Chapter Four – Shia beliefs – Allah – Bada

Chapter Three – Status of Sahaba – Surah Fath
December 23, 2014
Chapter Five – Shia Beliefs – Taqiyyah – Dissimulation
December 23, 2014

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Chapter four

 

The belief of badaʼ and the confusion of the Shia scholars

The Shia scholars will now have no choice except to acknowledge the superiority of the Sahaba or they will have to resort to the principle:

 

الضرورة تبيح المحظورات

Necessity permits the prohibited.

 

and thereafter return to their age old tenet and say:

 

We accept that the Qur’an proves what the Ahlus Sunnah claims it does but what reliance can be placed on Allah? (Allah forbid!) Just as (according to our Shia belief, whether you believe it or not) Allah experienced badaʼ in many aspects of din, He experienced badaʼ regarding the status of the Sahaba, the Ahlus Sunnah, and even in protecting the Qur’an. Allah Ta’ala first had the intention that is mentioned in the Qur’an but later changed his mind and this is the meaning of badaʼ.

 

Definitions of badaʼ

 

First definition

Nizam al din al Jilani, whom the present day Shia might perhaps call a munafiq, writes in his book ‘Ilm al Huda fi Tahqiq al Badaʼ:

 

يقال بدا له إذا ظهر له رأي مخالف للرأي الأول

One will say he experienced badaʼ when an opinion contrary to his former opinion becomes apparent to him.

 

Nizamu al din al Jilani writes in this same book that Abu Jafar al Tusi and Sheikh Abu al Fath al Karajaki had the same opinion regarding the meaning of badaʼ because this is what al Tusi has written in his book, ‘Uddah, and al Karajaki in Kanz al Fawa’id.

 

Second definition

However, what Sharif al Murtada has written in his book, al Dhari’ah, (and the words of al Tabarsi gives off the same stench) contradicts the meaning above because he writes:

 

معنى قولنا بدا له تعالى أنه ظهر له من الأمر ما لم يكن ظاهراً

The meaning of our statement that Allah experienced badaʼ is that something became apparent to Allah which was not apparent before.

 

Thereafter Nizam al din adds:

The gist of this is that Allah learns of new things after they occur.

 

After this, he presents his own findings, which supports the second meaning, that at times Allah may experience badaʼ when giving information of future events. In simple words, sometimes Allah may say what is going to transpire and it does not come to pass.

 

Third definition

The later Shia came to realise the mess this belief of badaʼ has caused and felt somewhat ashamed at the objections and criticisms raised by the Ahlus Sunnah. Thus they changed its meaning and said that badaʼ only applies to that knowledge which Allah does not inform anyone of, whereas in that knowledge sent to the prophets’ Allah Ta’ala does not lie. If the Shia adhere firmly to this view then they will receive a warm welcome and applause from the Ahlus Sunnah. In that case, the words of Allah will be absolutely correct and on account of the Shia belief of badaʼ there will no longer be any need to prove our claim from another source besides the Qur’an.

However, Nizam al din al Jilani knew that to overcome the criticism of the Ahlus Sunnah and establish their view, he would have to adhere to the confusing and embarrassing view of badaʼ, and refute the few later Shia scholars by claiming that this only applies to a specific type of knowledge. He reported numerous narrations from Shia literature which utterly refutes the opinion of the later Shia scholars. And why will he not, when he is a research scholar himself? This is why he wrote a special treatise on this subject. He mentions that whatever Allah Ta’ala stated was indeed the truth because it will only be considered a lie when it is intentional. So when Allah Ta’ala was misinformed, Allah forbid, what fault of it is His that warrants the later Shia scholars to say that Allah Ta’ala never lies to His close servants.

 

Three types of badaʼ

In short from all the narrations that Nizam al din al Jilani quoted to prove his claim, it is proven that there are three types of badaʼ.

  1. Badaʼ fi l-’Ilm:- Allah had knowledge of something but only later the true reality became apparent.
  2. Badaʼ fi l-Iradah:- Allah initially intended to do something but then later realised that this was not the correct course of action.
  3. Badaʼ fi l-Amr:- Allah initially gave a command but then realised that this command was a mistake and then replaced it with a new one that does not have the same deficiency and is more suitable with the need of the hour.
 

The difference between badaʼ and naskh

One should not confuse badaʼ with naskh (abrogation) because naskh means that a specific ruling has come to an end and the time for another ruling has commenced. An example of this is the month of Ramadan, wherein fasting is compulsory but when the day of ‘Id arrives then the ruling comes to an end and it is now time to stop fasting. It is not said that there was an error in the first ruling and therefore it was suspended, but rather the period of the ruling has come to an end and now the time for a new ruling has commenced. However, at times the time for the termination of the ruling may be given, such as in the example above, and at times it may not be given, but it will still terminate at its appointed time, for example the Shari’ah of Nabi Isa ’alayh al-Salam was to last until the arrival of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and this was only known to Allah. If any person was aware of this then he still did not know what the period would be and when would Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam arrive. In essence badaʼ fi l-Amr, which is also called badaʼ fi al Taklif by the Shia, is something entirely different from naskh. In the case of badaʼ it would mean that first Allah Ta’ala ordered the fast of Ramadan and seeing that that there was no problem with it, maintained his instruction, but after sometime saw that it does not serve the need of the hour and therefore changed his order.

 

The three types of badaʼ each require the other

Once this is understood then listen further to this unworthy one; when badaʼ fi al Taklif occurs then badaʼ fi l-Iradah, also known as badaʼ fi al Takwin, will also necessarily occur. The reason for this is that badaʼ fi l-Iradah is that change in decree which occurs on the discovery of a new requirement. So if the ruling was changed on account of a new benefit then the intention for the initial ruling has also changed. Similarly, badaʼ fi l-Iradah will necessitate the occurrence of badaʼ fi l-’Ilm, also known as badaʼ fi l-Akhbar. The reason for this is that if the intention changes when a new requirement is ‘learnt’, then it would mean that the knowledge acquired now was not known before and what was known before was ultimately incorrect, which in itself is known as badaʼ fi l-’Ilm.

Therefore, if any Shia believes in the occurrence of badaʼ fi l-Amr and badaʼ fi l-Iradah, but only to save face before the Ahlus Sunnah distances himself from the belief of badaʼ fi l-Akhbar, then too this scheme will not work.

In short the concept of badaʼ is an accepted concept amongst the Shia and if anyone of them were to reply to this verse, in an effort to save themselves from the argument of the Ahlus Sunnah, by saying:

 

If you are able to prove your case from the Qur’an then we accept that this is what the Book of Allah says but what reliance can be placed upon the Qur’an (Allah forbid)? Allah changes his opinion often and (Allah forbid) right, wrong, correct, incorrect, can all be found in His Book. Our Imams on the other hand have knowledge of what happened and what is still to happen, so if the piety and integrity of the Sahaba were to be proven from their word instead then we would definitely accept it.

 

The consequences of the belief of badaʼ

 

The forgiveness of the four infallibles becomes doubtful

In this case, it would become incumbent upon us to dispose of the proof of the Shia as well, as all fair-minded people would, because if this is the consequence of badaʼ then the first aspect that would come under question would be the forgiveness of the four ‘infallibles’, Allah forbid, so what guarantee do the Shia now have? Just as the forgiveness promised to the Sahaba has been discarded under the concept of badaʼ, if the same were to have occurred with the Imams then please do tell us what authority the Imams have over Allah Ta’ala? Especially since their taqiyyah and lack of courage (Allah forbid) has made a mockery of the entire din.

 

The extended absence of the final Imam is a sad plight indeed

In addition, the final Imam has opted to remain hidden, despite his absolute knowledge of his enemies and friends. He must definitely be aware that every year in Iran, thousands of Shia faithful come out in the streets wailing and pleading for his arrival, prepared to sacrifice their lives and wealth. In India, Shi’asm is spreading daily, and every Shia eagerly awaits the arrival of the Imam.

Yet even though his life is in his control and he knows that he will not die before his appointed time (which is also known to him), he chooses to remain hidden. It is uncertain what bravery and courage this is; such that even though his devotees increase by the day, he goes further and further into confinement, refusing to come forth. Even if there was something to fear, what of it; Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had a mere three hundred and thirteen men around him and he waged jihad and then too, according to the Shia, majority of them were munafiqin, and those who were not munafiqin, were not as sincere and devoted as the Imamiyyah are to their final Imam. Our astonishment will continue but still the occultation of the final Imam will not end, despite the peace, support and power he has at his hands. This can only mean that the Imams having knowledge of the past, present and future is false, or the love which the Shia profess is false. We know for a fact that under the pretence of love, the Shia have ascribed numerous weaknesses to their Imams, a few of which will become apparent to the readers in this treatise.

 

Perhaps Allah experienced badaʼ when appointing the Imams

In essence, the final Imam refuses to come forth from his cave in Surra min Raʼa, despite the insistence and pleas of his supporters and he refuses to do anything about the deviation and plight of the ummah. What greater deviation can there be than the din of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being replaced by the “din of Abu Bakr”, the Book of Allah being replaced by the “Pages of ‘Uthman”, and the twelve Imams being replaced by the likes of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi’i, etc (as the Shia assert); that one should continue waiting. The other Imams were excused on account of them not having any supporters or assistance but what excuse does the twelfth Imam have? The only possible answer to all of this, if we were to accept the Shia concept of badaʼ; is that Allah made a mistake (Allah forbid) in appointing the Imams whereas he should have appointed Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum as the Imams, who would have lit the lamps of guidance and provided peace to all this chaos. Thus, the Imamiyyah have no other explanation for this delay but the above (that badaʼ has taken place). If on the other hand, they were to say that it is not incumbent upon Allah to do as is required by man then they could say:

 

لَا يَسْئَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْئَلُوْنَ

None can question Him about What He does but all of them will be questioned (about their actions).

 

The twelfth Imam has been deposed by Allah because of badaʼ

Thus, it would not be strange that amongst the badaʼ that occurred, badaʼ also was experienced regarding the twelfth Imam and he has been deposed. This would explain why the absence of the Imam has passed the calculated date of his arrival. This would mean that the belief (of the Shia) that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, etc will be resurrected in the last days of this world is not incorrect and since the twelfth Imam has been deposed, they will be resurrected to take his place. Thus the Shia were mistaken in believing that they will be resurrected to be punished. Nevertheless, this discussion must have been displeasing to the Shia.

 

Refutation of badaʼ from the Qur’an

Therefore for the sake of the Shia, I will refrain from this and reply that even if Allah Ta’ala could err (as the Shia suggest), he did not err with the prophets’. We know that the Shia also do not believe that Allah Ta’ala errs when relaying information of past events as this would be no less than a blatant lie. Once this is understood, I wish to add that in Surah Taha, Allah Ta’ala relates the incidents of Nabi Musa ‘alayh al-Salam, which occurred long before the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and mentions the reply Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam gave to Fir’oun:

 

لَا یَضِلُّ رَبِّیْ وَ لَا یَنْسَی

My Rabb does not err, nor does He forget.[1]

 

Ponder over this verse, what is Allah saying? We all know Nabi Musa ‘alayh al-Salam, even the Shia will not say that he used to err. The Shia have reserved this fault solely for Allah Ta’ala as then it would necessitate that an infallible may err. In this case, the very criticism they make against the Ahlus Sunnah, that the khalifas and Imams (of the Ahlus Sunnah) were not ma’sum (infallible) whereas an imam or khalifa must be infallible so that it can be possible to differentiate between truth and falsehood, will in actual fact apply to them as well.

 

The Shia principle dictates that Allah may err but not the infallible Imams

The principles of the Shia inform us that it is possible for Allah to err but an infallible cannot. Thus, the statement of Nabi Musa ‘alayh al-Salam, who was infallible according to consensus of both factions:

 

لَا یَضِلُّ رَبِّیْ وَ لَا یَنْسَی

My Rabb does not err, nor does He forget.

 

has no possibility of error. Furthermore, this incident is of the past and not anything still to transpire, which could fall in the category of badaʼ fi l-Akhbar. What then is the meaning of “My Rabb does not err nor does He forget”? (Allah forbid) Did some shortcoming befall the memory and senses of Allah Ta’ala in the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were most definitely awe-inspiring personalities, but to the extent that they could strike awe into Allah Ta’ala? We seek Allah’s refuge from such blasphemy, Allah Ta’ala is far greater and above such faults. In their attempts to mislead the Ahlus Sunnah they have also cast the honour of Allah Ta’ala behind their backs. (The Shia continue to assert that) When Fadak was taken, it was Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu who took it, when the pen and paper was not brought, it was ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu who did not bring it; and they absolved themselves from them, so now did Allah Ta’ala, who was aware of all of this, fail to assist those who were oppressed, even though assisting the oppressed is the path of truth? May Allah Ta’ala blacken the faces of these uncouth people. In essence, the Qur’an uproots any possibility of badaʼ ever occurring.

