A discussion providing evidence of Shi'a ideology and practice from the Quran & Sunni sources.
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمْ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا.
“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.”
This is what Almighty God revealed to His Prophet (a.s) in Ghadir Khumm, favoring mankind with a perfect religion. Believing in Islam as the most perfect religion requires not only a life in accord with its principles but also a constant attempt to discover the reality and spirit of it.
“Shiism in Sunnism” is an invaluable step in the direction of such an attempt, of which I had the honor of translation. I can hardly, if ever, praise Allah for the wisdom and capability He has bestowed on me. In fact, ‘this is of the grace of my Lord.’1
I am greatly indebted to my parents for their sincere support throughout my life. I am also thankful to my professors without whose guidance I could not accomplish this translation, which is as a drop in the ocean. I dedicate this first translation experience of mine to the Commander of the Believers, Imam Ali (a.s), as an offering for “the day when We call every people with their Imams”2 and “the day on which property will not avail, nor sons.”3
Getting acquainted with my professor: it was a hot day in Tir (the fourth month of the Iranian Calendar corresponding to June-July), 1379 (2000 AD) and I had finished sat’h (intermediate level) examinations at the Hawzah (Islamic theology school). From the very same day, I got determined to further my studies in Islamic jurisprudence and principles (kharij fiqh wa usul). Those who have experienced this know quite well that benefiting from a fully qualified professor plays a great role in one’s success, and I was deeply aware of this fact.
Summer was coming to its end and choosing my professor was becoming a sophisticated concern for me. The middle of Shahrivar (the sixth month of the Iranian Calendar corresponding to August-September) was coming, which was the beginning of the academic year in the Hawzah, and I was so anxious. Choosing my professor had so much engaged my mind that it was my sole request from God in my pilgrimage (Ziyarah) to the holy shrines of Imam Reza (a.s)1 and Lady Fatima Ma’suma (a.s). Meanwhile I consulted so many trustee people to reach my purpose.
Finally, by God’s favor, I joined the circle of study of my dear professor, Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Muhammad Reza Mudarrisi Tabataba’i Yazdi.
The professor’s lectures were vital to me and brought academic cheerfulness for me. I got to understand better the meaning of traditions praising knowledge, studying and teaching,2 and this honorable verse seemed so new to me as though it had just been revealed:
وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا.
And whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men. (Holy Qur’an 6:32).
In order to praise Allah and thank my professor, I was looking for an opportunity to help him instead. This became possible when one day he asked me for help after his lecture. He said he had written about some jurisprudential issues during the previous years but could not arrange them due to his busy schedule. The professor suggested that I may make them ready for publishing. I accepted wholeheartedly and started the work a few days before Muharram (the first month in the Hijri Calendar).
Now, after six months, I have always been engaged in this work. In my trip to Qazvin for religious training, and then in Qom, I spent most of the nights to prepare the book until dawn. When I was in Qom, I used the books in Ayatollah Mar’ashi Najafi’s Library and also technical library of Ayatollah Sistani and available software. In Mashhad too, I benefited a lot from the library of Astan Qods Radhawi and the library of Goharshad Mosque, thanks God for all this.
These written materials were five pamphlets to which another one was added after being written entitled “Prostration in the Tradition of the Prophet and the Companions.” In all these materials, besides the interesting method of posing the discussion, technical way of posing and terminating the issues, power of analysis, reasoning and concluding, what was eye-catching was the way the traditions of the Sunni were benefited from. Moreover, the professor had fortunately used the most valid books of the Sunnis as well as their most authentic traditions.
Of course, the basic references of these materials are our Sunni brothers, but reading them is so useful for clearing the reasons as well as the roots of the Shi’a viewpoints, especially since they have been conveyed so eloquently. A report of the primary materials: The first pamphlet entitled “An Introduction to Knowing the Imams in the Light of the Traditions,” is about the Imamate of the twelve Imams (a.s). It was published for the second time in 1359 (1980). Despite the solid discussions, right arrangement of chapters and excellent materials, there were some problems in printing. Its typesetting, for example, was done by old printing machines. Lack of vowels in Arabic parts as well as necessary footnotes reduced the attraction of the book.
During my last visit to Mashhad, I saw the book in the library of Goharshad Mosque and told the person in charge that I will soon give them a new edition of it. Among the advantages of this new edition are: adding new traditions, explanation of some vague traditions, the quality of adducing the Twelver Shi’a from the traditions of “Imams are twelve in number” and some worthy points I have never seen elsewhere. For instance, in a footnote, some uncommon traditions of the Sunni about Mahdawiyyat (the Affairs of Imam Mahdi) are discussed.
The second pamphlet entitled ‘Ijtihad and Taqlid’ is a jurisprudential-discoursal discussion. I have studied various books in this regard, each having some advantages, but none of them is as worthy as this book. The professor in this book, avoiding repeated and useless issues, has comprehensively discussed about Ijtihad and Taqlid in a comparative method. This part was first published using manual printing-machine in 1372 (1997) for the Conference of Islamic Unity in Zahidan.
The third, fourth and fifth pamphlets in jurisprudence were also written later to be presented to the same conference. The titles of these chapters are ‘Tradition and Heresy in Adhan,’ ‘Ablution in the Qur’an and Tradition’ and ‘Simultaneous Performance of Prayers’ respectively. Among these three chapters, the last two were included in the Al-Mu’jam Al-Fiqhi Software, Third Edition of the Institute of Ayatollah Al-Uzma Golpaygani and is now available in the Information Bank. These three chapters and the next one, despite being too technical, have been arranged in a way that most people, like students and the youth, can use with a little attention and pondering.
The last pamphlet was written after the arrangement of the previous five ones and was submitted to me for editing.
What I did in these pamphlets was
(1) researching about the verses and the traditions and materials quoted from other books and adding new sources to them and
(2) inserting necessary footnotes for better understanding and reducing the sophistication of the contents. These materials are signaled with (Editor) in the footnotes.3
Anyway, the discussions in this book are in the form of a sincere scientific conversation and are provided with the purpose of illuminating the truth. Our purpose is hence: “Scientific Conversation; Practical Unity”. It is hoped that the book help the readers know Islam better, and may Allah favor the author, the readers and I. In the last days of preparing this book, it crossed my mind to dedicate it to the Great Lady of Islam, Fatimah Al-Zahra (a.s) to be as an offering for the day on which “All the people wish they were the followers of Fatimah.”4
O Allah! Accept this from us! You are surely All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
Hamid Reza Torabi
Imamate and leadership are among the significant issues of which every Muslim should have a clear understanding and to which should recognize his/her responsibility. Imamate is a subject to which the Holy Prophet has paid special attention. The Prophet has mentioned it frequently in his speeches and it has been discussed in various times and places and in different ways. Its significance is to such an extent that according to traditions, agreed upon by the Shi’a and the Sunni—some of which will follow—the great Prophet of Islam (a.s) warned sharply: “One who dies without knowing the Imam of his age dies as a pagan,” and hence will be raised beside apostates and disbelievers on the Resurrection Day. Moreover, the Muslim community would have naturally faced this issue after the tragic demise of the Holy Prophet (a.s), since the question then was that who would be the Prophet’s successor and how the Muslims’ affairs should be managed.
Therefore, seeking and finding the truth about Imamate, unscathed by pagan bias, is an inevitable necessity for the Muslims. Discussions on Imamate are presented in three main ways, each having its own characteristics. These are as follows:
1. Logical Method: In this method, the necessity of Imamate and Imam’s infallibility is proved via for example Lutf (benevolence) principle and logical understanding and then by this principle and its results, consequences of Imamate are stated.
2. Miracle Method: Here, individuals make sure of the Imams’ truthfulness by seeing directly or getting information about their miracles.
3. Nass (wording) Method: In this case, the Imams’ Imamate is determined by the Prophet’s introduction or stipulation or each Imam’s introduction of his next successor (s).
In various books written about Imamate, Imam Ali’s leadership after the Prophet (a.s) has been stated in all the above-mentioned ways. But the leadership of other Imams has been proved via the first (Logical) and the second (Miracle) methods.
The purpose of this book is to prove Imamate via the third method (Nass) and mostly traditions narrated by the Sunnis and is organized in such a way to be helpful for most people.
To begin with, is there any leadership after the Prophet (a.s) at all? Attempts to find the answer to this question is the start of our research. In this view, this issue is proved by presenting various traditions and we will find out that Imamate existed after the Prophet (a.s) and this continued through the ages. Whenever a bright star from this Household of the Holy Prophet (the Ahl al-Bayt) set, another would rise and hence the earth would never be without a Hujjah. Then in proceeding with this research, we deal with our Imams’ characteristics in order to distinguish them. So, Imamate is first proved as a vast circle and then this circle is gradually reduced to include only the Twelve Imams. With this introduction, the issues will be discussed in the following order:
-The meaning of Imamate and leadership,
-The continuation of Imamate and the necessity of knowing the Imam,
-The number of the Imams and that they are twelve in number and all from Quraysh,
-The Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) and Imamate,
-The intended concept of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)
-The leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)
-Presence of people from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) until the Resurrection Day,
-Belonging of Imams to the Prophet’s Household (a.s),
-Names and identity of Imams.
Before getting to this last step and finding the names and identification of the Imams in ahadith (traditions of the Holy Prophet), traditions from Sunni books have been used.
In each chapter, care is taken as to include stipulation of Sunni clerics for at least some of the traditions. This makes the Sunni readers realize that even in the most authentic books of their owns, there are successive traditions clearly proving Imamate of the Twelve Imams, and that in spite of all the political, cultural, financial and physical pressures for diminishing the light of the Ahl al-Bayt and eliminating such traditions from the hadith lexicon of the Prophet, and secluding their traditions, the ray of truth is glittering from the most certified Sunni hadith books, saturating everyone who has insight, knowledge and conscience.
It will also increase the belief and strengthen the faith in the hearts of the Shi’a readers, since they realize that the Ahl al-Bayt’s Imamate is provable even through the books of those who do not believe in them. But in this last step, although some wordings (nass) of Imams are narrated by the Sunni and are mentioned in many sources, including the present book, for more certitude, a few of the traditions of the Shi’a, though little more than a drop in the ocean, are given.
It is worth mentioning that for investigating into the authenticity of such traditions and selecting the most authentic ones, we should go to traditions whose narrators are among document chains of jurisprudence traditions, for clerics expert in Rijal (knowledge of distinguished hadith narrators) have paid more attention to them and hence they can be more easily recognized. With regard to the excess of traditions in the present topic and the existence of various indications, of course, there is no need for investigating any documents.
In any case, in writing this book nearly fifty books of both the Sunni and Shiite have been used, the most important of which are as follow:
Ithbat Al-Hudat, Ghayat Al-Maram, Muntakhab Al-Athar, Aman Al-Ummah, Jami’ Al-Ruwat and Tanqih Al-Maqal from the Shi’a, and Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Mustadrak, Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan Al-Nisa’i, Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad, Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhriqah, Kanz Al-Ummal, Lisan Al-Mizan, and Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib from the Sunni.
Raghib—the famous lexicographer—in his book entitled Mufradat states, “An Imam is one who is followed. It can be either a person whose speech and behavior are followed, or a book, etc.”
He also says about Caliphate, “Caliphate is the succession of another person.”
The terms “Imamate” and “Caliphate” seem to have been used in the same lexical meaning in religious texts, too. The realm of these two concepts, however, may be wide or narrow, depending on their sphere of usage. So, if Imamate is used with ‘Ummah’ (nation) or ‘naas’ (the masses); or it is used in the abstract, it means all-around leadership which is of excellent status and we are not to deal with its features and greatness here.
The relationship between the concepts of Imamate and Caliphate is a distinct issue which should be dealt with in its own place. But two points are of significance in the present discussion:
First, Imamate and Caliphate are the succession of the Prophet of Islam (a.s) after his demise, in religious and social affairs. Second, Imamate and Caliphate are in practice inseparable. In other words, the same person who is Imam should be Caliph and the Prophet’s successor. It is impossible to consider someone as only Imam and the other as merely Caliph.
Taftazani, a famous Sunni scholar, in his book ‘Maqasid’ defines Imamate as “the leadership of the public as Caliphate and succession of the Prophet (a.s) in religious and social affairs.”1
Qushji, a great Sunni theologian, gives the same definition.2 Other Sunni scholars have presented the same or nearly the same definitions for Imamate.3 As is quoted, Abu Bakr too, when denying Ansar’s4 candidate for Caliphate, adduced the tradition:
الأئمَِّةُ مِن قُريشٍ.
“Imams are from Quraysh.”5
Therefore, he did not differentiate between Imamate and Caliphate either.6 The conclusion derived from this brief discussion is that in traditions, which will be quoted, by Imamate means Caliphate, too.
Islam is undoubtedly the everlasting religion until the Resurrection Day and never dependent upon the great Prophet of Islam (a.s). The Holy Qur’an says:
وَمَا مُحَمَّد إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِيْن مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ.
“And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? 2:1447”
So the continuation of Islam, as a religion, over time is an established principle.
Defending religion, execution of Shari’ah commandments and protecting the glory of Muslims and Islamic territory, on the other hand, requires leadership and commandment or else it would not be possible. The necessity of leadership is an issue agreed upon by all Islamic sects and branches and except for a small group, not worthy of attention, no one has doubted it.
Adhud al-Din Iji, a Sunni judge and scholar, in Mawaqif says: “Muslims in the early years after the Prophet’s demise have successively reached consensus that an age without Imam is impossible.8
But since the method of this book is based on quotation, an attempt is made to follow the issues in the light of traditions quoted from the great Prophet (a.s) by the Sunni.
The traditions can be divided into two parts:
1. Many traditions in which the terms ‘Imam,’ ‘Caliph’ and the like (in various forms) have been mentioned. These traditions briefly prove that there are Imamate and Caliphate, after the honorable Messenger of Allah (a.s); such as, “الأئمّةُ اثنا عَشَر.” (Imams are twelve in number.) Because if there is no Imamate, it cannot be said that Imams are twelve in number. Some traditions of this sort will be stated.
2. Some traditions verify that an Imam exists in every age, some of which state that one should know his Imam and follow him and that if someone dies without knowing and following the Imam of his age, he dies as a pagan; i.e. he dies as apostate.
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, p. 446:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : من مات وليست عليه طاعه مات ميتة جاهلية.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies without obedience (to an Imam), dies as a pagan and disbeliever.9
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 12, p.240 (Nawawi’s exposition):
سمعت رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: ومَن ماتَ وَلَيسَ في عُنُقِه بَيعَةٌ ماتَ ميتة جاهلية.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies with no allegiance (to an Imam) has died as a pagan.10
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 10, p.289:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَنْ ماتَ ولَيسَ عليه إمامُ فَمِيتَتُهُ مِيتَةٌ جاهِلِيّة.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies and has no Imam has died as a pagan.11
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 12, p. 201 (Nawawi’s exposition):
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : لا يَزالُ هذا الأمرُ في قُرَيشٍ ما بَقيَ في النّاسِ اثْنانِ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: As long as there are at least two people (in the world), this issue (Caliphate) remains in Quraysh.12
As is evident, this requires the continuation of Caliphate.
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 4, p.96:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَنْ ماتَ بِغَيرِ إمامٍ ماتَ مِيتةً جاهِلِيّة.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies with no Imam dies as a pagan13.
Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Umar Ibn Abi ‘Asim Al-Sheybani, died in 287 AH, quotes the same tradition with slight differences not changing the meaning in ‘Kitab Al-Sunnah’.14 The researcher of the book says about the tradition, “It is well-documented,” as is included in other Musnads and collections of traditions.
• Mustadrak Hakim, Vol. 1,p.77:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَن ماتَ ولَيسَ عَلَيه إمامُ جَماعَةٍ فإنّ مِيتَتَهُ مِيتَةٌ جَاهِلِيةٌ.
The Messenger of Allah said: One who dies and has no Imam of the public dies as a pagan.
Hakim considers this tradition as valid.
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 12, p.336:
وَمَنْ ماتَ مِن غَيرِ إمامِ جَماعَةٍ ماتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً.
One who dies without an Imam of the public dies a pagan death.
In the last two traditions,"إمام جماعة" means Imam of the Muslim community and it is obvious that the Prophet (a.s) means true Imam; since he certainly does not intend an Imam who has gained his position unlawfully. Shahab Al-Din Al-Turbashti Hanafi15 has been quoted as saying: “The true meaning of this and other similar traditions is to be applied to Imams who are just, since they are the only ones who deserve to be named Caliph.”16
As some of the following traditions state, “There is no refuge from a government,” they do not intend to legalize the government of oppressors and transgressors. They do not want to say that God and His Messenger are content with the ruling of such people, but that human beings cannot continue to live without leadership. Hence, even difficult social circumstances, caused by the ruling of an oppressor government, are much better than the unbearable consequences of confusion and anarchy. So traditions do not prescribe oppressor and corrupt governments at all. Accordingly, as emphasized by great Sunni scholars too, Imam and Caliph should be just.
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 10, p.132, No. 10210:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : لا بُدَّ للنّاسِ مِن إمارَةٍ بَرَّةٍ أو فَاجِرَةٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: People have no refuge from the government; either a good or a bad one.
• Al-Sunan Al-Kubra, Vol. 8, P. 184:
سَمِعَ عَليّاً رَضيَ اللهُ عَنهُ قوماً يَقولونَ: لا حُكْمَ إلاّ للهِ! قال: نَعَمْ! لا حُكْمَ إلاّ لله. وَلكِنْ لا بُدَّ لِلنّاسِ مِنْ أمِيرٍ بَرٍّ أوْ فاجِرٍ يَعْمَلُ فِيهِ المُؤْمِنِ وَيَسْتَمتِعُ فِيهِ الكَافِرُ وَيُبلِّغُ اللهُ فيهِ الأَجَلَ.
Ali (a.s)—May God be content with him—heard a group saying: “The ruling is only Allah’s.”17 He said: “This is true! Ruling is only Allah’s, but there is no refuge from rulers, good or bad, so that under their rule, the believer does his deeds and the corrupt gets benefit, and Allah will expire the appointed time.” 18
• Al-Durr Al-Manthur, Vol. 4, p. 194 :
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : ﴿يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ﴾ قال: يُدعَى كُلُّ قَومٍ بِإمامِ زَمانِهِمْ وَكِتابِ رَبِّهِمْ وَسُنّةِ نَبِيِّهِمْ.
Ibn Mardwiah has quoted Ali—May his God be content with him—as saying that the Prophet (a.s), when interpreting the honorable Qur’anic verse: “(Remember) the day when We will call every people with their Imam, 18:71” said: “Each group is called with the Imam of its age, its God’s Divine Book and its Prophet’s Sunnah (tradition).”
Qurtubi too has quoted it from the Holy Prophet (a.s) in his exegesis (of the Holy Qur’an)—Tafsir.19 He has quoted another tradition from Ali (a.s) under this verse: “Their Imam” in the honorable verse means the Imam of their age.20
• Al-Musannaf, Vol. 8, p.614, No. 146:
عَنْ عَلِيٍّ: وإنَّ النّاسَ لا يُصْلِحُهُم إلاّ إمامٌ بَرٌّ أو فاجِرٌ.
Ali (a.s) is quoted as saying: People are indeed not guided, except by Imam and leader, either good or bad.21
• Kanz Al-Ummal, Vol. 5, p.779, No. 14366:
عَنْ عَليٍّ قالَ: إنَّ مُعاوِيَةَ سَيَظْهَرُ عَلَيكُم. قالوا: فَلِمَ نقاتل إذاً؟ قال: لا بُدَّ لِلنّاسِ مِن أميرٍ بَرٍّ أوْ فاجِرٍ.
Ali (a.s) is quoted as saying: “Mu’awiyah will certainly dominate you.” “Why do we fight then?” he was asked. “People have no refuge from having a ruler, either a good or a bad one,” he replied.
• Al-Musannaf, Vol. 8, p. 741, No. 51:
دَخَلَ رَجُلٌ المَسْجِدَ فَقَالَ: لا حُكْمَ إلاّ للهِ. ثُمَّ قالَ آخَرُ: لا حُكْمَ، فَقالَ عَليٌّ: لا حُكْمَ إلاّ للهِ ﴿إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَا يَسْتَخِفَّنَّكَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ.﴾ فَما تَدْرونَ ما يَقولُ هَؤلاء؟ يَقولون لا إمارَةَ! أيُّها النّاسُ! لا يُصْلِحُكُمْ إلاّ أميرٌ بَرٌّ أوْ فاجِرٌ. قالوا: هَذا البَرُّ فَقَد عَرفْناهُ، فَما بَالُ الفاجِرِ؟ فَقالَ: يُملى لِلفاجِرِ وَيُبَلِّغُ اللهُ الأجَلَ وتَأمَنُ سُبُلُكُم وَتَقومُ أسْواقُكُم وَيُجْبى فَيئُكُم وَيُجاهِدُ عَدُوَّكُم وَيُؤخَذُ لِلضَّعِيفِ مِنَ الشَّدِيدِ مِنْكُمْ.
A man entered the mosque and said: “Ruling is only Allah’s.” Another one came and repeated the same thing. Ali (a.s) said: “Ruling is only Allah’s.” Then he recited the Qur’anic verse:
“Surely the promise of Allah is true, and let not those who have no certainty hold you in light estimation. (30:60)”
He then added: “You do not know what they are saying. They say there is no ruling and government. O People! You are not guided except by a ruler, either good or bad.” His companions said: “We have thus realized the merits of a good ruler! Now, tell us about a bad one’s.” Ali (a.s) said: “The corrupt are given respite and God will expire the appointed time. Your roads become safe and your markets loaded. The fees are collected and the foes fought. The rights of the oppressed are obtained from the oppressor.”22
Having proved Imamate and its continuation over time, we now turn to other traditions, which state, “Imams are twelve in number and are all from Quraysh.”
Ibn Hajar in his book ‘Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhriqah’—written for proving Caliphate of the three Caliphs and rejecting Shi’a—after bringing a tradition says, “All Sunni scholars accept the validity of this tradition.”23
Apart from other traditions about Imamate and Caliphate, this group of traditions per se, can prove not only the invalidity of other Islamic branches and sects except Twelver Shi’a, but also the validity and soundness of Twelver Shi’a, since none of the Islamic branches conclusively believe in the Twelve Imams. Especially with regard to traditions stipulating the presence of an Imam in every age this can be proved, for no Islamic branch or sect believe in Twelve Imams over ages in a way that the earth is never deprived of one of them. In fact, this honor is only given to Twelver Shi’a to believe in Twelve Imams, the first of whom is Imam Ali (a.s) and the last one Mahdi (a.s), the true and chosen Imam, who is still alive, but passing by his occultation period.
