From the abovementioned discussions, we can conclude that the prohibition of recording the Hadith passed by three stages:
First: The stage of Abu-Bakr and ``Umar.
Second: The stage of those who followed them, such as `Uthman and Mu`awiyah.
Third: The stage beginning with the end of Mu`awiyah’s reign up to the age of the governmental recordings.
Abu-Bakr and `Umar issued the decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith because they had not learnt and comprehended all the heritage of the Holy Prophet in this respect. Because the position of caliphate (Muslim rulership) necessitates having full acquaintance with the judgments of the Holy Prophet in the various issues, the caliphs did not enjoy a distinctive relationship with the Holy Prophet to know all the judgments that he had issued, and the Holy Prophet was not proven to have declared those caliphs as realizing all the aspects of interpretation of exegesis of the Holy Qur'an—because of all these reasons, it was natural that disagreement between the verdicts of the caliphs from one hand and the sayings of the Holy Prophet and the judgments of the Divine Revelation from the other hand would occur.
Had this fact of disagreement been shown to people as clear as it is in the present time, it would have caused a big problem, especially that the caliph was engaged in military combats and conquests of the countries that neighbored the Islamic homeland.
For all these reasons, the caliph assumed that it is necessary for him to adopt his personal opinion, even if they would violate the sacred texts, so that he would be excused in the decisions that he would issue out of his personal views and prospects. `Umar therefore used to say, “Well, that verdict was for that occasion and this verdict is for this one.”1
On account of the expansion of the young Islamic State by means of conquests and dealing with various peoples who had just embraced Islam, the issues and events increased while the caliph was not in the appropriate scientific situation that qualified him to find answers, from the Islamic legislation, for all these innovative and increasing demands because he had not been acquainted enough with the Hadith of the Holy Prophet and had not comprehended properly the texts that the Holy Prophet had revealed as regards the legal situation of such questions.
As a matter of fact, `Umar ibn al-Khattab had not been devoted to accompanying the Holy Prophet and learning from him; rather he and one of his friends who belonged to the Ansar used to visit the Holy Prophet by turns. Al-Bukhariy has narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “My neighbor, one of the Ansar, and I lived in the quarter of the tribe of Umayyah ibn Zayd, which was on the skirts of al-Madinah.
We used to visit the Holy Prophet by turns; I would visit him a day and my neighbor would visit him on the other. When it was my turn, I would go there and carry the news of the Divine Revelation to my neighbor; and when it was his turn, he would carry for me the news and the like.”2
Umar ibn al-Khattab was also diverted from accompanying the Holy Prophet by roaming in marts and making business deals. He used to say, “I was engaged in bargains in marts.”3 One day, Ubayy ibn Ka`b said to him, “While you were engaged in making deals in marts, I was engaged in the Holy Qur'an.”4 That was one of the reasons of the rarity of `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s meetings with the Holy Prophet.
Nevertheless, the new events required urgent solutions that must have been derived from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah; and because the caliph had not comprehended all the items of the Holy Sunnah and the aspects of the interpretation of the texts of the Holy Qur'an, he had to face an unsolvable problem; if he would issue a verdict violating the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, he would be embarrassed before the Sahabah who would certainly declare the very accurate verdict, as found in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, about that even as exactly as they had heard from the Holy Prophet.
For that reason, `Umar, at the outset, used to ask about the Holy Prophet’s judgment in such situation—so as to save himself from future embarrassment—or submit to what the Sahabah would mention from the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds without discussion.
All the same, if the state of asking the Sahabah about the events and situations involved would incessantly continue and if the fact that all the judgments should be always deduced from these texts would not be restrained, these two things would certainly entrap the caliph in new embarrassments whenever exigencies would necessitate a legal situation revealing the judgment of Almighty Allah and hence many opportunities would be missed by him. It was therefore necessary to find an exit from such embarrassments and missing of opportunities.
That exit was nothing but the enactment as a law the freedom of experiencing one’s personal opinions and views as regards the issues of the religious legislation so that `Umar, as well as those who would follow his course, would be excused in whatsoever decision they would take.
