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Eighth Session, Thursday night, 1 Sha'ban, 1345 A.H.

Sayyid Abdu'l-Hayy: Respected sir, last night you contributed to discord among the Muslims.

Well-Wisher: Tell me how I did that.

Sayyid: While explaining "ourselves", you divided Muslims into two groups: Muslims and believers. But Muslims are all one and the same. Those who say the words "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger" are all brothers. They should not be separated into two groups because this is harmful to Islam. The Shi’as call themselves believers, and they call us Muslims. You must have seen in India that Shi’as are called believers and the Sunnis are called Muslims.

The fact is that 'Islam' and 'Iman' (conviction) are identical terms because Islam means acceptance of the commands of religion. This recognition is the reality of 'Iman.' The whole community has agreed that Islam is pure Iman. You have gone against the common view.

Difference between Islam (submission) and Iman (faith)

Well-Wisher: First, your reference to the common people does not mean the people of the community as a whole. It refers to the common people of a group of the Sunnis. Second, your statement about Islam and Iman is not accurate.

Not only do the Shi’as differ with the Sunnis but the Ash'aris, Mu'tazalis, Hanafis, and Shafi'is also have different views about it. Third, I frankly don't understand why learned men like you should resort to such trivial objections.

This division into two groups has been made by Allah in the Holy Qur'an. Perhaps you have forgotten the matter relating to Companions of the Right and the Companions of the Left referred to in the Holy Qur'an which says:

"The dwellers of the desert say: 'We believe.' Say: 'You do not believe but say, we submit; faith has not yet entered your hearts.'" (49:14)

Certainly you must know that this verse was revealed in condemnation of the desert tribe of the Bani Asad, who were Muslims in name only. During a year of famine, they flocked to Medina and, in order to get relief, claimed to be believers.

But at heart they were unbelievers in Allah and the Holy Prophet. This verse verifies that there are two groups of Muslims: sincere Muslims, who have acknowledged the realities of Iman, and those who make mere verbal declarations of faith.

In our social sphere the latter group is entitled to the safety and benefits of the laws meant for all Muslims. But, according to the injunction of the Holy Qur'an, they are not entitled to any reward in the hereafter. Their declarations that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger, and their making a display of the fact that they are Muslims, have no real significance.

Sayyid: You are right, but Islam without Iman (faith or conviction) has no meaning, just as Iman without Islam has no merit. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"And do not say to anyone who offers you peace: 'You are not a believer.'" (4:94)

This verse proves that we must treat one according to one's outward semblance. If anyone says, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," we should accept his Iman. This in itself is the best proof that Islam and Iman are identical terms.

Well-Wisher: This verse was revealed about a particular person, either Usama Ibn Zaid or Muhallam Ibn Jasama al-Laisi, who, it is said, killed a man in battle who had declared "There is no god except Allah." He was killed on the assumption that he had said these words in fear. But because you think it is in the general sense, we also regard all Muslims as being pure. Unless of course, we see them denying the fundamentals of religion.

But there is a difference between Islam and Iman because there are various classes of Iman. Imam Ja'far Ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq says in the narration of ‘Umar and Zubair: "For Iman there are conditions, ranks, and stages. Some of them are defective and their defect is apparent; some are of better value and are weighty; some of them are complete and have reached perfection."

Defective Iman is the very first stage of Iman through which a person passes into Islam from infidelity. Higher degrees of Iman are possible. Reference to them has been made in some of the hadith.

Among them is a narration in Usul Kafi and in Nahju'l-Balagha from the Commander of the Faithful and Ja'far Ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq who said: "Allah has divided Iman into seven classes which consist of goodness, truthfulness, conviction of the heart, submission to the will of Allah, loyalty, knowledge, and forbearance.

These seven qualities have been unequally distributed among human beings. One who completely possesses all these qualities is a perfect believer. Hence, Islam is in the first category of Iman, in which there is only verbal declaration of belief in the prophethood of Muhammad and the unity of Allah. Iman has not entered such person's heart. The Prophet of Allah told a group of his people: 'O people! You are among those who have accepted Islam with your tongue, but not yet with your heart.'"

Obviously Islam and Iman are different. But we are not required to probe the hearts of others. I said last night that the sign of a believer is his deeds. But we have no right to make inquiries about the actions of Muslims. We are compelled, however, to indicate the characteristics of Iman, so that those who are immersed in sleep may be inspired to perform their duties.

Thus they will be aware of the reality of Iman and will know that salvation in the hereafter will come only through performing good deeds, as the hadith says: "Iman means acceptance with the tongue, conviction in the heart, and performance with our limbs." Acceptance with the tongue and conviction in the heart are the preface to action.

Of course we know that this nasty world is only a preface to the next world. The way of salvation for such a man is closed in the hereafter unless he becomes a man of good deeds here. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an:

"I swear by the declining time, surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good...." (103:1-3)

In short, according to the Holy Qur'an, piety is the root of Iman. And if one has no good deeds to his credit, his verbal acknowledgement or conviction at heart will still leave him far from Iman. If it is true that we should consider anyone a Muslim who says, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," why do you regard the Shi’as as infidels?

Certainly Shi’as believe in the unity of Allah, the prophethood of Muhammad, one Qibla, one Book. They perform all obligatory acts, observe prescribed fasts, go on the pilgrimage, pay khums and zakat (religious taxes), believe in bodily resurrection, and the Day of Reckoning.

Isn't it you who cause disunity among Muslims? You keep millions of Muslims separated from you and call them infidels although you have not the smallest evidence to support such charges. You do not recognize that these are the devices of enemies who want to create discord among Muslims by means of such lies. The fact is that we have no differences in the fundamentals of our belief except the Imamate and vicegerency. And what if there were differences in the practices of the faith?

Such differences exist among your own four schools of law, and they are more serious than those between us. (It would not be proper now to point out the differences between Hanafis and Malikis or between Shafi'is and Hanbalis.)

In my opinion you have not the slightest evidence to establish the polytheism or infidelity of Shi’as. The only unpardonable fault of the Shi’as, according to what the Kharijis and Nasibis have propagated by means of the Umayyads, is that the Shi’as do not misinterpret the traditions.

They do not give people like Abu Huraira, Anas, and Samura a place between the Holy Prophet and ourselves. Even your own jurists and your own great Caliphs condemned them as liars.

The greatest fault ascribed to the Shi’as is that they follow the progeny of the Prophet, ‘Ali and the twelve Imams, and not the four Imams. But you have no evidence from the Prophet to show that Muslims must follow the Ash'aris or Mu'tazalis in the fundamentals and Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali or Shafi'is in the articles of practice.

On the other hand, there are innumerable instructions from the Prophet telling us that the progeny and Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet are the equals of the Holy Qur'an, and that the community should attach themselves to them.

Among these hadith are the hadith Thaqalain, hadith al-Safina, hadith al-Bab al-Hitta. Can you quote a single hadith in which the Holy Prophet said that his people after him should follow Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari and Wasil Ibn Ata, etc. in the fundamentals and one of the four individuals - Malik Ibn Anas, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Hanifa, or Muhammad Ibn Idris Shafi'i?

Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter IV, reports from Fara'id Hamwaini quoting from Ibn Abbas that the Holy Prophet said to the Commander of the Faithful: "O ‘Ali! I am the city of knowledge and you are its gate. No one can enter the city without having first entered the gate.

He is a liar who claims to love me while he is your enemy because you are from me, and I am from you. Your flesh is my flesh, your blood is my blood, your soul is my soul, your appearance is my appearance. Blessed is the man who obeys you, woe be to one who disobeys you. Your friend is fortunate, and your enemy is in loss. One who is with you is successful, and one who is aloof from you is lost. After me, you and all the Imams in your progeny are like the ark of Noah: whoever boards it will be saved and whoever refuses to board it will be drowned. Their (the Imams') likeness is like that of the stars: when a star sets, another rises. This order will continue until the day of judgement."

It has been clearly narrated in the hadith al-Thaqalain (acknowledged by both the sects) that "If you are attached to the Ahlul Bayt, never, never shall you be misled." Even the fanatical Ibn Hajar Makki records his findings in his Sawa'iq Muhriqa, chapter 2 Sub-chapter, 1, page 92, in connection with the verse of the Holy Qur'an:

"And stop them, for they shall be questioned." (37:24)

And Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi has also quoted from Sawa'iq in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 95, page 296, (printed in Istanbul) saying that this hadith has been narrated in different ways. Ibn Hajar says: "Verily, the hadith of Attachment to Two Great Things (Thaqalain) has been narrated in different ways. It has been narrated by more than 25 companions of the Holy Prophet."

Ibn Hajar says regarding the above Qur'anic verse that on the Day of Judgement, the people will be questioned about the Wilaya of ‘Ali and the descendants of the Prophet.

He writes that according to some sources, this hadith was narrated on the occasion of 'Arafa, and some say it was narrated when the Prophet was on his death bed with his apartment full of his Companions. Others say that it was included in his last address after his final Hajj.

Ibn Hajar gives his opinion regarding the different occasions of this hadith: "There is no inconsistency in the possibility that the Prophet, in his desire to show the glory of Qur'an and his Holy descendants, repeated this hadith on these and other different occasions.

It is reliably reported that the Prophet said: 'I leave among you two great things: if you follow them, you will never be misled. And these two are the Book of Allah (Qur'an) and my Ahlul Bayt.'"

Tabrani has reported this hadith with this addition: "I question you about these two: the Holy Qur'an and the Ahlul Bayt, so do not try to outstrip them. Otherwise, you will be destroyed. Do not disregard them, otherwise you will be ruined. Do not try to teach them, for they know better than you."

Even the fanatical Ibn Hajar, after quoting from Tabrani and others, writes: "The Prophet called the Qur'an and his progeny, 'two great things' because these two are so weighty and dignified in every aspect." The Prophet also said: "I praise Allah who has filled the hearts of my Ahlul Bayt with wisdom." And the Prophet also said in a hadith referred to earlier: "....and never try to teach them (my progeny) anything since they are the most learned of you all. Consider them superior to all your ulama’ because Allah has created them pure and has introduced them to the Community with supernatural powers and innumerable other merits."

There is one point in the hadith which stresses attachment to the Ahlul Bayt: namely, that the successive generations of the Ahlul Bayt, will not be severed until the Day of Judgement. It is astonishing that some people admit that the members of the Ahlul Bayt possess great learning but violate the Prophet's orders and take as their religious leaders those who had no right of preference. Can you or we change the Holy Qur'an? Can we select any other book?

Sayyid: No, never. This is the Prophet's trust, a divine message, and the greatest source of guidance.

Well-Wisher: May God Bless you! You have spoken the truth. When we cannot change the Holy Qur'an and replace it with another book, the same principle must be followed regarding those who are the equals of the Holy Qur'an. So, according to which principle were those people who did not belong to the Prophet's progeny allowed to supersede his progeny?

I want a simple answer to this question so that we may know whether the three Caliphs - Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and Uthman - belonged to the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet, and were included in the hadith we've mentioned (Thaqalain, Safina, Bab al-Hitta). If they are included, then we must follow them, according to the orders of the Prophet.

Sayyid: No one believes that any of the Caliphs except ‘Ali was included in the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet. Of course, the three Caliphs mentioned were good companions of the Prophet.

Well-Wisher: Did the Prophet tell us to follow a particular individual or group? If one faction says that it is expedient to follow other people, should we obey the Prophet or follow expediency as determined by the community?

Sayyid: It is obvious that obedience to the Prophet is obligatory.

Well-Wisher: After the Prophet has instructed us to follow the Holy Qur'an and his progeny, why have others been preferred? Did Abu'l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Isma'il Ash'ari, Wasil Ibn Ata, Malik Ibn Anas, Abu Hanifa, Muhammad Ibn Idris Shafi'i, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal belong to the progeny of the Prophet or the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali and his eleven descendants?

Sayyid: Obviously, no one ever said that these people belonged to the Prophet's progeny, but they were notable jurists and pious men of the community.

Well-Wisher: But according to the consensus of the community, the twelve Imams are the direct descendants of the Prophet. Your own ulama’ agree that they are the equals of the Holy Qur'an, and that obedience to them leads to salvation. Moreover, the Prophet said that they are the most learned of men.

In light of these emphatic injunctions, what reply will they give when the Prophet asks them why they violated his dictates and let others supersede his progeny? Is there any injunction from the Prophet that the Asharis or Mu'tazalis should follow their leaders or that the Malikis, Hanbalis, Hanafis, and Shafi'is should follow their leaders in the practice of the faith? Nobody so much as mentioned their names for 300 years after the death of the Prophet.

Only later, for political or other reasons which I am not aware of, they appeared on the stage. But the Imams and the descendants of the Holy Prophet were well known during the Prophet's own time. ‘Ali, Hasan, Husain and Fatima were known as Ahlul Kisa, that is "the people of the mantle."

They were the ones in whose praise "the verse of purity" was revealed. Is it proper to call those who follow ‘Ali, Hasan, Husain, and other Imams infidels? You have preferred those who did not belong to the progeny of the Prophet, to those who were ideal jurists.

What answer will you give in the divine court of justice when you will be asked as to why you misguided the poor people, why you called the followers of the Ahlul Bayt infidels and innovators?

You fault us because we are not the followers of the creeds of Hanafis, Malikis, Hanbalis, or Shafi'is. And yet you don't follow ‘Ali, despite the clear and vivid injunctions from Allah and the Holy Prophet that you should do so. Without good reason, you follow one of the four schools of law and have closed the doors of jurisprudence.

Sayyid: We rely on the four Imams in the same way as you rely on the twelve Imams.

Well-Wisher: Well done! What a good thing you have said!

The number of the twelve Imams was not specified by the Shi’as or their ulama’ many centuries after the death of the Prophet. Many hadith, narrated from both Sunni and Shi’as sources, prove that the Prophet himself specified the number of the Imams as twelve.

Among your many ulama’ who have recorded this fact is Sheikh Sulayman Qanduzi Hanafi, who writes in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 77, concerning the statement: "There will be twelve successors after me."

Yahya Ibn Hasan in his Kitabu'l-Umma has narrated in twenty ways that the Holy Prophet said that his successors would be twelve in number, and all of them would be from the Quraish. It has been narrated in three ways in Sahih. Bukhari, in nine ways in Sahih Muslim, in three ways in the Sunan of Abi Dawud, in one way in the Sunan of Tirmidhi, and in three ways in Hamidis Jam' al-Bainu's-Sahihain.

There are many of your ulama’, such as Hamwaini in Fara'id, Khawarizmi and Ibn Maghazili, each in his Manaqib, Imam Tha'labi in Tafsir and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, and Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda 10.

All have recorded 12 hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas, Ubaya ibn Rabi'i Zaid ibn Haritha, Abu Huraira and the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali. All of these narrate in different, but similar, words that the Prophet said that the number of his successors and Imams would be twelve, and that all of them would be from the Quraish.

Some hadith say that they would be from the Bani Hashim. In some traditions, the specific names of the twelve successors have also been given. Some give only the number. I have cited only one example out of the many hadith of your ulama’. Now can you cite a single hadith indicating that the number of his successors would be four? Even if there were one such hadith, we would accept it in preference to our own.

Regardless of the fact that you cannot quote a single hadith about your four Imams, there is a great difference between the Shi’as Imams and your Imams. Our twelve Imams are the divinely appointed successors.

Regarding your Imams, only this much can be conceded: they possessed the knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence) and could interpret the Holy Qur'an and the hadith. Some of them, like Abu Hanifa, according to the admission of your own ulama’, were not included among narrators of hadith, jurists, or mujtahids, but were people who relied on their own opinion. This in itself is evidence of their lack of knowledge.

On the other hand, the Shi’as Imams are divinely appointed guides, ordained successors of the Holy Prophet. Of course in every age there are some highly learned jurists and scholars among the Shi’as who interpret the commands of Allah, keeping in view the Holy Qur'an, the hadith, and the consensus of opinion. We follow the verdicts of such ulama’.

Although your jurists were pupils of, and derived most of their knowledge from, the Shi’as Imams, you blindly follow your elders, those of their students who deviated from the bases of knowledge and relied on speculation.

Sayyid: How can you claim that our Imams derived benefits from your Imams?

Well-Wisher: It is an historical fact that Imam Ja'far Sadiq excelled all others in knowledge. The eminent Alim, Nuru'd-Din ibn Sabbagh Maliki acknowledges in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma that the Holy Imam was conspicuousLy known for his learning. He writes: "People derived knowledge from him in different spheres. People came from distant lands to receive instruction. He became well known in all the lands and the ulama’ narrated more hadith from him than from any other member of the Ahlul Bayt...."

A large group of the distinguished people of the community, like Yahya Ibn Sa'id Ibn Jarih, Malik Ibn Anas, Sufyan Thawri, Abu Ainiyya, Abu Ayyub Sijistani, Abu Hanifa, and Saba - all have quoted his narrations.

Kamalu'd-Din Abi Talha also writes in his Manaqib that prominent ulama’ and religious leaders have quoted hadith from the Holy Imam and have gained knowledge from him. Among them he mentions the names of those mentioned in Fusulu'l-Muhimma. Even enemies acknowledged the merits of the Holy Imam.

For instance, Maliki in his Fusulu'l- Muhimma and particularly Sheikh Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Salmi in his Tabaqatu'l-Masha'ikh write: "Verily, Imam Ja'far Sadiq excelled all his contemporaries. He had instinctive knowledge and expertise in religion, complete piety in the world, abstinence from all worldly desires, and deep wisdom."

And Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafi'i has recorded all these merits of the Holy Imam in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, chapter VI, page 81: "This learned man was of the distinguished leaders of the Ahlul Bayt. He was endowed with deep knowledge and was always in a state of remembrance of Allah. He often recited the Qur'an and gave its interpretation.

His companions gathered pearls from the sea of his knowledge. He divided his time in the day and night in different forms of devotion. A visit to him served as a reminder of the hereafter. To listen to his speech led one to adopt piety, and to follow his instructions led to the attainment of paradise. His luminous face signified that he belonged to the family of the Holy Prophet. The purity of his actions also showed that he was of the progeny of the Holy Prophet.

Many of the ulama’ have received hadith and gained knowledge from him. Among them were Yahya Ibn Sa'id Ansari, Ibn Jarih, Malik Ibn Anas, Sufyan Thawri, Ibn Ainiyya, Sha'ba and Ayyub Sijistani. All were grateful for their good fortune and privilege in learning from him."

Association of Shi’as'ism with Imam Ja'far Sadiq

Nawab: Shi’as believe in the twelve Imams. Why is Shi’as’ism associated with the name of Imam Ja'far Sadiq and called the Ja'farite sect?

Well-Wisher: Every prophet, in accordance with the divine command, appoints his successor. Muhammad declared ‘Ali to be his successor and ordered the community to obey him. But after the death of the Prophet, the caliphate was seized by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and Uthman.

During their caliphate, except during the earlier days, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar consulted ‘Ali on all matters and acted upon his counsel. Moreover, the great ulama’ and eminent scholars of other religions who came to Medina in search of religious knowledge were completely satisfied with their discussions with ‘Ali.

Throughout his life, ‘Ali continued to serve Islam in many ways. After his martyrdom, when the Bani Umayya became rulers, the imamate was cruelly suppressed. Imam Hasan Mujtaba, Imam Husain, Imam Zainu'l-Abidin, and Imam Muhammad Baqir were victims of the extreme cruelty of the Umayyads. All roads of approach to them were closed and except for a few of their followers, others could not benefit from their knowledge. Every one of them was murdered.

In the beginning of the second century after the hijra, however, under the heavy pressure of the atrocities of the Umayyads, the people rose up against them. Bloody fighting ensued between the Bani Abbas and Bani Umayya. While the Bani Umayya were busy defending their own ruler, they could not continue their oppression of the Ahlul Bayt. Accordingly, Imam Ja'far Sadiq emerged from the seclusion imposed by the Umayyads. He instructed people concerning religious laws.

Four thousand lovers of knowledge gathered around his pulpit and quenched their thirst from the Holy Imam's limitless ocean of knowledge. Some of his chief companions have recorded four hundred doctrines which are known as Usul al-Arba'mi'atin - meaning "The 400 Verdicts."

Yafi'iy Yamani wrote that Imam Ja'far excelled all others in his knowledge. Jabir Ibn Hayyan Sufi, wrote a thousand-page compilation, listing nearly 500 booklets based on the teachings of Imam Ja'far.

Some of the great Sunni jurists were also his students. Abu Hanifa, Malik Ibn Anas, Yahya Ibn Sa'id Ansari, Ibn Jarih, Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, Yahya Ibn Satid Qattan, Sufyan Ibn 'Uyayna, Sufyan Thawri - all benefitted from his immense learning. This great flowering of learning occurred at this time because the Bani Umayya obstructed the way of his ancestors, and unfortunately the Bani Abbas would restrain his descendants from speaking freely.

The reality of Shi’as'ism was unveiled and the merits of the Ahlul Muhammad were proclaimed by Ja'far Sadiq. Accordingly, this sect became known as "Ja'fari," but there is no difference between Imam Sadiq and any of the four Imams among his ancestors and the four Imams who preceded him or the six who came after him. All were divinely commissioned spiritual guides.

Although both friends and enemies recognized his excellence in knowledge and perfection in all merits, your predecessors refused to treat him as the most learned theologian and perfect man of his age. They refused to recognize his school of law along with the other four schools, even though he held the most exalted rank in learning and devotion, as admitted by your own ulama’. Since he belonged to the Ahlul Bayt of the Holy Prophet, he had a right to receive preference over others.

In spite of these factors, your fanatical ulama’ have shown such callous disregard for the progeny of their Prophet that your high-ranking theologians, like Bukhari and Muslim, would not even record hadith from this faqih (jurist) or the Ahlul Bayt.

Moreover, they did not quote hadith from any of the Imams or Sa'dat of the Holy progeny: Alawi, Husaini, Abidi, Musawi, Rizawi or from such ulama’ and jurists, like Zaid Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Husain, the Martyr, Yahya Ibn Zaid, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, Husain Ibn ‘Ali, Yahya Ibn Abdullah Ibn Hasan and his brother Idris, Muhammad Ibn Ja'far Sadiq, Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim, Muhammad Ibn Zaid, Abdullah Ibn Hasan, ‘Ali Ibn Ja'far (Arizi), and others, all of whom were outstanding ulama’ and jurists and who belonged to the family of the Prophet.

On the other hand, they have quoted hadith from people Like Abu Huraira, whose character is known to you all, and from the great liar and forger, Akrama, the Kharijite. Your own ulama’ have confirmed that these men were liars and yet, they accept their hadith with all their hearts. Ibn Bayyit writes that Bukhari has quoted as many as 1,200 hadith from the Kharijis and Nasibis, like Imam Ibn Hattan, the admirer of Ibn Muljim, the murderer of the Commander of the Faithful.

The followers of Imam al-Azam (Abu Hanifa), Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Hanbal consider them pure Muslims though none of them belonged to the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet, and every one of those sects is free to adopt his own ways though there are great differences in fundamentals as well as practices among them. How regrettable it is that they call the followers of Ja'far Ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq infidels!

And in all places dominated by Sunnis, including Mecca, about which Allah says, "Whoever enters it is free," they are not free to express their faith or to perform their prayers. So you good people should know that we Shi’as are not the cause of differences in Islam; we have not brought about disunity among Muslims. As a matter of fact, much of the disruption appears from your side. It is you who call 100 million Muslims infidels, although they are faithful believers along with you.

Hafiz: It is true, as you said, that I am not an unjust man. I admit that there have been outrages due to fanaticism. I would like to say without any pretension or flattery, that I have benefitted greatly from your talk and have learned a great deal.

But with your permission, let me say one thing, which is a complaint, as well as a defense of the worthy Sunni Sect. Can you tell me why Shi’as preachers and ulama’ like you do not check your common people from making statements which lead to unbelief?

The result is that others get a chance to use the word unbelief against them. A man may become the target of attacks because he has made an improper assertion. So you people should also not make the Sunnis the target of your attacks. The Shi’as utter things which affect the hearts of the Sunnis, who in turn ascribe unbelief to the Shi’as.

Well-Wisher: May I know which statements or actions lead to unbelief?

Hafiz: The Shi’as find fault with the chief companions and some of the pure wives of the Prophet; this is obviously an act of unbelief. Since the companions fought for years with the Prophet against the infidels, it is obvious that their services were free from all moral imperfection. They certainly deserve Paradise, particularly those who gained divine blessings. According to the Holy Qur'an:

"Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree." (48:18)

There is no doubt that the Holy Prophet respected them. One who denies their excellence is certainly misled. The Qur'an says:

"Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed." (53:3-4)

Such a person denies the Holy Prophet and the Holy Qur'an, and one who denies them is undoubtedly an infidel.

Well-Wisher: I hoped that such topics would not be raised in this public meeting. My reply might reach the uninformed people, and they might spread adverse propaganda. It would be better if we discussed these matters privately. I will call on you some day, and we will solve this problem in private.

Hafiz: I am sorry, but many of our people for the past several nights have insisted that this topic be discussed. Your discussion is always reasonable. If you make a convincing reply, there will be no unpleasant repercussions. Otherwise, you concede the point to us.

Nawab: It is right. We all want the issue to be resolved here and now.

Well-Wisher: I only comply with your wish. I did not expect that an able man like you, after the complete explanations that I have given during previous nights on the question of infidelity would attribute infidelity to the Shi’as sect. I have already submitted complete proof that the Shi’as Ithna Asharis are the followers of Muhammad and his Holy descendants. You have raised several issues. I will reply to each of them separately.

Criticizing the companions does not mean infidelity

First, you said that Shi’as criticism of the Companions (sahaba) and some of the wives of the Prophet leads to infidelity. I don't understand the basis of this statement. If criticism is supported by evidence, it may be allowed. And even if one makes a false charge, this doesn't make him an infidel. He would be called a sinner, like one who drinks wine or commits fornication. And certainly every sin against divine law is pardonable.

Ibn Hazm Zahiri Andalusi (born 456 A.H.) says in his book Al-Fasl fi'l-milal wa'n-Nihal Part III, page 227: "If one abuses the companions of the Prophet ignorantly, he is not to blame. If he does it with knowledge, he is a sinner like other sinners who commit fornication, theft, etc. Of course if he curses them intentionally since they are the companions of the Prophet, he is an infidel because such behavior' amounts to enmity against Allah and His Prophet. Otherwise, simply abusing the companions does not amount to infidelity."

Accordingly, Caliph ‘Umar asked the Prophet to permit him to behead Hatib, the hypocrite, although he was one of the great companions, a muhajir (emigre), and one who took part in the Battle of Badr. For his abusing and attributing hypocrisy to him, ‘Umar was not called an infidel. So how is it possible that the Shi’as should be called infidels for abusing some of the companions, supposing for the moment that what you say is correct.

