Meaning of Bada
(First published in Al-Jawwad, May-June 1955)
The editor of Rizwan has written the next objection after ‘Forged Quran’ as:
The principle of Bada in Shia ideology is also very strange. They say that Bada happens to God. It means that at times, God forbid, He performs an action due to His ignorance and then regrets it, and an interesting thing is that this belief is considered so important that no worship act is equal to it. Hence a whole chapter is devoted to Bada in Usul al-Kafi, the famous religious book of Shias.
A tradition is mentioned on page 84 of Usul al-Kafi that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) said, “If people come to know about the reward in the belief of Bada they would not neglect it.”
Another tradition says: Zurarah says that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) said, “Allah does not give prophethood to anyone unless He makes him confess to five things: Bada, Mashiyyat (Will of God), Prostration, Worship and Obedience.”
It is quite strange that this issue is mentioned in the reliable book of Shias. Then it is surprising that those people believe in such a God Who regrets over His own actions, and has to change His opinion. It is as if He is Fazlul Haq, the Governor of Bengal, who at first deposed against Pakistan and then regretted it.
Please ignore the literary aspects of these statements because meanings expressed therein are so funny themselves that there is no time to pay any attention to the words. After reading this objection I was not able to control my laughter at many places. Before clarifying the real objection, I feel it necessary to pen down my remarks for the entertainment of the readers.
Firstly the Rizwan editor says, “It means that at times, (God forbid), He performs an action due to His ignorance and lack of knowledge and then regrets it,” I am surprised that the self-made explanation of Bada is same as the discussion of ‘Mus’haf-e-Fatima’ and ‘Jame’.
The account regarding the two books is that after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) Allah sent an angel to comfort Lady Sayyida Fatima in her grief who used to discuss the heavenly secrets and divine knowledge while Amirul Momineen (as) used to note down those words. The same writing is called ‘Mus’haf-e-Fatima’. While ‘Jame’ was a book, which Amirul Momineen (as) had written through which the successor of the Prophet (S) can know all the events that shall occur till the Day of Judgment.
However the poor editor of Rizwan had to close his eyes from all these meanings in order to enter the group of ‘Who whispers into the hearts of men,’1 and to represent the one who says ‘and I will certainly cause them all to deviate.’2 By writing this he proved himself to be the representation of the verse:
“And certainly We have created for hell many of the jinn and the men; they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones.”3
He wrote with great grandeur: “Shias consider ‘Mus’haf-e-Fatima’ and ‘Jame’ as Quran.”
Similarly, closing his eyes to the explanations relating to Bada present in Shia books and Usul al-Kafi itself he has understood it to be Allah’s ignorance, foolishness and regret and associated this foolish belief to the Shias. While our Tawheed (Oneness of God) has reached such a peak whereas in the words of the Urdu poet Ghalib ‘People who consider neo-Muslims at par with the father of Imams (Ali a.s.)’ cannot reach. If Maulana Syed Mahmud Rizvi is interested to see the wonders of the foolish and regretful God he should refer to these golden beliefs, which are the emblems of distinction of Ahlul Sunnat. The Rizwan editor, probably, does not know that Ahlul Sunnat say, “When a human being is born, he is lacking in all knowledge, power, intention and speech etc. When these qualities are acquired by him later on he is called a scholar. If he later gets power he is called powerful. If he fails to gain these qualities, he shall remain ignorant and weak instead of being knowledgeable and powerful. Similarly, God Himself is neither knowledgeable, nor powerful or living, or Mureed4, Samee5 or Baseer6, speaking nor truthful. Rather knowledge, power, life, decision, sense of hearing, speech and truth, all such qualities are separate and are present in the Divine Being from outside.” The greatest proof of this belief is presented as follows:
“The dictionary and common sense testify that knowledgeable is one who has gained knowledge from external sources. Thus God, the Almighty must also be such a scholar that knowledge has come into his Holy Being from somewhere outside.”
The famous Ahlul Sunnat scholar, Fazl bin Ruzbahan writes regarding this proof:
“I am of the opinion that this proof is worthy of being trusted for the meaning (that qualities of God are separate from His nature and are different things). Otherwise, all logical proofs regarding this perception are unworthy of trust and objectionable.”7
How edifying are the evil consequences of comparing the Divine Being with human beings and laying the foundation of belief by turning the pages of dictionary, shall be discussed towards the end of this chapter.
In any case, now the Rizwan editor should tell us that if knowledge, power etc. all these qualities are separate from Divine nature then isn’t their God Himself an ignorant, weak, not a speaker, not a truthful, not hearing and not alive? Is ignorance and foolishness expected from a God who is dependent on external sources or the God of Shias Whose qualities such as knowledge, power etc. are considered one with His Being?
Here is another amusing statement of Rizwan:
“Then it is surprising that those people believe in such a God Who regrets over His own actions, and has to change His opinion.”
I am amused over the fact that the poor man is surprised while he himself is an object of surprise. That is, he does not even know that the attack of this surprise cannot befall the Shias (because the God of Shias is the Knower of Unseen and never regrets). It attacks the Sunnis who not only consider God as one Who regrets but also narrate incidents regarding this fact. Like they say that Allah destroyed the community of Prophet Nuh (as) through the deluge and then shed tears on it Himself. Pay attention to the following belief:
A group of foolish companions have explained God’s resemblance to the creatures. So much so that once God had sore eyes and angels visited to comfort Him. And He cried over the storm of Nuh (as) so much so that His eyes pained. The Arsh (throne) creaks under Him just like a new packsaddle on a camel. His body bulges out four inches from every side of the Arsh.8
Now the Rizwan editor should say whether this storm was not caused by Allah Himself Who regretted about it later? If not, then, he should believe in two gods. Otherwise, he should read his sentence modified by us by only replacing the word of ‘Shia’ by ‘Sunni’ as follows:
“It is quite strange that this issue is mentioned in the reliable book of Sunnis. Then it is surprising that those people believe in such a God Who regrets over His own actions, and has to change His opinion.”