As a consequence, the Muslims had to be separated into two parties. The first party embraced those who rejected any personal judgment or deduction unless they are inferred in the light of the texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah—the two major sources of the Islamic legislation.
The second party embraced those who argued that efforts should be exerted in issuing laws in events about which no sacred text is found and argued that only that which conforms to the public interests would be issued even if it would be in violation of the sacred texts.
Interest has been the strongest means that was adopted by the rulers who always claimed that they ordered of matters and warned against others only due to the achievement of the public interests. However, there is an inescapable question that they should answer: Were all these decisions that were claimed to achieve the public interest deduced from the sacred texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah or not?
When the followers of the trend of thorough compliance with the sacred texts adopt a secondary ruling, they will certainly have adopted it in the light of the sacred texts and for a period limited by the necessity, not out of personal perspectives.
On the other hand, the interest in the trend of the pro-caliphs was derived from the act of the caliph and his personal appreciation of a certain question and such ruling would be permanent, not limited. Of course, there is a great difference between the two.
It is undeniable that Ijtihad is so elastic and streamlined that none can stop its procession. One who assumes Ijtihad will find himself the best example on Imam `Ali’s description in the famous sermon of al-Shaqshaqiyyah where he says, “One in contact with it was like the rider of an unruly camel. If he pulled up its rein, the very nostril would be slit, but if he let it loose, he would be thrown.”
In the same time as `Uthman ibn `Affan intended to keep up the conducts (sunnah) of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, he found himself suitable enough for issuing religious verdicts and practicing Ijtihad according to his own perspectives of interests and opinions as same as Abu-Bakr and `Umar had done because he was hurt by the commitment to what had been done during their reigns, as was openly stated by him in his first sermon after coming to power,5 because he deemed himself not less than they were.
He preceded many others to the conversion to Islam and he was related by marriage to the Holy Prophet; therefore, people should not object to him when he would violate some personal judgments of Abu-Bakr and `Umar because he, with his own eyes, saw these people keeping silent before the personal judgments of `Umar ibn al-Khattab that were in clear violation of the Holy Prophet’s traditions and instructions.
Moreover, the publics accepted, assumed, and betook such personal judgments as the course of their lives considering them as weighty as the Holy Sunnah although the majority of these personal decisions opposed the Holy Sunnah and were more dangerous and challenging than the decisions of `Uthman.
`Uthman ibn `Affan used to repeat the following questions to himself: Why did `Umar have the right to enact laws and stop certain actions for nothing more than an “interest” that he himself supposed—such as in the issues of Salat al-Tarawih and the temporary marriage—while I am deprived of such a right?
What for is that it is obligatory upon me to follow the policies of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and it is impermissible for me to, just like them, issue judgments and to have followers?
These questions were said openly by `Uthman when he addressed those who objected to his policy, saying, “Certainly, you are criticizing me for a matter that when was done by `Umar ibn al-Khattab, you acceded to it.” He then added, “By Allah I swear, I am certainly mightier in followers, closer in supporters, more in number, and worthier than the others are. If I say come on, they will come to me. I have prepared for you your equivalent counterparts... etc.”6
As has been previously cited, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf, at the so-called Shura Committee, tried to bind `Uthman ibn `Affan with the adoption of the manners of Abu-Bakr and `Umar only and could obtain pledges and covenants from `Uthman to carry out such obligation, but he then could not bind `Uthman with these covenants; he therefore could do nothing other than keeping silent in his last dialogue with `Uthman on the manner of prayer at Mina:
`Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf asked: “You did perform this prayer with the Messenger of Allah in the shortened form (shortening the four units of prayers to two only), did you not?
`Uthman answered: Yes, I did.
- You did perform this prayer with Abu-Bakr in the shortened form, did you not?
- Yes, I did.
- You did perform this prayer during your first six years of caliphate in the shortened form, did you not?
- Yes, I did.
- Then what for are you now performing this prayer in the complete form (i.e. four units of prayer)?
- This is due to a personal opinion that I have decided!7
Hence, `Uthman violated this divine ruling due to his having practiced Ijtihad in his own sense. Accordingly, he exceeded the limits of the divine legislation, but nobody could stop or object to him or to the personal opinions (Ijtihad) of the others, because the ruler of the Muslims had done such; hence, if one would object to the others’ Ijtihad, he should first object to the caliph because he had done such.
