I met a group of educated youths at the house of a Brother in Islam to whom I was linked with ties of kinship and childhood memories. The meeting took place at a Paris suburb during a banquet he held on the occasion of a long awaited birth of a son, a newborn with whom Allah blessed him after an extended period of hopeful anticipation.
Our discussion revolved around the Shi`as and the Sunnis. Most of those present were Algerians who were very enthusiastically in support of the Islamic revolution [in Iran]. They were criticizing the Shi`as, repeating well known age-old myths. They differed among themselves. Some of them were fair minded persons who said that the Shi`as were their brethren, whereas there were others who charged the Shi`as with every misguidance, even preferring Christians over them.
When we dealt in depth with the discussion and deduction, some of them kept making fun of me, saying that I was one of those persons who were deceived by the glitter of the Iranian revolution. My friend tried to convince them that I was a well known researcher and author of many books dealing with this same subject.
One of them, however, said that he had the proof which could never be repudiated. Suddenly everyone stopped speaking. I asked him what that proof was. He asked me to wait for a few minutes. Then he quickly went to his adjacent house and came back carrying a book titled Al-Shi`a wal-Tasheeh (Shi`as and authentication) by Dr. Musa al-Musawi. I laughed when I saw the book and said, “Is this the proof which cannot be repudiated?!” He turned to those present and said:
The author of this book is the greatest Shi`a scholar, one of the highest Shi`a authorities. He has a certificate in ijtihad; his father and grandfather are also scholars. Yet he recognized the truth and renounced Shi`ism, becoming one of Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a. And I am confident that had this Brother (meaning myself) read this book, he would not have defended the Shi`as at all, and he would have come to know about what they hide and about their deviation.
Again I laughed and said to him, “So that you may know that I did, indeed, read it as a scrutinizing researcher, I will provide you, before everyone present here, the proof which cannot be repudiated from the book itself and which you have just brought!” He and everyone else present eagerly said, “Let us hear it from you.”
I said, “I do not remember the exact page number, but I do remember the title very well which is `What Shi`a Imams say about the Righteous Caliphs.'“ He asked me, “And what is wrong with it?” I said, “Look for it and read it before everybody, then I will explain to you the irrevocable proof it contains.”
He found the chapter and read it to those present. Its summary is that Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq, peace be upon him, used to express pride at being a relative of Abu Bakr “al-Siddeeq,” saying, “Abu Bakr begot me twice.” Those who quote this statement narrate saying that Imam al-Sadiq, on the other hand, used to discredit Abu Bakr.
Dr. al-Musawi comments by saying, “Is it rational for Imam al-Sadiq to brag about his grandfather [Abu Bakr] on one hand then discredits him on the other? Such talk is not coming from an ordinary ignorant person but from an Imam.”
Everyone asked, “Where is the proof in all of this?! It sounds reasonable and logical.” I said, “Dr. al-Musawi concluded from Imam al-Sadiq's statement that Abu Bakr begot him twice that he used to be very proud of his grandfather, but such a statement does not indicate at all that it contains any praise of Abu Bakr. Add to this the fact that Imam al-Sadiq was not a direct grandson of Abu Bakr but only his mother's grandfather was Abu Bakr. Keep in mind that Imam al-Sadiq was born seventy years after the death of Abu Bakr; so, he never saw him.”
They said, “We do not understand what you mean by that.” I said, “What would you say about someone who brags about his immediate grandfather, the father of his father, saying that he is the most knowledgeable man of his time, and that history never knew a match for him, then he says that he studied and learned from him: is it reasonable for us to expect him to discredit him after having thus praised him? Can a rational person brag about someone on one hand then call him kafir on the other?!” They all said, “No, this is not reasonable, and it cannot be.”
I then said, “Read what is written on the first page of the book in your hand. You will see that Dr. al-Musawi is that same person!” He read the following:
I was born and raised at the home of the greatest leader of the Shi`a sect, and I studied and learned at the hands of the greatest scholar and religious authority the history of Shi`ism has ever known from the time of the Great Occultation till our time: He is the greatest Imam Sayyid Abul-Hasan al-Musawi about whom it is said, “He made people forget those before him and eclipsed those who came after him.”
