The following statement of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in favour of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is recorded in Nahj al Balaghah:
لله بلاد فلان فقد قوم الاود و داوى العمد و اقام السنة و خلف البدعة و ذهب نقى الثوب قليل العيب اصاب خيرها و سبق شرها ادى الى الله طاعته و انقاه بحقه رحل و تركهم فى طرق متشبة لا يهدى فيها اتصال و لا يستيقن المهتدى
May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala favour that man (i.e. Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu) who straightened crookedness, doctored spiritual maladies, established Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sunnah and eradicated innovations. He left this world with a clean slate and little defects. He attained the goodness of khilafah and left before its evil. He fulfilled the obedience of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in a beautiful way and met the demands of piety. He left this world and left people in diverse roads than no deviant attains guidance and no guided man attains conviction.
I will reproduce all the statements of the Ahlus Sunnah and Shia regarding this statement of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. I plea to the Shia respectfully to listen to this discussion with their hearts, look carefully, abandon prejudice and bigotry and decide justly whether their scholars or the Ahlus Sunnah scholars are on the truth. I will firstly present the text of Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah followed by the answer of ‘Allamah Kantori and then the rebuttal of that answer by Molana Haydar ‘Ali rahimahu Llah:
Khatam al Muhaddithin writes after quoting this text:
Sharif Radi has manipulated this text of Amir in Jami’ Nahj al Balaghah in a puzzling way. He deleted the word Abu Bakr and inserted the word “فلان” (someone) so that the Ahlus Sunnah cannot use it as a proof. However, it is Amir’s miracle that these qualities clearly point to whom he intended. The commentators of Nahj al Balaghah have differences of opinion in pinpointing the purport of “فلان”. Some have said that it is Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu while others say that it is Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, majority of the commentators prefer the first view.
Now listen to the answers the Shia scholars have presented regarding this statement:
Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would at times mention the virtues and merits of Sheikhayn since people relied upon them and believed in their beautiful traits and wonderful administration and government. Hence, it was appropriate to praise them for the people. These words are due to the same reason.
However, this answer is not appropriate at all since no sane sound person will believe that an infallible will speak lies for an insignificant worldly gain which is not guaranteed i.e. to appease few people and praise those who openly disobeyed Allah and Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, abandoned Islam and turned renegade, interpolated the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and changed the din of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whereas it is narrated in an authentic hadith:
اذا مدح الفاسق غضب الرب
When a transgressor is praised, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala becomes angry.
When Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is angered at the praise of a transgressor, then what will be the anger of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala when such a person is praised who interpolated the Book of Allah, changed the din of Allah, forgot the ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, usurped the rights of his successor, oppressed his children and meted out every type of tyranny and oppression on Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family. It is farfetched from the religiousness, trustworthiness, intelligence and far sightedness of the Shia to relate such a hideous crime to an infallible like Amir al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Secondly, the necessity for such praise is not known. Which army were traitors and could not come to the straight path without speaking such lies and taking such oaths? If it was only to appease those who relied in Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma then to praise their good administration was sufficient so that the object is accomplished and plenty of lies are not spoken. But to falsify and reject such glowing praises from the tongue of an infallible is casting doubts on his infallibility.
قولہ عمدہ آں توجیہات نزد ایشاں آنست الخ قولنا ایں ادعا کذب محض است احتیاج ایں توجیہات شیعہ را وقتی افتاد کہ در کتب شیعہ بجای لفظ فلاں لفظ ابو بکر موجود می بود و چوں لفظ ابو بکر در کتب شیعہ موجود نیست ایشاں را احتیاج ہیچ یک از توجیہات نیست پس آنچہ ناصبی بعد تقریر ایں توجیہات از ہذیانات خود سر کردہ از جہت ابتنای آں بر فاسد از قبیل بناء الفاسد علی الفاسد باشد
‘Allamah Kantori wrote in refutation of Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah regarding this interpretation that to ascribe this interpretation to the Shia is a white lie since this kind of interpretation is only needed when the word “ابو بكر” appears instead of “فلان” in Shia books. Since the word “ابو بكر” is not found in any Shia book, there is no need for any interpretation. The gist is that the Sunni have made up their own interpretation for their drivel and this is constructing something false on untruth.
