You said that seeking means to reach Allah is polytheism. If this
were true, why did Caliph Umar Bin Khattab seek Allah's help through
the descendants of the Prophet?
Hafiz: Caliph Umar never did
Well-Wisher: In times of need
Umar sought the help of the descendants of the Prophet, invoked
Allah through them, and his wishes were fulfilled. I refer to
only two such occasions. Ibn Hajar Makki writes in his Sawa'iq-e-Muhriqa,
after verse 14 (from The History of Damascus) that in the 17th
year of the Hijra people prayed for rain but to no effect. Caliph
Umar said that he would pray for rain the next day through the
means of approach to Allah. Next morning he went to Abbas, the
uncle of the Prophet and said: "Come out so that we may invoke
Allah through you for rain."
Abbas asked Umar to sit for some time so that the means of approach
to Allah could be provided. The Bani Hashim (Ahle Bait) were then
informed. Abbas then came out with Ali, Imam Hasan, and Imam Husain.
Other Bani Hashim were behind them. Abbas asked Umar that no one
else be added to their group. Then they went to the place of prayers
where Abbas raised his hands for prayers and said: "O Allah,
you created us, and you know about our actions. O Allah, as you
were kind to us in the beginning, so be kind to us in the end."
Jabir says that their prayers had not ended when clouds appeared
and it began to rain. Before they could reach their homes, they
Bukhari also reports that once during the time of famine Umar
Bin Khattab invoked Allah through Abbas Bin Abdu'l-Muttalib and
said: "We betake ourselves to our Prophet's uncle with you;
so Allah, send down rain." Then it began to rain. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
Mu'tazali in his Sharh Nahfu'l-Balagha (Egyptian edition), page
256, writes that Caliph Umar went along with Abbas, the uncle
of the Prophet, to invoke Allah for rain. In his prayers for rain,
Caliph Umar said: "O Allah, we betake ourselves to your Prophet's
uncle and of his ancestors and of their remaining respectable
men. So guard the position of your Prophet through his uncle.
We were guided toward You through the Prophet so that we may seek
their help and do repentance."
If to seek out the descendants of the Prophet and to call upon
them for our needs in the way of Allah is polytheism, then Caliph
Umar was the first polytheist. The Ahle-e-Muhammad, from the time
of the Prophet to this day, have been the means of approach in
our prayers and invocations of Allah. We regard them only as very
pious people and the nearest ones to Allah. Therefore, we consider
them a means of our approach to Allah. And the best proof for
this is our books of invocation prescribed by our infallible Imams.
We accept the instructions of our Imams. I have two books with
me: Zadu'l-Ma'ad by Allama Majlisi and Hidayatu'z-Za'irin by Sheikh
Abbas Qummi, which I present to you for your consideration. (Both
Hafiz and the Sheikh studied the books.) They read the Du'a-e-Tawassul
(invocation of seeking nearness), and they found that the Prophet's
family was part of the invocation. Everywhere they were mentioned
as means of approach to Allah. At that time Mulla Abdu'l-Hayy
read the whole of Du'a-e-Tawassul, prescribed by the purified
Imams and quoted by Muhammad Bin Babawayh-e-Qummi.
This is an invocation of Allah. Just as Ali has been addressed
here, all of the Imams have been addressed in the same manner.
The influence of the family of the Prophet is sought to approach
Allah. They are addressed in this manner: "O our master and
guide! We seek your help to reach Allah. O most respected in the
eyes of Allah Almighty: recommend us to Him." The whole family
of the Prophet has been addressed in a like manner.
When these invocations were being read, some Sunni gentleman exclaimed
with wonder and sorrow at what a great misunderstanding people
had created. Well-Wisher asked: "Is there any trace of polytheism
in these invocations? Is not Allah's holy name present everywhere?
How many of your ignorant and intolerant people have murdered
poor Shias believing that they had killed an infidel? The responsibility
of these affairs lies squarely on ulema like yourselves. Have
you ever heard that a single Shia has ever murdered a Sunni? The
fact is that the Shia ulema do not spread poison. They do not
create enmity between Shias and Sunnis, and they regard murder
as a great sin. In matters of difference of faith between them,
they clarify positions through discussions based on knowledge
and logic, and let it be known through their talk that the Sunnis
are their brothers. "
On the other hand, the deeds of the fanatical Sunni ulema are
noteworthy. The followers of Abu Hanifa, Malik Bin Anas, Muhammad
Bin Idris, and Ahmad Bin Hanbal, who have significant differences,
call the followers of Ali Bin Abu Talib and Imam Ja'far Bin Muhammad
polytheists and infidels. A great many learned and pious Shias
were martyred on verdicts given by Sunni ulema. Conversely, there
is no such example of cruelty on the part of Shia ulema. Your
ulema often utter curses on Shias, but you will not find anywhere
curses on the Sunnis in the books written by Shia ulema.
Hafiz: You are not fair. You
are stirring up hatred for nothing. Give a single example of a
learned Shia murdered on the verdict of our ulema! Who from our
ulema has uttered curses on the Shias?