I said, “All Praise is due to Allah Who has manifested the truth through the words of al-Musawi himself! He personally indicted himself when he wondered: `Is it rational for someone to brag about his grandfather on one hand then discredit him on the other? Such talk comes only from an ordinary ignorant person...' One who describes his grandfather with such great merits which did not combine in anyone else among genius scholars, claiming that he learned at his hands and derived his knowledge from him, then he turns to discredit him and his creed, cannot be anyone but an ordinary ignorant person.”
Everyone lowered his head, whereas my friend and host felt excited and said, “Did I not tell you that Brother al-Tijani is an objective and logical researcher?!”
The person who had the book with him, and who was making the most noise, contemplated for some time then said, “Listen, Brother! Maybe Dr. al-Musawi came to know the truth after growing up and learning. Glory to Allah! Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave!” I answered him by saying, “Had the case been as you say, Dr. al-Musawi should have disowned his grandfather and mentor who granted him his certificate of ijtihad, rather than his bragging about them and builing an argument based on their testimony while, at the same time, unknowingly calling them kafirs. If I discuss all the topics he wrote about, I will show you wonders.”
That meeting terminated after explanations and details provided about the nature of the confusion. Its results, by the Praise of Allah, were very positive: three persons saw the light of truth after reading my books.
Now I seize the opportunity to briefly present my kind readers with some of what I have written about this topic because the book titled Al-Shi`a wal-Tasheeh is effective wherever there are Wahhabis. The latter have the wealth and the influence in some areas; therefore, they may be able to influence some Muslim youths who are not familiar with the Shi`as and deceive them with this book. They may stop them from arriving at useful researches and may thus install a barrier between them and the truth they seek.
These opponents have used the book titled Al-Shi`a wal-Tasheeh by Dr. Musa al-Musawi as their argument against the Shi`as, printing millions of its copies and distributing them free of charge among educated youths through the efforts of authorities whose goals and objectives are very well known to the elite as well as to the commoners.
These naive people thought that they refuted the beliefs of Imamite Shi`as by publishing and distributing a book simply because its author is Ayatullah al-Musawi, a Shi`a, so that their argument would be built on citing someone from the Shi`a folks themselves. But these poor souls have overlooked many issues which they did not calculate and whose negative results they could not assess. The result: a great deal of self-inflicted harm.
Personally, I do not waste my time in rebutting Dr. Musa al-Musawi's lies with which he filled his book. I think that my book Ma`a al-Sadiqeen (With The Truthful) contains convincing responses to his lies although it was written shortly before his own book and its context was simply to prove that Shi`a beliefs are all based on the Holy Qur'an and the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet, as well as the consensus of the Muslims, including “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.” We did not discuss any of their beliefs without proving it from the Sahih books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
It is thus proven that what Dr. Musa al-Musawi says is nothing but nonsense and allegations which are not based on any scientific proof or Islamic logic, and it discredits Ahlul Sunnah before all others.
It also is quite clear that those who promoted his book do not know much about Islamic facts, thus unveiling their own faults and ignorance.
All Shi`a beliefs the author of this book criticizes and which he uses to slander the Shi`as, are all, by the Grace of Allah, backed by the authentic books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.” The shame is not on the Shi`as but on Musa al-Musawi and “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” who do not know what their Sahih and Musnad books contain. Consider the following:
Reference to the subject of Imamate and to the ahadith saying that the successors to the Prophet are twelve and are all from Quraysh is not an invention of the Shi`as; it exists in Sunni Sahih and Musnad books;
The belief in Imam al-Mahdi, that he belongs to the purified Progeny of the Prophet, who will fill the earth with justice and equity after its being filled with injustice and oppression, is not a Shi`a invention but exists in the Sahih books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
Saying that Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib is the wasi of the Messenger of Allah is not a Shi`a invention but exists in the Sahih books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
The belief in and the practice of the concept of taqiyya is not a Shi`a invention; rather, it exists in the Holy Qur'an and is fixed in the Prophet's Sunnah, and all of this is backed by the Sahih books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
The belief in the legality of temporary marriage (mut`a) is not a Shi`a invention; rather, Allah and His Messenger permitted it whereas Umar prohibited it. This is proven by the authentic books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
The belief in the payment of the khums levied from profit earnings is not a Shi`a invention; rather, the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger mandate it as the Sahih books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” testify.