This answer of ‘Allamah Kantori is incorrect and we will make the same claim he made against Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, “This is only a false claim.” The proof for our claim is that the Shia scholars have themselves written that “فلان” refers to Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Ibn Maytham al Bahrani, one of the Shia researchers, writes in the commentary of the word “فلان” in Sharh Nahj al Balaghah that “فلان” either refers to Abu Bakr or ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and according to him, Abu Bakr is more appropriate:
اقول ان ارادته لابى بكر اشبه من ارادته لعمر
I say that his intending Abu Bakr is more appropriate than intending ‘Umar.
A scholar with such deep knowledge like Ibn Maytham Bahrani — of whose knowledge and purity Mulla Baqir Majlisi is proud — takes the word “فلان” to mean “Abu Bakr”. Notwithstanding this, ‘Allamah Kantori rejects it and accuses the author of Tuhfah of lying. Maybe ‘Allamah began writing a response to Tuhfah but could not respond so he thought it is better to simply reject it so that the masses might revere him and regard Shah as a liar. However, he was unaware that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has created a Musa for every Pharaoh. Will the Sunni scholars ever leave them and will they ever be spared from their clutches? They will show Ibn Maytham’s statements and declare:
لّعْنَتَ اللّٰهِ عَلَی الْکٰذِبِیْنَ
The curse of Allah upon the liars.
Besides whether the word “فلان” refers to Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu or not, the interpretations of the Shia which the author of Tuhfah has mentioned are established by the Shia scholars’ statements and his every word is according to their texts. Accordingly, Ibn Maytham al Bahrani who is a revered Shia scholar writes in Sharh Nahj al Balaghah that the Shia have responded to this narration in two ways. One of the ways is what Shah has written. This is his text:
جاز ان يكون ذلك المدح منه على وجه استصلاح من يعتقد صحة خلافة الشيخين و استجلاب قلوبهم بمثل هذا الكلام
It is possible that this praise is to appease those who believed in the correctness of Sheikhayn’s khilafah and to win their hearts by making such a statement.
Unfortunately ‘Allamah Kantori has died otherwise I would have presented this text of his leader and mujtahid in front of him and asked, “Is Shah’s claim a blatant lie or your rejection?” I have heard that his son is living and he boasts about the book Istiqsa’ al Afham. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala make it such that someone presents this text to him and opens his illustrious father’s tin of worms in front of him.
Some Shia scholars have said that “فلان” refers to someone else from the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who passed away in Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime before fitnah and mischief spread on the earth. ‘Allamah Rawindi — a Shia scholar — has preferred this view. However, after slight pondering, one will realise that this answer is useless and baseless since Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu praised him in his speech with the following words, “He left this world and people were left in diverse roads to the extent that no deviate attains guidance.” So how can this praise be for a person who passed away in Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime? Can someone ever fathom that notwithstanding the presence of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, someone’s death causes so much of anarchy that people are left in diverse roads? So how can Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu praise a man who passed away during Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime with these words which a normal person will not say? Thus, it is evident that “فلان” refers to someone who passed away after Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise and after whose death people strayed into different paths. This can only refer to Sayyidina Abu Bakr or Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and no one else. Whichever one of the two the Shia accept, our goal is attained.
‘Allamah Kantori has written such a puzzling answer to this portion of Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, i.e. he neither rejects it nor accepts it. From his words and text, it looks like he had nowhere to go and the poor fellow was caught up in a cage and could not escape and could not reply to Shah rahimahu Llah.
قولہ و بعضے امامیہ گفتہ اند کہ مراد آنجناب ازیں مرد شخصے دیگر ست از جملہ صحابہ رسول الخ قولنا دانستی کہ بنا بر تصریح ابن ابی الحدید ایں قول قطب راوندی ست و ہیچک از امامیہ و غیر امامیہ پیش ازیں ابی الحدید سواۓ قطب الدین راوندی شرح کتاب نہج البلاغہ نہ نوشتہ
Shia say that Sayyidina ‘Ali’s statement “فلان” refers to someone else from among the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. You know my view that Ibn Abi al Hadid has written that this is the view of Qutb al Din Rawindi which he wrote in Sharh Nahj al Balaghah which no Shia or non-Shia has claimed.