If Ijtihad (in the sense of the caliphs and their followers and fans) is legal, then the Ijtihad of `Uthman as well as anyone else is legal, too; and if the Ijtihad is illegal, then why had Abu-Bakr and `Umar practiced it?
Once again, the issuance of the decision of prohibiting the recordation of the Hadith and the decision of reducing the reporting from the Holy Prophet—these two decisions created the Ijtihad of Abu-Bakr and `Umar; and it was the Ijtihad of Abu-Bakr and `Umar that caused `Uthman to practice similar Ijtihad and change the religious laws according to the “interests” that he himself assumed; and all the caliphs who came after `Uthman—of course except Imam `Ali ibn Abi-Talib—found their lost in the very application of Ijtihad and assuming of the “interest” since these two concepts stood for the best cover beyond which they would hide for deeming legal and correct all their personal views and decisions.
On the other hand, Imam `Ali ibn Abi-Talib opposed and objected to the creed of this trend. His words in this regard, as found in Nahj al-Balaghah and many other reference books, demonstrate his situation so manifestly that none would doubt it. Let us now quote two texts only from his sermons during his reign of caliphate. In these texts, Imam `Ali shows the features of difference and the roots of this invented question:
“The basis of the occurrence of evils are those desires which are acted upon and the orders that are innovated. They are against the Book of Allah. People cooperate with each other about them even though it is against the Religion of Allah.
If wrong had been pure and unmixed it would not be hidden from those who are in search of it. And if right had been pure without admixture of wrong those who bear hatred towards it would have been silenced.
What is, however, done is that something is taken from here and something from there and the two are mixed! At this stage, Satan overpowers his friends and they alone escape for whom virtue has been apportioned by Allah from before.
Verily, I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying, ‘What will you do when you are confused by a seditious matter due to which the child will be older and the big will be senile. People will accept it and betake it as tradition. When a part of it is changed, they will object that the Sunnah (tradition) has been changed and an evil thing has occurred to the people!
Then the misfortune will be more catastrophic and the Offspring (of the Holy Prophet) will be taken as captives. The heresy will smash the people in the same way as fire smashing wood and in the same way as millstone smashing the skin under it.
The will study the religious knowledge for the sake of other than Almighty Allah, and they will learn not for acting upon what they learn, and they seek worldly pleasures through acts of the world to come.”
He then turned his face to the fore while he was surrounded by some people of his household, friends, and followers, and said, “Before me, the rulers had done some deeds in which they deliberately violated the Messenger of Allah, breaching their covenants with him, and distorting his traditions (Sunnah).
If I oblige these peoples to stop acting upon these deeds and if I restore these deeds to their original faces which were carried out during the age of the Messenger of Allah, my soldiers will certainly depart me until I remain alone or with a few of my adherents who have realized my virtue and recognized the (divinely commissioned) obligation of loyalty to me as it is recorded in the Book of Almighty Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.