As for visiting the shrines of the Imams, this is not done by the Shi`as alone; “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” visit the shrines of righteous walis and other good people, holding in their honor annual festivals and celebrations.
The belief in the badaa and that Allah obliterates or confirms whatever He pleases is not the product of the Shi`as' imagination; rather, it is confirmed in Bukhari's Sahih.
To combine the prayers in exceptional situations is not an invention of the Shi`as; it exists in the Holy Qur'an; it was practiced by the great Prophet, and it is confirmed by the Sahih books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
To believe in the obligation of prostrating on the dust and on the ground is not a Shi`a invention; rather, it was done by the Master of Messengers and the Seal of Prophets as testified by the Sahih books of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
Besides these issues which Dr. Musa al-Musawi mentions in order to blow things out of proportions and to make a fuss, such as the rumor of the distortion of the Qur'an, “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” deserve to be charged with it rather than the Shi`as, as we explained in our book With the Truthful.
To sum up, the book written by Dr. al-Musawi entirely contradicts the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. It contradicts the Muslims' consensus as well as the dictates of sound reason. A great deal of what al-Musawi resents constitutes religious obligations mandated by the Holy Qur'an and ordered by the great Messenger of Allah. These obligations, moreover, are agreed upon by all Muslims. One who denies them is an apostate according to the consensus of the Muslims.
If he means by “authentication” the altering of such beliefs and injunctions, he will then have committed kufr and abandoned Islam altogether, and all Muslims are required to denounce him.
He probably means by it the altering of his own personal beliefs from whose complexes he suffers. Such complexes clearly demonstrate that he really does not know anything about Shi`ism. Or he may have had a personal grudge against the Shi`as whom he considers to be responsible for the murder of his father who, as he says on p. 5 of his book, was slaughtered by a criminal in religious garbs as a ram is slaughtered. So he grew up since his childhood suffering from that complex, bearing grudge against the Shi`as without their having committed any sin.
He, therefore, directed his attention towards “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” and shared their grudge and animosity towards the followers of Ahlul Bayt. He, in fact, never in reality belonged either to this party or to that. He did not know anything about the Shi`as except the lies circulated by their enemies. Nor did he know about “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” except their Friday and congregational prayers, that is to say, if he ever attended them. If his objective is as such, then he ought to correct his corrupt beliefs whereby he differed from the consensus of the nation.
As he claims on p. 5 of his book, Dr. al-Musawi grew up and learned at the hands of the greatest leader and theologian known in the history of Shi`ism since the Major Occultation, namely his grandfather the greatest Imam Sayyid Abul-Hasan about whom it is said that “he made people forget those before him and eclipsed those who succeeded him.” If such is the case, why did he not learn from him and adorn himself with his manners? Why did he not follow his guidance and nourish his mind with his knowledge?
Rather, we find him in his book deriding and ridiculing the beliefs of his grandfather, the Imam and the leading religious authority of his time for whom the history of the Shi`as never saw a match. All this proves that the al-Musawi was disobedient to his parents. Actually, his disobedience went beyond that to include calling his grandfather as well as parents kafir. Had the Shi`as been kafir, as al-Musawi sees them, then their authority and greatest leader who led them to kufr was none other than his own grandfather (who is surely clear of this accusation).