Moreover, the great ulama’ of your sect have rejected your point. Among them is Qazi Abdu'r-Rahman Shafi'i, who in his Muwafiq has rejected the reasoning of your fanatic ulama’ about the infidelity of the Shi’as. And Muhammad Ghazali writes that cursing and abusing the companions is never an infidelity; even cursing the two sheikhs does not constitute infidelity.

Mulla Sa'd Taftazani writes in Sharhe Aqa'id al-Nas'i that "Some intolerant people say that those who curse the Sahaba are infidels. It is difficult to accept that view. Their infidelity is not proved because some of the ulama’ favored them, overlooked their evil deeds, and made foolish pleas in their support. They said that the companions of the Prophet were free from all sin, although this assertion was contrary to facts. Sometimes they fought among themselves.

Jealously and love for power often moved them to commit evil actions. Even some of the prominent sahaba were not free from sinful actions. So if, on the basis of some evidence, one criticizes them, he should not be condemned for it. Some people, because they favored the sahaba, covered up their evil actions. But some did record their evil actions and censured them."

Apart from this, Ibn Athir Jazari, the author of Jam'u'l-Usul, has included the Shi’as in Islamic sects, so how can you call them infidels? During the period of the first caliphs, some people cursed the sahaba for their evil deeds. Nevertheless, the caliphs did not order them to be put to death for their infidelity.

Accordingly, Hakim Nishapuri in his Mustadrak, Part IV, pages 335, 354, Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad Part 1, Page 9, Dhahabi in his Talkhise Mustadrak, Qazi Ayaz in his Kitab al-Shifa, Part IV, chapter 1 and Imam Ghazali in his Ihya'u'l-Ulum, Volume II, report that during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, a man came to him and uttered such filthy language and curses against him that those present there were moved to indignation. Abu Barza Salmi asked the Caliph if he would permit him to kill the man because he had become an infidel. Abu Bakr said that it could not be since no one except the Prophet could pass such a judgement.

Caliphs themselves did not regard cursing them as infidelity

In fact, the Sunni gentlemen surpass even those whom they support. The Caliphs themselves heard abuses and charged people with infidelity or ordered them to be killed. Moreover, if cursing the sahaba is a cause of infidelity, why don't you call Mu'awiya and his followers, infidels. They cursed and abused the most perfect of the sahaba, ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib. Being selective in this matter only shows that your aim is something else.

You wish to fight against the Ahlul Bayt and their followers! If cursing the sahaba is infidelity, why don't you charge Ummu'l-Mu'minin A’ysha with infidelity? All your historians have said that she frequently abused Caliph Uthman and openly declared: "Kill this old idiot, for truly he has become an infidel." If, however, a Shi’as says that it was good that Uthman was murdered because he was an infidel, you will instantly rise up against him.

But when A’ysha told Uthman to his face that he was na'thal and an infidel, neither the Caliph forbade her to do so nor did the sahaba reproach her. Nor do you find fault with her.

Nawab: Respected sir, what do you mean by the term na'thal?

Well-Wisher: Firuzabadi, who is one of your high-ranking ulama’, gives its meaning in his Qamusu'l-Lughat as "an old idiot." Also there was a Jew with a long beard in Medina with this name, with whom Uthman was compared. The commentator on Qamus, Allama Qazwini, also giving the same meaning, says that Ibn Hajar in his Tabsiratu'l-Muntaha, writes, "Na'thal, the Jew with a long beard, lived in Medina; he resembled Uthman very much."

Caliph Abu Bakr abused ‘Ali

Finally, if one who abuses the sahaba is an infidel, why did Caliph Abu Bakr, in the presence of sahaba and a gathering of Muslims, abuse the most exalted sahabi, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib? You praise the merits of Abu Bakr although you should condemn him.

Hafiz: Why do you falsely accuse him of this charge? When did Caliph Abu Bakr abuse Caliph ‘Ali?

Well-Wisher: Excuse me! We do not report anything until we have made complete inquiries. Perhaps you should consult Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume IV, page 80, where it is recorded that Abu Bakr, taunting ‘Ali from the pulpit of the mosque, said: "He (‘Ali) is a fox, the evidence of which is its tail. He creates disturbances, minimizes the importance of big disturbances, and incites people to make uproar.

He seeks help from the weak and accepts assistance from women. He is like Ummi't-Tahal (an adulteress in the days of ignorance, as explained by Ibn Abi'l-Hadid) with whom the men of his family were fond of committing adultery."

Now you may compare Abu Bakr's abuse of ‘Ali with the criticism made by Shi’as against the sahaba. If abusing any of the sahaba amounts to infidelity, then Abu Bakr, his daughter, A’ysha, Mu'awiya and his followers should be labelled infidels. If it does not constitute infidelity, then you cannot call the Shi’as infidels on that score.

Caliph ‘Umar held that cursing a Muslim is not infidelity

Moreover, according to the verdicts of your own great jurists and Caliphs, those who curse the Caliphs are not infidels. Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad, Volume III, Ibn Sa'd Katib in his Kitab al-Tabaqat, Qazi Ayaz in his Shifa, part IV of chapter 1, report that the governor of Caliph ‘Umar, Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz, wrote from Kufa that a man had reviled and abused ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, the second Caliph. The governor sought permission to execute the man. ‘Umar Ibn Khattab replied that it was not permissible to take the life of a Muslim for abusing or cursing any Muslim excepting one who abuses the Prophet.

According to Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari even calling Allah or Holy Prophet by evil names is not infidelity

Some of your prominent ulama’, like, Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari and his followers, believe that if a man has faith in his heart and yet displays infidelity (by practicing Judaism or Christianity, for example) or rises up to fight against the Prophet, or calls Allah or the Prophet evil names, even then he is not an infidel. Faith means belief in the heart and since no one can be aware of another's heart, it cannot be said whether the apparent infidelity was from the heart or not.

The Ash'ari ulama’ have also discussed these issues in their books. Ibn Hazm Andalusi has written in detail about these points in his Kitabu'l-Fazl (Part IV, page 204, 206). In light of these facts what right have you to charge the Shi’as with infidelity?

Most companions abused one another but not regarded as infidels

In your authentic books, like Musnad of Ahmad Hanbal, Volume II, page 236; Sirat al-Halabiyya, Volume II, page 107, Sahih Bukhari, Volume II, page 74, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad wa Asbabu'n-Nuzul Wahidi, page 118, there are many hadith indicating that most of the companions abused each other in the presence of the Holy Prophet.

But the Prophet didn't call these men infidels. He admonished them. (The narrations about these quarrels and mutual enmity are recorded only in the books of the Sunnis, not in Shi’as books).

In view of these remarks, I hope that you are satisfied that cursing or abusing any companion does not constitute infidelity. If we curse someone without any reason, we will be sinners, not infidels. And every sin is forgivable.

Holy Prophet of Islam knew all good and bad actions of sahaba

Second, you said that the Prophet respected and honored his companions. This is correct. In addition, all Muslims and men of learning agree that the Holy Prophet knew the good and bad actions of the people. He appreciated their good deeds.

Accordingly, he esteemed Nushirwan's justice and Hatim Ta'i's munificence. If he respected someone, it was for his good deeds. But appreciation shown to one for doing a good deed does not prove that his end will be fortunate.

Perhaps he will commit evil deeds in the future. If he does, upbraiding him beforehand is unjustified, even though it may be known that he will commit the sin in the future. ‘Ali knew of the sin and damned end of Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi and repeatedly told him that he was his assassin.

At one point he explicitly said: "I want him to live, but he is bent upon killing me, and this treacherous friend belongs to the clan of the Murad." This statement has been recorded by Ibn Hajar Makki towards the end of Part I of Sawa'iq, page 72.

Yet ‘Ali did not intend to punish him. Hence the hadith, which indicates that the merit of some particular action or statement, is not necessarily influential for all time to come.

Merit of being a party to Bai'at al-Rizwan

Third, you said that since the sahaba were at the Bai'at al-Rizwan and pledged their fealty to the Prophet, they were not subject to condemnation, but deserved praise because they are the referents of the Holy verse you cited [48:18].

Research scholars and ulama’ have commented extensively on this topic, saying that the divine pleasure of this verse refers only to the particular action, Bai'at (allegiance), and that it does not extend indefinitely.

You are aware yourselves that on the occasion of the Bai'at in Hudaibiyya, there were 1,500 people of the community present, of whom afterwards a number of people were included in the 'verses of hypocrisy'. Allah promised them Hell for ever.

Is it possible that Allah and the Prophet might be pleased with some people and that some of them might remain in hell forever? It follows that the divine pleasure was not due to the Bai'at al-Shajara (allegiance under the tree) alone, but was based on sincere faith and good deeds.

Those who believed in divine unity and Prophethood and pledged fealty deserved divine pleasure. They were declared to be the people of Paradise. But those who paid allegiance without faith, or who did not pay allegiance, deserved His wrath.

Obviously, the Sahaba performed commendable actions, and for their good actions (like allegiance under the tree) they should be praised. And even if a believer, whether he be a sahabi or not, commits a fault, he may be criticized.

Shi’as do acknowledge merits of sahaba

The Shi’as sect has always reported the good performances of the sahaba.

Moreover, it acknowledges the good performance even of those who have been the targets of sharp criticisms. For instance, it appreciates their allegiance under the tree, their migration with the Holy Prophet, taking part in battles, but it also criticizes and condemns their bad actions.

Hafiz: I'm surprised to hear you say that the Prophet's companions committed misdeeds. The Prophet declared each of them the guide and leader of the community. He said in a well known hadith: "Verily, my companions are like stars; if you follow any one of them, you will be guided." Your faith is distinctly unconventional, and we do not accept unconventional faith.

Hadith of "following companions" examined

Well-Wisher: I am constrained to discuss some aspects of this hadith before I venture to reply. Of course we will not talk about the source, correctness, or weakness of the hadith by way of criticism, for we would drift from the main point. Our discussion will focus on its meaning.

Those who were blessed with the honor of seeing the Holy Prophet, or who had narrated hadith from him, are called sahaba and ashab (companions) whether they were emigres (muhajir) from Mecca or those who helped them (ansars) in Medina or others.

The greatest misunderstanding among you is that, on account of your good will towards the companions, you consider all of them free from all faults although the fact is otherwise. Among the companions of the Holy Prophet, there were both good and bad people, of whom Allah and His Prophet were fully aware.

This can well be proved by the chapter Munafiqun (Hypocrites) and verses of some other chapters, like Tauba also known as Al-Bara'a (The Immunity) and Ahzab (The Clans), which were revealed in condemnation of companions who were hypocrites and sinners.

Your own prominent ulama’ have recorded some of the companions' faults and misdeeds in their authentic books. Hisham Ibn Muhammad Sa'yib Kalbi, one of the illustrious ulama’ of your sect has compiled a book on the faults and defects of the sahaba.

The hypocrites, whom Allah Almighty (in the Holy Qur'an) and the Holy Prophet have condemned, were two-faced people, who were Muslims in appearance only. Their hearts were stained with corruption and misguidance; and all of them were included in the companions.

So how can we have goodwill towards all the companions? And how can we be sure that following any of them will ensure salvation? Is it not a fact that in the affair of Aqaba there were companions who appeared to be faithful but were determined to kill the Holy Prophet?

Aqaba affair and design to kill Holy Prophet

Hafiz: Some ulama’ consider the Aqaba affair the invention of the Shi’as.

Well-Wisher: It is unkind of you to rely on the beliefs of some who have the mentality of the Kharijis and Nasibis. This affair is so clearly known to all that your own ulama’ have acknowledged it.

Please refer to Dala'ilu'n-Nabuwat compiled by Hafiz Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Husain Baihaqi Shafi'i, who is one of your eminent scholars and jurists. He has recorded the story of Batn al-Aqaba with an authentic chain of narrators; and also Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, towards the end of v. V of his Musnad, reports from Abu Tufail, and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes in his Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, and it is known to all the ulama’, that the Holy Prophet on that night cursed a group of the companions.

Nawab: What was the matter, and who were those who wanted to kill the Holy Prophet?

Well-Wisher: The great ulama’ of both sects have written that on Muhammad's way back from the Tabuk expedition; fourteen hypocrites conspired to kill him. The plan was to push him from his camel into a precipice as he rode by night over al-Aqaba, a narrow passage through which only one man could pass. When they tried to execute their design, the Angel Gabriel informed the Holy Prophet of it. The Holy Prophet sent Hudhaifa Nakha'i to hide behind a hill.

When the conspirators arrived and talked together, he recognized them all. Of them seven belonged to the Umayyads. Hudhaifa came to the Holy Prophet and named all of them. The Holy Prophet ordered him to keep the plot secret and said that Allah was their guard. In the early part of the night, the Holy Prophet began the journey, followed by his army. Ammar al-Yasir led the camel from the front and Hudhaifa drove it from behind.

When they reached the narrow passage, the hypocrites threw their leather bags full of sand (or their oil-cans) before the camel making a huge noise, hoping that the frightened animal would throw the Holy Prophet down the steep cliff. But Allah Almighty protected him and the conspirators fled away in the crowd.

Were these people not included among the companions? Is it true that to follow them means the path of guidance?

When we talk of the companions of the Holy Prophet of Allah why should we shut our eyes to their faults?

The Prophet never bade us follow liars

I have referred in past nights to Abu Huraira's character, telling you that Caliph ‘Umar had lashed him because he used to quote false hadith from the Prophet. Was he not among the companions? Had he not falsely narrated a large number of hadith? Similarly, were not the other companions, like Sumra Ibn Junda, included among them? Can the Holy Prophet of Allah order the community to follow liars and forgers?

If this hadith is correct, that is, that if we follow any one of the companions, we will be guided, then please let us know whom we should follow, if two companions go in opposite directions. Or if there are two groups of them, each fighting against the other, or each contrary to the other, whom should we support?

Hafiz: First, the revered companions of the Prophet of Allah were never hostile to each other. And even if one opposed the other, we should assess the facts properly. The one who is purer and whose statement is more logical should be followed.

Well-Wisher: If, according to your statement, we made careful inquiries and found one of them pure and on the right side, then the opposite group of the ashab must be impure and on the wrong side. Then this hadith basically loses credence because it is impossible that disagreeing companions can both be sources of guidance.

Opposition of companions at saqifa

If this hadith is genuine why do you raise objection against the Shi’as because they followed a group of the companions like Salman, Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Ammar al-Yasir Abu Ayyub Ansari, Hudhaifa Nakha'i and Khuzaima Dhu'sh-Shahadatain, etc., to whom I have referred in past nights?

These men certainly did not pledge fealty to Abu Bakr. Therefore, of the companions who opposed each other, who was on the right side? Decidedly one was on the wrong side though the hadith you have quoted tells us that we may follow any of the companions and be guided.

Sa'd ibn ubaida's opposition to Abu bakr and ‘Umar

Was Sa'd Ibn Ubaida not one of the companions who did not pay allegiance to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar? All the Shi’as and Sunni historians unanimously hold that he went to Syria and lived there until in the middle of the caliphate of ‘Umar, he was murdered. So following him and opposing Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, according to this hadith is the path of guidance.

Talha and Zubair confront ‘Ali at Basra

Were Talha and Zubair not among the companions who pledged allegiance under the tree? Did they not oppose the rightful successor of the Holy Prophet, the acknowledged fourth caliph according to your own belief. Were not these companions responsible for the bloodshed of innumerable Muslims?

Now please let us know which of these two groups of companions who fought with each other was the truly guided one. If you say that, since both groups were obedient both were on the right side, you will be wrong. It is impossible to claim that opposing factions are both guided.

It therefore follows that the companions who were on the side of ‘Ali were definitely the guided ones. The group on the opposite side took the wrong way; and this is another proof to refute your statement that all those companions who were present in Bai'at al-Rizwan, under the tree, were rightly guided.

Among those who pledged fealty under the tree were these two, Talha and Zubair, who also fought against the rightful caliph. They actually fought against the one about whom the Holy Prophet had said:

"O ‘Ali, fighting against thee is fighting against me." Doesn't it amount to fighting against the Holy Prophet of Allah? So how can you say that the word Ashab or presence under the tree of allegiance is a guarantee for salvation?

Mu'awiya and 'Amr as used to curse and abuse ‘Ali

Mu'awiya and 'Amr As were companions and yet they fought against the successor of the Holy Prophet and cursed and abused ‘Ali at public meetings and even in the addresses given after Jum'a (Friday) prayers. They did so despite the fact, as reported by prominent ulama’ of your sect in their authentic books, that the Holy Prophet had repeatedly said, "He who abuses or curses ‘Ali, abuses me. He who abuses me, abuses Allah."

The learned Taftazani has elaborately dealt with this topic in his Sharhe Maqasid. He writes that since the companions were inimical to one another, some of them had deviated from the right path. Some of them, on account of envy and worldly aspirations, perpetrated all kinds of cruelty. It is evident that most of the companions who were not ma'sum (infallible) committed heinous acts. But some ulama’ because they favored them, have tried to cover up their faults.

There are many clear arguments to reject the hadith in question. There is no doubt that this hadith is forged. Many of your ulama’ have expressed their doubts about the authenticity of its sources.

Sources of hadith "My companions are like stars." are weak

After quoting this hadith in his Sharhu'sh-Shifa, v.II, p.91, Qazi Ayaz says that Darqutni in his Faza'il and Ibn Abdu'l-Birr say that this hadith is not authentic.

It is also narrated from Abd Ibn Hamid in his Musnad who quotes from Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar that Bazar refused to acknowledge the authenticity of this hadith. Also he says that Ibn Adi quotes in his Kamil with his own references from Nafi, and he from Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, that the sources of this hadith are very weak. Baihaqi is also reported to have written that the matter of this hadith is commonly known but its sources are weak.

Among the sources of this hadith are Harith Ibn Ghazin, whose character is unknown, and Hamza Ibn Abi Hamza Nussairi, who was charged with lying. The weakness of the hadith is evident. Ibn Hazm also says that this hadith is a fabricated one and is to be rejected.

So in our argument we cannot rely on a hadith with such a weak chain of sources. Even assuming, however, that the hadith were correct, it could not be applied in the general sense; it would refer only to the devoted and pious companions who, in accordance with the command of the Holy Prophet followed the book of Allah and the Holy progeny of the Prophet.

Companions were not infallible

Having said this, if I criticize some of the companions, you shouldn't consider me unjust. They were after all, human beings and were likely to err.

Hafiz: We also believe that the companions were not infallible, but at the same time it is an accepted fact that all of them were righteous people. No fault was committed by them.

Well-Wisher: You claim too much if you insist that they were all just and free from faults since in the authentic books written by your own ulama’ they argue against it. They tell us that even some of the chief companions sometimes committed faults.

Hafiz: We are not aware of such records. Please let us know about them if you can.

Well-Wisher: Ignoring what they did during the days of ignorance (i.e. before the advent of Islam), they committed many sins after they had embraced Islam. It is enough to mention only one event by way of example.

Your own prominent ulama’ write in their authentic books that in the year of the conquest of Mecca (8 A.H.) some of the leading companions indulged in festive amusements and gaiety and secretly took wine.

Hafiz: This is definitely a concocted story. When drinking was announced to be unlawful, the respected companions did not so much as attend such parties, not to mention drinking wine.

Well-Wisher: It was never concocted by opponents. If it was concocted at all, it was done by your own ulama’.

Nawab: If there were such a party, the names of the host and the guests also must have been mentioned. Can you explain that point?

Well-Wisher: Yes, your own ulama’ have explained it.

Taking wine by ten companions in a secret meeting

Ibn Hajar writes in his Fathu'l-Bari, v.X, p.30, that Abu Talha Zaid Ibn Sahl arranged a wine party at his house and invited ten people. All of them drank wine and Abu Bakr recited some couplets commemorating some infidels who were killed in the battle of Badr.

Nawab: Have the names of the guests also been mentioned? If so, please let us know.

Well-Wisher: (1) Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Qahafa, (2) ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, (3) Abu Ubaida Garra, (4) Ubai Ibn Ka'b, (5) Sahl Ibn Baiza, (6) Abu Ayyub Ansari, (7) Abu Talha (the host), (8) Abu Dajjana Samak Ibn Kharsa, (9) Abu Bakr Ibn Shaghuls, (10) Anas Ibn Malik, who was 18 years old at that time and who served the wine. Baihaqi in his Sunan, v. VIII, p.29, has also narrated from Anas him self that he said that he was the youngest of them at that time and was serving the wine. (At this there was great commotion in the meeting.)

Sheikh: I swear by Allah that this story has been concocted by the enemy!

Well-Wisher: You are too much agitated and you have made a profane oath! But you are not totally at fault. Your studies are limited. If you had read more widely, you would know that your own ulama’ have written all this. Now you should seek Allah's pardon.

I am now constrained to explain facts according to the statements of your own ulama’. Muhammad Ibn Isma'il Bukhari in Sahih (commenting on Ayat al-Khamr, "verse concerning wine", in the chapter Ma'ida of the Qur'an); Muslim Ibn Hajar in his Sahih (Kitab al-Ashraba Bab al-Tahrimu'l-Khamr); Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, v.XXX, p.181 and 227; Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir, v.XI, p.93; Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in his Durru'l-Mansur, v.II, p.321; Tabari in his Tafsir, v.VII, p.24; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his Isaba, v.IV, p.22 and Fathu'l-Bari, v.X,p.30; Badru'd-din Hanafi in his Umdatu'l-Qari, V.X, p.84; Baihaqi in his Sunan, pp.286 and 290; and others have recorded these facts with detailed explanations.

Sheikh: Perhaps these things took place before wine was made unlawful.

Well-Wisher: What we gather from the commentary and history shows that even after the prohibitory verses some Muslims and companions continued taking forbidden wine.

Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari reports in Tafsir al-Kabir, v.II, p.203, on the authority of Abil Qamus Zaid Ibn ‘Ali, who said that Allah had revealed three times the verses prohibiting the use of wine. In the first verse He says,

"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit." (2:219)

But the Muslims did not immediately give up wine. When two men, being intoxicated, offered their prayers and talked nonsense, another verse was revealed, saying:

"O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are intoxicated until you know (well) what you say." (4:43)

Even after this, the drinking of wine continued, but people did not offer prayers while intoxicated. One day a man took wine (according to the report of Bazar, Ibn Hajar, and Ibn Mardawiyya the man was Abu Bakr) and composed an elegy for the pagans who were killed in the battle of Badr.

When the Holy Prophet heard of this, he became angry. He went to the party and wanted to beat him. The man said, "I seek Allah's shelter from Allah's and His Prophet's wrath. Allah be my witness, I will not take wine again."

Then the following verse was revealed:

"O you who believe! Intoxicants and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (divination by) arrows are only an uncleanness, the Shaitan's work; shun it therefore that you may be successful." (5:90)

Among the companions of the Holy Prophet there were good and bad men just as there are among other believers and Muslims. Those of them who tried to obey Allah and His Prophet reached an exalted rank. Those who followed their worldly aspirations were looked down upon by others. So those who fault the worldly companions do so with some reason.

The wicked actions of some of the sahaba which are recorded in the authentic books of your own ulama’ are also condemnable according to the evidence of the Holy Qur'an. The Shi’as condemn them on that basis. If there is a logical reply to this argument, we are ready to accept it.

Companions' breaking their pledge

Well-Wisher: It is astonishing that even after hearing their condemnable qualities (I have mentioned only a few out of a large number) you still ask me about their misdeeds! Now I should like to submit another example of their odious actions, which are recorded in all the books of both the sects: the breaking of their pledge. Allah has made it compulsory to keep one's promise. He says:

"And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have made a covenant, and do not break the oaths after making them fast." (16:91)

And again Allah has called those who break a pledge the cursed ones. He says:

"And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder that which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those, upon them shall be a curse, and they shall have the evil issue of the abode. (13:25)

So it is clear both from the Qur'anic verses and from a large number of hadith that breaking a pledge is a great sin, particularly a pledge made with Allah and His Prophet. The seriousness of this offense was graver for the companions of the Holy Prophet.

Hafiz: What pledge with Muhammad did the companions break? How can it come under the target of the Qur'anic verses?

I think that if you consider the matter carefully you will admit that all these things are sheer concoctions of the Shi’as. The companions of the Holy Prophet were free from all such actions.

In the Holy Qur'an "Truthful Ones" refers to Muhammad and ‘Ali

Well-Wisher: I have told you repeatedly that the Shi’as are pledged to follow their leaders. Otherwise they cannot be Shi’as. The Holy Qur'an has given evidence of their leader's truthfulness. Your prominent ulama’, for instance, Imam Tha'labi and Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in their Tafsir, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in his Ma Nazal mina'l-Qur'an fi ‘Ali, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch.39, narrating from Khawarizmi, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim and Hamwaini and Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, ch.62 - all of them have quoted from the history of the great scholar Muhaddith al-Sham that in the Holy verse

"O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the truthful ones." (9:119)

The “truthful ones” refers to Muhammad and ‘Ali. So the followers of this exalted family cannot be liars or forgers because he alone would tell lies or fabricate stories who has no true and strong reasons to fall back upon this cause.

What the Shi’as say has been written by your own ulama’. First you should object to your ulama’, who wrote these things. Had your ulama’ not written about the pledge-breaking of the sahaba in their authentic books, I would not have mentioned it in this meeting.

Hafiz: Who of the Sunni ulama’ has written that the sahaba broke the pledge? Simply vain talking won't do.

Well-Wisher: I am not merely talking. My argument is completely logical. The companions broke their pledge a number of times. They broke the fealty for which the Prophet of Allah had commanded them; the most important was the pledge and fealty at Ghadir al-Khum.

Ghadir Hadith and its nature

All the Shi’as and Sunni ulama’ acknowledge that, in the 10th of the Hijra year, the Prophet of Allah, returning from his last pilgrimage, gathered together all his companions at Ghadir al-Khum on the 18th of Dhi'l-Hijja. Some of those who had gone ahead were called back by order of the Holy Prophet and those who had lagged behind were awaited.

Most of your ulama’ and the historians and the Shi’as sources give the figure of 70,000 people there, and some of your other ulama’, for instance Tha'labi in his Tafsir, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in his Tadhkirat'u- Khasa'isi'l-Umma fi Ma'rifati'l-A'imma and others have written that there were 120,000 people gathered there.

The Holy Prophet ordered a pulpit to be prepared. He mounted the pulpit and delivered a long sermon, a greater part of which contained the virtues and merits of the Commander of the Faithful. He recited most of the verses, which had been revealed in praise of ‘Ali and reminded the people of the Holy rank of the vicegerency of the Commander of the Faithful. Then the Holy Prophet said, "O you people! Have I not the greater claim than you have on your lives?" The reference is to the Holy verse

"The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves." (33:6)

The crowd with one voice shouted "Certainly, O messenger of Allah!" Then the Holy Prophet declared: "Of whomsoever I am the maula, (master) this ‘Ali is his maula." After this he raised his hand and prayed to Allah. "O Allah, be you a friend to him who is a friend to him (that is, ‘Ali) and be an enemy to him who is an enemy to him (‘Ali). Help him who helps him and forsake him who forsakes him.

