Among the creeds and beliefs with which Ahl al-Sunnah defame the Shi‘ah, there are some which merely being resulted from the abominable partisanship, created by the Umayyads and ‘Abbāsids in the early epoch fo Islam, out of their grudge and hatred against al-’Imām ‘Ali, to the extent that they kept on cursing him on the tribunes for forty years.
So no wonder to see them slandering and extremely disgracing everyone following him, to the extent that anyone of them preferred to be called a Jew than to be called a Shi’i. And their followers kept on this practice in every age and region, with the Shi’i being subject to be reviled all the time by Ahl al-Sunnah, since he contradicts them in their beliefs and is regarded a renegade against their company. They used to calumniate him with all sorts of slanders, charging him with all accusations, calling him with numerous (bad) nicknames, and contradicting him in all his sayings and acts.
Some of the well-known Sunni ‘ulamā’ say: “Putting on the finger-ring in the right hand being a Prophetic sunnah (habit), but it should be abandoned since the Shi‘ah made out of it a motto for them.1
Further, Hujjatul Islam Abu Hāmid al-Ghazzāli says: Flattening the graves is legitimately prescribed by Islam, but when the Rufiddah (Shi‘ah) made it a motto for them we substituted it with tasnim (making large humps).
Also Ibn Taymiyyah, who is labelled by some of them with the epithet al-Muslih al-Mujaddid (the Reviving Reformer), says: Hence, several fuqahā’ embarked on abandoning some of the recommended acts (mustahabbāt), when noticing that they were turned to a motto for the Shi’ah. Though abandoning these acts is not obligatory, but demonstrating these acts would mean resembling them (the Shi‘ah), so as no one would distinguish between the Sunni and the Rāfidi, and the convenience in being distinguished from them for the sake of forsaking and contradicting them is greater than the convenience implied in the recommended act.2
When asked about the way of lowering the turban, al-Hāfiz al-‘Iraqi said: I have never come across any evidence indicating the specification of the right side, but only in an unauthentic (da‘if) hadith reported by al-Tabarrāni. And as estimated through his prophecy, it might be that he used to let it down on the right side turning it then to the left as practised by some. But since this practice turned to be a distinguishing motto for the Imāmiyyah, so it should be abandoned and left in order to evade being resembled to them.3
Glorified is Allah! And there is neither might nor power but in God! Everyone can observe clearly how the bigotry allows these so-called ‘ulamā’ to contradict the Prophet’s Sunnah, while the Shi’ah have adhered to those sunan (precepts) till becoming a motto for them. Furthermore they see no interdiction in confessing this practice frankly. Praise belongs to Allah Who manifested the truth to everyone having foresight and sincerely seeking for truth. Praise be Allah’s Who demonstrated to us that the true followers of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah being thet Shi’ah as you yourselves testified! As you gave witness against yourselves that you neglected the Messenger’s Sunnah in purpose, so as to contradict the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt and their devoted Shi‘ah, and followed the sunnah of Mu‘āwiyah ibn Abi Sufyān, as testified by al-’Imām al-Zamakhshari when proving that the first to put on a ring in the left hand, contrary to the Prophetic Sunnah, was Mu‘āwiyah ibn Abi Sufyān.4
You also followed the sunnah of ‘Umar in his innovation of al-tarawih prayers, contrary to the Prophetic Sunnah that commanded the Muslims to perform the supererogatory prayers (nāfilah) by ones (furādā) at home, not congregationally, as by al-Bukhāri in his Sahih,5 and as confessed by ‘Umar himself of its being a bid‘ah (heresy)6 innovated by him, without being performed by him since he never believed in it. It is reported by al-Bukhāri, from ‘Abd al-Rahmān ibn ‘Abd al-Qāri, that he said: I went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb, during one of the nights of the Month of Ramadān the mosque, when we noticed people separated into groups, with some man praying alone once and also praying as a leader (imām) being followed by a multitude of people. Thereat ‘Umar said: I opine that gathering all these people under one reciter (qāri’), will be more proper and better. Then he (‘Umar) gathered them to follow Ubayy ibn Ka’b (in performing supererogatory prayers). ‘Abd al-Rahmān added: The next night I went out with him (‘Umar), and we found people perform their prayers through following their reciter (leader), when ‘Umar said: What a good bid‘ah (heresy) is this! ....7
What arouses our wonder in this respect is considering it a bounty (ni‘mah) after it was forbidden by the Messenger? That was when they exclaimed loudly, after gathering in front of the door of his house (the Prophet’s) asking him to lead them in performing the nāfilah prayer of the Month of Ramadān. He (S) went out, furious and angry, saying to them:
“The making of your hands is still pushing you till I thought it to be prescribed on you. You have to abide by performing prayers (nāfilah) in your houses, as the best prayer of man being in his house, except the prescribed (obligatory) prayers.”8
Further, you followed the sunnah of ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān, which calls for completing the prayers during travel (four-rak‘ah prayers), contrary to the Sunnah of the Messenger (S) who used to perform it (travel prayer) in two rak‘ahs (qasr).9
Had I intended to enumerate all the rules in which you contradicted the Messenger’s Sunnah, it would need a separate book, but we suffice with your witness through what you confessed against yourselves. Sufficient is also your testimony through your confession that the Rafidite Shi’ah have taken the Prophet’s Sunnah as a motto for them.
After all these evidences, will there remain any reason to admit the ignorants claiming that the Shi‘ah have followed ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib, while Ahl al-Sunnah have followed the Messenger of Allah? Do these people want to prove that ‘Ali contradicted the Messenger of Allah, and invented a new religion? What a greatly slandering word coming out from their mouths! ‘Ali is verily the very incarnation, interpreter and guardian of the Prophetic Sunnah, and in his regard the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“The position ‘Ali has to me is the same that I have to my Lord.”10
That is, in the same way as Muhammad (S) being the only one propagating on behalf of his Lord, so also is ‘Ali, being alone in propagating on behalf of the Messenger of Allah. But the fault of ‘Ali lies in the fact that he never acknowledged the caliphate of those predecessors, and the fault of his followers (Shi’ah) being in their following his guide in refusing to submit and be under the caliphate of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmān, the reason why they were called Rawafid.
If these people (Ahl al-Sunnah) deny the (Prophetic) Sunnah’s being followed by the Shi’ah’s beliefs and sayings, it stems from two reasons: The first being the animosity flared up by the Umayyad rulers through spreading falsities and publicities, and composing fabricated narrations.
The second reason being that the Shi’ah’s doctrines contradict their (Sunnah’s) opinions in supporting the caliphs and confirming their blunders and ijtihādat (exertions of opinion) against the texts (nusus), particularly the Umayyad rulers, at the head of whom being Mu‘āwiyah ibn AbiSufyān.
Hence, every truth-seeker, following up the matter, will find out that the dispute between the Shi’ah and Ahl al-Sunnah originated, in fact, since the Saqifah Day, and exacerbated afterwards, and every dispute erupted after it is verily dependent on and stemmed from it. The best evidence for this being that the beliefs and creeds with which Ahl al-Sunnah vilify their brethren the Shi’ah, are firmly relevant with and ramifying from the issue of caliphate, like the number of the Imams, the text in determining the Imam, infallibility, the Imams’ knoweldge, the badā’, taqiyyah (dissimulation), and the Promised al-Mahdi, beside other beliefs.
Investigating the claims of the two parties in an unprejudiced way, we will never see any long distance between their beliefs, finding no justification for this exaggeration and vilification. As when you read the books of the Sunnah in which they revile the Shi’ah, you will imagine that the Shi’ah have contradicted Islam, and violated its principles and legislations, inventing another religion.
While any equitable researcher will find in the Shi’ah’s doctrines, a firm origin in the Qur’ān and Sunnah, and even in the books of those contracting them in these doctrines and vilifying them with.
Moreover, those doctrines never contain or imply anything contrary to reason ('Aql), or narration (naql) or morals. For proving to you, dear reader, the veracity of my claims, I will review with you those doctrines (‘aqā’id).
The Shi’ah observe: The Imam — like the Prophet — should be infallible against (perpetrating) all kinds of indecencies and vices, whether the apparent or hidden ones, deliberately or out of forgetfulness, from childhood till death.
Further, he should be immune against any lapse, erring and oblivion, since the Imams are the guardians of the Islamic Law, and responsible for bringing it into effect, exactly as the Prophet is. The evidence that made us believe in the infallibility of the prophets being the same one obligating us to believe in the infallibility of the Imams, with no slight difference.
This is clearly the Shi’ah’s opinion regarding the issue of infallibility (‘ismah). Does it contain anything contradicting the Qur’ān and Sunnah? Or what can’t be imagined by reason? Or that which disgraces and be detrimental to Islam, or belittling the status of the Prophet or the Imam?
Far it be from it and verily it is not so; we never see in this saying but a confirmation to the Book of Allah and His Prophet’s Sunnah, and that which goes on with the sound reason, without contradicting it, but rather that which elevates and honours the Prophet and the Imam.
We initiate our discussion with following up the Holy Qur’ān.
Allah, the Exalted, said:
“Verily, verily God intendeth but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness O’ ye the people of the House, and purify you (with) a thorough purification)....” (33:33)
If removing the uncleanness that includes all kinds of mischiefs, and purifying from all sins, do not denote ‘ismah, but what does it mean then??
The Almighty Allah says:
“Verily those who guard (themselves against evil) when an evil thought from the Satan afflicteth them, they become mindful (of God and get awakened) then lo! They see (aright).” (7:201)
So if the pious believer bring protected by Allah against the stratagems of the Satan, when trying to provoking and misleading him, so as to become mindful and see the truth and follow it, what to say then regarding those whom were chosen by Allah the Glorious, removing uncleanness from and purifying them a thorough purification??
Allah says in another verse:
“Then made We the inheritors of the Book (Qur’ān) those whom chose We from among Our servants ...” (35:32).
And undoubtedly that who is chosen by Allah, the Glorified, should be immaculate from errors. By this verse, in particular, al-’Imām al-Ridā (‘a) argued against the ‘ulamā’ gathered by the ‘Abbāsid Caliph al-Ma’mun ibn Hārun al-Rashid, proving to them that they (Ahl al-Bayt Imams) being verily the ones meant by the afore-mentioned verse, and whom Allah has chosen and made inheritors of the knowledge of the Book, whereat they (‘ulamā’) admitted and acknowledged that fact.1112
These were some examples from the Holy Qur’ān, and other verses are there indicating infallibility for the Imams, like His saying, “....leaders guiding (the people) by Our command”, beside other verses, but we suffice with these ones due to brevity.”
After the Holy Qur’ān, we cite some proofs from the Prophetic Sunnah:
The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“O people, I am leaving among you that which if you hold on to, you shall never go astray: the Book of Allah and my kindred, my household.”13
It is expressly indicating the Ahl al-Bayt Imams’ being infallible, since: First, the Book of Allah is verily unassailable, that falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind it, and is verily the word of Allah, that whoever doubts it has in fact denied God. Second: Due to the fact that the one holding on to them both (the Book and ‘Itrah) will be safe against astrayal and misguidance. So this hadith indicated clearly that lapse can never be found in the Book and ‘Itrah.
The Messenger of Allah (S) has also said:
“Verily, the parable of my ahl al-bayt is that of the boat of Noah; Whoever gets aboard it is saved, and whoever stays away from it is drowned.”14
As clearly seen, this hadith expressly stating that Ahl al-Bayt Imams (‘a) being infallible against (committing) sins, so anyone getting aboard their ark shall be saved, while that staying away from it shall be drowned in misguidance (dalālah).
Further, the Messenger of Allah said:
“Whoever desires to live my life and dies my death, and enters the heavens with which my Lord has promised me, which is the Land of the Leal (jannat al-khuld), he should follow the guide of ‘Ali and his offspring after him. They shall verily never take you out of the door of guidance and never bring you into the door of dalālah (misguidance).”15
It is also expressly stating that the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, who are ‘Ali and his progeny, being infallible against any lapse, since they never bring their followers into misguidance. And it is intuitive that anyone liable to commit a lapse, can never guide other people.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“I am the warner, and ‘Ali is the guide. And the rightly guided will be guided by you O ‘Ali after me.”16
Again this hadith explicitly shows the Imam’s being infallible, as it is unhidden for those who have understanding.
Al-’Imām ‘Ali himself has proved infallibility to be enjoyed by him and the Imams among his sons when he said:
“So wither are you going to, and how are you then turned away? Ensigns (of guidance) are standing, indications (of virtue) are clear, and the miracles (of light) have been fixed. Where are you being taken astray and how are you groping while you have among you the descendants of the Prophet? They are the reins of Right, ensigns of Faith and tongues of truth. Accord to them the same good position as you accord to the Qur’ān, and come to them (for quenching the thirst of guidance) as the thirsty camels approach the water spring.
O’ people, take this saying of the last of the prophets that he who dies from among us is not dead, and he who decays (after dying) from among us does not really decay. Do not say what you do not understand, because most of the Right is in what you deny. Accept the argument of one against whom you have no argument. It is I. Did I not act before you on the greater thaql (i.e. the Qur’ān) and did I not retain among you the smaller thaql (al-thaql al-’asghar, i.e. the descendants of the Prophet). I fixed among you the standard of faith...”17
After all these statements and excerptions from the Holy Qur’ān, and the Prophetic Sunnah, and sayings of al-’Imām ‘Ali all indicating the infallibility of all Imams (peace be upon them), can the intellect reject the ‘ismah of that who is chosen by Allah to guide (people)? The reply is definitely. No it can’t refuse this.On the contrary, reason ('Aql) believes in the obligation of that 'ismah, due to the fact that the one who is entrusted the task of leadership and guiding the mankind, can never be an ordinary human being subject to laspe and oblivion, burdened with sins and heavy guilts, so as to be vulnerable to vilification and criticism of people.
Rather, the reason necessitates that he (the Imam) should be the most knowledgeable, equitable, courageous and righteous of his time, the characteristics elevating the position of the leader, and glorifying him in the view of people. They too make all people to venerating and appreciating, and consequently obeying them without any reservation or adulation.
If so be the case, what causes all this vilification and exaggeration against whoever believing in this?
When listening to and reading the Ahl al-Sunnah’s critisim regarding the issue of infallibility, one will imagine that it is the Shi’ah who are girding the badge of ‘ismah to whomever they wish, or that the one believing in ‘ismah is claiming an abomination and blasphemy. Whereas the truth is neither this nor that, but ‘ismah in the perspective of the Shi’ah, is in fact the state in which the infallible should be favoured with a Divine care and Lordly patronage, so that neither Satan can seduce him, nor the soul enjoining unto evil can ever overcome his mind, leading him toward (perpetrating) sins. And Allah has never denied His pious bondmen this favour, as referred to in the verse:
“Verily those who guard (themselves against evil) when an evil thought from the Satan afflicteth them, they become mindful (of God and get awakened) then lo! they see (aright).” (7:201)
This provisional infallibility that is imparted upon Allah’s bondmen in a certain case, might vanish with the loss of the cause originating it, that is the taqwā (piety). As when the bondman being distant from piety of Allah, he shall never be protected by Allah, while the Imam, who is chosen by Allah the Glorified, never deviates or turns aside from taqwā and God-fearing.
In the Holy Qur’ān a story is cited about our master Yusuf (peace be upon him):
“And indeed she longed for him, and he (also) would have longed for her, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord; Thus it was that We turn away from him evil and shameful deeds; Verily he was (one) of Our freed servants.” (12:24)
And since our Lord Yusuf hasn’t longed for adultery (zinā) as interpreted by some exegetes, far be the prophets of Allah from such abominable act, but he in fact intended to drive her back and, if necessary, beat her. So Allah the Glorified prevented him from (perpetrating) such a sin, since had he perpetrated it, it would have been exploited as a plea to accusing him of corruption, so as to be a strong proof against him, afflicting him with evil on the part of them.