It is a shame beyond which there is no other shame that the grandson Musa al-Musawi should be ignorant of what his grandfather Abul-Hasan al-Musawi, may Allah have mercy on his soul, wrote in his book Waseelat al-Najat (the means to salvation). Yet the grandson claims that he learned and was tutored by grandfather!
And it is a great shame that a young Tunisian man who lives thousands of kilometers away from Najaf1 should be more familiar with the book titled Waseelat al-Najat: he finds through it guidance to the facts relevant to Ahlul Bayt. In contrast, the grandson of the author of this book, who was born and who grew up in his house and was tutored by him [as he claims], never did.
What the greatest Imam Sayyid Abul-Hasan al-Musawi al-Isfahani (may Allah sanctify his soul) wrote in Waseelat al-Najat is contradicted and ridiculed by his grandson Dr. Musa al-Musawi. The latter regarded it as deviation from the path of Islam.
Yet logic says that if the doctrine of the greatest Imam and the religious authority, for whom the history of the Shi`as never found a match (as his grandson thinks), is sound and accurate, the doctrine of the grandson is apostasy and misguidance.
And had the doctrine upheld by Dr. Musa al-Musawi been sound and accurate, the doctrine of his grandfather should have been apostasy and misguidance. In the latter case, he has to disown him rather than brag about him and make such glowing reference to his being raised by him as he states in the Introduction to his book.
Through this argument and logic can the highly coveted certificate earned by Musa al-Musawi from Al Kashif al-Ghita be thrown out for the following reasons:
FIRST: The photograph he included in his book of a statement testifying to his having earned a high degree of Islamic fiqh, namely the degree of ijtihad, is no more than a license relevant to the traditions the student had learned from his teacher; it is given by mentors to most of their students. I personally have two such certificates: one from [the late] Grand Ayatullah Imam Abul-Qasim al-Khu'i of Najaf, and the other from [the late] Grand Ayatullah al-Mar`ashi al-Najafi of Qum.
So, a certificate in narrating hadith is not an advanced degree in Islamic fiqh as Dr. Musa al-Musawi claims in order to fool the commoners among his readers who do not know the system and the stages relevant to the studies conducted at scholarly hawzas.
SECOND: The grandson of one of the greatest scholars, who feigns the ability to correct others, has betrayed the trust with which he was entrusted by his teacher and mentor who, al-Musawi claims, granted him the degree of ijtihad.
The late supreme religious authority and head of the scholarly hawza of al-Najaf al-Ashraf Muhammad al-Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita has said the following with regard to the certificate a photo of which is published in al-Musawi's book: “I [hereby] grant him permission to quote the authentic traditions which I had myself learned from my great mentors and revered professors [and which I taught him].”
We have seen how al-Musawi rebuts and ridicules everything narrated by Al Kashif al-Ghita, the supreme religious authority and the head of the scholarly hawza who cites his great mentors and revered professors in his [al-Ghita's] book Asl al-Shi`a wa Usuliha (roots and principles of the Shi`as). In that book, the author states all the beliefs and injunctions to which the Shi`as adhere. So how can anyone compare the book titled Al-Shi`a wal-Tasheeh which his betraying student wrote with the book titled Asl al-Shi`a wa Usuliha which the supreme religious authority Kashif al-Ghita wrote?
Since Kashif al-Ghita is the supreme religious authority and the head of the scholarly hawza at al-Najaf al-Ashraf, as al-Musawi admits on p. 158 of his book, and since al-Musawi brags about the lofty certificate he earned from him thirty years ago, why does not the junior student al-Musawi ridicule the beliefs of his great professor who taught him and, as he claims, granted him a lofty certificate?!
If the supreme religious authority and the head of the scholarly hawza Shaykh Muhammad al-Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita is right and his beliefs are accurate, al-Musawi is then wrong and all his beliefs are false. Had the supreme religious authority been wrong and his beliefs inaccurate, so al-Musawi ridicules and rebuts them, then the latter should not have told lies to people and deceived them into thinking that he had earned his high certificate in Islamic fiqh, that is, the degree of ijtihad, from his holiness.
