Sultanu'l-Wa'izin Shirazi, an eminent scholar of Iran, visitedIndia in 1927 A.D (1345 A.H.) when he was 30 years old. He wasgiven a rousing reception everywhere he went. People benefitedfrom his knowledge of tradition, history, and commentary on theholy Qur'an. He was persuaded to enter into a religious debateon 23rd Rajab, 1345 A.H., with people of another belief in Peshawar,in what was then India and is today Pakistan. The discussion tookplace on ten successive nights. The two principal participantsfrom the opposite side were renowned scholars of Kabul, HafizMuhammad Rashid and Sheikh Abdu's-Salam. Four reporters recordedthe discussions in the presence of approximately 200 people (Shiaand Sunni Muslims). Local newspapers published these accountseach following morning. Sultanu'l-Wa'izin Shirazi compiled thenewspaper accounts of the discussions in a book in Persian, publishedin Teheran as Shabhaye-Peshawar, or Peshawar Nights. The followingis a translation of that book.
Hafiz Muhammad Rashid, Sheikh Abdu's-Salam, Seyyed Abdu'l-Hayy,and other scholars of that region were present. The discussionbegan in the presence of a large gathering. In the magazines andnewspapers, they referred to the writer as "Qibla-o-Ka'ba,"but in these pages I have referred to myself as"Well-Wisher"and to Hafiz Muhammad Rashid as "Hafiz."
Hafiz: We are very pleased tohave this opportunity to discuss the basic points on which wediffer. We should first decide how we should proceed.
Well-Wisher: I am willing toparticipate in discussions on the condition that we cast asideall preconceived ideas and discuss matters reasonably, like brothers.
Hafiz: I may also be permittedto make one condition: that our discussions should be based onthe injunctions of the Holy Qur'an.
Well-Wisher: This conditionis not acceptable since the Holy Qur'an is so concise that itsdeep significance must be interpreted through reference to otherfacts and hadith.
Hafiz: Right. This is sensible,but it is also necessary that reference be made to hadith andevents that are based on indisputable evidence. We should refrainfrom referring to doubtful sources.
Well-Wisher: Agreed. For a manlike me, who is proud enough to claim relationship with the Prophet,it is not fair to go against the examples set forth by my ancestor,the Prophet of Islam. He has been addressed in the Holy Qur'anas follows: "And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublimemorality." (68:4) It is also unbecoming to act against theinjunctions of the Holy Qur'an which says: "Call to the wayof your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputationswith them in the best manner...." (16:125)
Hafiz: Excuse me, you referto your relationship with the Holy Prophet. It is commonly known,but I ask that you let me know your genealogy so that I may knowhow your ancestral line reaches the Prophet.
Well-Wisher: My ancestral linereaches the Prophet through Imam Musa Kazim as follows: Muhammad,son of Ali Akbar (Ashrafu'l-Wa'izin), son of Isma'il Mujtahidal-Wa'iz, son of Ibrahim, son of Salih, son of Abi Ali Muhammad,son of Ali (known as Mardan), son of Abi'l-Qasim Muhammad Taqi,son of (Maqbulu'd-din) Husain, son of Abi Ali Hasan, son of Muhammadbin Fathullah, son of Ishaq, son of Hashim, son of Abi Muhammad,son of Ibrahim, son of Abi'l-Fityan, son of Abdullah, son of Hasan,son of Ahmad (Abu Tayyib), son of Abi Ali Hasan, son of Abu Ja'farMuhammad al-Hairi (Nazil-e-Kirman), son of Ibrahim Az-Zarir (knownas Mujab), son of Amir Muhammad al-Abid, son of Imam Musa Kazim,son of Imam Muhammad Baqir, son of Imam Ali Zainu'l-Abidin, sonof Imam Husain, son of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali binAbi Talib.
Hafiz: This line of descentreaches the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (may Allah bless him)although you have said that it ends with the holy Prophet. Infact, with this genealogy, you should call yourself among therelations of the holy Prophet and not among his direct descendants.A descendent is one who is directly linked with the Prophet.
Well-Wisher: Our ancestral linereaches the Prophet through Bibi Fatima Zahra, the mother of ImamHusain. I don't understand why you insist so much on this point.