It is apparent from this text that ‘Allamah Kantori accepted this view and did not reject it and label Shah as a liar as he did in the previous one. Whether someone has stated this prior to Qutb al Din in Sharh Nahj al Balaghah or not is part of the discussion. The Shia should ponder over their scholars’ answers. When all four directions are closed, see how they remain silent, leave the original discussion and start discussing the irrelevant. I will present the original text of Qutb al Din Rawindi so that no Shia can reject it out of ignorance or deception:
فانه قال فى الشرح انه عليه السلام يمدح بعض اصحابه بحسن السيرة و انه مات قبل الفتنة التى وقعت بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و اله و سلم
He has said in Sharh that he (Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu) praised the excellent qualities of one of the Sahabah who passed away before the fitnah which took place after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Some Shia scholars have said that the object of this statement of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was to criticise Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, to make people aware that he did not follow in the footsteps of Sheikhayn and that plenty of fitnah and mischief spread in his time.
This answer is worse than the first two since he could have criticised Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in a different way. He could have said openly, “Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not follow in the footsteps of Sheikhayn.” and his objective would have been fulfilled. What was the need and benefit to lie?
Nonetheless, this much is deduced that the lives of Sheikhayn were liked by Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If the Shia accept this, Sheikhayn’s khilafah is established. If they do not accept that Sheikhayn’s lives are praiseworthy, then what is the meaning of criticising Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu for not following their evil ways? Besides this, this answer is not worthy of acceptance since there is no mention of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu opposing Sheikhayn’s ways in the text, neither explicitly nor implicitly. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu declared this in the lecture at Kufah. Where was Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu at that time and where was the fitnah and anarchy? If Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu wished to criticise Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, why did he not do it explicitly?
If someone says that he feared the opposition of the people by saying it explicitly, the answer is that the thing he feared i.e. the people of Sham’s opposition was already present. The people of Sham turned away from Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu only due to Sayyidina ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu assassination and a war was about to break out. So what more harm could an explicit statement cause? Maybe the Shia have not heard this proverb:
انا الغريق فما خوفى من البلل
I am drowning. Why should I fear getting wet?
‘Allamah Kantori has responded to this answer mentioned in Tuhfah by claiming that no Shia scholar has ever said this. He rejected it like how he rejected the first one and understood it to be Shah’s lie.
قولہ بعضے از امامیہ چنین گفتہ اند کہ غرض حضرت امیر توبیخ عثمان و تعریض بر او بود الخ قولنا ہیچک از امامیہ ایں توجیہہ نکردہ مگر ابن ابی الحدید در شرح ایں کلام ایں مقابلہ را بطرف جارودیہ کہ از فرق زیدیہ ست نسبت دادہ الی قولہ بعض مقالہ زیدیہ ست نسبت دادہ الی قولہ بعض مقالہ زیدیہ را بامامیہ نسبت دادن کذب صریح ست
Some Shia say that Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu object was to criticise Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. I declare that no Shia has ever made this claim. However, Ibn Abi al Hadid while commenting on this has related this text to the Jarudiyyah — a sub sect of the Zaidiyyah. To call the statements of the Zaidiyyah as one of the Shia is a blatant lie.
This response of ‘Allamah Kantori is false just as his first response since the Shia scholars have accepted the above answer. It looks like ‘Allamah Kantori has not studied these statements hence rejected them or maybe he intentionally did this to beguile the masses. If anyone wants to find out about ‘Allamah Kantori’s ignorance or deception, he should read the text of Ibn Maytham al Bahrani in his commentary of Nahj al Balaghah. I will quote his words verbatim and present them to the Shia scholars as a gift.