The beliefs of Musa al-Musawi are labelled as accurate only by the author himself who says so in his book. He lauds his grandfather Abu al-Hasan al-Musawi al-Isfahani as the greatest leader and theologian known in the history of Shi`ism since the Major Occultation. He brags of being the student of Kashif al-Ghita whom he describes as the man who granted him his “high degree.” And he labels millions of Shi`as from the day of the Saqeefa till our time as “kafir.”
I had promised my Lord to examine every issue before judging it. I, therefore, read Musa al-Musawi's book Al-Shi`a wal-Tasheeh with all my faculties in the hope I might find in it what I had missed and complete what was lacking in my knowledge. But I found nothing in it except lies and contradictions and the denial of what is already confirmed by the text of the Holy Qur'an.
I even found it ridiculing the Sunnah of the Prophet and violating the consensus of the Muslims. I then realized that al-Musawi did not exert any effort to even read al-Bukhari's Sahih which is held by “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” as the most authentic of all books. Al-Musawi, according to his book, wants the Shi`as to join the ranks of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” and thus forsake the commandments of Allah and His Messenger.
This “brilliant scholar” earned a “high certificate” in Islamic jurisprudence, namely that of ijtihad, at the age of twenty (Praise to Allah Who grants wisdom to whomsoever He pleases!) followed by a Ph.D. in Islamic Legislative System (Shari`a) from Tehran University in 1955. Do not forget that he was born in al-Najaf al-Ashraf in 1930. He also earned his Doctorate of Philosophy from Paris University (the Sorbonne) in 1959.
I say: Had he taken time to read only al-Bukhari's Sahih, a book regarded by “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” as quite reliable, he would not have fallen in such a dilemma from which he will never find any exit except by sincerely repenting, and by returning to Allah. Otherwise, high degrees, attractive titles, and money spent to divide the Muslims will not avail him in the least. Allah, the most Exalted One, has said,
“Surely those who disbelieve spend their wealth (only) to hinder (people) from the way of Allah; so they shall spend it, then it shall be to them (the cause of) an intense regret, then they shall be overtaken; and those who disbelieve shall all be driven to hell so that Allah might separate the impure from the pure and put the impure upon one another and pile it up together then cast it into hell: These are the losers.” (Holy Qur'an, 8:36-37)
His book, anyway, is full of self-contradictions in which any researcher stumbles. If al-Musawi finds himself qualified to correct the beliefs and ahkam of those who adhere to Shi`ism, I invite him to a televised interview and to a scholarly debate attended by any researcher or verifier who wishes to attend so that people may come to know after it who really needs to be corrected. This is what the Holy Qur'an calls for and what free thinking in the most civilized societies encourages so that the Muslims will see their affairs clearly and will cease charging some people, out of sheer ignorance, of being kafir then repent thereafter.
“Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful.” (Holy Qur'an, 2:111)
One thing remains to state so that we may be fair to Dr. al-Musawi. It is the reference he makes in his book to these subjects for which he provides three major headings:
1. self-flagellation during Ashura
2. the third portion of Shehada (that Ali is a servant of Allah)
As for self-flagellation, it is not one of the doctrines of the Shi`as, nor is it a part of their creed. Rather, it is what some commoners do, and Shi`as are not the only ones who practice it. There are some Sunnis, particularly those who follow the [sufi] Aysawi tareeqa, which is well known throughout all of north Africa, who practice rituals more damaging to Islam's image than what some Shi`as do. Yet by practicing them they do not express their grief for the tragedy that befell Imam al-Husayn, nor for the suffering of Ahlul Bayt, peace be upon them.
We agree with the author's statement in his book in this regard, and we would like to work with him to remove this phenomenon from all Muslim lands. There are many sincere Shi`a scholars who prohibit such an abomination and try hard to put an end to it, as al-Musawi himself admits.