So certain and frequent traditions including “The Imams are twelve in number,” added to those proving the continuation of Imamate in all ages, provide sufficient evidence to reject all branches of Islam save Twelver Shi’a. These two groups of traditions prove the legitimacy of the Twelver Shi’a too, because it is supposed that one can get the truth of Imamate by doing research, for according to traditions dying as a believer requires knowing the Imam of age and leaving this world as a believer is undoubtedly possible.24
So knowing the Imam of age from among these Imams is possible, otherwise one cannot die as a believer and Muslim. Since no Islamic branch or sect save Twelver Shi’a believe in the Twelve Imams, one of which to be the Imam of a certain age, it becomes clear that only belief in this branch of Islam is belief in truth and leads to salvation.
Exactly for the same reason, Sunni scholars have faced an unusual confusion in explaining and interpreting traditions including “The Imams are twelve in number,” not being able to find a true meaning for them, to the extent that Ibn Hajar in Fat’h Al-Bari quotes Muhallab as saying, “I found no one completely sure of a definite meaning for this tradition.”25
Nearly the same confusion is expressed by Ibn Al-Jawzi in Kashf Al-Mushkil. In short, one scholar rejects the second and considers him as ignorant; a third one sees both of them as going astray and so on and so forth.
Interestingly, these traditions appear in the books written before the completion of the number of Imams, too. Not only does this confirm the Imamate of the Twelve Imams, but also it is a clear miracle of the Holy Prophet. Some traditions are mentioned hereinafter:
• Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4.p. 168:
سمعتُ النبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: يَكونُ اثْنا عَشرَ أميراً، فقالَ كَلمَةً لم أسْمَعْها، فقال أبي إنّه قال: كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Jabir says: I heard the Prophet (a.s) saying: “There will be twelve leaders and Caliphs.” Then he added something I could not hear. My father said that the Prophet said: “All of them are from Quraysh.”26
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 6, p. 3:
قال النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : إنَّ هذا الأمْرَ لا يَنْقَضي حَتىّ يَمضي فيهم اثنا عَشَرَ خَليفَةً. قال: ثم تكلم بكلام خفِيَ عليّ، فقلتُ لأبي: ما قال؟ قال: كُلُّهُم مِن قُرَيْشٍ.
Jabir narrates: My father and I went to the Prophet (a.s). We heard him saying: “This issue (Caliphate) will not be completed until twelve Caliphs come.” Then he added something I did not get. I asked my father what the Prophet had said. He said: “All are from Quraysh.”27
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 6, p.4 (Nawawi’s exposition):
سمعتُ رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: لا يَزالُ الدّين قائِماً حتىّ تَقومَ السّاعَةُ أو يَكونَ عَليكُم اثْنا عَشَرَ خَليفَةً كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: The religion (Islam) remains established until twelve Caliphs, all of whom from Quraysh, rule over you.28
Again the same tradition is quoted in “Sahih Muslim” in different words.
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 6, p. 3:
سمعتُ رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: لا يَزالُ الإسلامُ عَزيزاً إلى اثنَي عَشرَ خَليفَةً. ثمّ قالَ كَلمَةً لم أفْهَمْها، فقُلتُ لأبي: ما قال؟ فَقالَ: كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Jabir narrates: I heared the great Prophet (a.s) saying: “Islam will always remain mighty until twelve Imams come.” Then he said something I did not understand. I asked my father: “What did he say?” He replied: “All are from Quraysh.”
• Sahih Al-Tirmidhi, Vol 2, p. 45 :
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : يَكونُ مِن بَعدِي اثْنا عَشرَ أميراً. ثمّ تَكَلّم بِشيءٍ لم أفهَمْه، فسأَلْتُ الذي يَليني فقال: كُلّهُم مِن قُريْشٍ.
Jabir says that the Prophet (a.s) said: “There will be Twelve Imams and leaders after me.” Then he said something I did not get. I asked the person beside me about it. He said: “All of them are from Quraysh.”29
Tirmidhi writes after this tradition, “This is a fine and true tradition which is narrated from Jabir in different chains.”30
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 5, p. 106:
سمعتُ النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: يكونُ لِهذِه الأمَّةِ اثْنا عَشَر خَليفةً.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: There are twelve Caliphs for this nation.31
Some reckon that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad have quoted traditions about this issue in thirty four different tradition chains from Jabir.
• Sahih Abu Dawud, vol. 2, p. 309:
لا يَزالُ هذا الدّينُ عَزيزاً إلى اثنَي عَشرَ خَليفَةً. قال: فَكَبَّر النّاسُ وضَجّوا ثُمّ قالَ كلمةً خفيّةً. قُلتُ لأبي: يا أبه؛ ما قالَ؟ قال: كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
“This religion will always be mighty until Twelve Imams come.” Hearing this, people glorified Allah with ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) and cried harshly.32 Then he said something in a soft voice. I asked my father: “What did he say?” “They are all from Quraysh,” he replied.33
Hakim Nayshapuri narrates this tradition with a document different from those previously mentioned.
• Mustadrak Ala Al-Sahihayn, Vol. 3, p. 618:
قال النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم : لا يَزالُ أمرُ أمّتي ماضياً حتىّ يَمضي اثنا عَشرَ خَليفَةً. ثُمّ قالَ وخفّضَ بها صوتَه، فقُلتُ لعَمّي وكانَ أمامي: ما قال يا عمّ؟ قال: قالَ، يا بُنيّ، كُلّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Awn quotes his father Abu Juhayfah as saying: My uncle and I were with the Holy Prophet, when he said: “The affairs of my nation passes until twelve Caliphs come.” Then he lowered his voice. I asked my uncle who was sitting in the front about what the Prophet (a.s) had said. He answered: “O’ my son! The Prophet (a.s) said that they would all be from Quraysh.”34
Nur Al-Din Haythami, in Majma’ al-Zawa’id,35 after this tradition adds, “Tabarani, in Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat and Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, and Bazzaz have quoted this tradition; and the chain of Tabarani is the same as quoted in books of Sahih.”
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 1, p. 398:
…وَلَقد سألْنا رَسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فقالَ: اثنا عَشرَ كَعِدّةِ نُقَباء بني إسرائيل.
Masruq says: We were sitting with Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, learning Qur’an from him. Someone asked him, “Did you ask the Prophet (a.s) how many Caliphs would rule this nation?” Ibn Mas’ud replied: “We surely asked the Messenger of Allah this question and he replied: ‘Twelve; like the number of the Israelites’ Chieftains.’”36
Ibn Hajar in Fat’h Al-Bari considers Ahmad’s quotation from Ibn Mas’ud as fine documentation.
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir of Tabarani, Vol. 2,p. 196:
…النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: يكونُ لِهذه الأمة اثنا عشرَ قَيّماً لا يَضُرّهُم مَن خَذَلهم. وهَمسَ رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم بكلمةٍ لم أسمَعْها، فقلتُ لأبي: الكَلمَةُ الّتي هَمس بِها رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ؟ فَقال: كُلّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Jabir says: My father and I were before the Prophet (a.s) when he said: “Rulers and Caliphs of this nation will be twelve in number. They will suffer no harm in case people stop helping them,”37 and added something I did not hear. I asked my father about it, “The Prophet said: They are all from Quraysh,” he replied.38
• Al- Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p.256:
سمعت رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: إثنا عَشرَ قَيّماً مِن قُرَيشٍ لا يَضُرّهُم عَداوَةُ مَن عَادَاهُم. قال: فالتَفَتُّ خَلفي فإذا أنا بعُمَرَ بنِ الخَطّاب، رضي الله عنه، وأبي في أُناس؛ فأثبَتوا ليَ الحديث كما سمِعْتُ.
Jabir says: I heared the Prophet (a.s) delivering sermon and saying: “There will be twelve guardians from Quraysh the enmity of whose enemies will not harm them.” I turned back and saw ‘Umar and my father among the people; they confirmed the tradition as I heard it.39
As is emphasized in this tradition too, it is a reality that the Imams should be these twelve people, though superficially, government and power might not be in their hands.
• Yanabi’ Al-Mawaddah, Vol. 2, p. 315:
…رسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقولُ: بَعدي اثْنا عَشرَ خَليفَة. ثم أخفى صوتَه، فقُلتُ لأبي: ما الّذي قال؟ قال: قالَ كُلُّهُم مِن بَني هاشِمٍ.
Jabir is quoted as saying: My father and I were before the Messenger of Allah (a.s) when he said: “There will be twelve Caliphs after me.” Then he lowered his voice. I asked my father what the Prophet had said softly. He replied: “The Prophet said: All of them are from Banu Hashim (the Hashimites).”40
Samak Ibn Harb has quoted nearly the same tradition.
This tradition leads us to the conclusion that Imams are not only from Quraysh, but also from Banu Hashim (Hashimites). The aforementioned traditions was but a small part quoted by the Sunnis proving that Imams are twelve in number and all from Quraysh.41
Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayah wa’l-Nahayah says, “In the Torah of the Scripturists, there is material implying that God, the Almighty, gave good tidings to Abraham over Ishmael’s birth and that He will raise Ishmael and increase his children and select twelve persons from his generation, great in status.42
Then Ibn Kathir adds: “Our master Allamah, Ibn Taymiyah says: These twelve are the same persons about whom Jabir (Ibn Samarah) gave good tidings in his tradition. It is established that they are spread in the nation (They will not come successively). And the Resurrection Day will not come unless all those twelve appear. A great number of Jews embracing Islam has made mistake and thought that these twelve people are those who the heretic (Rafizi) group (i.e. the Shi’a) call on the nation to follow! Hence, they followed the Shi’a.”
In fact, because of his deviation from the Ahl al-Bayt and ungrounded bias, Ibn Taymiyah could not understand the good tidings of the previous Divine Books and the statements of the great Messenger of Allah (a.s).
How did he indeed conclude from the “Twelve Imams” in traditions that the Imams will come separately? Is it not the case that Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad and Hakim have quoted from Jabir Ibn Samarah and Abu Juhayfah by different chains of narrators that the Holy Prophet (a.s) said:
لا يَزالُ الإسلامُ عَزيزاً إلى اثْنَي عَشرَ خَليفَة.
This religion will always be mighty until Twelve Imams come.
The Arabic "لا يزال" implies the concept of connectedness. Various traditions state that there is an Imam in every age and that one who dies without knowing the Imam of his age has in fact died as a pagan. Does this not require the continuation of existence of Imams over the ages? Successive Thaqalayn (the Two Precious Things) traditions say that the Holy Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt are inseparable up to the Resurrection Day? Do these traditions not indicate the continuation of existence of Imams from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) in a successive manner?
When individuals do not show humility before the truth, they face such contradictions. This way, they cannot understand the message intended by the great Prophet (a.s). They either remain in astonishment or make deviant interpretations, matching these honorable traditions with the wicked, transgressors and disbelievers such as Yazid, Walid Ibn Yazid Ibn Abdul Malik and other oppressors from Banu Umayyah (the Umayyad dynasty) who not only were more than twelve in number, but also did not deserve Imamate and Caliphate, as every fair person giving a little attention confesses. And this is the retribution for arrogance before the truth.
Conclusive and successive traditions from the Messenger of Allah (a.s) emphasize the fact that the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) are infallible; never making mistakes or being wrong, and to follow them is to follow the truth and leads to salvation. In these traditions, the Prophet (a.s) has given the Ahl al-Bayt equal status with the Holy Qur’an. He has recommended holding fast to them absolutely and unconditionally and has considered opposition to them as satanic. The Prophet’s determined statements about the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) indicate that their way and their speech are not but truth.
Therefore, if one of them claims Imamate or introduces another one as Imam, he is truthful in his claim and his claim and confirmation are divine proof for the nation. Some traditions arguing for the Ahl al-Bayt’s infallibility are mentioned hereinafter:43
• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 3, p. 17:
عَن النّبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم انه قال: إنّي أوشَكُ أنْ أدْعى فأُجيبُ، وإنيّ تارِكٌ فِيكُم الثَّقَلَينِ كِتابَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وعِترَتي. كِتابُ اللهِ حَبْلٌ مَمدودٌ مِن السَّماءِ إلى الأرض وَعِترَتي أهل بَيتي؛ وَإنّ اللّطيفَ الخَبيرَ أخْبَرني أنَّهُما لَن يَفتَرقا حَتىّ يَردا عَلَيَّ الحَوْضَ؛ فانْظُروني بِم تُخَلَّفوني فِيهِما.
The honorable Messenger of Allah (a.s) said: I will soon be called to my Lord and will accept it. I leave two invaluable entities among you; the Divine Book of the Almighty Allah, stretching from heaven to the earth like a rope; and my family, my Household. The Almighty informed me that these two would never be separated from each other until they meet me on the River in Paradise (Kawthar). So be aware of what you will do with them after me!
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 7, Part 4, p.122:
قام رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يوماً فينا خطيباً بماءٍ يُدعى خُمّاً بين مَكَّة والمَدينَةِ فحَمِدَ اللهَ وأثْنى عَليهِ ووَعَظَ وذَكَّرَ ثمّ قالَ: أمّا بَعدُ! ألا أيّها النّاسُ فإنَّما أنا بَشَرٌ يُوشكُ أنْ يأتيَ رَسولُ رَبّي فأُجيبُ، وأنا تارِكٌ فِيكُم الثَّقَلين؛ أوَّلُهُما كِتابُ اللهِ فيهِ الهُدى وَالنُّورُ، فَخُذوا بِكِتابِ اللهِ وَاسْتَمْسِكوا بهِ. فَحَثَّ على كِتابِ اللهِ ورغَّبَ فيهِ ثُمّ قالَ: وأهْلَ بَيتِي؛ أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ في أهل بَيتي أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ في أهل بَيتي أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ في أهل بَيتي.
Zayd Ibn Arqam says: One day, the Messenger of Allah stopped beside Khumm Pond, between Mecca and Medina, for a sermon. After praising God and advising to the people, he said: “O, people! I am a human just like you who will soon go with God’s messenger (angel of death). I will leave two valuable things among you. First, the Divine Book of Allah in which there is light and guidance, so hold fast to it.” Then he continued encouraging to God’s Book, and added: “And my Household. I remind you of God about my Household, I remind you of God about my Household, I remind you of God about my Household.”
• Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p. 109:
عَن زَيدٍ قال: لمّا رجعَ رسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم مِن حِجّةِ الوَداعِ ونَزَلَ غَديرَ خُمٍّ أُمرَ بِدَوحاتٍ فَقُمِمنَ فقالَ: كأنّي قد دُعيتُ فأُجيبُ. إنّي قَد تَرَكتُ فِيكُم الثّقَلَين أحَدُهُما أكبَرُ مِن الآخَرِ؛ كِتابَ اللهِ وعِترَتي فانْظُروا كَيفَ تُخَلّفُونني فِيهِما فإنَّهُما لَن يَفتَرقا حتىّ يَرِدا عَلَيَّ الحَوضَ. ثمّ قال: إنّ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَولايَ وأنا مَولى كُلِّ مُؤمِنٍ. ثمَّ أخذَ بِيدِ عَلِيٍّ فقالَ: مَنْ كُنتُ مَولاهُ فَهذا وَلِيُّهُ، اللّهُمّ والِ مَن وَالاهُ وعَادِ مَن عاداهُ.
The Messenger of Allah was returning from The Farewell Hajj44 when he stopped at Khumm Pond (Ghadir Khumm) and ordered people to sweep the ground under some trees. Then he said: “I will apparently be called and will accept it. I leave two worthy things both very great in status; Allah’s Divine Book and my Household. Be careful of how you will deal with them. They will never be detached from each other until they join me at the River in Paradise.” He then added, “God, the Glorified, is my Lord, and I am the lord of all the believers.” Then he took Ali’s hand and said: “Whoever I am his lord, then Ali is his guardian. O Allah! Befriend everyone who likes him and hate everyone who dislikes him.”45
• Kanz Al-‘Ummal, Vol. 1, p. 167:
تَرَكتُ فِيكُم ما لَنْ تَضِلّوا إنْ اعْتَصَمْتُم بِه؛ كِتابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتي أهل بَيتي.
Jabir quotes the great Prophet (a.s) as saying: “I left things among you; you will never go astray if you hold fast to them—Allah’s Divine Book and my family, the Household.”46
Ibn Hajar says: “The Messenger of Allah (a.s) called Qur’an and his Household as ‘Thiql,’ since everything worthy of keeping safe is named ‘Thiql,’ and these two are so. They are both the sources of divine sciences, invaluable secrets and wisdom, and Islamic commandments. That is why the Prophet (a.s) has strongly persuaded into following and getting knowledge from them.”47
He adds: “Only those members of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) who are knowledgeable in Allah’s Book and the Prophet’s tradition (Sunnah) are the subject of the Holy Prophet’s attention and persuasion, for they would not be separated from Allah’s Divine Book up to the River in Paradise.”48 After stating some more sentences, he says, “This is because God, the Almighty, has distanced them from contamination and wickedness and made them pure and clean.”49
• Mustadrak, Vol. 2, p.343:
…أيُّها الناس! مَن عَرفَني فأنا عَرفْتُم وَمَن أنْكَرني فأنا أبو ذَرٍّ؛ سمِعْتُ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم يقولُ: مَثَلُ أهل بَيتي مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نوحٍ؛ مَن رَكِبَها نَجا وَمَن تَخَلَّفَ عَنها غَرِقَ.
Hanash Kanani narrates: I saw Abudhar taking hold of the Ka’bah (Allah’s House) door and saying: “O People! If you know me, I am the one you know, otherwise I am Abudhar. I heard the honorable Messenger of Allah (a.s) saying: My Ahl al-Bayt (Household) is comparable to Noah’s Ark; whoever enters it will be rescued and whoever disobeys will be drowned.”
Hakim has confirmed this tradition.
• Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p.184:
مَثَلُ أهل بَيتي مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نوحٍ؛ مَن رَكِبَها نَجا وَمَن تَخَلَّفَ عَنها غَرِقَ.
Ibn Abbas has quoted the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying:50 My Ahl al-Bayt (Household) is comparable to Noah’s Ark; whoever enters it will be rescued and whoever disobeys will be drowned.
• Al-Jami’ Al-Saghir, Vol. 9, p. 155; Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p. 184
أنّ النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: مَثَلُ أهل بَيتي مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نوحٍ؛ مَن رَكِبَها نَجا وَمَن تَخَلَّفَ عَنها غَرِقَ.
Abdullah Ibn Zubayr has quoted the honorable Prophet as saying: My Ahl al-Bayt (Household) is comparable to Noah’s Ark; whoever enters it will be rescued and whoever disobeys will be drowned.
Abu Bakr Shahab Al-Din Husayni Shafi’i says: “Islamic scholars have stated that the Prophet (a.s) compared his honorable Household to Noah’s Ark, for everyone who entered it was rescued from the fear of storm. Likewise one who follows the Prophet’s Household (a.s) and benefits from the light of their guidance, as the traditions has persuaded to do so, is rescued from the darkness of adversities and asking for help from God’s best mediators. On the contrary, one who does not follow them and recognize their status is drowned in the oceans of transgression and is doomed to the inferno.”51
• Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p.149:
…رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم قال: النُّجُومُ أمانٌ لأهْلِ الأرض مِن الغَرَقِ وأهْلُ بَيتي أمانٌ لأمَّتي مِن الاخْتِلافِ، فإذا خالَفَتْها قَبيلَةٌ مِن العَربِ اختَلَفوا فَصاروا حِزبَ إبْليسَ.
Ibn Abbas quotes the Prophet (a.s) as saying: The stars save human race from being drowned; my Household saves the nation from having conflicts. Whenever an Arab tribe opposes my Household, its people will come into conflict with each other and become the people of Satan.
Hakim has confirmed this tradition.
• Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p. 150:
أهل بَيتي أمانٌ لأهْلِ الأرض، فإذا هَلَكَ أهل بَيتي جاءَ أهل الأرض في الآياتِ ما كانوا يوعَدونَ.
My Ahl al-Bayt are the protectors of people on the earth. If they vanish, people will experience the promised signs.
• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Faza’il Al-Sahabah; Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p. 333:
…قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : النُّجومُ أمانٌ لأهْلِ السّماءِ وأهْلُ بَيتي أمانٌ لأهلِ الأرض، فإذا ذَهبَ أهل بَيتي ذَهبَ أهل الأرض.
Ali (a.s) has quoted the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying: “The stars are security for the inhabitants of the heavens; and if they vanished, the inhabitants of the heavens will disappear. And my Ahl al-Bayt are security for the inhabitants of the earth; hence, if they disappear from the earth, its inhabitants will vanish.52
Ahmad says: “God, the Almighty, created the earth for the sake of His Prophet (a.s) and kept it lasting with his Ahl al-Bayt’s existence.”53
What is the meaning of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)? Who are those having such a sacred and great position to accompany the Holy Qur’an forever and being like an ark for the people’s safety? Does the term ‘Ahl al-Bayt’ include all the Prophet’s relatives and family members? Does it involve the Prophet’s wives too?
Conclusive traditions quoted from the Holy Prophet (a.s) by both Shi’a and Sunni narrators provide the answer to these questions. Many traditions have been quoted by different chains of narrators under the exegesis of the following honorable Verse in the Sunni books:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33).”
These books indicate that ‘the Ahl al-Bayt’ includes Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s). So the Prophet (a.s) does not mean all his family members and relatives when he speaks about ‘the Ahl al-Bayt’, possessing such characteristics and advantages. Many of the Prophet’s relatives, regardless of their excellent status, needed guidance. Was it not Aqil, Imam Ali’s brother, who was reproached by the Imam (a.s) due to his inappropriate request; let alone others who were not of his high rank?54 Therefore, some relatives of the Prophet’s may be regarded as his household lexically, but according to their virtues referred to in the Holy Qur’an and the statements of the Prophet (a.s), they are probably not included in the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s).