The third sentence over which I laughed out of pity is:
“It is as if He is Fazlul Haq, the Governor of Bengal, who at first deposed against Pakistan and then regretted it.”
This statement does not befit the lips of people who hold God responsible for every deed of man. According to Ahlul Sunnat, Fazlul Haq of Bengal opposing Pakistan and then regretting are both deeds of God only. Since this belief is already established among you, your ridicule about it is like looking at yourself in the mirror and making faces at yourself.
As for the regret of Fazlul Haq, he has learnt this act from the great leaders of Ahlul Sunnat only. After taking allegiance from the people forcefully, Abu Bakr regretfully announced, “Please excuse me from this caliphate. In the presence of Ali I am not eligible for it. And otherwise too I am not better than you.” Thus Allamah Sibte Ibn Jawzi writes in his book Khawasul Ummah:
Then after he had completed the noon (Zuhr) prayer Abu Bakr climbed the pulpit and said, “Excuse me from this allegiance because I am not better than you while Ali is present among you.”
This regret remained with him till the time of his death. Thus at the time of his death he wished:
“If I had only asked the Messenger of Allah (S) about this matter that for whom the caliphate was, so that I should not have opposed the one who was rightful for it. And if I had only asked whether there was any share of the Helpers (Ansar) in this matter (of caliphate) or not.”9
A statement of Abdur Rahman bin Auf is present in the same book that Abu Bakr regretted three of his deeds till the time of his death and wrung his hands in regret.
Abdur Rahman bin Auf says, “Abu Bakr Siddiq said at the time of his death, ‘I am not sorry for anything but the three deeds which I have committed (that I wish I had not done).’”10
Similarly, Umar, the founder of the religion of Ahlul Sunnat, also regretted three deeds greatly. On Pg. 249 of Tafsir Dhurr al-Manthur (Egypt, 1314 A.H.), the famous book of Ahlul Sunnat, it is mentioned in the exegesis of verse:
“O people! Surely there has come to you manifest proof from your Lord and We have sent to you clear light.”11
“Abdur Razzaq Adani, Ibn Mundhir and Hakim have narrated from Umar that he said, ‘If I had inquired three things from the Prophet (S) they would have been dearer to me than red camels. Firstly, regarding the caliph after the Prophet (S), secondly, whether it was permissible to wage a war against a community, which says that they believe in paying Zakat but not to me. Thirdly, I should have asked about Kalalah (a childless person whose parents are also dead).’”
And Tayalisi, Abdur Razzaq Adni, Ibn Majah, Saaji, Ibn Jurair, Hakim and Baihaqi have narrated from Umar that he said, “If our Prophet (S) had explained three things to us clearly it would have been dearer to me than this world and all of its bounties. Firstly, caliphate; secondly, Kalalah and thirdly, interest.”
The Rizwan editor should know that the caliphate was also usurped, a war was also waged over those Muslims who refused to pay Zakat to Abu Bakr and their honor, women, lives and property were considered permissible to be looted. The Prophet’s saying that, ‘Imams after me will be only from Quraish’ has also been presented as a proof against the Ansar (helpers). All these incidents have already happened, then what for are these statements of embarrassment on their tongues? Which openly announce that they themselves considered the correctness of their caliphate doubtful. It was nothing but the innocent blood of people who refused to pay Zakat to them that was speaking aloft their heads.
I mean to say that the first brick of your religion was itself so crooked that every follower of it will have to be embarrassed at some time or the other over his deeds. If not today, tomorrow! If not in this world, in the Hereafter! However, since this regret of Fazlul Haq is in accordance with the nature of the two Shaykhs you should have valued this deed and given him the title of ‘Caliph of Muslims’ instead of censuring him and proving yourself ignorant of his status.
Let me now explain to you the meaning of Bada. Shaykh Mufeed (a.r.) writes in one of his famous books, Awailul Maqalat:
“Regarding the meaning of Bada I say the same which all Muslims say about abrogation and other such things like it. For example, to impoverish after giving wealth, or to make sick after keeping healthy, or death after life or (according to the belief of some people) reduction and increase in age and livelihood. As for the reason of application of Bada, its reason is that personalities who were envoys (i.e. the Holy Prophet and the Imams) between Allah and His creatures were heard saying this word. And if this word had not been used in such traditions, whose authenticity is absolute I would never have considered its use permissible.
If the verses and traditions regarding this were not found that God gets angry, He gets pleased, He loves and is amazed then words such as ‘anger’, ‘pleasure’, ‘love’ and ‘amazement’ could not be used for Him. Since they are found in narrations, we have begun to use them. However, we take such a meaning from them, which no intellect can deny. The fact is that there is no difference of opinion in the chapter of Bada between me and other Muslims. And those who oppose Shias in this matter are against the word of ‘Bada’ and not against the meaning of ‘Bada’. I have exposed the wrong use of this word in such a way that there is no scope of further discussion in this matter and my religion is the religion of all the Shias.”12
Allamah Shaykh Fazlullah Zanjani has written the following gloss on it:
“There are two meanings of the word ‘Bada’. First ‘Zuhoor’ (reappearance) and it is the literal meaning of this word according to the dictionary. Secondly it denotes ‘changing one’s decisions on the basis of getting new information or conjecture regarding something. The usage of the second meaning of Bada is absolutely impossible for God of the Universe because the outcome of it would be that we will have to believe that God gets knowledge of a thing which He was not having earlier.