Most certainly, if I order the Standing-place of Prophet Abraham (Maqam Ibrahim) to be restored to the very place in which the Messenger of Allah had put;8 and give Fadak back to the inheritors of Fatimah;9 and restore the Sa`10 as it had been decided by the Messenger of Allah;11 and execute the donations that the Messenger of Allah had gifted to some people, but his decision was not executed or carried out; and give back the house of Ja`far to his heirs and take out its share from the Masjid;12 and run over again issues that were unjustly decided;13 and restore women, whom were unjustly divorced from their husbands and married to others, to their actual husbands14 and judge among them according to the very laws of Almighty Allah as regards matrimony; and take the descendants of the tribe of (Banu) Taghlib as captives;15 and restore all that which was distributed from the lands of Khaybar; and erase all the records of governmental gifts;16 and give equally in the same way as the Holy Prophet used to do in order that it may not merely make a circuit between the wealthy among you only; and cancel the land surveying tax;17 and regulate equally the rules of marriage;18 and execute the Khums tax according to the very law that Almighty Allah has revealed and imposed;19 and restore the building of the Holy Prophet’s Mosque to its actual place;20 and close the doors that were opened on it;21 and open the doors that were closed; and ban the rubbing on the sandals (in the ritual ablution);22 and execute the doctrinal provision on those who drink wines; and decide the two kinds of temporary marriage as lawful;23 and order to repeated reciting the Takbir (the statement of Allahu Akbar) five times in the Deceased Prayers;24 and oblige people to recite the Basmalah audibly during the obligatory prayers;25 and take out of the Holy Prophet’s Mosque those whom were entered there after the Holy Prophet himself had ordered to dismiss them and admit therein those whom were taken out of the Holy Prophet’s Mosque although he himself had permitted them to enter there;26 and lead people to submit to the actual laws of the Qur'an and to carry out the divorce as was decided by the Sunnah;27 and decide the very classes and provisions of the Zakat;28 and restore the (ritual) ablution, bathings, and prayers to their actual times, ceremonies, and places;29 and treat the captives of Persia and the other nations according to the instructions of the Book of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet’s traditions;—if I do all these things, the people will depart me.
By Allah I swear, I have ordered people not to gather during the month of Ramadan30 except for the performance of the obligatory prayers and I have informed that to offer a supererogatory prayer collectively is a heretical matter, but some of my soldiers called at some of those who fought with me, saying, ‘O people of Islam! The Sunnah of `Umar has been changed! He is warning us against performing prayers during the month of Ramadan!’
In reality, I anticipated that they would lead a revolt in a side of my army. I have really encountered onerous things due to separation and obedience to the leaders of wrong and the inviters to Hellfire! However, I have been granted the share of The Near Relatives about which Almighty Allah has added,
‘And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire, a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,- if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing,- the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things.’ (Holy Qur’an: 8/41)
By Allah I swear, we are the Near Relatives that Almighty Allah has added us to Him and to His Messenger, saying,
“What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships,- belongs to Allah,- to His Messenger and to the near relatives and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; in order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah; for Allah is strict in punishment.” (Holy Qur’an: 59/7)...etc.31
Shaykh al-Tusi, in Tahdhib al-Ahkam, has written down that Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq narrated the following:
When he settled in al-Kufah, Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin ordered Imam al-Hasan to declare to the people that no more (supererogatory) congregational prayers should be performed in the mosques during the month of Ramadan. As they heard al-Hasan ibn `Ali carrying out the order of Imam `Ali, people began to shout, “Oh for `Umar! Oh for `Umar!” When he returned back, Imam `Ali asked him about these shouts, and Imam al-Hasan informed him of the people’s situations. Hence, Imam `Ali said, “You may allow them to perform that prayer!”32
The following matters can be concluded from the two abovementioned narrations:
1) The rulers (caliphs) who came to power before Imam `Ali had enacted a number of religious laws that were not accepted by Imam `Ali because they were in violation of the Holy Prophet’s instructions.
2) Although Imam `Ali spared no efforts in canceling these invented laws, he could not succeed because of the prevalence and great influence of the trend that backed and defended `Umar ibn al-Khattab and followed his decisions which were issued out of his personal opinions.
3) Not only was the disagreement between Imam `Ali and `Umar ibn al-Khattab about the matter of the worthiest of holding the position of leadership of the Islamic nation after the departure of the Holy Prophet, but also they disagreed on matters appertained to the Muslim jurisprudence and the Islamic legislation. Moreover, the disagreement about matters of the Muslim jurisprudence can be sometimes preceded. The same thing is applicable to the question of `Umar’s prohibition of recording the Hadith.
Those who argued the validity of Opinionism and the Sahabah’s Ijtihad opposed the reporting and recordation of the traditions of the Holy Prophet. Moreover, they gave preference to the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar over all other things because they believed that these individuals had realized the actual logics for the religious laws as well as the spirit of the Muslim legislation!
On the other hand, the followers of the trend of thorough compliance with the sacred texts stopped against the threats of those individuals so as to clarify the actual jurisprudence of the Holy Prophet and to convey his traditions to the people even if this would cause their necks to experience the edges of swords.
