We have already conceived, through the aforementioned discussions, the viewpoints of the Shi‘ah and Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the caliphate, and the acts and conduct of the Messenger (S) toward the Ummah, as held by the two sects.
Has the Messenger of Allah (S) then left anything for his Ummah, upon which it depends and to which it refers regarding any controversial matter entailing inevitable dispute, that was stated by the Holy Qur’ān, when the Almighty said:
"O ye who believe! Obey God and obey the apostle and those vested with authority from among you; and then if ye quarrel about anything refer it to God and the Apostle if ye believe in God and in the Last Day (of Judgement). This is the best and fairest way of ending (the dispute)" (4:59).
True, the Messenger has to leave behind for the Ummah a foundation and basis upon which it relies and to which it refers, since he was sent as a blessing for the worlds and he is so keen and concerned that his community be the best of communities, and never be in disagreement after him. Hence his Companions and the traditionists reported that he said “I am leaving behind among you two precious things (Thaqalayn), as long as you adhere to them you will never go astray after me. The Book of Allah and my ‘Itrah, my Ahl al-Bayt. They will never separate till they come unto me near the pond (hawd), so look how you are going to treat them after me.”1
This hadith is sahih (correct) and authentic, and was reported by both the sects Sunnah and Shi‘ah. It was narrated in the Musnads and Sahihs of Ahl al-Sunnah, through more than thirty Companions.
Since I, as usual, never argue by the books of the Shi‘ah or sayings of their ‘ulamā’, who have reported the Hadith al-Thaqalayn, acknowledging its veracity, so that the discussion be objective, fair and square (though fairness and equity necessitating that a reference should be made too to the Shi‘ah). Hereinafter a brief list of the narrators of this hadith from among the Sunni ‘ulamā’.
1. Sahih Muslim: "kitāb fadā’il ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib". Vol. VII P.122
2. Sahih al-Tirmidhi, Vol.V.P.328
3. Al-’Imām al-Nasā’i in his book al-Khasā’is. p.21
4. Al-’Imām Ahmād ibn Hanbal. in his Musnad, Vol.III,P.17
5. Mustadrak al-Hākim, vol.III, P.109
6. Kanz al-’ummāl, vol.I, p.154
7. Ibn Sa’d in al-Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. II, p.194
8. Ibn al-’Athir in Jāmi‘ al-’usul, vol.I, p.187
9. Al-Suyuti in al-Jāmi‘ al-saghir, vol.I, p.353
10. Al-Haythami in Majma‘ al-Zawā’id, vol.IX, p.163
11. Al-Nabhāni in al-Fath al-kabir, vol.I, p.451
12. Ibn al-’Athir in Usd al-ghābah fi ma‘rifat al-Sahābah, vol.II, p.12
13. Ta’rikh Ibn ‘Asākir vol.V, p.436
14. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol.IV,p.113
15. Al-Tāj al-Jāmi‘ li al-’usul, vol.III,p.308
Added to these, Ibn Hajar who mentioned it in his book al-Sawā‘iq al-muhriqah, acknowledging its veracity, beside al-Dhahabi in his Talkhis admitting its correctness provided that it be accepted by the Shaykhayn, Ibn al-Maghāzili al-Shāfi‘i and al-Tabarrāni in his Mu’jam, with the author of al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah fi hāmish al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, and the author of Yanābi‘ al-mawaddah, beside others.
Can anyone claim, after this, that Hadith al-Thaqalayn "The Book of Allah and my ‘Itrah": being unknown by the Sunnis, and appertaining to the Shi‘ah alone?? May Allah curse fanaticism, thought inaction and Jahiliyyah fervour.
Hence Hadith al-Thaqalayn in which the Messenger (S) recommended to hold fast to the Book of Allah and his Pure kindred (‘itrah), is a correct hadith in the perspective of Ahl al-Sunnah as mentioned before, and it is regarded by the Shi‘ah more authentic and having stronger chains going back to the Pure Imams.