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 7, p. 130:
عَن عائِشَةَ قالَت: خَرجَ النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم غداة وعَلَيه مِرطٌ مُرجَّلٌ مِن شعر أسوَدَ، فجاء الحسنُ بن عَليٍّ فأدخَلَهُ ثمَّ جاءَ الحُسينُ فَدخلَ معه ثمّ جاءَت فاطِمةُ فأدخَلَها ثمّ جاءَ عَليٌّ فأدْخَلَهُ، ثمّ قالَ: ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾
Aishah says: One morning, the Holy Prophet (a.s) came out of his house wearing a cloak made of black hair. Hasan (a.s) came in and the Prophet (a.s) placed him under the cloak. Then Husayn (a.s) came and went in there. Then came Fatimah (a.s) who was placed there by the Prophet (a.s). Next Ali (a.s) came and the Prophet took him under his cloak and recited,
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33).”
• Sahih Al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Al-Manaqib:
عَن أمّ سَلَمَة: أنّ النبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم حَلَّلَ عَلى الحَسَنِ والحُسينِ وَعَلِيٍّ وَفاطِمَةَ كِساءً ثمّ قال: اللّهُمّ هؤلاءِ أهلُ بَيتي وَخاصَّتي؛ أذْهِبْ عَنهمُ الرّجْسَ وَطَهّرهُم تَطهيراً. فقالَت أمُّ سَلَمة: وأنا مَعَهُم يا رَسولَ الله؟ قال: إنّك إلى خَيرٍ.
Ummu-Salamah has quoted that the Holy Prophet (a.s) covered Hasan, Husayn, Ali and Fatimah (a.s) with his cloak and then stated: “O Lord! These are my Household (Ahl al-Bayt) and my chosen ones. Take wickedness away from them and make them pure!”
Ummu-Salamah says, “I asked the Prophet (a.s), ‘O Messenger of Allah! Am I among them?’ He replied, ‘You are into goodness (but not among them).’”
Tirmidhi writes under this tradition: “This tradition is true and well-documented and the best one quoted in this regard.”
• Sahih Al-Tirmidhi, Vol. 13, p.200:
…لمّا نَزَلَتْ هذه الآيَةُ على النّبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾ في بَيتِ أُمِّ سَلَمةَ دَعا النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فاطِمَةَ وَحسَناً وَحُسيناً وعَليٌّ خَلفَ ظَهْرِه فَجَلَّلَهُم بِكِساءٍ، ثمَّ قال: اللّهُمّ هؤلاءِ أهلُ بَيتي فَأذْهِبْ عَنهمُ الرّجْسَ وَطَهّرهُم تَطهيراً. قالَت أُمُّ سَلَمة: وأنا مَعَهُم يا نَبيَّ الله؟ قالَ: أنْتِ عَلى مَكانِكِ وأنْتِ إلى خَيرٍ.
Umar Ibn Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s stepchild, says: The honorable verse of “Purification” was revealed in the house of Ummu-Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s wife. The Holy Prophet (a.s) called Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s), and Ali (a.s) was behind him. Then he covered them with a cloak (kisa’) and stated: “O Allah! These are my Household, so banish wickedness from them and make them pure!” At this moment, Ummu-Salamah asked: “O Prophet of God! Am I among them?” He answered, “You are in your own place and you are into goodness, too.”55
• Mushkil Al-’athar (authored by Al-Tahawi), Vol. 1, p. 336:56
عَن أُمّ سَلَمَة: أنْزَلَ اللهُ هذِه الآيَةَ: ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾ وَما في البَيتِ إلاّ جِبريلُ وَرَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم وَفاطِمةُ وَالحَسنُ وَالحُسينُ عَليهِمُ السَّلامُ، فقُلتُ: يا رَسولَ اللهِ! أنا مِن أهلِ البَيتِ؟ فقال: إنّ لكَ عِندَ الله خَيراً. فَوَددتُ أنّه قالَ (نَعم) فَكانَ أحَبَّ إليَّ ممّا تطلُعُ عليه الشّمسُ وتغرُبُ.
Ummu-Salamah says: When the honorable verse (of purification) was revealed, there was no one at home except (Archangel) Gabriel, the Holy Prophet (a.s), Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s). I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Am I from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)?” He replied: “Indeed, you have good deeds before God.” I wished he had said ‘yes’. It was more pleasurable for me than all the things over which the sun shines and sets.”57
Dear reader! Pay considerable attention to the fact that the honorable Prophet (a.s) has separated Ummu-Salamah, his wife, from his Household (a.s). Hence when Zayd Ibn Arqam was asked, “Who are the Ahl al-Bayt? Are the Prophet’s wives among them?” He answered, “No! A wife lives with her husband for a while, then her husband divorces her and she returns to her father’s and her tribe.”58
• Al-Durr Al-Manthur, under the exegesis of the Purification Verse:
عَن ابنِ عبّاس قالَ: شَهِدْنا رَسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم تِسعَةَ أشهُرٍ يأتي كُلَّ يَومٍ بابَ عَليّ بنِ أبي طالِبٍ رضي الله عنه عندَ وَقتِ كُلِّ صَلاةٍ فيَقولُ: السّلامُ عَلَيكُم وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَركاتُه أهْلَ البَيتِ! ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾ الصّلاةَ رحِمَكُم اللهُ. كُلّ يَومٍ خَمسَ مَرّاتٍ.
Ibn Abbas says: For nine months, we witnessed that the Messenger of Allah (a.s) came to the door of Ali’s house five times a day at the time of the five prayers and stated: “Peace be upon you, the Ahl al-Bayt, and Allah’s blessings and mercy! Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying. It is the prayer time. May God bless you!”
Is there not a secret here? Why does the Prophet, whose speech and behavior are always brimful of wisdom and expediency, emphasize on this issue so strongly? Not only did Ibn Abbas narrate such traditions, but also others did, such as Abu Al-Hamra, Abu Barzah and Anas Ibn Malik.59
Among the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), Imam Ali and Imam Hasan (a.s) reached Caliphate and managed the affairs of the Muslim community, albeit for a little while. Although Imam Husayn (a.s) apparently did not take power and government, and adversaries of Islam ruled over the Muslim community in his age, as history goes on, the holy Imam in different circumstances introduced himself as an Imam deserving Caliphate.
When people of Kufah invited Imam Husayn (a.s) for an oath of allegiance writing to him, “We have no Imam,” the honorable Imam sent Muslim Ibn Aqil, his representative, to Kufah to investigate the situation.60
It is evident that if he did not believe in his own Imamate he led the nation to the true Imam, if not denying his own Imamate; rather he did the reverse.
Imam Husayn (a.s), in response to people of Kufah, wrote:
From Husayn Ibn Ali to the assembly of Muslims and believers.
Hani and Sa’id, your last messengers, brought your letters to me. I understood what you had mentioned. The majority of you had said, “We have no Imam, so come to us so that God may lead us to truth under your guidance.” I sent my cousin to you who is my trustee and ordered him to report your situation and attitudes. If he writes to me that the attitudes of your scholars and noble ones are as stated in your letters and by your messengers, I will come to you as soon as possible, God willing.
فَلَعَمْري ما الإمامُ إلاّ العامِلُ بِالكِتابِ وَالآخِذُ بِالقِسْطِ وَالدّائِنُ بِالحَقِّ والحَابِسُ نَفْسَهُ عَلى ذاتِ اللهِ.
I swear by myself that Imam is not but to practice Allah’s Book, do justice, and surrender himself to God’s will.61 Peace be upon you!
Ibn Hajar says: “The traditions exciting and persuading to holding fast to the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), implying non-stop presence of a pious person from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), deserving to be followed, until the Resurrection Day. The same is the case about the Holy Qur’an, which would be proof until the Last Day. And hence the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) are safety for the inhabitants of the earth.62
• Dhakha’ir Al-Uqba, p. 17:
عَن عُمرَ إن النّبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: في كُلِّ خُلوفٍ مِن أُمَّتي عُدولٌ مِن أهْلِ بَيْتي يَنفونَ عَن هذا الدِّينِ تَحْريفَ الغالِينَ وَانتِحالَ المُبطِلينَ وتأويلَ الجَاهِلينَ. ألا وإنَّ أئِمَّتَكُم وفْدُكُم إلى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، فانظُروا بمَنْ تُوفِدونَ.
Umar quoted the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying: In each generation of my nation, there are just people from my Ahl al-Bayt, defending religion against distortions of exaggerators, claims of the liars and interpretations of the ignorant. Your Imams are your messengers to Almighty God. Be aware of who you choose as your messengers!
Therefore, in the Prophet’s age, the Ahl al-Bayt included Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s), but there will always be people from the Ahl al-Bayt for the safety and guidance on the earth.
The great Prophet of Allah (a.s) has considered Imam Mahdi (a.s) from the Ahl al-Bayt too; who is the last Imam is as stipulated in the following traditions:
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, p. 28:
إنّ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قالَ: تُمْلأُ الأرضُ ظُلْماً وَجَوراً ثُمَّ يخْرُجُ رَجُلٌ مِن عِترَتي يَملِكُ سَبعاً أو تِسعاً فَيَمْلأُ الأرضَ قِسْطاً وَعَدلاً.
The earth will become full of injustice and oppression and then a man from the House (a.s) will emerge. He will govern the earth for seven or nine years, making it full of justice.63
Hakim has also narrated this tradition as a true one.64
• Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4, p. 505:
عن عبدِالله عن النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : يَلي رَجُلٌ مِن أهْلِ بَيتي يُواطِيءُ اسْمُه اسْمي...
عَن أبي هُريرَةَ قالَ: لَو لَمْ يَبْقَ مِن الدّنيا إلاّ يَومٌ لَطَوَّلَ اللهُ ذلِكَ اليَومَ حَتىّ يلي.
The Prophet (a.s) said: “A man from my Household will come; his name will be as same as mine.
Abu Hurayrah said: If there were to remain in the life of the world but one day, God would prolong that day until he (Mahdi) comes.”
Tirmidhi says: “This tradition is fine and true.”
• Muntakhab Kanz Al-Ummal, Vol. 6, p. 32:
قالَ رَسولُ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وَسَلّم: يخْرُجُ رَجلٌ مِن أهْلِ بَيتي يُواطِيءُ اسْمُه اسْمي وَخُلُقُهُ خُلُقي فَيَمْلأُها قِسْطاً وَعَدلاً كَما مُلِئَتْ ظُلْماً وَجوراً.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: A man from my Household (a.s) will emerge whose name and manner are the same as mine. He will fill in the earth with justice as it had been filled with injustice and oppression.
• Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Al-Asharah:
عَن عَليٍّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ قال: قالَ رسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : المَهدِيُّ مِن أهْلِ البَيتِ؛ يُصْلِحُه اللهُ فِي لَيلَةٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: Mahdi is from my Household. God will provide him with victory over night.”65
• Sunan Abi-Dawud, Kitab Al-Mahdi:
عَن أُمّ سَلَمةَ قالَت: سمِعْتُ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقولُ: المَهدِيُّ مِن عِترَتي مِن ولْدِ فاطِمَةَ.
Ummu-Salamah quoted the honorable Prophet (a.s) as saying: “Mahdi is from my Household and Fatimah’s descendants.”66
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat of Tabarani, Vol. 1, p. 56:
عَن عَليِّ بنِ أبي طالِبٍ أنّهُ قالَ لِلنّبيِّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : أمِنّا المَهدِيُّ أمْ مِنْ غَيرِنا يا رَسولَ الله؟ قال: بلْ مِنّا؛ بِنا يَخْتِمُ اللهُ كَما بِنا فَتَحَ.
Ali Ibn Abi Talib asked the Holy Prophet (a.s): “O the Messenger of Allah! Is Mahdi from us?” The Prophet (a.s) answered: “He is surely from us. God will conclude with us as He commenced with us.”67
Another sign of the Imams (a.s) found in traditions is their belonging to the Holy Prophet’s Household.
• Hilyat Al-Awliya’, Vol. 1, p. 86:
عن ابن عباس قال: قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَن سَرَّهُ أنْ يَحْيا حَياتي وَيمُوتَ مَماتي وَيَسكُنَ جَنَّةَ عَدْنٍ غَرَسها رَبِّي فَلْيُوالِ عَليّاً مِن بَعْدي وَلْيُوالِ وَلِيَّهُ وَلْيَقْتَدِ بِالأئِمَّةِ مِن بَعدي؛ فإنَّهُم عِترَتي خُلِقوا مِن طينَتي وَرُزِقوا فَهْماً وَعِلْماً. وَوَيْلٌ لِلمُكَذّبِينَ بِفَضْلِهِمْ مِن أُمَّتي وَالقاطِعِينَ فِيهِم صِلَتي لا أنالَهُمُ اللهُ شَفاعَتي.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: One who would like to live and die as I do and be placed in Paradise (of Eden) that is made by my Lord should follow Ali and his successors and Imams after me; since they are my Household. They are created from my disposition and given knowledge and understanding. Woe betide those who deny their excellence! Woe betide those who deny their relation to me! May God deprive them of my intercession!68
• Musnad Al-Firdaws:
عَن أبي سعيدٍ الخدري قالَ: صَلّى بِنا رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم الصّلاةَ الأولى ثمَّ أقْبلَ بوَجهِهِ الكَريمِ عَلينا فقالَ: يا مَعاشِرَ أصحابي! إنَّ مَثَلَ أهْلِ بَيتي فِيكُم مَثَلُ سَفينَةِ نوحٍ وبابِ حِطَّةٍ في بَني إسرائيلَ، فَتَمَسَّكوا بأهْلِ بَيتي بَعدي؛ الأئمَّةِ الرّاشدِينَ مِن ذُرّيَّتي؛ فَإنَّكم لَن تَضِلّوا أبَداً. فقِيلَ: يا رَسولَ اللهِ، كَم الأئِمّةُ بعدَكَ؟ قالَ: اثْنا عَشرَ مِن أهْلِ بَيتي، أو قال: مِن عِتْرتي.
Abu Sa’id Khudri says: The Prophet (a.s) accomplished the first prayer with us and then turned to us and stated: “O my companions! The like of my Ahl al-Bayt among you is Noah’s Ark and the Gate of Repentance (Bab Hittah) of the Israelites.69 So after me, hold fast to my Ahl al-Bayt; the followers of truth from my progeny. Surely you will never go astray.”70 He was asked: “O the Messenger of Allah! What is the number of Imams after you?” He replied: “They will be twelve from my Household.”
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 93:71
عَن الإمام المُجْتَبى: إتّقوا اللهَ فينا فإنّا أمَراؤُكم… وَنَحنُ أهْلُ البَيتِ الّذي قالَ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾
Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a.s) says: “Be pious concerning our affairs; we are your rulers indeed… we are the same People of the House about whom God said: “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness away from you, O People of the House, And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.”
Haythami in Majma’ al-Zawa’id quotes this tradition from Tabarani and says, “The narrators of this tradition are trustworthy.”72 The same tradition is included in many other books too, such as Shawahid Al-Tanzil by Hakim Hasakani,73 Ibn Kathir Dimashqi’s Tafsir Exegesis,74 Tarikh Dimashq by Ibn ‘Asakir,75… etc.
• Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 1, p. 559:
عن زياد بن مطرف قال: سَمعْتُ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: مَنْ أحبَّ أنْ يَحيا حَياتي ويَموتَ مِيتَتي وَيَدخُلَ الجَنَّة الّتي وَعَدني رَبّي، وهِي جَنَّةُ الخُلدِ، فَلْيَتَولَّ عَلِياً وذُرّيَّتَهُ مِن بعدِهِ فَإنَّهُم لَنْ يُخْرِجوكُم بابَ هُدىً وَلَن يُدخِلوكُم بابَ ضَلالةٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: Anyone who likes to live and die the same as I do and be placed in the eternal Paradise promised by my Lord should take Ali (a.s) and his children as his guardians (wali),76 for they never take you away from guidance and will never lead you astray.77
• Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhriqah, p. 15:
عَن رسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : يا أيّها النّاسُ! إنّ الفَضلَ وَالشَّرَفَ وَالمَنْزِلةَ والولايَةَ لِرسولِ اللهِ وذُرِّيَّتِهِ، فَلا تَذهَبَنَّ بكُمُ الأباطِيلُ.
The Messenger of Allah (a.s) says: O People! Excellence, honor, dignity and government are for the Messenger of Allah and his Progeny, so be aware not to be deceived by untruths!
Qanduzi Hanafi narrates this tradition from Hudhayfah Ibn Al-Yaman in Jawahir Al-’Aqdayn and states, “Ibn Hanafi, in Al-Tanbih, and Zarandi, in Durar Al-Simtayn, have narrated this tradition.78 Interestingly, those who replaced the Ahl al-Bayt unlawfully, occupying the position of Caliphate, used these kinds of traditions for arguing against their rivals. Abu Bakr, for rejecting the candidate of Ansar said, “Caliphate is not known but for Quraysh.”79
Mu’awiah too, for denying Ibn Zubayr and Ibn Umar and supporting Yazid’s prospective Caliphate said, “Caliphate is only for the children of Abd Manaf (the grandfather of Banu Hashim and Banu Umayyah), because they are the relatives of the Messenger of Allah.” He added, “O son of Zubayr and son of Umar! Surely, Allah has taken you away from Caliphate.”80
Pay attention to how Mu’awiah told that God has taken Caliphate away from them, but in their own case, he says nothing of the Revelation or the Prophet’s will.
To conclude this chapter, here is just one tradition that is narrated by Qunduzi Hanafi about the names of all the Imams (a.s):
• Yanabi’ Al-Mawaddah, p. 440:
… قَدِمَ يَهودِيٌّ يُقالُ لهُ ’نَعْثل‘ فقالَ: يا مُحَمَّد! أسْألُكَ عَن أشْياءَ تَلَجْلَجُ في صَدْري مُنذُ حينٍ، فإنْ أجَبْتَني عَنها أسْلَمْتُ عَلى يَدَيْكَ. قال: سَلْ يا أبا عِمارة! فقالَ: يا مُحَمَّد… فأخْبِرْني عَن وَصِيِّكَ مَن هُو؟ فَما مِنْ نَبيٍّ إلاّ وَلَهُ وَصيٌّ وإنَّ نَبِيَّنا مُوسى بنَ عِمرانَ أوْصَى إلى يوشَعَ بنِ نونٍ. فقالَ: إنَّ وَصِيّي عَليُّ بنُ أبي طالِبٍ وَبَعْدَهُ سِبطايَ الحَسَنُ وَالحُسَينُ تَتلوهُ تِسْعَةُ أئِمَّةٍ مِن صُلبِ الحُسَين. قال: يا مُحَمَّد! فَسَمِّهِمْ لي. قالَ: إذا مَضى الحُسَينُ فابْنُه عَلِيٌّ، فإذا مَضَى عَليٌّ فابْنُهُ مُحَمَّد، فإذا مَضى مُحَمَّد فابْنُهُ جَعفَرُ، فإذا مَضى جَعفَر فابْنُه مُوسى، فإذا مَضى مُوسى فابْنُه عَلِيٌّ، فإذا مَضى عَليٌّ فابْنُه مُحَمَّد، فإذا مضَى مُحَمَّد فابْنُه عَلِيٌّ، فإذا مَضى عَليٌّ فابْنُهُ الحَسَنُ، فإذا مَضى الحَسَنُ فابْنُهُ الحُجَّةُ مُحَمَّد المَهدِي. فَهؤلاءِ اثنا عَشر.
A Jew called Na’thal came to the Holy Prophet (a.s) and said, “O Muhammad! I have some questions, which have been in my mind for a while. If you answer me, I will embrace Islam with your help.” The Prophet (a.s) said, “O Aba Amarah! You may ask me!” The man asked, “O Muhammad! Make me aware of your successor after you, for there is no Prophet without a successor. Our Prophet Musa Ibn ‘Imran (Moses) set Yusha’ (Joshua) Ibn Nun as his successor.”
The Holy Prophet replied, “My successor is Ali Ibn Abi Talib and after him my two grandsons Hasan and Husayn after whom nine Imams from Husayn’s progeny will come successively.” “Tell me their names, Muhammad,” he asked. The Prophet (a.s) stated, “After Husayn will come his son Ali (Sajjad), after Ali his son Muhammad (Baqir), after Muhammad his son Ja’far (Sadiq), after Ja’far his son Musa (Kazim), after Musa his son Ali (Riza), after Ali his son Muhammad (Jawad), after Muhammad his son Ali (Hadi), after Ali his son Hasan (‘Askari) and after Hasan his son Hujjah Muhammad Mahdi. They are thus twelve in number.81
There are various traditions about Imamate and features and signs suggested by them matching with the Twelve Imams (a.s). The variety of the traditions is much beyond those briefly mentioned here. The number of traditions is to such an extent that regardless of truthfulness and justice of narrators, they cannot be the result of a joint plot for making false information. Since different people from diverse places with various attitudes have narrated these traditions and these are mentioned in numerous books. Therefore, when such diverse individuals have narrated a single concept in different words, alteration and forgery are basically rare.
As mentioned before, since the discussions in this book are brief, we here deal with a sample of traditions narrated by the Shi’a, evidencing the signs of Imamate and Caliphate with the names and personality of the Imams. Though this discussion is also a cursory one, with due attention to what preceded and the following true82 traditions, truth will be clear. It is noteworthy that in the following traditions’ documents, there are people who may be opposed because of their being Shi’a, and hence these traditions are not considered as proof, especially because the Imams themselves are included in the documents.
In response, it should be said that this objection is not acceptable since it requires that even if a just and trustworthy person narrates something he believes in it himself, then that would be untrue. Furthermore, Sunni scholars themselves quote and depend upon Shi’a scholars in their books. The late Allamah Abd Al-Husayn Sharaf Al-Din has collected the names of many Shi’a scholars whose trustworthiness, honesty and Shiism has been stipulated by Sunni scholars and narrators such as Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi… etc, have learnt their knowledge from them.83
Hakim Nayshapuri in the book entitled Ma’rifat ‘Ulum Al-Hadith, when writing about the most valid documents and the best chains of narrators, mentions some Companions of the Prophet (a.s); but at the very beginning he says,84 “The most valid documents of the Ahl al-Bayt’s traditions are narrated by Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (Imam Sadiq (a.s)) from his father, Imam Baqir (a.s) from his grandfather, Imam Sajjad (a.s) from Imam Ali (a.s), provided that the narrator from Ja’far is trustworthy.”85
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, when speaking about the document of the famous tradition, “The phrase, ‘Allah is He besides whom there is no God’ is my fortress,” narrated by Imam Reza (a.s) from his father, from his grandfather, from the Messenger of Allah, says, “If this phrase is recited before an insane, he will surely be healed.”86
Therefore these traditions act as proof for the non-Shi’a, too. Furthermore, we naturally have two options—we either make belief that traditions about Imamate and Caliphate are only limited to those narrated by the Sunni from the Holy Prophet (a.s), or that there are more such traditions. The result of both is the same, since in the first case, no Islamic branch save Twelver Shi’a match with the tradition,87 and in the second case, (i.e. if the traditions are more than those narrated by the Sunni), these other traditions and their documents should be studied. In so doing, it will become clear that they all prove the Imamate of the Twelve Imams (a.s).