The Shi’ah hold that the number of the Infallible Imams, who succeeded the Prophet (S), being twelve Imams, no more no less. They were mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (S) by name and number,18 as follows:
1. Al-’Imām ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib.
2. Al-’Imām al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali.
3. Al-’Imām al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali.
4. Al-’Imām ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (Zayn al-‘Abidin).
5. Al-’Imām Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (al-Bāqir).
6. Al-’Imām Ja’far ibn Muhammad (al-Sādiq).
7. Al-’Imām Musā ibn Ja‘far (al-KāZim)
8. Al-’Imām ‘Ali ibn Musā (al-Ridā).
9. Al-’Imām Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (al-Jawād).
10. Al-’Imām ‘Ali ibn Muhammad (al-Hādi).
11. Al-’Imām al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (al-‘Askari).
12. Al-’Imām Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (al-Mahdi al-MuntaZar).
These are the Twelve Imams believed to be infallible by the Shi’ah, so as Muslims not to be beguiled and deceived. The Shi’ah, long ago and recently, never acknowledge anyone to be infallible except these Imams, who were determined by the Messenger of Allah before being born.
Their names, as mentioned before, were reported by Ahl al-Sunnah ‘ulamā’, and al-Bukhāri and Muslim reported in their Sahihs, the hadith of the Imams in number, who being twelve ones all from Quraysh.
These traditions never be true and proper but only when taking it to mean Ahl al-Bayt Imams, as believed by the Imāmiyyah Shi’ah. And the Sunnis are required to solve this enigma, since the number of the Twelve Imams which they reported in their Sihāh remained yet an unsolvable riddle.
The point which is exploited by Ahl al-Sunnah to revile the Shi’ah being their (Shi’ah’s) saying: “That the Ahl al-Bayt Imams (peace be upon them) have been distinguished by Allah the Glorified with a knowledge that no one shared them with. And that the Imam being the most knowledgeable of his time, with no possibility that he being questioned by someone and fails to give a reply!
Is there any evidence for this claim?
Let’s begin our discussion, as usual, by the Holy Qur’ān.
Allah, the Glorified and Most High, says in His Book:
“Then made We the inheritors of the Book (Quran) those whom chose We from among Our servants...” (35:32),
the verse clealry indicating that Allah, the Glorified, has chosen some servants from among people making them inheritors of the knowledge of the Book. Have we to recognize these upright people?
Previously we stated that the Eighth Imam of Ahl al-Bayt, ‘Ali ibn Musā al-Ridā, has proved that the aforementioned verse was revealed in their (Imams) regard. That was (when the Caliph) al-Ma’mun gathered for him forty famous judges, with every one of them preparing forty questions to put forth to him, for all of which he gave convincing answers that dumbfounded them, making them to admit his knowledgeability.1920
If this Imam being only fourteen years during this conversation with the fuqahā’, who admitted his knowledgeability, so how would it be strange then the Shi’ah’s belief in their knowledgeability, while Ahl al-Sunnah ‘ulamā’ and leaders acknowledge the same for them.
But when intending to interpret the Qur’ān by the Qur’ān, we shall see many verses indicating one meaning, stating that Allah, for an extreme wisdom, distinguished the Imams of the Prophet’s Household with a given knowledge of His own, so as to be leaders of guidance and lights for darkness.
The Almighty Allah said:
“He granteth wisdom to whomsoever He willeth, and he who hath been granted wisdom hath been given abundant good; and none shall mind it save those endowed with wisdom.” (2:269)
He also said:
“But nay! I swear by the setting of the stars. And verily it is a great oath if ye only knew it. Verily it is Qur’ān honourable. In a book hidden. Toucheth it not save the purified ones.” (56:75-79)
In this verse Allah the Glorified swore with a great oath, that the Holy Qur’ān contains secrets and inner concealed meanings that can never be comprehended with their real intentions but only by the purified ones, who are the people of the House from whom Allah has removed uncleanness and purified a thorough purification. This verse indicates too the Qur’ān’s having an innermost with which Allah, Subhanah, distinguished the Ahl al-Bayt Imams, that can never be recognized but only through them.
To this reality the Messenger of Allah has referred by saying: “Do not outstrip them, for then you shall perish, and do not fall short of them for then you shall perish. Do not teach them for they are verily more knowledgeable than you.”21
Al-’Imām ‘Ali himself also said: “Where are those who falsely and unjustly claimed that they are deeply versed in knowledge, as against us, although Allah raised us in position and kept them down, bestowed upon us knowledge but deprived them, and entered us (in the fortress of knowledge) but kept them out. With us guidance is to be sought and blindness (of misguidance) is to be changed into brightness. Surely Imams (divine leaders) will be from the Quraysh. They have been planted in this line through Hāshim. It would not suit others nor would others be suitable as heads of affairs.”22
Allah, the Exalted, said:
“Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not.” (16:43).
This verse also was revealed in the regard of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them).23 It indicates that the Ummah, after the demise of its Prophet, should refer to the Imams of the Household, in order to realize the realities. The Companions, as reported, referred to Al-’Imām ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib to explain for them the questions they could not solve, and throughout long years, people resorted to the Imams for recognizing the halāl (lawful) and harām (unlawful), and to acquire from their knowledge and virtues.
And when Abu Hanifah says: Had not been the two years, al-Nu‘mān would have perished (meaning the two years he spent on learning under al-’Imām Ja’far al-Sādiq). And when al-’Imām Mālik ibn Anas says: No eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no heart has ever thought of a human better than Ja’far al-Sādiq, in respect of virtue, knowledge, worship and godliness.24 When this be the case as admitted by Ahl al-Sunnah Imams, so why all this vilification and disapproval be made against Ahl al-Bayt, after citing all these proofs, and after Muslims history proved that Ahl al-Bayt Imams were the most knowledgeable men of their time. And why to be wondering when noticing Allah the Glorified distinguish His friends (awliyā’) “whom He chose” with wisdom and knowledge of His own, making them an ideal example for the believers and leaders for all Muslims.
Had the Muslims followed up each other’s evidences, they would have been convinced of acknowledging Allah and His Messenger, and would be one community some supporting the others, and neither disagreement nor various schools of thought (madhāhib) would have been there.
But all this is inevitable, so that Allah might conclude a thing that must be done,
“that he who perished (on that day) might perish by a clear proof (of His Sovereignty) and he who survived might survive by a clear proof (of His Sovereignty). Lo! Allah in truth is Hearer, Knower.” (8:42)
It means that some idea seems to Him regarding a thing. He intends to do, but then He changes His opinion concerning that thing, doing other than what He determined to do previously.
Concerning what the Shi’ah observe in respect of the badā’ with ascribing it to Allah, the Exalted, and vilifying them on the basis that it entails ascribing ignorance and incompleteness to Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, as the Sunnites conceive it. Verily this interpretation is false and never claimed by the Shi’ah, and whoever ascribes it to them has in fact slandered them. There are many evidences proving their belief, that can be derived from their sayings, in the past and recently.
In his book ‘Aqa’id al-’Imāmiyyah, al-Shaykh Muhammad Ridā al-MuZaffar says: “Al-Badā’ in this meaning is quite impossible to be ascribed to Allah, as it denotes ignorance and incompetence, which can enver be possible for the Most High God, and never believed by the Imāmiyyah.”
It is reported that Al-’Imām al-Sādiq (‘a) said: “Whoever claims that something seemed to be done by Allah in a repentful way (i.e. repented for not doing it before), we consider him as disbelieving in Allah the Great.” He also said: “Whoever alleges that something appeared newly for Allah, without being aware of it before, I proclaim freedom from him” (i.e. I never regard him a Muslim). So the badā’ believed by the Shi’ah, never transgresses the limits of the Qur’ān, as prescribed by Allah, the Glorified and the Most High, in the verse:
“(Of it) Effaceth out God whatever He pleaseth and confirmeth He (similarly); and with Him is the Mother (Basic Source) of the Book.” (15:39)
This belief is held by the Sunnis in the same way as held by the Shi‘ah. So why the Shi‘ah are vilified while Ahl al-Sunnah are exempted, whereas they (Sunnis) claim that Allah, the Glorified, alters the decrees and changes the prescribed destinies and sustenances (of mankind).
Ibn Mardawayh and Ibn ‘Asākir have reported from ‘Ali (‘a) that he once inquired the Messenger of Allah (S) about the verse: “Effaceth out God whatever He pleaseth and confirmeth He (similarly), and with Him is the Mother (Basic Source) of the Book.” In his reply, the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“I will verily delight you and also my Ummah after me with its interpretation. Charity in its due aspect, and to be kind to the parents, and doing the good (ma‘ruf), altogether render wretchedness (shaqa’) into bliss and increase in life, and safeguard against evil death.”
In the book al-Shu‘ab, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hātam and al-Bayhaqi reported from Qays ibn ‘Ubbād that he said: On every tenth night of the inviolable months, there is a certain thing (amr) for Allah, but on the tenth of Rajab, Allah effaces what He will, and establishes He (what He will).
‘Abd ibn Hamid, Ibn Jarir and Ibn al-Mundhir have reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb, while circumambulating round the House (of Allah), said:
“My God, if You have prescribed upon me a wretchedness (shaqāwah) or a sin (I implore you to) efface it, as You efface what You will and establish (what You will), and with You is the Mother (Basic Source) of the Book. (I beg You to) make it bliss and forgiveness.”25
In his Sahih,26 al-Bukhāri reported an amazing and strange story, about the ascension (to heaven) of the Prophet (may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny), and his meeting with his Lord, beside what is said by the Messenger (S):
“...Then fifty prayers were prescribed upon me, when I came toward Musā (‘a) who said: What have you done? I said: Fifty prayers are prescribed upon me. He said: I am better aware of people than you, as I have worked with and treated the Children of Israel so strictly, but your Ummah never endures (these prayers). Go back to your Lord and ask Him (to decrease them). So I returned and implored Him, whereat He made them forty. Then the same conversation was repeated with Moses, and they were made thirty. Then again the same thing was repeated and He made them (prayers) twenty, then the same and He made them ten. Thereat I came near Moses and he reiterated his speech. Then God made it only five (prayers), when I came near Musā who said: What have you done? I replied: (He (God) made it five. He said the same aforementioned words. I said: I saluted (Allah), but I heard a call (from Allah) saying: I have prescribed my obligation, and eased for My servants. I shall reward every good deed (hasanah) with ten ones.”27
In another narration reported also by al-Bukhāri, it is said: After reference of Muhammad (S) many many times to his Lord, and after obligating the five prayers, Musā (‘a) asked Muhammad (S) to refer to his Lord to ask Him more easiness, since his Ummah would never tolerate even five prayers. But Muhammad (may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) answered him saying: I feel ashamed of my Lord.28
Everyone reading this be baffled and amazed at these beliefs held by the Ahl al-Sunnah traditionists, who, nevertheless, vilify the Shi’ah, the followers of Ahl al-Bayt Imams, due to believing in the principle of badā’.
Through this tale, they presume that Allah the Glorifed has prescribed fifty prayers upon Muhammad (S), then it seemd for Him, after Muhammad’s referring to Him, to make them forty, and then, after another reference by Muhammad, to make them thirty, and so on, making them twenty, and then ten, and lastly five prayers after being asked by Muhammad for the fifth time.
Regardless of our admitting or refusing such a notion, it is to be known that holding the idea of badā’ being a sound belief, going with and complying to the concepts of Islam and spirit of the Qur’ān: “Verily God changeth not the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves ...” And without our belief — Sunnah and Shi’ah — that Allah changes and substitutes, all our prayers and supplications shall verily be devoid of any use or cause or explanation. We further believe that Allah, the Glorified, changes the judgements, and abrogates the laws from one prophet to another, and even in the Shariah of our Prophet (S) verily exist nāsikh (abrogating) and mansukh (abrogated). Hence, to believe in the principle of badā’ is neither blasphemy nor renegading from religion (aspotasy). So the Sunnites are asked not to vilify the Shi’ah due to this belief, and the Shi’ah, on their part, have no reason to vilify Ahl al-Sunnah.
On my part, I view this tale of mi‘rāj (ascension to heaven) as necessarily attributing ignorance (jahl) to Allah, the Mighty and the Glorious, and entailing defamation of the dignity of the greatest man ever known throughout mankind history, i.e. our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom and whose Progeny be God’s peace and benediction). That is because the tale says that Musā said to Muhammad (S): I am better aware of people than you, indicating that the decrease of prayers was done by virtue of Musā, i.e. without him Allah would have never eased for the Ummah of Muhammad (S).
I can never conceive, how would Musā know that the Ummah of Muhammad (S) can never endure even five prayers, while Allah knows not this and charges His bondmen with (duties) beyond their capacity, prescribing upon them fifty prayers?!
Brother reader, you can imagine the case in which fifty prayers are performed through one day, which meaning that no work or business shall be executed by the society, and people will never go out for learning or earning their living or undertaking any responsibility. In this way man will turn to be like angels, charged only with (performing) prayers (salāt) and worship. By making a simple arithmetic operation, we shall find out the falsification of this narration. When multiplying ten minutes — the reasonable time for performing one obligatory prayer (salāt) congregationally — by fifty, the result that we get will show that the determined time (for these prayers) shall be about ten hours. That means, you either have to tolerate and endure this burden, or you can reject such religion that imposes upon its followers duties beyond their capacity prescribing upon them obligations they can never endure.
Here a question is raised: If Ahl al-Sunnah vilify the Shi’ah for believing in badā’, and that Allah, after it seems for Him in a thing, changes His decision as He will, why don’t they vilify themselves their belief that it seems for Allah something and He changes the rule or judgement five times regarding one duty (faridah), and on one night being the night of mi‘rāj (ascension to heaven)?
May Allah’s damnation be upon such bigotry, and detested obstinacy overshadowing the realities, and turning them upside down, when the fanatic persecutes that who contradicts him in opinion, with negating the clear-cut matters. Beside that, he may vilify him, and disseminate rumours against him, with exaggerating regarding the simplest issues, in more horrible than which he may believe.
This reminds me of what is said by our master Jesus (peace be upon him) when addressing the Jews:
“You look at the straw in the eyes of people, but you never see the wood in your eyes.”
Or (reminds of) the proverb saying: “She infected me with her illness and slipped away.” Some may object that the term badā’ was never used by Ahl al-Sunnah, and that this story, though giving the meaning of changing and altering the judgement, but it never confirms decisively that something seemed (badā) for Allah in it.
I utter this since most often when I was citing the tale of mi‘rāj, making it as a proof to show the belief in the badā’ by the Sunnites, I was encountered with objection of some of them in relation to this opinion. But later on they submitted and admitted it when I showed them another narration from Sahih al-Bukhāri, that referring to the badā’ by a doubtless express term.
It is reported by al-Bukhāri, from Abu Hurayrah, that the Messenger of Allah (‘a) said: It was seemed for Allah to test three Israelites, a leprous, a blind and a bald. So He sent them an angel who came to the leprous one and asked him: Which thing you desire more? He replied: A good colour (for the feature) and a well-shaped skin, as I became disgustful for people. Then the angel rubbed him and he recovered from leprosy, with being given a good colour and well-shaped skin. After that the angel said to him: Which kind of property you like more? He said: The camels. So he was given a pregnant she-camel. Then he went to the bald one, and asked him: Which thing you desire more? He replied: A well-formed hair and be recovered from this (baldness). The angel rubbed his head when his baldness disappeared, and he was given fine hair. Then he asked him: Which kind of property you love more? He said: The cows. So he gave him a pregnant cow. Then he (the angel) came unto the blind one, and questioned him: Which thing you desire more? He said: May Allah give me back my sight. Then he wiped him and Allah returned his sight to him. Again he asked him: Which property you love more? He said: The sheep. Thereat he gave him a productive sheep ...