 

The supplication of Jafar al Sadiq against those who believe in badaʼ

If the Shia do not have the slightest reliance in Allah and insist, considering it possible that Allah may have erred in relaying the incidents of the past, that we will not refute the belief of badaʼ on the testimony of the Qur’an until and unless al Kulayni reports a narration in this regard. Therefore we report the narrations of al Kulayni:

 

عى منصور بن حازم عن ابى عبد الله قال منصور سالته هل يكون شىء لم يكن فى علم الله قال لا من قال هذا فاخزاه الله قلت ارئيت ما كان و ما هو كائن الى يوم القيامة ليس فى علم الله قال بلى قبل ان يخلق الخلق

Mansur ibn Hazim narrates: “I asked Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah whether there is anything that is not in the knowledge of Allah?” He replied: “No! May Allah disgrace whoever says (and believes) that.” I then asked him: “Do you believe that everything that has happened and what is still to happen until the Day of Qiyamah is not in the knowledge of Allah?” He replied: “No! (He knew everything) Even before he created it.”

 

Two points are learnt from this narration:

  1. Badaʼ is an incorrect belief, because it has become clear from the problems that arise from this belief explained previously that it is impossible for Allah to acquire new knowledge (which was previously unknown to Him).
  2. Jafar Sadiq rahimahu Llah supplicated against those who adhere to the belief of badaʼ.
 

Thus, we too congratulate the Shia. All these problems arose on account of them not understanding the Book of Allah and what fault of theirs is it? They do not even understand their own reports. If they had any understanding at all then they would have understood their books first, after all the Qur’an is the Book of the Ahlus Sunnah.

 

After understanding the truth, it is compulsory to accept

It is now incumbent to explain the motive of this erroneous belief so that further contentment may be gained and the readers will not be left in doubt and say: “Why should we abandon the belief of badaʼ simply on what is written in this treatise, after all our Shia ‘ulama must have believed in this for a reason. So until we discuss this with them, we will not be content.” This excuse is an epitome of the saying:

The excuse for the sin is worse than the sin itself

When the truth has become clear then what need is there for him to wait on another. If one person watches the sun set with his naked eye and another sits in his home, staring at his watch waiting for the time of sunset; the one looking at the sun may be the most ignorant and the one sitting at home the greatest scholar, but the one gazing at the sun will not wait for confirmation from the one sitting at home.

Similarly, when it has become clear, in light of the Qur’an and Shia narration as well, that the belief of badaʼ is incorrect then why delay in accepting the truth. In this instance the most appropriate course of action would be that just as the one who gazes at the sun accepts that it has set without second thought, despite his ignorance, so too should those who have understood the error of badaʼ absolve themselves from it without second thought and say that those who believed in it, even though the most learned, were after all men and erred as all men do. They did not understand the verse of the Qur’an:

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ کَانَ عَلِیْمًا حَکِیْمًا

Verily Allah is All-Knowing, The Wise.[2]

 

nor did they understand the verse:

 

لَا یَضِلُّ رَبِّیْ وَ لَا یَنْسَی

My Rabb does not err, nor does He forget.

 

And they paid no attention to the narration of al Kulayni. In fact the most respectful thing to do would be to say that these people (who believed in badaʼ) did not memorise the Qur’an, since it is the duty of the Ahlus Sunnah to do so.

In essence, the excuse that the proofs of the Shia need to be known first (before accepting the truth), after having understood the words of the Qur’an, which have no alternate interpretation and the hadith mentioned above, is not worthy of ear to those of intellect.

 

The foundation of the whimsical belief of badaʼ

However, ‘Ammar ‘Ali audaciously claimed that the cause of this erroneous belief amongst the Shia is verses like:

 

الَّذِیْ خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَ الْحَیٰوةَ لِیَبْلُوَكُمْ اَیُّكُمْ اَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا

Allah has created death and life so as to test which amongst you carry out the best deeds.[3]

 

On account of this verse and others similar to it, the Shia ‘ulama believed that a test takes place where the end result is not known. He then went further and said that Allah Ta’ala says in another verse:

 

یَمْحُوا اللّٰهُ مَا یَشَآءُ وَیُثْبِتُ

Allah erases whatever He will and keeps in place (whatever He wills).[4]

 

When they studied this verse with the verse mentioned previously, the Shia ‘ulama were convinced that Allah Ta’ala was unaware of the true reality of matters and instead wherever He has expressed an opinion at first and later discovered it to be different, He changed His opinion and this is the meaning of badaʼ. In short, this is the manner in which the belief of badaʼ found its way into Shia theology. The error which was first committed on account of lack of understanding was just reinforced further.

 

The harm of no teacher

Why should they not misunderstand such verses? Those without a teacher (and attempt to traverse the path of learning on their own) always falter. If they were to have approached the experts in the field of studying the Qur’an then they would not have committed such an error. However, this sect is so unfortunate that they are the severe enemies of those who understand the Qur’an. The Sahaba, who were the students of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, were the ones who understood the Qur’an; so those who benefited from the Sahaba, will they understand the Qur’an or the Shia?

 

The objective of testing man is not to gain new knowledge

If one were to conclude from the verse above that Allah does not have knowledge of anything before creating it, which the Shia believe, then Allah Ta’ala has said in numerous places in the Qur’an:

 

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُوْنَ بَصِیْرٌ

Indeed Allah sees whatever you are doing.[5]

 

Thus, even if we were to accept that Allah Ta’ala did not have knowledge of one’s actions before creating him, Allah Ta’ala makes it clear that he has complete knowledge of all that one does, so what further thought is required on this? Allah is not dependent upon the light of the sun, He does not require light to see, the front and back are both equal to Him because He states:

 

اَلَاۤ اِنَّه بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ مُّحِیْطٌ

Allah surrounds everything.[6]

 

In essence, once things have come into existence then there is no doubt that Allah sees them and then there is no possibility of Allah ever forgetting as Allah Ta’ala has said in Surah Taha,

 

لَا یَضِلُّ رَبِّیْ وَ لَا یَنْسَی

My Rabb does not err nor does he forget.

 

So now what need is there to appoint the al Kiram al Katibin (angels who record the deeds of man), and that the reckoning on the Day of Qiyamah only take place after man reads their Book of Deeds? Whatever reply the Shia will give to this, will be our reply as well.

If their answer is that Allah knows every single thing; big or small, apparent or hidden, but Allah’s immense wisdom and grandeur dictates that system operate then we will accept it and this is our response as well. If the Shia reply that taking reckoning from the Book of Deeds and the testimony of man’s hands and feet is to grant realisation to man then we also say that this test from Allah is to grant realisation to man.

If anyone doubts that the hands and feet of man will testify against him or that reckoning will be taken and the Deeds will be weighed then the following verses of the Noble Qur’an are present:

 

یَّوْمَ تَشْهَدُ عَلَیْهِمْ اَلْسِنَتُهُمْ وَ اَیْدِیْهِمْ وَ اَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا کَانُوْا یَعْمَلُوْنَ  24

On the Day wherein their tongues, their hands and feet will testify against them with regard to their actions.[7]

 

The gist of which is that they will only be punished after their hands and feet testify against them. The following verse states the same:

 

وَقَالُوْا لِجُلُوْدِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدْتُّمْ عَلَیْنَاۤ قَالُوْۤا اَنْطَقَنَا اللّٰهُ الَّذِیْۤ اَنْطَقَ كُلَّ شَیْءٍ

And they will say to their skin: “Why have you testified against us.” It will reply: “Allah Ta’ala has made us speak, Who has granted everything its ability to speak.”[8]

 

In addition, there are numerous other verses which prove that the deeds of man will be weighed on the Day of Qiyamah:

 

وَالْوَزْنُ یَوْمَئِذِ الْحَقُّ

The weighing on that day (of Qiyamah) is the truth.[9]

 

وَ نَضَعُ الْمَوَازِیْنَ الْقِسْطَ لِیَوْمِ الْقِیٰمَةِ

On the Day of Qiyamah, We will erect the scales of justice.[10]

 

فَاَمَّا مَنْ ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِیْنُهۙ   فَهُوَ فِیْ عِیْشَةٍ رَّاضِیَةٍ

As for him whose scales (actions) are weighty he shall be in a life of happiness.[11]

 

وَ اِنْ تُبْدُوْا مَا فِیْۤ اَنْفُسِكُمْ اَوْ تُخْفُوْهُ یُحَاسِبْكُمْ بِهِ اللّٰهُ

Whether you make known what is in your hearts or hide it, Allah will bring you to account for it.[12]

 

وَمَنْ یَّكْفُرْ بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰهِ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ سَرِیْعُ الْحِسَابِ

Whoever disbelieves in the revelations of Allah, verily Allah is swift in taking account.[13]

 

In short, these aspects cannot be denied. The Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) and the Ahlus Sunnah are both in agreement on this.

Whatever the Shia will reply, we will not shy away from it. If they say that this will be done to merely complete the proof on man and if this were not the case then there would be no need for it then we too agree with it.

 

An example from the Qur’an of completing proof against man

If one wishes to understand this by way of an example then understand this example, which even ‘Ammar ‘Ali accepts; the Shia must remember Surah al Baqarah? If they do not then they must remember a portion of it at least. In the first chapter, Allah Ta’ala mentions the incident when He intended to appoint Nabi Adam ’alayh al-Salam as his deputy on earth and the angels asked how could man be appointed as deputies when they will spread corruption and murder on earth, whilst they (the angels) are more deserving of such a position. They were the ones who glorified Allah, praised Allah but Allah Ta’ala replied to them:

I know what you do not know.

However, to complete His proof on the angels, Allah Ta’ala taught Nabi Adam ’alayh al-Salam the names of a few items and then asked the angels to inform Him thereof: “If you are truthful in your claim then answer my question.” Since the angels had no knowledge of this, they replied:

 

سُبْحٰنَكَ لَا عِلْمَ لَنَاۤ اِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَاؕ   اِنّكَ اَنْتَ الْعَلِیْمُ الْحَکِیْمُ  32

We proclaim Your purity! We possess only the knowledge that You have taught us. Without doubt, You are All Knowing, the Wise.[14]

 

When they could not answer, Allah Ta’ala ordered Nabi Adam ’alayh al-Salam to mention the name of those things and when he did, Allah said to the angels:

 

قَالَ اَلَمْ اَقُلْ لَّكُمْ اِنِّیْۤ اَعْلَمُ غَیْبَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِۙ   وَاَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُوْنَ وَمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْتُمُوْنَ  33

Did I not tell you that I know (all) the unseen things of the heavens and the earth, and that I know what you make known and what you hide?[15]

 

We ask the Shia scholars, in the name of Allah, please ponder over this incident. Did Allah Ta’ala test the angels so that He could learn the reality or to provide clear proof to the angels? When Allah had already informed Nabi Adam ’alayh al-Salam of the answer and not informed the angels then even the most dim-witted person will not doubt Allah having knowledge of who is more deserving of being His deputy. Thus, just as this test was only to complete the proof against the angels and do away with their objections, so too is the test which Allah takes from man so that they will have no proof or argument against Allah.