Then a tent was pitched by order of the Holy Prophet who ordered the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali to sit in the tent. The whole umma was commanded to offer bai'at (allegiance) to ‘Ali. The Holy Prophet said that he gave this instruction in compliance with the command of Allah. The first one to offer allegiance on that day was ‘Umar. Then Abu Bakr, Uthman, Talha, and Zubair followed suit, and all these people continued offering allegiance for three days (i.e., while the Holy Prophet remained there).

Hafiz: Can you believe that an event of such importance occurred as claimed by you and that none of the prominent ulama’ have reported it?

Well-Wisher: I did not expect such a statement from you. The Ghadir al-Khum affair is as clear as day and no one but a bigoted and obstinate person would invite ignominy by denying such an event. This important matter has been recorded by all your pious ulama’ in their authentic books. I should like to mention here some of the names of the authors and their books so that you may know that all your eminent ulama’ have relied on this hadith.

1. Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi - Tafsir al-Kabir Mafatihu'l-Ghaib.

2. Imam Ahmad Tha'labi - Tafsir al-Kashfu'l-Bayan.

3. Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti - Tafsir al-Durru'l-Manthur.

4. Abu'l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Ahmad Wahidi Nishapuri - Asbabu'n- Nuzul.

5. Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari - Tafsiru'l-Kabir.

6. Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani - Ma Nazal Mina'l-Qur'an fi ‘Ali and Hilyatu'l-Auliya.

7. Muhammad Ibn Isma'il Bukhari - Ta'rikh, Vol.1, p.375.

8. Muslim Ibn Hajjaj Nishapuri - Sahih, Vol.2, p.325.

9. Abu Dawud Sijistani - Sunan.

11. Hafiz Ibnu'l-Iqda - Kitabu'l-Wilaya.

12. Ibn Kathir Shafi'i Damishqi - Ta'rikh.

13. Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal - Vol.4, pp.281&371.

14. Abu Hamid Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Al-Ghazali - Sirru'l-Alamin.

15. Ibn Abdu'l-Birr - Isti'ab.

16. Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafi'i - Matalibu's-Su'ul, p.16.

17. Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i - Manaqib.

18. Nuru'-d-Din Ibn Sabbagh Maliki - Fusulu'l-Muhimma.

19. Husain Ibn Mas'ud Baghawi - Masabihu's-Sunna.

20. Abu'l-Mu'ayyid Muwafiq Ibn Ahmad Khatib Khawarizmi - Manaqib.

21. Majdu'd-Din Ibn Athir Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Shaibani -am'u'l-Usul.

22. Hafiz Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Ahmad Ibn ‘Ali Nisa'i - Khasa'isu'l-Alawi and Sunan.

23. Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi - Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Ch. IV.

24. Shahabu'd-din Ahmad Ibn Hajar Makki - Sawa'iq Muhriqa and Kitabu'l-Manhu'l-Malakiyya, particularly Sawa'iq, Part 1, p.25. In spite of his extreme fanaticism, he says: "This is a true hadith; its veracity cannot be doubted. Verily it has been narrated by Tirmidhi, Nisa'i and Ahmad, and if studied, its sources are sound enough."

25. Muhammad Ibn Yazid Hafiz Ibn Maja Qazwini - Sunan.

26. Hafiz Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Hakim Nishapuri-Mustadrak.

27. Hafiz Sulayman Ibn Ahmad Tabrani - Ausat.

28. Ibn Athir Jazari - Usudu'l-Ghaiba.

29. Yusuf Sibt Ibn Jauzi - Tadhkiratu'l-Khasa'isu'l-Umma, p. 17.

30. Abu ‘Umar Ahmad Ibn Abd Rabbih - Iqdu'l-Farid.

31. Allama Samhudi - Jawahiru'l-Iqdain.

32. Ibn Taimiyya Ahmad Ibn Abdu'l-Halim - Minhaju's-Sunna.

33. Ibn Hajar Asqalani - Fathu'l-Bari and Tahdhibu't-Tahdhib.

34. Abdu'l-Qasim Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar Jarullah Zamakhshari - Rabiu'l-Abrar.

35. Abu Sa'id Sijistani - Kitabu'd-Darayab Fi hadithi'l-Wilaya.

36. Ubaidullah Ibn Abdullah Haskani - Du'atu'l-Huda Ila Ada Haqqi'l-Muwala.

37. Razin Ibn Mu'awiya Al-Abdari - Jam Bainu's-Sahihi's-Sitta.

38. Imam Fakhru'd-din Razi says in Kitabu'l-Arba'in that the whole Community unanimously confirms this hadith.

39. Muqibili - hadithu'l-Mutawatira.

40. Suyuti - Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa.

41. Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani - Mawaddatu'l-Qurba.

42. Abul Fath Nazari - Khasa'es'u'l-Alavi

43. Khwaja Parsa Bukhari - Faslu'l-Khitab

44. Jamaluddin Shirazi - Kitabu'l-Araba'in

45. Abdul Ra'ufu'l-Manavi - Faizu'l-Qadir fi Sharh-i-Jame'u's-Saghir

46. Muhammad ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i - Kifayatu't-Talib, Part. 1

47. Yahya Ibn Sharaf-Nauvi - Tehzibu'l-Asma wa'l-Lughat

48. Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Hamwaini - Fara'adu's-Simtoun

49. Qazi Fazlullah ibn Ruzhahan - Ibtalu'l-Batil

50. Shamsuddin Muhammad ibn Ahmad Sharbini - Siraju'l-Munir

51. Abul Fath Shahristani Shafi'i - Milal wa'n-Nihal

52. Hafiz Abu Bakr Khatib Baghdadi - Tarikh

53. Hafiz Ibn Asakir abul Qasim Damishqi - Tarikh-i-Kabir

54. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mutazali - Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha

55. Ala'uddin Samnani -Urwatu'l-Wuthqah

56. Ibn Khaldun - Muqaddima

57. Molvi ‘Ali Muttaqi Hindi - Kanzu'l-Ummal

58. Shamsuddin Abul Khair Damishqi - Asnu Matalib

59. Syed Sharif Hanafi Jurjani - Sharh-i-Mawaqit

60. Nizamuddin Nishapuri - Tafsir-i-Ghara'ibu'l-Qur'an

Hadith of Ghadir related by Tabari, ibn Iqda and ibn Haddad

I have related the sources I could remember. But more than three hundred of your prominent ulama’ have narrated the hadith of Ghadir, the verses of baligh (preaching), kamalu'd-Din (perfection of religion), and the talk in the courtyard of the mosque, on the authority of more than one hundred companions of the Holy Prophet. If I were to relate the names of all these chroniclers, it would form a complete book. This much, however, is sufficient to prove that the hadith is unanimously accepted as true.

Some of your great ulama’ have written books on this topic. For instance, the well known commentator and historian of the fourth century hijri, Abu Ja'far Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari (died 310 A.H.), gives complete details of the hadith of Ghadir in his book Kitabu'l-Wilaya and has narrated it through seventy five chains of transmission.

Hafiz Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad Ibn Sa'id Abdu'r-Rahman Al-Kufi, popularly known as Ibn Iqda (died 333 A.H.), narrated this Holy hadith in his book Kitabu'l-Wilaya through 125 chains on the authority of 125 companions of the Holy Prophet.

Ibn Haddad Hafiz Abu'l-Qasim Haskani (died 492 A.H.), in his Kitabu'l-Wilaya, has narrated in detail the event of Ghadir along with the revelation of the verses of the Qur'an. In short, all your accredited scholars and high-ranking ulama’ (except a small number of fanatical opponents), quote the origin of this hadith from the Holy Prophet, who declared ‘Ali his vicegerent on the 18th of Dhu'l-Hijja in the year of his last pilgrimage.

It is also a fact that the Caliph ‘Umar was the first among the companions to express his pleasure on this occasion. Seizing ‘Ali by the hand, he said: "Congratulations to you, ‘Ali! This morning has brought you a great blessing. You have become my maula (master) and the maula (master) of all believing men and believing women."

Gabriel's advice to ‘Umar

The Shafi'i jurist, Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani of the eighth-century hijri, one of the reliable scholars of your sect, writes in his book Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda V that a large number of the companions have quoted Caliph ‘Umar in different places as having said: "The Prophet of Allah had made ‘Ali the master, the chief and the leader of the nation.

He announced in a public gathering that he (‘Ali) was our maula (master). After praying for his friends and cursing his enemies, he said O Allah! You are my witness. (That is, 'I have completed my duty of prophethood.')

On this occasion a handsome and sweet smelling youth was sitting beside me. He said to me, 'Verily, the Prophet of Allah has bound with a covenant which none but a hypocrite would break. So ‘Umar! Eschew breaking it.'

I told the Prophet of Allah that when he was speaking to the crowd, a handsome, sweet smelling youth was sitting beside me and that he told me such a thing. The Holy Prophet said, ' He was not of the progeny of Adam, but was Gabriel, (who had appeared in that form). He wanted to stress the point which I had announced about ‘Ali.'"

Now I should like to seek justice from you, was it proper for them to break the firm covenant with the Prophet of Allah within two months, to go back on their pledge of sacramental allegiance to ‘Ali, to set fire to his house, to draw swords against him, to insult him, to drag him to the mosque to force his allegiance?

Hafiz: I did not expect that a respectable and cultured Sayyid like you would attribute worldliness to the companions of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet declared them the source of guidance for the Community when he said: "My companions are like stars; if you follow any one of them, you will be guided."

Hadith of "Following Companions" is unauthentic

Well-Wisher: First I should like you not to repeat the same thing time and again. You have just argued from the same hadith and I have given you its reply. The companions, like all others, were fallible. So when it is proved that they were not infallible, why should one wonder if, with proper evidence, worldliness is attributed to them?

Second, in order to clear your mind, I will again give you a reply, so that you may not rely on such hadith in the future. According to the research of your own eminent ulama’, this hadith is not reliable, as I have stated earlier.

Qazi Ayaz Maliki quotes from your own prominent ulama’ that since the narrators of this hadith include the names of the ignorant and uninformed Harith Ibn Qazwin and Hamza Ibn Abi Hamza Nasibi, who have been found to be liars; this hadith is not worth reporting. Also, Qazi Ayaz, in his Sharh al-Shifa and Baihaqi in his Kitab, have declared that this hadith is forged and have regarded its source as unreliable.

Some of companions were slaves to their wishes and turned against truth

Third, I never said anything rude; I say only what your own ulama’ have written. I advise you to read Fazil Taftazani's Sharh al-Maqasid, in which he states clearly that there are many instances of hostility among the Companions, which shows that some of them had become sinners and tyrants. So we see that people are not to be honored merely because they were companions of the Prophet. Real honor lies in their deeds and character.

If they did not belong to the hypocrites but were obedient and faithful to the Holy Prophet they are certainly to be revered and respected. We would apply the dust of their feet to our eyes.

So, you men of justice, do you claim that the many hadith in your own reliable books concerning fighting against Amiru'l-Mu'minin ‘Ali (such as the Holy Prophet saying: "fighting against ‘Ali is fighting against me," are all baseless? Or do you admit that these hadith are perfectly authentic?

Are they not recorded with reliable sources in the books of your own distinguished ulama’? We need not mention that these hadith are recorded by Shi’as ulama’ with perfect unanimity of opinion in all their books.

If you accept these hadith, you must acknowledge that many of the companions were transgressors and sinners, as was Mu'awiya. ‘Umar Ibn As, Abu Huraira, Samra Ibn Jundab, Talha, Zubair all of whom rose to fight against ‘Ali in fact rose against the Holy Prophet himself.

And since they fought against the Prophet, they certainly deviated from the right path. So, if we said that some of the companions were slaves to their desires, we were not wrong, because what we said was true. Besides this, we are not alone in holding that some of the companions were sinners, tyrants, and transgressors. We base our stand on the authority of your own great ulama’.

Imam Ghazali’s view about companions breaking the pledge taken on the day of Ghadir al-Khum

If you study Sirru'l-Alamin, compiled by Abu Hamid Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ghazali Tusi, you would never object to what I say. I am, however, compelled to quote a portion of his fourth treatise in support of my statement.

He says: "Proof and reasoning became brighter, and there is unanimous accord among Muslims concerning the text of the address on the day of 'Ghadir al-Khum' that the Holy prophet said: 'Of whomsoever I am maula (master), ‘Ali is his maula (master).' Then ‘Umar immediately said, 'Congratulations to you, congratulations to you, O Abu'l-Hasan! You are my master and also the master of all faithful men and women.'"

This sort of congratulation clearly indicates the acknowledgment of the Holy Prophet's order, and acceptance of the leadership and caliphate of ‘Ali. But later on they were overpowered by their worldly desires. Love for power and authority deprived them of compassion. They took it upon themselves to appoint a caliph at Saqifa al-Bani Sa'dat. They wanted to raise the flag of their own ascendancy and to conquer territory so that their names might be preserved in history.

They were intoxicated with lust for power. They ignored the injunctions of the Holy Qur'an, and the orders of the Holy Prophet. They sold their religion for this world. What a bad bargain they made with Allah! When the Holy Prophet was on his death bed he asked for pen and ink so that he could clarify the issue of succession. (May God forgive my saying it), But ‘Umar said: "Leave this man. He is talking nonsense."

So when the Holy Qur'an and the hadith could not help them, they relied upon Ijma (consensus). But this is also void because Abbas, his descendants, ‘Ali, his wife and their descendants did not associate themselves with those who offered allegiance to Abu Bakr.

Similarly, the Saqifa men also refused allegiance to the Khazraji, and the Ansars rejected them also. Respected people! Please remember, the Shi’as do not claim anything except what your own fair ulama’ claim. But since you hate us, you find fault with what we say, however reasonable it might be. But you never criticize your own ulama’ as to why they have written such things although they have in fact revealed the truth and have stamped these realities on the pages of history.

Sheikh: Sirru'l-Alamin was not written by Imam Ghazali. His position was too lofty for him to write such a book, and notable ulama’ do not believe that this book was written by him.

Sirru'l-Alamin is Imam Ghazali's book

Well-Wisher: Many of your own ulama’ have admitted that this book was written by Imam Ghazali. Yusuf Sibt Ibn Jauzi was careful in his references to other scholars (and was also a fanatic in his religion).

In his Tadhkira Khawasu'l-Umma, p. 36, he argues from the same statement of Imam Ghazali in his Sirru'l-Alamin and quotes the same passage which I have quoted. Since no comments have been made regarding it, it shows first that he acknowledges this book to be written by Imam Ghazali.

Second, he also agrees with his views, which I have briefly cited, although he himself cited them in detail. If he had not agreed with them he would have commented on them. But of course your fanatical ulama’ when they come across such statements of prominent scholars and find themselves unable to reject them logically, either say that the book was not written by that author, or that it was an invention of the Shi’as. Or they sometimes even go so far as to say that these just men were all sinners and infidels.

Reference to ibn Iqda's status

There is evidence that many of your distinguished ulama’ were persecuted simply because they spoke the truth. Fanatical ulama’ and uninformed people of your sect considered it unlawful to read nonconformist books. The authors of such works were even put to death as was Hafiz Ibn Iqda Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ibn Sa'id Hamadani who died 303 A.H. He was one of your prominent ulama’. Many notable scholars of your own sect, like Dhahabi and Yafi'i, have acknowledged him and said that he had learned 300,000 hadith with their sources and that he was a man of great piety.

At public gatherings in Kufa and Baghdad in the third century A.H., he openly narrated the failings of the Sheikhs (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.) People therefore called him Rafizi and refrained from quoting hadith from him. Ibn Kathir Dhahabi and Yafi'i write about him: "Sheikh Ibn Iqda sat in the Basra Mosque (a famous Mosque between Baghdad and Kazimain) and narrated the defects and shortcomings of the Sheikhs (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) to the people.

For this reason the hadith reported by him have been rejected. Otherwise there is no doubt about his being a true and pious man." Al-Khatib Baghdadi also has praised him in his Ta'rikh but in the end he says: "Since he described the defects and failings of the Sheikhs, he was a Rafizi."

So you people should not be under the impression that it is only the Shi’as who expose the truth of these issues. Your own great ulama’ like Imam Ghazali and Ibn Iqda used to point out the flaws in the chief companions.

Reference to Tabari's death

In every era of history there have been many instances of ulama’ who have been tortured or persecuted on account of their speaking or writing the truth. For instance the well known commentator and historian Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari, who was the pride of your ulama’, died in 310 A.H. in Baghdad.

But because the authorities feared a civil disturbance, they refused to allow his coffin to be taken out during the day. Perforce he was laid to rest in his own house during the night.

Nisa'i's murder

Another instance of persecution was Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Ahmad Ibn ‘Ali Nisa'i's murder. He was a dignified man and is regarded as one of the Imams of Sahih Sitta (Six Authentic Books). He belonged to the high-ranking ulama’ of your sect in the 3rd century A.H.

When he reached Damascus in 303 A.H., he saw that, because of the Bani Umayya, the residents of that place openly abused the name of Amiru'l-Mu'minin ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib after every ritual prayer, particularly in the address of congregational prayers.

He was much grieved to see this and he decided to collect all the hadith of the Holy Prophet in praise of Amiru'l-Mu'minin with the chain of their sources, all of which he remembered. Accordingly, he wrote a book, Khasa'isu'l-Alawi, in support of the exalted position and virtues of ‘Ali. He used to read to the people from the pulpit the hadith from his book the praises of the Holy Imam.

One day when he was narrating the high merits of ‘Ali, a rowdy group of fanatics dragged him from the pulpit and beat him. They punched his testicles and, catching hold of his penis, dragged him out of the mosque and threw him into the street. As a result of these injuries he died after a few days. His body was taken to Mecca where he was laid to rest. These events are the consequence of enmity and ignorance.

Now I beg your pardon that I have been driven a little far from my point. What I meant was that the position of Wilaya (Vicegerency) of Amiru'l-Mu'minin was not recorded by the Shi’as ulama’ alone. Your own prominent ulama’ have also narrated that the Holy Prophet in the presence of 70,000 or 120,000 people, raised ‘Ali's hands and introduced him as Imam (leader and guide) of the people.

Sunnis' doubt about meaning of “maula”

Hafiz: Of course there is no doubt about the occasion and the text of this hadith, but at the same time it does not have the significance which your passionate eloquence suggests.

Apart from this, there are some doubts regarding the text of this hadith. For instance, the word "maula," you told us, means, "one who has a greater claim on others," although it is known that in this hadith "maula" means "lover, helper and friend."

The Prophet knew that ‘Ali had many enemies, and so he wanted to exhort the people that whomsoever he loved or was friend or helper to, ‘Ali also loved him and was his friend and helper. The reason he demanded allegiance from the people was that he did not want them to cause ‘Ali trouble.

Well-Wisher: I think you sometimes unnecessarily adopt the habits of your predecessors. If you would consider the facts carefully, the truth of this issue would become clear.

Hafiz: What are the facts which prove your point of view? Please let us know.

Meaning of “maula” as "guide," "master" in light of the verse “Ya ayyuha'r-rasul baligh”

Well-Wisher: The first proof is the Holy Qur'an and the revelation of the verse: "O Apostle! deliver that which has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people." (5.67)

Hafiz: How can you claim that this verse was revealed on that day and for this purpose?

Well-Wisher: All your reputable ulama’ have accepted it: Jalalu'd-din Suyuti: Durru'l-Mansur; vol. II, p. 298; Hafiz Ibn Abi Hatim Razi: Tafsir al-Ghadir; Hafiz Abu Ja'far Tabari: Kitabu'l-Wilaya; Hafiz Abu Abdullah Mahamili: Amali; Hafiz Abu Bakr Shirazi: Ma Nazala mina'l-Qur'an Fi Amiri'l-Mu'minin; Hafiz Abu Sa'id Sijistani: Kitabu'l-Wilaya; Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyya: Tafsir al-Ayah; Hafiz Abu'l-Qasim Haskani: Shawahidu't-Tanzil; Abu'l-Fatha Nazari: Khasa'isu'l-Alawi; Mu'inu'd-din Meibudi: Sharh al-Diwan;

Qazi Shekani: Fathu'l-Ghadir, vol. III, p. 57; Sayyid Jamalu'd-din Shirazi: Arba'in; Badru'd-din Hanafi: Umdatu'l-Qari Fi Sharh al-Sahih Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 584; Ahmad Tha'labi: Tafsir Kashfu'l-Bayan; Imam Fakhru'd-din Razi: Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. III, p. 636; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani: Ma nazala mina'l-Qur'an Fi ‘Ali; Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Hamwaini: Fara'idu's-Simtain; Nizamu'd-din Nishapuri: Tafsir, vol. VI, p. 170;

Sayyid Shahabu'd-din Alusi Baghdadi: Ruhu'l-Ma'ani, vol. II, p. 348; Nuru'd-din Ibn Sabbagh Maliki: Fusulu'l-Muhimma, p. 27; ‘Ali Ibn Ahmad Wahidi: Asbabu'n-Nuzul, p. 150; Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafi'i: Matalibu's-Su'ul, p. 16; Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani Shafi'i: Mawadda V from Mawaddatu'l-Qurba; Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi: Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch. 39.

In short, as far as I know, thirty of your leading ulama’ have written in their authentic books and in their own commentaries that this Holy verse was revealed on the day of Ghadir al-Khum in regard to Amiru'l-Mu'minin ‘Ali.

Even Qazi Fazl Ibn Ruzbahan, despite all his ill will and fanaticism, writes: "Verily it is proved in our authentic Sahih that when this verse was revealed, the Prophet of Allah holding ‘Ali by the hand, said: 'To whomsoever I am the maula (master), this ‘Ali is also his maula.'"

It is, however, very surprising the same perverted Qazi in Kashf Ghumma gives a strange report from Razi Ibn Abdullah: "In the days of the Holy Prophet we used to read this verse thus: 'O our Prophet (Muhammad) deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord, that is, ‘Ali is the master of the believers. If you do not, then you have not delivered His message.'"

Also Suyuti in his Durru'l-Mansur from Ibn Mardawiyya, Ibn Asakir and Ibn Abi Hatim from Abu Sa'id Khadiri, Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (one of the writers of Wahi - revelations) and Qazi Shukani in Tafsir al-Fathu'l-Ghadir narrate that in the day of the Holy Prophet they also recited that verse in that very way.

In short, the warning contained in this verse says: "If you do it not then (it will be as if) you have not delivered His message (at all)..." shows that the message which the Holy Prophet had been ordered to deliver was of great importance. It was in fact essential to the completion of Prophethood itself.

Therefore, the issue in question was surely the matter of the imamate, the conferring of authority on one who would guide the people according to the tenets of Islam after the death of the Holy Prophet.

Revelation of verse "This day have I perfected for you your religion." at Ghadir al-Khum

The second circumstance which proves my point is the revelation of the verse:

"This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed my favor on you and chosen for you Islam for a religion." (5:3)

Hafiz: But it is an admitted fact that this verse was revealed on the day of Arafa, and no one of the ulama’ has claimed that it was revealed on the day of Ghadir.

Well-Wisher: I ask you not to make undue haste in denying this fact.

Of course, I admit that some of your ulama’ have said that this verse was revealed on the day of Arafa, but a large number of your reputable ulama’ have also said that it was revealed on the day of Ghadir. Also some of your ulama’ hold the view that perhaps this verse was revealed twice, once at the close of the day of Arafa and then again on the day of Ghadir.

Accordingly, Sibt Ibn Jauzi says in his Khawasu'l-Umma, p. 18: "It is probable that this verse was revealed twice, once on the day of Arafa and once on the day of Ghadir al-Khum, just as the verse: 'In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful' was revealed twice, once in Mecca and then again in Medina."

Your trustworthy scholars, such as Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in Durru'l-Mansur, vol. II, p. 256 and Itqan, vol. I, p. 31; Imamu'l-Mufassirin Tha'labi in Kashfu'l-Bayan; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Ma Nusala Mina'l-Qur'an Fi ‘Ali; Abu'l-Fatha Nazari in Khasa'isu'l-Alawi; Ibn Kathir Shami in Tafsir, vol. II, p. 41, following Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyya: Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari, scholar, commentator and historian of the 3rd century A.H. in Tafsir al-Kitabu'l-Wilaya; Hafiz Abu'l-Qasim Haskani in Shawahid-ut-Tanzil;

Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira al-Khawasu'l-Umma, p. 18; Abu Ishaq Hamwaini in Fara'id-us-Simtain, ch. XII; Abu Sa'id Sijistani in Kitabu'l-Wilaya; Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in Ta'rikh al-Baghdad, vol. VIII, p. 290; Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i in Manaqib, ch. XIV and Maqtalu'l-Husain, ch. IV, all have written that on the day of Ghadir al-Khum the Holy Prophet appointed ‘Ali by divine order to the rank of wilaya (Vicegerent).

He told the people whatever he was ordained to say about ‘Ali and raised his hands so high that the white of both his armpits was visible. He addressed the people thus: "Salute ‘Ali because he is the amir (lord) of the believers. The whole Community complied with his order. They had not yet departed from one another when the aforesaid verse was revealed."

The Holy Prophet was highly pleased with the revelation of this verse. So, addressing the people, he said: "Allah is Great, He who has perfected for them their religion and has completed His favor on them and is satisfied with my Prophethood and ‘Ali's vicegerency after me."

Imam Haskani and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal have given the complete details of this event. If you, respected people, would leave behind your preconceived ideas on this matter, you would understand the Holy verse and hadith, which show that the word "maula" means "wali" (master) i.e., one having authority over all others.

If "maula" or "wali" did not mean "one who has a greater claim on others," the latter phrase "after me" would be meaningless. And this sentence, which the Holy Prophet repeatedly uttered from his sacred tongue, proves that "maula" and "wali" mean "one who has greater claim on all others," because he said that rank in particular was granted to ‘Ali after him.

Third, you might consider the circumstances. In that hot desert, where there was no protection for the travellers, the Holy Prophet gathered the whole umma. People sat in the shade of the camels, with their feet covered, in the scorching heat of the sun. In these conditions the Prophet delivered a long address, which Khawarizmi and Ibn Mardawiyya in their Manaqib, and Tabari in his Kitabu'l-Wilaya and others have narrated.

Does it make sense to think that the Prophet would require thousands of his followers to spend three days in the blazing desert to swear allegiance to ‘Ali merely to indicate that ‘Ali was their friend? In fact there was no one in the whole Community who did not already know the close association between the Holy Prophet and ‘Ali or had not heard about him (as I have already pointed out earlier). The revelation of the

Qur'anic verse in question for the second time, particularly in different circumstances and with such serious instructions that people might be put to great inconvenience and suspense, could not simply mean that they should be friends of ‘Ali. Either the Holy Prophet's performance was meant to indicate great significance or it was frivolous. And certainly the Holy Prophet is free from all frivolous actions.