و اعلم ان الشيعة قد اوردوا ههنا سوالا فقالوا ان هذه الممادح التى ذكرها عليه السلام فى احد هذين الرجلين ينافى ما اجمعنا عليه من تخطيتهما اخذهما المنصب الخلافة فاما ان يكون هذا الكلام من كلامه عليه السلام او ان يكون اجماعنا خطأ ثم اجابوا من وجهين احدهما لا نسلم التنافى المذكور فانه جاز ان يكون ذلك المدح منه عليه السلام على وجه استصلاح من يعتقد صحة خلافة الشيخين و استجلاب قلوبهم بمثل هذا الكلام الثانى انه جاز ان يكون مدحه ذلك لاحدهما فى معرض توبيخ عثمان لوقوع الفتنة فى خلافته و اضطراب الامر عليه و اسائته لبيت مال المسلمين هو و بنو ابيه حتى كان ذلك سببا لثوران المسلمين من الامصار و قتلهم له و ينبيه على ذلك قوله و خلف الفتنة و ذهب نقى الثوب قليل العيب اصاب خيرها و سبق شرها و قوله و تركهم فى طرق متشبعة الى اخره فان مفهوم ذلك يستلزم ان الوالى بعد هذا الموصوف قد اتصف باضداد هذه الصفات و الله اعلم
Know that the Shia have posed a question here. They ask, “This praise which he (Sayyidina ‘Ali) radiya Llahu ‘anhu has enumerated regarding one of these two men is in polarity to what we have unanimity upon, i.e. their error in assuming the station of khilafah. Either these words are his words or our consensus is an error.” They then answer this in one of two ways. Firstly, we do not accept this polarity for it is possible that this praise is to appease those who believed in the correctness of Sheikhayn’s khilafah and to win their hearts by making such a statement. Secondly, it is possible that this praise of one of them is indirectly criticising ‘Uthman since fitnah cropped up in his khilafah, the matter was obscure regarding him and his misappropriating the wealth of the Muslims; he and the family of his father until this became a means for the uprising of the Muslims of different cities against him and his assassination. His statement, “Fitnah began after him. He left this world with a clean slate and little defects. He attained the goodness of khilafah and left before its evil.” and his statement, “He left people in diverse roads.” all point to this. The meaning of this necessitates that the successor after him had the opposite qualities. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best!
Some important points from this text of ‘Allamah al Bahrani
ان هذه الممادح التى ذكرها عليه السلام فى احد هذين الرجلين
This praises which he (Sayyidina ‘Ali) radiya Llahu ‘anhu has enumerated regarding one of these two men, viz. Sayyidina Abu Bakr or Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
Although what I have written thus far is sufficient in proving our objective and establishing the uselessness and baselessness of the Shia scholars’ interpretations, I will nonetheless shed some more light on this aspect that the word “فلان” according to the Shia scholars refers to only two persons viz. Sayyidina Abu Bakr or Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz rahimahu Llah writes in Tuhfah:
و لہذا شارحین نہج البلاغہ از امامیہ در تعیین فلاں اختلاف کردہ اند بعضے گفتہ اند کہ مراد ابو بکر ست و بعضے گفتہ اند عمر ست
The commentators of Nahj al Balaghah among the Shia have difference of opinion in pinpointing who “فلان” refers to. Some say it refers to Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu while others opt for Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Mulla Kamal al Din — a renowned Shia scholar — writes in Sharh Nahj al Balaghah that there is difference of opinion as to who “فلان” refers to.
بعض اصحابه فى زمن الرسول صلى الله عليه و سلم ممن مات قبل وقوع الفتن و انتشارها و قال ابن ابى الحديد ان ظاهر الاوصاف المذكورة فى الكلام يدل على انه اراد رجلا ولى امر الخلافة قبله كقوله قوم الاود و داوى العمد و لم يرد عثمان لوقوعه فى الفتنة وسعها بسببه و لا ابا بكر لقصر مدة خلافته و بعد عهده عن الفتن و كان الاظهر انه اراد عمر و اقول ان ارادته لابى بكر اشبه من ارادته لعمر
Qutb al Din Rawindi — a great scholar of the Shia — says that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu refers to another person with the word “فلان” who passed away in Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime before fitnah appeared and spread. Ibn Abi al Hadid says, “The qualities mentioned in the speech show that he intended a person who assumed khilafah before him as he said, “He straightened crookedness and doctored spiritual maladies.” He did not intend ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu since he fell into fitnah and fitnah spread due to him nor Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu due to the brief period of his khilafah and his era being far from fitnahs. The most apparent things are that he intended ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, my opinion is that it refers more to Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu than to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.”