 

Nubuwwah and establishing the laws of Shari’ah is also to present a clear proof to man

This is also the reason for establishing the laws of Shari’ah and the wisdom behind sending the prophets’ because when the angels do not disobey Allah and are always obedient, as indicated by the verse:

 

لَّا یَعْصُوْنَ اللّٰهَ مَاۤ اَمَرَهُمْ وَ یَفْعَلُوْنَ مَا یُؤْمَرُوْنَ      6

They do not disobey the orders of Allah and they do what they are instructed.[16]

 

It is only man who objects to the decrees of Allah as man is after all human and amidst mention of the faults of man, Allah Ta’ala said:

 

وَکَانَ الْاِنْسَانُ اَكْثَرَ شَیْءٍ جَدَلًا  54

Man has always been the worst disputant (he quarrels anymore than, others of Allah’s creation).[17]

 

Thus, if Allah Ta’ala were to enter the prophets’ and the true believers into Jannat based upon His infinite knowledge, and Fir’oun, Abu Jahal and the disbelievers into Jahannam; would Fir’oun and Abu Jahal remain silent? No! They would raise objection after objection, continuously claiming that it is their right to enter Jannat. This is why the All-Mighty Allah Ta’ala has mentioned repeatedly in the Qur’an the reason for this chain of guidance. We will mention one of these verses for the contentment of the readers:

 

وَ اتَّبِعُوْۤا اَحْسَنَ مَاۤ اُنْزِلَ اِلَیْكُمْ مِّنْ رَّبِّكُمْ مِّنْ قَبْلِ اَنْ یَّاْتِیَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ بَغْتَةً وَّ اَنْتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُوْنَ    55     اَنْ تَقُوْلَ نَفْسٌ یّٰحَسْرَتٰی علٰی مَا فَرَّطْتُّ فِیْ جَنْب اللّٰهِ وَ اِنْ كُنْتُ لَمِنَ السّٰخِرِیْنَ    56   اَوْ تَقُوْلَ لَوْ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ هَدٰىنِیْ لَكُنْتُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِْيْنَ  57 اَوْ تَقُوْلَ حِیْنَ تَرَی الْعَذَابَ لَوْ اَنَّ لِیْ کَرّةً فَاَكُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَ    58 بَلٰی قَدْ جَآءَتْكَ اٰیٰتِیْ فَکَذَّبْتَ بِهَا وَ اسْتَكْبَرْتَ وَكُنْتَ مِنَ الْکٰفِرِیْنَ    59

Follow the best, which your Rabb has revealed to you before punishment suddenly afflicts you without you realising it. (Do all this to avoid the situation after death when) A soul says: “Woe be to me for the neglect I showed with regard to Allah! In fact, I was from among those who mocked!” Or it says: “If only Allah had guided me, I would have certainly been from among those with taqwa (the muʼminin).” Or it says when seeing the punishment: “If only I had a chance, I would certainly be from among those who do good (the muʼminin).” (Allah will reply to such a soul by saying:) “Indeed, My ayat (and My commands) came to you, but you rejected them, you were arrogant and were among the disbelievers.”[18]

 

This was the translation of the verse. What was the reason for Allah Ta’ala saying: “Follow the best, which your Rabb has revealed to you”? The only possible reason was that there was the possibility of a person saying that if Allah Ta’ala had guided him then he would most definitely have been from amongst the pious. Such a complaint would only be possible if Allah Ta’ala had decided (without testing) who is destined for Jannat and who is destined for Jahannam. In this instance, the one who is cast into Jahannam will claim that he has not gotten what he deserved and complain as to why he was not tested first, as perhaps he would have been amongst the pious and Allah-fearing. Yet Allah Ta’ala has said:

 

وَكُنْتَ مِنَ الْکٰفِرِیْنَ

You were among the disbelievers.

 

And Allah Ta’ala did not say:

 

كَفَرْتَ

You disbelieved.

 

Those who understand the Arabic language and its usage, know full-well that if Allah Ta’ala had said: “You disbelieved” then it would mean that you disbelieved when our verses came to you and that is when you became a kafir and not before the verses were revealed. On the contrary, when Allah Ta’ala said: “You were among the disbelievers”, then it means from before time already you were a kafir and accordingly you still disbelieved when our signs came to you.

 

Similarly in Surah al A’raf:

 

اَنْ تَقُوْلُوْا یَوْمَ الْقِیٰمَةِ اِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هٰذَا غٰفِلِیْنَ

So that you should not say on the Day of Qiyamah: “We were unmindful about this promise.”[19]

 

In other words, the pledge which was taken when Allah Ta’ala asked:

 

اَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ

Am I not your Rabb?

 

was so that at the time of punishment you should not give the excuse that you did not know. In reality, since man is as described previously (it is in his nature to argue), Allah Ta’ala instituted this test of a’amal (deeds) so that they will have no argument to present nor will they be able to accuse Allah of injustice. This is why Allah Ta’ala said:

 

لِیَبْلُوَكُمْ اَیُّكُمْ اَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا

To test which amongst you carry out the best deeds.

 

وَ لَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتّٰی نَعْلَمَ الْمُجٰهِدِیْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَ الصّٰبِرِیْنَ وَ نَبْلُوَاْ اَخْبَارَكُمْ

We shall certainly test you until We ascertain those of you who strive and those who are steadfast and until We examine your condition.[20]

 

The summary of all of this is that if you have any misconceptions against us and think that Allah Ta’ala does not know who is good or who is bad, which is the reason why he tests man, then it would mean that Allah Ta’ala thought someone to be bad and as a result sent him to Jahannam, which is unjust. On the other hand, Allah knew already who is good and who is not, and tested us to make known to us who is good and who is bad, who is steadfast and who strives in the path of Allah. In summary, the purpose of this test is to present a clear proof to man and not so that Allah Ta’ala can gain knowledge.

 

The meaning of “Examine your condition”

In the second verse, “Examine your condition” is mentioned, which also calls out loudly that Allah Ta’ala was not unaware of the conditions of man and knew the conditions of the pious and evil from before time because in this case the meaning of this verse will be: the reality of your actions which is known to us and which you doubt, we will examine that as well. This makes it clear that Allah Ta’ala already had knowledge of everything before hand and it is not as the Imamiyyah claim that Allah Ta’ala only learns of the nature of a thing after creating it, the reference of Nizam al din al Jilani has already been mentioned above, but rather this entire system has been put into place to present a clear proof to man, just as with the angels. The reality is that just as Allah Ta’ala knew from before that Nabi Adam ’alayh al-Salam is more worthy of caliphate and the angels do not possess the same qualities, so too was Allah Ta’ala aware from before time of who is deserving of Jannat and who is deserving of Jahannam. Just as we know that wood is meant for burning and bread is meant for eating, if Allah Ta’ala knew who is meant for Jahannam and who is meant for Jannat, there is no injustice at all. However, man is not the same as the angels, their nature is more defiant; this is why this entire system and examination has been put into place.

By the grace of Allah, the misconception which the Shia scholars have fallen into, on account of the verse cited above, has been lifted and the correct meaning of the verse has become known. One should not be hasty and rush to the first interpretation that comes to mind when reciting a verse but it needs to be understood in light of other verses of the Qur’an. If this is the Shia way of interpretation then it is quite possible that tomorrow they will say regarding the following verses:

 

ونَادى أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ

The residents of Jannat called out.

 

وَنَادى أَصْحَابَ الْأَعْرَافِ

Those residing on A’raf called out.

 

وَنَادى أَصْحَابَ النَّارِ

The dwellers of the fire called out.

 

And other verses of this nature, that they refer to incidents which have already transpired because putting aside the verses and ahadith which indicate that Qiyamah is still going to take place, this verse informs us that it has already taken place because the past tense verb has been used in it. Little do they know that when something is still going to happen but its occurrence is certain then in common language it is said that it had happened. When judgement is passed for execution then people say he is dead (even though he is still going to be executed).

Even if the meaning of these verses might not appear to be the same as the other verses, even the most novice Arabic student will conclude that the people of Jannat could not have called upon the people of Jahannam as no one has entered Jannat or Jahannam as yet. Instead these events are still going to transpire on the Day of Qiyamah. The preceding and following verses also attest to the same and the Imamiyyah also say the same. Therefore just as these words, due to other evidence, has an alternate meaning other than the apparent (i.e. it has not occurred and is still going to transpire) so too there is no harm in taking the verse: “We shall certainly test you”, which indicates the future tense, on account of those verses which prove the infinite knowledge of Allah of everything before its creation, to refer to the past.

If you seek to verify the alternate meaning then listen well. Just as when something that is still going to transpire is certain and its occurrence incumbent, it may be referred to in the past tense, so too can something which has occurred, but its reality, occurrence and existence to an extent hidden, be referred to in the future tense on account of the reality of its occurrence and non-occurrence only becoming known later. If an example is required then listen closely, when a person is severely ill and then is suddenly cured, it is obvious that his strength will not return as soon as he is cured but he will gain his strength slowly. If some of his creditors were to now come and ask their right from him, then the patient, if he has no wealth, will say that he will pay the debt as soon as he is better, even though he has been informed that he is cured of his illness.

Or assume that the sick person was not made aware that he has been cured; many a time a doctor can tell by the signs that he has been cured, yet he will tell the patient that he may pay him after he is cured. Thus, because the signs of the patient being cured have still not become apparent, i.e. he has not gained his strength, both the patient and the doctor use the future tense when referring to the cure of the illness; as if he has not been cured.

In the same way, Allah Ta’ala in His eternal knowledge knew full-well that the Sahaba were mujahidin and would be patient in adversity and the enemies of the Sahaba would be evil doers. The Sahaba on account of the fortune destined for them from before and their noble demeanour were worthy of being entrusted with a noble work and bestowed with qualities of perfection. The enemies of the Sahaba on the other hand because of the misfortune destined for them from before and their depraved character, were capable of only carrying out shameful deeds, on account of which their hearts will be blackened. However, this could not become evident, despite Allah’s knowledge of it, until the laws of Shari’ah were established and the deeds they were meant to perform were not carried out by their own hands yet you will find many unfortunate individuals still doubting this knowledge of Allah, just as the ill doubt the word of the doctor (that he has been cured) because of his usage of the future tense.

 

A common example of eternal fortune and eternal misfortune

As for the fortune and misfortune of man being decreed from eternity and being an inherent quality and not something that is attained or temporary, this is an intricate matter but to those of understanding this difference is the same as the difference between the intelligent and the foolish, the compassionate and the harsh, the generous and the miserly, the brave and the cowardly, the knowledgeable and the ignorant. Just as a wise king will take scholarly duties from the knowledgeable and not from the ignorant, so too does Allah Ta’ala take from man according to his capability.

 

All times (i.e. past, present and future) exist collectively

The reality is that time, from eternity until the infinite, exists as one; the past has not gone and the future is not absent. The reason for this is that if a person says: “Zaid is standing” then by listening to this statement everyone understands that Zaid exists and that this is his condition (i.e. he is standing). It is obvious that anything can only be in a particular state if it first exists. Once this has been understood then I wish to add that all those occurrences meant to happen on the Day of Qiyamah, regarding which Allah Ta’ala says, and all know that Allah Ta’ala is Truthful:

 

اِنَّ السَّاعَةَ اٰتِیَةٌ

Qiyamah is coming.[21]

 

Or as is said in another verse:

 

اِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَیْءٌ عَظِیْمٌ

Indeed the shaking of the Hour is a grave matter.[22]

 

In accordance with the rule mentioned above, we also understand that Qiyamah exists and its condition is such that it is coming towards us and it is a grave matter. We believe in it without need for repetition nor do we make excuses or arguments (against it). If some mullah were to argue that there are many things whose qualities are mentioned but do not exist, for example: if a person were to say that a certain person has died or a certain thing does not exist (then even though the quality has been mentioned, they still do not exist), then, firstly, such an objection does not warrant a reply. However, if we were to reply then it should be understood that this statement is not describing a quality but rather stating the lack of any quality. On the contrary, when a person states that a certain person is standing or a certain thing is coming; it leaves no doubt as to its existence and establishes that it is going to occur. Therefore, when these qualities prove the existence of a thing, why are we second guessing the existence of Qiyamah? Once this has been established, I wish to add further that just as Qiyamah has been proven to be coming and on account of this quality, its existence also established; matters of the past are still passing. In addition, when Qiyamah, etc has been described to be already in motion then it means then one day it will reach us and then pass. Thus, saying that a certain person has left, which establishes his existence, is no different from saying that a certain person is coming. In this manner both angles, the future and the past, are the same and exist together.

 

All tenses are the same to Allah Ta’ala

As a result of the statement of Allah Ta’ala:

 

اَلَاۤ اِنَّه بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ مُّحِیْطٌ

Verily He (Allah) encompasses everything.[23]

 

every tense (past, present and future) is encompassed by Allah. Thus, whichever meaning one might take for Allah Ta’ala encompassing everything, at the least this much is incumbent; that the knowledge of Allah encompasses everything. The following verse testifies to this precise meaning:

 

اَنَّ اللّٰهَ قَدْ اَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ عِلْمًا

Allah’s knowledge encompasses all things.[24]

 

In this case, all the things that exist in the past and in future are the same to Allah, despite the difference that might exist between them. The future exists but when the future passes then it becomes of the past.