It is reasonable to conclude therefore, that these arrangements were made not merely to indicate that people should befriend ‘Ali. The event, in fact, marked the completion of the Prophet's message: the establishment of the Imamate, the source of the umma's guidance after the death of the Prophet.

Sibt ibn Jauzi's view about the meaning of "maula"

Some of your reputable ulama’ have acknowledged that the primary meaning of "maula" is "master." Among them is Sibt Ibn Jauzi, who after giving ten meanings of the word in his Tadhkira al-Khawas, ch. II, p. 20, says that none of them except the tenth one corresponds with what the Holy Prophet meant to say.

He says: "The hadith specifically means obedience; so the tenth meaning is correct, and it means 'mastery over others.' Hence, the hadith means 'of whomever I am the 'maula' (master) ‘Ali is also his 'maula' (master).'"

In the book Maraju'l-Bahrain Hafiz Abdu'l-Faraj Yahya Ibn Sa'id Saqafi interprets it in the same way. He narrates this hadith with his own sources from his leaders, who said that the Holy Prophet, holding ‘Ali by the hand, said: "Of whomsoever I am 'wali' or master over himself, ‘Ali is also his 'wali' or master over himself."

Sibt Ibn Jauzi says, "The saying of the Holy Prophet that ‘Ali has authority or is the master over the selves of all the believers clearly proves the Imamate or vicegerency of ‘Ali and that obedience to him is obligatory."

View of ibn Talha Shafi'i about the meaning of maula

Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafi'i in his Matalibu's-Su'ul in the middle of Part V, ch. 1, p. 16, says that the word maula has many meanings, for instance: "master," "helper," "successor," "truthful one," and "leader." He then says that this Holy hadith furnishes an inner interpretation to the verse of Mubahala. (3.61)

In it Allah Almighty has called ‘Ali the 'self' of the Holy Prophet. There was no separation between the self of the Holy Prophet and the self of ‘Ali since He combined the two with the pronoun referring to the Holy Prophet.

Muhammad Ibn Talha adds: "In this hadith the Holy Prophet indicated that whatever obligations the believers had in respect to him, they had also in respect to ‘Ali. As the Holy Prophet was certainly master of the believers in all of their matters, their helper, leader, and chief - all of these being connotations of the word "maula" - then it follows that he meant the same thing for ‘Ali (a.s.) also.

And this is of course, an exalted position, an eminently high rank, which was specifically assigned to ‘Ali. It is for this reason that the Day of Ghadir was a day of eid and rejoicings for the lovers and friends of ‘Ali."

Hafiz: In view of your statement, since the word "maula has a number of meanings, it would be wrong to conclude that it was used in this case to indicate a single meaning, "master," to the exclusion of other meanings.

Well-Wisher: You are well aware of the basic principles of scholars that while a word may have different meanings, it has only one basic meaning and that the rest of the meanings are derived. The basic meaning of the word "maula" or "wali" is master.

For instance, the "wali" of "nikah" (wedlock) means one who acts as attorney, or trustee. The "wali" of a woman is her husband; the "wali" of a child is his father, who has full authority over him. The "wali ahd" (heir apparent) of a king means "one whose right to rule cannot be denied if he outlives the ancestor."

Apart from this, your objection recoils upon you as to why you have restricted its meaning to "friend" and "helper" when it has many other meanings. So this specification without any specific object is void. The objection you have made comes back to you and not to us because the meanings that we have specified are not without the specified object. The verses of the Holy Qur'an, the hadith, and the opinions of scholars, all prove the same meaning which we have given.

Among these are the reasons which your own prominent ulama’, like Sibt Ibn Jauzi, Muhammad Ibn Abi Talha Shafi'i have given regarding its meaning. Moreover, it is narrated in a large number of hadith both from your sources and mine that this Holy verse was read thus:

"O Prophet of Allah! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord about ‘Ali's wilaya (vicegerency) and his being master of the believers."

Jalalu'd-din Suyuti, who is one of your reputable ulama’ has collected these hadith in his book Durru'l-Mansur.

‘Ali's argument based on hadith of Ghadir in the Mosque at Kufa

If this hadith and the word "maula" had not been proof of ‘Ali as Imam and Caliph, Amiru'l-Mu'minin would not have repeatedly argued from it. In fact in the committees of counselors he referred to it as evidence for his Imamate, as Khatib Khawarizmi in his Manaqib, p. 217; Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Hamwaini in his Fara'id, ch. 58; Hafiz Ibn Iqda in Kitabu'l-Wilaya; Ibn Hatim Damishqi in Durru'n-Nazim, and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. II, p. 61, have recorded it. Particularly important is the evidence given by thirty companions at Rahba.

Many of your distinguished ulama’ have narrated the discussion ‘Ali led with the Muslims at Rahba al-Kufa (i.e., in the courtyard of the Kufa mosque). Following is a partial listing of those who recorded this event.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Part 1, p. 129; Ibn Athir Jazari in Asadu'l-Ghaiba, vol. III and vol. V, pp. 206 and 276; Ibn Qutayba in Ma'arif, p. 194; Muhammad ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. I, p. 362; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, vol. V, p. 26; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isaba, vol. II, p. 408; Muhibu'd-din Tabari in Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, p. 67; Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Khasa'isu'l-Alawi, p. 26; Allama Samhudi in Jawahiru'l-Iqdain; Shamsu'd-din Jazari in Asnu'l-Matalib, p. 3; Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch. 4; Hafiz Ibn Iqda in Kitabu'l-Wilaya.

‘Ali stood before the people and asked them to bear witness about what they had heard the Holy Prophet saying about him at Ghadir al-Khum. Thirty of the companions, including twelve Badris (those who had fought in the Battle of Badr), stood up and said that they saw on the Ghadir al-Khum day the Holy Prophet holding up Hazrat ‘Ali's hand and saying to the people:

"Do you know that I have greater claim on the believers than they have on their own selves?" All of them said: "Yes." Then the Holy Prophet said: "Of whomsoever I am "maula" (master), this ‘Ali is his "maula" (master)."

Sad plight of those who did not confirm hadith of Ghadir

Out of this gathering three men did not bear witness to the event. One of them was Anas Ibn Malik, who said that because he had become enfeebled with old age he had forgotten all about it. ‘Ali cursed the three.

He said: "If you are telling lies, may Allah afflict thee with leprosy, which even your turban would not conceal." No sooner did Anas stand up from his place when leprosy appeared on his body. (According to some reports he became both blind and a leper.)

Fourth argument: "Have I not a greater claim on you than you have on yourselves?"

Well-Wisher: Fourth, the way in which the hadith has been narrated in itself proves that the work "maula" means "master." The Holy Prophet, in his address at Ghadir, asked the people: "Have I not a greater claim on you than you have on yourselves?" This refers to the words of the Holy Qur'an:

"The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves." (33:6)

Moreover, there is a reliable hadith in the books of both sects which records that the Holy Prophet said: "There is no believer on whom I have not a greater claim in this world and in the Hereafter, than he has on himself.

All of them said with one voice that he had a greater claim on them than they had on themselves. After that the Holy Prophet said: "Of whomsoever I am the "maula," this ‘Ali is also his "maula." So from the context of his speech, it follows that the Holy Prophet meant "authority" or "mastery over others" when he used the word "maula."

Hafiz: In many of the books there is no such record of the Holy Prophet having said these words: "Have I not a greater claim on you than you have on your own selves?"

Well-Wisher: In narrating the hadith of Ghadir, narrators have used slightly different words, but so far as the hadith of the Shi’as are concerned, all of the Ithna Ashari ulama’ say that the text and context of hadith of Ghadir are as narrated above.

And in most of the authentic Sunni books, written by your prominent ulama’, like Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira al-Khawasu'l-Umma, p. 18; Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Musnad; Nuru'd-din Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Muhimma; and a host of others who have narrated hadith of Ghadir, the sentence "Have I not a greater claim on you than you have on yourselves" does exist.

Now for the sake of blessedness I submit the translation of this hadith which has been narrated by the Imam of the traditionists, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, in his Musnad, vol. IV, p. 281, on the authority of Bara'a Ibn Azib.

He said: "I was travelling with the Holy Prophet. We reached Ghadir. The Holy Prophet announced: 'Assemble for prayers.' It was customary when something serious was about to happen that the Holy Prophet ordered the people to assemble for prayers.

When the people had assembled and prayers had been offered, the Prophet used to preach a sermon. A special place was provided for the Holy Prophet between two trees. After the performance of the prayers the Holy Prophet, raising ‘Ali's hand above his head, spoke to the crowd: 'Do you not know that I am the master of the believers and have more rights over them than they over their own selves?' All of them said, 'Yes, we know that.' He again said, 'Do you not know that I have greater rights over every believer than he has over his own self?'

All of the answered, 'Yes, we know it.' Thereafter the Holy Prophet said, 'Of whomsoever I am the maula (master) this ‘Ali is his maula (master).' Then he prayed to Allah: 'O Allah! Be a Friend of him who is a friend of him (i.e. ‘Ali) and be an enemy of him who is an enemy of him.' Immediately following this, ‘Umar Ibn Khattab met ‘Ali and said, 'Congratulations to you, O son of Abu Talib! You have now become maula (master) of all the believing men and women.'

Also Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda V; Sulayman Balkhi in his Yanabi and Hafiz Abu Nu'aim in his Hilya have recorded this hadith with slight variations in the wording.

Hafiz Abu'l-Fatha, from whom Ibn Sabbagh also had quoted in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma, has narrated this hadith in these words: "O people! Allah Almighty is my "maula" (master), and I have a greater right over you than you have over yourselves. You should know that of whomsoever I am the 'maula' (master) ‘Ali is also his 'maula' (master)."

Ibn Maja Qazwini in his Sunan and Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in his hadith (pp. 81,83,93,24) have narrated this hadith in the same way.

And Zaid Ibn Arqam writes in his hadith No. 84 that the Prophet of Allah said in the course of his address: "Do you not know that I have a greater authority over all believers, men or women, than they have over themselves?" All of them said: "We bear witness that you have greater authority over every believer than he has over his own self." At that time the Prophet said: "Of whomsoever I am the maula (master) this ‘Ali is also his maula (master)." Then he raised the hand of ‘Ali.

In addition Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Al-khatib Baghdadi (died 462 A.H.), in his Ta'rikh al-Baghdad, Vol. 8, pp. 289, 290, has narrated a detailed hadith from Abu Huraira that if any one fasts on the eighteenth day of Dhu'l-Hijja (The Day of Ghadir), he will be rewarded for sixty months of fasting. He then records the above hadith in the same way.

Hasan's couplets before the Holy Prophet

The fifth circumstance to prove the wilaya (vicegerency) of ‘Ali is the reading of his couplets, which Hasan Ibn Thabit read with the permission of the Holy Prophet, in the gathering in which ‘Ali's rank of Vicegerent was announced. Sibt Ibn Jauzi and others have written that when the Holy Prophet heard those verses, he said, "Oh, Hasan! so long as you continue helping us or praising us with your tongue, ruhu quds, the Holy spirit, will also be supporting you."

The well known commentator and narrator of hadith of the fourth century A.H., Hafiz if Ibn Mardawiyya (died 352 A.H.), in his Manaqib; the Chief of the Imams, Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad Khawarizmi in Manaqib and Maqtalu'l-Husain, part IV; Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in his Risalatu'l-Azhar fi ma Aqdahu'sh-Shu'ara and many of your scholars, narrators and historians report from Abu Sa'id Khadiri that on the day of Ghadir al-Khum, after the address of the Holy Prophet and the appointment of ‘Ali as his successor, Hasan Ibn Thabit said: "Do you permit me to recite some couplets on this occasion?"

The Holy Prophet said: "Yes, recite with Allah's blessings." So he stood up at a raised spot and recited spontaneously composed verses. The meaning of the verses is as follows:

"On the Day of Ghadir al-Khum, the Holy Prophet called together the umma, and I heard his voice calling them. The Prophet said to the people, "Who is your maula and wali?" The people said clearly, "Allah is our maula (Lord) and you are our wali (Guardian) and no one denies this fact." So then the Holy Prophet said to ‘Ali: "Stand up! I am content with your becoming the imam (vicegerent) and hadi (guide) after me. So of whomsoever I am the maula (master) this ‘Ali is also his maula (master).

Hence, all of you people should loyally and faithfully help him." Then the Prophet prayed to Allah: "O Allah! Be a friend of him who is a friend of him (‘Ali) and be an enemy of him who is enemy of him."

These couplets are a clear proof of the fact that on that day the companions of the Holy Prophet did not interpret the word "maula" in any other way except "imam" and that ‘Ali would be the caliph after the Prophet died. If the word "maula" did not mean "imam" or master over others, the Prophet would have at once interrupted Hasan when he had recited the line: "I am content with your being imam and guide after me," and would have told him that he was mistaken and that he did not mean ‘Ali to be the imam and successor after him and that he meant by the word "maula" "friend" or "helper."

But in fact the Holy Prophet supported him by saying "Ruhu'l-Quds will also be supporting you." Apart from this, the Holy Prophet clearly explained the position of imamate or wilaya (vicegerency) of ‘Ali in his sermon.

You should study the sermon of the Holy Prophet, which he delivered on the Ghadir al-Khum day and which has been reported in full by Abu Ja'far Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari (died 310 A.H.) in his book Kitabu'l-Wilaya. He writes that the Prophet said: "Listen and obey. Verily, Allah Almighty is your maula and ‘Ali is your imam. Until the Day of Judgment the imamate will belong to my progeny, the descendants of ‘Ali."

Companions breaking their promise made on the day of Ghadir

Whatever interpretation you may give to the word "maula," it is an acknowledged fact that the companions made a promise to the Prophet on that day. There is complete concurrence between the two sects on this point. Then why did they break that pledge?

Even if we suppose for the moment that by maula the Holy Prophet meant merely "friend" or "helper," for Allah's sake tell us if you think that friendship meant that they should set fire to ‘Ali's house, terrify his family, and threaten him with drawn swords.

The Prophet gave clear instructions that the companions should pledge allegiance to ‘Ali. Do you think that he intended that they should therefore terrorize his own son-in-law? After the death of the Prophet, didn't they break their pledge? Did they, who broke the pledge, fulfill, in your opinion, the conditions of friendship? Did they read verse 15 of ch. 13, Al-Ra'd (the Thunder) of the Qur'an?

"And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder that which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those, upon them shall be a curse, and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode." (13:25)

Companions breaking the promise at Uhud, Hunain, and Hudaibiyya

In the battles of Uhud and Hunain, when the Holy Prophet had made all his companions promise that they would not run away that day, didn't they actually run away? They ran from the battlefield and left the Holy Prophet to face the enemy. This has been recorded by your own historians, like Tabari, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, and Ibn A'same Kufi. Wasn't this breaking a solemn pledge?

I swear by Allah that you unreasonably find fault with the Shi’as when we say only what your own renowned ulama’ and historians have said.

Shi’as condemn only those companions whose acts were unjust

I don't understand why you people have been attacking us for generations. Whatever you write is accepted, but if we write what the great Sunni ulama’ have written, we are labelled as infidels simply because we criticize the injustice of some of the companions.

If, however criticism of the companions means Rafizi'ism, then apparently all the companions were Rafizis, because all of them criticized one another's bad actions. Even Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did so.

Some of the Prophet's companions were pious believers and were highly respected. Others indulged their lower desires and were condemned. If you want historical proof of this fact, I suggest that you read Ibn Abi'l-Hadid's Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol.IV, pp. 454, 462, and study Zaidi's detailed reply to Abu'l-Ma'‘Ali Juwaini's objection, which Abu Ja'far Naqib has recorded. Then you will know how much controversy existed among the companions, who in fact cursed one another as sinners and infidels.

Companions running away at Hudaibiyya

In his account of the Hudaibiyya affair, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, and others of your historians have also written that, after the conclusion of the treaty of peace, most of the companions, including ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, expressed their anger concerning the terms of the treaty. They told the Holy Prophet that they were not satisfied with peace and wanted to fight. The Holy Prophet said that if they wanted to fight, they were at liberty to do so. So they attacked.

But the companions suffered a crushing defeat and fled to the hills and did not even return to protect the Holy Prophet. Then the Holy Prophet asked ‘Ali to draw the sword and repel the Quraish. Seeing ‘Ali before them, the Quraish drew back. Later the companions who had fled returned and begged the Prophet's pardon.

The Holy Prophet said to them: "Do I not know you! Are you not the same people who trembled in fear in the Battle of Badr until Allah Almighty sent angels for our help! Are you not the same companions of mine who on the Day of Uhud fled to the hills and left me unprotected? Although I kept on calling you, you did not return."

The Holy Prophet recounted all their weaknesses, and they continued expressing their regret for their actions. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says at the conclusion of his work that this rebuke was directed specifically against ‘Umar, who did not believe any of the promises made by the Holy Prophet. Then he writes that, in light of the statement of the Holy Prophet, Caliph ‘Umar must have fled from the Battle of Uhud because in his talk the Holy Prophet had referred to that also.

Now you can yourself see that if we relate this fact, which is recorded by your eminent ulama’ like Abi'l-Hadid and others, we shall at once be subjected to attack because we have insulted the Caliph, but there is no objection to Abi'l-Hadid. In fact we have no intention of insulting anybody. We merely relate historical facts, and you look at us with scornful eyes. You ignore those facts.

Shi’as will seek redress on the Day of Judgment

The Shi’as will have many complaints on the Day of Judgment against your ulama’. The world will perish, but you must appear in Allah's Court of Justice to answer for your oppression.

Hafiz: Please tell me for what oppression you will seek justice on the Day of Judgment?

Well-Wisher: There are instances which I might cite. When the Day of Divine Justice comes I will certainly seek justice.

Hafiz: I ask you not to excite the emotions of others. Tell us what oppression you have suffered.

Well-Wisher: Oppression and tyranny is not a new thing for us today. But its foundation was laid immediately after the demise of our ancestor, the Holy Prophet. The right of our oppressed grandmother, Fatima Zahra, which was bequeathed to her by her father, the Holy Prophet, for the bringing up of her children, was usurped. No notice was taken of her complaints and protestations.At last she passed away in the prime of her youth with a broken heart.

Hafiz: Please you are unnecessarily exciting the people. Tell us what right of Fatima was usurped? Please remember that if you fail to prove your claim you will, to some degree, fail in the Divine Court of Justice. Please yourself to be in the Divine Court of Justice and argue your case.

Well-Wisher: One day we shall be before the Divine Court. We expect justice. If you too have a sense of justice you should, like a just judge listen to my submissions without prejudice. I believe you will acknowledge the validity of our claim.

Hafiz: I swear that I have no prejudice or stubborness. Surely you have observed during these nights that I do not argue perversely. When I have heard reasonable arguments I have accepted them. My silence was an indication itself of my accepting the just cause. By nature I am not disposed to quarrel. I admit that before I met you here, I wanted to defeat you.

But I have been so impressed by your purity, your politeness, good manners, simplicity, and sense of reality, that I have taken a solemn vow before Allah that I bow down to accept all logical facts even though this posture might disappoint the expectations of others.

Believe me, I am not the man of the first night. I tell you quite frankly that your arguments have left a deep impression on my heart. I earnestly hope that I may die with love and affection for the Holy Prophet and his descendants, so that I may stand happy and contented before the Holy Prophet.

Well-Wisher: Of course such integrity was expected of a scholar like you. I have really been much impressed by your remarks as well, and I have developed a friendly feeling towards you. Now I would like to make a request. I hope you will accept.

Hafiz: Yes, please.

Well-Wisher: Tonight I would like to be a judge and the others to be witnesses, so that you may decide without any prejudice whether my claim is just. Some of the uninformed believers say that it is no use discussing a matter which happened over 1,300 years ago. They do not understand that matters relating to knowledge are debated in every age.

Fair discussions reveal the truth and the claim of inheritance can legally be made by an heir at any time. Since I am one of the heirs, I would like to put a question to you. Please give me a just reply.

Hafiz: Yes, I shall be very pleased to hear your statement.

Well-Wisher: If by divine command a father gives property to his son, and, after the death of the former, if the property is taken from the son who is in possession of the property, what would be the nature of the claim?

Hafiz: The usurper's action would be completely unjust. But whom are you referring to when you say the oppressor and the oppressed?

Fadak and its usurpation

When the forts of Khaibar were conquered, the nobles, landlords, and prominent of Fadak came to the Holy Prophet. Fadak was an area in the valley of the Medina hills. It contained seven villages which extended as far as the sea coast.

Many were very fertile and there were oases there. There was a peace treaty with the people stating that half of the whole of Fadak was to be in their possession and the other half would be the property of the Holy Prophet.

This fact has been narrated by Yaqut Hamawi, the author of Majimu'l-Buldan in his Futuhu'l-Buldan, vol. VI, p. 343; by Ahmad Ibn Yahya Baladhuri Baghdadi (died 279 A.H.) in his Ta'rikh; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali in his Sharh al-Nahju'l- Balagha, (printed Egypt), vol. IV, p. 78, quoting from Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz Jauhari; by Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari in his Ta'rikh al-Kabir, and by many others of your traditionists and historians.

Revelation of the verse "Give to near of kin"

When the Holy Prophet returned to Medina, Gabriel revealed the following:

"And give to the near of kin his due and (to) the needy and the wayfarer, and do not squander wastefully." (7:26)

The Holy Prophet pondered the significance of this revelation. Gabriel appeared again and informed him that Allah had decreed: "Let Fadak be given to Fatima." The Holy Prophet called Fatima and said: "Allah has commanded me to bestow Fadak as a gift to you." So he immediately gave possession of Fadak to Fatima.

Hafiz: Please clarify what you say about the occasion on which this Holy verse was revealed. Is it written in the books of history and the commentaries of the Shi’as, or have you seen it in our reliable books also?

Well-Wisher: The chief of the commentators, Ahmad Tha'labi in his Kashfu'l-Bayan; Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in his Tafsir, vol. IV, reporting from Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyya; the famous commentator Ahmad Ibn Musa (died 352 A.H.) reporting from Abu Sa'id Khadiri and Hakim Abu'l-Qasim Haskani; Ibn Kathir; Imadu'd-din Isma'il; Ibn ‘Umar Damishqi; Faqih al-Shafi'i in his Ta'rikh, and Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch. 39, reporting from Tafsir al-Tha'labi, Jam'u'l-Fawa'id and Uyunu'l-Akhbar - all narrate that when the verse "and give to the near of kin his due" was revealed, the Holy Prophet of Allah called Fatima and bestowed the great Fadak upon her as a gift.

Accordingly, so long as the Holy Prophet lived, Fadak remained in Fatima's possession. That exalted lady leased the land; its revenue was collected in three installments. Out of this amount she took enough money for food for her and her children and distributed the rest to the poor people of Bani Hashim. After the demise of the Holy Prophet, the officers of the ruling caliph snatched this property from Fatima.

I ask you, respected people to tell me in the name of justice how you would term this act.

Hafiz: This is the first time I have heard that the Holy Prophet gave Fadak, by command, to Fatima.

Well-Wisher: It is possible you might not have known about this. But, as I have told you, most of your prominent ulama’ have written about it in their reliable books. In order to establish the point clearly I refer you to Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyya, Waqidi and Hakim (see their Tafsir and Ta'rikh); Jalalu'd-din Suyuti Durru'l-Mansur, Vol. IV, p. 177;

Mullah ‘Ali Muttaqi's Kanzu'l-Umma and the brief note which he had written on Ahmad Ibn Hanbal's Kitabu'l-Akhlaq of Musnad about the problem of Sila al-rahm; and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid's Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, Vol.IV. All of these ulama’ have narrated in different ways, apart from Abu Sa'id Khadiri's statement, that when the above verse was revealed the Holy Prophet gave Fadak to Fatima Zahra.

Argument from hadith 'la nuris' - we do not leave legacies

Hafiz: It is an admitted fact that the caliphs confiscated Fadak on the basis of the well known hadith narrated by Abu Bakr, who declared that he had himself heard the Holy Prophet say: "We prophets do not leave behind any legacy; whatever we leave as inheritance is charity" (i.e., the property of umma).

Fadak was a gift - not a legacy

Well-Wisher: First, it was not an inheritance, but a gift. Second, the purported hadith is unacceptable.

Hafiz: What argument would you advance for the rejection of this hadith?

Well-Wisher: There are many reasons for rejecting this hadith.

Hadith 'la nuris' is concocted

First, whoever contrived this hadith uttered it without thinking about the words he used. If he had been careful about it, he would never have said: "We prophets do not leave any inheritance," because he would have known that his lying would be exposed by the very wording of this concocted hadith. If he had used the words "I have not left behind any legacy," his attempted hadith would have been more plausible.

But when he used the plural "We prophets..."we are obliged to investigate the truth of the hadith. Now on the basis of your own statement we refer to the Holy Qur'an for guidance. We find that there are a number of verses which tell us that the prophets in fact did leave inheritances. This proves that this hadith is to be rejected outright.

Fatima argues her case

In his Kitab al-Saqifa the great scholar and traditionist, Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz Jauhari, about whom Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha that he was one of the eminent ulama’ and traditionists of the Sunnis; Ibn Al-athir in his Nihaya; Mas'udi in Akhbaru'z-Zaman and in Ausat; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. IV, p. 78, quoting from Abu Bakr Ahmad Jauhari's book Saqifa and Fadak in different ways and from a number of sources, some of which refer to the fifth Imam Muhammad Baqir through Siddiqi Sughra Zainab al-Kubra and some of which refer to Abdullah Ibn Hasan on the authority of Siddiqi Kubra Fatima Zahra and on the authority of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A’ysha and also on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Imran Marzabani, he from Zaid Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Husain; he from his father, and he from his father Imam Husain; and he from his illustrious mother, Fatima Zahra; and many other ulama’ of your sect have narrated the speech of Fatima before a large gathering of the Muslims.

The opponents were stunned when they heard her reasoning and could not reply. Since they had no answer to make they caused a disturbance.

Fatima's arguments rejecting hadith la nuris

One of the arguments of Fatima rejecting the hadith was that, if the hadith were true, then why there were so many verses about the inheritances of the prophets. She said:

"At one place the Holy Qur'an says, 'And Solomon was David's heir.'"(27:16)

About the prophet Zakariyya the Holy Qur'an says:

"Therefore grant me from thyself an heir, who shall inherit of me and inherit (also), of the house of Jacob." (19, 5-6)

About Zakariyya's invocation the Holy Qur'an says:

"And Zakariyya, when he cried to his Lord: 'O my Lord, leave me not childless, though Thou art the best of inheritors.' So we responded to him and gave him Yahya." (21: 89, 90)

After that she said: "O Son of Abu Qahafa! Is it there in the Book of Allah that you are an heir of your father and I am deprived of my father's legacy? You have committed a great slander. Have you people deliberately abandoned the Book of Allah (the Holy Qur'an) and ignored it altogether? Am I not the descendant of the Holy Prophet? Why are you depriving me of my right? Why are all these verses of inheritance, which are intended for all people in general and for the Prophets in particular included in the Holy Qur'an?