Some well-documented traditions quoted by the Shi’a and including the auspicious names of Imams (a.s) follow:
• ‘Uyun Akhbar Al-Riza (a.s), Vol. 1, p. 57:
عَن حُسَين بن عليٍّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ قال: سُئِلَ أميرُ المُؤمِنينَ عَليهِ السَّلامُ عَن مَعنى قَولِ رسولِ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم : إنّي مُخَلِّفٌ فِيكُمُ الثَّقَلَينِ كِتابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتي؛ مَن العِتْرَة؟ فقالَ: أنا وَالحَسَنُ وَالحُسَينُ والأئِمَّةُ التّسْعَةُ مِن ولْدِ الحُسينِ، تاسِعُهُم مَهْدِيُّهُم وَقائِمُهُم، لا يُفارِقونَ كِتابَ اللهِ وَلا يُفارِقُهُم حَتىّ يَردوا على رَسول اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم حَوضَهُ.
Ali (a.s) was asked, “What did the Prophet mean by ‘Household’ when he said, ‘I leave two valuable things among you—Allah’s book and my Household?’” He replied, “By ‘Household,’ the Holy Prophet referred to me, Hasan, Husayn and nine Imams from Husayn’s progeny the ninth of whom is their Mahdi and Qa’im (the living). They would not be separated from Allah’s Book until they come to the Prophet (a.s) at the River.
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 218:
Shaykh Kulayni narrates from Imam Baqir (a.s), When Husayn (a.s) was martyred, Muhammad Ibn Al-Hanafiyyah (son of Imam Ali) sent someone to Ali Ibn Al-Husayn (a.s), his nephew, to tell him in privacy, “O son of my brother! The Prophet (a.s) appointed for his succession and for the Imamate the Commander of the Believers (Amir Al-Mu’minin; Imam Ali), as you know, and then Hasan and Husayn. Your father was martyred and did not make his will. I am your uncle, your father’s brother, and more deserving than you in terms of age and being Ali’s son. So do not quarrel with me about Imamate and the Prophet’s succession. Imam Sajjad (a.s) answered:
يا عَمُّ! إتَّقِ اللهَ وَلا تَدَّعِ ما لَيْسَ لكَ بِحَقٍّ، إنّي أعِظُكَ أنْ تَكونَ مِن الجَاهِلينَ. إنَّ أبي، يا عَمُّ -صَلواتُ اللهِ عَلَيهِ- أوْصى إليَّ قَبْلَ أنْ يَتَوجَّهَ إلى العِراقِ وَعَهِدَ إليَّ في ذلِكَ قَبلَ أنْ يُسْتَشْهَدَ بِساعَةٍ، وَهذا سِلاحُ رَسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم عِندي.
“O uncle! Fear God and do not claim something to which you have no right. I admonish you lest you may be of the ignorant. O uncle! My father—peace be upon him—before going to Iraq appointed me as his successor; and a while before his martyrdom, he took allegiance with me about Imamate. And this is the Prophet’s weapon being with me.”
He then added, “Do not interfere with this issue lest your life may become short and your mood dispersed! Almighty God has placed Imamate and succession in Husayn’s offspring. If you want to make sure, let us go to the Black Stone (in the Holy Ka’bah) together and leave the judgement to it.”
Imam Baqir (a.s) says: “This discussion took place in Mecca. So they went to the Black Stone together and Imam Sajjad said to Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah, “First, you beseech God and ask Him to make the Black Stone speak and then you ask it your question.” Muhammad prayed insistently, asked God and called the Stone, but there was no response. Imam (a.s) said, “O uncle! If you were Imam and successor of the Prophet (a.s), the Stone had replied you.” Ibn Hanafiyyah said, “O son of brother! Now you pray and ask it.”
Then Ali Ibn Al-Husayn prayed and beseeched God stating, “(I adjure you) By Him Who have placed the allegiance of Imams, successors and all the people in you, tell us about the Imam and successor after Husayn Ibn Ali (a.s).” The Stone moved in such a way that it was nearly removed from its place. It uttered Allah’s Name and said, “O Allah! Imamate and succession after Husayn Ibn Ali (a.s) is for Ali Ibn Al-Husayn, son of the Prophet’s daughter—Fatimah.” So Ibn Hanafiyyah regretted accepting Imam Sajjad as Imam.
This tradition is quoted from Imam Baqir (a.s) with different documents.88
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 263:
Shaykh Saduq, in his book entitled Al-Amali, narrates from Imam Sadiq (a.s):
إنّ جابِراً دَخَلَ عَلى عَلِيِّ بنِ الحُسَينِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ فَوَجدَ ابْنَهُ مُحَمَّد بنَ عَلِيٍّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ عِندَهُ غُلاماً فقال: مَن هذا؟ قالَ: هذا ابْني وَصاحِبُ الأمْرِ بَعدي مُحَمَّد الباقِر.
Jabir went to Imam Sajjad (a.s) and saw his son, Muhammad who was a child then. He asked the Imam, ‘Who is he?’ The Imam (a.s) replied, ‘He is my son and my successor, Muhammad Al-Baqir.’
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 323:
عن أبي جعفر عَليهِ السَّلامُ… سُئلَ عَن القائِم عَليهِ السَّلامُ فضَربَ بِيَده على أبي عَبدِاللهِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ فقالَ: هذا واللهِ قائِمُ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم … فَلَمّا قُبضَ أبو جَعفَرٍ عَليهِ السَّلامُ دَخَلْتُ عَلى أبي عَبدِالله عَليهِ السَّلامُ فَأخْبَرْتُه بِذلِكَ فقالَ: صَدَقَ جابرُ، ثمَّ قالَ: لَعَلَّكُم تَرَونَ أنْ لَيسَ كُلُّ إمامٍ هُو القائِمَ بعدَ الإمامِ الّذي كان قَبلَهُ.
Imam Baqir (a.s) was asked, ‘Who is Qa’im?’ He pointed to Imam Sadiq (a.s) and said, ‘(I swear) By God that he is the Qa’im of the Household of Muhammad (a.s).’ Anbasah (the narrator) said, ‘After Imam Baqir’s demise, I went to Imam Sadiq (a.s) and quoted Jabir’s tradition to him. He said, ‘Jabir has been truthful. You may think that each Imam is not Qa’im of his last Imam.’
Therefore, Qa’im here is not used in its special meaning, standing only for Imam Mahdi (a.s), but it has its general meaning used for all Imams, since all Imams are ‘Qa’im bi ‘amri Allah.’89
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 472:
دَعى أبو عَبدِالله عَليهِ السَّلامُ أبا الحَسَنَ عَليهِ السَّلامُ يوماً وَنحْنُ عِندَه فقالَ لنا: عَلَيكُمْ بِصاحِبِكُم هذا فَهُو وَاللهِ صاحِبُكُم بَعدي.
Shaykh Kulayni quotes Sulayman Ibn Khalid as saying: One day we were with Imam Sadiq (a.s) when he called his son Abu al-Hasan (Musa) and told us, “By God, he is your Imam after me.”
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 6, p. 8:
عَن أبي الحسَنِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ أنّه قالَ: إنّ ابْنِي عَلِيّاً أكْبَرُ وِلْدِي وأبَرُّهُم وأحَبُّهُمْ إليّ وَهُو يَنظُر مَعي في الجَفْرِ ولَمْ يَنْظُر فيهِ إلاّ نَبيٌّ أو وَصِيٌّ.
Shaykh Kulayni narrates from Abu al-Hasan, Imam Kazim (a.s), “My son, Ali, is the eldest and most beloved of my children. He reads Jafr 90 along with me, while no one except the Prophet and his successors look at it.
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 6, p. 157:
عَن صَفوانَ بنِ يحيى قال: قُلتُ لِلرّضا عَليهِ السَّلامُ: كُنّا نَسأَلُكَ… (إلى أنْ قال) فَلا أرانا اللهُ يَومَكَ! فإنْ كانَ كَوْنٌ فَإلى مَن؟ فَأشارَ بِيدِه إلى أبي جَعفَرٍ عَليهِ السَّلامُ وهوَ قائِمٌ بَينَ يَديه، فقُلت: جُعِلتُ فِداك! هذا ابنُ ثلاثِ سنينَ! فقال: وَما يَضُرُّهُ مِن ذلكَ؟ فَقَد قامَ عيسى بالحُجَّةِ وهوَ ابْنُ ثَلاث سنينَ.
Shaykh Kulayni quotes Safwan as saying: I told Imam Riza (a.s), ‘We always ask… If something happens to you, God forbid, whom should we follow?’ The Imam pointed at his son, Abu Ja’far, Imam Jawad (Muhammad Taqi) who was standing before him. I said, ‘May I be sacrificed to you! He is only three years old!’ The Imam (a.s) stated, ‘What is wrong with it? Jesus was also three years old when he rose as a proof. (Maybe prophecy is intended.)
• Mir’at Al-’Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 3, p. 383:
Isma’il Ibn Mihran says: When Imam Jawad (a.s) was taken from Madinah to Baghdad for the first time, I said to him, “May I be sacrificed to you! I am afraid about where you are going. Who is the Imam after you?” He looked at me laughing and said, “This year, my absence is not the way you think.” The second time he was taken to Mu’tasim (the Abbasid caliph), I asked, “You are going. Who will be the Imam after you?” He cried until his beard was wet. Then he returned to me and said:
عِنْدَ هذِه يُخافُ عَلَيَّ؛ الأمْرُ مِن بَعدي إلى ابْني عَلِيٍّ.
“This time, my life is in danger. After me, Imamate is for my son, Ali (Imam Hadi (a.s)).
• Mir’at Al-’Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 6, p. 205:
Imam Jawad (a.s) narrates a happening in which Al-Khidr (a.s) testifies to God’s Unity, the Prophet’s Mission and the Imamate of the Imams one by one. He then continues:
وأشهَدُ عَلى الحَسَنِ بنِ عَليٍّ بأنَّهُ القائِمُ بأمْرِ عَلِيِّ بنِ مُحَمَّد.
I testify that Hasan Ibn Ali is the successor of Imam Hadi, Ali Ibn Muhammad, and the Imam after him.
وَأشْهَدُ عَلى رَجُلٍ مِن ولْدِ الحَسَنِ لا يُكَنّى وَلا يُسَمّى حتىّ يَظْهَرَ أمْرُهُ فَيَمْلأُها عَدلاً كَما مُلِئَتْ جَوراً.
And I testify to a man, the son of Hasan (Imam Askari) whose name and nickname are unknown until his emergence, when he will make the earth full of justice as it was filled with oppression and injustice.
• Mir’at Al-Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 4, p. 50:
عَن مُحَمَّد بنِ مُسلِمٍ قالَ: سمِعْتُ أبا عَبدِاللهِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ يَقولُ: إنْ بَلَغَكُمْ عَن صاحِبِكُمْ غَيبَةٌ فَلا تُنكِروها.
Muhammad Ibn Muslim quotes Imam Sadiq (a.s) as saying: “If you were informed of your Imam’s Occultation, do not deny it.”
• Mir’at Al-’Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 4, p. 52:
عن ابي عبد الله عَليهِ السَّلامُ: للقائم غيبتانِ إحداهما طويلةٌ، والأخرى قَصيرة. فالأولى يعلَمُ بمَكانه فيها خاصةٌ من شِيعَتِه، والأُخرى لا يعلَم بمَكانه فيها إلاّ خاصة مَواليه في دينِه.
Imam Sadiq (a.s) says: “Imam Qa’im (a.s) has two Occultations—short and long. In the first one, nobody knows about his place except particular Shi’a; and in the second one, no one except particular Companions (special friends) know about his place.
Muslims in the Occultation period, for determining their duties, refer to trustworthy and knowledgeable jurisprudents that deduce Islamic laws from Allah’s Book and the Imams’ Sunnah.
An honorable Tawqi’ (letter from Imam Mahdi) that Shaykh Saduq narrated from a person called Ishaq Ibn Ya’qub reads:
وَأمّا الحَوادِثُ الواقِعَةُ فارجِعوا فِيها إلى رُواةِ أحادِيثِنا فإنَّهُم حُجَّتي عَلَيكُم وأنا حُجَّةُ اللهِ عَليهِمْ.
And when something happens, refer to the narrators of our traditions who are my proof for you, and I am Allah’s proof for them.91
And at the end of this letter we read:
وَأمّا وَجهُ الانتِفاعِ بي في غَيبَتي فكالانتِفاعِ بالشَّمْسِ إذا غيَّبَها عَن الأبْصارِ السَّحابُ. وإنّي لأمانٌ لأهلِ الأرْضِ كَما أنَّ النُّجومَ أمانٌ لأهْلِ السَّماءِ. فأغْلِقوا بابَ السُّؤالِ عَمّا لا يُعنِيكُم ولا تَتَكلَّفوا عِلْمَ ما قد كُفِيتُم وأكْثِروا الدُّعاءَ بِتَعجيلِ الفَرجِ فإنّ ذلِكَ فَرَجُكُم.
And benefiting from me (The Imam) in the Occultation time is like benefiting from the sun while it is covered by the clouds. I am safety for the inhabitants of the world as the stars are safety for the inhabitants of the heavens. Avoid irrelevant questions (useless for your fate) and do not try to know what is unnecessary. Pray a lot for hastening my reappearance, which is relief for you.92
And do not die unless you are Muslims. 2:102.
God does not ask or order His servants to do something impossible. He also does not give an order which is not enforceable, since it would be nonsense, and nonsense is rare for the All-knowing.
Also, various traditions state:
سَتَفْتَرِقُ أُمّتي إلى ثَلاثٍ –أو اثْنَتَينِ- وَسَبْعينَ فِرْقَةً كُلُّها فِي النّارِ إلاّ وَاحِدَةً.
My nation will soon be divided into seventy three groups—or seventy two according to other traditions—all of which will be placed in Hell save one group.
These prove the existence of one saved group, too. On the other hand, since all the groups and sects, except the one believing in Twelve Imams are invalid, the one saved group is probably the Twelver Shi’a.
Some traditions state that the majority group is the saved one. Regardless of the weak documentation, these are in contrast with some other traditions and the Qur’anic Verses. Furthermore, the majority cannot be the criterion for truth. Two groups such as the Hanafite and the Malikite, or the proponents of compulsion or free will, may be the same with regard to number, but none can be the majority. How is it possible to know the truth in this case? So, considering this tradition as valid, the majority should probably be the one, which is true.
Shaykh Saduq—May God bless him—in his book entitled Man La Yahzaruhu Al-Faqih, Vol. 1, p. 376, quotes the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying:
المُؤمِنُ وَحدَهُ حُجَّةٌ وَالمُؤمِنُ وَحدَهُ جَماعَةٌ.
A believer alone is proof (hujjah) and the majority.
God, the Exalted, says about Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham):
إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِلَّهِ.
Surely Ibrahim was an exemplar (ummah—nation), obedient to Allah.
In his exegesis of verse 128 of chapter (Surah) Baqarah, Qurtubi gives the meaning of majority for ‘ummah’ (nation), saying that ummah can be one person in case he is followed in good deeds. The same meaning is true of God’s statement about Ibrahim (stated above). See Qurtubi Exegesis (Tafsir), 2nd ed., Dar Al-Sha’b 1372, Vol. 2, p.127.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said about Zayd Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Nufayl, “He will be raised as a nation per se.” (Mustadrak Hakim, Vol. 4, p. 438) There are also other traditions, which make the identification of the saved group possible.
Caliphate after me will be up to thirty years and then will turn to kingdom and monarchy.
This tradition is of great controversy because (1) it is in contrast with other traditions stipulating by the Sunni themselves, (2) all the sources has quoted it from Sa’id Ibn Jumhan, and as Tirmidhi states, “We know this tradition only from Sa’id Ibn Jumhan about whom Abu Hatam says, “Traditions quoted by him are written but not adduced.” Ibn Mu’in comments, “He has quoted some traditions from Safinah, no one else has ever quoted.” Al-Bukhari says about him, “There are eccentric matters in traditions quoted by him.” (See Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib) Moreover, Ibn Hazm writes in Al-Muhalla (Vol. 5, p. 185), “Sa’id Ibn Jumhan is not famous for fairness, but his traditions are said to be of no value.“
The same is true about the tradition:
لا يَزالُ هذا الدّينُ قائِماً حَتىّ يَكونَ عَليكُم اثْنا عَشرَ خَليفَةً كُلُّهُم تَجْتَمِعُ عَليه الأُمَّةُ.
The religion will always remain established until twelve Caliphs around whom all the people congregate will come.
This tradition is only quoted by Abu Dawud on the authority of ‘Isma’il Ibn Abi Khalid on the authority of his father, Abu Khalid, on the authority of Jabir. The concluding part of it, which says, “around whom all the people congregate,” seems to be added by the narrator himself, as is evident from Tabarani’s tradition in “Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir” (Vol. 2, p. 208). For Tabarani quotes this tradition in two forms from Ibrahim Ibn Humayd from Isma’il Ibn Abi Khalid from his father from Jabir Ibn Samarah like this:
قال رسول الله : لا يَزالُ هذا الدّينُ قائِماً حتّى يَقومَ اثنا عَشرَ خَليفَةً.
The Prophet (a.s) said: “The religion is always established up to the time when twelve Caliphs will come.”
‘Isma’il said he doubted whether his father said, “The nation will congregate around them.”
As is evident, ‘Isma’il was doubtful, whereas Almighty God says:
وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنْ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا.
And surely conjecture does not avail against the truth at all. 53:28.
In other words, doubt is not useful in getting the truth. And then this groundless guess is narrated in Marwan Ibn Mu’awiah’s tradition, who was, according to the testimony of Ibn Mu’in, a hypocrite person (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib, Hydar Abad Press, Vol. 10, p. 98). The hypocrisy in documentation is apparently transferred to the context too.
Furthermore, Isma’il Ibn Abi Khalid was an uneducated person, having excessive mistakes. His father Abu Khalid who is also mentioned in the document is not so familiar to Rijal scholars (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib). Moreover, supposing that the tradition is valid and true, based on other traditions, the phrase: تجتمع عليه الأمة: should mean that the nation should congregate around them as a responsibility. Or as Qanduzi Hanafi says it means after the advent of the last Caliph, Imam Mahdi (a.s), people will congregate around all of them.
Anyway, what is intended by this tradition is not that all the people will swear allegiance to them, as is proved by the tradition “لا يضرهم من خذلهم”. Also according to the testimony of the master Sunni scholars and successive traditions, Imam Ali (a.s) and Imam Hasan (a.s) are among these twelve Caliphs, though not all the Muslims congregate around these two honorable Imams.
أنّ النبيّ مَرِضَ مرضَةً ثَقيلَةً فَدَخَلتْ عليهِ فاطِمَةُ وأنا جالِسٌ عندَهُ ولمّا رأتْ ما بهِ مِن الضّعفِ خَنَقَتْها العَبرَةُ… وَهوَ أنّه ضَربَ عَلى مَنكِبِ الحُسَينِ وقالَ: مِن هذا مَهدِيُّ هذهِ الأُمّةِ سلامُ الله عليهِم.
The Prophet (a.s) got seriously ill. Fatimah came to him while I was there. Seeing the Prophet’s weakness, Fatimah got lump in her throat…the Prophet tapped Husayn on the shoulder and said: “Mahdi is from Husayn’s progeny. Peace be upon them all.”
The tradition under discussion is also not well-documented, since, first, Abu Dawud says, “I narrated it from Harun Ibn Al-Mughirah.” It is not clear who narrated on the authority of Harun Ibn Al-Mughayrah to Abu Dawud. So the tradition is interrupted. Second, Sulaymani has said about Harun Ibn Al-Mughayrah Ibn Al-Hakim, “His traditions should be closely investigated.” Ibn Habban has said, “He may make mistakes.” (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib, Dar Sadir, Published in Hiydar Abad, Vol. 11, p.12) Thirdly, in this tradition’s documentation, after Harun Ibn Mughayrah, there is Amr Ibn Qays about whom Abu Ubayd Ajuri quotes Abu Dawud as saying, “There is mistake in his traditions.” (Tahdhib Al-Kamal, Al-Risalah, Vol. 22, p.205, No. 4437) Dhahabi in Mizan Al-I’tidal says, “His traditions are groundless.” (Dar Al-Ma’arif, Vol. 3, p. 285, No. 6669) and Sulaymani says, “He is doubted.” (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib, Dar Al-Fikr, Vol. 11, p. 12) It is thus clear that what Azim Abadi has mentioned in Awn Al-Ma’bud fi Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud as the result of arguments, stating that Mahdi (a.s) is from Hasan’s progeny and that he is related to Husayn (a.s) on his mother’s side is completely wrong, because, first, the result of arguments is possible when the truth of all of them is proved, while our study made it clear that the tradition of Abu Ishaq as quoted in the present versions of Sahih Abu Dawud is invalid from different aspects. This meaning is expressed in no other way either. Second, numerous traditions stipulate that Mahdi (a.s) is from the progeny of Husayn (a.s) and that he is from the ninth generation of Husayn’s children. This is incompatible with concluding statement of the author of Awn Al-Ma’bud. Basically, it seems that these two traditions quoted by Abu Dawud, that is the tradition implying that the name of Mahdi’s father is Abdullah and another one saying that Mahdi (a.s) is from Hasan’s progeny, are fabricated by the proponents of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Hasan, known as Al-Nafs Al-Zakiyyah (The pious Spirit). Even some people like Al-Mansur Al-Dawaniqi, the Abbasid caliph, before the establishment of The Abbasid dynasty, had named him Mahdi and sworn allegiance to him. However Muhaddith Qumi, in his book entitled Muntaha Al-Amal, says, “Abu Al-Faraj and Sayyid Ibn Tawus have frequently narrated that Abdullah al-Mahz, the father of Al-Nafs Al-Zakiyyah, and all his family denied his being the promised Mahdi.” (See: Muntaha Al-’Amal, Section on the murder of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah) The tradition, “There is no Mahdi except Jesus” is the reaction of their opponents. Impiety and worldliness have caused many calamities and altered many facts.