So why do some raise doubts about this hadith, trying their best to substitute it with the Book of Allah and my Sunnah"? And though the author of Miftāh Kunuz al-Sunnah reports from al-Bukhāri, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Mājah, in page No.478 under the heading; "His (S) recommendation with the Book of Allah and His Messenger’s Sunnah." But when going into these four books we can never see any hint or reference to this hadith. True, you may find within Sahih al-Bukhāri the chapter titled “Kitāb al-’i‘tisām bi al-Kitāb wa al-Sunnah,”2 but you never find such a hadith at all.
That which can be found in Sahih al-Bukhāri and the aforementioned books being a hadith saying:
“Talhah ibn Musarraf is reported to have said: I asked ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ubayy Awfā (may God be pleased with them): Has the Prophet (may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) committed to anyone’s charge? He replied: No. I said then: So how was bequest (wasiyyah) prescribed for people, or how were they commanded to write a will? He said: He recommended with the Book of Allah.”3
So no reference is there to a hadith uttered by the Messenger of Allah, saying in it: "I am leaving behind among you two precious things (Thaqalayn): the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." And if supposedly such a hadith is there in some books, it would be to no avail since unanimity was, as mentioned before, to the contraty. Further, should we investigate the hadith. "The Book of Allah and my Sunnah," we will verily see it not congruous with truth, neither through quoting (naql) nor reason (Aql). For refuting it there are several causes:
First: The historians and traditionists concur that the Messenger of Allah (S) has forbidden anyone from writing down his traditions, and no one could claim that he was inscribing the Prophetic Sunnah during his lifetime. The Messenger’s saying"I am leaving behind among you the Book of Allah and my Sunnah" then can never be reasonable. And concerning the Book of Allah, it is inscribed and preserved in the bossoms of men, in a way that any Companion can refer to the Qur’ān, even though being not among the memorizers. But as regards the Prophetic Sunnah, there is nothing inscribed or compiled during the Prophet’s lifetime, and the Prophetic Sunnah as is widely known and agreed upon, being whatever said, or done or determined by the Messenger (S). And as is known too, the Messenger never used to gather his Companions for teaching them the Prophetic Sunnah, but rather he used to address them, in all occcasions, with the attendance of some or only one of his Companions. In this case, how would the Messenger say to them, I am leaving behind among you my Sunnah??
Second Cause: When the Messenger of Allah became in a low state of health, three days before his death, he asked to bring him the scapula and inkhorn, so as to write a book after which they would never go astray. Thereat ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb said: The Messenger of Allah is hallucinating, and we are sufficed with the Book of Allah. 4
Had the Messenger (S) told them previously: I am leaving behind among you the Book of Allah and my Sunnah, it would have been infeasible for ‘Umar to say: The Book of Allah is sufficient for us!, as in this case he with the Sahābah sharing his opinion, would be renegading against the Messenger of Allah, the fact that would never be approved of by Ahl al-Sunnah.
Thus it can be realized that this hadith was only fabricated by some of the latters who harbour animosity against Ahl al-Bayt, especially after excluding them away from caliphate. It was as if that who composed the hadith "the Book of Allah and my Sunnah" was astonished to see people adhering to the Book of Allah, forsaking the ‘Itrah and following the guide of other than them, so he thought that he would, through fabricating this hadith, rectify their course, removing any criticism and sarcasm far from the Sahābah who contradicted the testament of the Messenger of Allah (S).
Third Cause: It is known that the first incident Abu Bakr faced during the first days of his caliphate, was his decision to fight those refusing to pay the zakāt (poor-due), despite opposition on the part of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb, beside quoting the Messenger’s hadith (as an evidence):
"Whoever says, there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, his property and blood will be immune against me except when it is due, and his accountability is with Allah."
Hence, if the Messenger’s Sunnah was publicly known, it was not to be ignored by Abu Bakr while he was supposed to be the most entitled to recognize it.