Understand Allah’s knowledge of the future and past from the following example: A person stands in the middle of a river, whatever is in the water on all four sides is in his view and seen as one, even though some of it is still coming towards him and some has already flowed past.

 

The past and future is all the present to Allah

In essence, all aspects of time and whatever happens, all of it is within the sight of Allah and seen by Him as one and when this is the case then all time becomes the present. However, in relation to each other they precede and follow, and the difference between past, present and future is between each other. Just as a person who stands in one place, in relation to him what lies before him will be called the front and what lies behind him will be called the back, whatever occurs in a specific time, it will be called the past when compared to the following hour, the future when compared to the hour before it and the present when the precise hour it occurred in is considered. Thus all of these times are the same before Allah Ta’ala in existence, but in relation to each other they are divided into past, present and future.

 

The usage of past, present and future tenses in the Qur’an

At times Allah speaks in accordance to how matters appear to Him (without any difference in time) and at times He speaks taking into account the relation it has with time. In the first instance (when Allah speaks in accordance to how matters appear to him), He will always use the past or the present tense, whereas in the second case if the matter happened in the past, He uses the past tense, if it is the present, He uses the present tense and if it still to happen then the future tense is used.

The reason Allah also uses the past tense and not only the present tense, even though all tenses are the same to Him, is because Allah Ta’ala wishes to either inform one of the occurrence of a matter or the continuation of it. Thus, the matter which Allah Ta’ala informs one of; if it is to inform of its continuation, then on account of it continuing and the manner in which Allah sees things, it will always be the present. Whereas if it is to inform one of the occurrence of a matter then the time when it is given will not remain the present but become the past (so the past tense is used), since occurrences are momentary not perpetual. Accordingly, if one is being informed of something that is still going to happen, it should be in the future tense. Thus, information of an occurrence cannot be in the present tense, it will either be in the past tense or the future tense. If anyone is informed of the occurrence of a matter before it occurs then he will inform others of it in the future tense and after it occurs and he witnesses it, he will inform others in the past tense. He will only be able to use the present tense if the occurrence continues. However, everything in the knowledge of Allah Ta’ala is the present, so wherever he informs others of something that is still going to occur in the past tense, such as:

The residents of Jannat called out.

He does so because everything is the present to Him (and Allah Ta’ala has already seen what is going to happen) and wherever He makes mention of matters which already occurred in the future tense, such as:

Until We ascertain those of you who strive.

He does so because that event in relation to what is before it, is the future (and is not in accordance with how it appears to Him).

 

The universe is not eternal because it does not continue

May the level-headed gauge this discussion fairly and then admit that this unworthy one, even though insignificant, speaks the truth. Let it not be that on account of your misunderstanding, you accuse the author of believing the universe to be eternal. It is for this reason that I wish to state beforehand that for anything to be eternal, it is necessary that it must exist continuously, i.e. it must exist long before time and long after time. It must not be proven to exist in a fixed period as then it will be temporary and not eternal.

 

Two ways of attaining knowledge: Through means and without means

If someone finds this discussion to be too confusing and finds it difficult to understand its meaning then there is a second method by which we are able to conclude that Allah’s knowledge is eternal and encompasses everything, which will also explain the meaning of the verses quoted in the preceding pages.

When we explore the knowledge we have, we learn that knowledge of things is acquired in two ways:

  1. Without means
  2. With means, which can be either lazim (incumbent) or malzum (necessitated).
 

A person can learn whether the sun has risen or if there is sunshine without means, by seeing it with his own eyes, or learn of it with means, that is when seeing the sunshine he learns that the sun has risen or when he sees the sun, he knows there is sunshine. For example, if a person is sitting in his home where he cannot see the sun but sees the sunshine then by means of the sunshine he learns that the sun has risen. This knowledge of the sun rising he has gained with means which is lazim (incumbent). However, if he sees the sun directly while sitting in the courtyard of his home and determines that there is sunshine then this knowledge (of the sunshine) he has gained with means that is malzum (necessitated). In a similar manner, consider fire and smoke. At times knowledge of this is learnt without means, when looking at the fire or smoke with the naked eye, and at times with means, when he sees smoke from behind the wall and knows that there is a fire or sees the fire of a lamp from afar and knows that there must be smoke.

 

Generally knowledge of only one is learnt with means and without means both occur

Generally when something is learnt without means it necessitates learning it with means as well, which occurs simultaneously with no precedence given to either. For example, a person sees a fire up close and obviously sees its smoke as well, so in this case knowledge of the fire has been learnt from two ways; without means- because he saw it with his naked eye, and with means- because seeing the smoke informs him there is a fire. Therefore, even though a person sees the fire, he still determines from the smoke that it is a fire. What shortcoming has befallen the smoke on account of him seeing the fire that it will no longer indicate that a fire is burning?

 

Sometimes knowledge acquired with means is concealed because of the knowledge acquired without means

If one were to ponder deeply then he would conclude that the knowledge acquired with means is sometimes concealed by the knowledge acquired without means to such an extent that he does not even perceive it. When he saw the fire and saw the smoke, the knowledge of the fire which he learnt by seeing it directly conceals the knowledge of the fire he gained by seeing the smoke. This is an example of how in the day the stars still shine but they are eclipsed by the radiant rays of the sun, such that their presence is not even perceived.

 

Sometimes knowledge of two things is acquired without means or one with means and the other without means

Once this has been thoroughly understood that one thing may be learnt without means and with means at the same time, then also keep in mind that two things can also be learnt without means. For example, one sees the fire and the smoke at the same time. In a similar manner, when it is clear that a thing might be known directly or by means of something and sometimes it is known by both means, we also need to know that two things can become known simultaneously without means, for example; one sees fire and smoke at the same time. In a similar fashion, one can be learnt without means and the other with means, both at the same time, for example learning of the fire without means (by seeing it) and of the smoke with means (of the fire) or learning of the smoke without means (by seeing it) and of the fire with means (of the smoke). Knowledge of the fire is gained instantaneously such that it is never said that I learnt of this at this time and of the other at another time.

 

There is no precedence in the Knowledge which Allah gains without means and with means

Rationally one might understand there to be a sequence of one occurring before the other, knowledge acquired without means occurring before that with means. In other words a person will regard the knowledge of the latter to be dependent upon the knowledge of the first. Such as when a person shakes something in his hand, even though they move simultaneously, he will say that the hand moves first then what is in his hand. Therefore in this instance, even though the knowledge of both occurs simultaneously, the knowledge attained without means is said to precede that which occurs with means and just as a person can say that he shook his hand in order to shake what was in his hand, so too it can be said that he looked at the sunshine to gain knowledge of the sun.

 

The knowledge of Allah gained without means is mentioned in the past and present tense in the Qur’an and that gained with means is mentioned in the future tense

After having understood this introductory lesson, I wish to state that mentioning:

 

وَ لَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتّٰی نَعْلَمَ الْمُجٰهِدِیْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَ الصّٰبِرِیْنَ وَ نَبْلُوَاْ اَخْبَارَكُمْ

We shall certainly test you until We ascertain those of you who strive and those who are steadfast and until We examine your condition.[25]

 

in the future tense will not affect the claim that Allah Ta’ala’s knowledge is eternal in the least because Allah Ta’ala has knowledge of everything from two means, without means and with means simultaneously. The reason being that everything has a sign and just as the lazim (incumbent) and malzum (necessitated) can be learnt without means, so too can they be learnt by means of each other. In addition, both of these have existed with each other since eternity, even though that learnt with means becomes concealed by that learnt without means. In this manner as well, Allah Ta’ala has knowledge of everything with means at the same time that he has knowledge of it without means from eternity, but since that which is learnt without means is given precedence over that which is learnt with means (knowledge acquired without means regarded to have come first and knowledge with means second), wherever the knowledge of Allah Ta’ala is mentioned in the future tense, it refers to the knowledge He has with means, as there is no difference in time to Him, and wherever He has used the past or present tense it refers to the knowledge He has without means.

 

Since the knowledge of man is all with means, they were addressed in the future tense

Since Allah Ta’ala was addressing man in the Qur’an, and man – in fact all creatures of intellect – attain their knowledge with means and not without, Allah Ta’ala addressed them in the future tense. The salient qualities of the soul or of man such as generosity, bravery, compassion, etc if they exist, they exist within in the heart and are not perceived by the eye or any of the five senses. If the existence of these qualities are learnt then it is learnt by its effects. Generosity is learnt by giving, which is the action of the hand, bravery is learnt by his courage in battle, which is the action of the hands and legs, compassion is learnt from the kind words one speaks, which is the action of the tongue, and in a similar manner the presence of the soul is determined by movement, which are all actions of the body.

 

If Allah were to have spoken through His knowledge without means then it would not serve as proof against them

Wherever Allah Ta’ala has used the future tense then it is in matters which cannot be learnt by man without means (thus the future tense was used to indicate that they will learn of this in the future). If Allah Ta’ala were to have spoken to man in relation to His knowledge without means then it would not serve as proof against man. This is why wherever Allah Ta’ala referred to a matter that would serve as a proof against man, Allah Ta’ala used the future tense in relation to the knowledge they would learn with means. Wherever this was not the purpose, Allah spoke in relation to His knowledge without means, using the present or past tense. However since man cannot gain knowledge of these matters without means and before it occurs, it is impossible for them to know of it, they gauged the knowledge of Allah in relation to their own and understood Allah’s usage of the future tense to mean that this knowledge is still to be gained (by Allah). Thus, they are left confused, since Allah Ta’ala says:

 

اَنَّ اللّٰهَ قَدْ اَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ عِلْمًا

Allah’s knowledge encompasses all things.[26]

 

which indicates that Allah Ta’ala has complete knowledge of everything since eternity, while other verses indicate that knowledge of certain things are gained later such as:

 

وَ لَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتّٰی نَعْلَمَ الْمُجٰهِدِیْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَ الصّٰبِرِیْنَ وَ نَبْلُوَاْ اَخْبَارَكُمْ

We shall certainly test you until We ascertain those of you who strive and those who are steadfast and until We examine your condition.[27]

 

However, those of understanding and those acquainted with the point mentioned above know that the knowledge referred to in both instances is the same to Allah.

 

The concepts of mahw (erasing) and ithbat (confirmation) in the two Divine records

It would only be appropriate at this juncture, to mention the explanation of the verse:

 

یَمْحُوا اللّٰهُ مَا یَشَآءُ وَیُثْبِتُ

Allah erases whatever He wills and keeps in place(whatever He wills).[28]

 

A discussion for which objective Shia scholars might have been waiting in anticipation. Let us first view the verse in its entirety, thereafter my own thoughts will also be set forth. The entire verse runs as follows:

 

وَمَا کَانَ لِرَسُوْلٍ اَنْ یَّاْتِیَ بِاٰیَةٍ اِلَّا بِاِذْنِ اللّٰهِؕ   لِكُلِّ اَجَلٍ کِتَابٌ    38   یَمْحُوا اللّٰهُ مَا یَشَآءُ وَیُثْبِتُۖ   وَعِنْدَهۤ   اُمُّ الْکِتٰبِ    39

A rasul is not capable of producing a sign without Allah’s order. Every period has written commands. Allah erases whatever He wills and keeps in place (whatever He wills) and with Him is the Mother (Original) of Books.[29]

 

The essence of this verse is that no rasul can produce a miracle as a sign of his nubuwwah except with divine sanction. For every period there are separate written commands of which He erases whatever He wishes, and retains what He wants. While with Him there exists another greater set of written commands which is the source of all.

That much is the purport of the verse. After duly noting that there is reference to two separate written commands; one for every period and a source in Allah’s possession, and that erasing and confirmation are mentioned in relation to the first only, men of understanding would realize:

  • There are two distinct Divine records- the greater record, referred to as Umm al Kitab and the lesser record to which the phrase: “Every period has written commands” refers to.
  • The acts of erasing and confirmation apply exclusively to the lesser record and not to the greater one.

This is precisely the position of the Ahlus Sunnah. They too believe that there can be no addition to or deduction from the greater record, which is either in accordance with Allah’s Knowledge, or is itself His Knowledge.