Lexically, Ijtihad means effort for getting something. Ibn Al-Athir writes, in Al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah, “Ijtihad means making effort in search of something. This word is in the same conjugation with the keyword jahd,1 meaning strength and ability.
The term Ijtihad was used in the same meaning in the Prophet’s age and his Companions’, until the end of the first century after the Prophet’s Hijra. There are numerous traditions quoted from the Holy Prophet (a.s) testifying to this usage, three of which are mentioned here:
وَأمّا السّجُود، فاجْتَهِدوا بالدّعاءِ فَضَمِنَ أنْ يُسْتَجابَ لَكُم.
When praying, in the state of prostration, make effort; your prayer will be accepted hopefully.2
صَلّوا عَلَيَّ واجْتَهِدوا في الدّعاءِ.
Pay tribute to me and make effort when praying.3
فَضْلُ العَالِمِ عَلى المُجْتَهِدِ مِائَةُ دَرَجة.
Apart from what was mentioned from the Holy Prophet, here are just two examples from the various statements available in this regard:
كانَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يَجْتَهِدُ في العَشْرِ الأواخِرِ ما لا يَجْتَهِدُ في غَيرِه.
The messenger of Allah (a.s) made such an effort in worshiping in the last ten days of Ramadan that he did not make in other times.6
Ummah Harithah, a female Companion of the Prophet, when speaking with the Prophet about her martyred son says:7
إنْ كانَ في الجَنَّةِ صَبَرْتُ وإنْ كانَ غَيْرَ ذلِكَ اجْتَهَدْتُ عَلَيهِ في البُكاءِ.
If my child is in Paradise, I will be patient otherwise I will make effort in crying.8
As a result, the lexical meaning of Ijtihad, during the Prophet’s age and a while after him, was to attempt or make effort. The only exception to this usage is the tradition of Mu’adh reading:
أجْتَهِدُ رأيِي وَلا آلو.
I will practice according to my opinion and do not fear.9
This will be discussed in details later on.
Islamic scholars have used the term Ijtihad10 with different meanings. In general, Ijtihad is used to refer to two meanings—general and specific. Of course, this term was mostly used in its specific meaning for quite a while at first.
There are various definitions for Ijtihad in its general meaning, some of which follow:
A) “Ijtihad is the jurisprudent’s best attempt to reach understanding (and certainty) about Islamic rules.”11
C) “Ijtihad is obtaining religious rules from explanatory reasons.”14
D) “Making every effort in reaching a conjecture to religious rules, in such a way that reaching beyond it would be impossible.”15
These are general definitions for Ijtihad found in the scholars’ books. Each of them is subject to some criticisms and there is controversy about their scope of inclusion. But they all seem to have a common point and that is the concept of “attempting to obtain religious rules via some reasons.” There is controversy on whether some reasons such as Qiyas (analogy), Istihsan (approbation), masalih mursalah and khabar wahid (one tradition)… etc, are really proof; and that if they are reasons, what their requirements are. That is why Muhaqqiq Hilli, when defining Ijtihad from the viewpoint of jurisprudents, begins like this: “Making effort in obtaining religious rules.”18 Then he adds: “Accordingly, obtaining rules from religious reasons is Ijtihad, since this requires exerting views and cannot be done with regard to manifestations of the religion.”19 He continues: “That reason may be Qiyas (analogy) or something else. Hence, Qiyas can be a kind of Ijtihad.”20
Here, Muhaqqiq Hilli poses a problem and the answer to it: “If one says: ‘So, Imamiyyah (Twelver Shi’a) accepts Ijtihad.’ I reply: Yes, it is so, but there is a paradox here, because Qiyas is considered as a means for Ijtihad. But if Qiyas is excluded, we accept Ijtihad as obtaining rules through theoretical ways (means) other than Qiyas.”21
Some may think this definition of Muhaqqiq Hilli is about the special meaning of Ijtihad. But it is not true, since he considers as Ijtihad issues such as concluding from traditions either substituting full with conditional, or general with specific, and other conclusions and also opposition of traditions with each other, preference or option of them; whereas Ijtihad in its special meaning does not include these issues. Since as will follow, the special meaning of Ijtihad belongs to issues in which there is no tradition.
There are some definitions for the special meaning of Ijtihad, too. Some have defined it as Qiyas, as Imam Shafi’i who equals between Ijtihad and Qiyas and says, “These two are used to name the same concept.”22 Others equal it with Ra’y (opinion).
Ijtihad is defined as: “Making effort in obtaining a rule, when there is no (reported) tradition, by pondering and using ways shown by religion in order to inference.”23 Still others have equaled Ijtihad with Ra’y (opinion), Qiyas (analogy) and Istihsan (approbation). The late Sayyid Murtaza Alam al-Huda has a different view. To him, Ijtihad and Qiyas are different and their relationship is general and specific. This great scholar writes: “Among jurisprudents, some differentiate between Qiyas and Ijtihad saying, ‘In Qiyas, the analogy is made based on a definite principle, but in Ijtihad there is no principle for analogy, such as Ijtihad in finding Qiblah, defining the value of the damaged things and difference of healthy and injured (arsh).’24 Some others consider Qiyas as a kind of Ijtihad. So when speaking of those who accept Ijtihad, we mean those who use conjectures and reasons to reach religious rules, not those who only trust reasons.25
Ijtihad in its specific usage, meaning either Ra’y (opinion), Qiyas (analogy), or Qiyas, Istihsan and Masalih Mursalah, if proved only through conjecture, is not valid to Imamiyyah jurisprudents, and hence cannot prove religious rules.26 Since it includes reasons prohibiting from following conjectures.27 It should be kept in mind that since Ijtihad was used by jurisprudents as conjectural Ijtihad at a point in time, the early Shi’a scholars have written explicitly or implicitly on rejection of Ijtihad (conjectural Ijtihad). As an example Shaykh Mufid, the great Shi’a scholar of the third century, has written a book under the title Al-Naqz Ala Ibn Al-Junayd fi Al-Ra’y (rejection of Ibn Junayd in Ijtihad according to the opinion). As a result, when dealing with the term Ijtihad in the books, or when using it, we should pay attention to its two senses.
Having defined Ijtihad, we now turn to the sources of Ijtihad (in its general sense). All that is included in Usul (the science of principles of obtaining religious rules) books as sources of Ijtihad are:
(1) Allah’s Book—the Holy Qur’an,
(2) The Holy Prophet’s Sunnah (tradition) and the tradition of the Ahl al-Bayt and the Companions,
(3) Ijma’ (consensus),
(4) Aql (wisdom),
(5) Qiyas (analogy),
(6) Istihsan (approbation) and
(7) Masalih Mursalah.
In the following discussion, we review the above sources and their proof28 briefly to see which of them can be used as the religious reasons to obtain the rules.
Among the mentioned sources, all Muslims agree upon the proof of the Holy Qur’an. Of course, some Sunni books like Sahih Al-Bukhari29 and Sahih Muslim30 and some Shi’a ones such as Al-Kafi31 include traditions stating that some Qur’anic Verses have not survived to be available to us. But none of the Sunni or Shi’a researchers have attended to these traditions. So, all Muslims consider the Holy Qur’an (in its present manifestation) as proof and the first source of Islamic attitudes and rules. Of course, it is clear that inference from the Holy Qur’an requires knowing some principles to make true understanding of the verses possible, help recognize absolute from conditional, abrogating from abrogated and indisputable from analogous verses.
Tradition is based on one of these three:
a) The Prophet’s speech,
b) The Prophet’s behavior,
c) The Prophet’s confirmation or keeping quiet.
The proof of Prophet’s tradition, like the proof of Allah’s Book, is clear and no one can deny it. It is completely mistaken to say, “Allah’s Book is sufficient and there is no need to other things,” since Qur’an has denied this, stating:
وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ.
And We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them, and that haply they may reflect. (16:44).
وَمَا آتَاكُمْ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا.
And whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back. (59:7).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ.
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. (4:59).
There are also other Verses and traditions stipulating this issue. Imam Shafi’i says in this regard: “If we reject the traditions altogether, we face an unsolvable problem and that is if someone performs the least of what is called prayers or Zakat (statutory Islamic levy), he does his duty. For example, one may perform two units (rak’ah) of prayers, saying what is not in Allah’s Book is not obligatory (i.e. in Qur`an, there is only prayer in itself and that can be accomplished with two units.) Meanwhile, tradition has determined the number of units in a day and their quality for us. This is also the case about Zakat, its different kinds, quantities and the specific properties to which it belongs.32
Of course, like Allah’s Book, for understanding tradition one should acquire its principles, varieties and proofs and works, and the traditions adducing them to distinguish the true traditions, which proof the rules.
Reference to the Prophet’s tradition, successively narrated in Sunni books, makes it clear that the excellent and unique status of the Prophet’s Household (Ahl al-Bayt) is among the principles of Islam. Affection to the Holy Prophet’s Household and following them is necessary. Though there is no doubt about the proof of the Ahl al-Bayt’s tradition, for discarding any possible temptation in this issue, just two of the most famous reasons for it, i.e. “Purification Verse” and “Thaqalayn tradition” will follow:
The Holy Qur’an sates:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. (33:33).
For more explanation about this honorable verse known as Purification (Tat’hir) Verse, it should be said that according to this verse God wants to take any wickedness away from the Ahl al-Bayt, and since any sin is wickedness, they are away from any sin and hence infallible, by God’s will
As is evident from the word “إنَّما” which is used for exclusion in Arabic, this is God’s certain inclination to specialize the Ahl al-Bayt in purification, while the Almighty has invited anyone to be pure and avoid committing sins. What remains is to see who are the Ahl al-Bayt. To find the answer to this question, we should attend to traditions on the cause of the revelation of this verse. Some such traditions from the most trusted Sunni books are mentioned hereinafter:33
عَن عائِشَةَ قالَت: خَرجَ النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم غداة وعَلَيه مِرطٌ مُرجَّلٌ مِن شعر أسوَدَ، فجاء الحسنُ بن عَليٍّ فأدخَلَهُ ثمَّ جاءَ الحُسينُ فَدخلَ معه ثمّ جاءَت فاطِمةُ فأدخَلَها ثمّ جاءَ عَليٌّ فأدْخَلَهُ، ثمّ قالَ: ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾
Aishah says: One morning, the Holy Prophet (a.s) came out of his house wearing a cloak made of black hair. Hasan (a.s) came in and the Prophet (a.s) placed him under the cloak. Then Husayn (a.s) came and went in there. Then came Fatimah (a.s) who was placed there by the Prophet (a.s). Next Ali (a.s) came and the Prophet took him under his cloak and recited, “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33).”34
…لمّا نَزَلَتْ هذه الآيَةُ على النّبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾ في بَيتِ أُمِّ سَلَمةَ دَعا النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فاطِمَةَ وَحسَناً وَحُسيناً وعَليٌّ خَلفَ ظَهْرِه فَجَلَّلَهُم بِكِساءٍ، ثمَّ قال: اللّهُمّ هؤلاءِ أهلُ بَيتي فَأذْهِبْ عَنهمُ الرّجْسَ وَطَهّرهُم تَطهيراً. قالَت أُمُّ سَلَمة: وأنا مَعَهُم يا نَبيَّ الله؟ قالَ: أنْتِ عَلى مَكانِكِ وأنْتِ إلى خَيرٍ.
Umar Ibn Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s stepchild, says: The honorable verse of “Purification” was revealed in the house of Ummu-Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s wife. The Holy Prophet (a.s) called Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s), and Ali (a.s) was behind him. Then he covered them with a cloak (kisa’) and stated: “O Allah! These are my Household, so banish wickedness from them and make them pure!” At this moment, Ummu-Salamah asked: “O Prophet of God! Am I among them?” He answered, “You are in your own place and you are into goodness, too.”35
The same in narrated by Tirmidhi with a little difference in words and he comments under it, “This tradition is fine and true.”36
Dear readers: certainly pay attention that the Prophet (a.s) excluded his wife, Ummu-Salamah, from the Ahl al-Bayt. With so many traditions on this issue, how can one trust few traditions, which consider the Prophet’s wives among the Ahl al-Bayt? Moreover, as history and the reference books of traditions, like Sahih Muslim state, the Umayyad and the Abbasid rulers tried to put out the light of the Ahl al-Bayt, and scholars in Rijal and biographies have stipulated that some of the narrators of these few traditions like Ikramah and Muqatil were liars and fabricators. Furthermore, in these traditions only the Prophet’s wives are considered as the Ahl al-Bayt, while so many traditions exclude exactly the Prophet’s wives from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s). Therefore, even if the documents of these traditions are true, since they are in contrast with a great many of other traditions excluding the Prophet’s wives from the Ahl al-Bayt, these latter traditions are preferable with regard to their number and documentation.
Another issue posed about the Purification Verse is that its preceding and following verses are:
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا. وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلَى فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ لَطِيفًا خَبِيرًا.
And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. And keep in mind what is recited in your houses of the communications of Allah and the wisdom; surely Allah is Knower of subtleties, Aware.
A doubtful question may be posed here as to why this honorable verse accompanies verses about the Prophet’s wives. The answer would be, first, as is evident from various traditions, the latter part of the honorable verse has been revealed independently and then arranged in the present order later on. Second, the change in address form from feminine plural37 to masculine plural38 is a clear reason for the multiplicity of addresses, especially since it shifts to feminine plural39 again. It may be stated that: the change in pronouns is to include people other than the Prophet’s wives. The answer would be that if it is so, the same should be continued to the end, while this is not the case. So, the honorable verse mentions characteristics for a certain group determined in traditions and the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah.
Also, with regard to this change in style and the usage of “إنما” for exclusion, it becomes clear that here God’s will is of genesis kind and hence unobjectionable, just like the true meaning of will. Moreover, if there were a religious will stressed by the Prophet, it were not only unnatural but stylistically obscene to address the Ahl al-Bayt with masculine words. Because the Prophet’s wives are included in the religious will and besides they have been addressed in the beginning of this honorable verse. Furthermore, the traditions including Thaqalayn traditions which will follow, proves that God’s will has been since the genesis. And consequently the Ahl al-Bayt’s infallibility and the proof of their tradition are proved.
The second reason for the proof of the Ahl al-Bayt’s tradition is Thaqalayn tradition. These traditions have been narrated in many Sunni books in different senses. Some of these sources are Sahih Muslim, Sunan Al-Darimi, Khasa’is Al-Nisa’i, Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad and Mustadrak Hakim.
According to Qaysarani, Thaqalayn tradition has twenty seven Sunni narrator chains, as counted by some researchers. Some others believe they are thirty nine. These are narrated by eighty two Shi’a chains of narrators. Here, we quote this honorable tradition from Sahih Muslim and Sunan Al-Tirmidhi:
Ibn Hayyan says:40 Husayn, Umar Ibn Muslim and I went to Zayd Ibn Arqam. Husayn told him: “O Zayd! You have surely gained great goodness, you have seen the Prophet (a.s), heard his speech, accompanied him in battles and prayed behind him. Tell us something of what you have heard from the Holy Prophet (a.s).” Zayd said: “O son of my brother! By God that I have lived my age and reached an old age, thus forgetting some of the Prophet’s statements I have heard. So, accept what I tell you and do not take me into trouble more than that.” Then he continued: “One day, the Holy Prophet (a.s) delivered a sermon to us beside a pond named Khumm, somewhere between Mecca and Medina. After eulogy to God he said:
أَلاَ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، فَإِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ يُوشِكُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَنِي رَسُولُ رَبِّي فَأُجِيبُ، وَأَنَا تَارِكٌ فِيكُم ثَقَلَيْنِ: أَوَّلُهُمَا كِتَابُ اللهِ فِيهِ الهُدىٰ وَالنُّورُ؛ فَخُذُوا بِكِتابِ اللهِ وَاسْتَمْسِكوا بِهِ... وَأَهْلُ بَيْتِي؛ أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِي، أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِي، أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِي.
“O people! I am a human being. God’s angel will soon come to take my soul and I will accept him. I will leave two valuable things among you; first Allah’s Book in which there is light and guidance, so hold fast to it and follow it. The second is my Household (the Ahl al-Bayt). I remind you of God about my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of God about my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of God about my Ahl al-Bayt.”
In Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Zayd Ibn Arqam has quoted the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying:
إنّي تارِكٌ فيكُمُ الثَّقَلَينِ ما إنْ تَمَسَّكْتُم بِهِما لنْ تَضِلّوا بَعدي؛ أَحَدُهُما أعْظَمُ مِن الآخَرِ؛ كِتابُ اللهِ حَبْلٌ مَمدودٌ مِن السَّماءِ إلى الأرْضِ وعِتْرَتي أهلُ بَيتي، وَلَن يَتَفَرَّقا حَتىّ يَرِدا عَليَّ الحَوضَ فانْظُروا كَيفَ تُخَلِّفونِي فِيهِما.
“I leave two invaluable things. If you follow them, you will never go astray after me. They are both great: Allah’s Book that is taken from the Heavens to the earth like a rope, and my family; my Household. These two will not separate each other until they come to me in the River in Paradise. So be careful of how you will do after me!”41
As to the stipulation of this tradition, the Ahl al-Bayt has an equal status as to the Holy Qur’an and following it is like following Qur’an in that it saves from going astray. And there would never be a separation between them. Therefore as Qur’an is away from deviation, the Ahl al-Bayt is away from misguidance too. Otherwise, it cannot be equal with and inseparable from Qur’an forever. Anyhow, it is quite obvious from the above-mentioned tradition that Ali, Fatimah Al-Zahra, Hasan and Husayn (a.s) are the Ahl al-Bayt. So, at the time of the revelation of this verse, these honorable persons are the Ahl al-Bayt and as the successive tradition, “Imams will be twelve in number,” and other traditions certify, after them nine Imams from Husayn’s progeny are from the Ahl al-Bayt.42 Here, we just mention two traditions about this issue from the Holy Prophet (a.s):
Muhammad Ibn Muthana, with a few persons in between, narrates Jabir Ibn Samarah who quotes the Prophet (a.s) as saying:
يَكونُ اثْنا عَشَرَ أمِيراً… كُلُّهُمْ مِن قُرَيشٍ.
“There would be twelve leaders all from Quraysh.”43
Ziyad Ibn Mutarrif says: “I heard the Prophet (a.s) as saying:
مِن أحَبَّ أنْ يَحْيا حَياتي وَيَموتَ مِيتَتي فَلْيَتَوَلَّ عَلِيّاً وَذُرَّيَّتَهُ مِنْ بَعدِه.
“Everyone who would like to live and die like I do should set Ali as his leader and Ali’s progeny after him.”44
With such an excellent position for the Ahl al-Bayt, being Qur’an’s equals, away from any wickedness, and people’s guidance and safety from going astray, it is obvious that their speech and Sunnah, which implies the Prophet’s Sunnah, are proof. Of course, the recognition of the Ahl al-Bayt’s Sunnah needs some requirements and to gain it, the criteria mentioned earlier should be considered.
There is no proof for the tradition (Sunnah) of the Prophet’s Companions (Sahabah), as long as it belongs to them themselves, not to the Prophet, and there is no consensus about it. What some people have regarded as the proof for the Companions’ Sunnah are two verses of the Holy Qur’an:
كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنْ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ.
You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah. (3:110).
وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا.
And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you. (2:143).
But it should be pointed out that these two honorable verses are probably not the proof of the Companions’ Sunnah, since the first verse states, “You are the best nation for enjoining right and forbidding the wrong.” This is not to say that if a few Companions said something, their statement is proof per se. The second verse also says, “You are a medium nation.” It is not about the Companions individually, rather it implies the characteristics of the Islamic nation as a whole. Furthermore, though being a Companion of the Prophet is a great virtue, as history goes, some Companions did not recognize this value and were criticized in the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s traditions because of their wrongdoing.
The Holy Qur’an is the best witness to ingratitude and hypocrisy of some of the Companions, when it states:
وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُمْ مِنْ الْأَعْرَابِ مُنَافِقُونَ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ مَرَدُوا عَلَى النِّفَاقِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُمْ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ سَنُعَذِّبُهُمْ مَرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٍ.
And from among those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from among the people of Medina (also); they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will chastise them twice then shall they be turned back to a grievous chastisement. (9:110).
It is worth mentioning that some traditions stipulate to the injustice of some Companions to make it clear that according to the Prophet’s tradition, the Companions’ traditions cannot be totally the proof. The honorable Prophet (a.s) said:
ألا وإنَّهُ سَيُجاءُ بِرِجالٍ مِنْ أُمَّتي فَيؤخَذُ بِهِمْ ذاتَ الشِّمالِ فأَقُولُ: يا رَبِّ أصْحابي! فَيُقالُ: إنَّكَ لا تَدري ما أحْدَثوا بَعدَك. فأقولُ كَما قالَ العَبْدُ الصّالِحُ: ”مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلَّا مَا أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنْ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ وَكُنتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنتَ أَنْتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنْتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ. إِنْ تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ وَإِنْ تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ.“ (قال) فَيُقالُ لي: إنَّهُم لَمْ يَزالوا مُرْتَدّينَ عَلى أعْقابِهِمْ مُنْذُ فارَقْتَهُم.
“Be aware that soon people from my nation will come and be placed in Hell. So, I will say to God: “O Almighty God! Save my Companions!” The answer comes: “You do not know what they have done after you.” So I will say the same thing as God’s pious servant (Jesus Christ) said, ‘And I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die, Thou wert the watcher over them, and Thou art witness of all things. If Thou shouldst chastise them, then surely they are Thy servants; and if Thou shouldst forgive them, then surely Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.’ Then I will be told: “When you left them, they retrograded and became apostates.”49
In Sahih Muslim, Hudhayfah is quoted as saying:
قالَ النّبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : في أصْحابي اثْنا عَشَرَ مُنافِقاً فِيهِمْ ثَمانِيَةٌ لا يَدْخُلونَ الجَنَّةَ حَتىّ يَلِجَ الجَمَلُ في سَمّ الخِياطِ.