Hafiz: I think I am misunderstood.It is my point of view that descent is recognized from the maleside only. I quote an Arabic couplet: "My sons, grandsons,and daughters are from me, but my daughter's sons are not fromme." If you can prove otherwise, please do so.
Well-Wisher: There is strongevidence, both from the Holy Qur'an and from authentic hadith,to establish my point.
Hafiz: Please relate it so thatwe may understand.
Well-Wisher: While you werespeaking just now, I recalled a discussion between Harun ar-Rashid,the Abbasid caliph, and our Imam Musa Kazim on this topic. TheImam gave such a convincing reply that the caliph himself acceptedit.
Hafiz: I would like to hearabout that discussion.
Well-Wisher: Abu Ja'far MuhammadBin Ali, entitled Sheikh Saduq, in the fourth century A.H. inhis Uyun-e-Akbar ar-Riza (Major Sources for Riza), and Abu MansurBin Ali Tabarsi, in his Ehtijajj (Supports) give a detailed accountof the conversation that took place between Harun ar-Rashid andImam Musa Ja'far in the caliph's court. The caliph asked the Imam,"How can you claim that you are a descendant of the HolyProphet? The Prophet Muhammad had no descendant. It is acknowledgedthat descendants are from the male side and not from the femaleside. You belong to the generation of his daughter." TheImam recited verses 84-85 from Chapter VI of the Holy Qur'an:"And We gave to him Isaac and Jacob; each did We guide, andNoah did We guide before, and of his descendants David and Solomonand Job and Joseph and Aaron; and thus do We reward those whodo good. And Zakariyya and John and Jesus and Elias; every onewas of the good." (6:84-85)
The Imam asked the caliph: "Who was Jesus's father?"Harun replied that Jesus had no father. The Imam said: "Therewas no one, and yet Allah included Jesus in the progeny of theprophets through Mary. Similarly, He has included us in the progenyof the holy Prophet through our ancestor Bibi Fatima." Moreover,Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi, in his Tafsir-e-Kabir (Great Commentary),Bk IV, P. 124, Problem V, says regarding this verse that the verseproves that Hasan and Husain are the descendants of the Prophetof Islam. Since in this verse God has verified Jesus as a descendantof Abraham, and Jesus had no father, this relationship is fromthe side of the mother. In the same manner, Hasan and Husain aretruly the descendants of the Prophet. Imam Musa Kazim asked Harunif he wanted further proof. The caliph asked the Imam to continue.The Imam read verse 60 from Chapter III, "Al-e-Imran,"of the Holy Qur'an: "But whoever disputes with you in thismatter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: come,let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your womenand our selves and your selves, then let us be earnest in prayerand pray for the curse of Allah on the liars." (3:61)
He continued, saying that no one has ever claimed that on theoccasion of the spiritual contest (Mubahala) against the Christiansof Najran that the Prophet took with him anyone except Ali BinAbu Talib, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain. It follows, therefore that"selves" (anfusana) means Ali Bin Abi Talib. "Women"(nisa'ana) means Fatima and "sons" (abna'ana) meansHasan and Husain whom Allah has identified as the Prophet's ownsons. Upon hearing this argument, Harun exclaimed, "Bravo,O Abu'l-Hasan." Clearly, this reasoning proves that Hasanand Husain are the sons of the Prophet and that the Sa'dat Fatima(descendants of Bibi Fatima) are of the progeny of the holy Prophet.
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, one of your greatest scholars, in hisSharh-i-Nahju'l-Balagha (Commentary on the Peak of Eloquence [writingsof Commander of the Faithful, Ali]), and Abu Bakr Razi in hiscommentary, have cited the same verse, arguing that Hasan andHusain are, from the side of their mother, the sons of the holyProphet in the same way that Allah in the Holy Qur'an has includedChrist in the progeny of Abraham from the side of his mother,Mary.
Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i, in his book Kifayatu't-Talib,and Ibn Hajar Makki on pages 74 and 93 of Sawa'iq Muhariqa fromTabrani and Jabir Bin Abdullah Ansari, and Khatib Khawarizmi inManaqib from Ibn Abbas - all relate that the Prophet said: "Allahcreated the progeny of every Prophet from his own generation,but my progeny was created in the generation of Ali." AlsoKhatib-e-Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Shafi'iin Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, in Musnad, and SulaymanHanafi Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda relate, in more or less thesame words, that the holy Prophet said: "These, my two sons,are two flowers of this world, and both of them are Imams (leaders),whether they are Imams openly or silently sitting at home."And Sheikh Sulayman Hanafi, in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, devotesChapter 57 to this topic and cites many hadith from his own learnedmen, like Tabrani, Hafiz Abdu'l-Aziz Ibn Abi Shaiba, Khatib-e-BaghdadiHakim, Baihaqi, Baghawi and Tabari - all relating in slightlydiffering versions that Hasan and Husain are the sons of the Prophet.
Towards the end of the same Chapter, Abu Salih writes : HafizAbdu'l-Aziz Bin Al-Akhzar, Abu Nu'aim, Tabari, Ibn Hajar Makkion page 112 of Sawa'iq Muhriqa, from Muhammad Bin Yusuf GanjiShafi'i at the end of Part I after 100 Chapters of Kifayatu't-Talib,and Tabari in the narration of the life of Imam Hasan relatesthat the second caliph, Umar Bin Khattab, said: "I heardthe Prophet say that on the Day of Judgement every ancestry willbe disconnected except my generation. Every generation of a daughteris from the father's side except the generation of Fatima, whichis connected with me. I am their father and ancestor." SheikhAbdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Amir Shabrawi Shafi'i, in his book Kitabu'l-Ittihafbi Hubbi'l-Ashraf, quoted this hadith from Baihaqi and Darqutnifrom Abdullah Bin Umar, and he from his father, on the occasionof the wedding of Umme Kulthum. And Jalalu'd-din Suyuti quotingfrom Tabrani in his Ausat, has related from Caliph Umar and SeyyedAbu Bakr Bin Shahabu'd-din Alawi on pages 39-42 of Chapter IIIof Rishfatu's-sadi min Bahra Faza'il Bani Nabiu'l-Hadi (printedin Maktabi A'lamiyya, Egypt in the year 1303 A.H.), proving thatthe descendants of Fatima are of the progeny of the Prophet ofIslam.
Hence, the couplet that you quoted has no force in the face ofall this contrary evidence. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i,in his "Kifayatu't Talib," proves that the sons of theProphet's daughter are the sons of the holy Prophet. Our ancestralline goes back to Imam Husain; we are, therefore, descendantsof the Prophet.
Hafiz: Your argument is reasonableand convincing. The people dispersed for the Isha prayer.
During the recess Nawab Abdu'l-Qayum Khan, who belongs to a noblefamily of the Sunnis, asked permission to ask Well-Wisher somequestions.
Nawab: Why do the Shias combinethe prayers of Zuhr and Asr and Maghrib and Isha? This is notin keeping with the practice of the holy Prophet.
Well-Wisher: In the first place,among your own learned men, there is much difference of opinionconcerning this issue. Secondly, you say that we go against thepractice of the Prophet. Here you are mistaken since the holyProphet used to offer these prayers in both ways, sometimes separatelyand sometimes together. Nawab Sahib, turning to his learned men,asked them if it was true that the Prophet offered the prayersin both ways.
Hafiz: He did, but only whenhe was on a journey or when there was some other hindrance, likerain. Otherwise, when he was at home, he always offered his prayersseparately.