The Shia should just have a look at the opinions of their muhaddithin and scholars and think that notwithstanding the presence of all these narrations, someone rejects it and labels the author of Tuhfah as a liar thereby pulling wool over the masses’ eyes.
Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu declaration of Sayyidina Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu virtues is so clear-cut and certain that no Shia tongue can criticise him after hearing it. I wish to elucidate on the virtues mentioned. It should be noted that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu listed ten qualities of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
Shah writes in Tuhfah to clarify these qualities:
پس دریں عبارت سراسر بشارت ابو بکر را بدہ وصف عالی موصوف نمودہ
Thus, this text is explicit glad tidings for Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu since 10 of his remarkable qualities have been listed.
However, ‘Allamah Kantori writes in response to this:
ثبت الجدار ثم انقش اول ایں معنی باثبات بایدر سانید کہ مراد از لفظ فلاں دریں کلام ابو بکر ست بعد ازاں بایں اوصاف اثبات فضل ابو بکر باید نمود
First build the wall, then decorate it. First establish that the word “فلان” in this text refers to Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and then establish his virtue with these qualities.
Molana Haydar ‘Ali responds to this in Izalat al Ghayn:
بحمد اللہ ہم بناء دیوار محکم شد و ہم نقش و نگار صورت بست و خود شراح نہج البلاغہ آں اوصاف را کہ تلک عشرۃ کاملۃ عبارت از انست بہ ہمیں عدد یاد کردہ اند عبارت بحرانی بعد از ترجیح صدیق بایدشنید
Gratitude belongs to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. The wall is strong and it has been decorated. The commentators of Nahj al Balaghah have listed the number of those qualities which are ten. Al Bahrani’s text after giving credence to Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is worth a read.
O Muslims! See how the Shia reject every virtue of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum notwithstanding their seniors’ acknowledgement and are not bothered about being humiliated and disgraced. When ‘Allamah Kantori saw these virtues and understood that these narrations cannot be answered, he was forced to reject them outright. Besides the attestation of the Shia scholars that “فلان” either refers to Sayyidina Abu Bakr or Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, if we hypothetically think that they did not attest to this, then too the word “فلان” would refer to none other than these two personalities. If it referred to someone else, it would be someone who passed away in Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime as Qutb al Din Rawindi suggests. However, when these qualities cannot be found in a personality who passed away in his lifetime, then definitely it refers to Sayyidina Abu Bakr or Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. So to reject it and blacken some pages as you have blackened your book of deeds is futile and wasted. It was better to reject this narration being related to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu or to regard it to be the product of Taqiyyah. But to leave these two paths and adopt the path of ‘Allamah Kantori is compound ignorance. The outcome was that the same thing he rejected, I presented it from his own sources and from his own scholars and he was thus humiliated.
اے معاشر مسلمین رحمکم اللہ اکنوں کجا ماند دعا و ای لا طائلہ روافض کہ در مطاعن تقریر کردہ مزاراں رسائل و کتب را مثل نا مہای اعمال خود در سیاہی و تباہی گرفتند و انصاف باید داد کہ حالیا از عمدہ طعنہای رفضہ کہ در اسفار کلامیہ ایشاں مبسوط ست چیزے باقیست کہ بعد شہادت جناب مرتضوی حاجت بہ رد آں افتد پس بر سوی عاقبت ایں قوم بنا لہای جانکاہ باید گریست و ریگ بیابان مذلت بر سرہای ایشاں بارید ریخث
O group of Muslims! May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala have mercy on your situation. How can the useless and baseless proofs of the Shia remain? They have listed the vices (of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum) and blackened thousand books, thereby blackening their book of deeds and falling into destruction. Tell me truthfully, can all those criticisms which the Shia have written in much detail remain after they are placed in front of Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu testimony? Thus, the Shia should lament over their evil ending and throw the sand of the deserts of humiliation on their heads.
