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The Denial Of Excess And Delegation

Says the Shaykh Abu Ja'far: Our belief concerning those who exceed the bounds of belief (ghal, plural ghulat) and those who believe in delegation (al-mufawwida1) is that they are deniers (kuffar) of Allah, Glory be to His name. They are more wicked than the Jews, the Christians, the Fire-Worshippers, the Qadarites2 or the Kharijites (Haruriya)3, or any of the heretics (ahlu'1-bid'a) or those who hold views which lead astray (al ahwa'u 'l-madilla). None have belittled Allah more, Glory be to Him; as Allah says:

“It is not possible for any human being unto whom Allah has given the scripture and wisdom and the prophethood that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah; but (what he said was): Be ye faithful servants of the Lord by virtue of your constant teaching of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof” (Qur'an 3:79). “And he commanded you not that ye should take the angels and the prophets for lords. Would he command you to disbelieve after ye had become Muslims?” (Qur'an 3:80).

And He said, Mighty and Glorious is He:

“Do not be excessive in your belief” (Qur'an 4:171, 5:77).

Our belief concerning the Prophet is that he was poisoned during the expedition of Khaybar. The poison continued to be noxious to him until it cut his aorta and then he died from its effects.4

And the Prince of Believers, on whom be peace, was murdered by 'Abdu'r-Rahman bin Muljam al-Murad5, may Allah curse him, and he was buried in Ghari6. (1st Imam)

And Hasan bin 'Ali, on both of whom be peace, he was poisoned by his wife Ja'da bint Ash'ath of Kinda, may Allah curse them both, and he died on account of that. (2nd Imam)7

And Husayn bi 'Ali was slain at Karbala. His murderer was Sinan bin Anas an-Nakha'i, the curse of Allah on them both. (3rd Imam).8

And 'Ali bin Husayn, the Sayyid Zaynu'1-'Abidin, was poisoned by al-Walid bin 'Abdu'l-Malik, may Allah curse him. (4th Imam)9

And Muhammad al-Baqir bin 'Ali was poisoned by Ibrahim bin al-Walid, may Allah curse him. (5th Imam)10

And Ja'far as-Sadiq was poisoned by Abu Ja'far al-Mansur ad-Dawaniqi, may Allah curse him. (6th Imam)11

And Musa al-Kazim bin Ja'far was poisoned by Harun ar-Rashid, may Allah curse him. (7th Imam) 12

And 'Ali ar-Rida b. Musa was poisoned by Ma'mun, may Allah curse him. (8th Imam)13

And Abu Ja'far Muhammad at-Taqi bin 'Ali was poisoned by al-Mu'tasim, may Allah curse him. (9th Imam)14

And 'Ali an-Naqi bin Muhammad was poisoned by al'Mutawakkil, may Allah curse him. (10th Imam)15

And Hasan al-'Askari bin 'Ali was poisoned by al-Mu'tamid, may Allah curse him. (11th Imam)16

And our belief is that these events actually occurred, and that there was no doubt in the minds of the people regarding the Imams' affairs, as some of those who exceed the bounds (of belief) allege.17 On the contrary the people witnessed their murder really and truly, and not by conjecture (hisban) or fancy (khaylula) or doubt (shakk) or false allegation (tuhma). He who asserts that some person or persons were substituted for one of the Imams, or some of them, is not of our religion and we have nothing in common with him.

And verily the Prophet and Imams, on whom be peace, had informed (people) that they would all be murdered. He who says that they were not murdered has verily given them the lie. And he who declares them to be false has imputed falsehood to Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, and denied Him and goes out of Islam.

“And whoso seeketh religion other than al-Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter.” (Qur'an 3:85)

And Imam 'Ali ar-Rida, on whom be peace, used to say in his prayer:

O God, I seek absolution from Thee in respect of Thy Strength and Power.18 There is neither strength nor power save in Thee. O God, I declare myself before Thee as having nothing to do with those who assert in respect of us things which we ourselves do not know. O God, to Thee belongs creation and Thou possessest the power of command;

“Thee (alone) do we worship and from Thee do we seek help” (Qur'an 1:5).

