The verse clearly states "And wipe part of your heads"
(after the washing of the face and the hands). On the basis of
this Qur'anic injunction, the Shia jurists, following their Imams,
insist that the head itself is to be wiped in performing 'wuzu'.
The Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanafi jurists concur. But Imam Ahmad
Bin Hanbal, Ishaq, Thawri, and Quza'i have said that wiping over
the turban is lawful. This has been reported by Imam Fakhru'd-din
Razi in his Tafsir-e-Kabir. Every sensible person knows that wiping
the turban and wiping the head are quite different.
There are other serious differences among your jurists and among
the four schools of law. Although most of them are clearly inconsistent
with Qur'anic injunctions, you do not find fault with one another.
Everyone of them is free to maintain his point of view.
You do not call Abu Hanifa and the Hanafis polytheists, when they
allow wuzu to be performed with nabiz (fermented date liquor),
nor do you condemn self-contradictory interpretation of laws which
violate Qur'anic ordinances. But you object to Shias, who follow
the progeny of the Holy Prophet. In fact, you call the followers
of the exalted family, Rafizis and infidels! You have repeatedly
said on previous nights that the practices of the Shias prove
that they are polytheists.
You asked why we do not offer prayers like Muslims. We offer the same prayers that you and all other Muslims do: two units (rak'ats) of fajr (the morning prayer), four rak'ats of zuhr (the noon prayer), four rak'ats of asr (the afternoon prayer), three rak'ats of maghrib (the sunset prayer), and four rak'ats of 'isha (the evening prayer).
As for the differences in the articles of practice, they are present
in abundance in all the sects of Islam. For example, there is
a clear difference between Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari and Wasil Bin Ata
in the fundamentals and articles of practice. Also your four imams
(Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi'i, and Ahmad Hanbal) and other great
jurists like Hasan, Dawud, Kathir, Abu Sur, Quza'i, Sufyan Thawri,
Hasan Basri and Qasim Bin Salam, etc. have differences among them.
In the same way, the orders of the holy Imams of the Ahle Bait
differ from the statements of your jurists. If the legal interpretations
of the jurists and their different opinions can be criticized,
why should the same criticism not be made against the different
sects of Sunnis?
Many Sunni ulema accept legal interpretations which contradict
the explicit ordinance of the Holy Qur'an, and yet they offer
lame interpretations to clear ordinances. Other jurists give an
opposite opinion. Still, you do not regard their interpretation
or practice as infidelity. But in regard to our performance of
sajda (prostration), you raise loud objections, saying that the
Shias are idol worshipers, while you ignore the pronouncement
of your own ulema that prostration on dry excrement is lawful.
The legal decisions of the Shia jurists, following the holy Imams,
are clearly in accordance with the ordinances of the Holy Qur'an.
For instance, your jurists consider wool, cotton, silk, and other
floor coverings the same as earth. But it is obvious that these
coverings are not the earth.
But the Shia, in obedience to their Imams of the Ahle Bait of
the Holy Prophet say: "Prostration is not lawful on any thing
except the earth or those things which grow from the earth and
are not used for eating or wearing." For this you assail
them and call them polytheists. On the other hand, you do not
call prostration on dry excrement polytheism. It is quite evident
that prostrating on the earth (as ordained by Allah) and prostrating
on floor coverings are quite different things.
Sheikh: You people perform the
sajda (prostration) on pieces of earth from Karbala. You keep
the small blocks of earth from that land. They are like idols,
and you consider prostration on them compulsory. Of course, this
performance is against the principles and practices of Muslims.
Well-Wisher: It has become your
second nature to follow your elders blindly, though it does not
befit a just man like you to say that the pure dust of Karbala
is like an idol.
Respected friend! Criticism of any belief must be based on proof.
If you would consult the Shia books of theology, you would find
the answer to your criticism, and you would not mislead our Sunni
brothers with false objections.
If you can show us in any of our commentaries a single hadith
or pronouncement that indicates prostration on the dust of Karbala
is compulsory, we shall accept all your statements as correct.
In fact, in all our books of religious practices, there are clear
instructions that, according to the Qur'anic ordinance, prostration
must be performed on pure earth. This includes dust, stone, sand
and grass, provided that it is not a mineral. Moreover, prostration
may be performed on those things which grow from the earth, provided
that they are not used for food or worn.