The Messenger of Allah said: “Among my Companions, there are twelve hypocrites eight of whom will not enter the Garden (Paradise) until a camel passes through the eye of a needle.”50
A similar tradition is narrated in Musnad Ahmad, too.51 It is interesting that some narrators who found this tradition in accord with their opinion, changed “among my Companions” into “among my nation.”52 Also, Nawawi in his exposition on Sahih Muslim, regards “Companions” as those who have ever talked to the Prophet (a.s), not really his followers.53 The judgement is here left to the readers to say if these constitutions in the traditions are true.
The following is recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari:
عَن العَلاء بنِ المُسَيّب عَن أبيهِ قالَ: لَقِيتُ البَراءَ بنَ عازبٍ رَضِي عَنهُما فَقُلتُ: طوبى لك! صَحِبْتَ النّبيّ… فَقالَ: يا بنَ أخي! إنّكَ لا تدْري ما أحْدَثْنا بعدَهُ.
It is quoted from Al-Ala’ Ibn Musayyib who quoted his father as saying: I saw Bara’ Ibn ‘Azib and told him: “Good for you! You were with the Prophet (a.s)…” So, he said: “O son of my brother! You do not know what we did after him.”54
Therefore, when it is possible for a Companion to become an apostate, as stated in the Prophet’s tradition, it is of more likelihood for him to become unjust, too. How can we accept the traditions of all the Companions as proof then? So it is not true that the Companions’ tradition is completely proof.
Another source of Ijtihad is consensus, that is to say that if all Muslims unanimously agree upon a statement, it will be the proof. It should be said that if such unanimity and consensus exists about a rule, that is the proof for sure, at least because the Infallibles are among them, too. But if only some Muslims have consensus on it, regardless of who they are, that rule would not be proof.
There is controversy over the proof of wisdom in jurisprudential rules. Some people know wisdom as the source of religious rules saying: If wisdom got the goodness or wickedness of something, we understand that the religion is in accord with that, too. For example, if wisdom considers oppression as wickedness, we realize that the religion rejects it too, or if wisdom regards justice as goodness, we get the religion’s confirmation of it. This is a brief discussion of the proof of wisdom, but detailed discussion about it needs a complete book.55
We first deal with the definitions and then a brief discussion on the proofs of Qiyas, Istihsan and Masalih Mursalah.
Various definitions have been proposed for Qiyas, some of which are as follow:
First definition: “To generalize from principle to consequence, based on a common point between them.”
Second definition: “To prove a definite rule for another definite rule, via something common between them.”
Different definitions have been also given for Istihsan, three of which follow:
First definition: “Issuing a verdict by jurisprudent only because it seems fine to him.”
Second definition: “An argument in the jurisprudent’s mind which he cannot express it in words.
Third definition: “Substituting any arguments for the accepted facts for the benefit of the people.”56
In order to define this term, first we should make the meaning of masalih and mursalah clear. Maslahah (singular form of masalih) is by definition the religious consideration of issues. Also, masalih here is a cause leading to religious consequences, either it be worship or habitual issues. Worship is what religion wants as its own right. Habit is what the religion wants for the benefit of the people and the order of their lives. But there is some controversy over the concept of mursal. Some interpret it as using no tradition, saying: “Discovery of some issues is left to wisdom.” Some others define it as using general traditions but not special ones.57
So far, the definitions of Qiyas (analogy), Istihsan (approbation) and Masalih Mursalah were mentioned. Regarding their proof, however, it should be said that all arguments for the pure authenticity of them are invalid. Some Sunni scholars and researchers have not accepted their proof either, since all these three concepts have one common point and that is “following without knowledge” which is prohibited in the Holy Qur’an, even if it is following conjecture. The following verses are the best proofs for rejecting “following without knowledge.”
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ.
And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge. (18:36).
إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنْ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا.
They do not follow anything but conjecture, and surely conjecture does not avail against the truth at all. (53:28).
Qiyas (analogy) which is followed by most of the Sunnis and especially the Hanafite, Istihsan (approbation) especially accepted by the Hanbalite (followers of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal’s school of Islamic law) and the Hanafite (followers of Abu Hanifah’s school of Islamic law), and Masalih Mursalah used by the Malikite (followers of Malik Ibn Anas’s school of Islamic law) and the Hanbalite are all instances of following without knowledge and thus invalid, since based on the above verses, following conjecture is not permitted. There is also no argument for excluding Qiyas, Istihsan and Masalih Mursalah from the Qur’an’s general principle. Of course, some cases like analogy to a reason included in the traditions, preferring the most important to the important when being in contrast to each other, and applying the leader’s opinion as that of ruler—not attributed to Islam—are acceptable. So, two points should be borne in mind about Qiyas:
First, what is being criticized here as Qiyas is that whose reason is obtained by conjecture and inference. But if the reason is emphasized in the tradition as mentioned above, the case would not be an analogy, rather deducing a valid general rule.58
Second, the term Qiyas as used here is different from the one in Logic, since that is called analogy.
In short, it can be concluded that what is known as Ra’y “opinion” is not valid, since most of what has been stated in support of opinion—whether Qiyas, Istihsan or Masalih Mursalah—is based on Mu’adh’s tradition, as will be followed, and adducing it is not authentic. Moreover Ibn Majah has recorded another tradition from Mu’adh which rejects this claim. This issue is dealt with next.
The most important reason for the proof of ‘opinion’ in Ijtihad is Mu’adh’s tradition. When sending his young and competent Companion, Mu’adh Ibn Jabal, to Yemen, the Messenger of Allah (a.s) had a conversation about judgment with him, which is narrated in Sunan Al-Darimi like this:
عَنْ مُعاذٍ أنَّ النّبيَّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم لمّا بَعَثَهُ إلى اليَمنِ قالَ: أرَأيْتَ إنْ عَرَضَ لكَ قَضاءٌ، كَيفَ تقْضي؟ قال: أقْضي بِكتابِ اللهِ. قالَ: فإنْ لَمْ يكُنْ في كِتابِ اللهِ؟ قالَ: فَبِسُنَّةِ رَسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم . قالَ: فإنْ لَمْ يَكُن فِي سُنَّةِ رَسولِ اللهِ؟ قالَ: أجْتَهِدُ رأيي وَلا آلو. قالَ فَضَربَ صَدْرَهُ ثمَّ قالَ: الحَمْدُ للهِ الّذي وَفَّقَ رَسولَ رَسولِ اللهِ لما يُرضي رَسولَ اللهِ.
It is narrated from Mu’adh that when the Prophet (a.s) was sending him to Yemen, he asked, “What would you do if you face a judgment case?” He said, “I will judge according to Allah’s Book.” The Prophet (a.s) asked, “What if you do not find it in the Book?” Mu’adh replied, “I will judge as to the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (a.s).” The Prophet (a.s) asked again, “How about if there was nothing in the Prophet’s traditions about it?” Mu’adh answered, “I will judge based on my own opinion and will not fear.” Mu’adh narrates that the Prophet (a.s) beat himself on the chest and stated, “Praise be to God Who led the Prophet’s envoy to what satisfies the Messenger of Allah.”59
Ibn Hazm, about concluding the authenticity of opinion in Ijtihad from this tradition, says: “Adducing this tradition is not true, because it is only narrated by Harith Ibn ‘Amr who is an unidentified person.” Bukhari in Tarikh Al-Awsat says: “The narrator of this tradition, Harith, is not known except with this tradition. He himself narrates the tradition from people of Hams (a city in Syria) who are not known. Also this tradition was not narrated in the Companions’ age nor in their follower’s until the time Abu Awn narrated it from an indefinite source and when the Companions heard the tradition from Shu’bah, they spread it everywhere.”
Ibn Hazm also says: “The reason for the quotation of this tradition and then its rejection is that it is very rare for the Prophet to say: “If you do not find anything in Allah’s Book or the Prophet’s tradition,” while he knows God’s statement that,
‘Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord. (7:3),’
‘This day have I perfected for you your religion. (5:3),’
‘And whoever goes beyond the limits of Allah, he indeed does injustice to his own soul. (65:1)’
Furthermore, in case the tradition is true, Mu’adh’s saying ‘I will judge based on my own opinion,’ will mean, ‘I will do my best to find the truth in the Qur’an and Sunnah.’”60
Besides, the above-mentioned tradition is mentioned in Chapter Qadha’ (the Judgments), where there is a necessity to solve the problem of the two parties in some way, as Tirmidhi has included this tradition in Chapter Al-Aqdhiyah (the Judgments).61 So, applying it in Section Ifta’ (Issuing Verdicts) requires strong reason. Apart from this, there is another tradition quoted by Mu’adh in Sunan Ibn Majah which is in contrast with the one under discussion:
• Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab Al-Muqaddamah (introduction)
حَدَّثنا مُعاذُ بن جَبل قالَ: لمّا بَعَثَني رسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم إلى اليَمَنِ قال: لا تَقْضِيَنَّ وَلا تَفْصِلَنَّ إلاّ بِما تَعْلَمُ، فَإنْ أشْكَلَ عَلَيْكَ أمْرٌ فَقِفْ حَتىّ تُبَيِّنَهُ أو تَكْتُبَ إليَّ فيهِ.
Mu’adh narrates: When the Prophet (a.s) sent me to Yemen, he said: “Do not judge and solve arguments except when you are completely sure. So, if you encounter something sophisticated, stop issuing verdicts until it becomes clear for you, or you write a letter about it to me.”62
There are also other traditions rejecting the practice according to one’s opinion. The honorable Prophet (a.s) said:
فَيَبقى ناسٌ جُهّالٌ يُسْتَفْتَوْنَ فَيُفْتونَ بِرأيِهِم فَيُضِلّونَ وَيَضِلّونَ.
Those people remain in foulness who are asked questions and they answer according to their own opinion, leading others astray and going astray themselves.63
لَمْ يزَلْ أمْرُ بَني إسرائيلَ مُعتَدِلاً حتىّ نَشَأَ فِيهِم المُوَلَّدونَ أبْناءُ سَبايا الأُمَمِ، فَقالوا بالرّأيِ فَضَلّوا وأَضَلّوا.
The Israelites were moderate until people emerged among them who were the children of the captives. They issued verdicts based on their own opinions, going astray and leading astray, too.”64
In his Sahih, Bukhari says, “The Prophet (a.s) never talked according to personal opinion or analogy, because of the Exalted God’s statement: Surely we have revealed the Book to you with the truth that you may judge between people by means of that which Allah has taught you. 4:105”
The last topic to be discussed in this chapter is whether the issue of Ijtihad is still open to practice or not. In our time, most of the Sunni, except some of their scholars, believe that practicing Ijtihad is not allowed anymore. Shaykh Ahmad Abdul Rahim, a Sunni scholars, divides jurisprudents into three different groups, the third of which he calls ‘attributed jurisprudents’ and considers following their verdicts as the duty of all Muslims.
As stated in his words, ‘attributed jurisprudent’ is one who is attributed to one of the four Islamic schools (the Shafiite, the Hanbalite, the Malikite and the Hanafite), not issuing any verdicts against them. He says, “The third group are those Muslims who emerged from the fourth century. It is a must for the public to follow the jurisprudents attributed to one of the four Islamic schools, since an independent jurisprudent is rare to this day.”65
His most important argument for his claim is that: “The Islamic nation has reached consensus to trust the predecessors for recognizing the religion. We should refer to them too, and this is only possible through fine-documented traditions narrated in famous books and reached upon by stating the most preferred traditions, selecting the most general ones and concluding from them. These features are not found but in the four Islamic schools. No other Islamic sect or school lacks theses features save Imamiyyah (the Twelver Shi’a) and Zaydiyyah, whose followers are heretics.”66
Our question here is that: If one knows what is narrated from these four Sunni Imams and finds all or some of them mistaking in the inference of some issues, should he still follow them? If a rule with the same strength is narrated from someone else like professors, contemporaries or the scholars of the four Islamic schools, are these four Imams the only ones to be followed? Furthermore what is wrong with discrimination in following?
When we see the verdict issued by one of these four Imams or others is more convincing and logically more acceptable, why should we ignore it and just stick to a specific Islamic school? Is it not heresy to confine the recognition of Islamic rules in only four people?
The Holy Qur’an and honorable traditions invite us to ponder over the religion. Following predecessors is true in case of traditions, not in inference, especially if it is opposed to our own inference. What do those who confine jurisprudence to these four people, say about the Prophet’s (a.s) statement that:
نَضَّرَ اللهُ عَبداً -أوْ رَحِمَ اللهُ مَنْ- سَمِعَ مَقالَتي فَوعاها ثُمَّ أدّاها إلى مَنْ لَمْ يَسْمَعْها، فَرُبَّ حامِلِ فِقْهٍ لا فِقْهَ لهُ وَرُبَّ حامِلِ فِقْهٍ إلى مَنْ هُوَ أفْقَهُ مِنهُ.
“May God promote the rank of that servant of Him who hears my speech, keeps it in mind and narrates to those who have not heard it. Too many are the narrators who do not understand the traditions they narrate, and too many are the narrators who narrate the tradition for someone who understand it more than they do.”67
Moreover, this is in contrast with the consensus of Muslims in the first century and their followers. Mawlawi Shah Waliyullah Dahlawi in his Al-Insaf says: “Muslims in the first and second centuries did not have consensus on following single Islamic schools. The ordinary people got the rules from their fathers or the scholars in their cities who were capable of total or partial inference from the Holy Qur’an or the traditions.”68
Is it not heresy to ignore the method of the Companions and their followers and limit our understanding of God’s religion to four persons? Also, what does it mean that Imamiyyah are heretics? Is following the Ahl al-Bayt heresy, while the leaders of the four Sunni schools had directly or indirectly benefited from Imam Sadiq’s knowledge? As this fact is implicitly acknowledged in the book entitled Al-Tuhfah Al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, written to reject the Shi’a,69 a part of which reads:
“And this is Abu Hanifah—May God be satisfied with him—with his high rank before the Sunni, who is proud to say eloquently, ‘If Nu’man (Abu Hanifah) had not passed those two years, he was perished.’ Abu Hanifah means the same two years he accompanied Imam Sadiq—May God be satisfied with him—for obtaining knowledge.”70
“I went to see Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (Imam Sadiq (a.s)) for a while. I did not see him but in one of three states: either praying or fasting or reciting the Qur’an. I did not see him quoting traditions from the Messenger of Allah (a.s) except that he was pure. He never said nonsense and was among scholars, worshipers, ascetics and those who fear God.
When Abu Hanifah was asked, “Who was the best jurisprudent you have ever seen?” He replied:
“I have seen no one better than Ja’far Ibn Muhammad. When calling him to Al-Hirah, Mansur (The Abbasid caliph) sent someone to me saying, ‘O Abu Hanifah! People are fascinated by Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (and I cannot help arresting him), so prepare your sophisticated questions for him.’ I made forty difficult questions for him. Then I went to Abu Ja’far (Imam Baqir) and found Ja’far (Imam Sadiq) sitting on his right side. Seeing those two, Ja’far’s dignity attracted me more than his father’s did. So, I greeted them and was allowed to sit. Ja’far attended to me and asked his father, ‘O Abu Ja’far! Do you know this man?’
He answered, ‘Yes, he is Abu Hanifah, he has come to us.’ And then Abu Abdullah (Imam Sadiq) continued, ‘O Abu Hanifah! Bring your questions to ask Abu Abdullah.’ Then I began questioning and in each case he said, ‘Your opinion about this issue is so-and-so while people of Medina say so-and-so and I say so-and-so.’ He sometimes accepted our ideas and sometimes theirs and sometimes rejected both ideas, until we covered all the forty questions. Then Abu Hanifah said, ‘Is it not that the most knowledgeable of the people is one who is aware of different ideas?’
Unfortunately, ignorant biases have hurt the Islamic nation seriously throughout history. So many calamities have harmed the Muslims under the title of Islam and have blackened the pages of history! The writer of Majma’ Al-Buldan writes about Isfahan:
“Recently and previously, there has been much damage in Isfahan due to the biases of the Shafiite and the Hanbalite and many quarrels between them. Whenever one group wins, it ravages, dismantles and sets on fire the other group’s districts. No contract prevents them from so doing.”72
The same is quoted from Mir’at Al-Jinan.73 In Nayshapur too, there was a big quarrel between the Hanafite and the Shafiite in which schools and marts were burnt and many Shafiites were killed. Then they won over the Hanafites but overdid in revenge. All these occurred in AH 554. Such also happened between the Shafiite and the Hanbalite in 716.74 The same events happened in Baghdad in 323.75
Many similar happenings have taken place, some of which are mentioned in the worthy book Al-Imam Al-Sadiq wal Madhahib Al-Arba’a.76 You may suppose that these disputes only involved the public and that the scholars of the four Islamic schools did not have any role in them. But unfortunately the fact is that the leaders of all these disputes or most of them were the scholars who stimulated the public by their verdicts.
As an example, Shaykh Ibn Hatam Hanbali claimed that one who is not Hanbalite is not Muslim.77 Meanwhile Shaykh Abu Bakr Muqri Wa'iz believed in the blasphemy of all the Hanbalite.78 Also Muhammad Ibn Musa Hanafi, the judge of Damascus died in 506, is quoted as saying, “If affairs were governed by me, I would take Jizyah79 from the Shafiite.” In the same vein, Abu Hamid Tusi, died in 567, have said, “If I was in control, I would take Jizyah from the Hanbalite.”80
These ignorant biases worsened to such an extent that they reached books of biography (Rijal) and some people were described as ‘doubtful’ and ‘liar’ only because of their belief. Sabuki says: “Ignorance and bias are more than alteration and adaptation in historians, and I have seen few history books lacking these. The history of our teacher, Dhahabi—May God forgive him—with all his comprehensiveness is replete with prejudice. He has taunted Muslims, who are selected servants of God, very much. He has gone too far, deviated from the truth and insulted Shafiite and Hanbalite Imams, but he has praised the Anthropomorphists excessively.
Hafiz Salah says: “Hafiz Shams Al-Din Dhahabi, there is no doubt in whose piety, has been overcome by argumentation, aversion of interpretations and unawareness of purifying to such an extent that have deviated his nature badly.”81
Furthermore, some of them have fabricated traditions on their Imams’ virtues and attributed to the Prophet (a.s) wrongly, like what is falsely narrated from Prophet (a.s) about Abu Hanifah, “God’s Prophets take pride in me and I take pride in Abu Hanifah. Whoever likes him has also liked me and whoever dislikes him has disliked me,”82 and so on.83
Other traditions have been fabricated in the vices of other Islamic schools’ founders, as Ibn Hajar says about Muhammad Ibn Saeed Tawarruqi, “He is among the fabricators and has fabricated inappropriate issues about the trustee… like this tradition wrongly narrated from the Prophet,84 “A man will soon come from my nation, called Ibn Idris (Shafi’) whose danger is worse than that of Satan.”
Some cases of biases of these four Islamic schools’ followers were mentioned. It is thus clear what they did with the Ahl al-Bayt’s religion! Many alterations, adaptations and fabricated traditions for eliminating the light of the Ahl al-Bayt!85
Of course, a few true quotations can be found with some impartial people who were moderate to some extent. Anyway, confining Ijtihad to the four jurisprudents (of the four Islamic schools) is an unprecedented issue. It is true that throughout history, sometimes a religious sect overcame another, but it has been a political issue depending on the whims of the rulers and leaders.
For instance, when Abu Yusuf, Abu Hanifah’s student, was appointed as the chief judge of the state, he gave dominance to the Hanafite jurisprudence and their judges. Other instances of this you can see in the book entitled Tarikh Hasr Al-Ijtihad (The history of the abandonment of Ijtihad) Historians’ statements show that the official and effective dominance of these four Islamic schools and restriction of others has occurred almost in the seventh century. If truth be told, practicing Ijtihad must be allowed and understanding religion must not be restricted to what Malik, Abu Hanifah, Shafii and Ibn Hanbal have understood from it. Reference to the predecessors is only true in traditions, not Ijtihad.
Surely conjecture does not avail against the truth at all.
One of the rules on whose necessity and conditions for performing the five daily (obligatory) prayers all the Muslims have consensus is the purity (Taharah). One for whom the obligatory bathing (Ghusl) is not necessary can accomplish purifying by ablution. Some actions and conditions of the ritual ablution, like whether to wash or rub the feet, are subject to controversy. Most Sunni scholars believe that washing the feet in ablution is compulsory, but the verdict of all Shi’a jurisprudents is to rub them. In case rubbing is incumbent, should it be done all over the foot? Or is it enough to rub the feet from the toes to the ankles?
At the outset of this discussion, we direct the attention of the gentle readers, and mostly our Sunni brethren, to some points:
A) Most of the beliefs and rituals which are now considered as Islamic certainties have not been so at the time of the Companions, their followers and even one or two generations after them. In fact, there has been controversy over these issues among scholars and jurisprudents in the past, but due to political and practical concerns, some of the opinions (and sometimes even one opinion) have dominated others over time. Clearly, in such a situation, scholars and thinkers may be frightened by the dominance of an opinion and attempt to find reasons and argumentation, though unjustified, for it. The reason behind this is that they have been brought up on respecting that opinion and have accustomed to it. Later, they have faced the same thing in their exchanges with their fellows in the society. Leaving such an opinion is hence very difficult, since it is deeply internalized in one’s soul and mind. But reason and justice requires that we save ourselves from these jams and try to think logically and independently and choose accordingly. Our present discussion is one of the clearest evidences of this issue.
B) The main source for the inference of religious rulings is the Holy Qur’an that is away from any untruth and everything should refer to it. If a tradition or some traditions are against the Word of Allah, they are surely invalid and should be ignored. So, if traditions were contrary to each other, i.e. some were in accord with Allah’s Word and some against it, those in apparent accordance with Qur’an are certainly preferable. Of course, if the traditions in apparent contrast with Qur’an are not opposed by other traditions, some people may use them for the interpretation of Allah’s Book, leaving the face of Qur’an. However, it is not the case if there are other opposing traditions, since the proof of a tradition is lost due to the contradiction to other traditions and therefore there remains no proof for rejecting the face of Qur’an. The Holy Prophet (a.s) says in this regard:
إعْرِضوا حَديثِي على كِتابِ اللهِ فإنْ وافَقَهُ فهُوَ مِنيّ وأنا قُلْتُه.