Then the angel returned to them, after multiplication of their camels, cows and sheep, until everyone of them turned to be owning a herd (of animals). He approached the leper and the bald and the blind, each with his same image. He asked each one of them to give him from what he owns. The bald and the leper repelled him (refused to give him), so Allah restored them to the same condition they were in. While the blind man gave him (of what he owned), as a result of which Allah increased in his property, and kept him wont to see. 29
Therefore I address my brothers with this verse:
“O’ ye who believe! Let not a people laught at (another) people (to scorn) who haply may be better than them; nor let women laugh at other women who haply may be better than these and find out not fault with your own selves nor call ye one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name (for any one) after his accepting the faith; and whoso turneth not (repenting against such of his conduct), these are they who are the unjust (ones).” (49:11)
I also have a heart-felt wish that Muslims come to their senses, forsake bigotry and let alone passion so as to be replaced by reason in every debate, even with their enemies. I hope that they learn from the Holy Qur’ān the proper way of investigation, discussion and argumentation with that which is better (method), as Allah revealed to His Messenger (S) to tell the obstinate:
“...Lo! We or you assuredly are rightly guided or in error manifest.” (34:24)
Thus the Messenger of Allah (S) elevates the position of these polytheists, with making concessions on his part, to make them feel equal to him so as to introduce their proofs and reason, had they been truthful. What a sublime morality had he, that can never attained by ordinary people.
In the same way we referred previously to the belief in the principle of badā’, taqiyyah (dissimulation) too is among the points disapproved and deplored by Ahl al-Sunnah. They misuse it to vilify their brethren, the Shi’ah, labelling them among the hypocrites, as they claim that they (Shi’ah) show the opposite of what they hide inside their hearts!!
Most often I conferred some of them (Sunnis), endeavouring to convince them that taqiyyah is never like hypocrisy (nifāq), but all was in vain. Even you may see some of them feel disgusted sometimes, and other times may be amazed and baffled, thinking that such beliefs being innovated (as heresies) into Islam, as if they be among the fabrications and bida‘ (heresies) of the Shi’ah.
When any truth-seeker fairly investigates the matter in an equitable way without any prejudice, he will verily find out that all these beliefs being (derived) from the kernel and essence of Islam, and a product of the Holy Qur’ān and Prophetic Sunnah. Rather the magnanimous Islamic concepts and sound Shari‘ah can never be established and straight but only through these beliefs.
What is amazing about Ahl al-Sunnah, being that they disapprove of creeds (held by the Shi’ah) in which they themselves believe, and with which their books, Sihāh and Musnads are replete, testifying against them.
We can read together what is said by Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the issue of taqiyyah:
— It is reported that Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hātam, with the chain of al-‘Awfi, from Ibn ‘Abbās that regarding Allah’s saying: “... except (when) ye (have to) guard yourselves against (them) for fear from them...”, he said: Taqiyyah (dissimulation) is verily by the tongue, and whoever intends to talk about a thing implying disobedience to Allah, disclosing it then for fear from people (to avoid their evil) with his heart being still content with the Faith. This will verily be not detrimental for him, since taqiyyah is in fact with the tongue.”30
— It is reported and confirmed by al-Hākim, and by al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan, from ‘Ata’, from Ibn ‘Abbās, that regarding Allah’s words: “...except (when) ye (have to) guard yourselves against (them) for fear from them ...” he said: Taqiyyah is verily uttering something by the tongue with the heart being still content with the Faith.31
— ‘Abd ibn Hamid reported from al-Hasan (‘a) that he said: The taqiyyah is permissible till the Day of Resurrection.32
— ‘Abd ibn Abi Raja’ said that he used to read thus: “... except (when) ye (have to) guard yourselves against (them) with taqiyyah.”33
— It is reported by ‘Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Sa’d, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hātam, and Ibn Mardawayh, and confirmed by al-Hākim in al-Mustadrak, and by al-Bayhaqi in al-Dalā’il, that he said: The polytheists took away ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir, never letting him alone till he slandered the Prophet (S) and referred to their idols with good terms, only then they left him. When the Messenger of Allah (S) came, he asked him: What is the matter with you? He replied: I have bad news, I was never forsaken till defaming you and mentioning their idols with good (glorifying them). The Prophet said: How do you feel inwardly (in heart)? He replied: My heart is still content with the faith. He (S) said: If they return and resume you can resume. Thereat the following verse was revealed:
“...save he who is compelled while his heart remaineth steadfast with the faith...” (16:106)
— Ibn Sa’d reported from Ibn Sirin that he said: The Prophet (S) encountered ‘Ammār as he was crying. He wiped his eyes (the tears) saying: “Have the disbelievers taken and plunged you into water, and you said so and so (?), (no problem) if they return to it you can tell them the same.”34
— It is reported by Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hātam, and al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan, through the chain of ‘Ali, from Ibn ‘Abbās, that regarding the verse: “He who disbelieveth in God after his belief in Him, save he who is compelled while his heart remaineth steadfast with the faith ...”, he said: Allah the Glorified informs that: Whoever disbelieves in God after having faith in Him, on him is the wrath of God and for him shall be a great torment. Whereas that who is compelled and coerced, saying something (bad) with his tongue while his heart contradicting this through (firm) faith, so as to protect himslef and be safe from his enemy, for him no harm is there and he is not to blame. This due to the fact that Allah calls His bondmen to account for what is deliberately determined insdie their hearts.35
— Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abi Hātam, reported from Mujahid that he said: This verse was revealed in regard to some of the Meccans who believed (in Allah). Then some of Sahābah at al-Madinah wrote (a letter) to them telling them: Travel toward us, as we never regard you belonging to us till you migrate toward us. So they went out, starting their travel to al-Madinah. On the way, they were caught by some Qurayshi people who seduced them, compelling them to disbelieve. Then in thier regard this verse was revealed: “... save he who is compelled while his heart remaineth steadfast with the faith...”36
— In his Sahih, under bāb al-Mudārāt ma‘a al-nās, al-Bukhāri reported from Abu al-Dardā’ that he said: “We grin (the teeth) before some people while our hearts are cursing them.”37
— Al-Halabi in his Sirah, is reported to have said: “When the Messenger of Allah (S) conquered the Town of Khaybar, Hajjāj ibn ‘Allāt said to him: O’ Messenger of Allah, I have a property at Makkah, in which I have a household, and I intend to go there. Would you absolve me if I speak ill of you, and utter something (bad) about you? The Messenger of Allah (S) permitted him to say whatever he would like.38
— Al-’Imām al-Ghazāli, in his book Ihyā’ al-‘ulum, is reported to have said: “To prevent shedding the blood of the Muslim is obligatory. Whatever be the purpose for shedding the blood of a Muslim hiding (himself) from the oppressor, then to lie about him (not divulging his place) is verily obligatory.39
— In his book al-‘Ashbah wa al-naZa’ir, Jalāl al-Din al-Suyuti is reported to have said: “It is permissible to eat the (meat of) carrion during hunger, and to wash down the morsel into wine, and pronouncing word of infidelity. When harām prevails in a country, to the extent that halāl (lawful) can rarely be found, thereat using whatever is needed is permissible.”
— Abu Bakr al-Rāzi, in his book Ahkām al-Qur’ān, is reported to have interpreted Allah’s words “... unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security ...” thus: It means that when you fear loss of life or some of body organs, you can guard yourselves against them and show loyalty without believing in it (in the heart). This is the outward meaning of the utterance, on which multitude of men of knowledge are unanimously concurring, as reported by Qatādah about Allah’s saying: “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as their friends rather than the believers” that he said: It is not permissible for any believer to take a disbeliever as his friend (wali) in his religion. And regarding His saying: “... unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security”, he said: It necessitates the permissibility of showing disbelief in case of taqiyyah (dissimulation).”40
— In Sahih al-Bukhāri, it is reported from Qutaybah ibn Sa‘id, from Sufyān, from Ibn al-Mukandar, who narrated on the authority of ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr that ‘A’ishah told him that: A man took permission to enter upon the Prophet (S), when he (S) said: Let him in, how bad is the son (or the brother) of the clan! As he entered, the Prophet talked to him so mildly and tenderly. I said: O Messenger of Allah, after you uttered those words, you talked to him so gently (what for)? The Prophet (S) said: “O’ ‘A’ishah, verily the most wicked person in position near Allah, is that whom people forsake or be gentle with for the sake of guarding against his obscenity of language.”41
After reviewing all these traditions, we have a sufficient proof that the Sunnites believe in permissibility of taqiyyah, in the extreme, holding that it is permissible till the Day of Resurrection as previously mentioned. They believe in the obligation of lying, as reported by al-Ghazāli, and in demonstrating disbelief (kufr) as unanimously concurred by a multitude of the learned men,and confessed by al-Rāzi, and in permissibility of showing ostensible smile while cursing inwardly, as confessed by al-Bukhāri. Besides, they hold that man is free in defaming or slandering the Messenger of Allah (S) with any words he likes for protecting his money and properties, as expressed by the author of al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, and to say whatever implying disobedience to Allah or obscenity for fear from people, as reported by al-Suyuti.
So Ahl al-Sunnah need not to vilify and negate the Shi‘ah for a doctrine believed by them, and reported in their Sihāh and Musnads as permissible or rather obligatory (belief). The Shi’ah never went farther than what is held by the Sunnites, except that they became known in practising it more than other sects, due to the oppression and persecution they suffered at the hands of the Umayyads and ‘Abbāsids. At those times, just saying: This man is following and taking the part of Ahl al-Bayt, was a reason enough to make him face his end, and being murdered so savagely at the hands of the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).
Therefore, they (the Shi’ah) had no alternative but to practise and apply taqiyyah, following the instructions of Ahl al-Bayt Imams (peace be upon them). Al-’Imām al-Sādiq is reported to have said: Verily taqiyyah is of my Din (religion) and the Din of my fathers, and one who does not keep taqiyyah has no din. Taqiyyah was verily a motto for the Ahl al-Bayt Imams themsleves, to safeguard themselves and their followers and lovers against all sorts of danger and damage, and sparing their lives, and reforming the conditions of the Muslims who were afflicted with trial in their Din, as occurred to’Ammar ibn Yāsir (may God be pleased with him) or even more.
While the Sunnites were far from such a trial since, most the time, they were on good terms with the rulers, as a result of which they were never subjected to murder, looting and injustice. So it was quite natural for them to negate taqiyyah, and vilify those practising it, with the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid rulers playing a great role in defaming the Shi’ah because of the taqiyyah.
And since regarding it (taqiyyah) Allah revealed a verse to be recited and laws to be executed, and since the Messenger of Allah (S), as reported in Sahih al-Bukhāri, practised it himself, permitting ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir to revile him and declare his disbelief if the infidels resumed torturing him, and also since the ‘ulamā’ of Muslims permitted this practice (taqiyyah), following the precepts of the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Messenger, how is it correct then to vilify and deplore the Shi’ah, and for what reason?!
Taqiyyah was practised by the dignified Companions during the eras of the tyrant rulers, like Mu‘āwiyah, who used to kill whoever refusing to curse ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib. The story of Hijr ibn ‘Adiyy al-Kindi and his fellowmen is widely known. And the likes of Yazid, Ibn Ziyād, al-Hajjāj, and ‘Abd al-Mālik ibn Marwan, and their equals are so many, that intending to gather the examples and evidences indicating the Companions’ practice of taqiyyah, we shall need a separate book to cover them, we shall need a separate book to cover them, but the reasons of Ahl al-Sunnah that I cited can be sufficient, thanks to God.
I avail myself of this opportunity to cite a nice story I personally experienced with one of the Sunni scholars. It coincided that we met on board of an airplane, while we were among those invited to attend an Islamic conference in Britain. We exchanged our viewpoints about the Shi’ah and Sunnah for nearly two hours. He was one of callers to unity, and I admired him. But I was displeased when he said that: the Shi’ah are asked now to abandon some of the beliefs that create disagreement among the Muslims, and causing them to defame and attack each other. When I asked him: Like what? He immediately replied: Like the mut‘ah (temporary marriage) and taqiyyah. I tried my best to convince him that mut‘ah being a legitimate and legal kind of marriage, and taqiyyah being a permission from Allah, but he insisted on his opinion, never be persuaded by all the evidences I cited for him. He claimed that whatever I cited and mentioned was correct and true, but it should be abandoned for the sake of a higher and more significant convenience, being unity of Muslims.
I found strange his logic which calling to abandon the precepts and rules of Allah for the sake of unity of Muslims. In a courteous way, I said to him: Had the unity of Muslims mainly depended on this thing, I would have been the first to respond and submit.
We disembarked in London airport, and I was walking behind him. As we approached the airport policemen, we were questioned about the reason of travelling to Britain. He answered by claiming that he came for treatment, and I claimed that the reason of my coming being to visit some of my friends. We passed safely and without any delay, toward the hall of bags delivery. Thereat I whispered in his ear: Have you noticed how taqiyyah be valid and possible at all times? He said: How? I said: Because we lied to the police, I through claiming to have come to visiting my friends, and you through claiming to have come for treatment, while we actually came for participating in the conference.
He smiled, while recognizing that he told a lie in the hearing of me, saying: Don’t the Islamic conferences have a remedy for our souls? I laughed saying: And don’t they have a visit to our brethren?!
I resume the topic and say that taqiyyah is verily not in the way claimed by the Sunnah — that it be a sort of hypocrisy — but the opposite is right. As hypocrisy means to show out faith (Imān) and conceal disbelief (kufr), while taqiyyah being to demonstrate kufr and conceal faith, and what a great difference is there between the two positions. Regarding the former one, i.e. hypocrisy (nifāq), Allah said:
“And when they meet with those who believe, they say, “We believe”, but when they go apart to their devils, they say, “Surely we are with you, verily, we did but mock.” (2:14)
That means: outward faith + inward kufr = hypocrisy (nifāq).
While regarding the second situation, i.e. taqiyyah, Allah, the Glorified and Most High, said: “And said a man who was a believer, from among the people of Pharaoh; who used to conceal his faith ...” which means: outward disbelief (kufr) + inward faith (imān) = taqiyyah.
The believing man of the people of Pharaoh used to conceal his faith inwardly, with no one being aware of it except Allah, pretending before Pharaoh and all people of his being the follower of the din of Pharaoh. (Allah referred to him in His Holy Book as a sign of extolness and glorification for his status).
Dear reader, I invite you to recognize in full what the Shi’ah hold in regard of taqiyyah, so as not to be beguiled by what falsely and calumniously claimed about them.
In his book ‘Aqa’id al-’Imāmiyyah, al-Shaykh Muhammad Ridā al-Muzaffar is quoted to have said:
“There are certain rules for taqiyyah, in respect of its obligation and non-obligation, in accordance with the difference of situations of fear from damage. They are stated classified of fear from damage. They are stated classified under their relevant chapters in the fiqhi books sof the ‘ulamā’. It is not obligatory in all cases, but rather it may be or should be contradicted in certain cases, such as when disclosing and proclaiming the truth implies a support to the Din, and a service rendered to Islam and jihād in its way. Only then it can be disposed of funds and properties, and selves can never be endeared or held on. Taqiyyah may be forbidden in respect of the acts obligating the killing of honourable persons, or spreading abroad of falsehood (bātil), or corruption in Din, or an extreme loss for the Muslims, through misleading them, or making injustice and despotism to prevail among them.”