If the Shia are still not satisfied, we are fully prepared with numerous narrations admiring the virtues of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum on the tongues of the Imams. Whoever wishes to hear, may listen.
 Khatam al Muhaddithin refers to Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi ibn Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi ibn Shah ‘Abdul Rahim ibn Sheikh Wajih al Din. He was born from the blessed womb of Shah Waliullah’s second wife — the sister of Thana’ Allah of Sonipat on Thursday, the 25th of Ramadan al Mubarak 1159 A.H (1746). The name of his date of birth is Ghulam Halim. Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz opened his eyes in a family with reputable knowledge who were recognised and unique in their knowledge, nobility and virtue.
Sheikh Muhammad Ikram has written regarding the family lineage of his father Shah Waliullah:
Shah Waliullah’s lineage from his father’s side goes up to Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and from his mother’s side up to Imam Musa al Kazim rahimahu Llah. One of his forefathers Sheikh Mufti Shams al Din came to India when the Islamic government began and lived in Rohtak. His family was outstanding in knowledge and virtue. One elder by the name Sheikh Mahmud left the station of judge and began leading a life of a warrior. From then, this family was renowned for their bravery and chivalry for a long time. Shah Waliullah’s paternal grandfather Sheikh Wajih al Din was a sword and pen. Shah’s father, Shah ‘Abdul Rahim, learnt the glorious Qur’an from his father.” (Rowd Kowthar pg. 534)
Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz acquired knowledge mainly from his father and from Shah Muhammad Phalti rahimahu Llah and Shah Nur Allah Budhanwi rahimahu Llah. He possessed exceptional intelligence and wittiness and had a remarkable memory; all given by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. At the age of 15, he completed his studies of all common sciences from his father and began his further studies. He was only 17 when his father’s shadow was lifted from him and he was made his successor. He then remained fully engaged in teaching and lecturing. His knowledge was vast. He was not only a highly qualified muhaddith and researcher but was cognisant of the knowledge of other nations as well. He had expertise in Arabic oratory and poetry. He wrote many essays in Arabic. He wrote one letter in Arabic to his uncle Shah Ahl Allah rahimahu Llah in which he described the offensive methods of the Maratha and Sikh in an eloquent way. Majority of the muhaddithin of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh’s isnad goes up to him and to his father via him.
Molana Nasim Ahmed Faridi rahimahu Llah listed forty of his students who are mainly such luminaries who are lauded for their knowledge and practice in the entire Asia. I will list a few of his renowned students:
Shah Rafi’ al Din, Shah ‘Abdul Qadir, Shah ‘Abdul Ghani, Shah Muhammad Ishaq, Shah Muhammad Ya’qub (from Hardonwa) Shah Muhammad Ismail (nephew of) Molana ‘Abdul Hayy Budhanwi, Molana Haydar ‘Ali Fayzabadi — author of Izalat al Ghayn and Muntaha al Kalam, Molana Rashid al Din Khan Dehlawi — regarding whom Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz’s saying is famous, “Muhammad Ismail took my speech and Rashid al Din took my writing.” Molana Rashid al Din authored many books among which al Sowlah al Ghadanfariyyah and Showkat ‘Umariyyah are his classical works. Molana Shah Fadl al Rahman Ganjmuradabadi, Mirza Hasan ‘Ali Saghir Muhaddith Lucknowi, Molana Fadl Haq Khayrabadi, Mufti Sadr al Din Azurdah, etc.
Since Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz was engaged mostly in teaching and lecturing, he did not get an opportunity to write much. Nonetheless, the books he authored were marvellous. Among his books, Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah is very famous, very comprehensive and classical which is a blockbuster in the science of belief. He exhausted himself and exerted himself in its authoring. It will not be incorrect to call it the encyclopaedia of Shia-Sunni polemics.
In the beginning of the book, Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz has written the reason for writing this book, “The spread of Shi’ism in our era and in our cities is so rife that probably there is no household who does not support this creed or is not affected by it. However, since the cause of this is ignorance and misunderstanding, hence this book aims to clear all doubts in this regard.”
Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz had Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah printed in 1200 A.H, November 1785. As soon as it was published, there was a huge uproar in the Shia world especially the Shia centre in Lucknow whose scholars paid attention to answer it. Sheikh Muhammad Ikram writes, “We only understood the real worth of Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah when we read the biographies of the Shia scholars and saw the amount of effort they made to refute it.” Prior to the fight of independence in 1857, the greatest goal of the senior Shia scholars was to eradicate the effects of this book and many participated in this effort. Molana Dildar ‘Ali, the first Mujtahid’s name is the most renowned among the Shia scholars of Lucknow who wrote six books and articles in refutation of Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz’s works. Hakim Mirza Muhammad Kamil Dehlawi did not only write Nazhat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah to answer Tuhfah but sacrificed his life and took up the responsibility to remove all the effects caused by its publication. Similarly, the summary of Mufti Muhammad Qilli Kantori’s life looks like refutation of Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah. He wrote Tash’id al Mata’in wa Kashf al Dagha’in, Saif Nasiri, Taqlib al Maka’id, Masari’ al Afham and Burhan Sa’adat to refute it. There are many other books written in its refutation e.g. it is written in Molana Dildar ‘Ali’s successor Sayed Muhammad’s biography that he wrote many articles to refute Tuhfah. The effects of these discussions reached far and wide. Hakim Habib al Rahman from Dhaka writes in Asudgan Dhaka regarding a famous Shia leader Mir Ashraf, “When the book Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah reached Dhaka, Mir Ashraf sent ten thousand rupees to Iraq so that a refutation can be written against it.” Mir Ashraf is the great grandfather of the famous Persian poet Sayed Muhammad Azad Jahangiri and the famous Urdu linguist Nawab Sayed Muhammad. According to Hakim Habib al Rahman, both these men became Sunni.
It is appropriate to mention an incident here which Mufti Intizam Allah Shihabi has recorded on page 15 of the book Ghadar ke Chand ‘Ulama’ extracted from page 40 of Amir al Riwayat:
Coupled with knowledge and virtue, the family of Shah Waliullah possessed unique expertise in the Persian language. Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz’s knowledge of Persian and eloquence was common. When Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah reached Lucknow, Nawab Asif al Dowlah requested the Shia mujtahidin to write an answer to it. Among them, Molana Dildar ‘Ali took up the courage to answer it. However, since the language in it was astounding, Mirza Qatil was told to that Mujtahid will write the subjects and he should put it in his own words so that both the subjects and texts can be answered accordingly. Mirza Qatil declined so Molana Dildar had no option but to write the answer in his own words. When Mujtahid had completed writing his answer, Nawab presented it to Mirza Qatil and asked him his opinion regarding it. Mirza Qatil said that if you will not mind, let me tell you the truth to which Nawab agreed. Mirza Qatil said, “The truth is that Mujtahid does not even know how to name his book. Shah is presenting Tuhfah and Mujtahid is presenting Dhu al Fiqar in answer to it.” Nawab then asked, “Tell me about the text and language.” Mirza Qatil said, “Where is an urchin of Jais (Mujtahid lived in Jais) and where is a prince sitting on the stairs of Delhi?”
In short, the Shia scholars left no stone unturned and exhausted all of their efforts trying to remove the effects of Tuhfah. A history student of religion can correctly say that the Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah stopped the rise of Shi’ism in the 18th century.
Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz answered the angel of death on Sunday, the 7th of Shawwal 1239 A.H at the age of 80 and left this temporary world for the everlasting one. He is buried next to his father Shah Waliullah in Mehdian. Hakim Mu’min Khan Mu’min who is not commonly known by his original name Habib Allah but by the name given by Shah rahimahu Llah i.e. Mu’min Khan has said:
The choosing of this man Molana ‘Abdul ‘Aziz
Unique, distinctive, matchless, only one of its kind
Why did you leave this temporary world?
Deficiency should not come in the iman of the people
This is oppression, O sky, who did you take away from here?