“Compare my traditions with the Word of Allah. If it was in accord with Qur’an, (you will find out that) it is really my statement.”1
C) Shi’a jurisprudents refer to traditions quoted from the Ahl al-Bayt for proving the rulings of ablution, like other rulings. Based on Thaqalayn tradition and other traditions, they not only take traditions from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) as proof but also prefer them to other traditions, as acknowledged by some Sunni scholars. For instance, when Hakim Nayshapuri speaks of the most valid documents and the best narrator chains, he mentions some of the Companions but first of all he says:2
“The most valid tradition narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) is Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (Imam Sadiq) from his father (Imam Baqir), from Ja’far’s grandfather (Imam Sajjad) from Ali (a.s), provided that the narrator from Ja’far is trustee.”3
About the document of the famous tradition known as Salsalat Al-Dhahab (Golden Chain)4 narrated by Imam Riza (a.s), from his father from his grandfathers from the Messenger of Allah (a.s), Ahmad Ibn Hanbal says, “If this document is read to an insane, he will be surely healed.”5
Our emphasis here is on the traditions quoted by the Sunni, but some of the traditions quoted by the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) from the Holy Prophet are mentioned, too. Our purpose is for our Sunni brothers in this age to know, like their great scholars at the first centuries after the emergence of Islam, that these rulings are not especially for the Shi’a; rather they can be obtained through the traditions of themselves. Also some of the Companions, their followers and some others who are accepted by both the Sunni and the Shi’a believe in these rulings and verdicts, too. It is hoped that these scientific discussions make the two Islamic sects approach each other, preventing the adversaries of Islam and Qur’an from enjoying their differences. This illumination may, by God’s favor, make those who are of opinion and do not consider taqlid as limited to “the four Islamic schools”, choose this opinion, as did their scholars previously.
D) The contradiction seen among the traditions are of different sources, not just due to fabrication and wrong attribution to the Messenger of Allah (a.s), though alteration is the main source. Qurtubi has some viewpoints about the traditions’ quotation and alteration. He says, “One should not heed what liars and fabricators have said about the virtue of reciting some Qur’anic chapters and other deeds. The liars have fabricated these with different purposes. Some of the apostates by doing these aimed at making doubt among the people and some others did so as a result of their whims.6
As Nuh Maruzi fabricated some traditions in virtue of the Holy Qur’an’s chapters one by one. When he was asked about his intention, he answered, “I saw people turning away from the Qur’an and going toward the jurisprudence of Abu Hanifah and Maghazi of Ibn Ishaq, so I fabricated these traditions for God’s sake!” Qurtubi then continues, “Avoid what Islam’s opponent and miscreants have established for encouragement or warning! The most harmful of these is a group known as being ascetic who supposed that they fabricated traditions for God’s sake. People trusted them and hence accepted what they fabricated. They were misled and led people astray, too.”7
Nevertheless, contradiction is found in some traditions since the narrator may not have noticed situational8 or textual9 signs, or if he has noticed them, he has not mentioned them because the signs had been clear to him. For example, he has brought a conditional rule as full or a full one as conditional. Some other sources of contradiction can be thought of which are included in Dirayah and Usul books in detail.
E) As understood from reference books of traditions, prayer and ablution were stipulated in the religion from the beginning of the Prophet’s Mission, since the Messenger of Allah (a.s) prayed along with Ali (a.s) and Khadijah (a.s).10 Ibn Majah in his Sunan, Hakim in Mustadrak and Tabari in his Tarikh quote Abbad Ibn Abdullah as saying that he heard Ali (a.s) saying:
أنا عَبْدُ اللهِ وَأخُو رَسولِهِ وأنا الصّدّيقُ الأكْبَرُ لا يَقولُها بَعدي إلاّ كَذّابٌ. صَلَّيْتُ قَبْلَ النّاسِ بِسَبْعِ سِنينَ.
I am God’s servant and the brother of His Messenger, and I am the greatest truthful. No one would claim this after me except a liar. I prayed seven years before other people did.”11
Though prayer had been included in the religion from the beginning, there is consensus that the Ablution Verse (5:6) has been descended in Medina12, as this verse is in Al-Ma’ida Chapter, which was revealed in Medina.13
Of course, as is evident from some of the verses in this Chapter, some verses of it have been revealed toward the end of Prophet’s life. Keeping this in mind, there is likelihood that at first, ablution was different regarding its conditions and details, and after the revelation of the honorable verse, the previous tradition about the ablution was abrogated. Some traditions imply the same concept, too. Therefore by rejection of some traditions because of their contradiction, we do not intend to deny them totally. Perhaps the narrators have quoted an abolished ruling headless of its being abolished or heading its clear abolition.
With regard to the above-mentioned facts, we present the honorable verse of ablution (wuzu) and dry ablution (tayammum) and discuss it in details.
Almighty God says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمْ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ مِنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَكِنْ يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ.
O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and rub your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and rub your faces and your hands therewith, Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful. (5:6)
The first issue of difference in ablution between the Sunni and the Shi’a is the quality of washing the hands. The Shi’a, when washing the hands during the ritual ablution, begin from the elbows down to the fingertips, while the usual method among the Sunni is the reverse, i.e. they start from the fingertips up to the elbows. Of course, this is not a basic difference. All the Sunni jurisprudents consider the Shi’a’s method in washing the hands as true.
That is right!
Some of them state that in some cases beginning from the fingertips is recommended. Nawawi in his Al-Majmu’, says, “Abu’l-Qasim Saymuri and his friend, Mawirdi, in the book entitled Hawi say that it is recommended to start from the fingertips during washing the hands in ablution. So, one should pour water to his palm and reach it to the elbow by the palm of the other hand. The natural flow of water is not sufficient. And if someone else pours water for him in ablution, it is recommended to pour water from the elbow to the fingertips and one who pours water should be on the left side.”14
Also, a part of Al-Fiqh ala Al-Madhahib Al-Arba’a reads: “One of the recommendations in ablution for the Shafiite is to begin from the front part of the organs (the fingertips) provided that the water is taken by handfuls from a bowl or a vessel. But if someone else pours water or water pours from something like a trumpet, it is recommended to begin from the elbows.”
Except the Shafiite, others have quoted the virtue of beginning from the fingertips when washing the hands in the ritual ablution. As far as the author scrutinized, no Sunni jurisprudent knows beginning from the fingertips compulsory. A point worthy of mentioning about washing the hands is that the elbow should certainly be washed, as stipulated in traditions narrated by both the Sunni and the Shi’a:
عَن جابرٍ، كانَ النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم إذا تَوَضّأَ أَمَرَّ الماءَ عَلى مِرْفَقَيْهِ.
Jabir said: The Holy Prophet (a.s) always washed the elbows in ablution.
The honorable verse states the same thing too, because the word “إلى” (into) is used as meaning “مع” (with) implying that the elbow should also be washed to the sufficient extent. The lexicographers and jurisprudents have stipulated this fact. The usage of “إلى” with the meaning “مع” is not limited to this verse only, since both in Allah’s Word and in Arabic, it is frequently found, such as in 11:52, 4:2 and 3:52. In Arabic language, there is a proverb supporting this claim.15 But Sharih Razi has proposed the meaning of addition. Undoubtedly the theme of the honorable verse is that hands should be washed including the elbows and the word “إلى” (to) means inclusion, but the verse does not include the quality of washing the hands.16
Most Shi’a scholars, based on traditions, believe that beginning from the elbow is mandatory when washing the hand in ablution, but some others reject the proof of these traditions and believe that traditions only prove the desirability and preference of beginning from the fingers when washing the hands in ablution. Consequently, to them, washing the hands from the fingers is allowed and does not nullify the ablution. Among the believers in this issue is Sayyid Murtaza Alam Al-Huda, in one of the two quotations attributed to him.17 Ibn Idris Hilli, in Sara’ir, explicitly accepts this quotation and about adducing it, he says: “…since the Exalted God has ordered us to wash the hands in the ritual ablution and one who washes his hand from the fingers to the elbow has undoubtedly done his duty.”18
Another controversial issue in the ablution is the quality of rubbing the head. The Shi’a rub only the front part of the head, while most Sunnis rub most or all the head. In fact, this difference is not so controversial and many jurisprudents do not consider rubbing the entire head as obligatory. For instance, Imam Shafi’i considers the least amount of rubbing sufficient. In Bidayat Al-Mujtahid, we read the following:
Scholars have reached consensus that rubbing the head in the ritual ablution is compulsory, but they are not in agreement about the amount of it. Malik believes in the obligation of rubbing the whole head. Shafi’i and some of the followers of Malik and Abu Hanifah believe that only rubbing a part of the head is necessary.
These disciples of Malik have determined a one-third amount for rubbing the head. Some others have set the two-third amount. Abu Hanifah says that the amount is one-fourth. Moreover, Abu Hanifah has determined a part of the hand to rub with, saying: “Rubbing the head with less than three fingers is not enough.” Shafi’i has determined no limitation for the hand nor for the head.19
Ibn Rushd then adds:
The main reason for this difference is that “بـِ” (to) has two meanings in Arabic; (1) Addition, as in 23:20, and (2) division.
The usage of “بـِ” for division in Arabic is undeniable as agreed upon by the grammarians of Kufah. People who know this fact consider as obligatory rubbing a part of the head. They have referred to the tradition of Mughirah who said: “The honorable Prophet (a.s) performed ablution and rubbed the front part of the head and upon his turban.”
Ibn Qudamah writes in his Al-Mughni, “It is also narrated from Ahmad that he deems legal rubbing a part of the head.” He then continues, “Abu Al-Harith says: “I asked Ahmad, ‘Does it suffice to rub just a part of the head and leave other parts?’ He answered, ‘Yes, it is sufficient.’”20
It is narrated that A’ishah, Uthman and Ibn Umar rubbed the front part of the head during the ritual ablution.21 In Al-Mughni, Hasan, Sufyan Thawri, Awza’i and other opinionists are said to believe in rubbing a part of the head.22
In arguing for the obligation of rubbing a part of the head, some grammarians are quoted as saying, “When “بـِ” is added to the object of a verb which is transitive per se, it refers to division, such as in the honorable verse وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ (rub your heads), but if the verb is not transitive by itself, the “بـِ” refers to addition, such as in 22:29. Some have argued that “بـِ”, when added to a noun, refers to the fact that a part of that noun is intended. Abu Al-Su’ud, in the exegesis of the honorable verse says, “It is proved that “بـِ” adds a sense of containing to the verb. Perhaps, it is said that it does not mean to rub all the head, unlike وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ which resembles God’s saying “فاغسلوا وجوهكم” (wash your faces.) Therefore, the great majority of Sunni jurisprudents believe that rubbing a part of the head is sufficient. All Shi’a scholars believe that rubbing a part of the head is obligatory and consider necessary rubbing the front part of the head. However, there is controversy on determining its amount. What is common among Shi’a jurisprudents is that naming (something) rubbing the front part of the head would suffice.23 The proof for this famous statement is valid traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s).24 We bring here one of these traditions narrated by Imam Baqir (a.s):
Zurarah asked the Imam (a.s), “How do we know that rubbing a part of the feet is enough?” Imam Baqir (a.s) replied:
يا زُرارةُ! قالَهُ رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم وَنَزَلَ بِه الكِتابُ مِن اللهِ لأنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَقولُ ”اغسِلوا وُجوهَكُم“ فَعَلِمْنا أنَّ الوَجْهَ كُلَّهُ يَنبَغي أنْ يُغْسَلَ ثمَّ قَالَ ”وأيدِيكم إلى المَرافِقِ“ ثُمَّ فَصَلَ بَينَ الكَلامينِ فقَالَ ”وَامْسَحوا بِرؤسِكُم“ فَعَرفْنا حِينَ قالَ ”بِرُؤسِكُم“ أنَّ المَسْحَ بِبَعض الرأسِ لمَكانِ الباءِ ثُمَّ وَصَل الرّجْلَينِ بالرّأسِ كَما وَصَلَ اليَدَين بِالوَجْهِ فقالَ ”وأرجُلكُم إلى الكَعْبَين“ فَعَرفْنا حِينَ وَصَلها بِالرّأسِ أنَّ المَسْحَ عَلى بَعضِها.
O Zurarah! This is the word of the Messenger of Allah (a.s) and the same is true in what has been revealed of Allah’s Book; since Allah states, “wash your faces;” so, He told us to wash the whole face. Then He said, “and your hands as far as the elbows.” Then He distinguished these two proceeding statements saying, “Rub your heads.” When He said, “your heads,” He taught us that rubbing will be done with part of the head, as He had attached the ruling of the hands to that of the face, so He stated, “and your feet to the ankles.” Thus, by attaching the ruling of the feet to that of the head, He taught us that rubbing a part of the feet is sufficient.
As is evident from this tradition, Imam Baqir (a.s) has adduced both the Prophet’s tradition and the Qur’an’s surface and lexical aspect. To Shi’a jurisprudents, rubbing the head is recommended to be horizontally and with three closed fingers in amount.
The most controversial issue in the ritual ablution among the Sunni and Shi’a is what to do about the feet. Most of the Sunnis, following the idea of the four Islamic schools, believe that the feet should be washed up to the ankles, but some of grand Sunni jurisprudents and all the Shi’a believe that what is ordered is rubbing the feet up to the ankles, not washing them.
Some Sunni jurisprudents believe that both rubbing and washing are valid and still some others have issued verdicts to perform both of them. The honorable verse, about our duty toward the feet in ablution says:
وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ.
And rub your heads and your feet to the ankles.
Among the usual pronunciations, the word “ارجلكم” (your feet) has been pronounced in two ways: one with the jarr (genetive case) vowel (/i/ sound) and the other with the nasb (accusative case) vowel (as the vowel sound in English ‘lab’). We now discuss either pronunciation to understand our true duty as stipulated in the Holy Qur’an.
Anyone who has a minimum knowledge of Arabic language agrees that when “ارجلِكم” (your feet) is pronounced with jarr vowel, it is added to “رؤوس” (heads), and whatever rule is mentioned for “heads” is applicable to the feet. This is not in considerable difference with the case it had directly said, “امسحوا بارجلكم” (rub your feet).
One may claim that although the statement apparently stipulates that “ارجلكم” (your feet) is added to ‘head’ and has the same rule as the head, external reasons25 indicate that ‘feet’ do not have the same rule as of ‘head’ and they should be washed, not rubbed. Our answer is that, first, as it will be discussed later, there are no such valid and unquestionable reasons.26 Second; if we suppose that there are such reasons, their proof is not certain. On the other hand, the explicitness of the statement in the verse makes altering it very obscene, away from God’s Glorious Word, which is of the best degrees of eloquence.
If ‘feet’ is not added to ‘heads,’ not having its rules, it should probably be added to ‘your hands’ and hence washed. But in this case too, pronouncing ‘your feet’ with jarr vowel would be unjustifiable. The only apparently justified argument posed by some people to justify the vowel jarr for ‘feet’ without being attached to ‘heads’ is jarr, because of an adjacent noun. They say ‘your feet’ actually has nasb vowel, but since it is adjacent with ‘your heads,’ which has jarr vowel, it has become of similar feature. These people have cited instances of ‘jarr because of an adjacent noun’ mentioned in ancient Arab poems and proverbs.
The answer lies in Ibn Husham’s Mughni Al-Labib, the second rule of section eight, where he writes:
Scholars believe that jarr due to adjacent noun is rarely used for description or emphasis; but jarr due to an adjacent noun cannot occur in case of nouns joined by conjunctions, since conjunctions do not allow vowels to be extended to the following noun.”27 Sayrafi and Ibn Jinni have basically rejected jarr due to the adjacent noun.28
One may object to this explanation citing an ancient Arab poem as example; yet, Ibn Husham himself replied to such an objection in the Fourth Section of Mughni Al-Labib quoting some people as saying that in case of an agent or an adjective, normally with nasb vowel, it is basically allowed to add a noun with vowel jarr to them. They give evidence from an ancient Arab poem, too.29 When an agent has a sense of past tense, it is only added to another noun, but it cannot affect the vowel of that noun. It is now clear that jarr due to adjacent noun is not a grounded possibility.
In general, we conclude that, first; some grammarians such as Sirafi and Ibn Jinni have basically rejected the rule of jarr due to an adjacent vowel. Second; if we accept this rule, the scholars (as to Ibn Husham) have said that there are very rare instances in cases of description and emphasis, but not in connection to a previous manner as in our case. Further, how can one interpret the Holy Qur’an with such a rare possibility? The Holy Qur’an is the most eloquent of the words which men and jinn are unable to replicate. Is it not imposing one’s own unjustified inclination to the Holy Qur’an?
Some people may say that the rule under discussion appears in verses other than the Ablution Verse, as in “وَحُورٍ عِينٍ” (56:22), in which “حور” is pronounced with jarr vowel, though lexically it cannot be added to “بأكْوابٍ” (with globes) since the verse does not mean that ‘the youths’ go round about with ‘beautiful ones.’ So, it should have jarr due to the adjacent “بِأكْوابٍ وَأبارِيقَ” and added to “وِلْدانٌ مُخَلَّدُونَ” which has nasb vowel.
Also, in case of the honorable verse “يُرْسَلُ عَلَيْكُمَا شُوَاظٌ مِنْ نَارٍ وَنُحَاسٌ فَلَا تَنتَصِرَانِ” (55:35), some people have pronounced “نحاس” with jarr, while it is added to “شواظ” which has nasb. They argue that grammarians and interpreters believe that justifying the jarr vowel due to its adjacent noun is only a possibility and not completely valid. About the phrase “حور عين”, Zamakhshari says: “If the two nouns are pronounced as having jarr vowel, there are two possibilities: first, that it is connected to “في جنات النعيم” (56:12). Second, this phrase is connected to “أكْواب” (goblets) because the meaning of the verse supports so.
Hence, as is evident, Zamakhshari has not posed the issue of jarr due to an adjacent noun. The above-mentioned possibilities have been also mentioned in Mughni. The author of Kashf is quoted as saying, “Jarr due to an adjacent noun is a weak possibility or it is totally rejected, in case of the non-adjacent nouns.”
Still other people have mentioned another reason for “ارجل” (the feet) taking a jarr vowel, in order not to accept rubbing for the feet. They have stated that the connection of “ارجل” (the feet) to “رأس” (the head) is not because of their identical rule of rubbing; rather since washing the feet may lead to wastage, ‘feet’ has been connected to ‘head,’ implying that in washing the feet, care must be taken not to waste water. This is so weak a statement, as is evident.
It thus became clear that in the honorable verse of ablution, the jarr vowel of “ارجل” (the feet) due to an adjacent noun is not true, and the only valid contribution is connecting it to “رؤسكم” (your heads), which proves the correctness of rubbing the feet.
In case “ارجلكم” (your feet) is pronounced with nasb vowel, it is understood by anyobe familiar with Arabic that it is connected to “رؤوس” (heads). In other words, it is connected to the position of it in the sentence, since “برؤوس” per se, is the object of the verb “امسحوا” in the sentence and its underlying vowel is nasb. Connecting a noun to another’s position in the sentence exists in books of Arabic grammar and there are so many evidences on it.
If someone says that “ارجلكم” (your feet) is connected to “ايديكم” (your feet) in the previous sentence, our answer is that this is a rare possibility, because the first sentence is finished and nothing is expected to follow. The next sentence is started; and to connect “ارجل” to the first sentence at this place is away from eloquence. Surprisingly, some people have claimed that unlike washing, the amount of rubbing is not limited in religion, and since “ارجلكم” (your feet) is limited (to the ankles), it should be connected to something whose rule is washing, i.e. “ايديكم” (your hands).
This is so strange an argument, because it is a prerequisite. One who considers rubbing of “ارجل” as compulsory rather than washing it, will inevitably consider it limited. In this case, the two sentences become even more compatible; since in the first one there are two body parts to be washed (The face and the hands), one of which is limited (The hands) and the other unlimited (The face), and in the second sentence there are two body organs to be rubbed (the head and the feet) one unlimited (The head) and the other limited (The feet).
Further, the compatibility of the two pronunciations (jarr and nasb) is the best evidence that “ارجلكم” (your feet) cannot be connected to “ايدي” (hands), since in the first possibility, we clearly proved that pronouncing with jarr vowel, the honorable verse stipulates to the obligation of rubbing the feet.
The claim that rubbing means washing or is rubbing in case of the head, but washing about the feet is a very ungrounded one. The reason is that in this verse and the like, ‘washing’ and ‘rubbing’ have been used in contrast to each other, as some people have said, In Qur’an, rubbing is mentioned, but in tradition, washing is considered obligatory.” This sentence indicates that by rubbing, they mean ‘touching with the hand. In fact, they believe what is in tradition is washing and hence found Qur’an and tradition in apparent contrast.
Moreover, if we suppose rubbing as meaning washing; is there any evidence in Qur’an perse other than evidences outside it posed by some people? Is there any difference between “وامسحوا برؤسكم وارجلكم” in Ablution Verse and “فامسحوا بوجوهكم وايديكم منه” in the verse expounding the Tayammum (Dry Ablution)? This illuminates the invalidity of another justification.
Some people have claimed that traditions imply the obligation of washing the feet in the ritual ablution and there are no valid traditions for rubbing them. This claim has led them to justify and interpret the honorable verse of ablution against its apparent meaning. The counter argument to this claim is that so many valid traditions stipulate to the obligation of rubbing, not washing the feet. The readers’ attention is hereinafter directed to some traditions narrated by the Sunnis:
عَن رفاعة بن رافع أنّه كانَ جالِساً عِندَ النّبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فقالَ: إنَّها لا تَتُمُّ صَلاةٌ لأحَدٍ حَتىّ يَسْبَغ الوُضوءَ كَما أمَرَهُ اللهُ تعالى: يَغْسِلُ وَجْهَهُ ويَدَيْهِ إلى المِرفَقَينِ ويمْسَحُ بِرأسِهِ ورِجلَيْهِ إلى الكَعبَين.
It is narrated from Rifa’ah Ibn Rafi’ that he was by the Prophet (a.s) when said: “In fact, no one’s prayer is acceptable until he/she accomplishes the ablution completely and correctly, as the Almighty has stated, i.e. washes the face and the hands to the elbows and rub the head and the feet to the ankles.30
As is evident, this tradition has clearly stated that the head and the feet should be rubbed.