Well-Wisher: It is recordedin your own hadith that the Prophet used to offer prayers separatelyas well as combined at home and without any obstruction. Manyhadith confirm this fact. Muslim Bin Hajjaj in his Sahih, in theChapter "Jam'a Baina's-salatain fi'l-Hazar," says thatIbn Abbas said: "The Prophet used to say Zuhr and Asr aswell as Maghrib and Isha prayers jointly without being constrainedto do so, or when he was at home." Again Ibn Abbas narrated:"We said eight rak'ats of Zuhr and Asr and later seven rak'atsof Maghrib and Isha prayers jointly with the holy Prophet."The same hadith has been related by Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in hisMusnad, Part 1, Page 221. Similarly, Imam Muslim quotes a numberof hadith concerning this issue. He quotes Abdullah Bin Shaqiqas having said that one day Abdullah Bin Abbas was reading anaddress after the Asr prayers until the sun set and the starswere visible. People cried, "Prayers, Prayers," butIbn Abbas paid no heed to them. Then one of the Bani Tamimi shouted"Prayers, Prayers." Ibn Abbas then said: "You remindme of the Sunna, but I myself have seen the Holy Prophet combineZuhr and Asr as well as Maghrib and Isha prayers." Abdullahbin Shaqiq said that he felt uncertainty about these words andwent to Abu Huraira to ask him about it. He verified what IbnAbbas had said. Through another chain of narrators, Abdullah binShaqiq has narrated from Aqil that once Abdullah bin Abbas spoketo the people from the pulpit. He remained there so long thatdarkness fell. When someone shouted thrice, "Prayer, Prayer,Prayer," Abdullah Bin Abbas became annoyed and said: "Woebe to you. You dare remind me of prayer, even though during theHoly Prophet's days we used to combine Zuhr with Asr as well asMaghrib with Isha prayers." Zarqani in Sharhe Mawatta' ofImam Malik, Part I, in the Chapter of "Jama'a Baina's-Salatain,"p. 263, states, "Nisa'i related through Amru Bin Haram fromAbi Sha'atha that Ibn Abbas said his Zuhr and Asr prayers as wellas Maghrib and Isha prayers jointly in Basra without any timelag or action between them. He said that the Holy Prophet offeredhis prayers in the same way." Also Muslim in Sahih and Malikin Mawatta', Chapter "Jam'a Baina's-salatain" and ImamHanbal in Musnad quotes Ibn Abbas through Sa'id Bin Jabir thatthe Holy Prophet offered his Zuhr and Asr prayers together inMedina without being constrained to do so by fear or bad weather.Abu Zubair said he asked Abu Sa'id why the Prophet combined thetwo prayers. Sa'id said that he too asked Ibn Abbas thesame question.Ibn Abbas replied that he combined the two prayers so that hisfollowers might not be put to undue hardship and suffering. Also,in many other hadith, Ibn Abbas is related to have said that theHoly Prophet of Islam combined Zuhr and Asr as well as Maghriband Isha prayers without being constrained to do so. These hadithin your Sahih and in many other authentic books prove the permissibilityof the combination of the two prayers, both at home and duringtravel.
Hafiz: There is no such quotationof hadith in Sahih Bukhari.
Well-Wisher: Because all theauthors of Sahih, like Muslim, Nisa'i, Ahmad Bin Hanbal, and exponentsof the Sahihain, of Muslim, Mubhari, and other great Sunni scholarshave quoted these things, this is sufficient for us to win ourpoint. But in fact, Bukhari, too, has recorded these hadith inhis Sahih, but he has deceitfully put them away from their properplace, the section concerning the combination of two prayers.If you go through the Chapters "Bab-e-Ta'akhiru'z-zuhr li'l-AsrMin Kitabe Mawaqitu's-salat" and "Bab-e-Dhikru'l-Ishawa'l-Atma" and "Bab-e-Waqtu'l-Maghrib," you willfind all these hadith there. Recording these hadith under theheading, "Permission and Authorization to Combine Two Prayers"proves that it is the common belief of learned men of the twosects. The authenticity of these hadith has already been acknowledgedin the books of Sahih. Accordingly, Allama Nuri in Sharhe SahihMuslim, Asqalani, Qastalani, Zakariyya-e-Razi, in the commentariesthat they have written on Sahih Bukhari, Zarqani in his commentaryon the Mawatta' of Malik, and others related these hadith. Afterquoting the hadith of Ibn Abbas, they acknowledged their authenticityand admitted that these hadith are proofs of the acceptabilityof combining two prayers.
Nawab: How is it possible thatthese hadith have been put into practice since the time of theHoly Prophet, but learned men have adopted a different path?
Well-Wisher: This situationis not confined to this topic alone. You will see many such exampleslater. In this matter, Sunni scholars of jurisprudence, apparentlywithout much serious thought, or for other reasons which I donot understand, have given unintelligible explanations contradictingthese hadith. For instance, they say that perhaps these hadithrefer to situations involving fear, danger, rains, or winds. Someof your older scholars, like Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i, and someother jurists of Medina gave the same explanation. This, despitethe fact that the hadith of Ibn Abbas clearly says that the twoprayers were offered without the constraint of fear or the possibilityof rainfall.