 

Badaʼ is justifiable from the Qur’an only in the same manner that the prohibition of salah may be proven from the verse: “Do not approach salah…”

On which fine aspect do the Shia then raise the claim that badaʼ is justified in the Qur’an? If it is from this verse that they substantiate their claim, then it would be no different from the fool who claimed that he does not pray salah because Allah forbids salah in the Qur’an. Someone asked him: “Sir, show us this too. We have never heard this. If this is indeed the case then there would be great ease.” The fool replied: “Is it not mentioned in Surah al Nisaʼ: “Do not come close to prayer.” He was then told: “But the verse goes on to say: “…when you are intoxicated.” The verse must be practiced in its entirety.” The fool in turn replied: “Hey! who has ever practiced on the whole text? It is already a lot just to practice just this much!”… So perhaps the scholars of the Shia invoke a similar rule here.

On a lighter note, there may be a different excuse for the Shia. It might just be that they only knew the verse up to the point where it says: “Every period has written commands; He erases what He wills and keeps in place (what He wills).” It was then by their total submission and complete adherence that they were led to this belief. As such, it would actually be praiseworthy. But if they knew the part of the verse which says: “And with Him is the Mother (original) of Books”, and still they held a belief different from that of the Ahlus Sunnah, it would be worthy of condemnation.

Allah is indeed Pure! All these claims of competing with the Ahlus Sunnah in understanding the Qur’an and on the Qur’an being preserved but:

 

موشي بخواب اندر بيرون زشهر شود

In a dream it seems wonderful but the reality is quite different

 

Most arguments of the Shia belong to the same genre as that of the fool. The manner in which they recall verses from the Qur’an is no different from that depicted in a couplet wherein the poet Mirza Nosha describes the effect of sectarian affiliation:

 

لا تقربوا الصلاة زنهيم بخاطر است   وز امر ياد ماند كلوا واشربوا مرا

The order do not approach salah appeals to the heart

And the order to eat and drink is all that is acted upon

 

Divine knowledge is pre-eternal, immutable and all encompassing

The truth is that divine knowledge does not undergo any change. How could there be when the very thought is dispelled by Allah every step of the way in words such as:

 

وَکَانَ اللّٰهُ عَلِیْمًا حَکِیْمًا

Allah is All Knowing, The Wise.[30]

 

وَ کَانَ اللّٰهُ بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ عَلِیْمًا

Allah has knowledge of all things.[31]

 

وَكُنَّا بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ عٰلِمِیْنَ

We have knowledge of all things.[32]

 

وَّ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ قَدْ اَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ عِلْمًا

And that Allah’s knowledge encompasses everything.[33]

 

وَکَانَ اللّٰهُ بِكُلِّ شَیْءٍ مُّحِیْطًا

Allah surrounds (has knowledge of and is in control of) everything.[34]

 

The Knowledge of Allah encompasses all things pre-eternally. The only way in which a mistake could be perceived to occur is for something to come between Allah and what He knows. Were such an idea even to arise, it would be refuted by several verses of the Qur’an, where Allah describes Himself as “اقرب” (closest).

Should the Shia suggest that (Allah forbid) there could be interruption of Allah’s capabilities then such brazenness could only ever be mustered by the Shia. That aside, it is a verse of the Qur’an and not the mutterings of some priest; Allah says:

 

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا یَخْفٰی عَلَیْهِ شَیْءٌ فِی الْاَرْضِ وَلَا فِی السَّمَآءِ

Definitely nothing in the heavens or the earth is hidden from Allah.

 

Badaʼ ascribes compound ignorance to Allah

Despite the fact that the scholars of the Shia generally possess some command of the rational disciplines, they do not seem to understand that incorrect knowledge is not really knowledge, but rather a form of ignorance that is referred to as ‘Compound Ignorance’ (Jahl Murakkab). This technical term is known even to the illiterate, let alone students of the advanced texts in logic. It is in fact a very common saying that simple ignorance (Jahl Basit) is better than compound ignorance (Jahl Murakkab). Be that as it may, the charge of compound ignorance directed by these people against the Most Sacred and Sublime Being is such that in the first place it amounts to the effective abrogation of the previously mentioned verses. Allah is indeed Pure! A mere human abrogating the words of Allah and then too in a matter of belief, which by consensus of the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia, and the ummah at large for that matter, lies beyond the reach of abrogation. Secondly, between Allah Most High and compound ignorance there exists simply no relation. Absolved is Allah from all such fallacious attributions.

 

Badaʼ gives all entities in existence a degree of superiority over Allah

Thirdly, inanimate objects which do not have any knowledge, and all entities in existence for that matter, become in one sense superior to Allah. That is because all things besides Allah suffer some degree of simple ignorance while there is no simple ignorance with Allah. The verses cited made it clear that Allah has knowledge of all things. If that knowledge now turns out to be incorrect, it results in a case of compound ignorance, compared to which simple ignorance is better. In this case, all things in existence gain a degree of superiority over Allah. Allah is indeed Pure! What a way to recognize the greatness of Allah!

 

The entire world is the divine record of erasing and confirmation

The question may now be asked as to which is that record wherein erasing and confirmation occurs. Since it is already known to us that it is something other than the Knowledge of Allah, there is no real need to answer this question. However, since there is certainly merit in setting the mind at ease, we submit that the reality of these things is known only to Allah and those whom Allah grants knowledge thereof. It thus devolves upon us to proffer a possible and conceivable explanation. What this unworthy writer has come to understand from the discussions of the learned elders is that the entire world is the divine record in which some things may be conceived of as the paper and others can be understood as the symbols and letters.

 

An example to explain erasure and confirmation

To further understand this, here is one example. Wax or any similar pliable substance can be shaped into any form- round or elongated – but at any one given time that wax can assume only one particular shape; it cannot have two forms simultaneously. The first shape will cease to exist when the second shape takes form. However, since forms are a type of engraving, they may be understood as letters and symbols, with the wax itself being the paper.

Once this example has settled into the mind, then understand further. The metamorphosis of shapes and states appears in all physical entities. The crop that grows forth from the earth is constituted of parts of that same earth. Under divine care it changes from its first shape. The crop then undergoes several changes until it assumes the form of food. In reality, this food is that same original earth that has now come into the form of food. It goes into the stomach and becomes something else, and passing through the stage of semen it turns into something different altogether. In the same way, look at all other physical substances. Heat and cold, and all other changes are part of the same phenomenon. The soul too, undergoes the same type of change in condition; sadness, happiness, fear and safety.

Thus, those things that undergo these constant changes may be understood to be the letters and symbols of the divine record, while the physical substances and non-physical souls, which like the wax, remain present constantly throughout the processes of change, are the pages of that record. Understand now that those shapes that have given way to other shapes have been erased as such, while the new shapes which have taken the place of the old ones have been confirmed. Those acquainted with Arabic and Persian would recognize that the word “Ithbat” (confirmation) is commonly used to denote the act of writing.

 

Amazing explanation of “Every period has written commands”

Since every shape requires a certain time limit within which to subsist, Allah says: “Every period has written commands.” This means that every length of time has its own distinct inscription. When that length of time expires and the time arrives for other inscriptions, other shapes and states take their place and the earlier shapes are obliterated, and the inscriptions for the new period are written onto the pages. The pages, however, are not such that they are polluted or contaminated by the erasure of earlier shapes. Rather, just as one erases what he had written earlier in a book or on a slate or wooden board, and writes something else in its place, in the same way Allah inscribes onto these pages what He wishes and then erases it in accordance to His Will.

 

The Umm al Kitab explained through an example

The copies, or rather, prototypes of all former and latter shapes are contained within a larger book. The student learning geometric shapes draws each shape on his slate, and when the time comes to learn a new shape, he erases the old one and inscribes the new shape onto his slate. The prototypes of all these shapes however, are preserved in the text books of Geometry.

Accordingly, the manner in which this verse connects coherently with what precedes it is as follows:

 

How can a prophet produce a miracle of his own accord? With Us there are fixed and determined inscriptions for every period that cannot be increased or decreased. Thus, no one can – by his own whim – bring about a miraculous sign.

 

Badaʼ is untenable since there is no erasure in Allah’s knowledge

The fair-minded should duly note the coherence of this discussion. All said and done, there remains no space within which to accommodate badaʼ, so those who advocate this belief are left at a loss to substantiate their claims. It is therefore untenable to say that since the verse contains mention of erasure and confirmation, there must be erasure and confirmation within Allah’s knowledge.

 

Another example to explain the Umm al Kitab, erasure and confirmation

However, minds tend to rush towards such ideas firmly entrenched within them. To a hungry person, two plus two will always be not just four but four loaves of bread. It is thus not inconceivable for the above discussion to be countered with the contention that it is commonly known that the writing which this verse mentions is the act usually perceived to be scripting. It applies therefore to those symbols and letters which represent words or speech. The reply to this, in the first place, is that being commonly known is by no means a criterion of correctness. Such an argument can only be raised against an inconsistent and unsuitable claim.

However, in spite of that, we will also venture down this road. Most people would have seen that shopkeepers keep a record of their daily business on a slate, and that they later transfer that record to a ledger and wash the slate clean. Thereafter they write the takings of the next day on that same slate. Thus writing and erasing takes place on a daily basis, while all of it is recorded in the ledger, which is never erased. In a similar manner should the infinite knowledge of Allah be understood. The daily actions are recorded on a slate, the entire generation upon that one slate, after which it is transcribed to the main ledger, which is called the Umm al Kitab. Thereafter, the actions of a new generation are recorded on that slate and later transcribed to the ledger. For example, the actions of those living in the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are recorded on the slate and then at the end of this era transcribed to the ledger or Umm al Kitab. Thereafter the slate is wiped clean and the actions of those living in the next generation of the Sahaba are recorded and then transcribed to the ledger once that era has ended. In this manner, erasing and confirmation continues through the ages but it is obvious to all that this erasure is not on account of any error, which may prove the concept of badaʼ.

 

If we accept that mahw wa ithbat refers to the erasure and confirmation in ahkam (laws), then too this is a sign of intelligence, and in no way does it constitute badaʼ

If we momentarily – for arguments sake – accept that what we have just explained is not the case, rather this erasure and confirmation is due to the changes in the ahkam (laws), then too the claim of the Shia cannot be proven.

Let us take an example: A sick person goes to the doctor who, according to the medical books and journals, prescribes a certain type of medication for him. After a while, the doctor alters his medication, he reduces some and adds others. After some time again he puts the patient onto some other treatment.

This was all done according to the medical laws and protocols found in the medical books, since the doctor understood that after the first round of treatment has taken effect, the patient will need to clear his system of the remains of that medications, therefore the second prescription was prescribed, then he will need to now make up for the loss of energy and strengthen the body and therefore the third type of medications, etc, are required.

This change in prescription was not because the doctor erred the first time and now needed to correct his mistake. In fact, this shows the deep understanding, intelligence and expertise of the doctor, that each medication was prescribed, according to the medical laws and rules documented in the medical books or journals, on its appropriate time.

 

If you have understood this, then in the same light understand the system of the creation of Allah.

For the sake of understanding this example, think of the Creator, Allah Ta’ala who is Most Wise, as the experienced, expert doctor. Picture the Umm al kitab as the medical books and journals, picture “لِكُلِّ اَجَلٍ کِتَابٌ” (Every period has written commands), which is in the Umm al kitab, as the various different prescriptions, picture the angels as the nurses and those taking care and administering the medication to the sick, and finally picture the entire world as the patient.

 

Understand the mahw wa ithbat as the various different prescriptions and medications.

Now if these changes are understood to be badaʼ, as explained by the Shia, then this is the height of foolishness.

Yes, if the change in prescription was because initially the doctor prescribed some medication which he later realized is not having an effect, and changed the medication due to his earlier error, then this could be classified as badaʼ.

However, this scenario is not possible here, since the second portion of the verse states: “Every period has written commands”, which means that in every time and era there are a different set of laws, and the change therefore is because of the change in time and era, not because of an earlier mistake.

In short, the three explanations given above are interwoven and interlinked, and after understanding and pondering over it, none of the proponents of badaʼ will have the courage to even think of, let alone present this verse in support of their doctrine of badaʼ.

However, many a time we find that there is no benefit in putting the truth before a person whose heart is bereft of justice. Anyhow, those who understood have understood, and those who have not understood, may Allah grant them the understanding.

 

The third proof presented by the Shia in support of the concept of badaʼ

Some Shia scholars have presented a new proof to support their concept of badaʼ. They attempt to prove this concept it by presenting the verse:

 

وَ وٰعَدْنَا مُوْسٰی ثَلٰثِیْنَ لَیْلَةً وَّ اَتْمَمْنٰهَا بِعَشْرٍ فَتَمَّ مِیْقَاتُ رَبِّهۤ اَرْبَعِیْنَ لَیْلَةً

 

We will now analyse this assertion. First, understand the meaning of this verse:

We promised Musa ’alayh al-Salam thirty nights and we completed the duration by adding ten nights, so the duration of his Rabb, forty nights, was completed.