As for the third portion of the declaration of faith, that is, that Ali is a friend of Allah, al-Musawi himself knows very well that Shi`a scholars always say that it is not a part of the athan. If one says it with the intention of its being obligatory, or with the intention of its being part of the athan or the iqama, both his athan and iqama will be void. Al-Musawi knows this fact very well, but he only wishes to make a fuss about anything that serves his suspicious objective.
Regarding terrorism, we categorically reject it just as Dr. al-Musawi rejects it. Yet it was not appropriate for Dr. al-Musawi to attach this horrible charge to the Shi`as, for the wave of terrorism which has stamped the past decade with its seal is an inevitable result of the ongoing struggle between the East and the West, the North and the South, the arrogant ones and the downtrodden, the usurpers and those whose lands and everything else were usurped.
Why does Dr. al-Musawi link drug traffickers to the Shi`as? History testifies that the Shi`as have been targeted throughout history by followers of all other sects, by various governments, and by the colonizers, yet they have always rejected terrorism in all its forms and shapes.
Why does al-Musawi not talk about the terrorism of Mu`awiyah and the assassinations which he staged to eliminate many Muslims and which culminated with poisoning Imam al-Hasan ? He used to always assassinate his opponents from truthful believers with poison then says, “Surely Allah has hosts made of honey.”
Are promoters of world Islamic movements, who have been described [by the enemies of Islam, including governments of Muslim countries] as “terrorists,” in Palestine, Egypt, the Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Afghanistan, and even in Western countries, in the Pacific, in Ireland, and elsewhere, adhere to the Shi`a faith?!
If Dr. al-Musawi defines “terrorism” as the kidnapping of hostages or the rerouting then blowing up of airplanes, freedom fighters from the Palestinian people, who have been displaced and expelled by Israel after being forced out of their homes, are the ones who kidnapped hostages at the Munich stadium at the beginning of the 1972 Olympic sports and killed a number of Israeli participants in them.
They are the ones who rerouted some airplanes then blew them up. They did all of this in order to wake up the world's conscience and to introduce their case to the world and make them aware of the oppression inflicted upon them and the like of which humanity never saw throughout its entire history.
Al-Musawi bears witness that these are not Shi`as. If Dr. al-Musawi permits himself to be influenced by those who run the foreign news media and who try their best to attach this horrible accusation to the Shi`as because of the political stand and the extreme animosity of such media to the Islamic Revolution (of Iran), the same media apparatuses include on the top of their list of international terrorists Libya, Syria, and Iraq, and these are not necessarily Shi`a countries.
So why does Dr. al-Musawi specifically singles out the Shi`as when he discusses terrorism in his book? He himself says on p. 122 that the Shi`a government of Iran does not represent all the Shi`as of the world or even of Iran. If the case is as such, then Dr. al-Musawi has to correct his own concepts.
Thus do we do justice to Dr. al-Musawi and distinguish the truth from falsehood, the good from the bad.
We have proven to the kind readers the fact that all the beliefs upheld by Imamite Shi`as are accurate and sound because they are all derived from the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah. The attempts of those who have special interests, the trouble makers, the enemies of Allah, of His Messenger, and of Islam, to level false charges and to circulate false rumors in order to discredit the beliefs of those who uphold the Purified Progeny will fail and bear no fruit whatsoever. Allah, the Most Exalted One, has said,
“As for the scum, it passes away as a worthless thing; as for that which benefits people, it tarries in the earth; thus does Allah set parables.” (Holy Qur'an, 13:17)
We plead to Him, the Glorified One, the most Exalted, to guide all of us and to enable us to achieve what He loves for us to achieve, to inspire to us the means of guidance, to remove His wrath from us, to dispel our agony with the presence of the Awaited One, and to hasten for us his reappearance. They see it distant, while we see it nigh.
And the last of our supplication is: “All Praise is due only to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and the best of prayers and the purest of salutations are unto the man who was sent as a mercy for all the worlds, our master and leader Muhammad and unto his righteous and purified Progeny.