“However, taqiyyah, in the perspective of the Imāmiyyah, never makes them an underground society working for destruction and sabotage, as intended to be portrayed by their enemies who never endeavour to realize the matters in their true sense, bothering not themselves to comprehend the correct opinion held by us.”
“Also its purpose is not to render Din and its rules a secret that it is impermissible to be divulged to those denying it. How can it be so while the Imāmiyyah books and works, in the fields of fiqh, laws and themes of kalām and doctrines, have covered the East and West and gone beyond the limits expected from every community believing in them.” (End of his speech).
Everyone can clealry observe that there neither be any nifāq (hypocrisy), nor deceit, nor foist, nor cheating, as claimed by their enemies.
It means the mut‘ah marirage (nikāh), or unpermanent marriage, or temporary marriage to a determined term. It is like the perpetual marriage, as can never be valid but only through a marriage contract including a consent and corresponding acceptance, when recited by the bride employing the words: I have married myself to you (zawwajtuka nafsi), with so and so dower, and for so and so period. Thereat the man says: qabiltu (I have accepted).
For this kind of marriage certain conditions are stated in the fiqhi books of the Imāmiyyah, such as determining the dower (mahr) and period. It will be valid with any condition agreed by both parties, and like the prohibition of concluding a marriage contract (temporarily) with female relations (al-muharramāt), due to consanguinity, as in the case of the permanent marriage.
The temporarily married woman should, after expiry of the term (ajal), undergo ‘iddah (waiting without concluding another marriage contract) for two menstrual courses, and in case of the death of her husband for four months and ten days.
There is neither inheritance nor maintenance (nafaqah) between the couple married temporarily, that is neither of them can inherit the other side after death. But the child born due to temporary marriage has the same rights granted to the child born due to permanent marriage, in regard of inheritance and maintenance (nafaqah), beside all other breeding and material rights, and should be acknowledged as the legal child of his father.
This is mut‘ah with all its conditions and limits, which can certainly never be like fornication, as claimed by some people.
The Sunnis, like their brethren the Shi’ah, unanimously concur on that the legitimacy of such a marriage being prescribed by Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, in the verse 24 of Surat al-Nisā’:
“... And as such of them ye had mut‘ah with them, give them their dowries as a fixed reward; and it shall not be a sin on you, in whatever ye mutually agree (to vary) after the fixed reward; Verily God is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
They also concur that the Messenger of Allah (S) has permitted this kind of marriage, and the Sahābah exercised it during his lifetime.
But they (the Shi’ah and Sunnah) differ regarding its being abrogated or not. Ahl al-Sunnah believe in its being abrogated and forbidden after it was halāl (lawful), and that the abrogation was made by the (Prophetic) Sunnah not by the Qur’ān. Whereas the Shi’ah believe in its being not abrogated, and its being lawful till the Day of Resurrection.
Hence, the dispute concerns only whether it was abrogated or not, and to review the beliefs of the two sects so as to elucidate to the dear reader where the truth lies, for being followed without any fanaticism and prejudice.
Regarding the Shi’ah believing in its not being abrogated, and its being halāl till the Day of Resurrection, their proof being: It is never confirmed for us that the Messenger of Allah (S) has ever forbidden it (mut‘ah), and our Imams from the Pure Kindred (‘itrah) believe in its being lawful (halāl). Had there been any abrogation issued from the Messenger of Allah (S), the first to know it would have been the Ahl al-Bayt Imams headed by al-’Imām ‘Ali (‘a), as Ahl al-Bayt (household) are better aware of what is there inside it (the house).
But that which is established for us being that it is the 2nd Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb who has forbidden it and considered it unlawful (harām), through exerting his own opinion as testified by the Sunni ‘ulamā’ themselves. But we can never leave the ahkām (rules) of Allah and His Messenger to be ordained by the opinion and ijtihād of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb!
This was altogether the belief held by the Shi’ah regarding the lawfulness of mut‘ah, which is verily an apposite belief and a sober opinion, since all Muslims are required to follow and adhere to the precepts of Allah and His Messenger, refusing everyone other than them whatever high his position be, when his ijtihād being contradictory to the Qur’ānic or Prophetic texts.
Whereas Ahl al-Sunnah believe that the mut‘ah was lawful, a verse was revealed in its regard, and the Messenger of Allah (S) permitted people to prarctise it, and it was exercised by the Companions, but it was abrogated afterwards. But they differ concerning who has abrogated it, some saying that the Messenger of Allah (S) has forbidden it before his death. And some other hold that it was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb who forbade it, claiming that his words being hujjah (authority) in their view, due to the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (S):
“Adhere to my sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided successors after me. Hold on to it and cling on it stubbornly.”
Concerning those believing in its being unlawful due to its being prohibited by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, and that his act being a binding sunnah, we have nothing to do with them, nor any debate, since their belief is a mere bigotry and affectation. Otherwise, how is it feasible for any Muslim to abandon and contradict the precepts and sayings of Allah and His Messenger, and adhere to the words of a human being exerting his opinion, liable to err and be correct, in case his ijtihād being about a matter regarding which no text in the Book (Qur’ān) and Sunnah is found. But how would be the case when a text (nass) is revealed (in the Qur’ān):
“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)
Whoever disagrees with me regarding this rule (or principle), is asked to reconsider his information in respect of the concepts of the Islamic Law, and study the Holy Qur’ān and the Prophetic Sunnah. Because the Qur’ān itself indicated in the above-mentioned verse, beside many other similar Qur’ānic verses, that whoever not adhering to the Qur’ān and Prophetic Sunnah is verily but a disbeliever and strayed (misled).
Further, many proofs are found in the noble Prophetic Sunnah, of which we suffice with this hadith uttered by the Messenger of Allah (S):
“Whatever deemed halāl (lawful) by Muhammad is halāl (for you) till the Day of Resurrection and his harām is harām (unlawful) till the Day of Resurrection”.
So no one is entitled to deem lawful or unlawful regarding any matter on which a text (nass) and rule is revealed and established by Allah or his Messenger (S).
Due to all that is mentioned, we tell those trying to convince us that the acts and exertions (ijtihādat) of the Rightly-guided Caliphs are binding, i.e. we should follow them, we tell them this verse:
“Say thou (unto the people of the Book), Dispute ye with us about God; whereas He is our Lord, and your Lord, and for us are our deeds and for you are your deeds; to Him (alone) we are (exclusively) loyal?” (2:139)
But those believing in this proof agree with the Shi’ah in their claim, and will be verily a hujjah against their brethren from among Ahl al-Sunnah.
Our debate is limited only with those claiming that it is the Messenger of Allah (God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) who has prohibited it (mut‘ah), abrogating the Qur’ān by the hadith.
Such people are confused and non-established in their sayings, with their proof being unsubstantial and never established on a firm basis, even though the forbiddance (nahy) from it was reported by Muslim in his Sahih. Because had there been any nahy issued by the Messenger of Allah, it would have never been neglected by the Sahābah who practised mut‘ah (temporary marriage) during the era of Abu Bakr and a part of the era of ‘Umar himself, as reported by Muslim in his Sahih.42
‘Ata’ said: Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh came back from ‘Umrah (short pilgrimage), when we visited him in his house. Then some of us questioned him about several matters, till referring to the mut‘ah, where he said: Yes, we practised it during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S) and that of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
Had the Messenger of Allah (S) forbidden the mut‘ah, it would have never been permissible for the Companions to practise it during the reign of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, as mentioned before. The fact is that it was not the Messenger of Allah (S) who forbade or deemed it harām, but the forbiddance was issued by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, as reported in Sahih al-Bukhāri.
— Musaddad said: It is reported by Yahya, from ‘Imran Abu Bakr, from Abu Raja’, from ‘Imran ibn Husayn, that he said: The verse of mut‘ah is revealed in the Book of Allah, and we exercised it during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S) with no verse being revealed deeming it unlawful or its being forbidden (by anyone) till he (S) died. Then a man exerted his opinion, ascribing it to Muhammad, who is said to be ‘Umar.43
It is made quite clear that the Messenger of Allah (S) has never forbidden it till the end of his life, as expressed by this Companion who ascribed forbiddance to ‘Umar so expressly and with no any obscurity, adding that he exerted his opinion in everything, as he desired.
Also Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-’Ansari so explicitly says: We used to consummate temporary marriage (mut‘ah) with (only) a handful of dates and flour during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), and era of Abu Bakr, until it was forbidden by ‘Umar in the case of ‘Amr ibn Hurayth.44
No wonder to see some of the Sahābah were of the opinion of ‘Umar, as previously mentioned during our discussion about the Thursday Misfortune, when they agreed with him in his saying: The Messenger of Allah (S) utters obscene language and we suffice with the Book of Allah! So when they supported him in that critical situation, implying that much of defamation against the Messenger, how wouldn’t they agree with him in respect of some of his ijtihādat? The evidence can be seen in this utterance of one of them: I was with Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh, when someone entered upon him saying: Ibn ‘Abbās and Ibn al-Zubayr disagreed about the two enjoyments (of hajj and marraige). Thereat Jābir said: We did both of them during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), till the time of ‘Umar who forbade us, when we stopped practising them both.45
Therefore I personally believe that some Companions ascribed prohibition of mut‘ah to the Messenger of Allah (S), for the sake of justifying the position of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, and approving of his opinion.
Otherwise, how would the Messenger of Allah (S) forbid what is deemed lawful (halāl) in the Qur’ān, as it is infeasible for us to find any of the Islamic rules that being deemed halāl by Allah, the Glorified, while being forbidden by His Messenger. Such a claim can never be expressed but only by that who being obstinate and fanatic. Even when presuming so for argument’s sake that the Messenger (S) has forbidden it, it was not for al-’Imām ‘Ali (‘a), the nearest in kinship to the Prophet (S) and the most knowledgeable in the (Islamic) rules, to say:
“Mut’ah is verily a blessing showered from Allah upon His bondmen, and had not been ‘Umar’s forbiddance no one would have committed fornication but the wretched.”46
It is to be known that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab himself has never ascribed the prohibition to the Prophet (S), but rather he uttered his widely-known proclamation, so outspokenly:
“Two enjoyments were commonly practised during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), from which both I forbid and on which I punish: mut‘t al-hajj (pilgrimage) and enjoyment (mut‘ah) with women.”47
The Musnad of al-’Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal is the best evidence proving the presence of great differences among the Sunnis concerning this issue, as some of them deem it lawful, heeding in this regard to the Messenger’s precepts, while some others deeming it harām (unlawful) following the opinion of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. Al-’Imām Ahmad is reported to have said:
— Ibn ‘Abbās said: The Prophet (S) practised the Mut‘ah (temporary marriage) once, when ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said: Mut’ah is forbidden by Abu Bakr and ‘Umar! Thereat Ibn ‘Abbās said: What is that uttered by ‘Uryah? (belittlement for ‘Urwah)? He said: He says that mut‘ah was forbidden by Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Then Ibn ‘Abbās said: I am sure that they shall verily perish, and I say: The Prophet said, while they say: Abu Bakr and ‘Umar forbade.”48
Also in Sahih al-Tirmidhi, it is reported that ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Umar was questioned about the hajj enjoyment. In reply he said: It is halāl. Then the questioner said to him: But your father has forbidden it? He replied: When my father forbids something practised by the Messenger of Allah (S), what do you think me to do better: to follow the order of my father or that of the Messenger of Allah (S)? The man said: Certainly you have to obey the commandment of the Messenger of Allah (S).”49
It is known that Ahl al-Sunnah obeyed Umar regarding the mut‘ah with women, and disobeyed him regarding mut‘ah of pilgrimage, though forbidding from them both was issued by him, altogether in one position, as previously referred to.
The most important point in all this discussion and debate, being that the Ahl al-Bayt Imams and their followers (the Shi’ah) contradicted and negated his (‘Umar’s) claim, considering it (mut‘ah) as halāl (lawful) till the Day of Resurrection. This belief (held by the Shi’ah) was pursued also by some Sunni ‘ulamā’, of whom I refer to the eminent Tunisian scholar, the leader of the Zaytunah Mosque al-Shaykh al-Tāhir ibn ‘Ashur (may God’s mercy be upon him). In his famous Tafsir (exegesis) he cited for its (mut‘ah) lawfulness the verse: “... and as such of them ye had mut‘ah with them (marrying them), give them their dowries as a fixed reward...” 50
True, such should be the ‘ulamā’, free in their creed, never being influenced by any prejudice or bigotry, and never fearing on the way of Allah the blame of any blamer.
After this brief discussion, no justification or plea is left for Ahl al-Sunnah’s vilification and defamation against the Shi’ah due to their permitting the marriage of mut‘ah, beside the fact that the decisive proof and evident argument being on the side of the Shi’ah.
Every Muslim is asked to portray in the mind the words of al-’Imām ‘Ali (‘a) that: “Mut’ah is verily a blessing showered from Allah upon His bondmen. Actually, is there any blessing greater than such one which quenches a refractory lust that might overwhelm man, male or female, renderring him/her like a beast of prey.
All Muslims in general, and the youth in particular, have to know that Allah, the Glorified, has imposed upon the adulterer the punishment of death through pelting stones (rajm), when perpetrated against the married, males and females. It is not for Allah to forsake His servants with no mercy, while He being the Creator of them and their instincts, having full knowledge of what can ameliorate them. And when Allah, the Beneficent and the Merciful, has showered His mercy upon His bondmen through permitting them to practise mut‘ah, so no one would commit adultery thereafter, but only the mischievous, exactly like passing the sentence of amputating the thief’s hand. And in the same way, as long as there being a treasury dedicated exclusively for the destitute and needy people, no one will steal but only the mishievous.
This claim in itself being so horrible that no Muslim, Shi’i or Sunni, believing in the message of Muhammad (S), can ever endure or accept. This is due to the fact that the Lord of Glory has undertaken its preservation, when He said:
“Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its preserver.” (15:9)
Thus it is immune from any addition and loss even with one letter, being the miracle of our Prophet (S), which will never die or fall into oblivion, and falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind it, being a revelation from the Wise, the Owner of Praise.
The Muslims’ practical status quo refuses the tahrif of the Qur’ān, since many Sahābah were memorizing it by heart, competing in memorizing it and teaching their children to learn it by heart, throughout the course of time till the present day. It is infeasible for any man, group, community or government to mutilate or alter the Qur’ān, at all.
Traversing all Muslim countries, eastwards and westwards, northwards and southwards, all over the world, we will surely find the same Qur’ān with no addition or loss whatsoever. Though Muslims being separated into schools (madhāhib), sects, cults and religions, the Qur’ān remains the sole incentive able to gather them, with no disagreement between even two among them, except regarding exegesis and interpretation (ta’wil), as each group rejoicing in its tenets.
So the tahrif (corruption) attributed to the Shi’ah is no more than a vilification and exaggeration, having no existence in the Shi’ah’s beliefs. When going through the Shi’ah’s view regarding the Holy Qur’ān we can notice that they unanimously believe in its being guarded against any mutilation.
Al-Shaykh al-MuZaffar, the author of the book ‘Aqā’id al-’Imāmiyyah, says in this regard:
“We believe that the Qur’ān being the Divine revelation (wahy) sent down from Allah, the Exalted, upon His noble Prophet, containing an exposition of all things. And also it is His everlasting miracle disabling all mankind of keeping pace with it in respect of rhetoric and eloquence, and the realities and sublime knowledge it contains, being guarded against any alteration or changing or mutilation (tahrif). The Qur’ān we have nowadays being surely the same one revealed to the Prophet, and anyone claiming other than this is but a violater, or obstinate errant or mistaken, all being misguided and misled, as it is surely Allah’s word that falsehood can never come at it from before it or from behind it.” (His speech is over).