What tyranny upon the hopeless O fate!
What amount of pain and grief everyone felt at the time of burial
Every honoured and lowly person threw sand on his head
When the corpse was carried, the world was overturned
Every sacred palace shall return to sand
Gathering of sorrow abounded. I was also present to console
When Mu’min read the date, this matchless came to mind
With the hand of fate, he left without the robe
With piety, virtue, excellent, kindness and gentleness and knowledge and virtue
(Sheikh Muhammad Firasat 1239)
 His full name is Kamal al Din Maytham ibn ‘Ali Maytham al Bahrani. He was born in the seventh century. It is believed that Khajah Nasir al Din Tusi learnt fiqh from Kamal al Din Maytham and Maytham learnt wisdom from him. He is a philosopher, researcher, man of wisdom and the author of the commentary of Nahj al Balaghah. He died in 679 A.H and was buried in a nearby village Hilna. (al Kuna wa al Alqab vol. 1 pg. 419) Sheikh Muhammad Firasat.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 61.
وصفه بامور احدهما تقويمة للاود و هو كناية عن تقويمة لاعوجاج الخلق عن سبيل الله الى الاستقامة فيها الثانى مداراته للعمد و استعار لفظ العمد للامراض النفسانية باعتبار استلزامه للاذى كالعمد و وصف المداراة لمعالجة تلك الامراض بالمواعظ البالغة و الزواجر القولية و الفعلية النافعة الثالث اقامه للسنتة و لزومها الرابع تخليفه للفتنة اى موته قبلها و وجه كون ذلك مدحا له هو اعتبار عدم وقوعها بسببه و فى زمانه لحسن تدبيره الخامس ذهابه نقى الثوب و استعار لفظ الثوب لعرضه و قيامه به سلامته عن دنس المذام السادس فاعييوبه السابع اصابة خيرها و سبق شرها و الضمير فى موضعين يشبه ان يرجع الى العهود له مما هو فيه من الخلافة اى اصاف ما فيها من الخير المطلوب و هو العدل و اقامة دين الله الذى به يكون الثواب الجزيل فى الاخرة والشرف الجليل فى الدنيا و سبق شرها اى مات قبل وقوع الفتنة فيها و سفك الدماء لاجلها الثامن اداه الى طاعته التاسع القاه له بحقه اى ادى حقه خوفا من عقوبته العاشر رحيله الى الاخرة تاركا للناس بعده فى طرق متشعبة من الخيالات لا يهتدى فيها من ضل عن سبيل الله و لا يستيقن المهتدى فى سبيل الله انه على سبيل الاختلاف طرق الضلال و كثرة المخالف له ايهادا لو فى قوله و تركهم للحال
He enumerated many of his qualities. Firstly, straightening crookedness. Which means straightening the crookedness of the people who strayed from the path of Allah to steadfastness upon it. Secondly, doctoring maladies. He used the word “العمد” to refer to spiritual maladies for it necessitates pain. The word “المداراة” was used to show treatment of these maladies by powerful lectures and beneficial verbal and practical admonitions. Thirdly, he established the sunnah and held firmly to it. Fourth, leaving behind fitnah i.e. passing away before its appearance. The reason for this being his virtue is that it did not appear due to him and in his era owing to his superb administration. Fifth, leaving this world with pure clothes. He used the word clothes to refer to him due to it being part of him and it was pure from the filth of blame. Sixth, having no defects. Seventh, attaining its goodness and leaving before its evil. The pronoun in both places will appropriately refer to stations like khilafah. He attained the desired goodness i.e. justice and establishing Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala religion which brings abundant reward in the Hereafter and honour in this world. He surpassed its evil i.e. he passed away before fitnah spread and blood flowed. Eighth, he obeyed Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Ninth, he gave Him his right i.e. he fulfilled the right of His worship fearing His punishment. Tenth, his journey to the Afterlife leaving people with diverse ideologies. The one who deviated from Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala path does not find guidance and the one who is guided does not attain conviction that he is on a path contrary to the paths of deviation and the abundance of his enemies. The “و” in “و تركهم” is to depict condition.