 

Now we will examine the conclusion the Shia from this verse. They assert:

 

Allah first promised to reveal the Torah after thirty nights of effort, but after thirty nights had passed the Torah was still not given. Instead he was instructed to add another ten nights. The only reason that comes to mind is that after thirty nights of solitude had passed, Allah found it inappropriate that such a great recompense or award (i.e. the Torah) be given in lieu of such a short period, so the duration was increased to emphasise the greatness of the award going to be given.

So if we say that Allah Ta’ala was not aware of this from before, then this is badaʼ, as explained by the earlier Shia scholars, otherwise, at the least we can say is that Allah Ta’ala knew of it, but he promised Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam and the Banu Israʼil something else.

Although there is a large difference between these two possibilities mentioned above, according to us there is no difference between badaʼ as per the explanation of the earlier Shia scholars and the towriyah (insinuation) of Allah.

So in conclusion, we cannot trust and rely on the word of Allah. Therefore, if we find praises for the Sahaba or any of the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah in the Qurʼan, it matters not. We cannot rely on it.

(Here ends the proof of the Shia.)

 

Answer 1

One needs to first understand that there is a major difference between the mistake made by the speaker and the misunderstanding of the listener. The Shia ascribe their misunderstanding to Allah and conclude that Allah Ta’ala made a mistake (Allah forbid). What they do not realise is that their misunderstanding is a fault on their part, not a fault on the part of Allah.

Everyone is aware that this incident has been mentioned here in brief. No mention is made here about fasting and of the miswak, but we find mention of it in the books of hadith and tafsir; where it explains that it was not a mere matter of spending thirty or forty days, but it was actually to fast for this duration. In a similar manner, it is possible that there were some other conditions attached which have not been mentioned, such as to use the miswak.

Even if we do assume that from other narrations it is proven that the ‘payment’ for the Torah was only thirty days of fasting, without any other condition attached to it, then not considering that it is impossible to prove, because the most that can be said is that there is no mention of any other condition (referred to as ‘Adm al Thubut), but to prove that there was no other condition (Thubut al ’Adm) is impossible.

 
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First example

The explanation of the above is as follows, there are many conditions which are not explicitly mentioned at the time of stipulating the payment or wages, but are understood to be there.

For example, a person working for the court or in the army. It is not mentioned at the time of stipulating the wages, etc, that he will have to wear a certain uniform, obey all the rules of the court or army, but at the same time, if he leaves out any of these things, he will be reprimanded, fined or even punished.

If someone says that you cannot make an analogy on those working for the king, because there is no mention made of the work to be done nor of the remuneration he will receive. Only one thing is mentioned which everyone knows (i.e. service to the king), as for other matters like the uniform etc, that is also understood. So although nothing has been mentioned, everything forms part of the original agreement.

Our answer to this is that this actually proves our point. You mentioned that everything has not been mentioned, but due to it being understood as a condition, it still forms part of the agreement. Thus, this will be more so when only a few things need to be understood. In this case there is no need to clearly spell each condition out, and still it will form part of the agreement.

 
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Second example

If you are not satisfied with this example, then here is another example.

You hire a horse to go somewhere. At the time of the agreement there is no mention of the reigns, saddle, fodder, etc, but if the owner of the horse gives you a horse without the above mentioned things, you will argue with him for not giving you what is due to you.

Similarly understand that if between Allah Ta’ala and his special slaves, more so the prophets’, there are certain rules and guidelines pertaining to manners and etiquette, which are known and understood by these special servants. There will be some sort of action taken if these are left out, even though these are not clearly mentioned or spelled out it is still required.

However, this will not be termed as badaʼ. It could only be called badaʼ if the prophets’ had no knowledge about it. If they were aware of it, and then due to human weakness they omitted some of it, then this can never be termed badaʼ.

 

Answer 2

The above explanation was based on us accepting what the Shia said about adding another ten nights, that it was an increase in the ‘payment’. The reality of the matter is that only this much is mentioned in the verse:

Allah promised to give Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam the Torah on completion of thirty days of sacrifice and effort.

Let us look at an example:

You hired a person to work for one month for a stipulated wage. This means that this stipulated wage will be given to him if he works for one month, whether you give him his wage on the thirtieth day or after that.

Similarly, the Torah was promised on completion of thirty days of sacrifice. This means that the fruits of thirty days of sacrifice will be the Torah, whether it will be given on the thirtieth day or thereafter is a separate matter.

Now the reason for why ten days of additional sacrifice and effort was taken from Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam is definitely not our responsibility to explain.

 
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Dispelling a doubt

If someone of shallow understanding decides to use the word “اَتْمَمْنٰهَا” (We completed) to make the argument that we understand from this word that the ten extra days was a tatimmah (completion) and a part of the thirty, then we have an answer for him as well.

It is clearly mentioned in the ahadith that the sunnah and nafl salah are a tatimmah (completion) of the fard salah. Similarly, Sadaqah al Fitr is a tatimmah of the fast of Ramadan. Yet no one draws the conclusion from here that the amount of fard salah has increased.

What it implies is that due to human weakness there is always some shortfall or shortcoming in every action, even though one tries ones level best to render. Thus the tatimmah is put into place to cover up for these shortfalls and shortcomings.

The original amount of the act still remains the same in the knowledge of Allah and according to us.

In a similar manner one should understand the ten extra days.

In fact, the word “اَتْمَمْنٰهَا” (We completed) itself indicates that this these ten days were to make up for any shortfalls, although the original promised amount was still thirty.

If the sacrifice and effort of these thirty days were from all angles accepted and there were no shortfalls (which arise due to human weakness, of which no person, not even a nabi or wali, saint, is free from) then there would not have been the directive to spend another ten days.

Another doubt which could arise, is that from the word “مِیْقَاتُ رَبِّهِ” (the appointed time of his Rabb) some one could say that this indicates that the entire forty days was the actual period.

The answer to this is that there is a stipulated ‘price’ for every action, and for each ‘price’ there is a certain stipulated amount of effort. There are ample verses and ahadith which prove this point.

The stipulated ‘price’ for attaining such a great thing as the Torah was actually forty nights, but due to the generosity, favour and all-encompassing Mercy of Allah Ta’ala, He gave a concession to Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam and reduced it to thirty nights.

This is akin to how nine-tenths concession has been given to the general masses of this ummah, as is mentioned in this verse:

 

مَنْ جَآءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَه عَشْرُ اَمْثَالِهَا

Whoever does one good deed will be rewarded ten fold.

 

So, it will be said that he got the reward of ten good deeds in lieu of only one good deed, so there is a concession of nine-tenths of effort.

There are many other ahadith which indicate the same meaning, and there are also certain verses and ahadith which give even greater concession to certain individuals. Due to fear of lengthening this treatise, we will suffice with what has been said.

The gist of what has been discussed above is that initially, due to the favour of Allah Ta’ala, a concession of ten days was given to Nabi Musa ‘alayh al-Salam, but then due to human weakness, this was not done to such a degree of perfection which was required to be given the Torah, rather there was some sort of shortfall, which was compensated for by the extra ten days.

So due to His infinite Grace and Mercy the entire thirty days of effort was not rejected due to the shortfall, although if Allah Ta’ala wished there was a valid reason to do so. Instead, Allah Ta’ala instructed another ten days be added so that Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam would be successful and achieve his objective. In this way he would not return empty handed and saddened to his people. Forty days were thus completed, and it was said:

“فَتَمَّ مِیْقَاتُ رَبِّهۤ اَرْبَعِیْنَ لَیْلَةً”

(so, the appointed time of his Rabb, forty nights, were thus completed)

In other words, the period which is normally demanded (before concession is given) to attain these special favours was eventually been completed.

 

Answer 3

Sometimes there are certain actions which carry no real importance in the court of Allah and no emphasis is laid upon it, but when a special servant of Allah, under certain circumstances, carries out that deed with such sincerity due to some need at that time then Allah Ta’ala accepts this action in such a way that it is now made part of other actions on account of the level of humility, submissiveness and servitude it was carry out with. Thereafter everyone is also commanded or asked to carry out this action.

Allah orders this to highlight his appreciation of that action and to expose the status of his servant to the world.

To further understand this, look at the example of Hajar radiya Llahu ‘anha. Everyone knows the incident of how she ran between Safa and Marwa in search of water. This act of running between Safa and Marwa, in itself does not constitute an act of ibadah, but now it has been included in the sunan or wajibat of hajj.

In the same token, the duration of forty nights was not something of importance in the sight of Allah, it was only the usual thirty nights which were given special virtue. But when Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam carried out those forty nights of exertion and effort on that specific occasion, due to the need of the hour, then on account of the great level of sincerity; Allah Ta’ala accepted it in such a way that from that moment onwards, the period of forty days was stipulated as the period one has to complete to attain virtue.

When this specific number (forty) has now been awarded a special status in the court of Allah, then the verse: “فَتَمَّ مِیْقَاتُ رَبِّهۤ اَرْبَعِیْنَ لَیْلَةً” will mean that the normal duration to achieve these special favours was thirty; but since Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam completed forty nights of exertion and effort with such a great deal of sincerity, Allah Ta’ala has now accepted this action due to his sincerity to such an extent that now the period of forty nights has been stipulated for gaining closeness to Allah Ta’ala.

The difference between this explanation and the one before it is quite apparent, so there is no need for further elaboration. However, we will render a conclusion to this lengthy discussion.

 

Conclusion: Badaʼ constitutes speaking lies

An unbiased person will come to the conclusion that badaʼ will only be proven from this verse in one of the following two instances:

  1. Allah, who is the Knower of the unseen, promised to grant the Torah to Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam after thirty days, but had absolutely no idea of the forty nights at that time and only coincidently, due to some unforeseen reason, changed His former intention and instead of granting the Torah after thirty nights, bestowed it only after forty nights.
  2. Allah, who is the Knower of the apparent and hidden, knew that the Torah will only be given after forty days, but He intentionally informed Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam that it will be given after thirty days. Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam was convinced that he will receive the Torah after thirty days, but Allah Ta’ala knew something else, and therefore he only received it after forty days.

In this second instance, although there is no defect in the knowledge and intention of Allah Ta’ala, it is not free from deceit.

This point had to be brought here, because some of the ‘research scholars’ of the Shia try to explain badaʼ in such a manner that there will be some defect in the ikhbar (informing), but no blemish or defect will be attached to the ‘ilm (knowledge) and iradah (intention) of Allah.

Those who are aware of the grandeur and greatness of Allah Ta’ala, fully understand that not a single quality of Allah, whether it be ‘ilm, iradah or any other quality for that matter; all are free from any type of defection or blemish.

The above mentioned ‘research scholar’ was pleased with himself when he chose this explanation. He thought that by doing so the Ahlus Sunnah will not be able to object against him, since the ‘ilm and iradah of Allah has been declared to be free from any defect or blemish, but the poor chap did not realise that by this explanation, another defect was ascribed to another quality of Allah.

 

Badaʼ in the ‘ilm of Allah does not arise due to the misunderstanding of the listener

Nevertheless, according to the explanation tendered by the Shia, whichever of these two cases are assumed, it necessitates badaʼ.

However, if we assume another case, then there is no scope for establishing badaʼ from this verse. That is we say that this was a work agreement. In other words on completion of a certain work, a stipulated remuneration would be awarded, and this comprised of the fulfilling of certain conditions, which if not fulfilled will result in the remuneration being withheld. Similarly, if the work is not up to the required standard then too the remuneration be withheld.

If this was the agreement, then the Torah not being given after thirty days but only after the period was extended, will not imply any mistake on the part of Allah, which could be translated as badaʼ.

Yes, no doubt, misunderstanding of the listener can take place, and even the Prophets, who are ma’sum (infallible), are not ma’sum from misunderstandings. So if Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam misunderstood something then even though we (the Ahlus Sunnah) will not say that this is his mistake, we will say that it has nothing to do with badaʼ.

If misunderstanding of the listener is taken to be badaʼ, then the Ahlus Sunnah- who vehemently reject the concept of badaʼ, will be regarded as proponents of badaʼ, since this type of so-called badaʼ is found in abundance according to the Ahlus Sunnah.

The Ahlus Sunnah regard the differences amongst the Imams as a great blessing, and these differences are caused by one misunderstanding something, yet this is not termed badaʼ.