But thereafter ‘Umar was satisfied with Abu Bakr’s interpretation for the hadith he narrated, and his saying that zakāt being the levy on money (māl). They were unaware, or neglected the Messenger’s actual and non-interpreted Sunnah, being the story of Tha’labah who refused to pay the zakāt to the Messenger of Allah (S), and a Qur’ānic verse was revealed in his regard. Nevertheless, the Messenger neither fought him, nor forced him to pay it. Another example can be seen in Abu Bakr and ‘Umar’s displeasure concerning the Messenger’s delegating Usāmah ibn Zayd as a commander of a battalion. When he defeated the disbelievers, he pursued one of them and as he caught him, he (the enemy) said: There is no god but Allah! Whereat Usāmah killed him. When this news reached the Prophet(S), he said to Usāmah: O Usāmah, did you kill him after uttering ‘lā ilāha illā Allāh?’ He replied: He was seeking protection through his saying, and he kept on repeating it till I wished I had never embraced Islam before that day.5
However, this can never be a proof making us to believe in the hadith “The Book of Allah and my Sunnah”, since the Companions were the first in ignoring the Prophetic Sunnah, so how about those who succeeded them, and those whose houses were distant from al-Madinah?
Fourth Cause: It is known also that so many of the Sahābah’s deeds after the Messenger’s demise, were contradictory to his Sunnah. Those Sahābah either were aware of his Sunnah and contradicted it deliberately, out of exerting their opinion against the Prophet’s texts, the fact making them to be among those addressed by the Almighty’s saying:
"And it is not for a believer man or woman to have any choice in their affair when God and His Apostle have decided a matter; and whoever disobeyeth God and His Apostle, indeed he hath strayed off a manifest straying." (33:36)
Or they were unaware of the Prophet’s Sunnah, the case in which the Messenger of Allah would not be entitled to tell them: I am leaving behind among you my Sunnah, while knowing that his Companions and nearest people to him having no knowledge of it, so what about those succeeding them who neither recognized nor seen the Prophet (S).
Fifth Cause: It is known further that the (Prophetic) Sunnah was never inscribed but only during the era of the ‘Abbāsid State, and the first book written on hadith was al-Muwatta’ of al-’Imām Mālik. That was after the great sedition, Battle of al-Harrah and proscription of al-Madinah, with slaying the Sahābah forcibly. After all that, how would anyone have confidence in narrators trying to make advances to the Emperor for gaining worldly lusts? For this reason, there was great confusion and disagreement in between the traditions, with the Ummah being divided into several madhāhib (schools of thought), in a way that whatever was approved by this school was negated by the other ones, and vice versa.
How would we believe that the Messenger of Allah said (I am leaving behind among you the Book of Allah and my Sunnah) while knowing that the hypocrites and deviants would be lying against him, when he said: "The liars against me have multiplied. Whoever lies against me should occupy his abode in fire."
So if liars did increase in number during his lifetime, how would he charge his Ummah to follow his Sunnah, while they having no knowledge of it, or be able to distinguish the sound from the unsound and the weak from the authentic ones.
Sixth Cause: Ahl al-Sunnah report in their Sihāh that the Messenger of Allah (S) has left behind two precious assets (thaqalayn), or two caliphs, or two things. Once they narrate (that he (S) said) the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Messenger, and another time that he said: I ask you to adhere to my Sunnah and the sunnah of the Rightly-guided caliphs after me. It should be known that the latter hadith adds the sunnah of the caliphs to the Book of Allah and His Messenger’s Sunnah, so as to make the sources of legislation three instead of two ones, the fact contradicting the correct version of Hadith al-Thaqalayn, upon which there is agreement between the Sunnah and Shi‘ah, which says: "the Book of Allah and my ‘Itrah", for which we introduced more than twenty sources from among the authentic Sunni references,, beside the Shi‘ah sources that we didn’t mention.
Seventh Cause: If the Messenger of Allah (S) knows for certain that his Companions, with whose language and dialects the Qur’ān was revealed (as they claim) had no good knowledge of its tafsir or ta’wil (interpretation), so what about those to succeed them, and how would be the case of those embracing Islam from among the Romans, Persians, Abyssinians and all the non-Arabs who neither comprehend nor speak the Arabic.