It has been narrated that after he was stabbed to death, Imam `Ali said to the attendants,
“My will to you is, first, Almighty Allah: join not any partners with Him and, second, Muhammad: waste not his traditions. Keep these two pillars upright... etc.”33
Ibn Kathir has narrated that his father said: I came near Abu-Dharr who was sitting near the Middle Jamarah (in Makkah) and was surrounded by people who were asking him about religious laws. In the midst of this situation, a man came near him and said, “Have you not been ordered not to deliver religious verdicts any more?”
Abu-Dharr raised his head towards the man and answered, “Have you been appointed to watch me? Even if your swords are put on my neck and I have the opportunity to spread any word that I have heard from the Messenger of Allah, I will spread it.”34
Consider how Abu-Dharr insisted on conveying what he had heard from the Holy Prophet even if swords would be put on his neck! Also, consider how he used the statement, “what I have heard from the Messenger of Allah” instead of the phrase “religious verdict.” This matter reveals the big difference between the two trends.
As they felt the responsibility that was burdened on their shoulders, Abu-Dharr and his companions among the followers of the trend of thorough compliance with the sacred texts exerted all possible efforts in conveying the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet to the last spark of life. He therefore said, “Even if your swords are put on my neck and I have the opportunity to spread any word that I have heard from the Messenger of Allah, I will spread it.”35
As for Abu-Dharr, to say such a statement was so natural because he heard the Holy Prophet on more than one occasion expressing his fear lest his nation would go astray, leave the Right Path, and follow the invented traditions of the others out of their hatred to Imam `Ali.
It has been narrated that Hanash al-Kinaniy said that he heard Abu-Dharr saying, while holding fast to the Gate of the Holy Ka`bah,
O People: Some of you have known me; rather as for those who have not, I tell them that I am Abu-Dharr. I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying, “The like of my Household (the Ahl al-Bayt) is the Ark of Noah; he who embarks it will have been saved; but he who falls behind will have downed.’”36
Abu-Dharr is also reported as having said,
O the community that have been engaged in perplexity after their Prophet! Verily, had you not selected for your leadership those whom Almighty Allah has rejected, and rejected those whom Almighty Allah has selected for you, and confessed to the divinely commissioned leadership and successorship of the Household of your Prophet, you would surely have been nourished from above you and from beneath your feet,37 no shortage would have occurred to the shares of inheritance none of which would have ever failed, and no two individuals have ever disagreed about any of the laws of Almighty Allah; rather you would have found the knowledge of all these present with them (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt) as same as they are found in the Book of Allah and the traditions of the Prophet. Nevertheless, after you had done what you had done, taste then the ill-effects of your own conduct. “Those who do wrong will come to know by what a (great) reverse they will be overturned. 38”39
It has been also narrated that Imam `Ali said to Abu-Dharr,
You have feared those peoples for your religion but they have feared you for their worldly lives.40
The aforesaid narrations reveal the perplexities and ordeals that were suffered by the Muslim community whose individuals had not known which trend to take! Because they had selected for their leadership those whom Almighty Allah has rejected, and rejected those whom Almighty Allah has selected for them, the Muslims had to encounter such perplexities and ordeals.
The Sahabah led the two major trends of the Muslims. Abu-Dharr and his likes supported the trend of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts and confirmed that the Muslims must abide by the traditions of the Holy Prophet whose authentic version is found with the Ahl al-Bayt.
In this regard, too many are the narrations that have reported from the Holy Prophet the distinctive standing of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib who recorded the words of the Holy Prophet during his lifetime and had the books of al-Sahifah, Kitab al-Jami`ah, and al-Jafr in which he compiled all that which he had heard from the Holy Prophet.
`Ali used to sit alone with the Holy Prophet twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening. He stated that he had the knowledge of each and every verse of the Holy Qur'an completely... etc.
The other trend of the Sahabah adopted the words of `Umar, rejected the recordation of any material said or reported from the Holy Prophet, and, moreover, they enacted the right of practicing and deciding one’s own views as opposite to the Holy Prophet’s words so long as that one declares that he had realized the spirit of the religious legislation!