Besides, all the Shi’ah lands are widely known and their rules in fiqh are commonly recognized by all. Had they possessed any Qur’ān other than that we have nowadays, it would have been discovered by people. I remember that when, for the first time, I visited the Shi’ah land, such gossips were filling my mind, that whenever seeing a bulky volume, I would pick it up hoping to put my hand on that alleged Qur’ān. But very soon, such fancy has vanished away, recognizing later on that it was only one of the fabricated vilifications aimed at causing people to have aversion to the Shi’ah. Nonetheless, there is, ever and anon, someone vilifying and arguing the Shi’ah with a book named: Fasl al khitāb fi ithbāt tahrif Kitāb Rabb al-’Arbāb, whose author is Muhammad Taqi al-Nuri al-Tabrasi (d. 1320 H.), who was a Shi’i. In this way those transgressors intend to overburden the Shi’ah the responsibility for this book! The act that is far from equity.
So many books were written, that in fact never express but the viewpoints of their writers and authors, containing the lean and strong, truth and falsehood, and implying wrong and correct. This fact includes all the Islamic sects, and is not confined to the Shi’ah alone. Are we permitted to hold Ahl al-Sunnah responsible for what was written by the Egyptian Culture Minister and dean of Arabic literature Dr. Tāhā Husayn regarding the Qur’ān and pre-Islamic (Jāhili) poetry? Or what al-Bukhāri reported, which is considered veracious near them, about the presence of loss and addition in the Qur’ān, and so also is Sahih Muslim, and other sources? 51
Let’s turn aside from this and return good for evil. What an excellent words uttered in this regard, those said by the Professor Muhammad al-Midyani, Dean of al-Shari‘ah College in al-’Azhar University, when writing:
“And as regards the claims that the Imāmiyyah believe in presence of loss in the Qur’ān, I seek God’s protection... they are no more than narrations reported in their books, the like of which are reported in our books. The investigators from among both the sects have refuted them, proving their falsehood and fabrication. No one among the Imāmi Shi’ah or Zaydiyyah is ever believing in this, neither is there anyone among the Sunnis.
Anyone desiring to have more information can refer to al-Suyuti’s book al-’Itqān, in which he can see the likes of such narrations, of which we turned aside.
“In 1498, an Egyptian compiled a book calling it al-Furqān, interpolating it with such poor, exotic and rejected narrations, reporting quotations (in their confirmation) from the Sunni books and references. Al-’Azhar then asked the Government to stop publication of (confiscate) the book, after demonstrating with scientific proof and argument the aspects of falsehood and deviation in it.The Government responded to this request and confiscated the book. Its author then filed a case demanding an indemnity, but the Administrative Judiciary in the State Cabinet dismissed the case.
“Should we say then that Ahl al-Sunnah deny the sanctity of the Qur’ān? Or believe in presence of loss in the Qur’ān due to a narration reported by so and so? Or due to a book compiled by so and so?
The same is true concerning the Imāmi Shi’ah, that reports can be found in their books similar to those recorded in some of our books (the speech to al-Midyani). Al-’Imām al-‘Allāmah Abu al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan al-Tabrasi, an eminent Imāmi scholar in the 6th Hijrah Century, in his book Majma’ al-bayān li ‘ulum al-Qur’ān, says in this respect:
“There is consensus and unanimity among the Muslims that there is not any ‘excess’ in the Holy Qur’ān. But with regard to the deficiency of the text of the Holy Qur’ān, a group of Imāmiyyah and a group of Hashwiyyah who are Sunnis have claimed presence of atterations and deficiencies in the Holy Qur’ān, but the true belief accepted by the Imāmiyyah holds otherwise.
This is supported by al-Sayyid al-Murtada (may God sanctify his soul), giving it its full due in reply to the questions of al-Tarābulusiyyāt, saying in some places: Knowledge and certainty of the validity of the narration of the Holy Qur’ān are like the knowledge and certainty on the existence of countries, cities, famous historical events, popular books, and the poems compiled by the Arabs.
This is because the specific regard and attention and the strong motive for the narration of the text of the Holy Qur’ān and its upkeeping had been much stronger than the precision and attention given to the above-cited items, since the Qur’ān being the miracle of Prophethood, source of legal sciences and religious rules. And Muslim ‘ulamā’ paid so great attention in preserving and safeguarding it, to the extent that they came to recognize all controversial things regading which disagreement was there, including its syntax (i‘rāb), readings, letters and verses. So how is it permissible to believe in its being altered, or decreased, with the presence of this sincere attention and strict precision.”52
To elucidate for you, dear reader, the fact that this accusation (decreasing and increasing the Qur’ān), should verily be attributed to Ahl al-Sunnah rather than being ascribed to the Shi’ah. This was one of the motives urged me to reconsider all of my beliefs, as whenever I tried to criticize the Shi’ah and negate or disapprove them regarding anything, they would prove their acquittal from it, with attributing it to me. Then, with passage of days, and through investigation, I recognized the truth of their claims, of which I was convinced, for which I praise God. Hereunder I shall present the evidences proving my claim in this topic:
Al-Tabarrāni and al-Bayhaqi are reported to have said: There are two surahs (dropped) in the Qur’ān, one being:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
إنا نستعينك ونستغفرك ونثني عليك الخير كله ولا نكفرك ونخلع ونترك من يفجرك
meaning: We ask You to help us and seek Your forgiveness, and praise You with all good, never deny You, and disavow from and forsake whoever dissipates You ) . The second one is thus :
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم – اللهم إياك نعبد ولك نصلي ونسجد وإليك نسعى نحن نرجو رحمتك ونخشى عذابك بالكافرين ملحق.
(Its translation is: O God, we worship You and for You we pray and prostrate, and toward You we endeavour and haste. We seek Your mercy and fear Your serious torment. Your chastisement will verily afflict the disbelievers).
These two (alleged) surahs are called by al-Raghib in al-Muhādarāt as suratay al-Qunut (two surahs of supplication) that were read by ‘Ummar ibn al-Khattab during qunut in his prayers, and are found in the mushafs of Ibn ‘Abbās and of Zayd ibn Thābit.53
Al-’Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, is reported to have said:
Ubbay ibn Ka’b asked someone (Zirr ibn Hubaysh) How many verses do you recite in the Surat al-’Ahzāb? He replied: Seventy and a few verses. He (Ubayy) said: ‘Never, I read it with the Messenger of Allah (S), and it is about the length of the Surat al-Baqarah or lengthier, and in it is the āyat al-rajm (verse of stoning).’54
It is obvious for every witty reader that these two surahs, which are called Surata al-Qunut, mentioned in the books al-’Itqān and al-Durr al-manthur of al-Suyuti, and reported by al-Tabarrāni and al-Bayhaqi, can never be found in the Book the of Almighty Allah.
This means that the Qur’ān we have today is missing these two surahs, that are recorded in the mushaf of Ibn ‘Abbās and that of Zayd ibn Thābit, indicating also the presence of masāhif other than those we have. This also recalls to my mind Ahl al-Sunnah’s claim of the Shi’ah’s having Fatimah’s mushaf, so it is to be conceived!
Ahl al-Sunnah used to recite these two surahs in the qunut supplication of every morning prayers, and I personally learn them by heart and used to read them in the dawn prayer qunut.
The second riwāyah (narration) reported by al-’Imām Ahmad in his Musnad, which claims that three quarters of Surat al-’Ahzāb have dropped, since Surat al-Baqarah contains 286 verses while their number in al-’Ahzāb doesn’t exceed 73. When consdiering the counting of the parts of Qur’ān through hizbs, we conclude that Surat al-Baqarah is composed of five hizbs, whereas Surat al-’Ahzāb never exceeds one hizb (the whole Qur’ān is 120 hizbs).
Also the utterance expressed by Ubayy ibn Ka’b: “I used to read it during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), and it was the length of the Surat al-Baqarah or lengthier.” This man who was the most famous among the reciters who used to learn the Qur’ān by heart, during the lifetime of the Prophet (S), and who was chosen by ‘Umar55 to lead people in salāt al-tarawih, by so saying will verily and undoubtedly confuse the readers and create doubts inside their hearts.
Again al-’Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal reported in his Musnad,56 from Ubayy ibn Ka’b that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“Allah, the Glorious and Most High, has commanded me to recite for you the Qur’ān: Those who disbelieve among the people of the Scripture could not ..., (Ubayy said:) then he (S) read in it:
لو أن إبن أدم سأل وادياً من مال فاعطيه لسأل ثانياً فلو سأل ثانياً فأعطيه لسأل ثالثاً لا يملاء جوف إبن أدم إلا التُراب ، يتوب الله على من تاب ، وإنَّ ذلك الدين القيّم عند الله الحنيفة غير المشركة ولا الهودية ولا النصرانية من يفعل خيراً فلن يكفره.
(Meaning that: If son of Adam demanded a valley of funds and was given it, he will demand another one, and if given it would demand a third one, and nothing would fill the belly of the son of Adam except the earth (turāb). Allah shall verily return in mercy toward that who returns (in penitence). That is the straight religion near Allah, the Hanafi other than the polytheists, Jewish and Christians. Whoever does good it will never be denied).
Al-Hāfiz ibn ‘Asākir reported in interpretation of Ubayy ibn Ka’b, that Abu al-Dardā’ betook himself toward al-Madinah with a number of people of Damascus. On reaching, he entered upon ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, reciting for him the following (alleged) verse:
إذا جعل الذين كفروا في قلوبهم الحميّة حميّة الجاهلية ولو حميتم كما حموا لفسد المسجد الحرام.
(meaning): Hamiyyah (fervour) of Jahiliyyah was made inside the hearts of disbelievers, and if you become impetuous as they are, corruption would afflict the Sacred Mosque (Ka’bah).”
Thereat ‘Umar asked: Who taught you to recite such reading? They replied: Ubayy ibn Ka’b did. He summoned Ubayy, and asked them to read (before him). So they read:
ولو حميتم كما حموا لفسد المسجد الحرام.
Ubayy said to ‘Umar: True, I taught them to read thus. Then ‘Umar said to Zayd ibn Thābit: O Zayd, read. Zayd read the common one (ordinary). Then ‘Umar said: O God, I never know other than this (reading)! Ubayy ibn Ka’b then said:
“O ‘Umar, by God you know well that I used to attend (the Prophet’s meetings) and they were absent,and I used to come near while they be away. I swear by Allah, if you wish, I will stay home and never talk to anyone or teach anyone to read, till my death.” ‘Umar said: “I seek God’s forgiveness; you know that Allah has gifted you with knowledge, so teach people whatever you know.”
He (Ibn ‘Asākir) also said: ‘Umar passed by a youth reading in a mushaf:
النبيّ أولى بالمؤمنين من أنفسهم وأزواجه أمّهاتهم وهو أب لهم.
(meaning: The Prophet has more right over the believers than they over themselves, and his wives are their mothers, and he is their father.) ‘Erase it, boy’, said ‘Umar. ‘I will not erase it, for it is so in the mushaf of Uhayy ibn Ka’b’, said the youth. ‘Umar went to Ubayy who told him: ‘The Qur’ān has kept me busy, and you have been busy making transactions in the bazaar.’57
The same riwāyah was reported too by Ibn al-’Athir in Jāmi‘ al-’usul, and Abu Dāwud in his Sunan, and also by al-Hākim in his Mustadrak.
This time, I leave to you, dear reader, to comment yourself on such reports which are filling the books of Ahl al-Sunnah who are unaware of them, but vilifying the Shi’ah with whom even one-tenth can never be found.
But some of the Sunni obstinates may have aversion to such narrations, rejecting them as usual, disapproving al-’Imām Ahmad’s reporting such superstitions. They may consequently weaken the authenticity of the asānid of such narrations, regarding the Musnad of al-’Imām Ahmad and Sunan of Abu Dāwud as not viewed by Ahl al-Sunnah at the same level of Sahih al-Bukhāri and Sahih Muslim, whereas such riwāyāt are recorded in both the Sahihs.
Al-Bukhāri, in his Sahih58 under “bāb Manāqib ‘Ammār wa Hudhayfah (r)”, reported from ‘Alqamah that he said: I entered the Sham, performed two-rak’ah prayer and said: My God, bring me a virtuous companion. Then I came near a people, sitting with them, when a man entered and sat beside me. I asked: Who is that man? They replied: He is Abu al-Dardā’. I said I invoked Allah to send me a righteous associate, and He sent you. He asked me: Where are you from? I said, from people of Kufah. He said: Don’t you have among you the son of Umm ‘Abd, the owner of the two sandals and the pillow and purger, and the one whom Allah protected against the Satan, as confirmed by the Prophet (S)? Isn’t there among you the trustee of the Prophet (S), other than whom no one has knowledge? Then he said: How do you read “By the night when it spreadeth its evil!”? Then I recited for him:
والليّل إذا يخشى. والنهار إذا تجلّى. وما خلق الذكر والأنثى.
in 92:3). (Then He asked: Did you hear it from your teacher’s mouth?) I said: By God, I heard it from the Prophet’s mouth (mouth to mouth).”
In another narration he added: “... and yet they reject my assertion of something I heard from the Messenger of Allah, may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny.59
Again, in another report he said:
والليّل إذا يخشى. والنهار إذا تجلّى. وما خلق الذكر والأنثى.
Then he said: “The Prophet (s) has read it to me, from his mouth, and yet those people insist till it was about to reject my assertion.”60
All these narrations indicate that in the Qur’ān we have today the words "وما خلق" are added.
Al-Bukhāri, in his Sahih, on the authority of Ibn Abbas reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said: Allah has delegated Muhammad, upon whom be God’s peace and benediction, with the truth, and revealed upon him the Book. Among what He revealed was āyat al-rajm (verse of stoning), which we read, accepted and comprehended. So the Messenger of Allah (S) stoned and we stoned after him. I fear that when time prolongs, someone may say: By God we can never find āyat al-rajm in the Book of Allah, as a result of which people may go astray through ignoring an obligation prescribed by Allah. And stoning is a punishment mentioned in the Book of Allah against any married man or woman when perpetrating fornication, when it is proved by evidence or through the woman’s conceiving and confession. We also used to recite in our reading of the Book of Allah:
أن لا ترغبوا عن أبائكم فإنه كفر بكم أو أن كفرا بكم إن ترغبوا عن أبائكم.
(meaning: Don’t shun your parents since this will be counted as ingratitude on your part, or: It is ingratitude to shun your parents).61
In his Sahih,62 under the “bāb: Law anna libn Adam wādiyayn labtaghā thālithan” (If the son of Adam has two valleys he would ask for a third one), Al-’Imām Muslims said:
“Abu Musā al-‘Ash’ari sent for the qurrā’ (reciters) of Basrah. Three hundred qurrā’ of the Qur’ān came to him. He told them: “You are the elect of the people of Basrah’. He asked them to recite, which they did. (He told them): ‘Do not remain long without reciting the Qur’ān, lest your hearts, like those who went before you, should harden. Indeed we used to recite a surah similar in length and power to the Surat al-Barā’ah, which I forgot except for a single verse:
لو كان لإبن أدم واديان من مال لأبتغى وادياً ثالثاً ولا يملاء جوف إبن أدم إلا الترَّاب.
We would also read a surah like one of the al-Musabbihit, which I forgot all except this:
يا أيها الذين أمنوا لما تقولون ما لا تفعلون فتكتب شهادة في أعناقكم فتسألون عنها يوم القيامة.