It is confirmed in the books of hadith that Abu Bakr was once asked about the meaning of the Holy verse: "And fruits and the herbage," he said: Which sky can overshadow me, and which land can bear me, when I claim something I know not regarding the Book of Allah.6 ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb also was unaware of the meaning of this verse, as Anas ibn Mālik is reported to have said: Once upon a day ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb ascended the minbar (rostrum) and recited: “and caused We to grow therein the grain. And grapes and the vegetables. The Olive and the Palm. And gardens enclosed, thick with trees. And fruits and the herbage.”
He said: All these things are known for us, but what is meant by “abbā”? Then he said: By God, this is the affectation in itself. What happens if you know not the meaning of “abb”, you can follow and apply what was exposed and demonstrated from the Book. and whatever is not known for you, leave it to its Lord.”7
Whatever is said here in interpreting the Book of Allah, is said also in explaining the Holy Prophetic Sunnah. Many a Prophetic hadith remained a topic of controversy between the Sahābah, and among the schools, and also between the Sunnah and Shi‘ah, either due to confirming or weakening the hadith, or because of interpreting and comprehending it. For elucidation, I supply the dear reader with some examples in this regard:
1) Disagreement among Sahābah about Veracity or Fabrication of hadith:
This case has actually happened for Abu Bakr during the first days of his caliphate, when Fātimah al-Zahrā’ came toward him demanding to hand her Fadak, which he seized from her after the demise of her father. But he denied her claim that her father the Messenger of Allah donated it to her during his lifetime. And when she demanded from him the inheritance of her father, he told her that the Messenger of Allah said once: "We, the folk of prophets, never give as inheritance what we leave as alms."
She, in turn, denied the ascription of this hadith to her father, arguing with the Book of Allah. The dispute and debate heated between them, till she passed away while being wrathful against him, forsaking and never talking to him, as reported in both Sahih al-Bukhāri and Sahih Muslim.
Added to this the dispute between ‘A’ishah and Abu Hurayrah concerning the ruling of who entered upon the morning while being ritually impure (junub) during the month of Ramadān. She opinioned that his fasting being valid with keeping on his condition, whereas Abu Hurayrah’s view was that: whoever enters upon the morning in a state of ritual impurity, he should break his fasting. Hereafter the incident in details:
Al-’Imām Mālik in al-Muwatta’ and al-Bukhāri in his Sahih, report from ‘A’ishah and Umm Salamah, the Prophet’s wives, that they said: The Messenger used to enter upon the morning in the Month of Ramadān in a state of ritual impurity, out of copulation not out of having a venereal (wet) dream (ihtilām), and was keeping on his fasting. Abu Bakr reports from ‘Abd al-Rahmān that he said: I and my father were in a gathering near Marwan ibn al-Hakam, the Emir of al-Madinah, when someone told him that Abu Hurayrah holds that: whoever enters upon the morning (in Ramadān) in the state of janābah, he should break the fasting of that day.
Thereat Marwan said: O ‘Abd al-Rahmān, I take an oath by God upon you to betake your self toward the two mothers of believers, ‘A’ishah and Umm Salamah, and inquire about this from them. Then I and ‘Abd al-Rahmān went together till we entered upon ‘A’ishah, when he saluted her and said: O Umm al-Mu’minin, we were near Marwan ibn al-Hakam, and he was told that Abu Hurayrah holds that whoever enters upon the morning as junub (ritually impure), he should break the fasting of that day. ‘A’ishah said: O ‘Abd al-Rahmān, it is not as Abu Hurayrah claims. Do you want to turn away from what was done by the Messenger of Allah? ‘Abd al-Rahmān replied: No, by God. Then ‘A’ishah said: He witnessed against the Messenger of Allah (S) that he used to keep on fasting the day on which he would enter upon its morning in the state of ritual impurity out of copulation not out of having a venereal dream.
