Mahmood Abu Maryam

Trying to make sense of it all...

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As the respected Sayyid al-Musawi has explained, the person who banned Mut'a was 'Umar b. al-Khattab and not the Prophet (s). However, it is true that many of our Sunni brothers and sisters believe that the practice was abrogated by the Prophet (s) himself. This view is based on some hadith narrations that seem to suggest so.

The notable scholar and Marja' Sayyid al-Khu'i has covered these narrations from the Sunni sources and debunked them in his work Al-Bayan while discussing the topic of abrogation of Qur'anic verses.

You can read the chapter here, the relevant section is to be found after some scrolling, or you can simply search for '4:24'. Hope this helps.

https://www.al-islam.org/al-bayan-fi-tafsir-al-quran-prolegomena-quran-ayatullah-sayyid-abulqasim-al-khui/10-abrogation-quran

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You can start by exploring this link, and the sub-sections from it, that will lead you to many relevant books and articles.

https://www.al-islam.org/explore/shia-and-sunni

If you are looking for short Fact Sheets on various topics related to Shi'a belief and practice, then check this out:

https://www.al-islam.org/nutshell/

If you would like to sample the words of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) when they speak of God, or address Him in supplications, then these two resources may be of interest:

https://www.al-islam.org/shiite-anthology-sayyid-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai

and

https://www.al-islam.org/sahifa-al-kamilah-al-sajjadiyya-imam-ali-zayn-al-abidin

Hope this helps!

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The event of Mubahala took place on 24th Dhu'l hijja 9 AH and the event of Ghadir Khumm took place almost a year later on 18th Dhu'l hijja 10 AH.

The Prophet (s) passed away within a few months of Ghadir Khumm. At the first anniversary of that event Abu Bakr was in power and unlikely to celebrate an event that would undermine his own rule.

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These four quotations from historical sources should help answer this question.

Al-Hakim, in his al-Mustadrak, states that the Prophet kept confiding in 'Ali till the time of his death. Then he breathed his last.

When the body of the Prophet (s) was being given ghusl, according to Tarikh al-Khamis, al-’Abbas, Fadhl and Qutham turned the body of the Prophet (s) from one side to the other as Usamah and Shaqran poured water over it. All of them were blind-folded.

Ibn Sa'd narrates in his al-Tabaqat from Imam 'Ali that the Prophet had so enjoined that if anyone except himself ('Ali) had given him the funeral bath, he would have gone blind.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, in his al-Isti'ab, quotes 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas as saying that 'Ali had four such exceptional honours to his credit as none of us had, and he listed them all, the fourth being that he was the only person who gave the Prophet his funeral bath and lowered him in his grave.

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A practical way to get such counts is to use specialist hadith software or websites. It will need a good command over Arabic as such advanced and comprehensive search tools are not available in English.

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With such questions, it sometimes helps to think about our own selves and how we behave in this world. That can give useful insights on the Divine. There is a narration along the same lines that states that "Whoever knows himself knows his Lord".

So in that vein, let's think about a few realities of this world. We are on a rock that is spinning at a certain speed and revolving around the sun at a certain pace, while keeping a certain distance from it. We are alive, as biological creatures, because of these facts. Everything we do, even the atmosphere we breathe, exists because of such uncontrollable facts.

The fact that we can even drive a car on a motorway is a function of these and other uncontrollable facts, such as the various laws of physics and chemistry. Think speed, inertia, the combustion of fuel.

We didn't get asked about these laws and rules, and we don't seem to complain about them. We just accept them as, quite simply, laws of nature.

However, in such a world, we find we do have some choices. 

So now let's go for a drive on this motorway. Imagine you pick up pace in your car and get to a nice comfortable speed suitable for a motorway. You are probably cruising along, chatting to others in your car, listening to a nasheed. Happy and content.

Now imagine what would happen if you suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, decided from your own free will to twist that steering wheel around!

Death, destruction, both of your own vehicle and several others who are unable to avoid collision with the maniac who did that.

The impact of that crash is a result of the laws of physics, obviously. And chemistry - the fuel tank blows up. And biology - the fragile human bodies cannot survive the impact.

At this point, do you feel the laws of physics, chemistry and biology that govern your lives are unfair and should have been different?

Isn't it true that we take those uncontrollable facts as a given, unchallenged, and would place total blame on the terrible exercise of free will of the driver?

Why don't we feel the same way when we think of Divine laws? The horrific punishments are simply laws having their consequences when the driver on the motorway of life decides to do crazy things despite being warned not to do so by the Creator who set the rules.

Remember that there was no fear when you were on that motorway. Just a clear and constant awareness of the rules and the boundaries.