Well-Wisher: If I were to go
into the details of the deeds of your ulema or your common people,
one meeting would not be long enough. I will refer only to a few
examples regarding their deeds so that you may know that I am
not stirring up hatred, but revealing facts. If you study the
books of your fanatical ulema, you will find sections where they
have cursed Shias. For instance, consult the books of Tafsir of
Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi. Whenever he had the occasion, e.g., concerning
the verses of Wilaya, he repeatedly writes "Curse be on the
Rafizis, curse be on the Rafizis!" But our ulema have never
written such things against our Sunni brothers.
An example of the cruel treatment of your ulema regarding Shia
men of learning is the verdict of two great Qazis of Syria (Burhanu'd-Din
Maliki and Ibad Bin Jama'at Shafi'i) against one of the great
Shia jurists, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Jamalu'd-Din Makki Amili.
That great jurist was known in his time for his piety and knowledge
of jurisprudence. An example of his scholarship is his book, Lum'a,
which he wrote in seven days without having with him any book
on jurisprudence except Mukhtasar Nafi'. Moreover, the ulema of
the four schools of law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali),
were among his pupils. Because of the oppression by the Sunnis,
this gentleman often practiced Taqiyya (dissimulation in the face
of danger), and did not openly declare his Shia'ism. The great
Qazi of Syria, Ibad Bin Jama'at, who nursed a grudge against him,
spoke ill of him to the ruler of Syria (Baidmar) and accused him
of being a Rafizi and Shia. This learned scholar was arrested.
After suffering imprisonment and torture for a year, on the verdict
of those two qazis (Ibnu'l-Jama'at and Burhanu'd-Din) he was murdered,
and his body hanged on the gallows. Since they declared that a
Rafizi and polytheist was on the gallows, the common people stoned
the body. Afterward, the body was burned and the ashes scattered.
Among the ulema and the pride of Shia jurists in Syria in the
10th century Hijri, was Sheikh Zainu'd-Din Bin Nuru'd-Din Ali
Bin Ahmad Amili. He was well known among both friends and foes
for his learning and integrity. A prolific author, he kept aloof
from the world and wrote 200 books on various subjects. Although
he led a secluded life, the Sunni ulema developed animosity towards
him, jealous of his popularity among the people. The chief among
his opponents was Qazi Sa'ida, who wrote to King Sultan Salim
the following complaint: "Verily, there lives in the territory
of Syria a man who is an innovator, one who does not belong to
any one of the four schools of law." Sultan Salim ordered
that this jurist be presented to the court at Istanbul. He was
arrested in Masjidu'l-Haram and was kept prisoner in Mecca for
forty days. On the sea journey to Istanbul, he was beheaded and
his body was thrown into the sea. Only his head was sent to the
Respected people! I beseech you in the Name of Allah to say whether
you have ever heard of such behavior on the part of the Shia ulema
towards a Sunni because he did not follow the Shia school of law.
What argument can you advance to prove that if a man deviates
from any of the four schools of law, he is an infidel and his
murder is obligatory? Is it reasonable to follow schools of law
which came into being centuries after the Prophet, while those
who follow the law which has existed since the time of the Holy
Prophet are ordered be murdered?
For Allah's sake please say whether the four Imams - Abu Hanifa,
Malik, Shafi'i, and Ahmad Bin Hanbal - were alive during the lifetime
of the Prophet. Did they obtain the fundamentals of the faith
from the Prophet directly?
Hafiz: No one ever claimed this
to be so.
Well-Wisher: Was not the Commander
of the Faithful, Ali a constant associate of the Prophet, and
was he not declared to be the gate of the City of Knowledge?
Hafiz: He certainly was one
of the dignified companions of the Prophet, and in some respects
he was superior to them all.
Well-Wisher: Are we not justified,
therefore, in holding that to follow Ali is obligatory? The Prophet
himself said that obeying Ali was obeying him and that Ali was
the gate of the City of Knowledge? The Prophet also said that
whoever wanted to gain knowledge should go to Ali's door. Also,
according to the Hadith-e-Thaqalain and the Hadith-e-Safina, which
are recognized by both Sunnis and Shias, deviation from the path
shown by the descendants of the Prophet will lead to our ruin.
Dis-obedience to, or antagonism against, the family of the Prophet,
is tantamount to disobedience to the Prophet himself. In spite
of all this, the Shia ulema have never shown such intolerance
towards even the common Sunnis, not to speak of their ulema. We
have always exhorted the Shias that the Sunnis are our brothers
in Islam, and we that should remain united. On the other hand,
the Sunni ulema have often incited their people, saying that Shias
are innovators, Rafizis, Ghalis, or Jews. They say that, since
the Shia do not follow one of four Sunni jurists (Abu Hanifa,
Malik, Shafi'i, or Ahmad Bin Hanbal), they are infidels. The fact
is that those who follow the Prophet's progeny are rightly guided.