He said: We went out and entered upon Umm Salamah, when he asked her the same question and she gave the same reply as that of ‘A’ishah, and then we went to Marwan ibn al-Hakam, to whom ‘Abd al-Rahmān mentioned what these two (women) said. Thereat Marwan said: O Abu Muhammad, would you get on my mount at the door, and betake yourself to Abu Hurayrah who is in his land of al-’Aqiq, and inform him about this. So ‘Abd al-Rahmān and I got on the mount and went to Abu Hurayrah, when ‘Abd al-Rahmān talked to him for an hour, telling him about the matter, whereat Abu Hurayrah said: I have no knowledge of this but I was told by someone.8
Look, Dear reader, to a Companion like Abu Hurayrah, who is considered by the Sunnis as the Islam narrator; how he issues religious verdicts according to surmise, ascribing them then to the Messenger of Allah (S), without being aware of who has appraised him with them.
‘Abd Allāh ibn Muhammad reports from Hishām ibn Yusuf, from Mu’ammar, from al-Zuhri, from Abu Maslamah, from Abu Hurayrah that he said: The Prophet (S) said: There is neither contagion, nor paleness, nor vermin. An Arab said: O The Messenger of Allah, what is the matter with the she-camels that being in the sand like the deers, and then when being associated with the mange camel, they be infected with mange? The Messenger of Allah replied: Who has infected the former.
Abu Salamah also reports that he heard Abu Hurayrah say: The Prophet (S) said: No diseased should be brought unto a healthy one. Then Abu Hurayrah denied his first hadith, and we said: Haven’t you narrated that no contagion is there? Thereat he jargonized in the Abyssinian language. Abu Salamah said: I never saw him forgetting any other hadith than it.9
So, that is, O intelligent reader, the Sunnah of the Messenger, or say, what is ascribed to the Messenger. As Abu Hurayrah that he has no knowledge of his former hadith, but he was told by some news-teller, and another time when he is confronted with his contradiction, he can’t give a reasonable reply but only jargonizes in the Abyssinian dialect so as no one be able to understand his speech.
Abu Jarih is reported to have said: I heard ‘Atā’ informing and said: ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr told me, saying: I and Ibn ‘Umar were leaning onto ‘A’ishah’s room, hearing the sound of brushing her teeth with the toothbrush. He says: I said: O ‘Abd al-Rahmān, did the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him and his Household) perform the ‘umrah in Rajab?
He replied: Yes. I said to ‘A’ishah: O bondmaid, don’t you hear what Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmān say: She said: What does he say? I replied: He says that the Prophet performed ‘umrah (minor pilgrimage) in the Month of Rajab. She said: "May Allah forgive ‘Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmān. By my life the Prophet has never performed ‘umrah in Rajab, and he never made ‘umrah but only when being accompanied by him." He said. And Ibn ‘Umar was hearing, but he said neither ‘no’ nor ‘yes’, and kept silent.10
When there is disagreement regarding the Prophetic Sunnah between ‘Umar and Abu Bakr, between Abu Bakr,11 and Fātimah (‘a),12 among the Prophet’s wives13, and between Abu Hurayrah and ‘A’ishah with contradiction,14 and between Ibn ‘Umar and ‘A’ishah,15 and also between Abd Allāh Ibn ‘Abbās and Ibn al-Zubayr,16 and further between ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib and ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān.17 And when the Sahābah differ among themselves concerning the Prophetic Sunnah18 to the extent that the Tābi‘un (followers) after them were left with more than seventy creeds (madhhabs). Hence Ibn Mas‘ud had his own madhhab, and so had Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Abbas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn ‘Uyaynah, Ibn Jarih, al-Hasan al-Basri, Sufyān al-Thawri, Mālik, Abu Hanifah, al-Shāfi‘i, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal beside many others. But the political developments have done away with all of them, with only the four schools of thought are left, which are known for Ahl al-Sunnah.
Despite the small number of the schools of thought, but they differ regarding most of the fiqhi questions, due to their disagreement as regards the Prophetic Sunnah. One of them, for instance, may establish his judgement on some question according to what he approved from the Messenger’s hadith, while another one may exert his opinion or makes analogy (qiyās) with another issue, due to the non-existence of the text and hadith on its regard.