And just as the laws of nature in this world are there to nurture life here, the Divine laws of religion are there to keep us in the correct lane so we reach the right destination in the afterlife.

There is no need to be fearful of God in the meaning of being terrified and scared. But rather being in a state of awareness of the Divine rules and boundaries. And that is called Taqwa.

And there is no contradiction with God's Love or Mercy. The fact that He created us with free will so we can navigate His path, and then sent Books and Messengers, is a sign that He loves us and wants us to succeed.

I wish you a safe and pleasant journey, but do drive carefully :)

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I wish to add some more names and details to complement the respected Sayyid al-Musawi's clear response to this question.

Overall, a good book one can refer to for names of the nawasib - enemies of the Ahl al-bayt (a) - who appear in Sunni hadith is Hashim Ma`ruf al-Hasani's Dirasat fi’l hadith wa’l muhaddithin published in Beirut.

Here are some more examples of such ignoble people appearing in Sunni hadith sources.

1. `Umar b. Sa`d

`Umar b. Sa`d needs no introduction for those aware of the details of the tragedy of Karbala. This son of Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas, the companion of the Prophet (s), led the troops on the ground against Imam al-Husayn (a).

Al-Tabari quotes Ibn Sa`d, after the Imam (a) had been mercilessly killed: 

Then `Umar b. Sa’d called out among his followers, "Who will volunteer [to go] to al-Husayn and make his horse trample on al-Husayn’s body?" Ten volunteered. Among them was Ishaq b. Haywah al-Hadrami, who was the one who stole al-Husayn’s shirt and later got leprosy, and Ahbash b. Marthad b. ‘Alqamah b. Salamah al-Hadrami. They trampled on the body of al-Husayn with their horses until they had crushed his back and his chest. I learned that some time later an arrow from an unknown direction hit Ahbash b. Marthad as he was standing in a battle. It split his heart, and he died. (Al-Tabari, al-Ta’rikh, translated into English as ‘History of al-Tabari – The Caliphate of Yazid b. Mu’awiyah’, Howard, pp. 163) 

Some example of the Prophet’s (s) hadith quoted by Sunni scholars on the authority of `Umar b. Sa`d! 

  • Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, kitab sifat al-janna `an rasulillah, volume 4, page 678 
  • Al-Nasa’i, al-Sunan al-mujtaba, kitab tahrim al-dam, volume 7, page 121 
  • Al-Nasa’i, al-Sunan al-kubra’, volume 6, page 263 
  • Al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-kubra, volume 3, page 375 
  • Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Tabarani, and others. 

2. `Abd al-Rahman b. `Abza

`Abd al-Rahman b. `Abza (or `Abzi) al-Khuza`i was a companion of the Prophet (s). He was present with the troops of Ibn Ziyad who fought and killed Imam al-Husayn (a). (See al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 298).

See some of the narrations by him in: 

  • Al-Bukhari, Sahih, kitab al-tayammum, volume 1, page 129 
  • Muslim, Sahih, kitab al-hayd, volume 1, page 280 
  • Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja, and many others 

3. al-Harith b. Yazid al-Kufi

Al-Harith b. Yazid al-`Akali al-Taymi al-Kufi seems to the al-Harith b. Yazid b. Ruwaym on whose services Ibn Ziyad called upon by sending him from his own base in Kufa to join `Umar b. Sa`d’s army (See al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 254). No other ‘al-Harith b. Yazid’s in rijal lexicons seem to hail from Kufa.

See his narrations in: 

  • Al-Bukhari, Sahih, kitab al-`itq, volume 2, page 898 
  • Muslim, Sahih, kitab fada’il al-sahaba, volume 4, page 1957 
  • Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, and others. 

4. Shabath b. Rib`i

Abu `Abd al-Quddus Shabath b. Rib`i al-Tamimi al-Yarbu`i was a man with a checkered background. A companion of the Prophet (s), he used to be once on the side of Imam ‘Ali (a), then joined the Khawarij and later was part of Ibn Ziyad’s troops in Karbala fighting Imam al-Husayn (a)!

See: 

  • al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 254; 
  • al-`Asqalani, al-‘Isaba, volume 3, page 376 
  • al-`Asqalani, Tahdhib al-tahdhib, volume 4, page 266. 

From al-Tabari, from the scene of the battle of Karbala: 

He (i.e.`Umar b. Sa`d) put `Azrah b. Qays al-Ahmasi in command of the cavalry and Shabath b. Rib`i al-Yarbu`i in command of the footsoldiers. (Al-Tabari, al-Ta’rikh, translated into English as ‘History of al-Tabari – The Caliphate of Yazid b. Mu’awiyah’, Howard, pp. 121) 

Some narrations from Shabath in: 

  • Abu Dawud, Sunan, kitab al-‘adab, volume 4, page 315. 
  • Al-Nasa’i, al-Sunan al-kubra’, volume 6, page 204. 