While absolute proofs are evidently opposed to it. Thus whenever we associate this word with God, it means that such a matter has come from God, which we never expected. Or God made such a thing possible, which people never thought of. And on this same basis we have to believe this meaning only. All the words of Bada used in Quran and the legitimacy of its usage (in the same meaning) is due to those verses of the Book of Allah in which the usage of this word is associated with God. For example, Allah says,
“…and what they never thought of shall become plain to them from Allah.”13
And there are other such verses.”
Note: This verse shows the legitimacy of the usage of word ‘Bada’ while explaining its meaning.
Though these descriptions are absolutely clear, the understanding of the Rizwan editor is coercing me to present more explanations. Since these scholarly discussions won’t be understood by him without pure Urdu language. I feel it necessary to explain two or three things before discussing the actual point.
1) Jews believe that God created the world and is now resting, free from all activities.
2) The Greek philosophers believed that God created the first intellect and the first intellect created the second intellect and the first heavens. The second intellect created the third intellect and the second heaven. This went on till the ninth intellect that created the tenth intellect and ninth heaven. Then the tenth intellect created the whole world. According to them, One God can perform only a single deed. Hence the work of God was completed after the creation of the first intellect. All the things created in this world after that and the existence of day and night are called wonders of these intellect. God does not have any relation with it.
3) A group of philosophers (who are called Kamoon wa Zuhoor) believed that God created all the things within a few moments in eternity. All the things from the beginning to the end were created at the same time. However, some appeared before the others. Hence all these delays and advancements are not creation but reappearance. Just like the whole page of newspaper is printed at the same time but you read the first word and first alphabet first and then the next letter.
4) One of the beliefs of Mutazila sect’s chief, Nazzam, is similar to the belief of these philosophers. That is, there exists a link between existence and non-existence called as ‘proof’. God has ‘proved’ all the things at once in eternity i.e. He has created them. Now, delay and advancements are visible at the stage of world only. According to them, neither the world not the souls of Abu Lahab and Abu Jahl were created after the Light of Muhammad (S) but all were created at the same time.
All these four beliefs have deposed God of His Godliness. The Jews are clearly making their God sleep in a restful sleep as if the world has no relation with Him. The first group of the Greek philosophers does not permit God to even correct the mistakes of the first ten intellects. Since correction would also be another action which is not possible for Him. The companions of Kamoon and Zuhoor, Mutazila and Nazzam believe that whatever God wanted to do, He has already done in the beginning and He does not want to do anything now. As if God is now free.
Rejecting all these beliefs, the God of Universe has guided His creatures at various places in the Holy Quran the details of which shall be mentioned later.
In any case, Islamic belief says that God alone is the Creator of all things. He is not suspended according to the belief of the Jews and philosophers. Nor is He such that He created everything in the beginning and everything that is going to happen will reappear gradually while God does not have any power over anything as they have already been created, according to the belief of a group of Ahlul Sunnat, Mutazila and Nazzam.
But a Quranic verse says:
“Know that, His is the creation and the command.”14
“All those who are in the heavens and the earth ask of Him; every moment He is in a state (of glory).”15
It means He always brings someone to non-existence, someone to existence, makes someone sick and someone healthy, causes the birth of someone and death of someone. The changes in the world are brought about by His command alone. He is neither suspended nor His hands are tied according to the belief of the Jews:
“And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are spread out, He expends as He pleases.”16
In every moment of the order of creation the absolute and final judgments are issued. Without His command, nothing can appear on these creations of the world.
Every human being feels that our actions are of two types. We have a control over some actions and on the basis of them we are applauded or apprehended. Also we are rewarded or punished in the hereafter. For example, praying, going somewhere, talking or keeping quiet, murdering someone etc. On the other hand, there are some actions over which we have no control. Hence we are neither praised not punished because of them. For example, bearing children or not, having an elegant face or not etc.
We can differentiate the two by the fact that one cannot ask an ailing person ‘Why don’t you become healthy?’ however; we can ask him ‘Why don’t you seek treatment?’ Or ‘Why don’t you go to such and such doctor?’ You can see what is the reason behind not asking a person to become healthy but asking him to do the treatment. It is clear that to become healthy is out of control of an ailing person. Hence we do not ask him about it. However, it is possible for him to do the treatment. Thus we can criticize him if he does not go for the treatment.
Matters under the control of man, are called ‘Amr-e-Tashri-ee’ or ‘Shariat’.
Whatever is out of the control of man and are in control of God, are called ‘Amr-e-Takveeni’ or ‘Khilqat’.
According to Islamic belief, God of Universe has full control over ‘Amr-e-Takveeni’ (which are related to creation and course of action of the world). He has always sent the rules of way of life for ‘Amr-e-Tashri-ee’ (which are related to the control of man) through the prophets from Prophet Adam to the Last Prophet (S) so that man could attain Paradise and avoid hell. This modus operandi is called ‘Shariat’ or ‘Religion’. The religion of Muhammad (S) is the final one and has abrogated all the former religions.
The connotation of abrogation is that considering the mental and physical weaknesses of man, God makes changes in His laws so that His laws are in accordance with the growing needs of the civilization. It should not happen that the human species go on advancing while his religion cannot cope up with them. The God of Universe explains the expedience of abrogation in the following manner:
“Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?”17
The Jews and fatalists object to this ‘abrogation’. They ask whether God had forgotten or made some mistakes in the prior Law that He has to send a new Law for rectification?