Others have suggested that perhaps the sky was overcast, and thoseoffering prayers did not know the time. Perhaps, when they finishedtheir Zuhr prayers, the clouds dispersed, and they saw that itwas time for Asr prayers. So they had to offer Zuhr and Asr prayerstogether. I don't think a more unlikely explanation could be found.Perhaps these interpreters did not care to think that the personoffering prayers was the Holy Prophet of Islam. Clouds did notmean to him what they might to others. He understood all causesand effects. Apart from the fact that this explanation is unconvincing,the combining of Maghrib and Isha prayers rejects their explanation.At that time clouds have no relevance to this question.
As we said: the hadith of Ibn Abbas clearly states that his addresscontinued so long that the audience repeatedly cried, " prayers,prayers." They reminded him that the stars had appeared andthat it was time for prayers. But he purposely delayed the Maghribprayer so that he might offer both Maghrib and Isha prayers together.Abu Huraira also verified this action, saying that the Prophetalso acted in the same manner. Such spurious explanations, inlight of clear guidance, are regrettable. Your own learned menreject them. Sheikhu'l-Islam Ansari, in his Tuhfatu'l-Bari fiSharhe Sahihu'l-Bukhari in the Chapter "Salatu'z-zuhr ma'l-Asrwa'l-Maghrib ma'al Isha," page 292, Part II, and similarly,Allama Qastalani, on page 293, Part II of Irshadu's-Sari fi SharheSahihu'l-Bukhari, as well as other exponents of Sahih Bukhariadmit that this kind of explanation is against the obvious meaningof the hadith and that to insist that every ritual prayer be offeredseparately is a groundless requirement.
Nawab: Then how did this controversyarise so that the two sects of Muslims are after the blood ofeach other and condemn each other's actions?
Well-Wisher: You say that thetwo sects of Muslims are inimical to each other, but I disagree.We Shias do not look down upon any of the learned men or commonpeople of our brothers, the Sunnis. We regret that propagandaof the Kharijis, the Nasibis, and the Umayyads have affected thehearts of some people. Unfortunately, some Sunnis regard theirShia brothers, who are one with them as regards the Qibla (Ka'ba),the Holy Book (Qur'an), and the Prophet, as Rafizis (dissenters),idolaters, and infidels.
As for your question regarding how this difference originated,perhaps we can discuss this in later meetings. Concerning thesaying of prayers separately or together, Sunni legal scholarshave recorded hadith which permit the offering of Zuhr with Asr,and Maghrib with Isha prayers as a matter of ease, comfort, orsafety. I do not know why some do not consider it permissibleto offer the two prayers together in the absence of any obstruction.Some authorities, like Abu Hanifa and his adherents, forbid itunder any circumstances, whether there is any obstruction or not,or whether the prayers are said during travel or at home. TheShafi'ites, Malikites, and Hanbalites, with all of their differencesin essential and non-essential tenets, have permitted the combiningof the prayers during a lawful journey. But the Shia ulema, inobedience to the Holy Imam and the progeny of the Holy Prophet,have unconditionally permitted the offering of prayers together.
Of course the offering of prayers at the time specified for eachritual prayer is preferable to praying in one interval, as hasbeen clearly stated in expository books dealing with problemsof religious performance written by Shia ulema. Since people areoften busy with their own affairs and have their own cares andanxieties, they fear they might miss their prayers. Hence, fortheir own convenience and to avoid hardship and suffering, theShias say their two prayers in one interval, whether early orlate, during the appointed time. Now I think this much is sufficientto enlighten our Sunni brothers who look at us with indignation.Perhaps we can return to our discussions about the fundamentals,after which the questions concerning practice will be solved.
Hafiz Sahib asked Allama Sultanu'l-Wa'izin to tell him how hisancestors migrated from the Hijaz to Iran. He gave a history ofhis ancestors who were murdered in Shiraz on the order of theAbbasid King. Their mausoleums still attract pilgrims from distantplaces. Notable among them are Seyyed Amir Muhammad Abid, SeyyedAmir Ahmad (Shah Charagh), and Seyyed Alau'd-din Husain, all sonsof Imam Musa Kazim. The details concerning his family are omitted.