Is it not a fact that the verses of the Holy Qur'an shall remain unchanged until the Day of Judgment? Does not the Holy Qur'an say:

'And those who are akin are nearer one to another in the ordinance of Allah...' (8:75)"

and:

'Allah enjoins you about your issue! The male shall have the equal of the shares of two females.' (4:12)

and:

'Bequest is prescribed for you when one of you approaches death, if he leaves wealth, that he bequeaths unto parents and near relations in kindness. (2:180)

(This is) a duty for all those who ward off (evil).' Then why have I, in particular, been deprived of my father's legacy? Has Allah revealed some special verses to you, which exclude my father (from his right). Do you know the outward and inner meanings of the Holy Qur'an better than my father, Muhammad, and my cousin, ‘Ali?"

Fatima pleading in vain

When they were silenced by these arguments and true facts, they had no answer. They resorted to deception and abusive language.

She cried: "Today you have broken my heart. On the Day of Judgment I will file a suit against you in the Divine Court of Justice and Allah Almighty will decide the case justly. Allah is the best judge. Muhammad is the master and lord; our and your promised time is the Day of Resurrection.

That day the transgressor will be losers, and your repentance will do you no good. For everything there is an appointed time and you will know before long who will be afflicted with scornful chastisement."

Caliph used abusive language

Hafiz: Who could dare to abuse part of the body of the Holy Prophet, Fatima Zahra? I do not believe this. Deception may be possible, but using abusive language is not possible. Please do not say such things.

Well-Wisher: No one had the courage to say such things except your Caliph, Abu Bakr. Unable to rebut the cogent reasoning of the oppressed lady, he immediately mounted the pulpit and insulted Fatima and her husband and cousin, the loved one of Allah and of His Prophet, Amiru'l-Mu'minin ‘Ali.

Hafiz: I think these slanderous reports have been spread by fanatics.

Well-Wisher: You are mistaken. These reports have not been spread by Shi’as fanatics. Prominent Sunni ulama’ have spread them. However intolerant our common people might be, they never fabricate hadith.

If you study your authentic books, you will admit that your great ulama’ have acknowledged these facts. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol.IV, p. 80, printed in Egypt, reporting from Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz Jauhari, has written in detail about Abu Bakr's mounting the pulpit after the remonstrances of ‘Ali and Fatima.

‘Ali's remonstrating with Abu Bakr

Many scholars have recorded that when Fatima finished pleading her case, ‘Ali began his remonstrance in the public gathering of Muslims in the mosque of Medina, turning towards Abu Bakr, he said: "Why did you deprive Fatima of her father's legacy, though she was its owner and possessed it during the lifetime of her father?"

Abu Bakr replied: "Fadak is the booty of the Muslims. If Fatima produces complete evidence that it is her own property, I will certainly give it to her; otherwise, I will deprive her of it."

The Holy Imam said, "Is it not a fact that when you pronounce a judgment about Muslims, in general, you pass quite a contradictory judgment concerning us?"

"Hasn't the Holy Prophet said that the onus of proof lies on the plaintiff and that of defense on the defendant? You have rejected the judgment of the Holy Prophet and, contrary to religious law, you demand witnesses from Fatima who has been in possession of the property since the time of the Holy Prophet. Moreover is the word of Fatima, who is one of the Ashab al-Kisa (people of the mantle) and who is included in the verse of purity, not true?"

"If two persons were to give evidence that Fatima had committed some wrong, tell me how would you treat her?" Abu Bakr said, "I would inflict punishment on her as I would any other woman."

The Holy Imam said, "If you did this, you would be an infidel before Allah, because you would have rejected Allah's evidence about Fatima's purity. Allah says 'Verily, Verily, Allah intends but to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness, O you the People of the House, and purify you (with) a thorough purification.' Is this verse not revealed in our praise?"

Abu Bakr said: "Why not?"

The Imam said: "Is it possible that Fatima, whose purity Allah has verified, would lay a false claim to a petty property? You reject the evidence of the purified one and accept the evidence of the Arab who urinates on the heel of his own foot!"

After saying this Imam returned to his home angry. His protest excited the people. Everyone said: "Truth is with ‘Ali and Fatima. By Allah, ‘Ali speaks the truth. Why is the Holy Prophet's daughter treated so outrageously?"

Abu Bakr’s Insolence

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid narrates that the people were deeply impressed by the protests of ‘Ali and Fatima and began to cause a disturbance. Abu Bakr, who saw that the two Holy persons had already left the mosque went to the pulpit and said:

"O people! Why are you so disturbed? Why do you listen to everybody? Since I have rejected their evidence, they are talking nonsense. The fact is that he is a fox who is betrayed by his own tail. He creates all sorts of disturbances. He minimizes the importance of disturbances and incites the people to create agitation and uproar. He seeks help from the weak. He seeks assistance from women. He is like Ummu't-Tihal with whom people of her own house were fond of fornicating."

Aren't these remarks outrageously abusive? Do they accord with praise, respect, love and sympathy, which the Holy Prophet had said were due his family? How long will you remain absorbed in this misguided faith and fanaticism? For how long will you oppose the Shi’as and call them Rafizis and infidels because they criticize the words and actions of people which are recorded in your own books?

History judges a man

Consider the matter justly. Was the insolence of the aged companion of the Prophet justified? The wicked and abusive language of Mu'awiya, Marwan, and Khalid was not as distressing as that which comes from the mouth of the man who is called the "companion of the cave." Respected men! We were not present at that time. We hear the names of ‘Ali, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Uthman, Talha, Zubair, Mu'awiya, Marwan, Khalid, Abu Huraira, etc.

We have neither friendship nor enmity with any of them. We see two things: first, those whom Allah and His Prophet loved and for whom respect and loyalty was commanded. Second, we examine their deeds and utterances. Then we decide with a fair mind. We resist letting our preference for someone distort our judgment.

Hadid's surprise at Abu Bakr's abusing ‘Ali and Fatima

We aren't the only ones who are shocked at such behavior. Even your own fair ulama’ are amazed to learn it. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes in his Sharh al-Nahju'l- Balagha, Vol.IV, p. 80, that the utterances of the Caliph filled him with astonishment. He asked his teacher Abu Yahya Naqib Ja'far Ibn Yahya Ibn Abi Zaidu'l-Basari to whom the caliph's words referred. He said that the statements were not indirect. The reference was explicit.

Ibn Hadid said: "If they had been explicit, I would not have put the question." Upon this he laughed and said: "These things were said against ‘Ali." Ibn Hadid repeated the words in astonishment: "Were all those words said against ‘Ali?" His teacher said: "Yes, O son! This is what rulership means."

Resorting to abusive language is the tactic of one who has no convincing reply. All this was done to ‘Ali about whom, as reported by all your leading ulama’ in their reliable books, the Holy Prophet said: "‘Ali is with the truth and the truth is with ‘Ali."

Tormenting ‘Ali is tormenting the Holy Prophet

In reference to both ‘Ali and Fatima, the Holy Prophet said that their trouble was his own trouble. The Holy Prophet said: "He who troubles these two troubles me, and the one who troubles me troubles Allah." It is also written in all your authentic books that the Holy Prophet said, "He who reviles ‘Ali reviles me, who reviles me reviles Allah."

Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i, in his Kifayatu't-Talib, ch. 10, narrates a detailed hadith on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who told a section of the Syrians, who were cursing ‘Ali that he had heard the Holy Prophet saying about ‘Ali: "He who abuses you abuses me, and he who abuses me abuses Allah, and he who abuses Allah will be thrown straight into Hell."

After this hadith he quotes many other hadith from authentic sources all of which prove that those who abuse ‘Ali are infidels. Chapter 10 of his book is entitled: "Concerning the Infidelity of One who Abuses ‘Ali"

Also Hakim in his Mustadrak, vol. III, p. 121, has quoted this same hadith. So according to all these hadith, those who curse ‘Ali, curse Allah and his Prophet. All of them (like Mu'awiya, the Bani Umayya, the Nasibi's, and the Kharijis) are themselves cursed. Now this much is sufficient. The Day of Judgement will surely come. Since our oppressed ancestor assumed silence and left the decision to that Day, we shall also remain silent.

There is a second point which disproves the supposed hadith: "We leave no inheritance..." The Holy Prophet said: "I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its gate; and I am the house of wisdom and ‘Ali is its door." Both sects accepted this. Certainly, one who was the gate of the Holy Prophet's knowledge understood all hadith and instructions of the Holy Prophet, particularly those concerned with the problems of inheritance.

On them depends the welfare of the whole nation. The Holy Prophet also said: "One who wishes to acquire knowledge should come to ‘Ali's door." If his knowledge had been incomplete, the Holy Prophet would not have said that ‘Ali was the best judge in the whole community. He said: "‘Ali is the best of all among you in interpreting the laws." This hadith is recorded in all your authentic books.

Would the Holy Prophet proclaim the superiority of a man's mastery of the laws, if that man did not understand the problems of inheritance and the rights of the people? Part of the purpose of the Holy Prophet was to secure social reform for the people in this world and peace and comfort for them in the hereafter. How could he make ‘Ali the Commander of the Faithful and yet not convey to him a tradition such as this which affects the entire social order?

Sheikh: Neither of these two things is proved according to us. The hadith of Medina is not accepted by our distinguished ulama’ and the problem of vicegerency and succession has also been rejected by the reputable ulama’.

Bukhari and Muslim in their collections of hadith and others of our prominent ulama’, report on the authority of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A’ysha that the head of the Holy Prophet at the time of his death rested against her chest until he passed away. She stated that he did not make a Will. Had he made a Will, Ummu'l-Mu'minin would have narrated it, and the question of the Will would have been settled.

Hadith "I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its gate

Well-Wisher: Regarding the hadith you have been very unfair. I have already told you that both sects have unanimously accepted it and that it has been reported with almost perfect continuity. The following of your notable ulama’ have confirmed the authenticity of this hadith: Imam Tha'labi, Firuzabadi, Hakim Nishapuri, Muhammad Jazari, Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari, Suyuti, Sakhawi, Muttaqi Hindi, Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i, Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafi'i, Qazi Fazl Ibn Ruzbahan, Munawi, Ibn Hajar Makki, Khatib Khawarizmi, Sulayman Qanduzi Hanafi, Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i, Dailami, Ibn Talha Shafi'i, Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani, Sheikhu'l-Islam Hamwaini, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, Tibrani, Sibt Ibn Jauzi and Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i.

Vicegerency conferred on ‘Ali (a.s.)

Regarding the problem of vicegerency there are many authoritative statements confirming that the Holy Prophet did make his Will. No knowledgeable person denies this fact.

Nawab: The caliph of the prophet is also his vicegerent, the one who conducted his domestic affairs. For example they paid allowances to the wives of the Prophet. Why do you say that ‘Ali was appointed vicegerent?

Well-Wisher: You are right. It is obvious that the Holy Prophet's caliph was also his vicegerent. During previous nights I have submitted my arguments and authoritative statements concerning the caliphate. That the Holy Prophet appointed ‘Ali his caliph and vicegerent is quite right. While others were busy with their own conveniences and political conspiracies, the vicegerent of the Holy Prophet performed the funeral rites of the Holy Prophet.

Afterwards he was occupied in returning the trust money and other valuables and caring for other matters with which the Holy Prophet had entrusted him. This is too clear to require any proof. Both our ulama’ agree regarding this fact.

Hadith about the vicegerency

To prove my point let me refer to some hadith:

(1) Creating Brotherly Relationship - Imam Tha'labi in his Manaqib and Tafsir, Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i in his Manaqib and Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani in his Mawaddatu'l-Qurba (Mawadda VI) narrate from the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn Khattab, who, when the Holy Prophet established fraternal and brotherly ties between the companions, said:

'This ‘Ali is my brother in this world and in the hereafter. Among my descendants he is my caliph; he is my successor (vicegerent) in my community. He is the heir to my knowledge; he is the payer of my debt. What belongs to him belongs to me; what belongs to me belongs to him; his benefit is my benefit and his loss is my loss. He who is a friend of his is really a friend of mine and he who is an enemy of his is really an enemy of mine."

(2) Enquiry by Salman - Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi, ch. 15 of his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda has narrated twenty hadith in support of the vicegerency of ‘Ali from Imam Tha'labi, Hamwaini, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Maghazili, Khawarizmi and Dailami. I submit some of them for your guidance. He reports from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal's Musnad (and Sibt Ibn Jauzi in his Tadhkirat al-Khawasu'l-Umma, p. 26, and Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in his Manaqib have also narrated these hadith) that Anas Ibn Malik said:

"I asked Salman to ask the Holy Prophet who was his Wasi (vicegerent). Salman asked the Holy Prophet 'O Prophet of Allah! Who is your vicegerent?' The Holy Prophet said, 'O Salman! Who is Salman's successor?' He said 'Yusha Ibn Nun.' Then the Holy Prophet said, 'My successor and my heir, who will pay my debt and will fulfill my promises, is ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib.'"

(3) Every prophet had a successor. ‘Ali is my successor. It is reported from Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad, who quotes from Buraida that the Holy Prophet said: "Every prophet had a successor and heir, and verily, my successor and heir is ‘Ali." Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, ch. 62, p. 131 quotes the same hadith which has also been narrated by Muhadith of Syria in his Ta'rikh.

(4) ‘Ali is the seal of vicegerents. Sheikhu'l-Islam Hamwaini narrates from Abu dharr Ghifari, who said, "The Holy Prophet said, I am the seal of the prophets and you, O ‘Ali, are the seal of the vicegerents until the day of judgement."

(5) ‘Ali is my vicegerent from my progeny. It is reported from Khatib Khawarizmi, who reports from Ummu'l-Mu'minin Umm Salma, who said: "The Holy Prophet said, 'Allah has selected a successor for every prophet and after me my vicegerent from my progeny and my community is ‘Ali.'"

(6) ‘Ali asserts his position in a sermon. It is reported from Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i, who narrates from Asbagh Ibn Nabuta, one of the chief companions of Amiru'l-Mu'minin, and Muslim and Bukhari also have quoted from him that his master Amiru'l-Mu'minin said in one of his sermons: "O people! I am imam (guide) of the whole creation. I am the successor (vicegerent) of the choicest of creatures; I am the father of the completely pure and guiding progeny; I am brother of the Holy Prophet, his successor, his trusted friend, and comrade.

I am the master of the believers; I am the leader of those who have bright faces, bright hands and bright feet; I am the chief of all the successors. To fight against me is to fight against Allah; to make peace with me is to make peace with Allah. Obedience to me is obedience to Allah; friendship with me is friendship with Allah; my followers are friends of Allah; and my helpers are helpers of Allah."

(7) Allah made me prophet and ‘Ali my vicegerent. Also Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in his Manaqib quotes from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud that the Prophet of Allah said: "The message of prophethood ended with me and ‘Ali; neither of us has ever prostrated before an idol; so Allah made me prophet and ‘Ali the vicegerent."

(8) ‘Ali's vicegerency is part of the formula of allegiance to Holy Prophet. Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani Shafi'i reports in his Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda IV, from Atba Ibn Amir Jahni, who said, "We offered bayya (allegiance) to the Holy Prophet, acknowledging the fact that there is no god but Allah. He is one and has no partner and verily Muhammad is His prophet and ‘Ali is His vicegerent. So if we omit any of these three things, we shall become unbelievers."

(9) I call people to truth and ‘Ali illuminates it. In the same Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, it is also recorded that the Holy Prophet said: "Verily Allah has appointed a vicegerent for every prophet: Seth, vicegerent of Adam; Joshua, vicegerent of Moses; Simon Peter vicegerent of Christ; and ‘Ali, my vicegerent; and my vicegerent is superior to all vicegerents. I call the people to truth and ‘Ali illuminates it."

Allah selected ‘Ali from among all men to be my vicegerent

The author of Yanabi quotes from Manaqib of Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad Khawarizmi, who narrates from Abu Ayyub Ansari, who said that when the Prophet of Allah was lying ill, Fatima came and began to weep. Then the Holy Prophet said: "O Fatima, you are particularly blessed by Allah who has given you a husband whose Islam is foremost, whose knowledge is superior to any one else's, and whose patience exceeds all others' patience.

In fact Allah Almighty granted special favors to the people of this world. From among them He selected and appointed me His Prophet and Messenger. Then He granted another special blessing and from among the people He selected your husband. And He revealed to me that I should marry you to him and should make him my vicegerent."

Ahlul Bayt endowed with seven matchless qualities

After recording this hadith in his Manaqib, Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i records these additional words of the Prophet: "O Fatima! We Ahlul Bayt have been endowed with seven qualities, which none of the progenitors of mankind have had, and none among their progeny will have. The most exalted of the prophets belongs to us, and he is your father.

My vicegerent is superior to all other vicegerents, and he is your husband. Our martyr excels all other martyrs and he is your uncle, Hamza. From among us (Ahlul Bayt) there is a man who has two wings with which he flies, whenever he likes, to Paradise, and he is your cousin, Ja'far.

From us there are two grandsons who are the chiefs of the youths of Paradise, and they are your sons. And I tell you, by Allah who controls my life, that the Mahdi of this umma, behind whom Jesus, son of Mary, will offer prayers, will be a descendant of yours."

Mahdi to fill the earth with justice

Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Hamwaini, after narrating this hadith, has quoted these additional sentences:

After naming the Mahdi, the Prophet said: "He will fill this world with justice when it will have been full of cruelty and tyranny. O Fatima! Do not be sad and do not weep. Because of my love and respect for you, Allah Almighty is more kind to you than I. He has bestowed on you a husband of the highest spiritual attainment, most exalted in family rank, most gracious to the people, most equitable in dealing with men's affairs, and most accurate in his decisions."

I think this much is sufficient to satisfy the curiosity of Nawab Sahib and to remove the misunderstanding of Sheikh Sahib.

At the time of his death, the head of the Holy Prophet was on the chest of Amiru'l-Mu'minin (a.s.)

As for the claim that at the time of the Prophet's death, his head was on the chest of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A’ysha, it is not true. Your own ulama’ point out that at the time of the Holy Prophet's death his head rested on the chest of Amiru'l-Mu'minin.

Sheikh: In what book have our ulama’ recorded this fact?

Well-Wisher: Read Kanzu'l-Ummal, Vol. IV, p. 55 and vol. VI, pp. 392 and 400; the Tabaqa of Muhammad Ibn Sa'd Katib, part II, p. 51; Hakim Nishapuri's Mustadrak, Vol. III, p. 139; Talkhis al-Dhahab; Sunan of Ibn Shabih; the Kabir of Tabrani, Musnad of Imam Hanbal, Vol. III; Hilyatu'l-Auliya of Hafiz Abu Nu'aim.

With minor differences in wording, all of these works narrate from Ummu'l-Mu'minin Umm Salma and Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari that at the time of his death, the Holy Prophet called ‘Ali and rested his head on ‘Ali's chest until he (the Prophet) died.

In addition to these reports, there is Amiru'l-Mu'minin's own statement, which is recorded in his Nahju'l-Balagha. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, Vol. II, p. 561 states that the Holy Imam clearly said: "Verily, the soul of the Holy Prophet departed from this world while his head rested on my chest; he breathed his last while he was in my hands.

So I rubbed my hands on my face." Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Vol. II, p. 562, of his book comments on this statement of ‘Ali, that when the Holy Prophet's head rested on ‘Ali's chest, some drops of the Prophet's blood flowed down, which ‘Ali rubbed on his own face.

And on page 590 of the same book, in the course of his writing about the burial of Fatima, he says that ‘Ali, addressing the Holy Prophet, said, "Verily, I laid you to rest in the grave; your soul had departed between my neck and my chest."

All these authentic records and weighty arguments clearly prove that A’ysha's version cannot be accepted. It is a known fact that A’ysha opposed Amiru'l-Mu'minin from the very beginning. Allah willing, I will tell about this also when the occasion requires it.

Inquiring about immediate succession or vicegerency

These hadith clearly indicate that Allah appointed the prophets and the vicegerents. He also appointed ‘Ali as the Holy Prophet's vicegerent. Moreover, "successor" here refers to the caliphate, and not merely a family successor. Therefore the vicegerent was granted full authority over individuals and society in all their affairs, the same authority as the Prophet possessed.

All your notable ulama’ have acknowledged this guardianship of the umma, which was assigned to ‘Ali. No one has denied it except the few fanatical and hostile individuals, who have refused to accept the high merits of the Holy Imam.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, Vol. I (printed in Egypt): "According to us there is no doubt that ‘Ali was the wasi (vicegerent) of the Holy Prophet, and only that man opposes this fact who, in our opinion, has a grudge or enmity against him."

Couplets of some companions about the vicegerency

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid quotes a number of couplets which confirm the vicegerency of Amiru'l-Mu'minin. Among them are two couplets of Abdullah Ibn Abbas, who said: "Apart from your being one of the Ahlul Bayt, you are also his wasi (vicegerent) and when somebody challenges you on the battlefield, you are the best warrior."

He quotes the couplets of Khazima Ibn Thabit: "Apart from the fact that you are included in the Ahlul Bayt of the Holy Prophet you are also his immediate successor (vicegerent), and you are a witness to whatever came to him." He also quotes the couplet of the companion, Abu'l-Hakim Tihan, who said: "Verily, it is the immediate successor (vicegerent) of the Holy Prophet who is our imam and our master. The curtain has been raised and the secrets have been revealed."

This is perhaps sufficient. If you want to see other couplets on this point you may study the same book. As Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says, if he had not feared extending the work unduly, he would have filled many more pages with such couplets confirming the vicegerency of ‘Ali.

It follows however, that Vicegerency and Prophethood are inter-dependent. This is a stage after the rank of Prophethood and this is what is meant by Divine Sovereignty.

Holy Prophet's will concerning ‘Ali’s vicegerency exists in all authentic books

Sheikh: If these reports are correct, why do we not find any such record of the Will and Testament of the Holy Prophet, as we have those left by Abu Bakr and ‘Umar at the time of their death?

Well-Wisher: You could easily learn about these matters from the authentic Shi’as works, which have recorded them with unanimity of opinion from the Ahlul Bayt, but since we agreed on the first night not to have recourse to one-sided traditions, I am obliged to refer to some of the traditions which are found in your own authentic books such as those of Tabaqa of Ibn Sa'd, Vol. II, p. 61, 63; Kanzu'l-Ummal of ‘Ali Muttaqi, Vol. IV, p.54, and Volume VI, pp. 155, 393, 403; Musnad of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. IV, p 164; and Mustadrak of Hakim, Vol. III, pp 59, 111.

Besides these, your eminent scholars, like Baihaqi in his Sunan and Dala'il, Ibn Abdu'l-Barr in his Isti'ab, Tabrani in his Kabir and Ibn Mardawiyya in his Ta'rikh as well as others have recorded in different words the directions and instructions of the Holy Prophet, who said: "O ‘Ali! You are my brother and my minister; you will pay off my debt. You will fulfill my promises and will discharge my responsibilities. You will wash my dead body, pay my debt, and deposit me in the grave." Apart from these explicit reports, there are a large number of other firmans or ordinances, which were pronounced by the Prophet in this regard.

Holy Prophet was prevented from writing his will at the time of his death

Sheikh: The Holy Qur'an says,

"Bequest is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you if he leaves behind wealth for parents and near relations, according to usage, a duty (incumbent) upon those who guard (against evil)." (1:180)

Therefore it was necessary for the Prophet to make his will and appoint his immediate successor. When he saw his death approaching why did he not make his will as Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did?

Well-Wisher: First, by the words "when death approaches one of you" do you mean the last moments of life? At that time there is hardly anyone who is in his right mind and is able to perform his duties consciously. Certainly this passage refers to the time when the signs and symptoms of old age, infirmity and disease are appearing.

Second, this statement of yours has again wounded my feelings and reminded me of a tragedy which cannot be forgotten, my Holy grandfather, the Prophet of Allah, stressed the importance of Muslims making a will.

He said: "He who dies without making a will dies the death of ignorance, lest there should be discord among the heirs." During the 23 years of his public life he repeatedly announced who was his 'wasi,' the one whom Allah had ordained as vicegerent.

When he himself was on his death bed, he desired to repeat what he had so often declared so that the Community might not be misled and fall into warring factions. It is a pity that the political jugglers opposed him and prevented him from performing his religious duty. The result was that you, too, have an occasion to ask why the Prophet did not make a will.

Disobedience to Holy Prophet's command unbelievable

Sheikh: I think this statement of yours has no factual basis. Certainly no one could prevent the prophet from performing his duty. The Holy Qur'an clearly says:

"Whatever the apostle gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back." (59:7)

Also in several other verses obedience to the Holy Prophet has been made obligatory. For instance, Allah says: "Obey Allah and obey the Prophet."

Obviously, refusing to obey the Prophet of Allah is infidelity. Hence the Companions and the followers of the Prophet could not prevent him declaring his Will. Possibly it is a forged report, which has been circulated by the unbelievers to prove the recklessness of the umma.

Authentic reports concerning the Prophet's being prevented from making his will

Well-Wisher: Please don't pretend to be ignorant. This is not a forged report. It is a recognized report, which all Islamic sects accept. Even Bukhari and Muslim, who have been strictly cautious about any such report, which might threaten their own point of view, have narrated this event in their books of hadith.

They write that the Holy Prophet, while on his death bed, asked for paper and ink so that he might have certain instructions recorded for them which would preserve them from going astray after he died. Some of those present, incited by a politician, caused such disturbance that the Holy Prophet became extremely annoyed and ordered them to go away.

Sheikh: I cannot for a moment believe this. Who could be so bold as to oppose the Prophet of Allah? Even if an ordinary man wishes to write his will, no one can prevent him. How could anybody prevent the Holy Prophet from making his will? To disobey him is infidelity.

Since the will of the great ones of a community is a source of guidance, no one would prevent it from being executed. Caliphs Abu Bakr and ‘Umar made their wills, and no one prevented them from doing so. I repeat, I do not accept such a report.

Well-Wisher: You may believe it or not. In fact every Muslim is surprised to hear it. Every one, of whatever race or community he may be, is dumbfounded to hear of such an event.

Ibn Abbas weeping because the Holy Prophet was prevented from writing his will

It is not a matter of grief for you and us alone. The companions of the Holy Prophet also lamented this tragic event. Bukhari, Muslim, and other prominent ulama’ of your sect have reported that Abdullah Ibn Abbas often shed tears and said: "Alas! That Thursday! Alas! How it was on that Thursday!" Then he wept so much that the ground became wet with his tears. People asked him what had happened on Thursday that caused him to weep.