Islamic scholars reply in the negative. God had neither forgotten nor committed a mistake in the prior law. Rather those laws were in accordance with the conditions of that time but as time passed, situations and thoughts changed, abilities progressed, and intellects developed and finally it became necessary to change that law. For example, a dress made for a child can be used for a limited period only. Once the child grows up, it would be silly to ask him to wear that same dress. It would be necessary to make a new dress now and the tailor cannot be blamed that he had stitched the former dress wrongly or he had forgotten something in it that the child now needs another dress on being a grown up. In short, it proves the skill of the tailor and not his foolishness.
In this instance, the tailor knew even before styling the dress that after six months or a year this dress will be rendered useless for the child. Similarly, not only before sending the first Law but even before the creation of Prophet Adam (as), God knew that after some centuries a law would become inappropriate for the human species and a new law would be sent. This proves the knowledge of Allah instead of forgetfulness or a mistake.
The tailor was in the beginning itself aware when he had not even cut the dress for the child. At that time too He knew that after six months or a year it would not fit the child. In the same way the Almighty Allah, at the time of sending the first Shariat and even before that, even before the creation of Adam, was aware that after so many centuries this Shariat would become unfit for humanity and another Shariat would be sent to replace it. This proves the knowledge of God and not His ignorance or mistake.
Just as God sent a law and modified it depending upon the circumstances, in the same way He makes changes in His actions, which are called ‘Amr-e-Takveeni’ as per the need of time. For instance, Zaid used to sit idle. God wrote poverty in his destiny but afterwards he began to work hard as much as possible. Thus, God wrote happiness and well being for him. Before sending the first law, God knew that it would be abrogated at so and so time.
Similarly He knew before giving wealth to Zaid and even before the creation of this world that at such and such time Zaid would be given wealth. It does not prove the ignorance or foolishness of God but the fact that nothing can come into appearance without the consent of Allah in this world. He is that Knowing Lord of the worlds Who knows a thing before it comes into existence.
Now if the Rizwan editor does not have any palpitation let me tell him that just as bringing about changes in ‘Amr-e-Tashri-ee’ out of the need of consideration and time is called abrogation, in the same way bringing about changes in ‘Amr-e-Takveeni’ out of the need of consideration and time is called Bada. That is the aim of the statement of Shaykh Mufeed (a.r.) when he says:
“Regarding the meaning of Bada I say the same which all Muslims say about abrogation and other such things like it. For example, to impoverish after giving wealth, or to make sick after keeping healthy, or death after life or (according to the belief of some people) reduction and increase in age and livelihood. The fact is that there is no difference of opinion in the chapter of Bada between me and other Muslims.” (and everyone believes it and hence, there is not at all any difference between common Muslims and Shias in this matter).”
Now the remaining issue is why this belief in God’s power and control is termed as Bada? The reason is that in order to explain this connotation, only this word is used in the Quran and traditions. Hence, we also use it. You cannot ask as to why is this word used in the Quran and traditions. Actually, God has appointed angels for the organization of this world. He has given them the knowledge (gist and conditional) about them at first only. Similarly, He had given it to His special creatures also.
For the sake of their benefit, He has given them knowledge long before the event. However, all these angels and special people always wait for His command. They cannot understand what His decision at a particular time will be. Even if they are having the conditional knowledge of the commands related to them then also they are unaware of the final decision. Consider the issue of life and death. God creates Zaid but does not inform the Angel of Death that his life is of forty or fifty or sixty years. It is said (or written) to him: ‘His life is of fifty years owing to Divine wisdom. Now, if he misbehaves with his relatives or cuts off relations from them, his life would be reduced by ten years to forty years. If he maintains good relations with his relatives, his life would be increased by ten years to sixty years.’
Now the Angel of Death cannot make out whether to take his soul away from the body after forty, fifty or sixty years till the last moment. However, that All-Knowing God knew even before the creation of this world that Zaid will maintain good relations with his relatives and live to be sixty. He does not give this final and absolute knowledge even to His Angels and there are many reasons for that.
The knowledge of those angels and special ones of God is always conditional. It also is not necessary that they be given the information about every condition beforehand. If there is a consideration then the condition is revealed at first only otherwise it is revealed at the final moment (that information in which He Himself says that there are no conditions in a particular matter and it is an absolute one). The knowledge of the angels and special ones of God also changes according to the fulfillment of the condition but God always knows His final decision. There is no change in His knowledge. God says this as follows:
“Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He pleases, and with Him is the basis of the Book.”18
That is, the knowledge in which there are erasings and writings, it denotes the knowledge of angels and special ones of God, which is also called as ‘Tablet of erasing and writing’ (Lauh-e-Mahv-o-Ithbaat) because it changes continuously. While the ‘Mother of Book’ (Ummul Kitab) and ‘real book’ (Real Book) refers to the knowledge of God which does not change, and it this which is called ‘the secure tablet’ (Lauhe Mahfooz).
“Nay! it is a glorious Quran. In a guarded tablet.”19
‘The guarded tablet’ in this verse signifies the knowledge of Almighty, which never changes.
To conclude, whenever the command of God goes against the prior knowledge of angels and special ones of God, it is called Bada in the technical terminology of Shias. Since the meaning of Bada is reappearance and an order appears against the expectation of the people.