O God, Thou art our Creator, and the Creator of our ancestors, near and remote. O God, none deserves lordship save Thee; and divinity befits none except to Thee. So do Thou curse the Christians who belittled Thy greatness, and do Thou curse those who declare Thee to resemble Thy Creature. O God, verily we are Thy slaves and the sons of Thy slaves. We have no power over ourselves in respect of profit, loss, death, life or resurrection (nushur).

O God, he who asserts that we (the Imams) have the power of creation and providing (for mankind) - we (Imams) seek absolution from Thee in respect of him, an absolution similar to that of Jesus, son of Mary, in respect of the Christians. O God, we have never called upon them to assert what they do assert; so do not punish us for what they say and forgive us for what they allege.

“My Lord! leave not one of the disbelievers in the land” (Qur'an 71:26).

“If Thou shouldst leave them, they will mislead Thy slaves and will beget none save lewd ingrates”(Qur'an 71:27).

And it is related from Zurara that he said: I said to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq that a man from among the descendants of 'Abdu'l-lah bin Saba' is a believer in (the doctrine of) delegation (tafwid). And he said: And what is tafwid? I (Zurara) said: According to him Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, (in the first instance) created Muhammad and 'Ali, and then delegated the matter (of creation) to them, and these two created and gave sustenance, and caused life and death.

The Imam said: He, the enemy of Allah, has lied. When you return to him recite to him the verse of the Chapter of The Thunder:

“Or assign they unto Allah partners who created the like of His creation so that the creation (which they made and His creation) seemed alike to them? Say: Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Al-mighty” (Qur'an 13:16).

Then I went to the man and informed him of what Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq had said, and he became as if I had forced him to swallow stones or as though he were struck dumb.

Now (undoubtedly) Allah has delegated matters concerning religion to His Prophet and He, the Mighty and Glorious, says:

“And whatsoever the Messenger giveth you, take it. And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it)” (Qur'an 59:7).

And this (that is, religious authority) has also been delegated to the Imams.

The sign of the Delegators (al-mufawwida) and the Extremists (al-ghulat) and their likes is the belief that their Shaykhs19 and ulema have attributed less than their due (to the Imams). And the sign of the Hallajites among the Extremists is the claim of Manifestation (tajalli )20 in their devotion, in spite of their doctrinal belief in the abandonment of prayer and all the obligatory acts (fard- 'idh),21 and (also) their claim of knowing the Most High Names of Allah'22 and their claim of the incarnation (intiba`) of the Divine Being in bodily shape for them23. I For according to them the saint (wali), when he is purified and knows their religion, becomes more excellent than the Prophets. Their distinguishing characteristic is the claim that they know alchemy. They know nothing of it, except the counterfeiting and silvering of brass24 arid lead (for deceiving) Muslims. O God, do not include us among them and curse them.