He replied that when the Holy Prophet lay on his death bed he asked for paper and ink so that he might write a will, which would prevent them from going astray after him, some of those present prevented him from doing so and even said that the Holy Prophet was talking nonsense (may Allah forgive me!). That Thursday cannot be forgotten. They did not allow the Holy Prophet to write his will and they injured him with their words.

‘Umar prevented the Holy Prophet from writing his will

Sheikh: Who prevented the Prophet of Allah from making his will?

Well-Wisher: It was the second caliph, ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, who prevented the Holy Prophet from making his will.

Sheikh: I am thankful that you have put me at ease. These statements trouble me. I was inclined to say that these reports have been forged by the Shi’as, but I kept quiet out of respect for you. Now I tell you what is in my heart. I advise you not to spread such concocted stories.

Well-Wisher: I advise you not to accept or reject facts without proper consideration. You have made undue haste in this matter and have charged the innocent Shi’as with forgery. Your own books are full of reports which support our point of view.

Sources of hadith of "Prevention of will"

If you consult your own books, you will find that your own accredited ulama’ have narrated this event. For instance Bukhari, in his Sahih, vol.II, p. 118; Muslim, in his Sahih (end of his Kitab al-Wasiyya); Hamidi in Jam'i Bainu's-Sahihain, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, in his Musnad, vol.I, p. 222, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. II, p. 563; Kirmani, in his Sharh al-Sahih Bukhari; Nuwi in his Sharh al-Muslim; Ibn Hajar, in his Sawa'iq; Qazi Abu ‘Ali; Qazi Ruzbahan; Qazi Ayaz; Imam Ghazali, Qutbu'd-din Shafi'i; Muhammad Ibn Abu'l-Karim Shahrastani, Ibn Athir; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani; Sibt Ibn Jauzi; and others of your ulama’ in general have confirmed this tragic episode.

They have written that the Holy Prophet on returning from his last pilgrimage fell ill. When a group of the companions came to see him, he said: "Bring me ink, and paper, so that I may write for you a will which will not let you go astray after me."

‘Umar said: "This man is speaking nonsense, the Qur’an is sufficient for us"

Imam Ghazali has written in his Sirru'l-Alamin, Maqala IV, from which Sibt Ibn Jauzi also quotes in his Tadhkirat, p. 36, and many others of your eminent ulama’ have reported that the Holy Prophet asked the people to bring him ink and paper and according to some reports he said:

"Bring me ink and paper so that I may remove from your minds all doubts about the caliphate after me; that is so that I may tell you who deserves the caliphate after me." At this point they write, ‘Umar said, "Leave this man for he is really talking nonsense (may Allah forgive me!); the Book of Allah is sufficient for us."

The Holy Prophet orders the quarreling companions to leave him

Some of the companions agreed with ‘Umar, and some agreed with the Holy Prophet. There was so much chaos and confusion that the Holy Prophet said: "Get away from me; it is not proper to become angry near me."

This was the first disturbance among the Muslims in the presence of the Holy Prophet in all of his 23 years of his strenuous service. The cause of this trouble was Caliph ‘Umar, who sowed the seeds of discord among the Muslims. Today you and I, two brothers in Islam, are consequently facing each other in opposition.

To call the holy prophet "this man" was great insolence

Sheikh: It was not expected of a man like you to be so bold as to utter slander about such an eminent person as Caliph ‘Umar.

Well-Wisher: Tell us whether I showed any boldness in narrating historical facts from your own book. Do you think that Caliph ‘Umar was bold when he prevented the Prophet from writing his will? Was he bold when he abused the Prophet to his face? A poet has rightly said: "You see the mote in my eyes, but you do not see the beam in your own." Does Allah Almighty not say: "Muhammad is not father of any of your men, but the Prophet of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets?"

The name of the Holy Prophet should always be pronounced with due respect and deference. He should be called "the Prophet of Allah or the Seal of the Prophets." But ‘Umar showed no regard for the divine ordinance, instead referring to the Holy Prophet as "this man." Now please say in Allah's name whether insolence was committed by me or by the Caliph?

The word 'hajar' used by ‘Umar means nonsense

Sheikh: Why do you say that "hajar" means "nonsense?"

Well-Wisher: All commentators and your great ulama’ give the meaning of Hajar as "nonsense." For instance Ibn Athir in his Jam'u'l-Usul, Ibn Hajar in his Sharh-i-Sahih Bukhari, and the authors of other compilations of hadith give the same meaning. Respected Sir! If somebody says "this man is uttering nonsense" about the Holy Prophet of Allah has he not violated manners and the injunction of the Holy Qur'an?

Insolence against Holy Prophet is infidelity

The Holy Prophet had not lost his prophethood or his infallibility. If someone describes his words as "nonsense," does it not mean that such a person was a disbeliever in Allah and the Holy Prophet?

Sheikh: Is it proper in light of his rank as a caliph to find fault with him saying that he did not believe in Allah and the Holy Prophet?

Well-Wisher: When you hear that the Prophet is accused of uttering nonsense you do not object. But when a man who occupied the caliphate is cited by many of your own ulama’ as having insulted the Prophet, you immediately fault the Shi’as rather than place the fault where it rightly belongs.

Your own ulama’ such as Qazi Ayaz; Shafi'i in his Kitab al-Shifa; Kirmani in his Sharh al-Sahih Bukhari, and Nuwi in his Sharh al-Sahih Muslim have written that the man who used these words clearly had no belief in the Prophet of Allah. So if anybody opposes the Holy Prophet, particularly with abusive words or saying that he was talking nonsense, we see clearly that he had no belief in the Messenger of Allah.

First mischief in Islam in the presence of the Holy Prophet

You asked me why I charged him with creating discord among the people. Your own ulama’ have admitted this fact. The great scholar Husain Meibudi says in his Sharh al-Diwan that the first disturbance in Islam happened in the presence of the Holy Prophet himself, when he was on his deathbed. The trouble began when ‘Umar prevented the Prophet from writing his will.

Shahrastani says in his book Milal wa Nihal, Muqaddama IV, that the first antagonism between groups of Muslims began when ‘Umar refused to allow ink and paper to be brought to the Prophet on his deathbed. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid confirms this fact in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, Vol. II, p. 563.

Could the Holy Prophet speak nonsense?

Sheikh: If Caliph ‘Umar said these words, I do not find it discourteous. When a man is seriously ill he may become delirious. If he speaks incoherently, we might refer to his speech as nonsense. In this matter there is no difference between the Holy Prophet and other men.

Well-Wisher: You are well aware that all prophets are infallible and that this characteristic remains until death. The Prophet Muhammad was certainly infallible on this occasion when he said he wanted to prevent his people from going astray after his death.

If you attend to the Holy verses of the Qur'an which say: "And he speaks not of (his own) inclination; It (the wording) is naught but a revelation revealed (to him)," "And you should follow what the Prophet enjoins upon you," "And obey Allah and obey the Prophet," you will yourself clearly understand that preventing the ink and paper from being brought to the Holy Prophet was really opposition to Allah. That it is an admitted fact that the word "nonsense" was open abuse, and the Caliph's pointing him out as "this man" was still more insulting.

Words "this man speaks nonsense" were most insulting

Now I would like you to tell me how you would feel if somebody in this assembly, pointing at you, were to say "this man is uttering nonsense." You and I are not faultless and we can talk nonsense. Would you call it good manners or insulting? If such talk is insulting in this case, you will have to admit that any such impudence against the Holy Prophet was highly insulting.

And nobody can deny the fact that it is the religious duty of every Muslim to keep aloof from a man whose behavior towards the Holy Prophet was so offensive and insolent, when Allah has clearly called him in the Holy Qur'an His Prophet and Seal of the Prophets. If you would abandon your prejudice, what would your common sense say about a man who instead of looking to the Holy Prophet as the Prophet of Allah and Seal of the Prophets said, "This man is uttering nonsense?"

A caliph cannot be exonerated for disobeying the Holy Prophet

Sheikh: Suppose we admit that he was at fault. But since he was the Caliph of the Prophet and he had exercised his discretion for the security of religion he was free from all blame.

Well-Wisher: First, your remark that since he was the Caliph of the Prophet and he exercised his discretion is quite irrelevant, because on the day on which he said those words, he was not the Caliph. Perhaps he had not even dreamed of it.

Second, your remark that he exercised his discretion is also astonishing. Have you not considered that in face of an explicit injunction, discretion has no place? In fact it is a fault for which one cannot be exonerated.

Third, you said that he did so for the security of the religion. It is really astonishing that ulama’ like you should lose all sense of justice.

The Holy Prophet, not ‘Umar was responsible for the security of the religion

Respected Sir! Who was responsible for the preservation of religion - the Prophet of Allah or ‘Umar Ibn Khattab? Does your common sense accept the point that the Holy Prophet (after stating the condition "You will not go astray after this writing of the will") might not know that the writing of the will was against the religion, or that ‘Umar Ibn Khattab was better aware of it and prevented the Holy Prophet from writing his will? How incredible!

You know very well that any digression from the essentials of religion is a great sin, and it cannot be condoned.

Sheikh: There is no doubt that Caliph ‘Umar had assessed the conditions and circumstances prevailing in the religion and had come to the conclusion that if the Holy Prophet wrote anything, great differences and disturbances would be caused. So it was for the support and benefit of the Holy Prophet himself that he prevented ink and paper from being brought to him.

Well-Wisher: The purpose of your argument seems to be that the Holy Prophet, who was infallible, while he instructed his community, was not sufficiently aware of the potential for conflict after his death, and that ‘Umar guided him in this case. But the Qur'an tells us:

"And it behooves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and his Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying."(33:36) Caliph ‘Umar disobeyed the Holy Prophet's order, preventing him from writing his will. Moreover, he was insolent to say that the Prophet was uttering nonsense. This outrage so injured the Holy Prophet's feelings that he asked the people to get away from him.

Holy Qur’an alone is not sufficient for our guidance

Sheikh: But the good intention of the Caliph is apparent from his last words "The Book of Allah is sufficient for us" (i.e., we do not stand in need of the writing of the Prophet of Allah)

Well-Wisher: Actually, these words are the best proof of his lack of belief and his ignorance of the Holy Qur'an. If he had known the reality of the Holy Qur'an, he would have known that the Qur'an alone is not sufficient for all matters. It has laid down essential tenets, but detailed explanations are left to its interpreters and commentators. The Qur'an contains orders which are current (nasikh), abrogated (mansukh), general ('am), particular (khass), limited (muqayyad), comparative (mutashabih), absolute (mutlaq), synoptic (mujmal), or clear (mu'awwil).

How is it possible for an ordinary man to derive full advantage from this Qur'an without the help of divine blessings and interpretations given by its exponents? If the Qur'an alone were sufficient for the Community, why was this verse revealed: "You should do whatever the Prophet of Allah enjoins upon you to do; and you should abstain from whatever he prohibits you from." Allah also says in the Holy Qur'an:

"And if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it." (4:83)

It follows from this that the Holy Qur'an alone would not serve its purpose without the commentaries of its exponents, that is, Muhammad and his pure descendants. Here I may refer again to the accepted hadith (which I have quoted with some of its sources on previous nights) which the Holy Prophet repeated even at the time of his demise saying: "I leave behind me Two Great Things: The Book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt.

If you adhere to these two, never, never shall you go astray after me; for verily these two will never be separated from one another until they meet me at the spring of Kauthar."

The Holy Prophet, who was inspired by Allah, did not consider the Qur'an in isolation sufficient for our salvation. He said that we should be attached to the Qur'an and the Ahlul Bayt, as they would not be separated from each other till the Day of Judgment, and that these were sources of guidance for the people. But ‘Umar said that the Qur'an alone is sufficient for us. This shows that he not only discarded the Holy Progeny but also rejected the command of the Holy Prophet.

Holy Qur’an also asks us to consult Ahlul dhikr, that is, Ahlul Bayt

Who should we obey in this case? No sensible man would say that we should leave aside the order of the Holy Prophet and follow ‘Umar. Then why did you accept ‘Umar's opinion, ignoring the order of the Holy Prophet? If the Book of Allah were sufficient, why were we ordered to ask the people of dhikr, as the Holy Qur'an says:

"So ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know." (16:43)

It is evident that 'dhikr' means the Holy Prophet or the Holy Qur'an and 'the people of dhikr' means the Ahlul Bayt of the Holy Prophet.

I have already clarified in previous nights with valid arguments and authentic sources that your prominent ulama’, like Suyuti and others, have recorded that the "people of dhikr" means Ahlul Bayt.

Qutbu'd-din shirazi's objection to ‘Umar's words

Qutbu'd-din Shirazi, who is one of your eminent scholars, says in his book Kashfu'l-Ghuyub: "It is an admitted fact that we cannot make progress on the way without a guide. We wonder at Caliph ‘Umar's claim that, since we have the Qur'an in our midst, we do not stand in need of any guide. It is just like a man saying that, since we have books of medicine, we do not require a physician. Obviously it is a false assertion because a man who cannot solve his problems by reading the books of medicine must consult a physician.

The same thing holds true in the case of the Holy Qur'an. Everyone cannot derive advantage from it through his ability. He must necessarily turn to those who have knowledge of the Holy Qur'an."

The Holy Qur'an says:

"And if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it." (4:83)

In fact the real book is the heart of one who possesses knowledge, as the Holy Qur'an says:

"Nay these are clear communications in the breasts of those who are granted knowledge." (29:49)

Accordingly, ‘Ali said: "I am the speaking Book of Allah, and this Qur'an is the mute book."

So according to the people of knowledge ‘Umar was mistaken. It was a great injustice to the Holy Prophet of Allah that he was prevented from writing his will.

Abu bakr was not prevented from writing his will

With regard to your repeated claim that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were not prevented from writing their wills, I admit it is true. It is surprising, as all your historians and traditionists have recorded in their authentic books that Caliph Abu Bakr, at the time of his death, asked Uthman Ibn Affan to write down what he (Abu Bakr) was saying. It was his will. He wrote down whatever Abu Bakr dictated to him. ‘Umar and others were also present on this occasion. No one objected. ‘Umar did not say: "The Book of Allah is sufficient for us; we do not need Abu Bakr's will." But he did not allow the Holy Prophet of Allah to write his will.

This shows that all this insulting behavior and preventing the Holy Prophet from writing his will was nothing but political conspiracy.

Ibn Abbas was perfectly justified in weeping. The entire Muslim world should shed tears of blood. If the Prophet had been given the chance to write his will, the question of the caliphate would have been clearly resolved. The previous pronouncements of the Holy Prophet would have been confirmed. But the politicians revolted against him and stood in his way.

Sheikh: Why do you claim that the Holy Prophet wanted to say something about the caliphate?

Well-Wisher: Before the Prophet died, all essential religious laws were revealed. The verse of the "Perfection of Religion" made this clear. Of course the matter of the caliphate was such that he wanted to make certain that there would be no confusion regarding it.

I have already told you that Imam Ghazali in his Sirru'l-Alamin (Maqala IV) has recorded that the Holy Prophet said: "Bring me ink and paper so that I may remove from your minds any doubts about the caliphate and that I may repeat to you who deserves that rank.

"His words "so that you may not go astray after me" prove that the aim of his will was the guidance of the community. In the matter of guidance, no emphasis was required except in regard to the caliphate and the imamate.

Apart from this we do not stress the point that the Holy Prophet wanted to say something about the caliphate or imamate. Certainly he wanted to write something concerning the guidance of the people so that they might not go astray after him. Then why was he not allowed to make his will? Even supposing that preventing him from doing so was proper, was it also necessary to insult and abuse him?

So it is clear that ‘Ali was Holy Prophet's immediate successor

These things make it quite clear that ‘Ali was the immediate successor of the Prophet of Allah. Although the latter repeatedly proclaimed this fact in the past, he wanted at this last stage to record it in his will so that the responsibilities of the Community might be made secure. But the politicians knew what he wanted to do, so they prevented him from doing so and insulted him.

The Holy Prophet had emphasized in many hadith that Allah Almighty appointed vicegerents for the Holy prophets: Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus and others, and that He appointed for him his vicegerent, ‘Ali.

He also said, "‘Ali is my immediate successor (vicegerent) after me in my Ahlul Bayt and my community."

Sheikh: If these reports are taken to be true, they are not narrated with perfect continuity. How can you derive authority from them?

Well-Wisher: The unanimity of opinion concerning the Prophet's will according to us is proved by the statements of the Holy Progeny of the Holy Prophet. Moreover, you may recall that I told you on previous nights that your ulama’ regard a lone report as valid. Besides, in these reports, if there is no exact agreement of wording, there is certainly agreement of general meaning.

Hadith 'la nuris' rejected

Besides, you attach undue importance to continuity of reports. When you are silenced by our arguments, you take shelter behind the need for continuity. Can you prove the continuity of the hadith 'la nuris' (we leave no heirs)? You yourself admit that the narrator of this hadith was Abu Bakr or Aus Ibn Hadasan. But millions of monotheists and sincere Muslims in every age have rejected this so-called hadith. The best proof of the falsity of this hadith is that it was rejected by the gate of the knowledge of the Holy Prophet, ‘Ali, and by the entire progeny of the Holy Prophet. These people have proved that the hadith was concocted.

As I have already said earlier, the Holy Prophet said: "For every prophet there is a vicegerent and heir; verily, ‘Ali is my vicegerent and heir."

Caliphate belongs to the heir of knowledge

If you say that their inheritance did not mean inheritance of wealth but that of knowledge (although it has been proven that they meant inheritance of wealth) my point of view becomes clearer. The heir of the Prophet's knowledge deserved the position of caliphate more than any one of those who were devoid of the Holy Prophet's knowledge.

Second, it has been proven that the Prophet made ‘Ali his immediate successor and heir, according to the hadith narrated by your own ulama’. Allah appointed him to this rank. Could the Prophet have neglected to tell his successor and heir?

Moreover, it is very strange that in resolving questions regarding religious laws Abu Bakr and ‘Umar accepted ‘Ali's decisions. Your own ulama’ and historians have recorded the judgments pronounced by ‘Ali during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and Uthman.

Hafiz: It is very strange that you claim that the caliphs did not know the religious ordinances and that ‘Ali used to remind them.

Well-Wisher; There is nothing strange about it. To know all the ordinances is very difficult. It would not be possible for a man to have such perfect knowledge unless he were the Prophet of Allah or the 'Gate of Knowledge' of the Holy Prophet. Your own great ulama’ have recorded these facts in their authentic books. I cite an example so that uninformed men may not think that we say these things to offend them.

‘Ali's verdict concerning a woman who gave birth to a child after a six-month pregnancy

Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad; Imamu'l-Haram Ahmad Ibn Abdullah Shafi'i in his Dhakha'ir al-Uqba; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha; and Sheikh Sulayman Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Ch.56, quoting from Ahmad Ibn Abdullah; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Qala'i; and Ibn Saman report the following incident:

"‘Umar wanted to stone a woman because she had given birth to a child after a six-month pregnancy. ‘Ali said, 'Allah says in the Holy Qur'an that the time, from conception till the prescribed time of suckling, covers a period of thirty months. Since the suckling period is for two years, the period of pregnancy is six months. This means that a birth of a child is possible after a pregnancy of six months.' So ‘Umar set the woman free and said, 'If ‘Ali had not been there, ‘Umar would have perished.'"

In the same chapter he quotes from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal's Manaqib: "When ‘Umar faced a difficult problem and was unable to understand it, he relied upon ‘Ali's understanding." A number of such events took place during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Uthman. When they became entangled in some difficulty, they called ‘Ali as the real arbiter. They themselves acted according to his decision.

Now you may wonder why they did not accept ‘Ali's evidence in the case of Fadak. Now in that case they chose to follow their own desires and snatched away the right of Fatima.

Hadith 'la nuris' not applied to other properties

The third argument to prove the falsity of this hadith is Caliph Abu Bakr's own statement and action. If the hadith were correct, whatever the Holy Prophet had left would have been confiscated. The heirs would have had no right over anything left behind, but Abu Bakr gave Fatima's apartment to her and also gave the apartments of the wives of the Holy Prophet, A’ysha, Hafsa, and others to them as their heritage.

Abu Bakr's returning fadak to Fatima and ‘Umar's intervention

Besides this, if the hadith were correct and if Abu Bakr believed that it was the Holy Prophet's ordinance, then why, after confiscating Fadak (which he considered to be charity belonging to the Muslims) did he write a document that the property be returned to Fatima? Later Caliph ‘Umar intervened and destroyed the document.

Hafiz: This is a unique statement. I have never heard that the Caliph returned Fadak. What is the source of this report?

Well-Wisher: By now you are probably aware that I never make a claim which I cannot fully support. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha and ‘Ali Ibn Burhanu'd-din Shafi'i in his Ta'rikh Siratu'l-Halabiyya, vol. III, p. 391, write that Abu Bakr was moved to tears by Fatima's impassioned speech. He wept because of Fatima's plight and subsequently wrote a document stating that the property be returned to her. But ‘Umar destroyed the document.

It is however surprising that the same ‘Umar, who during Abu Bakr's caliphate objected to the returning of Fadak, returned it to its heirs during his own caliphate. Similarly the Amawid and Abbasid caliphs also returned it to the heirs of Fatima.

Hafiz: What you say is indeed very surprising. How is it possible that Caliph ‘Umar who, according to your statement, had so bitterly interfered in the return of Fadak to Fatima returned it to the heirs of Fatima?

Well-Wisher: Surprising it is, of course. I submit, with your permission, the reports of your accredited ulama’ on the authority of the caliphs who returned and took back Fadak.

Caliph's returning Fadak to descendants of Fatima

The well known traditionist and historian of Medina, Allama Samhudi (died 911 A.H.), in his Ta'rikhu'l-Medina and Yaqut Ibn Abdullah Rumi in his Mu'ajamu'l-Buldan, state that during his caliphate, Abu Bakr took possession of Fadak. ‘Umar, during his reign, returned it to ‘Ali and Abbas. If Abu Bakr occupied it on the order of the Holy Prophet and considered it the property of the Muslims, on what principle did ‘Umar entrust the property of all the Muslims to a single individual?

Sheikh: Perhaps his intention in releasing the property to a single individual was that it would remain in the custody of the Muslims.

Well-Wisher: Sometimes a witness is cleverer than the plaintiff for whom he gives evidence. The Caliph had no such idea. If the property had been returned for the expenses of the Muslims, it must have been so recorded in history. But all your prominent historians write that it was released in favor of ‘Ali and Abbas. ‘Ali accepted Fadak as its rightful heir, not as an individual Muslim. One Muslim may not possess the property of all the Muslims.

Returning Fadak by ‘Umar ibn Abdu'l-aziz

Sheikh: Perhaps the reference is to ‘Umar Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz.

Well-Wisher: ‘Ali and Abbas were not alive during the time of ‘Umar Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz. That is a separate story. Allama Samhudi in his Ta'rikhu'l-Medina and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. IV, p. 81, narrate from Abu Bakr Jauhari that when ‘Umar Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz occupied the seat of the caliphate, he wrote to his governor at Medina to return Fadak to the descendants of Fatima. Accordingly, he called Hasan Ibn Hasanu'l-Mujtaba (and according to some reports he called Imam ‘Ali Ibnu'l-Husain) and returned Fadak to him.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes about it in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. IV, p.81, in the following words: "This was the first property which was snatched away unjustly and then was given over to the descendants of Fatima by ‘Umar Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz."

It remained in their possession for a long time until Caliph Yazid Ibn Abdu'l-Malik usurped it again. Then the Bani Umayya occupied it. When the caliphate went to the Bani Abbas, the first Abbasid Caliph, Abdullah Saffa, entrusted Fadak to the descendants of Imam Hasan, who distributed its income, according to the rights of inheritance, to the descendants of Fatima.

Returning Fadak to descendants of Fatima by Abdullah Mahdi and Mamun, the Abbasid

When Mansur persecuted the descendants of Imam Hasan, he snatched away Fadak from them again. When his son, Mahdi, became the caliph, he returned it to them. When Musa ibn Hadi became the caliph, he again usurped Fadak. When Mamunu'r-Rashid the Abbasid occupied the seat of the caliphate, he ordered Fadak to be released to the descendants of ‘Ali.

Yaqut Hamawi quotes Mamun's order in his Mu'ajamu'l-Buldan. Mamun wrote to his governor at Medina: "Verily, the Holy Prophet of Allah bequeathed Fadak to his daughter, Fatima. This fact was established and commonly known to the descendants of the Holy Prophet."

The well known poet, Di'bal Khuza'i, was also present at this time. He recited some couplets, the first of which means: "Today we are all happy and rejoicing. Mamun has returned Fadak to the Bani Hashim."

Proof that Fadak had been given to Fatima

It has been proved by irrefutable arguments that Fadak had been given by the Holy Prophet to Fatima. It was usurped without any justification. But later caliphs, on grounds of justice or for political considerations, returned it to the descendants of that oppressed lady.

Hafiz: If Fadak was bestowed upon her as a gift, why did she claim it as her heritage and not say anything about a gift?

Well-Wisher: At first she claimed it as a gift. But when witnesses were required from the property's occupants, in contradiction to the injunction of the Holy Prophet of Islam, she produced witnesses. Their evidence was rejected. She was thereby forced to seek protection under the law of inheritance.

Hafiz; I am afraid you are mistaken. We have not seen any record of Fatima's claim that Fadak was a gift.

Well-Wisher: No, I am not mistaken. This fact is recorded not only in Shi’as books, but also in those written by your own prominent ulama’. It is recorded in Siratu'l-Halabiyya, p.39, compiled by ‘Ali Ibn Burhanu'd-din Halabi Shafi'i (died 1044 A.H.) that at first Fatima remonstrated with Abu Bakr that she owned Fadak and that it had been given to her by the Holy Prophet of Allah. Since witnesses were not available, she was forced to claim her right according to the law of inheritance.

Also Imam Fakhru'd-din Razi in his Tafsir al-Kabir concerning the claim of Fatima; Yaqut Hamawi in his Mu'ajamu'l-Buldan; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali in Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol.IV, p. 80, from Abu Bakr Jauhari and the fanatical Ibn Hajar in Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, p.21, under the heading Shuhubhat al-Rafza, VII Shubha, narrate that the first claim of Fatima was that Fadak had been a gift. When her witnesses were rejected, she was much pained and said in anger that she would not talk to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar again.

And so it was...she never saw them again and did not speak to them. When the time of her demise approached, she specified in her will that none of these people was to take part in her funeral prayers. Her uncle, Abbas, offered the funeral prayers, and she was laid to rest at night. According to Shi’as sources and according to the statements of the Holy Imams, ‘Ali performed the funeral prayers.