The disagreement between the Sunnah and Shi‘ah regarding this question, may be due to two main reasons: One of them being unauthenticity of the hadith in the view of the Shi‘ah if one of its narrators being of those whose justice being vilified, though being among the Sahābah. That is due to the fact that the Shi‘ah never believe in the justice of the Companions as a whole, as Ahl al-Sunnah do.
Added to this, they reject any hadith contradicting the reporting of Ahl al-Bayt Imams, since they give it priority over narration of others, however high their position be, introducing for this strong proofs from the Qur’ān and (Prophetic) Sunnah, which being confirmed even by their opponents, to which reference was made before.
The second reason for disagreement betwen them stems from the concept meant by the hadith itself, as it may be interpreted by Ahl al-Sunnah contrarily to the interpretation of the Shi‘ah, as in the case of the afore-mentioned hadith, uttered by the Prophet (S) thus:
"Difference of my Ummah is a blessing."
Ahl al-Sunnah interpret it to mean that difference among the four schools of thought in respect of fiqhi affairs being a blessing for the Muslims. Whereas the Shi‘ah interpret it to mean visiting each other and caring for acquiring knowledge with alike benefits (being a blessing).
Or it may mean disagreement between the Shi‘ah and Sunnah, not regarding the interpretation of the Prophetic hadith, but regarding the person or persons meant by it, like the Messenger’s saying: "Adhere to my Sunnah and the sunnah of the Rightly-guided Caliphs after me." Ahl al-Sunnah interpret it to mean the four caliphs, whereas the Shi‘ah take it to mean the Twelve Imams, beginning with ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib and ending with al-Mahdi Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-‘Askari (peace be upon them all).
Or the hadith uttered by him (S):"The successors after me are twelve, all belonging to Quraysh."
The Shi‘ah mean by it the Twelve Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), whereas Ahl al-Sunnah can’t find a satisfactory interpretation for this hadith. Moreover, they have differed even in respect of the chronicles related to the Prophet (S), as in the case of the day of his birth. Ahl al-Sunnah celebrate the Prophet’s birth on the twelfth of Rabi al-’Awwal while the Shi‘ah celebrate it on the seventeenth of the same month.
By my life, this difference concerning the Prophetic Sunnah is an inevitable natural matter, during the absence of a religious authority (marji‘) to whom all people refer, with his judgement being efficacious, and his opinion accepted by all, as the Messenger (S) was. He used to root out all the disputes and settle any conflict, judging according to Allah’s revelation, so they Muslims were but to submit though feeling, annoyed in their bossoms. So the presence of such a person is a necessity for the Ummah as long as it exists on earth! Such is determined by reason, and it is impossible for the Messenger of Allah to neglect this fact while knowing that his Ummah will pervert Allah’s words after his demise.
Therefore it was incumbent upon him to prepare and bring up for it a competent able teacher, so as to lead it to the right path whenever it trying to deviate or go astray. And he has actually prepared for his Ummah a great leader, doing his utmost in bringing him up and educating and teaching him all kinds of knowledge, from, birth till attaining perfection and gaining near him a position which being the same as Aaron had to Moses. So he entrusted him the following mission by saying:
“I fight them regarding revelation of the Qur’ān and you fight them regarding its interpretation.”19
And also his saying:
“O ‘Ali, you will verily demonstrate for my Ummah all that they differed about after me.”20
So, when the Qur’ān, Allah’s noble book, requires someone to fight for interpreting and exposing it, since it is a silent book that cannot speak, having numerous and various meanings and denotations, and containing the visible (Zahir) and unvisible (bātin) or hidden (meanings), so how would be the case with the Prophetic traditions?
When this be the truth about the Book and Sunnah, it would be improper for the Messenger (S) to leave behind for his Ummah two silent and dumb thaqalayn (weighty assets), in a way that those in whose hearts is doubt would feel no compunction in explaining them allegorically for a (hidden) purpose. Pursuing, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension, and seeking (to gain) worldly lusts, so as to mislead those succeeding them, since they thought of them well, believing in their justice, and being then repentful on the Doomsday, to be among those meant by Allah’s saying
"On that day when their faces shall be turned into the fire, they shall say: "Oh would that we had obeyed God and obeyed the Apostle! And they shall say L"O our Lord~! verily we obeyed our chiefs and our elders, and they led us astray from the path.:" O our Lord! give them a double chastisement, and curse them a great curse." (33:66-68).