Tell me, do you see any possibility of objecting to this belief? Possibly the Rizwan editor has failed to understand this Divine issue even after such a prolonged explanation. Hence, I shall narrate some incidents from the Holy Quran for further elucidation. Hence consider the following:
The Lord promised Prophet Musa (as) that if after fasting for thirty days he goes to Mount Tur he would be given the Torah. Prophet Musa did as ordered. He went to Mount Tur on thirtieth day after brushing his teeth. He did not know that he had to abstain from brushing his teeth during these thirty days. Upon reaching there, he received an order, ‘The mouth odor of a fasting person is dearer to Me than the smell of musk and ambergris. Hence you fast for ten more days and come without brushing your teeth and you will get the Torah’. Thus Prophet Musa (as) fasted for another ten days according to Divine command and received the Torah on the fortieth day. Here are the Quranic wordings of this incident:
“And We appointed with Musa a time of thirty nights and completed them with ten (more)...”20
You can see that God promised Musa (as) for thirty nights in this verse and then extended it by ten more nights. This resulted in the change in knowledge of Prophet Musa (as) and not the knowledge of God because God always knew that Musa (as) would get the Torah only after 40 days. This is revealed as follows:
“So the appointed time of his Lord was complete forty nights.” 21
That is the reason why in another verse Prophet Musa’s (as) knowledge was ignored and it was said:
“And when We appointed a time of forty nights with Musa, then you took the calf (for a god) after him and you were unjust.”22
This verse also exposes the reason behind keeping Prophet Musa (as) unaware at first. The reason is that due to the ten-day delay of Prophet Musa (as) in returning to his community, the weak-faith people of Bani Israel and hypocrites fell prey to the deceit of Samri and started worshipping the ‘golden calf’. In this way, the strength and weakness of the belief of all the people was tested. This incident is mentioned in Quran as follows:
“And what caused you to hasten from your people, O Musa?
He said: They are here on my track and I hastened on to Thee, my Lord, that Thou mightest be pleased.
He said: So surely We have tried your people after you, and the Samri has led them astray.
So Musa returned to his people wrathful, sorrowing. Said he: O my people! Did not your Lord promise you a goodly promise: did then the time seem long to you, or did you wish that displeasure from your Lord should be due to you, so that you broke (your) promise to me?
They said: We did not break (our) promise to you of our own accord, but we were made to bear the burdens of the ornaments of the people, then we made a casting of them, and thus did the Samri suggest.
So he brought forth for them a calf, a (mere) body, which had a mooing sound, so they said: This is your god and the god of Musa, but he forgot.
What! Could they not see that it did not return to them a reply, and (that) it did not control any harm or benefit for them?”23
It is clear that if Prophet Musa (as) had already been informed, “You will get the Torah in thirty or forty days” or “If you come without brushing your teeth on the thirtieth day then only you will get the Torah” or “If you come after fasting for forty days without brushing you teeth”, how it would have been possible to test Bani Israel? The test was possible only by promising thirty days and concealing the condition for giving of the Torah. When Prophet Musa (as) did not fulfill this condition the period was extended by ten more days. This ten-day extension was against the expectations of Prophet Musa (as) and Bani Israel. Within this short period, Samri misguided Bani Israel by saying, “This calf is the God of Musa. Musa has gone to Tur by mistake. How would he get the Torah there?”
The majority supported him and Prophet Harun (as) was also over-powered while the firmness of people’s belief became clear.
The second incident is about the nation of Prophet Yunus (as). According to the Quran, Prophet Yunus (as) was sent as a messenger to a hundred thousand or more people. After preaching for a long time, only two people brought faith on him. One was a worshipper and other a scholar. When Prophet Yunus became disheartened after preaching for a long time, he invoked divine curse on them. God informed him that on so and so day chastisement would be sent upon them. Prophet Yunus (as) warned all of them and left the area and the worshipper accompanied him.
After Prophet Yunus (as) went away, the scholar summoned all the people of the community and explained to them that Divine chastisement was about to befall them. If they still failed to repent and bring faith they would all be destroyed and their hereafter shall also be ruined.
On the fixed day, Divine chastisement appeared in the form of a black cloud. Under directions of the scholar, the community of Yunus (as) separated the children from their mothers. All the people – elderly and children came to an open ground repenting and crying and brought faith with a sincere heart. At last, the chastisement hovering on their heads receded and the people were saved. It is described in Quran as follows:
“And wherefore was there not a town which should believe so that their belief should have profited them but the people of Yunus? When they believed, We removed from them the chastisement of disgrace in this world's life and We gave them provision till a time.”24
The next day when Prophet Yunus (as) returned to see the condition of his community he found people in an unexpected condition and they were going about their normal lives. Without asking about anything, he returned thinking that the people would call him a liar. On the other hand, the people of his community were waiting for him eagerly so that they could confess their faith to him. In any case, he boarded a ship and when he reached the deep seas he saw a huge whale with its mouth wide open.
The captain said, “Perhaps a slave has ran away from his master and he is the prey of this fish. If he does not go by himself the whale would destroy the whole ship.” Prophet Yunus (as) said, “I have run away from my Master (i.e. God),” and he jumped into the sea. The whale swallowed him and he remained in the whale’s belly for forty days, praising and glorifying Allah. As a result, God commanded the fish to eject him at the shore. His body had become very delicate and he had also become very weak. God grew a vegetable creeper so that he remains safe from the flies in its shade. At last when he regained some strength he returned to his community to a warm welcome and everyone became happy. God has related this incident in the following manner:
“And Yunus was most surely of the apostles. When he ran away to a ship completely laden, So he shared (with them), but was of those who are cast off. So the fish swallowed him while he did that for which he blamed himself. But had it not been that he was of those who glorify (Us), He would certainly have tarried in its belly to the day when they are raised. Then We cast him on to the vacant surface of the earth while he was sick. And We caused to grow up for him a gourd plant. And We sent him to a hundred thousand, rather they exceeded. And they believed, so We gave them provision till a time.”25
The reason behind keeping the real condition secret in this incident is obvious. If it had been revealed to Prophet Yunus (as) that the chastisement would go away from his people, forcefulness would not have remained in his propagation. As a result, there would not have been any impact on the community and chastisement would have become necessary for all of them. Hence, God declared that He would send chastisement but kept the condition secret that if they failed to bring faith, He would send the chastisement but the chastisement would go away if they became faithful. The best result of it was that the whole community became believers and all the people were saved from chastisement.