Sheikh: Then why do you regularly
keep small blocks of dust from Karbala with you and perform prostration
on them at the time of the ritual prayer?
Well-Wisher: Prostration on
clean earth is compulsory. The ritual prayer is generally offered
in houses furnished with carpets. Even if the carpets are removed,
the earth under them generally contains lime and other substances
on which prostration is not permitted. Therefore, we keep a piece
of earth with us so that we may prostrate on it. (Many Shia Mujtahids
consider chalk, plaster, lime and mined stones such as agate to
be permissible, in the absence of the preferable substances, but
nevertheless they exclude actual ores and refined minerals. tr.)
Sheikh: What we notice is that
all the Shias have tablets of the soil of Karbala and consider
performance of sajda compulsory on it.
Well-Wisher: It is true that
we perform the sajda on the dust of Karbala, but we do not consider
it compulsory. In accordance with the instructions given in our
books of jurisprudence, we consider sajda compulsory on clean
earth. However, according to the Ahle Bait, prostration on the
pure earth of Husain's burial place (Karbala) is preferable.
It is a pity that some people maliciously insist that the Shias
worship Husain. They support their view by pointing out that Shias
perform their prostrations on soil taken from Karbala. In fact
we never worship Husain, Ali, or Muhammad. We worship only Allah,
and it is in accordance with Allah's order that we perform sajda
only on pure earth. Our prostration is not for Husain. But according
to the instructions of the infallible Imams of the progeny of
the Holy Prophet, prostration on the clean soil of Karbala leads
to greater recompense for us, but it is not compulsory.
Sheikh: How can you claim that
the earth of Karbala is possessed of special properties so that
it deserves preference to other soil.
Well-Wisher: First, it is a
fact that different places have different properties. Every piece
of earth has special properties which only expert geologists know.
Nonspecialists don't understand these things.
Second, the special characteristics of the soil of Karbala were
known before the time of the Holy Imams. It was an object of special
attention during the time of the Holy Prophet also, as had been
recorded in authentic books of your own ulema.
In Khasa'isu'l-Kubra, by Jalalu'd-din Suyuti, a number of hadith
of Ummu'l-Mu'minin Ummi Salma, Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha, Ummu'l-Fazl,
Ibn Abbas, and Anas Bin Malik, etc. about the soil of Karbala
have been narrated by your prominent ulema and reliable reporters,
like Abu Nu'aim Ispahani, Baihaqi, and Hakim.
A report says: I saw Husain sitting in the lap of his grandfather,
the Holy Prophet, who had a red block of soil in his hand. The
Holy Prophet was kissing the dust and weeping. I asked him what
that soil was. The Holy Prophet said: "Gabriel has informed
me that my son, this Husain, will be murdered in Iraq. He has
brought this earth for me from that land. I am weeping for the
suffering that will befall my Husain."
Then the Holy Prophet handed the dust to Umme Salma and said to
her: "When you see this soil turn into blood, you will know
that my Husain has been slaughtered."
Umme Salma kept the soil in a bottle and kept watch over it until
she saw on the Day of Ashura, 61 A.H., that it turned to blood.
Then she knew that Husain bin Ali had been martyred.
It is recorded by your prominent ulema and by Shia jurists that
the Prophet and the Imams paid special attention to the pure soil
of Karbala. After the martyrdom of Imam Husain, Imam Seyyedu's-Sajidin
Zainu'l-Abidin Ali Bin Husain picked some up, declared it to be
sacred dust, and kept it in a bag. The Holy Imam used to perform
his prostrations on it and made a tasbih out of it, and recited
Allah's praises on it.
After him all the succeeding Imams considered that soil sacred
and made tasbihs out of it and a small block to prostrate on.
They persuaded the Shias to perform prostrations on them, with
the understanding that it was not compulsory, but with a view
to achieving greater recompense. The Holy Imams insisted that
prostration before Allah must be on clean earth only and that
it was preferable if it was performed on that earth of Karbala.
The great scholar, Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Hasan Tusi, reports
in his Misbahu'l-Mutahajjid that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq kept a little
soil from Imam Husain's tomb in a yellow cloth which he opened
at the time of prayers and performed his prostrations on it.