And His saying:
"Everytime a (new) people entereth (it) it shall curse its sister (people); until they have all come together into it, the later of them shall say about the former of them; "O our Lord! These are they who led us astray, therefore give them a double chastisement of the fire," He will say: "For every one (of you) double, but ye know not." (7:38)
Has deviation ever stemmed from other than this? No nation (Ummah) was left without an apostle sent by Allah, with the mission of showing them the path, and enlightening the route for them, but on the demise of every prophet, his people embarked on perverting, changing, and allegorically explaining Allah’s words according to their desires! Does any sane man imagine that the Messenger of Allah Jesus (‘a) claimed deity for himself before the Christians? Verily not, and it is too far from him. He addressed the Almighty saying: " I never told them anything other than what You commanded me with." In fact, the desires, avarices and worldliness altogether have prompted and pushed the Christians to such a practice. Hasn’t Jesus, and before him Moses, given them good tidings of the advent of Muhammad? But they explained the name Muhammad and Ahmad allegorically to mean the "savior", and they are still awaiting him.
Thus ta’wil (allegorical explanation) was verily the only reason that caused the Ummah of Muhammad to be divided into different numerous sects and schools of thought (seventy-three sects, all going to fire except only one). Now we are living amongst these sects and cutts; does anyone of them ascribe astrayal (dalālah) to itself? Or in other words: Is there one cult claiming to have contradicted the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Messenger? The contrary is true, as each one of them claims to be the only cult adherring to the Book and Sunnah. What will be the solution then??
Could the solution be far from the reach of the Messenger of Allah, or rather from Allah? I seek God’s forgiveness, as He is Subtile toward His bondmen, seeking their good, so it is inevitable for Him but to set for them a solution, so that he who perished might perish by a clear proof (of His sovereignty). And it is not His business — the Glorified — to neglect His creatures, leaving them without guidance, only that when we believe that it is Him Who desired disunity and pervertion for them so as to throw them into His fire, which is a void and invalid belief. I seek God’s forgiveness and turn to him from such an utterance that never fits Allah’s Glory, Wisdom and Justice.
So the Messenger’s saying that he has left behind the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Prophet can never be the reasonable solution for our issue, but rather it increases in our complexity and interpolation, and can never root out the rioters and deviants. The evidence for this can be seen clearly when they revolted against their Imam, proclaiming the slogan: Rule (hukm) belongs to Allah not to you, O ‘Ali! It is really a glistening slogan infatuating the mind of any hearer making him to believe the utterer to be so anxious to apply Allah’s precepts and rulings (ahkām), and rejecting the judgements of others than Him from among the human beings. But this is not true at all. Allah — the Exalted — said:
"And among men there are those who talk concerning the life here marveleth thee and he taketh God to witness as to what is in his heart yet he is the most violent of adversaries." (2:204)
True, we most the time are beguiled by the bombastic slogans, being unaware of what they keep behind, while such fact could never be kept from al-’Imām ‘Ali, as he being the gate of the city of knoweldge, so he answered them by saying: "It is a word of truth intended to denote falsehood."
Right, many words of truth are there, meant to indicate falsehood (bātil), how is that? When the Khawārij say to al-’Imām ‘Ali: "Rule belongs to God not to you, O ‘Ali," does this mean that Allah will appear on the earth and settle the dispute between them? Or they know that Allah’s judgement is stated in the Qur’ān, but ‘Ali has explained it according to his opinion? What proof they have, and how can’t one believe that it was them who explained God’s judgement allegorically? In fact he is more knowledgeable, truthful and precedent to Islam than them, and is Islam incarnated in other than him?