In short, badaʼ means that the speaker (who in this case is Allah) himself misunderstands something, as per the belief of the earlier Shia scholars, or that the speaker intentionally says the incorrect thing, as per the interpretation of some of the ‘research scholars’ of our time. Badaʼ in no way means that the listener, whether a nabi or an scholar or even anyone else misunderstands something. This is rather termed as an error in ijtihad or a misunderstanding or a shortcoming in understanding. There is no link between this and badaʼ.

If some person of shallow understanding understands this to be badaʼ then he will be regarded as excused until the truth settles upon his mind, although in these matters ignorance should not be an excuse, especially after the truth has been expounded and the proofs put forward in such a manner that there remains no scope to reject it. In this case, an error of this nature is regarded as a grave mistake. May Allah protect us from this type of misunderstanding.

An important point to remember is where there is some scope for errors in ijtihad, it only applies to those areas where there are no muhkam and ibarat al Nas (categorical statements). In muhkam and ibarat al Nas there is no scope for exercising ijtihad. If anybody errs in these categorical aspects, then he is an ignorant man and not a man of knowledge.

In conclusion, we say that any person who recites the Qurʼan is well aware that the verses mentioning the virtues of the Sahaba are categorical in this regard. If still a person does not understand, then only Allah can make him understand.

 

Two other explanations of this verse and the complete uprooting of the badaʼ dogma

The words “ثَلٰثِیْنَ لَیْلَةً” (thirty nights) is either maf’ul bihi or maf’ul fihi.

In the first case, where it is maf’ul bihi, it means that the promised duration was the thirty nights. In other words, come to Mount Tur, we wish to honour you by allowing you to carry out thirty nights of special ‘ibadah. This promise was fulfilled, wherein Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam was allowed thirty nights of special ‘ibadah. Thereafter Allah Ta’ala from His side favoured Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam by increasing the period and extending it to forty. This can be said to be similar to “وَلَدَیْنَا مَزِیْدٌ” (extra bounties, over and above the promised amount) or a bonus.

When the general masses of the ummah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are given a ninety percent bonus, why are the Shia so upset that Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam is given a one third bonus?

In this instance, the awarding of the Torah has nothing to do with this promise. The Torah was either an extra bonus, similar to “وَلَدَیْنَا مَزِیْدٌ” or the Torah was promised to Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam as a separate independent promise, which was not attached to the thirty nights. In other words, it was not to say that the thirty nights was a pre-condition for receiving the Torah.

In short, what has been promised in this verse is the ‘ibadah of thirty nights. The awarding of the Torah, upon which the whole badaʼ doctrine is based, has not been mentioned at all.

In the second case, where the words “ثَلٰثِیْنَ لَیْلَةً” (thirty nights) is taken to be a maf’ul fihi, it would mean that the promises of Allah continued for thirty days. No mention is made of what was promised. If we accept that the promised item was the Torah, then too it does not affect us in any way, and if the promised entity was something other than the Torah, then obviously there is also no problem.

The verse means that initially for the first thirty days Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam was receiving promises and glad tidings, since one month is regarded as a lengthy period of time amongst people, that is why most contracts are also enacted for a month. So after receiving glad tiding for a month, Nabi Musa ’alayh al-Salam was satisfied and consoled, thereafter, to put him at greater ease, another ten days of glad tidings were given. So although the promises continued for forty days, it was not mentioned: “We continued to promise Musa for forty nights.” Rather this form of expression was used: “We continued to promise him for thirty nights and thereafter we completed it by adding another ten nights.”

Whichever meaning is taken, there is absolutely no mention that initially a time was stipulated for something to be given, and thereafter when the time came, the duration was increased. If this was the case, then the proponents of badaʼ would have had something to clutch onto. This is quite apparent.

It should be remembered that this explanation we have written at the end was keeping in line with the famous saying: tit for tat, and only mentioned as an argumentative point with the opponent, otherwise the truth itself is manifest to the seeker of the truth.

 

Conclusion on the discussion of badaʼ

The Shia claim that badaʼ took place, and in order to prove it they present this verse which they assume to be a proof for their claim. People of understanding know that the proof must coincide with the claim in such a way that there is no possibility for a meaning contrary to the claim. If such a possibility which is contrary to the claim exists, then too to such an extent that it is not just a mere possibility but rather much more appropriate and fitting than the claim, moreso if contrary to the claim is directly understood from it, and there are other proofs which substantiate the contrary and reject the claim made; then an intelligent person will never accept such a claim, rather he will regard the contrary to be true.

And this is exactly the case here. It is not hidden from people of understanding.

By the favour of Allah, we have completely uprooted the concept of badaʼ and by doing so, we have also answered those people who proffer the excuse of badaʼ.

When in the Qurʼan mention is made of the virtues of the three khalifas, the muhajirin and the ansar, and the great promises made to them by Allah Ta’ala are enumerated, then these people use the excuse of badaʼ and say that these praises were mentioned by mistake, and only thereafter Allah Ta’ala came to know the actual state of the Sahaba.

Since we have proven the falsehood of the badaʼ concept, there remains no need for us to bring forth the statements of their own Imams that prove badaʼ to be unacceptable.

 

Discussion on the Imams possessing knowledge of ‘ilm al ghayb (knowledge of the unseen)

To add salt to the wound, we say that if their Imams – who (according to them) possessed knowledge of what transpired and what is going to transpire – have praised the khalifas or the Sahaba, then there is no scope for any doubt (since they are free from badaʼ).

Subhan Allah! They are not at ease and are not convinced with the speech of Allah, but are convinced and at ease with the statements of the Imams!

First of all, there are hundreds of verses which prove that besides Allah Ta’ala, no one else possesses knowledge of the unseen. To put them at ease, we will mention a few of these verses:

 

وَمَا تَدْرِیْ نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا

No soul knows what it will do tomorrow.[35]

 

In this verse, there is no exception, therefore every soul, whether that of an imam or non-imam, is equal in his ignorance of what is to happen tomorrow.

 

قُلْ لَّا یَعْلَمُ مَنْ فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الْاَرْضِ الْغَیْبَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ

Say O Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! No one in the skies or the earth knows the unseen except Allah.[36]

 

By accepting that the Imams have knowledge of the past and future, one has to accept that they equal Allah in knowledge

Furthermore, if one accepts that the Imams have knowledge of the past and future, one has to accept that they are equal to Allah in knowledge, whereas Allah Ta’ala mentions in Surah Yusuf:

 

وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِیْ عِلْمٍ عَلِیْمٌ

Above every knowledgeable person is one who is more knowledgeable.

 

If one were to object and say that this verse informs us that there must be someone who has more knowledge than Allah also, since it has mentioned as a rule that: “Above every knowledgeable person is one who is more knowledgeable”, without any distinction between Allah and others.

We would reply that first of all people of understanding do not regard this objection as worthy of answering, and secondly, if we accept that it requires answering then who is not aware that intelligence demands that Allah Ta’ala be automatically exempted.

 

Look at just this one verse:

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلٰی كُلِّ شَیْءٍ قَدِیْرٌ

Verily Allaah has power over all things.

 

Up to this day, no fool has ever said that if Allah has power over everything then he will have the power to destroy Himself or to create a partner for Himself. Everyone understands that Allah Ta’ala has the power of creating and removing life from the prophets’ and the Imams. In a similar manner, even the most ignorant of people do not understand from this verse: “Above every knowledgeable person is one who is more knowledgeable” that there is someone more knowledgeable than Allah. Therefore, if anyone brings about such an argument, then it can only be said to be on account of his ignorance and prejudice.

 

An exceptional point

Despite this, the wording of the verse itself has an indication to the answer. Also in the verse:

 

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلٰی كُلِّ شَیْءٍ قَدِیْرٌ

Verily Allaah has power over all things.

 

the word “شيء” (all things) has an indication to the answer of the aforementioned apprehension as well. The explanation of this is that the words “ذي علم” (one who possesses knowledge) and “عليم” (knowledgeable) even though seem to have the same meaning, “ذي علم” (one who possesses knowledge) has the added meaning of the person being the bearer of knowledge (and knowledge being a completely separate entity from him) because the connection of idhafah (possession) necessitates them being separate entities. On the other hand, the word “عليم” (knowledgeable) does not have this added feature. Therefore, since the knowledge of Allah, according to all is not a separate entity (but rather his inherent attribute), it would not be appropriate to label Him as “ذي علم” (one who possesses knowledge) especially according to the Shia. Rather he should be called “عليم” (knowledgeable), just as the word “شيء” is used for those things which are subject to the will of Allah and not for Allah Himself. In summary, just as the Being of Allah does not fall under the ambit of those things subject to His will, in a similar manner Allah is not referred to by the term “ذي علم” (one who possesses knowledge), and above whom there is a more knowledgeable being.

In essence, nobody is equal to Allah Ta’ala in knowledge. Just as he is unique in his Being (dhat), similarly he is unique in his qualities (sifat). Neither the prophets’, Imams, angels, jinn, people of status nor the general public are equal to him in knowledge. With regards to this belief the Shia are so extreme that they are similar to the Christians in their belief of the divinity of Nabi ‘Isa ‘alayh al-Salam. The similitude of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to ‘Isa ’alayh al-Salam that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has mentioned, namely:

Your similitude to ‘Isa ’alayh al-Salam is that one group will be destroyed in their extreme love for you whilst another in their extreme hatred for you.

This likeness and similitude became apparent in the form of the Khawarij, who harboured deep hatred for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and the Shia, whose extreme love for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu has led them to place him above the ranks of the prophets’ and even made him a deity. In fact they surpassed the Christians as well (and portrayed a picture of “ولدينا مزيد”- and we have excelled you). Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had mentioned this specifically regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu only. The Shia have not only rendered true this prophecy of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam but have exceeded it as well. The Khawarij have not rendered such depiction of its accuracy as the Shia have. The Khawarij did not go to the same extremes in hatred as the Shia did in their love. How true is the proverbial saying:

A literate enemy is better than an illiterate friend.

 

Hypothetically, if we prove that the Imams possessed complete knowledge of the past and future, the fear of badaʼ still remains

If we were to accept that the Imams had complete knowledge of the past and future, then too the fear and apprehension of badaʼ taking place in the knowledge of Allah would still linger. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu who is the most knowledgeable and superior of all the other Imams himself has been quoted in a narration of al Kafi and Al ’Amali of al Suduq:

 

لولا اّية في كتاب الله لأخبرتكم بما يكون إلى يوم القيامة يريد بالاّية قوله يمحو الله ما يشاء ويثبت

The summation of the above quotation from al Kafi of al Kulayni and al ’Amali of al Saduq is that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

If it were not for one verse of the Quran (viz. “Allah erases whatever He wills and keeps in place (whatever He wills”), I would have informed you of all to take place until the Day of Qiyamah.

 

This is the crux of the narration. If one were to ponder over this deeply then the very proof of the Imams having complete knowledge of the past and future itself proves that their knowledge does not exceed the knowledge of Allah. Thus, the very reason which renders the knowledge of Allah uncertain (i.e. badaʼ) has the same effect upon the knowledge of the Imams. They too were wary of badaʼ taking place and thus had no reliance and contentment in their knowledge. This thought might be a means of intense grief for the Shia, that their entire religion has been washed down the drain; because if the Imams themselves had no reliance upon their knowledge, what reliance can there be upon a religion centered upon their knowledge?

We too are delighted to know that the vulgarities leveled at the first three khalifas and the other muhajirin and ansar from the Imams, turning a blind eye to the integrity and reliability of those who narrated it (which was discussed previously), are no longer reliable or relevant. The same will apply to everything else narrated in their books which opposes the Ahlus Sunnah.

One doubt still remains, supposedly if badaʼ had taken place then too it was to a minimal amount. The response to this would be that even a minimal amount is sufficient to remove reliance. The Torah and Injil were interpolated and changed, which discredited and nullified its authenticity, but it was only a few verses and not the entire scripture thereof.

 

The virtues of the khalifas and the Sahaba in the words of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the other Imams

If anyone were to state:

 

Whatever was revealed in the Noble Qurʼan regarding the virtues of the Sahaba or indicates the high ranking of the khalifas was revealed before the demise of most of them and thus holds no weight, as consideration is given to the end result. Therefore there is the possibilty of error in the word of Allah. However, that which Amir al Mu’minin or any of the other Imams said, it was stated after their demise and therefore does not have the possibility of error. Thus, if the virtues of the Sahaba, and especially the first three khalifas, are proven from their statements then there is no scope for denial.