5. Qadi Shurayh

Abu Umayyah Shurayh b. al-Harith b. Qays al-Kindi was a judge in Kufa. He connived with the Umayyad authorities in Kufa in suppressing the Shi’a and supporters of Imam al-Husayn (a) from rallying to the call of Muslim b. `Aqil and Hani’ b. `Urwa shortly before the onset of the battle of Karbala. He had a share in the responsibility for the murder of Hani’ by Ibn Ziyad (See al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 238).

Shurayh narrates traditions in: 

  • Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, kitab al-`umra, volume 6, page 277 
  • Ahmad b. Hanbal’s al-Musnad, and other books. 

There are many other narrators who cursed and hated Imam ‘Ali (a), as confirmed by Sunni books of rijal, and are yet present in major Sunni books narrating Prophetic hadith.

Here is a list that has been gathered from several sources, particularly al-Hasani’s work mentioned above. The list is in no particular order and there are quite likely to be more such narrators that could not be identified and included.

  1. Hurayz (or Hariz) b. ‘Uthman
  2. Busr b. Artat 
  3. `Urwah b. al-Zubayr
  4. Abu Bardah b. Abu Musa al-Ash`ari
  5. Ishaq b. Suwayd b. Hubayrah
  6. Husayn b. Numayr al-Wasiti
  7. Dawud b. al-Husayn al-Madani
  8. Muhammad b. Ziyad al-Alhani, Abu Sufyan al-Himsi
  9. al-Mughirah b. Muqsim, Abu Hisham
  10. `Abdullah b. Salim al-Ash`ari al-Himsi
  11. Qays b. Abi Hazim al-Bajali
  12. Thawr b. Zayd al-Daylami
  13. al-Walid b. Kathir bar Yahya al-Madani
  14. Walid b. `Uqba
  15. `Abdullah b. Abi Sarh
  16. Ash’ath b. Qays
  17. Marwan b. al-Hakam
  18. Abu Bakra Nafee` al-Thaqafi
  19. Ahmad b. Abdah Musa Janabi
  20. Ishaq b. Suwayd b. Hubayrah al-`Adwi al-Taymi
  21. Isma`il b. Samee` al-Hanafi
  22. Thawr b. Yazid Kala’i al-Himsi, Abu Khalid
  23. Jarir b. `Abdullah al-Bajali
  24. Habib b. Maslama
  25. Khalid b. Salamah al-Kufi
  26. Khalid b. Abdullah al-Qasri
  27. Rashid b. Sa`d Maqrahi
  28. Rafi` b. Khadeej
  29. Ziyad b. `Alaqah
  30. Sa`id b. al-`As al-Umawi
  31. Sa`id b. al-Musayyab
  32. Samurah b. Jundab
  33. Shaqeeq b. Salamah al-Asadi
  34. `Abd al-Rahman b. Habib (Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Aslami)
  35. `Abdullah b. al-Zubayr
  36. `Abdullah b. Zayd Abu Qalaba
  37. `Abdullah b. Salim
  38. `Abd al-`Aziz b. Marwan
  39. `Abd al-Malik b. Marwan al-‘Umawi
  40. `Uthman b. `Asim
  41. `Umar b. Thabit al-Ansari al-Khazraji
  42. `Imran b. Husayn
  43. `Amr b. `Abdullah, Abu Ishaq al-Sabi’I
  44. Masruq b. Ajdah
  45. Nafi` b. ‘Amr, Abu Sa`ud al-Ansari
  46. Hisham b. Isma`il

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I understand where you are coming from with this question. Investigating and researching the topics around the Shi'a Sunni division can be mind boggling when there are claims and counter claims from both sides and the quality of evidence put forward by each side also gets challenged by the other.

Here is a suggestion to help you get started that is designed with your preference in mind of avoiding sectarian bias in your research.

Step 1

Start with the Nahj al-Balagha which is a collection of sermons and sayings by Imam 'Ali b. Abi Talib.  Although it was compiled by a Shi'a scholar named Sharif al-Radi but it attracted attention from many Sunni scholars who wrote commentaries on it. 

For instance see the list of commentators on this page, many of them are Sunni names - https://www.al-islam.org/articles/commentaries-nahjul-balaghah-syed-waheed-akhtar

The reason for the wider Sunni interest was that the sermons included by Sharif al-Radi could be traced to other sources acceptable to both the Shi'a and Sunni communities.  And, perhaps more importantly, a large part of the value of the book was in the eloquence of words and thoughts expressed by 'Ali who was a master at it, being the close disciple and confidante of the Prophet Muhammad (s). In fact, for many, the eloquence of the words also testifies to its authentic origins.