So it is just a seductive slogan used by them to overlay (the truth) before the naive people, with the aim of gaining their support to seek their help for fighting him and achieving victory against him (Ali), as occurring nowadays. Every time has its men, and shrewdness or cunningness can never stop, but rather it grows and increases since the contemporary shrewd people benefit from formers’ experiences. How many truth words are there intended to denote batil (falsehood), in the time-being?
Glittering and bombastic mottos, like those proclaimed by the Wahhabis against the Muslims, such as "monotheism and non-polytheism", so is there any Muslim rejects it? Or one Muslim community calling themselves "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā‘ah, so is there anyone among the Muslims who never likes to be with the company (Jama’ah) following the Prophet’s Sunnah? Or the banner raised by the Ba‘thists: "One Arab Nation with Immortal Message", and who can escape the beguilment of such a banner, before recognizing what is hidden by the Ba‘th Party and its founder Michael Aflaq?
May Allah help you O ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib, your wisdom remained and still will be resounding throughout time, as many words of truth intended to indicate falsehood. Once upon a day a scholar ascended the oration rostrum and exclaimed loudly: Whoever says: I am a Shi‘i we would say to him: You are a disbeliever, and whoever says I am a Sunni, we would say to him: You are a disbeliever. We need neither Shiah nor Sunnah, but we only seek Islam. It is a truth word meant to indicate falsehood, as which Islam is wanted by this scholar?
In our present time there is a multifarious Islam, and it was so even in the first century. As there was Islam of ‘Ali and Islam of Mu‘āwiyah with both of them having supporters and followers, being so fanatic to the extent of fighting each other. Further there was Islam of al-Husayn and Islam of Yazid who murdered Ahl al-Bayt in the name of Islam, claiming that al-Husayn has renegaded from Islam when revolting against Yazid. Moreover there is the Islam of Ahl al-Bayt and their Shi‘ah (followers), and Islam of the rulers and their subjects.
Throughout the course of history we see disagreements among the Muslims, as there may be the indulgent Islam, as called by the West, since its followers showed affection and friendship to the Jews and Christians, kneeling down to the two Superpowers. Lastly, there is also the fundamentalist Islam, which is labelled by the West as the Islam of fanaticism and petrification (tahajjur), or madmen of Allah.
After citing all this, no room is left for us to believe in the hadith "the Book of Allah and my Sunnah", for the aforementioned reasons.
The truth remains so clear and evident concerning the second hadith, upon which all Muslims unanimously concurred, that is: "the Book of Allah and my ‘Itrah, my Ahl al-Bayt", since this hadith solves all the problems leaving no room for any difference or dispute in interpreting any verse of the Qur’ān, or in confirming and explaining any Prophetic hadith. That can be achieved through referring to Ahl al-Bayt, to whom we are commanded to refer, particularly when realizing that those who were determined by the Messenger of Allah (S) being verily competent for such mission. No Muslim can have any doubt in the profundity of their knowledge, and zuhd (asceticism) and taqwā (piety). They are those far from whom Allah has removed uncleanness and cleansed with a thorough cleansing, making them to inherit the knowledge of the Book, in a way that they neither contradict it nor differ regarding its interpretation, and rather never separate from it till the Doomsday.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“I am leaving behind among you two successors the Book of Allah a rope extended from the heaven to the earth, and my kindred (‘Itrah) my Ahl al-Bayt. They will never separate till coming unto me at the Pond (hawd).”21
“So to be with the truthful, I should utter the truth never fearing on this way the blame of those who have authority to blame, with the only objective of seeking God’s pleasure, and pleasing my conscience before gaining consent of people.”
The truth in this discussion is verily on the side of the Shi‘ah, who adhered completely to the Messenger’s recommendation regarding his ‘Itrah, giving them priority upon themselves, taking them as Imams and leaders, seeking nearness to Allah through showing love to them, and following their guide. So may it give them pleasure by winning the world and Hereafter, where everyone will be resurrected and gathered with whoever he loved (in the world), and what a pleasure would be to gain the company of those whom he adored and followed their guidance.
O God, make us among those committed and adherant to the rope of their loyalty, and those following their course and method, getting in their ark, believing in their Imamate, and resurrected with their company. You guide whoever You will to a straight path