(meaning: O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not? Then it will be counted a testimony against you and you be answerable about it on the Day of Resurrection).63
These two alleged surahs, which were forgotten both by Abu Musā al-‘Ash’ari, one resembling Surat al-Barā’ah, i.e. 129 verses, and the other resembling one of the Musabbihit, i.e. twenty verses, have both no existence except in the imagination of Abu Musā. It is really astonishing. I leave the judgement to the equitable reader.
When Ahl al-Sunnah’s books and Musnads and Sihāh be replete with such reports, claiming once that the Qur’ān is incomplete, and increased another time, so what is the reason behind all this vilification against the Shi’ah who unanimously concurred on the invalidity of such claims.
And when the Shi’i man, the author of Fasl al-Khitāb fi ithbāt tahrif Kitāb Rabb al-’Arbāb, who died in 1320 Hijrah, had compiled his book about a hundred years ago, he was preceded by the Egyptian Sunni writer, the author of the book al-Furqān with about four centuries, as referred to by al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Midyani, the Dean of al-Shari‘ah College in Al-’Azhar University.64
The important point to be got from all this discussion, is that the Sunni and Shi’ah investigating ‘ulamā’ have annulled such narrations, regarding them as eccentric and unusual, proving through convincing evidences that the Qur’ān we have today being the very Qur’ān that was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (S) without any addition or omission or substitution or alteration.
How can Ahl al-Sunnah vilify the Shi’ah because of traditions deserving no credence whatsoever near them, acquitting themselves from this charge, while their Sihāh confirm the veracity of those traditions?
While referring to such narrations so bitterly and regretfully, how badly are we in need of disposing of them and discarding them away, had not been the outspreading campaign launched by some writers and authors claiming to be committed to the Prophetic Sunnah. They are backed, behind the scenes, by uncovered circles, financing and urging them to defame and charge the Shi’ah with impiety, particularly after the culmination of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
I address such people and their supporters with these words: Observe your duty toward Allah regarding your brethren,and hold you fast by the cord of God all together, and be not divided (among yourselves) and remember the bounty of God bestowed upon you, when you were enemies (of each other) He united your hearts together with (mutual) love, and thus by His favour you have become brethren.
The other point which is exploited to revile the Shi’ah with, being their performing salāt al-zuhr (noon prayers) and salāt al-’asr (afternoon prayers) together, and so also salāt al-maghrib and al-’ishā’.
While vilifying the Shi’ah (for the alleged defect), Ahl al-Sunnah, in contrast, assert their being adherent to preserving the salāt, complying to Allah’s words when saying:
“Verily prayer is (imposed) upon the believers as (‘a) timed Ordinance.” (4:103)
Before issuing any judgement for or against them, we have to discuss the subject from all dimensions and aspects, reviewing what the two sects hold in its regard.
There is unanimous agreement among Ahl al-Sunnah concerning the permissibility of performing salāt al-zuhr and al-‘asr (noon and afternoon prayers) together at ‘Arafāt (Mount), which is called jam‘ taqdim (precedent joining), and also the permissibility of performing maghrib and ‘isha’ prayers at the time of ‘isha’, the act called jam‘ ta’khir (late joining). This act is unanimously concurred by all Muslims, including the Shi’ah and Sunnis, and rather all the Islamic communities, with no exception.
The disagreement between the Shi’ah and Ahl al-Sunnah lies in the permissibility of performing together the two obligatory prayers of zuhr and ‘asr, and also the maghrib and ‘isha’ prayers, throughout the whole days of the year during settlement, without the presence of excuse of travel.
The Hanafi school believes in its impermissibility even during travel, despite the existence of express texts permitting it (jam‘) especially during trave, contradicting thus the unanimity of the Ummah: Shi’ah and Sunnah.
The Mālikis, Shāfi‘is and Hanbalis concur on the permissibility of jam‘ (performing together) between two obligatory salāts during travel, but disagree concerning its permissibility in the times of (public) panic (khawf), sickness, raining and mud (flood).
The Imāmiyyah Shi’ah unanimously concur on its absolute permissibility, without the excuses of travel or raining or panic, following in this respect the guide of Ahl al-Bayt Imams among the Pure Kindred (peace be upon them).
In this point, in particular, we should take an accusative and skeptical standpoint toward them, as whenever the Sunnis argue against the Shi’ah with a proof, they would rebut the argument with saying that the Ahl al-Bayt Imams have taught and explained to them all the unsolvable matters, boasting of following the example of Infallible Imams having full knowledge of the Qur’ān and (Prophetic) Sunnah!
I remember that the first time I performed salāt al-zuhr and salāt al-‘asr, was led by the Martyr Muhammad Bāqir al-Sadr (may God be pleased with him). I used to perform the noon and afternoon (‘asr) prayers separately, when being in the Holy City of Najaf, till the coming of that blessed day. In that day, I went out with al-Sayyid Muhammad Bāqir al-Sadr from his house to the mosque where he used to lead the congregational prayers, before his imitators who welcomed me respectfully, leaving me a room just behind him. When the noon prayers expired and iqāmah was made for the ‘asr prayers, I had a presentiment to quit and leave them. But I remained for two reasons, the first being the dignity of al-Sayyid al-Sadr and his profound solemnity in his prayer, that I wished to be prolongated. The second reason was my presence in that place, being the nearest worshipper to him, feeling as if a force majeure pulling me toward him. As we finished performing the ‘asr prayers, people accumulated around him putting forth their questions before him, when I stayed behind him listening to the questions and their answers given by him, except for some undisclosed ones. Then he accompanied me home for lunch, where I found myself as honorary guest. I availed myself of the opportunity of that meeting, and asked him about performing two salāts together, thus:
— O master! Can the Muslim perform two obligatory prayers together in case of exigency?
He replied: He can do so in all cases with no necessity of presence of exigency.
I said: What is your proof for this?
He said: Since the Messenger of Allah (S) has performed two obligatory prayers in al-Madinah with no travel, fear, raining or exigency, but only for keeping us away from troubles. This fact, thanks to God, is confirmed and established for us through the pure Imams, and it is also established for you.
I said: I wonder how could it be established for us while I have never heard of it before, nor seen any Sunni applying it. Rather, on the contrary, the Sunnis believe in the invalidity of the salāt if performed even one minute before the adhān (call for prayer), so what about that performing prayers hours before (its time) with the noon prayers, or performing the ‘isha’ prayers together with the maghrib, the act we view to be indecent and invalid.
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Bāqir al-Sadr realized my perplexity and wonder. He whispered in the ear of someone of the attendants, who hurriedly went and brought him two books, which I recognized to be Sahih al-Bukhāri and Sahih-Muslim. Al-Sayyid al-Sadr asked that knowledge-seeker to make me acquainted with the traditions related to performing two prayers together. I myself read in Sahih al-Bukhāri (the traditions showing) how the Prophet (S) performed together the zuhr and ‘asr prayers and maghrib and ‘isha’ prayers. In Sahih Muslim I came across a full chapter on al-jam‘ bayna al-salātayn (performing two prayers together) at time of presence (hadar) other than times of fear or raining or travel.
I could not hide my wonder and astonishment, while being doubtful that al-Bukhāri and Muslim with them might be falsified, deciding privately to review these two books in Tunisia.
After that proof, al-Sayyid al-Sadr sought to know my opinion.
I said: You are quite right, and what you say is the very truth. I would like to put forth another question.
He said: Please do.
I said: Is it permissible to perform together the four salawāt (prayers), as practised by a lot of people who perform the prayers of zuhr, ‘asr, maghrib and ‘isha’ together out of (due) time (qadā’) when returning home at night?
He said: This is impermissible.
I said: You yourself said before that the Messenger of Allah (S) used to perform the prayers separately and altogether, the practice through which we recognized the due times (mawāqit), approved by Allah the Glorified.
He said: There is a common time for the two faridahs (obligatory prayers) of zuhr and ‘asr, that starts from the meridian till sunset. And also for the prayers of maghrib and ‘isha’, that starts from sunset till the midnight. While the morning prayer has one time beginning from breaking of dawn till sunrise. Whoever contradicts these fixed times, has in fact contradicted the Holy verse:
“Verily prayer is (imposed) upon the believers as (‘a) timed Ordinance.” (4:103).
So we cannot, for instance, perform the morning prayer before dawn-breaking, nor after sunrise. Also it is impermissible to perform the zuhr and ‘asr prayers before the meridian or after sunset. And further we are not allowed to perform the maghrib and ‘isha’ prayers before sunset or after midnight.
I then thanked al-Sayyid Muhammad Bāqir al-Sadr. And though I was content with all his words, but I never performed two ordinances together after departing him, till my return to Tunisia, where I engaged myself deliberately in investigation and research till being enlightened.
This was my story with Martyr al-Sadr (may God’s mercy be upon him), concerning the performing together of two obligatory prayers, intending from citing them that my brothers, among the Sunnis may realize, first, the morality of the ‘ulamā’ who humbled themselves to deserve the epithet of being the inheritors of the prophets in respect of knowledge and ethics. Second, to show how we be unaware of what our Sihāh contain, while reviling the others on some matters in whose veracity we verily believe, and which are stated in our Sihāh.
In his Musnad,65 Al-’Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal reported from Ibn ‘Abbās that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) performed seven and eight (rak‘ahs) altogether (i.e. maghrib with ‘isha’, and zuhr with ‘asr prayers) at al-Madinah while being resident not traveller.
In al-Muwatta’,66 Al-’Imām Mālik reported that Ibn ‘Abbās said: The Messenger of Allah (S) performed the zuhr with ‘asr prayers, and maghrib with ‘isha’ prayers together, without presence of fear or travelling. The same tradition is reported also by al-’Imām Muslim, in his Sahih, under the bāb “al-jam‘ bayna al-salātayn fi al-hadar”.67
Muslim also reported from Ibn ‘Abbās that he said: The Messenger performed together zuhr with ‘asr prayers, and maghrib with ‘isha’ prayers at al-Madinah, with no fear or travel. He (Muslim) said: I asked Ibn ‘Abbās: Why did he do so? He replied: So that he would never cause any problem for his Ummah.68
The fact indicating that this Prophetic Sunnah was widely known among the Sahābah, and practised by them, can be sought in the tradition reported by Muslim too in his Sahih, under the same bāb, by saying: Ibn ‘Abbās addressed us in a sermon after the ‘asr (afternoon), and continued till sunset and appearance of the stars, when people started calling: al-salāt, al-salāt. Thereat a man from Banu Tamim, while perpetually exclaiming: al-salāt, al-salāt., came toward him. Ibn ‘Abbās said to him: O son of no mother! Do you teach me the Sunnah? Then he said: I have seen the Messenger of Allah (S) performing together the zuhr with ‘asr and maghrib with ‘isha’ prayers. In another narration, Ibn ‘Abbās said to the man: O motherless man, do you teach us the prayers, and we used to perform two prayers together during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be God’s peace and benediction).69
In his Sahih,70 under the bāb “waqt al-maghrib”, al-’Imām al-Bukhāri said: Adam informed us saying, Shu’bah told us and said, ‘Amr ibn Dinar said: I heard Jābir ibn Zayd, quoting Ibn ‘Abbās who said: The Prophet, upon whom be God’s peace and benediction, performed seven (rak‘ahs) together and eight togetherr (meaning maghrib with ‘isha’ and zuhr with ‘asr prayers).
Also, in his Sahih,71 under the bāb ‘”waqt al-‘asr”, al-Bukhāri is reported to have said: I heard Abu Imamah saying: We performed with ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz the zuhr prayer, after which we went out and entered upon Anas ibn Mālik whom we found performing the ‘asr prayer. I said: What is that prayer you performed? He said: It is the ‘asr prayer, and it is the prayer of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be God’s peace and benediction, which we used to perform with him.
Despite the plainness of these traditions, still there are some who exploit this point to revile the Shi’ah with. It has once upon a time occurred in Tunisia, when the prayers leader (imām) in the City of Qafsah, stood up for reviling and defaming us in the midst of the worshippers, saying: Have you noticed the religion they brought ... after performing the zuhr prayer they rise up and perform the ‘asr. It is a new religion other than the Din of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah. These people contradict the Qur’ān which says: “Verily prayer is (imposed) upon the believers as (‘a) timed Ordinance.” He spared nothing but reviled with it those who were enlightened and guided.
One of the enlightened, who was a highly learned youth, came toward me and cited to me so sadly and bitterly what hte leader (of prayer) said. So I handed him both Sahih al-Bukhāri and Sahih Muslim, asking him to show the imam the (traditions proving the) veracity of jam‘ (performing two prayers together), which being of the Prophet’s Sunnah. As I never intended to debate with him; since I did this before by that which is better but he responded with reviling and slander, and baseless charges.
However, my friend never stopped praying behind him and when the prayers finished, the imam sat as usual to give the lessons. Then my friend advanced to him and put forth the inquiry about performing two faridahs together. He replied: It is one of the Shi‘ah’s heresies. My friend said to him: But it is recorded in Sahih al-Bukhāri and Sahih Muslim, with giving them to him. On reading the bāb al-jam‘ bayna al-salātayn”, he was shocked by the truth, before all the worshippers, attending his classes. So he immediately closed the books, and returned them to me saying: This (sunnah) belongs in particular to the Messenger of Allah, and when you become an apostle of Allah you can apply it. After that this friend said to me: I realized then that this man was no more than a bigoted illiterate (jāhil), making an oath not to pray behind him any more (being led by him).72
Thereafter, I asked my friend to go back to him to let him be acquainted with the fact that Ibn ‘Abbās used to perform that salāt (two prayers together) besides Anas ibn Mālik and many a Companion, so why does he intend to distinguish the Messenger of Allah to perform it alone? Haven’t we had a good example in the Messenger of Allah? But my friend begged me to excuse him of this task, saying: No need for this, since I am sure that he will never be convinced even when the Messenger of Allah (S) himself comes to him.
All praise belongs to Allah, that a large number of the youths, after recognizing this reality, (the performing together of two prayers), resumed their (performance of) prayers after discarding it. That was because they were suffering from missing the performing of the prayers in their due times, in a way they used to resort to perform the four prayers altogether at night, the act causing them troubles and their hearts being fed up.But they realized then the wisdom that lies behind performing two prayers together, as all employees, students and common people would, through this sunnah, be able to perform the daily prayers in their due times with restful hearts. Only then they realized the true meaning of the Messenger’s expression: “.... so that I never create any trouble for my Ummah.
All Shi’ah ‘ulamā’ unanimously agree on the preferability of prostrating on the earth, in accordance with the tradition they report from the Messenger of Allah (S): “The best prostration is on the earth.”
In another narration, he (S) said:
“It is not permissible to prostrate but only on the earth, or any plant coming out from it, provided it be unedible and unwearable.”
The author of Wasā’il al-Shi’ah, reports from Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, with the authority of Hishām ibn al-Hakam, from Abu ‘Abd Allāh (‘a) that he said: Prostration on the earth is preferable since it is more extremely indicative of modesty, and submission to Allah, the Mighty and the Glorious.” In another narration, he reported from Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, through his isnād from Ishaq ibn al-Fadl, that he questioned Abu ‘Abd Allāh (al-’Imām al-Sādiq) [A] about prostration on mats (hasir) woven from reed (qasab). He (‘a) replied: There is no objection to it, but to prostrate on earth is more preferable to me, and the Messenger of Allah, may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny, liked this, that to make the forehead touch the earth. I like for you whatever was liked by the Messenger of Allah (S).”
Whereas the Sunni ‘ulamā’ see no objection to prostrate on pens (zaribah) and carpets, though they prefer it to be (reedy) mats.