Contention that Abu Bakr acted according to "Verse of Evidence" and its reply

Hafiz: Of course there is no doubt that Fatima was very displeased, but Abu Bakr Siddiq is not much to blame. He was obliged to act according to the manifest code of religion. Since the "Verse of Evidence" is of general significance, and a claimant must produce two men, or one man and two women, or four women as witnesses, and since in this case the number of witnesses was not sufficient, the Caliph could not give judgment in favor of Fatima.

Well-Wisher: Hafiz Sahib has said that the Caliph was obliged to act according to religious ordinances, and since complete evidence was not available he could not pronounce judgment. I will respond to his point, and I ask you to be fair in evaluating my comment.

To demand witnesses from occupants was against religious law

First, you said Abu Bakr was 'compelled under religious law.' Will you please tell me which religious ordinance demands witnesses from one who is in possession of the property? It has been proved that Fatima was in possession of Fadak. As reported by all your ulama’, Abu Bakr's demanding witnesses from her was against religious law. Does our religious law not say that witnesses should be produced by the plaintiff and not by the holder of the property?

Second, nobody denies the general significance of the 'Verse of Evidence', but it also has a specific significance.

Hafiz: What do you mean by its specific significance?

Well-Wisher: The proof for this is the report recorded in your authentic books of hadith, regarding Khazima Ibn Thabit. He gave evidence in support of the Holy Prophet in a case concerning the sale of a horse. An Arab had made a claim against the Holy Prophet and his (Khazima's) single evidence was considered sufficient. The Holy Prophet gave him the title of Dhu'sh-Shahadatain because he was regarded as being equal to two just witnesses.

This example shows that the 'Verse of Evidence' allows for exceptions under some circumstances. When Khazima, an individual believer and companion from among the community, was made an exception to the verse, ‘Ali and Fatima who were infallible according to the 'Verse of Purity' were in a better position to enjoy this exception. They were definitely free from all falsehood. To reject their evidence was to reject the evidence of Allah.

Rejecting witnesses of Fatima was against religious law

Hazrat Fatima claimed that Fadak was bestowed upon her as a gift by her father and that it was in her possession and control during the Holy Prophet's lifetime. She was asked to furnish witnesses. She produced Amiru'l-Mu'minin ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Hasan and Hussein as her witnesses. But their evidence was rejected. Was this action not unjust? It is beyond comprehension how anybody could reject ‘Ali's testimony.

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an that we should be with ‘Ali, that is, we should follow him. Zaid al-Adl became the embodiment of truth because of his extreme truthfulness. Similarly, ‘Ali was also called 'the truthful,' as Allah says: "O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and be with the truthful ones." (9:119) "Truthful ones" refers to the Prophet Muhammad, ‘Ali, and the Holy Ahlul Bayt.

"Truthful ones" refers to Muhammad and ‘Ali

Hafiz: How does this verse prove your view, which may mean that to follow ‘Ali is obligatory for us?

Well-Wisher: (1) Your prominent scholars have written in their books and commentaries that this verse was revealed in praise of Muhammad and ‘Ali. "The truthful ones" refers to these two Holy men, and according to some reports it means ‘Ali; other reports say that it refers to the progeny of the Holy Prophet.

Imam Tha'labi in the commentary Kashfu'l-Bayan, Jalalu'd-din Suyuti reporting from Ibn Abbas in his Durru'l-Manthur, Hafiz Abu Sa'id Abdu'l-Malik Ibn Muhammad Khargushi reporting from Asma'is in his Sharafu'l-Mustafa, and Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in his Hilyatu'l-Auliya narrate that the Holy Prophet said: "These truthful ones are Muhammad and ‘Ali."

Sheikh Sulayman Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch. 39, p.1191, reporting from Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad Khawarizmi, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani, and Hamwaini relates on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who said: "In this verse 'the truthful ones' are Muhammad and his Holy descendants."

And Sheikhu'l-Islam Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Hamwaini, one of your eminent scholars, in his Fara'idu's-Simtain, Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, ch. 62, and Muhadith Sham in his Ta'rikh, reporting from his sources, write: "With the truthful ones, that is, with ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib."

(2) Allah says: "And he who brings the truth and he who accepts it as the truth - these are they that guard (against evil)." (39:33)

Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in Durru'l-Manthur, Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyya in Manaqib, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, ch.62, and Ibn Asakir in his Ta'rikh, reporting from a selection of commentators, narrate the following on the authority of Ibn Abbas and Mujahid:

"'He who brings the truth' is Muhammad, and 'he who testifies to it' is ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib."

(3) Allah says in chapter of Hadid (Iron) of the Holy Qur'an:

"And (as for) those who believe in Allah and his apostles, these it is who are the truthful and the faithful ones in the sight of their Lord; they shall have their reward and their light." (57:19)

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad and Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Manazil Mina'l-Qur'an Fi ‘Ali narrate on the authority of Ibn Abbas that this Holy verse was revealed in praise of ‘Ali referring to him as being among the truthful ones.

(4) In the Chapter Nisa (Women) Allah says:

"And whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they." (4:69)

In this verse also the truthful ones refers to ‘Ali. There are many hadith narrated by your ulama’ and ours, indicating that ‘Ali was the truthful one of the community and in fact the most exalted among the truthful ones.

‘Ali is most exalted among the truthful ones

Many of your prominent ulama’ have written in their books that the Holy Prophet said: "There are three great truthful ones: - Hizqil, the Believer of the people of Pharaoh; Habib Najjar of the Sura Yasin, and ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who is superior to them all." The following have all recorded this hadith: Imam Fakhru'd-din Razi in his Tafsir Kabir; Imam Tha'labi in Kashfu'l-Bayan; Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in Durru'l-Manthur;

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in the Musnad; Ibn Shirwaih in Firdaus; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. II, p.451; Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Manaqib; and Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa (30th hadith out of the 40 hadith that he has commented on concerning the virtues of ‘Ali) quoting from Bukhari, who reports from Ibn Abbas, with the exception of the last phrase.

Also Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch. 42, quoting from the Musnad of Imam Hanbal; Abu Nu'aim Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i; the great orator Khawarizmi, quoting from Abu Laila and Abu Ayyub Ansari, in his Manaqib; Ibn Hajar in his Sawa'iq (and a host of others) narrate that the Holy Prophet said: "There are three truthful ones: - Habib Najjar, the Believer of the people of the Chapter Yasin who said, 'O people! Follow the prophets;' Hizqil, the believer of the people of Pharaoh, who said, 'Do you kill a man who worships Allah?', and ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who is the most exalted of them all."

People are astounded to see how your understanding is subdued by your perversity. You yourselves prove with various hadith in conformity with the Holy Qur'an, that ‘Ali occupied the highest rank among the truthful ones and yet you call others as "siddiq" (truthful) although not a single verse has been reported about their being truthful.

Gentlemen! Please be just. Was it proper to reject the evidence of the person whom Allah calls "siddiq" in the Qur'an, one whom we have been commanded to follow?

‘Ali is with truth and with the Qur’an

The Holy Prophet said: "‘Ali is always with truth and truth revolves round ‘Ali." Khatib Baghdadi in his Ta'rikh, vol. IV, p. 321, Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyya in Manaqib, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Masnad, Fakhru'd-din Razi in Tafsir al-Kabir, vol.I, p. 111, Ibn Hajar Makki in Jam'u's-Saghir, vol.II, pp. 74,75, 140 and Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, ch.IX,Fasl 11, hadith 21, narrating from Umm Salma and Ibn Abbas also in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch. 65, p. 185, taking from Jam'u's-Saghir of Jalalu'd-din Suyuti, in addition, in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, p.116, Faizu'l-Qadir, vol. IV, p. 358, narrating from Ibn Abbas Manaqibu's-Sabi'in, p. 237, hadith 44 quoting from the author of Firdaus; Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, ch.59, Part 2, p. 238, narrating from Umm Salma and Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, some of them narrating from Umm Salma, some from A’ysha and some from Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr, all narrate that they heard the Holy Prophet saying: "‘Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with ‘Ali; there will never be a difference between the two, and the two will not separate from each other until they reach me at the pool of Kauthar."

Some narrators have reported these words: "The right is always with ‘Ali, and ‘Ali is always with the right. There will be no difference between the two, and the two will not be separate from each other."

Ibn Hajar writes in Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, ch. 9, Part 2, p. 77, that the Holy Prophet on his deathbed, said: " I leave behind with you two things: The book of Allah and my progeny, my Ahlul Bayt." Then, holding ‘Ali's hand, he raised it and said: "This ‘Ali is with the Qur'an, and the Qur'an is with ‘Ali. The two will not separate from each other till they reach me at the pool of Kauthar. Then I will ask each of them about the matter of succession."

Also it is generally narrated that the Prophet said: "‘Ali is with the right and the right is always with ‘Ali. They revolve around each other."

Sibt Ibn Jauzi, in Tadhkirat al-Khawasu'l-Umma, p.20, in connection with the 'Hadith of Ghadir', narrates that the Holy Prophet said: "Let the right move round ‘Ali, in whatever direction he moves." Sibt commenting on this says: "This hadith proves that if there is any difference between ‘Ali and any other companion, the right will certainly be with ‘Ali."

Obedience to ‘Ali is obedience to Allah and his Holy Prophet

It is recorded in the books which have been mentioned and in other authentic books of yours that the Holy Prophet often said: "He who obeys ‘Ali verily obeys me, and he who obeys me verily obeys Allah. He who disobeys ‘Ali verily disobeys me, and he who disobeys me verily disobeys Allah." Abu'l-Fath Muhammad Ibn Abdu'l-Karim Shahrastani reports in his Milal-wa-Nihal that the Holy Prophet said: "The reality is that ‘Ali is always on the right, and those who follow him are on the right."

With all these explicit reports, which are recorded in your own authentic books, wasn't refusing to agree with ‘Ali the same as refusing to agree with the Holy Prophet?

Caliph Abu Bakr did not follow law of evidence in other cases

The second point that you have made is that the Caliph was compelled to act according to the outward code of religion, since the "verse of Evidence" in its general sense applied in this case. Hence, in the absence of witnesses, he could not give away the "property of the Muslims" to Fatima, on the basis of her claim alone. Rather, he was so cautious that he demanded, in contradiction to the religious injunction, witnesses from the actual occupant of the property. First, I have already told you that Fadak was not the property of the Muslims.It was given to Fatima as a gift by her father, and it was held in possession by her.

Second, if the Caliph actually wanted to follow religious law, he should have strictly followed it in all cases. Why did he adopt a policy of double dealing? He used to give property of Muslims to others in response to mere verbal claims without taking the evidence of any witnesses. But in the case of Fatima's property he became extraordinarily cautious.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid has recorded in his Sharh al-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. IV, p. 25, that he inquired of ‘Ali Ibnu'l-Fariqi, a teacher in the Madrasa Gharbi in Baghdad, whether Fatima was in the right and spoke the truth about her claim. "He said: 'Yes.' I said: 'If she was right and spoke the truth, why did the Caliph not release Fadak in her favor?'

He (Fariqi) smiled (though he never jested) and said that if he had released Fadak to Fatima that day, the next day she would have come to claim the caliphate for her husband. Then the Caliph would have been compelled to return that right also, since he would have accepted her truthfulness in the former case.'"

According to your own prominent scholars, the position was quite clear. They had accepted the fact that from the first day the right was with the oppressed Fatima, but their political expediency demanded that they should deprive the faultless lady of her right.

Abu Bakr giving wealth to Jabir without calling for witness

Hafiz: When did the Caliph give away the wealth of the Muslims without any witness?

Well-Wisher: When Jabir claimed that the Holy Prophet had promised that he would be paid from the booty taken at Bahrain, he was given 1,500 dinars from the Baitu'l-Mal (Public Treasury) without raising any objection or demanding any witness from him.

Hafiz: First, I have not seen such a report. Perhaps it is in your books.

Second, how can you claim that witnesses were not demanded?

Well-Wisher: It is very strange that you have not seen it. This report of Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari is one of the arguments of ulama’ in support of their view that a single report by a just companion is acceptable.

Accordingly, Sheikhu'l-Islam Hafiz Abdu'l-Fazl Ahmad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Hajar Asqalani says in his Fathu'l-Bari Fi Sharh al-Sahihu'l-Bukhari: This report proves that the narration of a just companion is acceptable even though it benefits him personally because Abu Bakr did not demand a witness from Jabir in support of his claim.

Bukhari records the same report in greater detail in his Sahih. In the chapter 'Man Yakfal un mayyit dainan' and 'Kitabu'l-Khuma fi Bab al-ma Qata'an-nabi mina'l-Bahrain,' he writes that when the booty of Bahrain was brought to Medina, Abu Bakr announced that whoever had been promised money by the Prophet of Allah or whoever had any unsatisfied claim should come and receive his due. Jabir came and said:

'The Holy Prophet promised me that when Bahrain was conquered and came under the control of the Muslims, I would be provided with a gift out of the booty.' So immediately Abu Bakr gave him 1,500 dinars without calling for any evidence, merely on the basis of his claim.

Jalalu'd-din Suyuti also has recorded this event in his Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa in the section on the Caliphate of Abu Bakr.

Men of justice: please let me know in Allah's name if this was not inequitable. Unless there was some bias at work, how was it lawful for Abu Bakr to contravene the "verse of Evidence" and give money to Jabir on the basis of his claim alone?

Besides this, Bukhari in his Sahih and many other of your ulama’ and scholars of jurisprudence, accept the single evidence of a just companion even though it gave personal benefit to him.

But they consider ‘Ali's claim unacceptable on the grounds that he wanted something for his own benefit. Was ‘Ali not a perfect individual among the companions? If you consider the matter honestly you will admit that it was not only a denial of justice, but it was all force and open deceit.

Hafiz: I think Abu Bakr did not demand witnesses from Jabir because he was one of the closely trained companions of the Holy Prophet. He had certainly heard the Holy Prophet saying: "If anybody gives a false account of me, his abode is hell."

Given this strict warning, it is quite evident that a closely trained companion and believer would not take such a wrong initiative and would not attribute a false statement to the Prophet of Allah.

Well-Wisher: Was Jabir closer to the Holy Prophet or ‘Ali and Fatima, who were specially trained by the Holy Prophet?

‘Ali and Fatima were referents of the verse of purification

Hafiz: It is obvious that ‘Ali and Fatima were closer to the prophet of God, because they had been under his training since their very birth.

Well-Wisher: So you will have to admit that ‘Ali and Fatima must have been strict followers of this warning and could not, on the basis of the Holy Prophet's saying, make any false claim. And it is incumbent on Abu Bakr to accept Fatima's claim, since the rank of both those two persons was far more exalted than Jabir's (as you yourself admit). In fact, their rank was superior to all other companions. They were worthy of the "Verse of Purity" and were infallible ones.

This verse reveals the purity of the five Holy ones: Muhammad, ‘Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain. In fact your eminent ulama’ also have testified to the truthfulness of these Holy persons.

With regard to Amiru'l-Mu'minin, I have already told you that the Holy Prophet has called him "The truthful one of the whole Community," and Allah also has called him "the truthful one" in the Qur'an.

For the truthfulness of Fatima Zahra, there are also many such hadith. Among them is one reported by Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in his Hilyatu'l-Auliya, vol. II, p. 42, from A’ysha, who said: "I have never seen any one more truthful than Fatima except her father."

Hafiz: Your claim that this verse was revealed in praise of those five persons cannot be accepted. In these debates you have demonstrated an extensive knowledge about our books. You should admit that in this case you are mistaken, since commentators like Qazi Baidhawi and Zamakhshari believe that this Holy verse was revealed in praise of the wives of the Prophet. And if there is any report that it was revealed in praise of those five persons, it must be a weak one.

The reason is that the verse in itself proves contrary to that meaning. The context of the "Verse of Purity" is connected with the wives and the middle part cannot be taken out of context.

Proving that the verse of purity was not in praise of the Prophet's wives

Well-Wisher: The claim advanced by you is refutable from many points of view. You have said that the parts that precede and follow the verse are connected with the Prophet's wives, and hence the Ahlul Bayt are excluded from this Holy verse.

I reply that, as often happens in the course of our talk, we shift attention from one person to another and then return to the first person. There are many examples of this in the couplets of eminent Arab writers and poets.

In the Holy Qur'an itself there are many examples of this kind. In fact, if you examine the chapter in question, al-Ahzab (the clans), after addressing the wives, attention is turned to the believers. Then subsequently, the wives are addressed. Time does not permit me to submit more elaborate evidence to explain the point further.

Second, if this verse were about the wives of the Holy Prophet, the pronoun used in it would have been feminine. But since the pronoun is masculine, we know that reference is not to the wives, but to the progeny of the Holy Prophet.

Nawab: If Fatima is also included in this group why was the feminine not used?

Well-Wisher: (Turning to the ulama’) Gentlemen: you know that in this verse, although Fatima is one of the referents, the masculine is used because of its preponderance. That is, in a group of both males and females, more weight is attached to the males.

In this verse the use of the masculine is itself a proof that this statement is not weak, but has full force. Besides this, in view of the majority of the male members, the pronoun should be in the masculine gender because in the Holy Five there is one woman and four men.

Of course had this verse been about the wives of the Holy Prophet, the use of masculine for the females would have been utterly wrong. Apart from this, the conclusion drawn from the authentic hadith in your own books is that this Holy verse was revealed in praise of the progeny and not in reference to his wives.

Even though he was an extreme fanatic, Ibn Hajar Makki says in his Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa that most commentators believe that this verse was revealed in praise of ‘Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain.

Wives of Prophet are not included in Ahlul Bayt

Leaving aside these arguments, the wives of the Holy Prophet are not included in the Ahlul Bayt.

It is narrated in Sahih Muslim and Jam'u'l-Usul that Hasan Ibn Samra asked Zaid Ibn Arqam whether the wives of the Holy Prophet were included in his Ahlul Bayt. Zaid said: "By Allah, no. A wife remains with her husband for a certain period, but when he divorces her, she goes to her father's home, joins her mother's family, and is completely cut off from her husband. The Ahlul Bayt are those members of the family of the Holy Prophet for whom charity is forbidden. They will not be separated from the Ahlul Bayt wherever they go."

Apart from the unanimity of views among the Ithna' Ashari Shi’as about the Holy progeny, there are many hadith recorded in your own books, which disprove the assumption that the wives of the Prophet are included in his Ahlul Bayt.

Numerous hadith concerning "verse of purity" being in praise of Holy Five

Imam Tha'labi in Tafsir al-Kashfu'l-Bayan; Imam Fakhru'd-d Razi in Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. VI, p. 783; Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in Durru'l-Mansur, vol.V,p.199 and Khasa'isu'l-Kubra, vol. II, p. 264; Nishapuri in his Tafsir, vol. III; Imam Abdu'r-Razzaq ar-Ra'sani in Tafsir Rumuzu'l-Kunuz; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isaba, vol. IV, p. 208; Ibn Asakir in Ta'rikh, vol. IV, pp 204 and 206; Muhibu'd-din Tabari in Riyazu'n-Nuzra, vol. II, p. 188;

Muslim Ibn Hajjaj in Sahih, vol. II, p. 133 and vol. VII, p. 140; Nabhani in Sharafu'l-Mu'ayyid, Beirut Edition, p. 10; Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, ch.100, with six authentic hadith and Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch.33, in the authority of Sahih Muslim relying on the narration of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A’ysha; ten narrations from Tirmidhi, Hakim Ala'u'd-Dowlat Semnani, Baihaqi, Tibrani, Muhammad Ibn Jarir, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Abi Shaiba, Ibn Munzir, Ibn Sa'd, Hafiz Zarandi, and Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyya as narrations of Ummu'l-Mu'minin Umm Salma, ‘Umar Ibn Abi Salma, (who had been brought up by the Holy Prophet), Anas Ibn Malik, Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, Wathila Ibn Asqa', and Abu Sa'id Khudri said that the "Verse of Purity" was revealed in praise of the Holy Five.

Even Ibn Hajar Makki, despite his being opposed to the Shi’as in many respects has acknowledged its real meaning in seven ways. He says in Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa that this verse was revealed in praise of Muhammad, ‘Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain and that only these Holy personalities were referred to in this verse.

Sayyid Abu Bakr Ibn Shahabu'd-din Alawi in his Kitab al-Rashqatu's-Sa'adi min Bahr al-Faza'il Bani Nabiu'l-Hadi (printed by A'lamiyya Press, Egypt, 1303 A.H.), ch. 1, pp 14-19, narrates from Tirmidhi, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Munzir, Hakim, Ibn Mardawiyya, Baihaqi, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tibrani, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Kathir, Muslim Ibn Hajjaj, Ibn Abi Shaiba, and Samhudi on the basis of studies of the works of your ulama’, that this Holy verse was revealed in praise of the Holy Five persons.

In Jam'i-Bainu's-Sihahu's-Sitta, Mauta of Imam Malik Ibn Anas, Sahih of Bukhari and Muslim, Sunan of Abu Dawud and Sijistani, and Tirmidhi, Jam'u'l-Usul and other books, your ulama’ and historians generally admit that this verse was revealed in praise of the Holy Five. And according to your sect, this hadith has been transmitted without interruption.

Hadith of Umm Salma about 'harrira'(a sweet liquid food) of Fatima and revelation of "verse of purity"

Many narrators of hadith have recorded the incident concerning harrira. Among them are Imam Tha'labi in his Tafsir, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, and Ibn Athir in his Jam'u'l-Usul, quoting from the Sahih of Tirmidhi and Muslim: all narrate from the wife of the Holy Prophet, Ummu'l-Mu'minin Umm Salma, who said: "The Holy Prophet was in my house when Fatima brought a cup of harrira to him. At that time he was sitting on the porch where he used to sleep. He had a Khaibari mantle under his feet. I was offering prayers in my apartment.

The Prophet asked Fatima to call her husband and sons. Soon ‘Ali, Hasan, and Husain came in and all shared the harrira. Gabriel appeared and revealed this Holy verse to the Prophet:

'Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the house! and to purify you with a (thorough) purifying.' (33:33)"

"Then the Holy Prophet covered all of them with his mantle, raised his hands towards the sky, and said: 'O Allah, these constitute my progeny. Keep them away from every impurity and purified with perfect purification.'"

Umm Salma says that she moved forward and desired to enter the mantle saying: "O Prophet of Allah, may I also join the group?" The Holy Prophet replied: "No, remain in your own place, you are in virtue." This meant that she could not be included among the Ahlul Bayt and attain their rank, but that her end was to be good.

Imam Fakhru'd-din Razi in his Tafsir adds that the Prophet said: "All sins have been withheld from you" and "You have been given robes of blessings." It is of course very strange of your unjust ulama’, who write in their authentic books that ‘Ali and Fatima were included in the "Verse of Purity" (and the greatest impurity is telling lies). Yet they reject ‘Ali's Imamate (vicegerency) and refuse to accept his evidence in support of Fatima about her claim to Fadak. It is not understood on what criterion the claimants of justice form a judgment.

Fadak was taken away for political reasons

Now let us come back to our original point. Was it proper to reject the statements of ‘Ali and Fatima and deprive them of their right, but accept Jabir's claim without any hesitation although he was only an ordinary Muslim?

Hafiz: It can never be accepted that the Caliph of the Holy Prophet, who was extremely close to the Holy Prophet, would be inclined to usurp Fadak. Certainly Fadak was of no use to the Caliph, who had the entire Baitu'l-Mal (public treasury) of the Muslims under his control.

Well-Wisher: It is quite plain that he did not need it. But the political group of that time considered it necessary to ruin the Holy family of the Holy Prophet. They subjected these purified ones to all kinds of worries, afflictions, and poverty, so that they could not think of caliphate. Worldly men do whatever is necessary to make themselves prosper in this world.

These politicians realized that if the grand family had control over worldly wealth, people would certainly incline towards them. Political considerations drove them to usurp Fadak and to close all their avenues of financial means.

Khums interdicted

Among the things banned for them was the khums, on which so much stress has been laid in the Holy Qur'an. Since Allah had forbidden charity for the Holy Prophet and his descendants, the door of khums was opened to them. He says in the Holy Qur'an, Anfal (The Spoils of War):

"And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the wayfarer." (8:41)

This provision was made so that the progeny of the Holy Prophet might live in peace and might not need the help of their community. But soon after the demise of the Holy Prophet, they were deprived of this privilege also. Caliph Abu Bakr denied this right of the Ahlul Bayt and said that khums should be used for war materials. The Prophet's family was thus made helpless from all sides.

Imam Shafi'i Muhammad Ibn Idris tells about it in his Kitabu'l-Umm, p. 69: "The descendants of the Holy Prophet for whom Allah has apportioned khums in place of charity, cannot be given any share, great or small, out of the compulsory charities. It is forbidden for them to accept it. Those who deliberately give compulsory charity to them will not be absolved from their responsibilities. By denying the right of khums to them, charity, which is forbidden to them, will not become lawful.

Even during the caliphate of ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, the progeny of the Holy Prophet were deprived of their rightful claim on the grounds that the amount of khums was so large that it could not be given to the near relations of the Holy Prophet. It was decided that the money should be used for military expenditures. They are deprived of this right to this day.

Hafiz: Imam Shafi'i says that khums should be divided in five parts: one part goes to the Holy Prophet, which is used for the expenses and needs of the Muslims, the second part is for his near relatives and the remaining three parts are for orphans, the needy, and travelers.

Well-Wisher: Commentators in general agree that in the days of the Holy Prophet this verse was revealed for the help of the descendants and near relatives of the Holy Prophet. Khums was used for their expenses.

According to Shi’as law, in obedience to the practice adopted by the Prophet's family and by the Holy Imams and also in conformity with the meaning of the Holy verse cited above, khums is divided into six parts. The three parts meant for Allah, the Holy Prophet and his nearest relatives go to the Imam and, in his ghaiba (occultation), to his representative, a mujtahid.

He is a just and expert jurist, who spends the money for the benefit of the Muslims, according to his own discretion. The remaining three parts are apportioned to orphans, the needy and the pure followers of the Holy Prophet. But after the demise of the Holy Prophet, this right was denied his descendants.

Your own prominent ulama’, like Jalalu'd-din Suyuti, in his Durru'l-Mansur, vol. III; Tabari, Imam Tha'labi in his Tafsir al-Kashfu'l- Bayan, Jarullah Zamakhshari in his Kashshaf, Qushachi in his Sharh al-Tajrid, Nisa'i in his Kitab al-Alfiy, and others unanimously acknowledge the fact that this innovation was introduced by clever politicians after the demise of the Holy Prophet.

Hafiz: You think that a mujtahid has the right to exercise his discretion. Didn't Caliphs Abu Bakr and ‘Umar exercise their judgment and try to help the Muslims?