Similarly, the third incident is regarding the sacrifice of Prophet Ismail (as) in which Allah commanded Prophet Ibrahim (as) in his dream to sacrifice Ismail (as). When he went to sacrifice Prophet Ismail (as), Allah saved him and made a ram his ransom. Were Ibrahim (as) to be informed about the actual scene beforehand that, as he is about to sacrifice Ismail (as) a ram is made his ransom, the purity of the hearts of Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as), their steadfastness, their acceptance and compliance could not have been tested. Hence the real command was revealed but the result was kept secret so that their acceptance and compliance could be tested in full. That is why Allah granted him the following certificate:
“You have indeed shown the truth of the vision; surely thus do We reward the doers of good.”26
Evidently in this incident and the previous two incidents of Prophet Musa (as) and Prophet Yunus (as) the conditions of those commands were not revealed. As a result, the community of Musa (as) thought that he would return after thirty days. Prophet Yunus (as) thought that chastisement would indeed befall his community. Prophet Ibrahim (as) thought that Prophet Ismail (as) would surely be sacrificed.
When the final outcome was contrary to their expectations, they realized that the command was actually dependent on some conditions. However, we cannot find anywhere in those incidents that God was unaware of the result. He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He knows the end of the world since before its inception while the creatures can never understand His expediencies. Hence, when they expect a thing from God and the contrary happens, they say that ‘Bada’ (appearance) has occurred. It means a thing or expedience of God has become apparent for us which we had not expected earlier.
I hope my explanation has clarified that ‘Bada’ is not related to ‘Divine Knowledge’ but to the knowledge of human beings. People think that a particular thing should happen in a particular way. When it happens in an opposite manner due to various hidden conditions, there occurs a change in the knowledge of man and not the divine knowledge. And the appearance of the things contrary to the expectations of man is called ‘Bada’.
Also read this text on the margins of Awailul Maqalat and the meaning shall become clear:
“There are two meanings of the word ‘Bada’. First ‘Zuhoor’ (reappearance) and it is the literal meaning of this word according to the dictionary. Secondly it denotes ‘changing one’s decisions on the basis of getting new information or conjecture regarding something. The usage of the second meaning of Bada is absolutely impossible for God of the Universe because the outcome of it would be that we will have to believe that God gets knowledge of a thing which He was not having earlier. While absolute proofs are evidently opposed to it. Thus whenever we associate this word with God it means that such a matter has come from God, which we never expected. Or God did such a thing possible, which people never thought of.”
Now if the Rizwan editor has a discerning mind he should ponder over this Islamic belief and see what is the connotation of Bada. And how it implies that Allah (God forbid) sometimes due to his ignorance and lack of knowledge does a thing then regrets it.
Rather ‘Bada’ shows that man can never reach the depths of the knowledge of Allah.
‘Bada’ actually implies that Allah is the absolute omnipotent and has full control over all things.
The connotation of ‘Bada’ is that not even a single leaf could move without God’s permission in the created world.
The connotation of ‘Bada’ is that God rewards the good deeds and punishes evil.
How many foundations of Islam are laid on the belief of ‘Bada’ can be proved by the assumption that whatever God wanted to do He has already done and now He has no power to change it. Then it would also be considered impossible to abrogate the old laws and send new ones. Because it also constitutes modification of a previous action. In the same if it is decided that whatever God wanted to do He has already created in the beginning then emphasis on worship and warnings to avoid sins would all be useless.
Because whomsoever Allah wants to send to Paradise He would in any case do so and whomever He intends to send to hell will definitely bear its punishment. Rather it can be said in more clear words that He had already created the entry of Paradise and Hell, only its actualization remains. It means that the creation of Zaid’s soul, his coming to this world, doing good or bad deeds, dying and going to Paradise or Hell are all created in the beginning. Now all these issues are appearing in a sequence. Delay and advancement is only in actualization. Therefore it is no use doing good or bad deeds in the expectation of Paradise or fear of hell. Paradise and Hell are already pre-determined for us.
In addition to this if we just believe that God has already created what He wanted to and it shall indeed come to pass, then all these countless supplications, emphasis on their recitation, hundreds of supplications within prayers and without, hundreds of supplications in Quran and the declaration of God:
“And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you…”27
And this assertion of God:
“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me…”28
And other thousands of supplications like:
“Keep us on the right path.”29
“Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire.”30
All these would be useless. Because our supplications would not do anything as God would do whatever He has decreed.
Apart from this, emphasis is laid in many places that ‘Charity (Sadaqah) keeps difficulties away’, ‘maintaining relations with relatives keeps difficulties away and increases life’, ‘so and so prayer fulfills one’s desires’, ‘life decreases due to cutting off relations with one’s relatives’, ‘recitation of Quran causes prosperity’. All these would (God forbid) become useless because God will not increase or decrease the lifespan. Then what is the need of charity, maintaining or breaking off relations, prayer for desires, Quran and supplications?