Shias for a long time have kept this earth with them. Then, fearing
it might be desecrated, they kneaded it into small tablets or
pieces, which are now called mohr. We consider it sacred and during
prayers we prostrate on it not as a compulsory act but in view
of its special nature. Otherwise, when we have no pure soil with
us, we prostrate on clean earth, or clean rock. In this way our
compulsory act is performed.
We are astonished at the behavior of your ulema, who do not find
fault with the legal pronouncements of the four schools of Sunni
law. That is, if Imam A'zam says that in the absence of water
ablution should be performed with nabiz, the Shafi'is, Malikis
and Hanbalis do not object to it. If Imam Ahmad Hanbal believes
in the visibility of Allah or considers it lawful to wipe water
over the turban in the ritual ablution, the ulema of the other
sects do not criticize him. Similarly, they do not condemn other
unique pronouncements like that of joining in wedlock with young
boys while on a journey, prostration on dung or any polluted object,
or copulation with mothers using a cloth wrapper.
But when we say that the progeny of the Holy Prophet have said
that prostrating on the earth of Karbala is praiseworthy, you
say that Shias are polytheists.
Now I will reply to your point. Talking about advanced age and
consensus, you said that because of his age, Abu Bakr was entitled
to preference. Even after ten nights, during which I have disproven
your argument regarding "consensus" and preference based
on age, you raise the issues again as if nothing has been said.
Nevertheless, I will not leave you unanswered.
You have argued that Abu Bakr deserved priority because of his
age and political astuteness. But how is it that some people decided
that for a great cause it was necessary for a man to be old and
politically astute, but Allah and His Prophet did not understand
this. For conveying the first forty verses of Bara'a to the people,
the Holy Prophet deposed Abu Bakr and sent the young Ali in his
Nawab: Respected Sir! Please
don't leave this point vague. Let us know for what purpose Abu
Bakr was deposed and Ali appointed in his place. When I asked
these people (pointing to his ulema) about it, they gave only
a vague answer, saying that it was an unimportant matter. Please
explain this matter.
Well-Wisher: The Muslim community,
including the ulema and historians of both sects (Shias and Sunnis),
acknowledge the fact that when the initial verses of the Sura
of Bara'a (The Immunity) were revealed in condemnation of the
idol worshipers, the Holy Prophet called Abu Bakr and gave him
the verses, ordering him to take them to Mecca and to recite them
to the people of Mecca during the hajj.
Abu Bakr had gone only a short distance when Gabriel appeared
and said: "Prophet of Allah! Allah sends His compliments
to you and says that the matter of the Holy Qur'an should be conveyed
either by the Holy Prophet himself or by one who is of him."
Accordingly, the Holy Prophet called Ali and said to him: "Overtake
Abu Bakr and take the verses of Bara'a from him and read them
to the idol worshipers of Mecca."
Ali set out immediately. He met Abu Bakr at Dhu'l-Halifa and conveyed
the message of the Holy Prophet. He took the verses from Abu Bakr
and, reaching Mecca, read them to the assembly of the people.
Nawab: Has this affair been
recorded in our authentic books?
Well-Wisher: I have just told
you that the whole community is unanimous on this point. I will
give you some references at present so that when you think over
the matter, you may know that it was a very significant affair.