Caliph may not pass an order in violation of a clear ordinance of Allah and the practice of Holy Prophet

Well-Wisher: Of course a mujtahid has the right to form a judgment, but he may not overturn a clear ordinance. Do you prefer the opinion of Caliphs Abu Bakr and ‘Umar to that of the Qur'anic verse in question and to the practice of the Holy Prophet? Please be just and tell us whether they had some particular motives behind all this. A man with common sense would be led to believe that these were not ordinary affairs, but they aimed at making the family of the Holy Prophet helpless.

Allah has made ‘Ali witness of the Holy Prophet

Apart from all this, Allah has declared ‘Ali the witness of the Holy Prophet. He says in the Qur'an

"Is he then who has with him clear proof from his Lord, and a witness from Him...a guide and a mercy?" (11:17)

Hafiz: So far as my knowledge goes "who has a clear proof from his Lord" means the Holy Prophet and "a witness" means the Holy Qur'an. Why do you claim that here "witness" means ‘Ali?

Well-Wisher: I don't express my personal opinion about Qur'anic verses. What we have known from the progeny of the Holy Prophet is that "witness" here means ‘Ali. The ulama’ and the commentators have held the same view.

Your celebrated ulama’ have recorded about thirty hadith in support of this. For instance, Imam Abu Ishaq Tha'labi reports three hadith in Tafsir; Jalalu'd-din Suyuti reports in his Durru'l-Mansur from Ibn Mardawiyya, Ibn Abi Hatim, and Abu Nu'aim; Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Hamwaini reports in his Fara'idu's-Simtain from three sources; Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi reports in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda from Tha'labi, Hamwaini, Khawarizmi, Abu Nu'aim, Waqidi and Ibn Abdullah Ansari and others; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani reports from three different sources; Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, Ibn Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i (see his book Kifayatu't-Talib, ch. 62) and others of your ulama’ report with slight difference in wording that "witness" in this verse means ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib.

Khatib Khawarizmi writes in his Manaqib that people asked Ibn Abbas what was meant by "witness." He said: "This refers to ‘Ali, who bore witness to the Holy Prophet." So, according to these testimonies of your own reliable books, it was incumbent on the community to accept the evidence of ‘Ali.

Allah Himself has called him a witness of the Prophet. Just as the Holy Prophet acknowledged the distinctive quality of Khazima Ibn Thabit and characterized his evidence equivalent to two Muslims and bestowed on him the title of Dhu'sh-Shahadatain, Allah Almighty also has expressed in this verse the exalted position of ‘Ali and has identified him as a "witness" for the Holy Prophet. One wonders on what religious principle these people decided to reject the testimony of ‘Ali.

Can you accept their judgment that ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who was most averse to temporal wealth and whose conduct and character were acknowledged by friends and foes alike, was a worldly man? Even harsher words were used against him, which I cannot utter. They are all recorded in your own books.

So using the words "his personal interest was involved in the case," they tried to convince people that it was possible for ‘Ali to give false evidence for the benefit of his wife and children. (May Allah excuse my words!) How strange that although Allah has identified him as a reliable witness, these cunning people rejected his testimony.

‘Ali's mental anguish

Even though the Qur'an identifies ‘Ali's truthfulness, he suffered because of the accusations of the politicians. He said in his Shiqshiqayya Sermon: "I endured great pain. It was as though I were being pricked in the eye and strangled."

These words amply prove the Holy Imam's extreme suffering. He said: "I swear by Allah that the son of Abu Talib is fonder of death than a suckling is of his mother's breast." When the accursed Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi struck his head with a poisoned sword, he said: "By the Lord of the Ka'ba, I am victorious."

Gentlemen, what happened should not have happened. But today it is not proper for sagacious ulama’ like you to cause further trouble to the dearly loved one of Allah and His Prophet and create misunderstanding among uninformed people. You are well aware that tormenting ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib is really tormenting the Holy Prophet of Allah.

Hadith condemning tormentors of ‘Ali

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Imam Tha'labi in his Tafsir and

Sheikhu'l-Islam Hamwaini in his Fara'id have reported that the Holy Prophet said: "He who oppresses ‘Ali, oppresses me. O people, whoever oppresses ‘Ali shall rise on the Day of Judgment as a Jew or Christian."

Ibn Hajar Makki on p. 78 of Part II, ch. 9, Tradition 16 from Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas and Muhaddad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, ch.68, say on proper authority that the Holy Prophet said: "He who oppresses ‘Ali, verily oppresses me."

I recall another hadith. Permit me to narrate it. To relate a hadith of the Holy Prophet and to hear it is worship. This hadith has been recorded by Bukhari in his Sahih; Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad; Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Manazala Mina'l-Qur'an fi ‘Ali'; Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib and Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in his Manaqib narrate it.

Hakim Abu'l-Qasim Haskani also narrates it from Hakam Abu Abdullah Hafiz, he from Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Dawud Hafiz, he from ‘Ali Ibn Ahmad Ajali, he from 'Ibad Ibn Yaqub, he from Artat Ibn Habib, he from Abu Khalid Wasti, he from Zaid Ibn ‘Ali, he from his father ‘Ali Ibn Husain, he from his father, Husain Ibn ‘Ali, he from his father ‘Ali Ibn ‘Ali Talib; each of those narrators said that the Holy Prophet said while holding a hair of his beard:

"O ‘Ali, he who injures a single hair of yours, really injures me; he who injures me really injures Allah, and he who injures Allah is cursed by Allah."

Sayyid Abu Bakr Ibn Shahabu'd-din Alawi in his Rashfatu's-Sa'adi min Bahr al-Faza'il Bani Nabiu'l-Hadi, (printed A'lamiyya Press, Egypt, 1303 A.H.) ch.IV, p. 60, reports from the Kabir of Tabrani, Sahih of Ibn Habban, and Hakim, on the authority of Amiru'l-Mu'minin, that the Holy Prophet of Allah said: "May Allah's curse be upon him who grieves me regarding my progeny."

‘Ali was tormented and insulted

Gentlemen, consider what happened. The evidence of ‘Ali was rejected publicly. Fatima's property was confiscated. Fatima felt this oppressive blow so seriously that she left this world in the prime of her youth, full of indignation.

Hafiz: It is obvious that in the beginning Fatima was quite indignant, but when at last she saw the Caliph's verdict was correct, she was no longer angry. At last she left this world perfectly satisfied and contented.

Fatima remained indignant with Abu bakr and ‘Umar until her death

Well-Wisher: If what you say is correct, why do your eminent ulama’ write just the reverse of it? For instance, two reliable scholars, Bukhari and Muslim, write in their Sahih that Fatima rejected Abu Bakr because she was angry. Because of her displeasure she did not talk to him for the rest of her life. When she died, her husband, ‘Ali, buried her at night. He did not allow Abu Bakr to join her funeral and offer prayers for her.

Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i has recorded the same report in his Kifaya, ch.99. Also Abu Muhammad Abdullah Ibn Muslim Ibn Qutayba Dinawari in his Imama wa's-Siyasa, p.14, writes that Fatima, while sick in bed, said to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar: "Let Allah and the angels be my witnesses that both of you have made me indignant. When I meet the Holy Prophet, I will certainly complain against you." The same book also records: "Fatima was indignant with Abu Bakr and refused to see him for the rest of her life."

Besides these, there are many other such reports and hadith recorded in your authentic books.

Fatima's distress is Allah’s and Prophet's distress

There is a well known hadith narrated by many of your ulama’, like Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad; Sulayman Qanduzi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda; Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba; Ibn Hajar in Sawa'iq, reporting from Tirmidhi, Hakim and others, with a slight difference in wording, that the Holy Prophet of Allah repeatedly said: "Fatima is a part of my body, she is the light of my eyes, she is the fruit of my heart, she is my soul between my two sides.

He who grieves Fatima grieves me; he who grieves me, grieves Allah; he who makes her angry, makes me angry; what pains Fatima pains me."

Ibn Hajar Asqalani, in his al-Isaba fi tamyiz as-Sahaba, quotes from the Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim that the Holy Prophet of Allah said: "Fatima is a part of my body; what pains her, pains me; that which exalts her spiritual attainment exalts my spiritual attainment."

Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafi'i in his Matalibu's-Su'ul; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, vol. II, p.40, and Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in his Khasa'isu'l-Alawi, report that the Holy Prophet said: "Verily, Fatima, my daughter, is a part of my body; what makes her happy, makes me happy; what is painful to her is painful to me."

Abu'l-Qasim Husain Ibn Muhammad (Raghib Ispahani) narrates in his Mahadhiratu'l-Ubada, vol.II, p. 204, that the Holy Prophet of Allah said: "Fatima is a part of my body; hence, he who enrages her, enrages me."

Hafiz Abu Musa Ibn Muthanna Basri (died 252 A.H.) in his Mu'ajam; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isaba, vol.IV, p.35; Abu Ya'la Musili in his Sunan; Tibrani in Mu'ajam; Hakim Nishapuri in Mustadrak, vol.VII, p. 154; Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Faza'ilu's-Sahaba; Hafiz Ibn Asakir in Ta'rikh al-Shami; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, p. 175; Muhibu'd-din Tabari in Dhakha'ir, p. 39, Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq, p. 105 and Abu Irfanu's-Subban in As'afu'r-Raghibin, p.171, have reported that the Holy Prophet said to his daughter: "O Fatima, verily, if you are angry, Allah is also angry; if you are happy, Allah is also happy."

Muhammad Ibn Isma'il Bukhari in his Sahih, in the chapter Manaqib Qarabat al-Rasulullah, p.71, quotes from Miswar Ibn Makhrama who said that the Holy Prophet said: "Fatima is a part of my body, so whoever enrages Fatima, verily, enrages me."

There are many such hadith recorded in your authentic books, like Sahih of Bukhari; Sahih of Muslim; Sunan of Abu Dawud; Tirmidhi; Musnad of Imam Hanbal; Sawa'iq al-Ibn Hajar; and Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi's Yanabiu'l-Mawadda. How would you reconcile these hadith with reports which say that Fatima did not leave this world angry with those persons?

Allegation about ‘Ali’s intending to marry Abu Jahl's daughter

Sheikh: These hadith are correct, but it is also reported about ‘Ali that, when he intended to marry Abu Jahl's daughter, the Prophet of Allah became angry with him and said: "Whoever grieves Fatima grieves me, and whoever grieves me is the accursed one of Allah."

Well-Wisher: We should accept or reject things using common sense and wisdom. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"Therefore give good news to my servants, those who listen to the word, then follow the best of it; those are they whom Allah has guided, and those it is who are the men of understanding." (39:19)

A report was narrated by your elders. Today you support their words without assessing their merits. I am obliged to give you a brief reply. First, your own ulama’ have acknowledged the fact that ‘Ali was included in the "Verse of Purity" and was perfectly pure. Second, in the verse of Mubahala, Allah has called him the "self" of the Holy Prophet, as we have already discussed on previous nights. We have shown that he was also the "gate of the knowledge of the Holy Prophet of Allah" and was fully aware of Qur'anic injunctions and ordinances.

He knew that Allah said in the chapter of Ahzab (the clans) of the Holy Qur'an:

"And it does not behoove you that you should give trouble to the Messenger of Allah." (33:53)

Since this is true, how could ‘Ali do or say anything that would annoy the Holy Prophet? And how can one imagine that the embodiment of virtue i.e., the Holy Prophet would be displeased with that exalted personality who was loved by Allah? And would he be displeased for an act permitted by Allah, as He says in the Holy Qur'an:

"Then marry such women who seem good to you, two, or three, or four"? (4:3)

This order of nika (marriage) is of general significance and is meant for the whole community as well as for the prophets and vicegerents. And if we suppose that Amiru'l-Mu'minin had any such intention, it was permitted for him.

The Holy Prophet of Allah could not resent any permissible act, nor did he use such words. Every sensible man, after careful consideration, would know that this report is one of the forged reports of the Bani Umayya. Your own eminent scholars admit this fact.

Fabricating of hadith during Mu'awiya's period

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali quotes a report from his leader and teacher, Abu Ja'far Iskafi Baghdadi, in his Sharh al-Nahju'l- Balagha, vol. I, p.358, that Mu'awiya Ibn Abu Sufyan had formed a group of companions and the 'tabi'in' (the 'second' generation which immediately followed the Prophet) for the purpose of forging hadith in condemnation of ‘Ali. Their purpose was to make him a target of reproach so that the people would keep aloof from him.

Among them were Abu Huraira, Amr Ibn As, Mughira Ibn Shaiba, Urwa Ibn Zubair, one of the tabi'in was also with them. Abu Ja'far Iskaf has also referred to some of their fabricated hadith. Speaking about Abu Huraira, he says that he was the man who narrated a hadith purporting to show that ‘Ali sought to take Abu Jahl's daughter in marriage during the time of the Holy Prophet.

This made the Holy Prophet angry, and he said from the pulpit, "A friend of Allah and an enemy of Allah cannot be together. Fatima is a part of my body. He who grieves her grieves me. He who wants to marry Abu Jahl's daughter should seek separation from my daughter."

After this, Abu Ja'far says that this hadith is known as the hadith of Karabisi', since every baseless hadith is called 'karabisi' (literally 'a clothes-seller'). Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says that this hadith is reported in the two Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim from Miswar Ibn Makhrama az-Zahr.

And Sayyid Murtaza Alamu'l-Huda, who was one of the greatest ulama’ of the Shi’as, says in his book Tanzia'u'l-Anbia wa'l-A'imma that this report was narrated by Husain Karabisi, who is known for his extreme opposition to the Holy Ahlul Bayt.

He belonged to the Nawasib and was one of the bitterest enemies of this exalted family. His report is not acceptable. According to hadith recorded in your own authentic books, ‘Ali's enemy is a munafiq (hypocrite). The munafiq, according to the Holy Qur'an, is an infernal being. Therefore his report is without merit.

Besides this, the hadith condemning people who caused annoyance to Fatima are not confined to Karabisi's statement or the forged report by Abu Huraira about Abu Jahl's daughter. There are many other hadith on this topic.

Among them is one reported by Parsa of Bukhara in his Faslu'l-Khitab; one by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad and by Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawadda XIII of Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, on the authority of Salman Muhammadi, that the Holy Prophet said:

"Fatima's love is useful to us in a hundred places, the easiest of them being Death, the Grave, the Mizan (the Balance), Sirat (the bridge) and the Questioning. So, if my daughter, Fatima, is pleased with somebody, I am also pleased with him. If I am pleased with somebody, Allah is also pleased with him.

If my daughter, Fatima, is displeased with somebody, I am also displeased with him. If I am displeased with him, Allah is also displeased with him. Woe be to him who oppresses Fatima and her husband. Woe be to him who oppresses ‘Ali and Fatima and their Shi’as."

I ask you what conclusion you draw in light of these authentic hadith and the hadith recorded by Bukhari and Muslim that Fatima remained indignant with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar until she died.

Misunderstanding about Fatima’s indignation being non-religious

Hafiz: The hadith are of course correct and are recorded in detail in our authentic books. In fact, I also doubted Karabisi's report that ‘Ali wanted to ask Abu Jahl's daughter to marry him. I did not believe it, and now I am indeed thankful that you have solved this problem for me.

Second, in these hadith "indignation" means religious indignation and not ordinary worldly indignation. Her indignation regarding Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, which is recorded in all our reliable books, was not religious.

That is, Fatima did not feel angry with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar because they violated any religious injunction. Of course, if anyone had aroused her religious indignation, he would have been subject to his Prophet's curse.

But in fact Fatima's anger resulted from a change in her condition, which every sensitive person feels when he fails to achieve his object. Since Fatima had made a request for Fadak and the Caliph did not accept her claim, she was naturally affected by it and felt indignant at that time. But later this slight displeasure disappeared from her mind, and she was satisfied with the decision of the Caliph.

The proof of her satisfaction was her silence. And when ‘Ali took the reins of the caliphate, he did not for all his supreme authority; take back Fadak under his control. This, too, is proof that he was satisfied with the decision of the previous caliphs.

Fatima was free from worldly attachment

Well-Wisher: First, you said that Fatima's anger was not religious but worldly. You have expressed this view without careful study. According to the principles of the Qur'anic verses and the hadith of the Holy Prophet, no perfect believer would ever show such indignation, not to speak of Fatima, whose eminence is evident from the "Verse of Purity": "Verse of Mubahala" and the Sura Hal Ata of the Holy Qur'an. (76:1)

There are numerous hadith in your and our authentic books that Fatima occupied the highest rank of iman (belief) and that the Holy Prophet had explicitly said about her: "Verily, Allah has filled my daughter, Fatima, with belief from head to foot."

Fatima's indignation motivated by religion

Any believer, man or woman, whose special mark is to admit the truth, would never show any indignation when a judge issues a just order. Nor would such a believer cling to that anger and wrath till his death insisting in his will that none of those who were in any way connected with those orders should be allowed to join in his funeral prayers.

Moreover Fatima, about whose purity Allah Himself gives evidence, could never make a false claim, so that a judge might reject her claim.

Second, if Lady Fatima's indignation was merely "worldly indignation" as you call it, or her disappointment in having her claim rejected, her anger should have subsided soon, particularly after the regret shown by those responsible for her anger. There should have been no grief in her heart.

The Holy Prophet said: "One of the signs of a believer is that he does not naturally nurse any grudge based on carnal sentiments, against anybody." Also the Holy Prophet said: "If a believer happens to commit a fault, the aggrieved believer does not feel antipathy towards him for more than three days."

So the pure and truthful Fatima Zahra, who was, according to the testimony of Allah Almighty, imbued with faith from head to foot, could never bear malice against anybody. And it is acknowledged by both sects that Fatima left this world angry with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.

So it follows from this that Fatima's indignation was purely religious. When she saw that the order was passed against her in violation of the commands of Allah and her Holy father, she felt furious with religious displeasure and this was that anger, which incurred Allah's and His Prophet's wrath.

Fatima's silence did not indicate her acquiescence

Third, you have said that since Fatima's silence meant that she acquiesced in the decision. Here again you are mistaken. Silence does not necessarily mea nconcurrence. Sometimes the oppressor's rigidity forces acquiescence.

Fatima was not only grieved, but she left this world indignant. Both Bukhari and Muslim wrote: "Fatima was indignant with Abu Bakr. She kept aloof from him and did not talk with him for the rest of her life."

‘Ali was not free to act during his caliphate

Fourth, you said that because ‘Ali did not, during the period of his caliphate, take possession of Fadak and return it to the descendants of Fatima, this indicated his acquiescence in the decision of the previous caliphs. Even here you are mistaken. The Holy Imam was not free to act during the period of his caliphate so as to have stopped any innovation or restore any right. Whenever he intended to take such a step, there was immediate opposition.

If he had returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima, his opponents, particularly Mu'awiya and his followers, would have claimed that ‘Ali acted against the practices adopted by Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Besides this, in order to pass such orders, authority and independence were necessary.

But people had not allowed him such power. He could not introduce anything which would have violated the precepts and practices of the previous caliphs. ‘Ali's powerlessness is evident from the following two examples.

Since the previous caliphs had removed the pulpit from its place where the Prophet had placed it, the Holy Imam intended to return it to its original place. But the people opposed him and would not tolerate anything contrary to the practice of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, even though it might be compatible with the practice of the Holy Prophet.

Similarly, when the Holy Imam forbade the people to offer congregational tarawih prayers, they rose against him and claimed that ‘Ali wanted to change the way of Caliph ‘Umar.

Nawab: Respected Sir! What was tarawih, which ‘Ali forbade be offered in congregation?

Well-Wisher: Literally tarawih is the plural of tarawia, which meant "sitting." Later it came to mean "sitting for rest" after the four rak'ats of prayer during the Ramadhan nights. Then it came to mean four rak'ats of recommended prayer. It is a clear ruling of Islamic jurisprudence that only obligatory prayers may be offered in congregation, whereas recommended prayers in congregation are prohibited. The Holy Prophet himself said:

"Verily, the offering of nafila (recommended prayers) in congregation during the nights of Ramadhan is an innovation. The Namaz al-Chasht (sometimes called Dhuha and recited in the forenoon) is a sin. O people! Do not say nafila prayers of Ramadhan in congregation, and do not offer Namaz al-Chasht. To be sure, performing a minor act of worship which is according to the Sunna is better than performing a major act of worship which is an innovation. Let it be known to you that every innovation is a transgression and every transgression leads to Hell."

One night during the period of his caliphate in 14 A.H. ‘Umar entered the mosque. He saw that the people had gathered there. He asked them why they had come together. The people said that they had assembled to offer Sunna prayers. ‘Umar said: "This performance is an innovation, but it is a good innovation."

Bukhari quotes in his Sahih from Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Abdu'l-Qari that when the caliph saw the people offering prayers individually, he told them that congregational prayer was preferable. He ordered Ubayy Ibn Ka'b to lead the prayers in congregation. When he came to the mosque on the next night, he saw the people offering congregational prayers in obedience to his command. He said: "How good an innovation it is."

It became the common practice until the time of Amiru'l-Mu'minin. He prohibited it, saying that since it did not exist in the time of the Holy Prophet, it was then forbidden; in fact it should not be allowed to continue.

When he came to Kufa, the Kufans asked the Holy Imam to appoint for them an Imam to lead the nafila prayers during the nights of Ramadhan. The Imam forbade them to offer that prayer in congregation. In spite of that, since the people had been accustomed to it, they did not follow the Imam's order. As soon as the Imam left that place, they gathered together and appointed one of them to lead the prayers in congregation.

The news soon reached the Holy Imam, who called his eldest son Imam Hasan and asked him to take a dagger and forbid those people to offer recommended prayers in congregation. When the people saw this, they made loud cries saying: "O ‘Ali! Hasan has come, and he does not allow us to offer prayers."

Although they knew that this practice of offering communal recommended prayers did not exist during the time of the Holy Prophet, they did not follow ‘Ali's command which conformed with the orders of the Holy Prophet.

So how could ‘Ali restore Fadak to the descendants of Fatima? If he had done so and said that it had been unjustly confiscated, the people would have cried that ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib was inclined towards the world and was usurping the right of the Muslims for their own descendants.

Hence, he thought it proper to be patient. Since the real claimant had left this world, he suspended his claim to it, so that when the last of the divinely guided Imams comes to restore rights to their just claimants, he will secure his right.

In such a state of affairs the silence of the Holy Imam did not mean that he was satisfied with the decision. If he had considered the action of the previous caliphs just, he would not have argued his case before them. Also, he would not have expressed his anguish and displeasure and would not have invoked Allah to be the arbiter.

It is recorded in Nahju'l-Balagha that ‘Ali in a letter to the Governor of Basra, Uthman Ibn Hunaif Ansari wrote: "Among those things on which the sky casts its shadow was Fadak, which was in our possession. But a group showed niggardliness and the other side, Fatima, and her descendants withdrew from pursuing their claim. And the best Judge is Allah."

You said that Fatima was satisfied with the decision in the last days of her life and pardoned those responsible for it. I am afraid you are mistaken here. As has been proved beyond doubt earlier through reliable hadith that oppressed Lady remained indignant until she died.

Abu bakr and ‘Umar tried to visit Fatima to explain their point, but in vain

To prove my point of view I should like to submit the following report. Abu Muhammad Abdullah Ibn Muslim Ibn Qutayba Dinawari (died 276 A.H.) in his Ta'rikh al-Khilafa'i'r-Rashidin, known as Al-Imama wa's-Siyasa, vol. I, p. 14 and others of your ulama’, like Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, write in their authentic books:

"‘Umar asked Abu Bakr to go with him to visit Fatima. They had certainly enraged her. (Some reports say that it was Abu Bakr, who asked ‘Umar to go with him to visit Fatima. This seems more plausible.)

In short, both of them went together to the door of Fatima but she did not allow them to visit her. When they asked ‘Ali to intervene, he remained silent, but he allowed them to go in. When they went in and saluted her, she turned her face to the wall. Abu Bakr said: 'O part of the Prophet's liver, by Allah, I value the relationship of the Holy Prophet with you more than my relationship with my daughter, A’ysha.

Would that I had died soon after the Holy Prophet of Allah. I know your rank and position more than any one else. If I have deprived you of your right of heritage, it was really because of the Holy Prophet, whom I myself heard saying: 'We prophets do not leave any heritage. What we leave is charity (for the Muslims).'

Fatima then said to Amiru'l-Mu'minin that she would remind them of a hadith of the Holy Prophet and ask them to say in the name of Allah if they had not heard the Holy Prophet saying it: 'Fatima's pleasure is my pleasure; Fatima's indignation is my indignation. So one who loves my daughter Fatima loves me; one who pleases Fatima, pleases me. One, who offends Fatima, offends me.'

Both of them said: 'Yes we heard these words from the Holy Prophet of Allah.' Then Fatima said: 'I call Allah and His Angels to witness that both of you have offended me and did not treat me justly. When I meet the Holy Prophet I will certainly complain to him of you both.'

Abu Bakr realized the seriousness of Fatima’s anger

Abu Bakr, being troubled at these words, began to weep and said: 'I seek Allah's shelter from the Holy Prophet's anger.' Fatima began to weep and said: 'I swear by Allah that I will certainly call down curses upon you in all my prayers.'

After hearing this, Abu Bakr went out, weeping. People gathered round him and consoled him. To them he said: 'Woe be to you. You are all happy, sitting with your wives comfortably, but I am in this wretched state. I do not need your allegiance. Rid me of it. By Allah, after what I have seen and heard from Fatima, I do not want any Muslim to suffer the burden of allegiance to me.'"

These reports, related by your own notable ulama’, show that the oppressed Fatima remained indignant with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar until the last hour of her life.

Fatima was buried at night, a proof of her lasting displeasure with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar

The clearest proof of Fatima's anger in this regard is that she made the following will to her husband, Amiru'l-Mu'minin ‘Ali: "None of those persons who have oppressed me and snatched away my right should be allowed to join my funeral. They are certainly my and the Holy Prophet's enemies. Do not allow any one of them or their associates to offer funeral prayers for me. Bury me at night when people are asleep."

Bukhari writes in his Sahih that ‘Ali complied with Lady Fatima's will and buried her at night quietly. People tried their best to find where Fatima was buried, but they could not. It is unanimously accepted that Fatima was, according to her will, buried at night. The Holy Prophet left a single daughter to serve as his memory.

Your own ulama’ agree that he said: "Fatima is a part of my body. She is my legacy and trust. Respect her as you respect me. Never do anything to incite her anger against you. If she is angry with you, I also will be angry with you."

Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani Faqih Shafi'i writes in his Mawaddatu'l-Qurba that the Holy Prophet said: "Those who grieve Fatima will be strictly dealt with by me on the Day of Judgment. Fatima's pleasure is my pleasure, and Fatima's anger is my anger. Woe be to him with whom Fatima is indignant."

How tragic is it that for all these declarations, the Community not only ignored her but also snatched away her right and caused her so intense torment. Even while still a young woman, she declared: "I was subjected to so many troubles that if days had been subjected to such troubles, they would have turned into nights."

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