However if it is true that the former ‘Divine Laws’ were abrogated, it is true that one goes to Paradise due to ones worship and to Hell due to lack of it, that supplications are effective and the promise of God is not false, it is correct that charity and maintaining good relations with relatives bring prosperity while miserliness and breaking off relations cause adversity, then one has to believe that God has made these occurrences conditional. God has full power to take a final decision in every matter. He knew in the beginning itself what final decision would be taken in such and such matter. It is possible that the decision and the result be contrary to the knowledge of the angels and special ones of God. The appearance of this final decision contrary to expectation, is called ‘Bada’.
When such aspects depend on ‘Bada’ it is as if confession in God’s power and discretion is not possible without ‘Bada’. The abrogation of other religions by Shariat of Muhammad (S), arrival of prophets and receiving Paradise or Hell as recompense to good or bad deeds respectively are dependent on ‘Bada’. Then what is the ambiguity in the assertion of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (as): “Allah has not been honored more in anything save ‘Bada’.” Or his declaration: “If people know the reward of ‘Bada’ they would never tire of discussing it.” Because the honor of God is dependent on ‘Bada’, which you have not understood till today due to your foolishness. But what is the fault of Shias in this?
“If in the daylight they cannot see with their eyes.
What is the fault of the Sun in it?”31
The poor editor of Rizwan does not even know that Ahlul Sunnat have a same belief as Shias, regarding ‘Bada’. However they do not refer to it as ‘Bada’. Hence it is just a different word and the change in name does not change the reality.
Ghufran Maab (a.r.) writes in Imadul Islam in the ‘Book of Al-Tawheed’ on Pg. 112 regarding this belief:
“This shows that confession in ‘Bada’ is the belief in the command of God that He has full control over His actions. Many laws of Shariat are dependent on it. For example, abrogation of laws, manipulation of jurisprudence, sending of messengers, inducements of worship, prohibitions of unlawful acts, encouragement for supplication, charity and maintaining good relations with relatives, all these deeds are based on this very article of belief. All these matters are among the necessities of religion.
If a person does not believe in this meaning of Bada he would have to deny all those matters also (that is, neither abrogation is possible nor modifications in laws. Neither there is a benefit in worship not there is any harm in omission of evil deeds. There is no benefit from supplication, charity or maintaining relations). When a person denies all these things he would become a greater denier than the disbelievers and transgressors. God give us refuge from this! Had the Ahlul Sunnat not believed in the real sense of ‘Bada’, we would have labeled them disbelievers because they would have denied a necessity of religion (However since they also believe in the meaning of ‘Bada’, we cannot call them disbelievers).”
The editor of Rizwan who stitches the patch of ‘Hazrat Maulana’ before his name with his own pen is himself unaware of his religion. How can he reach the heights of the Shia belief? If he was having the least knowledge he would have at least known that all the Ahlul Sunnat people are believers in the connotation of ‘Bada’. Whatever may be the name but the connotation is same. A famous Sunni scholar, Fakhruddin Razi writes in Tafsir Kabir in the commentary of the verse:
“Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He pleases, and with Him is the basis of the Book.”32
“There are two opinions about this verse. Firstly it is common to all the commandments according to the apparent meaning. God erases and increases sustenance. In the same way they believe that God confirms and erases death, luck, misfortune, faith and disbelief. This is the religion of Amr bin Masud, a companion of Holy Prophet (S). Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari has also narrated this from the Holy Prophet (S).
Secondly, this obliteration and confirmation is only for some special things. Now there are many conditions in the selection of these special things. Firstly, abrogation of the command before obliteration or revelation and giving a new order in its place… Eighthly, the purpose behind it is the obliteration and revelation of sustenance, labor and difficulty are written by Allah in the book. But He erases them due to supplications and charity. In this way, man is motivated to have hopes on God… Tenthly, He can obliterate any of His orders without any information. Only He is the Master of His order and orders as He wishes. He is the Only Powerful One Who gives birth, mortality, life, death, wealth and poverty. Due to this rank of His, no creature can be informed about His secrets.”
Now compare the beliefs of Ahlul Sunnat explained by Imam Razi with the explanation of Shaykh Mufeed (a.r.) regarding ‘Bada’ then it would become known that the ‘untouchable belief’ which you consider ‘Bada’ to be and get infuriated by it, it is also accepted by Ahlul Sunnat. I repeat the explanation of Shaykh Mufeed (a.r.) once again:
“Regarding the meaning of Bada I say the same which all Muslims say about abrogation and other such things like it. For example, to impoverish after giving wealth, or to make sick after keeping healthy, or death after life or (according to the belief of some people) reduction and increase in age and livelihood.”
Similarly, Allamah Zamakhshari writes regarding the following verse in Tafsir Kashaf:
“…and no one whose life is lengthened has his life lengthened, nor is aught diminished of one's life, but it is all in a book; surely this is easy to Allah.”33
“It means that: Suppose it is written in the tablet that the lifespan of so and so person is forty years if he does Hajj or Jihad and sixty years if he does both. If he performs both the deeds and completes sixty years of life he would have received the whole lifespan. If he could perform only one deed and did not live for more than forty years his lifespan is decreased from its maximum limit, that is 60 years. Holy Prophet (S) has indicated this matter in his saying: ‘Charity and good relations inhabits towns and increase life spans.’”
“It is narrated regarding Kaab that when Umar was injured by the stabbing of Abu Lulu, Kaab said, ‘If Umar had supplicated, his death would have been delayed’. Someone said to Kaab, ‘Didn’t God say:
“…so when their doom will come they shall not be able to delay (it) an hour nor can they bring (it) on (before its time).”34
Kaab replied, ‘God has also said:
“…and no one whose life is lengthened has his life lengthened, nor is aught diminished of one's life, but it is all in a book; surely this is easy to Allah.”35
Moreover, Allah has made the following statements popular on the tongues of people: ‘May God increase your lifespan…’ and ‘May Allah enhance your age…’etc. Muslims use such statements day and night, which shows that it is the belief of all Muslims that lifespan can increase and decrease.”