The following eminent writers have reported this matter in their
books and generally testified to its veracity:
Bukhari in Sahih, parts IV and V; Abdi in Jam'-e-Bainu's-Sihahi's-Sitta,
part II; Baihaqi in Sunan, pp.9 and 224; Tirmidhi in Jam'i, vol.II,
p.135; Abu Dawud in Sunan; Khawarizmi in Manaqib; Shukani in Tafsir,
vol.II, p.319; Ibn Maghazili in Faqih-e-Shafi'i in his Faza'il;
Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, p.17; Sheikh Sulayman
Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch.18; Muhibu'd-din Tabari
in Riyazu'n-Nazara, p.147 and Dhakha'iru'l-Uquba, p.69; Sibt Ibn
Jauzi in Tadhkira Khawasu'l-Umma, p.22, Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i
(one of the Imams of Siha) in Khasa'isu'l-Alawi, p.14 (has reported
six hadith relating to this point); Ibn Kathir in Ta'rikh-e-Kabir,
vol.V, p.38 and vol.VII, p.357; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isanaba,
vol.II, p.509; Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in Durru'l-Mansur, vol.III,
p.208 (in commentary on the first verse of Bara'a); Tabari in
Jam'u'l-Bayan, vol.X, p.41, (in commentary on Bara'a); Imam Tha'labi
in Tafsir-e-Kashfu'l-bayan; Ibn Kathir in Tafsir, vol.II, p.333;
Alusi in Ruha'l-Ma'ani, v. III, p.268; the fanatic, Ibn Hajar
Makki in Sawa'iq, p.19; Haithami in Majma'u'z-Zawa'id, v.VII,
p.29; Muhammad Bin Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, p.125, ch.62
(reporting from Abi Bakr and Hafiz Abi Nu'aim and from Musnad
of Hafiz Damishqi as reported by Abi Nu'aim in different ways);
Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, v.I, pp.3 and 151, v.III, p.283,
and v.IV, pp.164-165; Hakim in Mustadrak, v.II, Kitab Maghazi,
p.51 and in v.II of the same book, p.331; Mulla Ali Muttaqi in
Kanzu'l-'Ummal, v.I, pp.246 to 249 and Faza'il-i-Ali v.VI, p.154.
Seyyed Abdu'l-Hayy: Why didn't
the Holy Prophet, whose actions were from Allah, entrust this
mission to Ali in the beginning?
Well-Wisher: Since no reason
for this fact has been recorded, we do not know. But my impression
is that this change was intended to show the superiority of Ali.
At any rate, it certainly disproves the claim that age or political
experience were reasons for excluding Ali from the caliphate.
If Ali had been appointed to this post in the beginning, it would
have appeared an ordinary matter, and would not have been possible
for us to prove to you Ali's superiority. If Abu Bakr's age and
political ability proved his superiority, he should not have been
recalled from such a mission. But the fact is that to convey the
message of prophethood is the work of the Prophet or his caliph.
Seyyed: According to some reports,
Abu Huraira says that Ali had been ordered to go to Mecca along
with Abu Bakr to teach the people the rituals of Hajj. Ali was
to read the verses of Bara'a to the people. Conveying the message
of prophethood in this way indicated that they were of equal rank.
Well-Wisher: First, this is
a forged report of the followers of Abu Bakr. Others have not
narrated it. Second, the whole community agreed that Abu Bakr
was called back and replaced by Ali. This fact has been consecutively
reported in the authentic books of both sects.
Obviously, the consensus of the whole community is that we should
rely on the frequently reported, and authentic hadith. If there
is a single report at variance with authentic hadith, we should
reject it. This view is held by all men of principles and by the
traditionists. Ali's appointment, Abu Bakr's return in a sad and
desperate state, the Holy Prophet's consoling him and satisfying
him that it was Allah's will - all these are generally acknowledged
There is another proof that the right of priority has no relation
to age. The right of preference is achieved through wisdom and
piety. Whoever excels in knowledge and piety shall deserve preference.
The Holy Prophet said: "All men are dead, but the men of
learning are alive."
Accordingly, the Holy Prophet gave Ali first place among the Companions
and said: "Ali is the gate of knowledge." Evidently
the Holy Prophet's gate of knowledge must supersede others.
Of course the other companions of the Holy Prophet who remained
obedient to him were all virtuous people. We never deny the virtuous
position of the companions, but their merits can bear no comparison
to the merits of the Holy Prophet's gate of knowledge.
Your prominent ulema have written in detail about Ali being sent
to Yemen to guide its people. Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i has recorded
six hadith concerning this point, in his Khasa'isu'l-Alawi.
Also Abu'l-Qasim Husain Bin Muhammad Raghib Ispahani, in his Mahadhiratu'l-Udaba,
v.II, p.212 and others, have reported that when the Holy Prophet
commissioned Ali to go to Yemen, Ali pleaded that he was young
and felt some reluctance in being placed over old men of the tribe.
The Holy Prophet replied: "Certainly Allah will guide your
heart and give strength to your tongue."
If age was a requirement for preferment, why then did the Holy
Prophet in the presence of older distinguished companions, like
Abu Bakr, send Hazrat Ali to Yemen to guide the people there?