Similarly he practices on their transmissions radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
 The Imami School holds a negative attitude towards the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum, in Fiqh and in transmission, which the fiqh of the Ithna ‘Ashari Imams and their narrated transmissions regard as din and legislation to be practiced upon. This is something that majority of Muslims do not conform to them, i.e. none from the Ahlus Sunnah, Mu’tazilah, Ibadiyyah, Zaidiyyah, etc. This is an important distinction which should be kept in mind.
 Refer to the quarterly magazine Risalat al Islam, 3rd edition of the 11th year which was published in Muharram 1379 AH, June 1909 CE, pg. 227-228.
 His precondition of conformity with the Qur’an and Sunnah to accept any Mazhab will come in due course. As for Mut’ah (temporary marriage) specifically, he clarifies his stance in his Fatawa, pg. 275 by saying, “If any Shari’ah permits a woman to marry 11 men in one year, and permits a man to marry as many women as he wishes without assuming any responsibility for the consequences of marriage, then this is not the Shari’ah of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, The Lord of the universe and it is not the Shari’ah of chastity and morality.”
 Refer to the magazine al Mujtama’ al ‘Arabi, edition 33, published in August 1959 CE.
 I have tried to understand Sheikh Shaltut’s intended meaning of this statement. The only aspect that comes to mind is his practice on the fatwa of three divorces, which is from social relationships and not worship, until I came across clear statements attributed to him which states that he practiced on some Shia rulings related to personal status. They are three rulings:
رأي قوانين الأحوال الشخصية في آخر تدوين لها أن الطلاق المعلق يقع أحيانا و أحيانا لايقع اذ يكون مرتبطا بقصد الطلاق أو التهديد به ولكن رأي مذهب الشيعة هو أن التعليق لايكون موجبا للطلاق مطلقا ولو كان بقصد التهدبد أو بقصد الطلاق وقد رجحت هذا الرأي وأفتيت به
The view according to the laws of personal status—in its last compilation—is that a suspended divorce, sometimes it takes place whole other times it does not, depending on whether the intention was for divorce or a mere threat. However, the Shia view is that divorce does not take place at all irrespective of whether divorce was intended or it was just a threat. I prefer this view and issue fatwa according to it.
Refer to Roznamah Jamhuri Islami, 19 October 1379 AH, 5th edition, pg. 10.
It was appropriate for the Sheikh to first gather the Mazhabs of the Sunni jurists before moving to others because Imam Ibn Hazm’s view is that a pending divorce, when the suspended matter is found, does not take place at all whether it was in a form of an oath (which is to encourage to do something or abstain from it or to confirm something) or not (when the intention was that divorce will take place if the pending matter take place) Refer to al Muhalla, 6/8 and thereafter.
He states in al Muhalla:
من قال إذا جاء رأ س الشهر فأنت طالق أو ذكر وقتا ما فلا تكون طالقا بذلك لا الآن ولا إذا جاء رأس الشهر برهان ذلك أنه لم يأت قرآن ولا سنة بوقوع الطلاق بذلك وقد علمنا الله الطلاق علي المدخول بها وفي غير المدخول بها وليس هذا فيما علمنا وَمَن يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ (الطلاق: ٢ ) وايضا فإن كان كل طلاق لا يقع حين إيقاعه فمن المحال أن يقع بعد ذلك في حين لم يوقعه فيه
If a person says that when the month begins, you are divorced, or mentions any other time then she will not be divorced. Not immediately nor at the beginning of the month. The proof for that is neither in the Qur’an nor in the Sunnah does it appear that divorce will take place through that. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has taught us regarding the divorce of a consummated marriage and a non consummated one. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala did not teach us about this. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in the Qur’an, “And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah has certainly wronged himself.” (Surah al Talaq: 2.)
Also, when a divorce does not take place when uttered, then it is impossible for it to take place at a time when it was not uttered.
As for Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn al Qayyim, their view is that a pending divorce will be regarded as divorce if divorce was intended. However, if the intention was of encouragement or prohibition, then it will be regarded as an oath which will result in expiation of oath which is feeding or clothing 10 poor people or freeing a slave. If a person cannot do any of this then he must fast for 3 days.
في مسألة الرضاع وهل أن الطفل إذا رضع من امراة مرة واحدة يستوجب الحكم بأمومتها له أم يتطلب عدا أكثر ليحكم بأمومة المرضعة أنا شخصيا رايت أن دليل الشيعة أقوى ولذلك أفتيت في هذا الموضوع وفق رأيهم
Regarding the ruling of breastfeeding, if a child breastfeeds once, will this necessitate the ruling of fostership or does it require more amounts of breastfeeding to constitute fostership? My personal view is that the Shia proof is stronger; hence I issue fatwa accordingly on this subject.
The view in this ruling is similar to the previous one, as the Sheikh did not gather and investigate the Mazhabs of the Sunni jurists before moving to others because the views of the famous jurists revolve around the following:
The reason for objecting on these views is that the Sheikh did not encompass all the views of both the parties in the ruling or else he would not have come up with this strange explanation.
Similarly, it becomes clear from what we have mentioned that the Sheikh did not have sufficient knowledge of the legacy of Ibn Hazm al Zahiri and Ibn Taymiyyah.
 Refer to al Azhar, volume 31, 3rd edition, published in Rabi’ al Awwal 1379 AH, September 1959 CE, pg. 362.