Similarly, Qazi Baidhawi writes in Tafsir Baidhawi regarding the above-mentioned verse:
“And it is said that the lifespan of a person can be decreased and increased due to various reasons which God has written in a book. For instance, if Umar performs Hajj, his age would be sixty years. Otherwise, it would be forty years.”
These writings prove that all Ahlul Sunnat scholars believe that God obliterates and confirms in the affairs of creation. Time and again He issues commands appropriate to the occasion and requirement of the time. It is called ‘Bada’.
The Poor editor of Rizwan objected to Shias over a self-made explanation of ‘Bada’ while even Ahlul Sunnat were found to have similar opinions as the Shias. The poor ‘Hazrat Maulana’ shall be rejected by both the sides. Both Shias and Sunnis will think that he is making fun of their religions. They would tell him to go away. We pity the writer and hence advise him to have a look at the books before writing on a particular subject in future.
In the words of Ghalib:
“If the heart itself is sorrowful and a butt of ridicule
May be the narrow mind would open due to more study.”36
Let me make a point clear due to which the poor Rizwan fell a prey to his compound ignorance. The fact is that Bada has two meanings. Firstly, ‘appearance’ and secondly, ‘remaining unaware of a thing and then becoming aware later on and changing one’s decisions’.
It is explained thus on the margins of Awailul Maqalat. It is not only present in Shia traditions but also in the Holy Quran. The abrogation of former divine laws, change in God’s commands due to ‘Divine Expedience’ is called ‘Bada’ according to jurisprudence and technical terminology. And this technical meaning ‘appearance’ is related to the dictionary meaning that here also it implies actualization of a new command for humans and angels. It is this connotation that is implied in the traditions and Quranic verses.
The poor editor of Rizwan, after hearing the literal meaning of Bada as, ‘Change in decision after getting new information’ thought that the belief in it is also in the same sense. That is, ‘God forbid, God does something in ignorance and foolishness and then regrets.’ Fortunately, no one has told him that the literal meaning of ‘Sawm’ (fast) is abstinence. Otherwise from the next Ramadhan he would begin teaching his followers that the Arabic phrase, ‘atimmus siyaama ilal lail’ which means, ‘then complete the fast till night’ is actually, ‘then observe abstinence till night’. So that the youth of today, who are running away from religion would become very particular in ‘fasting’ and the splendor of Ramadan shall increase a thousand fold.
Not only this, if he knew that the dictionary meaning of ‘Jihad’ (Holy War) is ‘hard work’ he would have included every teacher in his list of ‘Chief of warriors’ and every student a ‘warrior’. He would have started kissing their feet. At that time, the title ‘caliph’ would have suited the wrestlers.
Laws would become so easy that if one prays in the morning lying on his bed, “O God! Please give intelligence to the Rizwan editor” the Salat (prayer) is over. Since the dictionary meaning of ‘Salat’ is ‘invocation’.
Decide to undertake a journey to Lahore’s Mall Road for pleasure and you have become a Haji because the dictionary meaning of Hajj is to ‘decide’.
You have already applied literal meanings to all Divine matters and proved that God has a face (wajh), hand (yad), side (janb), calf of leg (saq), eyes, ears, hair etc. according to the apparent meanings of Quran. Rather Mr. Allah is also ready to burn His foot in hell.37
Now it is the turn of worship acts, which are waiting for your merciful attention. After that, neither Islam nor the people of Islam shall remain. Only the people like you shall survive. After seeing which one shall be compelled to say:
“Neither researchers nor scholars
Only a quadruped loaded with books.”38
- 1. Surah Naas 114:5
- 2. Surah Hijr 15:39
- 3. Surah Araaf 7:179
- 4. The Restorer
- 5. The All-hearing
- 6. The All-seeing
- 7. Ibtalul Batil
- 8. Al-Milal wan Nihal, Allamah Shahristani in the margin of Kitabul Fazl fil Milal wal Nihal, Pg. 141
- 9. Kanzul Ummal, Mulla Ali Muttaqi, source: Musnafah, Syed Zirak Husain
- 10. Khulafa Pg. 21
- 11. Surah Nisa 4:174
- 12. Awailul Maqalat, Pg. 53 Printed at Tabriz
- 13. Surah Zumar 39:47
- 14. Surah Araaf 7:54
- 15. Surah Rahman 55:29
- 16. Surah Maidah 5:64
- 17. Surah Baqarah 2:106
- 18. Surah Ra’ad 13:39
- 19. Surah Buruj 85:21-22
- 20. Surah Araaf 7:142
- 21. Surah Araaf 7:142
- 22. Surah Baqarah 2:52
- 23. Surah Taha 20:83-89
- 24. Surah Yunus 10:98
- 25. Surah Saffat 37:139-148
- 26. Surah Saffat 37:105
- 27. Surah Momin 40:60
- 28. Surah Baqarah 2:186
- 29. Surah Fatiha 1:6
- 30. Surah Baqarah 2:201
- 31. Persian Couplet
- 32. Surah Ra’ad 13:39
- 33. Surah Fatir 35:11
- 34. Surah Nahl 16:61
- 35. Surah Fatir 35:11
- 36. Urdu Couplet
- 37. Refer Sahih Bukhari
- 38. A Persian couplet of Sadi