There are some narrations reported by al-Bukhāri and Muslim in their Sahihs, confirming the Messenger’s having a mat made of palm leaves, using it for prostration. Muslim reported in his Sahih under kitāb al-hayd, on the aurhotiy of Yahya ibn Yahya and Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, from Abu Mu‘āwiyah, from al-’A’mash, from Thabitt ibn ‘Ubayd, from al-Qasim ibn Muhammad, from ‘A’ishah who said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said to me, hand me the khumrah from the mosque. She says: I said: I am menstruant. He said: Your menstruation is not from your hands.73 (Muslim says: Al-Khumrah is a small rug-like, with the size enough for prostration).
The evidence indicating that the Messenger of Allah was much preferring prostration on earth, can be sought in the tradition reported by al-Bukhāri in his Sahih, on the authority of Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri (may God be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah, may God’s peace and benedictions be upon him and his Progeny, used to seclude himself during the second ten days of the Month of Ramadān. He kept on this habit for one year, till the coming of the twenty-first night, the morning of which he was supposed to end his seclusion, when he said: Whoever secluded himself with me, should do so in the last ten days. I saw this night, and was made to forget it; I saw myself (in dream) wading in water and mud, in its morning. So seek it (the night) in the last ten days, and in every odd night. At that very night, it rained, and the mosque which was supported by a trellis, started to leak, when my eyes felt on the Messenger of Allah, may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny, seeing the trace of water and mud on his forehead, in the morning of the twenty-first day.74
The other evidence demonstrating the Companions’ preferring prostration on earth, in the presence of the Prophet (S), being the hadith reported by al-’Imām al-Nasā’i in his Sunan, under “bāb tabrid al-hasā Lis-sijud ‘alayh” (cooling the stones for prostrating on them), who said: Qutaybah informed us and said, ‘Abbād reported, from Muhammad ibn ‘Amr, from Sa’id ibn al-Harth, from Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh, who said: When we were performing the zuhr prayers with the Messenger of Allah (S), I picked up a handful of stones in the palm of my hand, cooling them and shifting them to the other palm, and when prostrating I would place them to put my forehand on.75
Added to this, the hadith uttered by the Prophet (S):
“The earth is made for me a place for prostration (masjid) and a purifier.”76
He also said:
“The earth as a whole is made to us a place for prostration and its soil made a purifier.”77
Why are Muslims then be fanatic against the Shi’ah because of their prostration on earth instead of zarābi (moquette)?
And how dare they to charge them with impiety, reviling and defaming them, falsely and calumniously with the charge of being idolaters?
Further how do the Saudis beat them (the Shi‘ah) merely for keeping the turbah (piece of clay on which foreheads are put) in their pockets or bags?
Is this truly the Islam that commands us to respect each other, and never insult any monotheist Muslim witnessing that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing prayers, pyaing the poor-due, fasting the Month of Ramadān and making pilgrimage to the House of Allah (Makkah)? And can it stand to reason that the Shi’i undergoes all those troubles, sustaining all those losses to make pilgrimage to the House (Ka’bah), and visit the Prophet’s tomb, while being worshippers of stones, as some people desire to portray?
Can’t the Sunnis be convinced with the statement of the Martyr Muhammad Bāqir al-Sadr, which I quoted in my first book Thumma Ihtadayt (Then I was guided), when I asked him about the piece of clay (on which they put their foreheads during their prayers, calling it al-turbah, and he answered thus: We all prostrate on the dust for Allah, but not for the dust, as some people claim that the Shi’ah do. And there is difference between prostration on the dust and prostration for the dust! For the prostration is only for Allah, praise be to Him the Highest.
And when the Shi’i takes care so as the place of his prostration be pure and accepted by Allah, responding to the commands of the Messenger of Allah and the Pure Imams of Ahl al-Bayt. Especially nowadays where all mosques being carpetted with soft moquette, which are made of unknown material to all the Muslims, and never be made in Islamic countries, besides some of them being made of materials on which prostration is forbidden... are we to discard and renounce the Shi’i who is concerned about the validity of his salāt, and accuse him of being infidel and polytheist just for a fictitious suspicion?
The Shi’i who cares about the affairs of his Din (religion), particularly his salāt which is the backbone of religion (‘amud al-Din), taking off his belt and watch whose band is made of leather of unknown origin; and sometimes his foreign trousers so as to pray in a loose and waving trousers, for the only reason to take precaution and attaching much importance to that magnificent halting before Allah, so as not to meet his Lord with any undeirable thing ... does all this deserve to be met with all this scorning and aversion, or it should be met with respect and exaltation? Since he has magnified the offerings consecrated to Allah, as said in the Qur’ān:
“And whoever respecteth the signs of God verily it is (the reflection) of the piety of the hearts.” (22:32)
O bondmen of Allah, fear the wrath of Allah and speak words straight to the point. Allah says:
“And had it not been God’s grace upon you and His mercy in this world and the hereafter, indeed had seized you for the slander ye entered into, a grievous chastisement.” (24:14, 15)
This is exclusively held by the Shi’ah. I investigated and searched in all the Sunni books but failed to find any trace of it.
In this regard, the Shi’ah depend upon akhbār (reports) and narrations they quoted from the pure Imams (peace be upon them), which indicate that Allah, the Glorious and the Exalted, will resurrect some of the believers and some corrupt culprits so as the believers revenge against their and Allah’s enemies in this worldly life before the hereafter.
These reports, through being sahih (correct) and mutawātir (narrated through authentic chains), but are not necessarily binding upon Ahl al-Sunnah if they trust not their veracity, and consequently it is not incumbent upon them to believe in them, just because Ahl al-Bayt Imams reported them from their grandfather the Messenger of Allah (S)! Nay, as we have committed ourselves to be equitable in research, and discard bigotry, so we never task them but only with that they bind themselves to, and report in their Sihāh, since the traditions on raj‘ah have never been cited in their books or transmitted by them. Therefore, they are quite free to disbelieve in these reports, and reject them, in case anyone of the Shi’ah intends to let them be acquainted with such narrations.
Due to the fact that the Shi’ah have never imposed on or coerced anyone to believe in the raj‘ah, nor they charge with impiety anyone denying it, so no need is there for all that vilification and exaggeration against the Shi’ah, specially when taking into consideration their interpreting some Qur’ānic verses in a way denoting this meaning and confirming it, such:
“And on the Day when We will collect from every people a party from those who belied our signs, then will they be formed into groups” (27:83).
In Tafsir al-Qummi, it is reported from Ibn Abi ‘Umayr, from Hammād, from Abu ‘Abd Allāh (al-’Imām) Ja’far al-Sādiq (peace be upon him), that he said: What do people say about this āyah “And on the Day when We will collect from every people a party”? (Hammād says:) I replied: They believe this to be on the Day of Resurrection. He (‘a) said: It is not that which they claim, but it is verily about the raj‘ah (restoration to life) ... is it proper for Allah to resurrect a party of every Ummah (community) and leave the rest? (No) but the āyah on Resurrection (Day) be this one:
“We will gather them (and) then leave not behind, of them any one.” (18:47)
It is also reported in the book ‘Aqā’id al-’Imāmiyyah of al-Shaykh Muhammad Ridā al-MuZaffar, that he said: The belief held by the Imamiyah in accordance with what is reported from Al al-Bayt (the Prophet’s Household), peace be upon them, that Allah, the Most High, will resurrect a group of the dead and return them to the world (dunyā), with the same shapes they were before, dignifying some and humiliating some others, distinguishing between the rightful from falsifiers and the oppressed from the oppressors. This shall occur during the reappearance and rise of al-Mahdi of Al Muhammad, upon him and them be the best benediction and peace.
And no one will be resurrected but whoever attained the extremest degree of faith (imān) or the extremest degree of corruption, who all shall be caused to die afterwards, and then to nushur (gathering for reckoning) and to get the thawāb (reward) and ‘iqāb (punishment) according to what they deserve. It is exactly as stated by the Almighty Allah in His Noble Book, about those resurrected ones, who were never reclaimed through restoration to life, deserving consequently Allah’s wrath, desiring then to be resurrected for the third time with the hope of being reclaimed: They shall say: “O’ our Lord! Twice dist Thou cause us to die, and twice didst Thou give us life, and (now) we do confess our sins: Is there then a way to get out (of this)?”78
My view is that if Ahl al-Sunnah never believe in the doctrine of raj‘ah, they are quite rightful in this respect, but they have no right whatsoever to revile and defame whoever believing in it, due to the establishment of the texts regarding it for him.As that who knows not has no authority over that who knows, and also the ignorant has no authority over the learned, and disbelieving in something can never be an evidence on its non-existence or falsehood, as there are many irrefutable proofs being approved by the Muslims while being disapproved by the people of scripture (Ahl al-Kitāb) including the Jews and Christians.
And there are numerous beliefs and narrations held by the Sunnis concerning God’s friends (Awliyā’) and the pious, and followers of the Sufi creeds, that seem impossible and abominable, but not calling for vilification and exaggeration against the Sunnis’ faith.
On the other hand, the doctrine of raj‘ah has a support in the Qur’ān and the Prophetic Sunnah, besides its being not imposible for Allah, Who cited for us examples about it in the Qur’ān, like His saying:
“Or (didst thou not see) like him who passed by a town and it had fallen on its roofs, he exlaimed, (Oh) How can God (ever) bring it to life (again), after (this) its death,” Where-upon God caused him to die a hundred years and thereafter raised him (again to life).” (2:259)
Or the Almighty’s saying:
“Didst thou not see those who went forth from their homes, and they were in thosuands, for fear of death; then God said unto them, ‘Die ye!’ (and they died) and thereafter He restored them to life ...” (2:243)
Allah caused some people from among the Children of Israel, and thereafter restored them to life, in accordance with the following verse:
“And (remember ye!) when ye said, “O’ Moses! Never will we believe in thee until we see God manifestly,” the Thunder seized you while ye looked on. Then We raised you after your death that haply ye might be thankful.” (2:55, 56)
Further, about the fellows of the Cave who stayed dead in their cave for more than three hundred years, God says:
“Then We raised them up that We might know which of the two parties reckoneth best the duration of their stay.” (18:12)
Thus we noticed how the Book of Allah indicates that the raj‘ah happened for the previous nations, so its occurrence for the Ummah of Muhammad is not impossible, especially when it is to be reported and confirmed by Ahl al-Bayt Imams, peace be upon them, who are the truthful and knowledgeable.
But there are some intruders who claim that to believe in raj‘ah is the same as believing in the tanāsukh (transmigration), which is held by some of the atheists. This claim is manifesty devious and false, the purpose of which being no more than vilification and tahwil (exaggeration) against the Shi’ah. Since those believing in the principle of tanāsukh, never hold that man is restored to life with his own body, soul, shape and nature, but say that the soul is transmitted from the body of a man died to that of another man born anew, or even to an animal.
This, as known by all, is absolutely far off from the creed and beliefs of Muslims who say that Allah will raise up the dead from their graves with their bodies and souls. While the raj‘ah in fact has nothing to do with the tanāsukh, which is held only by the ignorant and illiterate people who have no knowledge, or the impious who have evil intentions.
We never mean by ghuluww here to deviate from the path of truth and follow the hawā (desire), till the beloved turning to be the worshipped god, which is verily a blasphemy and polytheism that can never believed by any Muslim having faith in the Islamic message and prophethood of Muhammad (S).
The Messenger of Allah (S) determined fixed limits for such love, when he said to al-’Imām ‘Ali (‘a):
“Two categories of people will face ruin on account of you: he who loves you with exaggeration, and he who hates you intensely.”
He (S) also said:
“O ‘Ali, in you there is a parable of Jesus, the son of Mary, who was detested by the Jews to the extent astonishing his mother, and loved by the Christians till imparting upon him the position that he was unfit for it.”79
This being the negative meaning for ghuluww, when love exceeds the bounds till rendering the beloved as a god, giving him a rank higher than his own, or when hatred exceeds the bounds reaching the extent of calumny and false accusation.
While the Shi’ah have never gone to the extremes in loving ‘Ali and the Imams among his sons, but imparted upon them the reasonable position determined by the Messenger of Allah (S), as his executors (awsyā’) and successors, with no one claiming their attaining the degree of prophethood let not the divinity. We should never care or give heed to the allegations of some troublesome persons claiming that the Shi’ah have made a god of ‘Ali and believed in his deity. Such people, if what is reported be correct, could neither represent a sect, nor a school of thought (madhhab), nor Shi’ah, nor Kharijites (khawārij).
And what is the fault of the Shi’ah if the Lord of Power and Glory says in His Book: “Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I demand not of you any recompense for it (the toils of the apostleship) save the love of (my) kinsfolk.” And the mawaddah (loving kindness), as is known, is greater than mere love (hubb). Also the Messenger of Allah (S) says:
“None of you will be a (true) believer till loving for his brother (in Din) what he loves for himself, and mawaddah enjoins on you to deprive you of something so as to love with it another one.”
And what fault the Shi’ah have when the Messenger of Allah (S) says:
“O ‘Ali, you are a master in this world and a master in the Hereafter. Whoever loves you has loved me and whoever hates you is hating me. Your lover is the lover of Allah and your hater is the hater of Allah, and woe be unto that who detests you.”80
He further says: “To love ‘Ali is faith, and to hate him is hypocrisy.”81
He also says:
“Whoever dies with the love of Al Muhammad be in his heart, his death is that of a martyr. Verily that who dies upon the love of Al Muhammad shall die forgiven, and whoever dies upon love of Al Muhammad shall die penitent. Whoever dies upon love of Al Muhammad shall die a believer of perfect faith, and that who dies upon love of Al Muhammad the angel of death will augur him with heavens...”82
And why to blame or reproach the Shi’ah if they love a man about whom the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “Tomorrow I will give my standard to a man loves God and His Messenger, and God and His Messenger love him...”83
As the lover of ‘Ali is the lover of Allah and His Messenger, with being a mu’min (true believer), while the hater of ‘Ali is in fact the hater of Allah and His Messenger, and being a munāfiq (hypocrite).
It will not be out of context here to cite al-’Imām al-Shāfi‘i’s famous quartrain on their love:
In regard of them and their love, al-Farazdaq disclosed his famous poem:
The Shi’ah loved Allah and His Messenger, and through this love they were made to love Ahl al-Bayt: Fātimah and ‘Ali and al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the fact on which countless traditions are there, reported by the Sunni ‘ulamā’ in their Sihāh, some of which I have cited for the sake of brevity.
And when the love for ‘Ali and Ahl al-Bayt represents in general the love for the Messenger of Allah (S), we have to know the extent of love required from the Muslims so as to learn if there be ghuluww (excess) as alleged by some.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“None of you will be a (true) believer till I become for him more beloved than his children, and father and all people.”84
On this basis, every Muslim should love ‘Ali and the Pure Imams among his sons more than people as a whole including his family and children, as only through this the faith (imān) can be established, as confirmed by the Prophet (S) in the aforementioned hadith.
Thus the Shi’ah never overstate, but give each right owner his due, and they were commanded by the Messenger of Allah to hold ‘Ali in a position parable to that of the head to the body, and the same position of the two eyes to the head. Is tere anyone ready to relinquish of his eyes or his head?
On the other side, an excessive extravagance is found with Ahl al-Sunnah in their love for the Sahābah and undue consecration.But it seems as merely a reaction against the Shi’ah, who never believed in the ‘adālah (justice, straightforwardness) of the Sahābah as a whole.Whereas the Umayyads used to elevate the status of the Sahābah, belittling and degrading on the other hand the Prophet’s Household, to the extent that when sending benedictions upon Muhammad and his Progeny, they would add: “and upon his Companions all.” All this is due to the fact that sending benedictions upon Ahl al-Bayt has a virtue to which there was no precedent, nor can be reached by anyone.