It has been narrated that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, having noticed that people neglected the Prophetic instruction of raising the voice with the Talbiyah (the statement of Labbayka Allahumma labbayk), asked why the people had not declared the Talbiyah.
He was answered that that was because of their fear from Mu`awiyah. Nevertheless, Ibn `Abbas left his tent raising his voice with the Talbiyah and saying, “Labbayka Allahumma labbayk in defiance of Mu`awiyah. O Allah: curse these peoples. They have neglected the Sunnah out of their malice against `Ali.”41
It has been also narrated that `Ikrimah told Ibn `Abbas that he had heard an old man that he had followed in a congregational prayer at Makkah repeating the Takbir twenty-two times and he thought that that old man had been foolish! But Ibn `Abbas answered, “Woe to you! That was the very instruction of Abu’l-Qasim (i.e. the Holy Prophet)!”42
Reports have confirmed that Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan usurped the Basmalah from the Surahs43 and ordered people not to regard it as part of the Surahs. Other narrations have confirmed that Mu`awiyah once sold a golden jug with more than its weight, but Abu’l-Darda' objected to this deal and informed that he had heard the Holy Prophet declaring such deals as forbidden.
However, Mu`awiyah answered, “Well, I do not see any problem in this deal!” Hence, Abu’l-Darda' said, “Who will accept my apology if I do anything to Mu`awiyah! While I am reporting to him from the Messenger of Allah, he is answering me with his own opinion! I will never settle in a land in which you live!”44
These reports and their likes demonstrate clearly the opposition between the two trends in principles and concepts.
This stage represents the ages of the rulers who came after Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan up to the age of the governmental recordings. These rulers adopted the same goals of the rulers who preceded them as well as those who came after them. They all took advantage of the concepts that were prevalent during the first age of Islam as regards the legality of the practice of personal views and opinions in the face of the sacred texts.
These concepts had been invented for the sake of discriminating and holding back the activities of the descendants of Abu-Talib who throughout ages represented the Oppositionists of the ruling authorities. As has been previously cited, `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz ordered Ibn Shihab al-Zuhriy to write down the Prophet’s traditions (Sunnah) confirming that the conduct of Abu-Bakr and `Umar must be adopted. It has been also narrated that Ibn Shihab al-Zuhriy said, “We had disliked writing down the Prophet’s traditions but the authorities compelled us to do it.”45
One must always keep in mind the fact that these rulers were the descendants of Abu-Sufyan and al-Hakam ibn al-`Ās whom were entered under the pennon of Islam by force. Abu-Sufyan is reported to have said, “I swear by him, there is neither Paradise nor Hellfire!”46
Disparaging the Holy Prophet, Mu`awiyah said, “The name of the son of Abu-Kabshah (i.e. the Holy Prophet) is declared loudly five times a day! (i.e. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) Which deed will then perpetuate and which mention will remain after that? Woe to you! Work on burying this mention!”47
It has been well-known that Yazid ibn Mu`awiyah cited the poetic verse of Ibn al-Zubu`riy that read: “The Hashimites played with kingdom; certainly, no news (from the heavens) came and no revelation was descended!”
It is also impossible to conceal the report that Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, once, pulled Marwan ibn al-Hakam from the dress after the latter had tried to ascend the minbar and recite the ritual khutbah of the Salat al-`Īd (The Feast Prayer) before the performance of that prayer.48
Abu-Sa`id further said, “By Allah, you have changed all things. (i.e. religious laws)”
However, Marwan answered, “Abu-Sa`id: That which you keep in mind has gone.”
Abu-Sa`id answered, “By Allah, that which I keep in my mind is certainly better than that which I do not know.”
Marwan commented, “Because I know that people will not listen to me after the performance of the prayer, I decided to recite the Khutbah before it!”49
Commenting on this, Shaykh Muhammad `Abduh says,
“During the Umayyad Dynasty, forgeries prevailed on people causing them misfortunes. Reporters thus increased in numbers while the number of the truthful decreased. The majority of the grand Sahabah refrained from reporting the Hadiths except for a few people that they had trusted.”50
The `Abbasid rulers were not less harmful that the Umayyads to the Islamic legislation. They have misused the Shari`ah in order to achieve political purposes and to preserve their regime. Previously, we have cited how al-Mansur, the `Abbasid ruler, ordered Malik ibn Anas to compile the Sunnah in a written form so that he would order the publics to follow. He also summoned Abu-Hanifah to lead a dispute against Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq.51 In addition, many other narrations have confirmed the ideological disagreement between the two trends as well as the difference in the principles adopted by each party.