  • 1. W. Ivanow translates ghuluww as extremism in Shi'itic belief. These terms are explained by the Urdu translator. He says: The ghulat are those who believe 'Ali to be God or prophet, a claim which he himself would not make. This explanation is clearly taken from MB:الغالي من يقول في أهل البيت ما لا يقولون في أنفسهم كمن يدَّعي فيهم النبوة و الإلهيَّة MB, s. v. غلى, 675. The mufawwida are those who beliebe that God created the Prophet and 'Ali and then ceased to function. Thereafter it was these two who arranged everything in the world. They create and sustain and destroy; Allah has nothing to do with these things, MB, 372. On the ghulat see also Browne, iv. 395. The MS. copy of the I'tiqadat in the Asafiyah Library, Hyderabad, no. 7909 (hadith, 333), vocalizes it mufawwada.
  • 2. This is a peculiar use of the word qadarya, because as Wensinck has shown, they did not believe in evil coming from God and were nearer to the Mu'tazila and the Shi'a, MC, 52, 53. It is really their other beliefs, for instance, rejection of the popular eschatology, ibid., 119, and of Heaven and Hell, 166, and other doctrines that made them hated.
  • 3. The Qadarites and Kharijites are omitted in D, but the translator inserts them in the Urdu rendering.
  • 4. The usually accepted view is that the Prophet died of fever at Medina, Fr. Buhl in EI, iii. 656; Tor Andreae, Mohammed (Eng. Tr. 1936), 242.
  • 5. So in D. 'Ali died on 21 Ram. 40/27 Jan. 661, El, i. 284.
  • 6. MB, s.v. غرا, 66 explains that ghari (الغَرِى كغَنِىّ) is a magnificent building, and the "two gharis" in Kufa (presently Najaf) is the place where 'Ali b. Abi Talib was buried. Cf. also Maqata1u't-Ta1ibiyin, (Najaf, 1263), p.28; and for a modern description, Donaldson, 54 sqq.
  • 7. Donaldson, 66 sqq. Died A.H. 49, EI, ii. 274.
  • 8. ibid., 79 sqq. Died 10 Muh. 61/10 Oct. 680, El, ii. 339.
  • 9. ibid., 101 sqq. D adds فقتل و دفن بالبقيع, Died 92/710- 711 or 94/ 712-713.
  • 10. ibid., 112 sqq. Died A.H. 114, 117 or 118, EI, iii. 670.
  • 11. ibid., 129 sqq. Died 148/765, El, i. 993.
  • 12. ibid., 152 sqq. Died 183/799, EI, iii. 741.
  • 13. ibid., 161 sqq. Died 203/818, EI, i. 296.
  • 14. ibid., 188 sqq. Died 220/835, Browne, iv. 394.
  • 15. ibid., 209 sqq. Died 245/868, Browne, loc. cit.
  • 16. ibid., 217 sqq. Died 260/873. On Imims generally, Browne, iv.391-395.
  • 17. Some apparently believed that the Imams were miraculously translated to Heaven. The expression ما شَبَّه للنّاس is reminiscent of Qur'an 4, 157 regarding the death of Jesus.
  • 18. This apparently means: I declared that I have nothing to do with the belief that in strength or power any one can be Thy equal.
  • 19. Reading with N مشائخهم D مشائخ قم.
  • 20. To III means the manifestation of the Deity to human beings as a vision. Compare FC, 12 and the visio beatifica of the Catholics, MC, 65. Tajalli, according to Ibnu'l-`Arabi, is "the eternal and everlasting self-manifestation", Affifi, 61 ; this is different from the Emanations of the neo-Platonists, 62; the mystic gains perfect knowledge by tajalli, 109; Ibnu'1-`Arabi complete pantheism, 141; the greatest happiness is the realization of the inseparable Unity with God, 168. KP, p.68, tr., n. l _ Apparently however, as Dr. Affifi explains, tajalli (manifestation) is different from inbi'ath (emanation), op. cit., 62_ But see tajalliyi awwal, KP, 72, and -shuhud, ibid., 82. It would seem that inbi `ath is connected with the process of creation, while tajalli takes place after creation and depends to some extent upon the gnosis of the saint.
  • 21. Among the Nazirian Isma'llis, people with proper knowledge of the secrets of religion are exempt from the outward prescriptions of the law, K P, 95.
  • 22. Knowledge of اسم الله الأكبر "the most great name of Allah" has a great significance among Sufis. See generally the works cited by L. Massignon in the article on tasawwuf in El, iv_ 681.
  • 23. Incarnation (hulul) and metempsychosis (tanasukh) are rejected both by Musta'lian and Nizirian Ismai'ilis, KP, xlix, n. 2 and see above, note 163, p. 134.
  • 24. Reading with N تقضيض الشَّبَه; D تنفيق الشبه is also possible, meaning "they pass off brass and lead as current coin among the Muslims".

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