 

Therefore, I will now present the narrations of the Imams. Nahj al Balaghah of Allamah al Radi, which is regarded by the Shia to be mutawatir, states that when Amir al Mu’mineen ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was asked about those who passed away, he mentioned those qualities which denotes their absolute closeness to Allah Ta’ala. The eloquent narration is quoted below verbatim:

 

كانوا إذا ذكروا الله هملت أعينهم حتى تبل جباههم مادوا كما يميد الشجر يوم الريح العاصف خوفا من العقاب ورجاء للثواب

 

On another occasion he said regarding them:

 

كان أحب اللقاء إليهم لقاء الله وإنهم يتقلبون على مثل الجمر من ذكر معادهم

 

The summary of both these narrations is that the condition of the Sahaba was such that when they remembered Allah tears flowed from their eyes until it wet their cheeks and they swayed out of fear of Allah and in hope of his reward, as a tree sways on an extremely windy day. They were most desirous of meeting Allah and they tossed and turned with great agitation on the mention of the Hereafter, as if they were rolling on live coals.

A lengthy supplication has also been related from Imam al Sajjad rahimahu Llah in Sahifah-e Kamilah containing praises of the Sahaba. Brevity does not allow us to reproduce the entire dua and so we will suffice upon a few phrases thereof. The dua states:

 

اللهم وأصحاب محمد خاصة الذين حسنوا الصحابة

 

It thereafter goes on to say:

 

فارقوا الأزواج والأولاد في إظهار كلمته وقاتلوا الاّباء والأبناء في تثبيت نبوته

 

Thereafter it asserts:

 

فلا تنسى لهم اللهم ما تركوا لك وفيك وأرضهم من رضوانك

 

He then makes mention of the Tabi’in with a similar supplication being mentioned for them.

 

The summary of these words are:

 

O Allah! And the companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who have fulfilled the right of his companionship; they have left their wives and children for the upliftment of his din and have fought their own fathers and sons for the establishment of his nubuwwah, thus O Allah! Do not overlook their sacrifices for Your sake and bless them with happiness from Your happiness and pleasure from Your pleasure.

 

This is the crux of the supplication mentioned above, which openly declares the virtue and nobility of the Sahaba.

 

The virtues of Abu Bakr al Siddiq

Now listen to what is proven with regards to the virtues of Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The following is narrated in Nahj al Balaghah, which according to the Shia is similar to divine revelation:

 

عن أمير المؤمنين أنه قال لله بلاد أبي بكر فلقد قوم الأود وداوى العمد وأقام السنة وخلف البدعة ذهب نقي الثوب قليل العيب صاحب خيرها وسبق شرها أدى الى الله طاعته واتقاه بحقه رحل وتركهم في طريق متشعبة لايهتدي فيها الضال ولايستيقن المهتدي

Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is reported to have said: “For Allah alone is the lands of Abu Bakr[37] (i.e. he possesses great traits bestowed by Allah). By the oath of Allah, he straightened the crookedness, mended the pillar, elevated the sunnah, relegated innovations and he departed from the world with a clean slate. He was blessed with an exceptional reign and passed free of its trying times. He fulfilled his submission to Allah and feared Him as He deserves to be feared. He went away and left the people in dividing ways wherein the misled cannot attain guidance and the guided cannot attain certainty.”

 

This is the summary of the above mentioned sermon.

 

The discrepancies of Allamah al Radi which were unsuccessful

Now we would like to bring to the notice of the readers that Allamah al Radi, to lend favour to denomination, changed the word “Abu Bakr” to “Fulan” (someone) so that the Ahlus Sunnah would not be able to benefit from this narration, which is nothing new at all. However, he did not realise that there would be no benefit in hiding the name. There were only three successors before ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and thus regardless of who was intended, it will most definitely result in an advantageous situation for the Ahlus Sunnah. Moreover, these are such qualities mentioned herein that fit the personality of Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu perfectly, especially the first two qualities which are of such a nature that besides Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu they fit no one else. No other caliphate had crookedness to condend with and had to rectify a deficiency in one of the pillars of Islam.

Without a doubt, it was Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu who had to face the scurge of infidelity which arouse at the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and of people denying the obligation of zakat, which is one of the pillars of Islam. These trials are synonymous with the name of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It was these blessings, orderly management and successful endeavours that were deeply entrenched in the heart of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and well-known to the Shia, whether they muster the courage to admit it or not. This is what triggered ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to reminisce over the days wherein he witnessed the trials and tribulations unfolding in his era and lamented over the absence of a personality of that calibre.

 

The bravery of al Siddiq and his steadfastness

Why should it not be such for Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who stood firm at the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when the scourge of infidelity arouse from all sides and the majority of the Sahaba were left bewildered to such an extent that even ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu – who was a mountain of courage, sternness and deep foresight – was left baffled. It was then that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to him in order to stir up his unrelenting valour:

 

أجبار في الجاهلية وخوار في الإسلام

O ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu! Were you a forceful dictator in the days of kufr but cowardly in Islam?

 

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was of the opinion that it would be preferable not to despatch the army of Usamah ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu and thus leave Madina void of an army, leaving it open to attack. However, it was on account of the courage and steadfastness of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who in the face of all this turmoil was not alarmed, and emphatically stated that how is it possible for me to to hesistate regarding that contingent which was prepared by none other than Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?

In a similar manner, when he intended despatching an army against the infidels, which most of the Sahaba disagreed with, he said that if no one is ready to stand up I will take up arms against them single-handed.

In this instace as well, when it came to those denying the obligation of zakat and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu held reservations regarding them on account of them proclaiming the kalimah, it was Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu once again who saved the day saying: “I would not hesitate in waging war against he who differentiates between salah and zakat by calling one Fardh and not the other. By the oath of Allah! If they desist from giving even a lamb which they discharged in the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, I would not think twice in waging war with them.”

In short, it was his courage, bravery and farsightedness which prompted him to adopt these stances and thereby preserve din in its pristine form, saving it from endless regression and deterioration.

This is why, Amir al Mu’minin Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu when witnessing the disorder and trials in his era recalled the steadfastness of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This is in conformity to the wording of the sermon itself and these attributes match none other than Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This is why most commentators of Nahj al Balaghah hold the opinion that it refers to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If they still remain obstinate then the most they are able to do is presume it refers to a personality who passed away in the time of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as was done by some bias commentators. Since it is the duty of the commentators to expound on the meaning as well, we ask why should it refer to this unknown man (who passed away during the lifetime of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) since all achievements in the time of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were his accomplishments and no other can take credit for it. Furthermore, it is impossible that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself was referred to because then why would ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu refer to him as “fulan” (someone) How disrespectful would that be that he refer to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in such an unbefitting manner!

 

Platform of praise is one of exposure and not one of ambiguity

Then too, what prompted him to adopt such a means of concealment and ambiguity in a platform of praise, which is a place of exposure and precision. Instead, considering the fact that this is a platform of praise, it appears to me that this is most definitely appreciation of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and this ambiguity is without a doubt the result of erasure and interpolation of the enemies of the Sahaba. If this were not the case then there was no fear in exposing the name of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that would compel one to hide it. If Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu were implied then it would necessitate concealment (by the Shia) so that these praises should not be awarded to him (even if in the interim, by conferring it to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, one will be accused of hatred and enmity for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). If they are prepared to attribute these qualities to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and thereby accept the accusation of enmity against Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, since this will be the presumed reason for concealing his name, then well and good, on condition these qualities accommodate such attribution. However, to begin with, what would be the meaning of elevating the sunnah and relegating innovations? Ask whosoever you please as to what comes to mind when “elevating the sunnah” is said? It is apparent that elevation only takes place after the presence and decline of a thing, otherwise what will be elevated?

Listen well! Those commands issued by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and those actions carried out by his noble countenance are not termed as elevation of the sunnah, rather it is itself the sunnah. Notwithstanding this, after the rulings of sunnah had been established, which of them suffered a decline and fall, and consequently was corrected and elevated by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?

Nevertheless, do as you please, these qualities inevitably link up to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It is the marvelous nature of ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu speech, that despite Allamah al Radi’s attempts to alter it, it inevitably returns to its true meaning and the blame falls on none other than himself. Surprisingly, it did not even occur to him, that who will use such ambiguous terms whilst praising someone? After the truth has been articulated it requires an art to camouflage it!

Some commentators are of the opinion that it refers to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which does not harm us in the least. The reason why they attribute these qualities to him is that they claim to have attained a copy of Nahj al Balaghah belonging to the author himself (i.e. Allamah al Radi) and it had ‘Umar written below the word “Fulan”. Along with it, it was inscribed that the linguist, scholar and poet Fakhar ibn Ma’bad too had said this. In addition, he had asked Abu Jafar Yahya ibn Zaid ‘Alawi who is intended and he replied: “‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu!” I thereafter asked: “Amir al Mu’minin praised him to this extent?” And he replied in the affirmative.

For this reason and because the words of some other sermons wherein ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was praised contain similar wording to this, some commentators indicate that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu is referred to here. However, it appears more that praise of Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu was intended. However, when the Shia saw that this praise is after all for one of the three Sahaba, they said: “Let us say it is praise of ‘Umar. After all, he is the son-in-law of Amir al Muʼminin, and we should have more regard for him when compared to Abu Bakr al Siddiq.”

 

The merits of ‘Umar in the words of ‘Ali

Al Samman narrates from Zafar ibn Hakim in Kitab al Muwafaqah that when ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away, he said: “Let me go to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and hear what he has to say. When I reached his gathering, many people were waiting for him. After a while, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu arrived. First he dropped his blessed head, then he raised it and said:

 

لله در باكية عمر، وا عمراه! قوم الأود وأيد العمد، مات نقي الثوب، قليل العيب، وا عمراه! ذهب بالسنة واتقى الفتنة، أصاب والله ابن الخطاب خيرها ونجى من شرها، ولقد نظر له صاحبه فصار على الطريقة ما استقامت، ثم مال فقال: ورحل المركب فتشعبهم الطريق، لا يهتدي الضال ولا يستيقن المهتدي.

 

The meaning of this text is also very similar to the first narration. Hence, some commentators, who have already been mentioned, consider the previous narration to refer to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, when one studies the attributes mentioned herein, he will conclude that it can only fit Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as has been dicussed earlier. Nevertheless, the corresponding words of these two narrations does not necessitate that both be in praise of one person. If it is deduced that they refer to different people then too, it will not be farfetched. In any case, the rule of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a completion of the rule Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu established the foundations of the caliphate and then the one who attained the victories over Syria and Iraq (‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu) was appointed his first successor. Furthermore, he was the one who correctly rooted all the necessities of rulership. Hence, it is not hidden from the experts of history that he was the founder of the laws of governance, while ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the one who implemented them. In other words, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu paved a path which ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu treaded. Due to the fact that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu completed the efforts of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, it would make sense for him to also be described with the very same attributes contained in the above-mentioned first narration.

 
 

NEXT⇒ Chapter Five


[1] Surah Taha: 52

[2] Surah al Insan: 30

[3] Surah al Mulk: 2

[4] Surah al Ra’d: 39

[5] Surah al Baqarah: 110

[6] Surah Ha Mim Sajdah: 54

[7] Surah al Nur: 24

[8] Surah Ha Mim Sajdah: 21

[9] Surah al A’raf: 8

[10] Surah al Ambiya’: 47

[11] Surah al Qari’ah

[12] Surah al Baqarah: 284

[13] Surah Al Imran: 19

[14] Surah al Baqarah: 32

[15] Surah al Baqarah: 33

[16] Surah al Tahrim: 6

[17] Surah al Kahaf: 54

[18] Surah al Zumar: 55

[19] Surah al A’raf: 172

[20] Surah Muhammad: 31

[21] Surah Taha: 15

[22] Surah al Hijr: 1

[23] Surah Ha Mim Sajdah: 54

[24] Surah al Talaq: 12

[25] Surah Muhammad: 31

[26] Surah al Talaq: 12

[27] Surah Muhammad: 31

[28] Surah al Ra’d: 39

[29] Surah al Ra’d: 38, 39

[30] Surah al Nisaʼ: 111

[31] Surah al Ahzab: 40

[32] Surah al Ambiya’: 81

[33] Surah al Talaq: 12

[34] Surah al Nisaʼ: 126

[35] Surah Luqman: 34

[36] Surah al Naml: 65

[37] Because the land of Abu Bakr I was Allah’s land, therefore the quality desired by Allah became apparent in it and it is obvious that he who is for Allah will be a possessor of great perfection.

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