The ruling authorities betook the jurisprudential disagreement as their means of recognizing the party of Imam `Ali; therefore, the contradicted narrations that support a certain Muslim jurisprudential school increased in number.52 Mr. Ahmad Amin says,
“It is strange to know that if we make a diagram for the Hadith, it will take a form of a pyramid the summit of which is the age of the Holy Prophet and then it expands with time passage until it reaches the base, which is the remotest age from the Holy Prophet’s.
Nevertheless, the opposite should have been the most logical; the companions of the Holy Prophet were the most acquainted with his traditions and this acquaintance decreases with the death of these companions. In fact, we notice that the Hadiths during the Umayyad dynasty were bigger in number than the Hadiths during the age of the Rashidite caliphs; and the Hadiths in the `Abbasid dynasty were bigger in number than these in the Umayyad... and so on.”53
Mr. Ahmad Amin then justifies this fact by claiming that the wide movement of the immigration for seeking the knowledge of Hadith as well as the roles played by the Jews and Christians had been the reasons behind that. He however pretended to neglect the main reason, which was the role of the ruling authorities and their political goals.
In this respect, I wonder how the Jews—who used to pay the tribute readily and were brought low, in the words of the Holy Qur'an—could practice such a grave, destructive role away from any support or overlooking from the ruling authorities!
In my conception, the most important factors in this respect were the political decisions that enacted the legality of the personal opinions as opposite to the sacred texts.
Having predicted such, the Holy Prophet expressed his fear for the future of the Islamic legislation, guided to the necessity of the commitment to his instructions, and emphasized on the obligation of adopting and complying with the words of the Ahl al-Bayt, as is obviously clear in the famous Hadith of al-Thaqalayn in addition to many other Hadiths. Abu-Bakr, too, anticipated this when he said, “People who will come after you will be more discrepant that you are.” However, he did not treat that except through calling the publics for depending upon the Book of Allah alone!
As a conclusion, from the aforesaid discussions we can understand that all these conceptions and their likes came to surface as a result of the enactment of the prohibition of recording and reporting the Hadith as well as the adoption of the legality of the Sahabah’s personal views and other political factors.
It is said that a difference begins with one millimeter and ends up with a kilometer or even becomes endless. The ordeals of the Prophetic texts and all that which happened to the Islamic legislation have become the best example on this geometric fact. The Holy Sunnah unfortunately reached at such an unfavorable level that it has not been recognized except through the acts of the Sahabah and, what is worse is that the opinions and deeds of the Sahabah were decided as restricting the texts of the Holy Qur'an!
Hereinafter, some texts of the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt that carry answers for the majority of the spurious arguments and confirm the illegality of depending upon personal views as regards the religious laws will be cited:
In a lengthy epistle that he has sent to his followers, Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq says,
“O the compassionated and successful group! Verily, Almighty Allah has perfected for you the welfare that He has conferred upon you. Be it known to you that it is unacceptable, according to the knowledge and commission of Almighty Allah, that any of His creatures may decide a matter appertained to His religion out of his own fancy, opinion, or invented analogy.
Almighty Allah has revealed the Qur'an, has included it the exposition of all things, and has chosen definite people for preserving and teaching it. It is unfeasible for the people of the knowledge of the Qur'an that Almighty Allah has given exclusively to them to adopt any fancy, opinion, or analogy as regards the questions of their religions.
Those are the Ahl al-Dhikr (Followers of the Reminders)54 to whom Almighty Allah has ordered the community to refer in the religious questions...
Although the Messenger of Allah, before his demise, had ordered them to adhere to the sacred texts, they, immediately after the demise of him, decided to follow and adopt matters upon which people -the ordinary people- would agree even if such matters would violate the commission of Almighty Allah and His Messenger.