You can find the Nahj al-Balagha here - https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons

When you go through this book, and I do suggest you go cover to cover, you will gain an insight into what 'Ali was saying to the people of Kufa during his time as the fourth caliph. You will get a sense of his views on the disputes, the civil wars, the various famous Companions and mothers of the believers who often get mentioned in Shi'a Sunni debates.

Step 2

Once you are through that, it is time to understand the entire history of the debate on the succession to the Prophet Muhammad (s). Contrary to what many people realise, a good understanding of the period of the civil wars during Imam 'Ali's rule is essential to understanding and evaluating the reports on the earlier period of Islamic history.

In order to avoid any intentional or unintentional sectarian bias by a Shi'a or Sunni author, I suggest you instead go through a book called Succession to Muhammad - A Study of the early Caliphate by a famous non-Muslim academic called Wilferd Madelung.

This book does a good job of looking at the often contradicting reports on early Islamic history and analyses the likelihood of bias of individual narrators and, therefore, reports. Although somewhat heavy reading, it will help you get a pretty good idea of what really happened back then in early Islam.

Good luck with your research.

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Shaykh Mansour Leghaei has responded to a similar question as follows:

"The time of the caliphate of Imam Ali (as) was one of the hardest periods in the history of early Islam. For the first time in history, three civil wars were imposed on Imam Ali (as).  During the periods of the previous Caliphs several innovations had occurred and were practiced for over two decades, among which was ‘Taraweeh’.  Imam Ali (as) had to stabilise the country from all the rebels on the one hand, and correct all the innovations occurring on the other. Undoubtedly, fighting the rebels was a paramount priority.

Shaykh al-Kulayni in an authentic narration quoted a long narration in which Imam Ali (as) listed numbers of innovations and how much he tried to stop Muslims from practicing them. As for ‘Taraweeh’ the holy Imam says:

“By Allah! I ruled that people should not offer any prayers in congregation other than obligatory ones. I informed them that offering the recommended prayers in congregation is an innovation. Then some of my soldiers who were fighting for me cried: ‘O Muslims! The tradition of Umar is getting changed as he (i.e. Ali) forbids us to offer the recommended prayers in groups.’ I was therefore concerned that part of my army revolt against me.” (al-Kaafi, vol. 8 p.63)

There is no authentic narration that Imam Ali (as) ever appointed anyone to lead their Taraweeh, nor that he ever endorsed it. He just gave up on them temporarily for a more important matter (i.e. fighting the rebels). Nowhere in the narrations was there a sentiment of the Taraweeh ‘being more or less spiritual’. It was all about ‘following a tradition set by Umar versus the Prophetic tradition’. Similarly, there is no authentic narration that Imam Ali (as) ever asked them to choose a leader to offer Taraweeh congregationally."

See full article here - http://www.askthesheikh.com/did-imam-ali-allow-taraweeh-prayers/

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There are some differences and many similarities in how the Jumu'a or Friday congregational prayers are conducted by the 4 Sunni schools of fiqh and the Shi'a Imamiyya.

The accurate version, of course, is with the Shi'a who held on to the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of the Prophet (s), as commanded by the Prophet (s) himself, and gave their teachings on every issue precedence over other sources of information.

The salient differences in how the Friday prayers are conducted by the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Ja'fari (Imami) schools of law are laid out by Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Maghniyya in his Five Schools of Islamic Law.

See - https://www.al-islam.org/prayer-salat-according-five-islamic-schools-law-allamah-muhammad-jawad-maghniyyah/friday-prayer

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There is no difference in the belief among Muslims that the Mahdi will be a descendant of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and Fatima al-Zahra. Even the most bitter Shi’a-hating and Yazid-loving tiny segment of extremist Muslims have this belief.

That, right there, is an important point to ponder upon.

But the majority and brotherly Sunni’s have narrations suggesting that the Mahdi will be a descendant of Imam al-Hasan, rather than Imam al-Husayn, and that his father’s name will be ‘Abdullah.

For the Shi’a al-Mahdi is indeed the descendant of Imam al-Hasan, except that it is his father’s name, al-Hasan al-’Askari, himself a descendant of Imam al-Husayn.

The real difference, as mentioned in the question, is the narration that suggests the name of ‘Abdullah as the father. The Shi’a do not accept that, and neither do many Sunni’s.

In fact, there are a number of Sunni scholars who have acknowledged the birth of the Mahdi as the son of Imam al-Hasan al-’Askari.

For instance, see https://www.al-islam.org/al-imam-al-mahdi-just-leader-humanity-ayatullah-ibrahim-amini/chapter-5-who-was-imam-after-hasan-al#sunni-ulama-and-birth-mahdi