So they (the Umayyads) intended to elevate the Sahābah to that sublime degree, being unaware of the fact that Allah the Glorified has commanded the Muslims on top of whom be all the Sahābah, to send benedictions upon Muhammad and ‘Ali and Fātimah with al-Hasanayn. And the prayer of that who does not send blessings upon them is rejected and can never be accepted by Allah if it be confined upon Muhammad alone, as is confirmed and recorded in Sahih al-Bukhāri and Sahih Muslim.
The reason why we call it ghuluww on the part of the Sahābah lies in the fact that Ahl al-Sunnah exceed the logic limits when ascribing justice to all of the Sahābah while Allah and His Messenger bear witness that among them are debauchees, renegades, deviators and hypocrites.
Their ghuluww is quite manifest when claiming that the Messenger of Allah (S) may err and be corrected by a Companion, or that the Satan plays and sports in the presence of the Prophet, but escapes when seeing ‘Umar. And also the ghuluww is explicit when they say that if Allah inflicts the Muslims, including the Messenger of Allah, with a tribulation, no one would be in safe of it except Ibn al-Khattāb. The extravagance is even more explicit when they annul the Prophet’s Sunnah and follow the sunnah of the Sahābah particularly al-Khulafā’ al-Rāshidun. Till now I have revealed instances of some of these practices, and anyone desires to get more information, has to search and meditate in order to put his hand on more of such misconceptions.
He also became one of the topics misused by Ahl al-Sunnah to revile the Shi’ah. Some of them transgressed the limits by making of it a point of mockery and derision, as they negate, or say, believe it impossible for a human being to be alive and unseen for twelve centuries. Some of the contemporary writers even dare to say: “The Shi’ah have fabricated and forged the idea of the occulted Imam who will verily deliver them, because of the much oppression and persecution they experienced from time immemorial to the present day. So they consoled themselves by the wish of the Awaited al-Mahdi, who will fill the earth with justice and equity and take their revenge from their enemies.”
The topic of the Promised al-Mahdi has become the town-talk in the recent years after the culmination of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, with the Muslims, especially the educated youth starting everywhere, to inquire about the truth and authenticity of al-Mahdi .... whether is he factually there and has existence in the Islamic doctrines or just one of the compositions or forgeries of the Shi’ah?
Despite the books and researches compiled and written by the Shi’ah ‘ulamā’, long ago and recently85 and despite the communications between many Sunnis and their brethren the Shi’ah through numerous conferences and discussions on miscellaneous doctrinal subjects, this topic remains so ambiguous to many of them, since they never used to hear the like of these episodes.
What is then the reality of the Promised al-Mahdi in the Islamic creeds?
The discussion about the topic is divided into two parts: the first relates to make a research on al-Mahdi through the Book (Qur’ān) and (Prophetic) Sunnah. The second focuses on his life (biography), occultation and reappearance.
Concerning the first research, it can be said that there is agreement between the Shi’ah and Sunnah on the fact that the Messenger of Allah (S) has foretold about him, informing his Companions that Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, shall verily make him to reappear at the end of Time (world, zamān). It is to be noticed that both the Shi’ah and Sunni ‘ulamā’ have reported many traditions about al-Mahdi (‘a) in their authentic books (Sihāh) and Musnads.
I, in my turn, and as usual, to fulfil the commitment I undertook on myself in all the subjects discussed in this book, that not to infer (as a proof) but only through what is confirmed and sahih (correct, authentic) for Ahl al-Sunnah and the Shi’ah.
In Sunan Abi Dāwud,86 it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“If there remained but a single day of the (end of) Time, Allah would prolong that day till He sends a man of my progeny, whose name is like mine, and whose father’s name is my father’s, who will fill the earth with justice and equity as it had been filled with oppression and tyranny.”
In Sunan Ibn Mājah, 87 the following tradition is reported. The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“We are the Ahl al-Bayt for whom Allah has chosen the hereafter to this world. My Ahl al-Bayt will face after me difficulties, hardships and persecution in the lands, until a people will come from the east (mashriq) bearers of black banners. They will demand the right but it will be denied. So, they will fight and will emerge victorious. They will be given what they demanded, but will not accept it till they give it (the right to rule) to a man from my Ahl al-Bayt, who would fill it (the earth) with justice as it was filled with oppression.”
In his Sunan, Ibn Mājah said: The Messenger of Allah (may God’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) said:
“Al-Mahdi is from us, the Ahl al-Bayt. Al-Mahdi is among the children of Fātimah.”
“Al-Mahdi will verily rule my Ummah, for seven years if it (his rule) be short, or otherwise it be nine years. During this period my Ummah will live in an unprecedented bounty, giving its fruit, saying nothing of it. Fortunes will be, in that period, accumulated. A man would rise and say: O Mahdi, give me. He will say: Take.”88
In Sahih al-Tirmidhi,89 it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“A man of my Ahl al-Bayt whose name is like mine, will verily rule (the world). And if there remained but a single day of the (end of) time, Allah would prolong that day till he assumes the rule.
Further the Messenger of Allah (S) is reported to have said:
“The world shall never end till the Arabs will verily be ruled by a man of my Ahl al-Bayt, whose name is like mine.”
In his Sahih90 al-’Imām al-Bukhāri is reported to have said: Ibn Bukayr, told us saying we are told by al-Layth, from Ibn Shahab, from Nafi’ the mawlā of Abu Qatādah al-’Ansari, that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah ( upon whom be God’s peace and benediction) said: “What would be your condition when the son of Mary (Jesus) is raised down among you, and your leader (Imam) be of you.”
The author of Ghāyat al-ma’mul says: It is commonly known among the old and contemporary ‘ulamā’, that at the end of Time, a man of Ahl al-Bayt called al-Mahdi should appear. The ahādith (traditions) about al-Mahdi reached us through a group of pious Sahābah and chains of reliable traditionists like: Abu Dāwud, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Mājah, al-Tabarani, Abu Ya‘lā, al-Bazzaz, al-’Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and al-Hākim (may God be pleased with them all). And mistaken is whoever has weakened all the traditions about al-Mahdi.
Al-Hāfiz, in Fath al-Bāri, says: There are many authentic traditions (mutawātir) confirming that al-Mahdi is of this Ummah, and that Jesus the son of Mary will reappear and perform his prayers behind him.91
In al-Sawā‘iq al-muhriqah, Ibn Hajar al-Haythami said: The ahādith containing references to the reappearance of al-Mahdi are so many and mutawātir (authentic).”92
Al-Shawkāni, in his risālah (treatise) called: al-Tawdih fi tawātur mā jā’a fi al-muntaZar wa al-dajjāl wa al-Messiah, after citing the traditions about al-Mahdi, says: “Whatever we cited, that reaching the extent of tawātur, as is not covered or unknown for that who has honour of cognizance.”
In al-Lumu‘āt, al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haqq says: “The ahādith reaching the extent of tawātur (authentic chains) unanimously confirm that al-Mahdi is of Ahl al-Bayt and son of Fātimah.”93
Also al-Sabbān, in his book Is‘āf al-rāghibin, says: “Many authentic (mutawātir) akhbār reported from the Messenger of Allah (may God’s peace and benedictions be upon him and his Progeny) confirming his (al-Mahdi’s) reappearance, and his being of Ahl al-Bayt, and that he will fill the earth with equity and justice.”94
In his book Sabā’ik al-dhahab, al-Suwaydi is reported to have said:
“That upon which all the ‘ulamā’ have concurred is al-Mahdi’s being the one who is to rise (al-qā’im) at the end of the Time (al-zamān), and that he will fill the earth with justice. The ahādith that confirm his reappearance are so many.”95
Ibn Khaldun, in his Muqaddimah, also says: “Know that what is widely known among Ahl al-’Islām (‘ulamā’ and people) throughout course of time, is that at the end of the Time a man of Ahl al-Bayt should appear, who would support the Din, and establish justice. He is called al-Mahdi.”96
Moreover, many traditions about al-Mahdi are reported by contemporary ‘ulamā’, such as the Mufti of al-’Ikhwān al-Muslimun al-Sayyid Sābiq in his book al-‘Aqā’id al-’Islāmiyyah, deeming the idea of al-Mahdi to be among the Islamic doctrines (‘aqā’id) in which all should believe.
With their multiplicity, the ahādith about al-Mahdi are reported and cited in the Shi’ah books, to the extent it is said that the ahādith reported from the Messenger of Allah (S) about al-Mahdi exceed in number all his ahādith about other subjects.
Further, the researcher Lutf Allāh al-Sāfi, in his encylopedia Muntakhab al-’athar, reported many traditions about al-Mahdi from more than sixty sources of Ahl al-Sunnah books, including al-Sihāh al-Sittah (the Six Sahihs), and more than ninety references of the Shi’ah books, including al-Kutub al-’Arba‘ah.
In regard of the second subject, which deals with the birth, life, occultation of al-Mahdi and his being alive. This part also was never negated by some of the reliable Sunni ‘ulamā’, who believe al-Mahdi to be Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-‘Askari, the Twelfth Imam of Ahl al-Bayt. And that he was born, and is still alive, and will reappear at the end of the Time to fill the earth with equity and justice, and through him Allah will surely make His Din victorious. In this respect they agree with the beliefs held by the Imāmiyyah Shi’i. Hereunder some of those ‘ulamā’:
1. Muhyi al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi, in al-Futuhāt al-Makkiyyah.
2. Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, in his book Tadhkirat al-khawāss.
3. ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Shirāni, in ‘Aqā’id al-’akābir.
4. Ibn al-Khashshāb in Tawarikh mawalid al-’A’immah wa wafayātihim.
5. Muhammad al-Bukhāri al-Hanafi, in Fasl al-khitāb.
6. Ahmad ibn Ibrāhim al-Balādhuri, in al-Hadith al-mutasalsil.
7. Ibn al-Sabbāgh al-Māliki, in al-Fusul al-Muhimmah.
8. Al-‘Arif ‘Abd al-Rahmān, in Mir’āt al-’asrār.
9. Kamāl al-Din ibn Talhah, in Matālib al-sa’ul fi manāqib Al al-Rasul.
10. Al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi, in Yanābi‘ al-mawaddah.
If any researcher pursues the matter, he will verily come across among Ahl al-Sunnah ‘ulamā’, in greater number than those we referred to, who believe in the birth of al-Mahdi and that he is still alive till Allah the Most High makes him to reappear.
Then we are left with only those among Ahl al-Sunnah who deny his birth and his being alive, though admitting the veracity of the ahādith about him (al-Mahdi). But they can never be considered hujjah (authority) over the others believing in such issue.
Such assumption is not denied by the Holy Qur’ān, in which Allah coined many a similitude about this for those having inactive minds, so as to be liberated from the fetters and to give the reins to their thoughts and intellects to be certain and submit that Allah, Subhanah, is Able to do all things.
So the Muslim, whose heart is filled with faith, can never be astonished when hearing that Allah has caused ‘Uzayr (Ezra) to die for a hundred years, then brought him back to life. Thereat he would look at his food and drink which have not rotted,and to his ass how would Allah assemble its bones and then clothe them with flesh, rendering it to its former condition after its bones have rotted away. And when the matter became clear unto him, he said: I know now that Allah is Able to do all things. Glorified is Allah! How soon he changes his mind. As before the event, he wondered and thought it to be impossible when passing by a township, which had fallen into utter ruin, exclaiming: How shall Allah (ever) bring this (township) to life (again), after its death?
The Muslim believing in the Qur’ān never finds strange the story of our master Abraham, when he made the bird into parts, placing each of them on the hills, calling them then, when they would come to him in haste.
And any Muslim would never find strange the fire’s being cool, and never burning or harming our lord Abraham, as when he be thrown into it, Allah said to it: O fire, be coolness and peace (for Abraham).
The (true) Muslim also would never find strange that our doyen Jesus was born without the male’s sperm-drop (nutfah), i.e. with no father, and that he is still alive, not dead, and will be restored to the earth.
Moreover, every Muslim would never find strange to see our master Jesus Christ raising the dead, healing that who was born blind, and the leper; and that the sea be split for our master Moses and the Children of Israel, so as they would walk through it without being moistened, and his staff be turned into a serpent, with his transforming the Nile water into blood.
The Muslim would also never find strange when knowing that our lord Solomon used to talk to the birds, and the jinn, and the ants, with his throne be carried and flown in the skies place to place, and the throne of Balqis be straightened within moments.
Even the Muslim would never find strange that Allah caused the fellows of the Cave to die for three hundred years, and more other nine (years), raising them again to life, when the grandson of the grandson became older than the grandfather’s grandfather.
Further he would never find strange being told that our master al-Khidr (peace be upon him) is still alive, and never died, and that he met our lord Moses (‘a).
He would never find strange too the fact that Iblis (upon whom be God’s damnation) is not dead and still alive, and that he was created before Adam (peace be upon him). And also he is still joining the procession of mankind from the first day of his creation till the day of his perishness. However he is hidden with no one being ever able to see him,despite his hideous deeds and abominable acts, while he can see all the people.
Every Muslim has faith in all these things, never wondering or finding their occurrence to be strange, so why should he consider the existence of al-Mahdi unseen for some time — for a wisdom ordained by Allah the Glorious — to be strange or incredible.
It is to be noted that whatever is stated in the Qur’ān, which is extensively more than the instances we referred to, cannot be regarded ordinary or common things among people, besides being impossible to be done by them even if they combine together for the purpose.
But it is altogether the making of Allah, Whom nothing in the earth or heavens can escape or strive against. And it also should be trusted by all Muslims, as they have believed in whatever revealed in the Holy Qur’ān, without any exceptio or reservation.
And due to the fact that al-Mahdi is the Imam of the Shi’ah, who lived among them beside his forefathers, so they should be better aware of whatever is related to him and said about him, and the people of Mecca are better aware of its (mountain) passes.
Further, the Shi’ah revere and glorify their leaders, making for Ahl al-Bayt Imams special tombs, which they constructed and kept abide to make pilgrimage to, seeking blessings through them. Based on this, had the Twelfth Imam — al-Mahdi (‘a) — deceased, there would have been a tomb (or shrine) known for all. Besides, it would have been feasible for them to claim the permissibility of raising him (to life) after death, the thing possible to come true, as is referred to by the Qur’ān, when taking into consideration their belief in the doctrine of raj‘ah (restoration of life). Moreover, they even insist on the belief that al-Mahdi (‘a) is alive and having provision, and his being unseen for a wisdom willed by Allah, the Glorious and the Exalted, that is only known by those who are firmly rooted in knowledge and their awliyā’ (followers).
Anyhow it should be known that the disagreement between the Sunnah and Shi’ah regarding the case of al-Mahdi (‘a) is not of essential nature, as they both believe in his reappearance at the end of the Time, and that Jesus (‘a) will perform his prayers behind him.Further they both believe that he will fill the earth with equity and justice as it had been filled with oppression and tyranny, and the Muslims taking possession of the whole earth during his reign, with prevalence of welfare and prosperity that no poor shall be there.
The only point of controversy between them being that the Shi’ah believe that he is born, while the Sunnah hold that he is to be born (in future), with concurring both on his reappearance at the end of the Time.
So let the Sunnah and Shi’ah unite and be in agreement on truth word, and on bringing together the disintegrated Ummah with striving to eliminate any difference, and gathering it again. Further, all of them should sincerely invoke Allah, with good intentions during their prayers, to hasten his reappearance in which lies the deliverance, and which entails victory for the Ummah of Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny).
Our last prayer is that all praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and benediction and peace be upon the most honourable of the prophets and apostles, our master and lord Muhammad and his good and pure Progeny.