Certainly, to claim the capability of deciding matters that are in violation of the commissions of Almighty Allah and the Messenger of Him has been the most defiant to Almighty Allah and the most deviant act.
By Allah I swear; it is incumbent upon His creatures to obey Him and to follow His commissions during the lifetime of Muhammad—peace be upon him and his family—and after his death...
Can any of these enemies of Almighty Allah prove that anyone of those who followed and submitted to Muhammad had adopted their personal opinions and acted upon analogies? If they answer affirmatively, they will certainly have forged lies against Almighty Allah and indeed strayed off into a remote error.
And if they answer that it was illegal for anyone (of those who followed and submitted to the Holy Prophet) to decide his own views, fancies, and analogies in matters of the religion, then they will have testified against themselves and proved the falsity of their claims.
In the same way as it was illegal for anyone of those who followed and submitted to the Holy Prophet to decide his own views, fancies, and analogies in matters of the religion during his lifetime, it is also illegal for those lived after him to do such...
Follow and adopt the traditions and heritage of the Messenger of Allah; and follow not your own fancies and opinions lest you will have strayed off. Verily, the most deviant people in the view of Almighty Allah are those who follow their own fancies and opinions without any guidance from Him.
O Group: Adhere to the traditions and conducts of Almighty Allah as well as the traditions and conducts of the Imams of the Household of the Messenger of Allah—the guides to the true. Verily, one who follows that shall have certainly been guided to the truth, but one who neglects and abandons that will have strayed off. This is because these Imams are the very ones the obedience and loyalty to whom have been commissioned by Almighty Allah.”55
Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq, on the authority of his honorable fathers, has narrated that Imam `Ali, within a long sermon, said,
“Verily, a true believer is he who has taken his religion from his Lord, not from his own opinions.”56
Imam `Ali has narrated that the Holy Prophet said,
“Almighty Allah says: He who interprets My Words in his own opinion has in fact not believed in Me; and he who anthropomorphizes me has in fact not recognized Me.”57
It has been narrated that Mu`awiyah ibn Maysarah ibn Shurayh narrated, I once saw Abu-`Abdullah (Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq) in Masjid al-Khayf in the middle of a company of about two hundred persons among whom was `Abdullah ibn Shabramah who asked him, “Abu-`Abdullah: In Iraq, we judge between people according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, but sometimes we face some questions that we judge according to our own views that we exert efforts in deducing them...”
Replying to him, Imam al-Sadiq asked, “What is your opinion about `Ali ibn Abi-Talib?”
Ibn Shabramah began to praise Imam `Ali as brilliantly as he could.
Then, Imam al-Sadiq commented, “Verily, `Ali rejected to insert any personal opinion in the affairs of the religion of Almighty Allah and rejected to express any opinion or analogy in the questions of the religion... Had Ibn Shabramah known what exactly annihilated the peoples, he would have never accepted or acted upon analogies in the religious questions.”58
It has been narrated that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir said,
“O Zurarah: Beware of those who act upon analogy in the religious affairs. They have neglected the knowledge that they were commissioned to learn and have engaged themselves in learning the knowledge that has been already given to them. They are interpreting the traditions and forging fabrications against Almighty Allah.59
I see coming that when one of these (who act upon analogy) is called from ahead, he answers from behind and when he is called from behind him, he answers from ahead. Thus have they strayed off and been confused in the lands and in the religion.”60
It has been narrated that Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq said,
“Have your books in custody, for you will need them.”
“Record (the knowledge), for you will not retain unless you write down.”
“Write down and circulate your knowledge among your brethren-in-faith. Before you depart life, give your books in inheritance to your sons. People shall experience an age of commotion during which nothing will amuse them except their books.”
Furthermore, too many are the narrations that encourage and confirm the necessity of writing down, the following of the choice companions of the Holy Prophet who had written down the knowledge of the religion, and the thorough compliance with the sacred texts though these narrations are not mentioned herein for fear of lengthiness.
In addition, these narrations denounce the issuance of verdicts out of personal views and baseless inferences as well as the issuance of verdicts depending upon principles that were not decided by the Holy Prophet; rather they were invented in later ages under certain circumstances.