رَأيْتُ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يَتَوَضّأُ وَيَمْسَحُ الماءَ عَلى رِجْلَيْهِ.
Al-Bukhari, Ahmad, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ibn Abi Umar, Al-Baghawi, Al-Tabarani, Al-Bawirdi and others have narrated Abbad Ibn Tamim Al-Mazani’s reporting his father’s saying: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (a.s) performing ablution and rubbing his feet with water.”31
Ibn Hajar Asqalani has narrated this tradition in the biography of Tamim Ibn Zayd Ansari, saying, “The narrators of the tradition are all trustworthy.” The stipulation of this tradition to the obligation of rubbing the feet is also clear.
عَن أبي مطر قالَ: بَيْنَما نحنُ جُلوسٌ مع أميرِ المُؤمنينَ عَلِيٍّ في المَسجِدِ عَلى بابِ الرّحمَةِ جاء رجُلٌ فقالَ: أرِني وُضوءَ رَسولِ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم . وهُوَ عِندَ الزّوالِ، فَدعا قَنبَراً فقالَ: ائْتِني بكُوزٍ مِن ماءٍ. فَغَسَلَ كَفَّيْهِ وَوجْهَهُ ثلاثاً وَتَمَضْمضَ ثَلاثاً فَأدْخَلَ بَعضَ أصابِعِه في فِيهِ وَاسْتَنشَقَ ثلاثاً وَغَسلَ ذِراعَيْهِ ثلاثاً وَمَسحَ رأسَهُ واحِدَةً فقالَ: داخِلُهُما مِن الوَجْه وخارِجُهُما مِن الرّأسِ، وَرِجْلَيه إلى الكَعبَينِ ثلاثاً وَلِحْيَتُهُ تَهْتلُ عَلى صَدْرِه ثُمّ حَسا حَسوةً بَعْدَ الوُضوءِ ثُمّ قالَ: أيْنَ السّائِلُ عَن وُضوءِ رَسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ؟ كَذا كانَ وُضوءُ نبيِّ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم .
It is narrated from Abu Matar that he said: One noon, as I was sitting in a mosque near Bab al-Rahmah (A door in Kufah Mosque) with Amir al-Mu’minin (the Commander of the Believers) Imam Ali (a.s), a man came and asked him to show him the ablution as performed by the Messenger of Allah (a.s). Ali (a.s) called Qanbar (his servant) and asked for a jug of water. Then, he washed his two palms and his face three times. Then he took some of his fingers to his mouth (washing his teeth) and sniffed water twice or three times.
Next, he washed his forearms three times and rubbed his head once. Then he said, “Inside the mouth and the nose are like the face and their outside parts are like the head (in ablution).” He then rubbed his feet to the ankles while water poured from his beard to his chest. Then he drank water and said, “Where is the man who asked me about the Prophet’s ablution? His ablution was like this.”
In Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib, Ibn Hajar has cited Ibn Habban and Abu Matar among the trustee.
عَن حَمرانَ قالَ: دَعا عُثمانُ بِماءٍ فَتَوضّأَ ثمّ ضَحِكَ فقالَ: ألا تَسألوني مِمَّ أضْحَكُ؟ قالوا: يا أميرَ المُؤمِنين، ما أضْحَكَكَ؟ قالَ: رأيْتُ رَسولَ اللهِ تَوضّأ كَما تَوَضّأتُ فَمَضْمَضَ واسْتَنشَقَ وغَسَل وَجْهَه ثلاثاً وَمَسحَ بِرأسِهِ وَظَهْرِ قَدَمَيهِ.
Hamran says: Uthman asked for water and performed ablution. Then he smiled and said, “Will you ask me why I smiled?” He was then asked, “Well, what made you smile?” He replied, “I saw the Prophet (a.s) perform ablution as I have just done; he rinsed his mouth with water and sniffed it and washed his hands three times and rubbed his head and the top of his feet.”32
The same tradition is narrated in Kanz Al-Ummal and Abu Ya’li is quoted as saying that this tradition is true.33
…فَدَعا بِجَفْنَةٍ فِيها ماءٌ فَتَوضّأَ ومَضْمَضَ وَاسْتَنشقَ وغَسَلَ وَجْهَه ثلاثاً وَذِراعَيهِ ثلاثاً ثَلاثاً وَمَسحَ بِرأسِهِ وَظَهْرَ قَدَمَيهِ ثُمّ صَلّى…
Abu Malik Ash’ari told his relatives, “Come to me to copy the prayer of the Prophet (a.s).” Then he asked for water to perform ablution. He sniffed water and washed his face three times and washed his (hands from) the elbows three times, and rubbed his head and the top of his feet. Then they performed prayers.34
…إنّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم تَوَضّأَ وَمَسحَ عَلى نَعْلَيهِ وَقَدَمَيه.
The Messenger of Allah (a.s) performed ablution and rubbed on his shoes and his feet.35
أتاني ابْنُ عَبّاسٍ فَسألَني عَن هذا الحَديثِ -تَعني حَديثَها الّذي ذَكَرَتْ أنَّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم تَوَضّأَ وَغَسَلَ رِجْلَيه- فَقال ابْنُ عَبّاسٍ: إنّ النّاسَ أبَوا إلاّ الغَسْلَ ولا أجِدُ في كِتابِ اللهِ إلاّ المَسْحَ.
It is narrated from Rubayyi’ that she said, “Ibn Abbas came to me and asked about the tradition I have narrated—the one stating that the Prophet (a.s) washed his feet in ablution. So, Ibn Abbas said, “People avoid anything but washing, while I find in Allah’s Book not but the obligation of rubbing.”36
According to Al-Zawa’id, “The document of this tradition is true.”
Muhammad Ibn Jarir Tabari, in his Tafsir (exegesis of the Holy Qur`an) quotes Ibn Abbas as saying:
الوُضُوءُ غَسْلَتانِ وَمَسْحَتانِ.
Ablution contains two washings (the face and the hands) and two rubbings (head and the feet).”37
Ibn Jarir Tabari writes in his Tafsir again:38
Humayd Tuwayl says: Musa, son of Anas, told his father, O Abu Hamza! Hajjaj delivered a sermon for us in Ahwaz; he reminded us of the ritual purity saying, ‘Wash your faces and your hands and rub your head and feet. Indeed, nothing is dirtier in human body than the feet, so wash your feet—both sides.’ Anas said, ‘The Almighty said the truth but Hajjaj lied. The Almighty says: Rub your head and feet.’ Humayd Tuwayl said, ‘Anas himself, when rubbing, wets his feet.’39
All the narrators of this tradition have been confirmed to be truthful40 as Ibn Kathir does in his Tafsir. As you see, Anas, a Companion of the Prophet, denies a person who obliges washing the feet in the ritual ablution and believes that God has only stipulated rubbing.
عَن أبي جَعفَرٍ قالَ: إمْسَحْ عَلى رأسِكَ.
Abi Ja’far said: “Rub your head.”41
Shi’bi is quoted as saying, “The feet should only be rubbed. Do you not see that some people rub when they should wash and leave where they should rub?”42
It is narrated that Ikramah said: “The feet should not be washed, but rubbed.”43
There are a variety of such traditions.
In short, so many traditions have been narrated from the Holy Prophet (a.s), the Companions and their followers deeming rubbing obligatory. Regarding the Holy Qur’an’s stipulation about the obligation of rubbing and also the many traditions some of which are true, is it true to issue verdict as to the obligation of washing the feet in ablution? If it is said that the Ablution Verse is downplayed by the traditions, it would be answered: First, the Ablution Verse is in Al-Ma’idah Chapter, and as we mentioned before, both the Chapter and the honorable Verse have been revealed in the last years of the Prophet’s life and, hence, the possibility of canceling them is little. Second, opposing traditions, as narrated by Fakhr Razi and others, are interrupted44 traditions, which cannot abrogate the Holy Qur’an’s Verses.
To ultimately solve the contrast between the traditions stating the washing of the feet (during the ritual ablution) on one hand and the Holy Qur’an and the traditions stating the rubbing on the other, it is more appropriate to say that in case the traditions narrated from the Holy Prophet (a.s) denoting washing (the feet) are true, they are all from the time before the revelation of the Ablution Verse; and this honorable Verse and the traditions of the rubbing abrogate them. Some people have been unaware of this fact and issued verdicts based on the canceled traditions or believed in the option to wash or rub. Still some others have obliged both of them.
One may say that the obligation of washing is reached upon by consensus,45 which cannot be rejected. To answer, there is no such consensus. For abolishing this suspicion, a reference to Islamic jurisprudence books suffices. Bidayat Al-Hikmah, for instance, stipulates that this is a controversial issue, reading:
Scholars have consensus that the feet are among the organs of ablution, but they do not agree on their kind of washing. Some say that they should be washed. These are Sunni scholars. Others say what is obligatory is to rub them. Still, others have said that both washing and rubbing are allowed and they are up to the individuals themselves.46
Also, Ibn Qudamah says, in Al-Mughni, that washing the feet (in the ablution) is compulsory to most of the scholars. He then reports from (Imam) Ali, Ibn Abbas, Anas and Shi’bi that rubbing them is obligatory; and he reports the option between rubbing and washing from Ibn Jabir. Nawawi, in Al-Majmu’, says:
Our disciples have quoted Muhammad Ibn Jarir as believing in the option between washing and rubbing the feet. Khattabi narrated the same concept from Al-Jaba’i, the Mu’tazilite. Some who take in the surface indications of the traditions have deemed allowable both washing and rubbing.
As you see, no such consensus exists among the Sunni scholars, let alone among the Shi’a, since based on what is narrated by the Shi’a, the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) have consensus on the obligation of rubbing the feet in the ablution. But what is the amount of rubbing? That is an interesting discussion per se, which requires an expanded opportunity and since I wanted to prepare this article for the conference, I postpone this discussion to another time. I only remind that some traditions, as mentioned before, read, “The Holy Prophet rubbed his head and the top of his feet.” Also, various traditions about rubbing the shoes indicate that rubbing the feet to the ankles is enough. Moreover, the application of ‘rubbing to the ankles’ and connecting it to “رؤسكم” (your hands) in the Ablution Verse is the best proof on the sufficiency of rubbing the top of the feet to the ankles.
As a result, if ‘إلى’ means the end point, it cannot belong to “اغسلوا”, since the mentioned condition is not present, i.e. the action before the end point is not repeatable before it. So, ‘إلى’ should be considered to belong to something else and that is the verb أسقِطوا‘’ (exclude), which is omitted here. In this case, the meaning of the verse becomes, “Wash your faces and your hands, but exclude up to the elbows.”
Of course “washing the hands and excluding up to the elbows” can be in two ways; first, not to wash from the fingertips to the elbow and wash from the elbow to the arm; and second, not to wash from the arm to the elbow and wash from elbow to the fingertips. But no one has ever said not to wash from the fingertips to the elbow. Therefore, the only true sense is not to wash from the arm to the elbow, but to wash from the elbow to the toes. This possibility is quoted by Ibn Husham from some grammarians and he has not rejected it. See: Mughni Al-Labib, Vol. 2, section 5 (Editor).
Adhan (call to prayer) lexically means ‘announcement,’1 as the Exalted God states in the Holy Qur’an:
وَأَذَانٌ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى النَّاسِ يَوْمَ الْحَجِّ الْأَكْبَرِ أَنَّ اللَّهَ بَرِيءٌ مِنْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَرَسُولُهُ .
And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters. (9:3).
In religion, ‘Adhan’ is used for naming a certain set of phrases. In this chapter, some issues about Adhan are discussed based on the Sunni documents hoping to be useful for those who follow the best arguments and logic, rather than blind imitation, thus illuminating some uncertainties caused by insufficient attention to the documents of traditions, and lead to the unity of Muslims, God willing. The least advantage of this discussion is for our Sunni brothers to understand that what their Shi’a brothers say about Adhan is supported by so many traditions narrated by the Sunni and acknowledged by great jurisprudents and narrators.
All Imamiyyah jurisprudents, following the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), believe that Adhan began with God’s order and revelation to the Prophet’s heart. Various traditions have been narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) supporting this meaning:
Kulayni, in Al-Kafi, narrates:
…لمّا أُسْرِيَ بِرَسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم إلى السَّماءِ فَبَلغَ البَيتَ المَعمورَ وَحَضَرتِ الصّلاةُ، أذَّنَ جِبرَئيلُ وأقامَ فَتَقدَّمَ رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم وَصَفَّ المَلائِكَةُ وَالنّبيّونَ خَلْفَ مُحَمَّد صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم .
Imam Baqir (a.s) said: When the Messenger of Allah (a.s) was ascended to the heaven and reached Al-Bayt Al-Ma’mur,2 the prayer time came. So, (Archangel) Gabriel called out Adhan and iqamah. The Prophet (a.s) stood in front and the angels and Prophets queued behind him.3
…لمّا هَبطَ جِبرَئيلُ بالأذانِ عَلى رَسولِ اللهِ كانَ رأسُهُ في حِجْرِ عليٍّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ فأذَّنَ جِبرَئيلُ عَليهِ السَّلامُ وأقامَ، فَلَمّا انْتَبَهَ رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم قال: يا عَليُّ! أسَمِعْتَ؟ قالَ نعم. قال: ادْعُ بِلالاً فَعَلِّمْهُ. فَدَعا عليٌّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ بِلالاً فَعَلَّمَه.
Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: When Gabriel descended to the Prophet (a.s) bearing Adhan, his honorable head was on Ali’s leg. Gabriel called out Adhan and iqamah. When the Prophet recovered back to normal state, he asked Ali, ‘Did you hear that?’ ‘Yes!’ he replied. ‘Did you memorize it?’ the Prophet asked again. Ali answered, ‘Yes!’ The Prophet stated, ‘Call Bilal and teach him the Adhan.’ Ali called Bilal and taught him the Adhan.4
These two traditions include two times of calling out the Adhan by Gabriel, once for the Prophet in his Ascension to heaven and the other for the religious declaration of it. Attention must be paid to the fact that the frequency of a revelation, even if it is twice, is quite important.
Sunnis in general have two viewpoints about the outset of the Adhan in religion, regardless of its features; the origin of Adhan is
(1) a revelation or
(2) a dream.
In his book entitled Al-Mabsut, Sarakhsi says:
Abu Hafs Muhammad Ibn Ali denied that the origin of Adhan is a dream. He said, “You are attacking one of the religion’s clearest signs saying that it is proved by a dream. Never! Rather, when the Prophet (a.s) was taken to Masjid Al-Aqsa and was surrounded by the other Prophets, an angel called out the Adhan and iqamah and the Prophet (a.s) prayed along with them. It is said that Gabriel (a.s) descended with the Adhan.”5
In Umda Al-Qari fi Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded that Zamakhshari has quoted some people that the Adhan was descended by a Divine Revelation, not a dream.6
In Al-Bahr Al-Ra’iq, we read, “The origin of Adhan is Gabriel’s Adhan and iqamah in the night of the Prophet’s Ascension to the heaven, when the Prophet (a.s) led the prayer of the angels and the Prophets’ souls. Then the dream of Abdullah Ibn Zayd is mentioned.”7
Various traditions narrated by major Sunni narrators confirm that the origin of Adhan has been a revelation, not a dream:
…لَمّا أُسرِيَ بِالنّبيِّ أوْحى اللهُ إلَيهِ الأذان فَنَزَلَ بِه فَعَلَّمَهُ بِلالاً.
In the Prophet’s Ascension to heaven, God revealed Adhan to him, so he descended and taught it to Bilal.8
As you see, this tradition introduces revelation as the origin of the Adhan in the night of the Prophet’s Ascension. It has nothing to do with the issue of dream, since those narrating the dream know it as a happening in Medina, long after the Prophet’s Hijra (migration to Medina) when Islam had been strengthened, prayer and fasting and zakat (Islamic statutory levy) had been religiously established, the doctrinal provisions were established and the permissible and prohibited issues were set up.9 This is while the Prophet’s Ascension had occurred before Hijra and from Masjid Al-Haram (The Sacred Mosque); therefore, as this tradition and other similar ones stipulate, Adhan had been religiously set up many years before Hijra.10 Ibn Hajar Asqalani, in his exposition of Sahih Bukhari, and also Halabi, in his Sirah, acknowledge this stipulation saying: “There are traditions stipulating that the Adhan was set up before Hijra in Mecca.”11
The only objection Ibn Hajar raises to the tradition quoted by Ibn Umar is due to the existence of Talha Ibn Zayd in its document. He says about Talha, “He is denied.” But if one studies the documents of traditions supporting the dream (as the origin of Adhan), people would be seen who are not so much different from Talha Ibn Zayd, if not worse than him. Hence, there is no sense in preferring the traditions about dream.
عَن أنَسٍ أنَّ جِبرَئيلَ أمَرَ النّبيَّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم بالأذانِ حينَ فُرِضَتِ الصَّلاةُ.
Anas narrated that when the prayer became obligatory, Gabriel ordered the Prophet (a.s) to call out the Adhan.12
Based on this tradition, at the same time as performing the prayer was set up, Adhan was established. On the other hand, the prayer was established from the very beginning of the Prophet’s Mission, so the origin of Adhan has nothing to do with the dream at all.
…لمّا أسْريَ بي أذَّنَ جِبْرَئِيلُ فَظَنَّتِ المَلائِكَةُ أنَّهُ يُصَلّي بِهِمْ، فَقَدَّمَني فَصَلَّيْتُ.
A’ishah said that the Holy Prophet (a.s) said: When I was ascended to the heaven, Gabriel called out the Adhan. The angels thought that he wanted to lead the prayer; but he led me forward and I led the prayer.13
…لمّا أرادَ اللهُ أنْ يُعَلِّمَ رَسولَهُ الأذان أتاهُ جِبرَئيلُ بِدابَّةٍ يُقالُ لَها البُراقُ فَرَكِبَها... إذا خَرجَ مَلَكٌ مِن وَراءِ الحِجابِ فقالَ: اللهُ أكْبَرُ اللهُ أكْبَرُ… ثمَّ أخَذَ المَلَكُ بِيَدِه فَأمَّ بأهْلِ السَّماءِ.
… (Imam Ali narrated) When God inclined to teach His Messenger the Adhan, Gabriel brought the Prophet a riding thing named Buraq and the Prophet mounted it… Then an angel appeared and called out, ‘Allahu Akbar—Allah is Great’… Then the angel took the Prophet’s hand to lead the prayer.14
After narrating this tradition, Ibn Hajar says: Ziyad Ibn Mundhir Abu Al-Jarud is mentioned in the document of the tradition; he is abandoned.” In response to Ibn Hajar, it should be said that Abu Al-Jarud is subject to controversy, but he is not as doubtful as those present in the tradition of dream. So, there is no sense in preferring the traditions of the dream to these ones.
…لَمّا كانَ مِن الحَسنِ بنِ عَليٍّ ما كانَ قَدِمْتُ عَليهِ المَدينةَ وهو جالِسٌ في أصْحابِه... فَتَذاكَرنا عندَهُ الأذان فقالَ بعضُنا: إنَّما كانَ بِدءُ الأذان بِرؤيا عبدِاللهِ بنِ زَيد بن ِعاصمٍ. فَقالَ له الحَسنُ بنُ عَليٍّ: إنَّ شَأنَ الأذان أعْظَمُ مِن ذاكَ! أذَّنَ جِبرَئِيلُ في السَّماءِ مَثنى وَعَلَّمهُ رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم وَأقامَ مَرّةً مَرّةً فَعَلَّمهُ رَسولُ اللهِ.
Sufyan Al-Layl narrated that after what happened for Imam Hasan (a.s), he went to him in Medina. There, a discussion posed about Adhan. Some said that the origin of Adhan had been the dream of Abdullah Ibn Zayd. Hasan Ibn Ali (a.s) said, “The status of Adhan is greater than that. Gabriel called out the phrases of Adhan, each twice and taught it to the Prophet (a.s) and called out iqamah once and taught it to him.15
…إنّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم عَلَّم الأذانَ لَيلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بهِ وَفُرضَتْ عَلَيهِ الصّلاةُ.
Harun Ibn Sa’d reported form the martyr, Zayd Ibn Al-Imam Ali Ibn Al-Husayn, from his grandfathers from Imam Ali that the Prophet (a.s) learnt Adhan in his Ascension Night when prayer became obligatory for him.16
Abu’l-Ala’ said: I said to Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah, “We believe that the origin of Adhan had been the dream of a man from the Ansar.” Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah objected sharply and said, “You are attacking one of the roots of Islam and its teachings, supposing that Adhan was originated from a dream seen by one of the Ansar while a dream can be true or false, and is sometimes a wrong illusion.” I said, “What I said about Adhan is common among the public.” He answered, “By God I swear that it is a false idea.”17
It is clear that Abd Al-Razzaq has narrated from Ibn Jurayj that Ata’ said, “Indeed, Adhan was descended from Allah, the Glorious.” 18
On the other hand, some traditions attribute the origin of Adhan to the dream of a man from the Ansar called Abdullah Ibn Zayd about whom Tirmidhi says, “We know nothing about Abdullah Ibn Zayd truly narrated from the Holy Prophet (a.s) except this single tradition about Adhan.” He also quotes Bukhari as saying, “There is no tradition narrated by Abdullah Ibn Zayd except this one.”19 Bukhari and Muslim have not quoted these traditions in their Sahih books20 and even Hakim has not cited them in his Mustadrak. It thus becomes clear that these traditions have not been acceptable on the side of these two scholars.
Hakim says,21 “Abdullah Ibn Zayd is the one who dreamed of Adhan; and Islamic scholars have apparently accepted it. But because of the differences among the narrators, it has not been cited in the two Sahih books.22
When the Prophet (a.s) ordered the Muslims to make a bell for calling the people to prayer, I saw a man in my dream turning around me with a bell in his hand. I asked him, “O Servant of Allah! Do you sell me this bell?” “What do you want it for?” he asked. I answered, “For calling the people to prayer.” He asked again, “Do you want me to teach you something better than a bell?” I said, “Yes, I do.” He said, “Say these phrases: Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) four times; Ashhadu An La Ilaha Illa Allah (I testify that there is no deity but Allah) twice; Ashhadu Anna Muhammadan Rasoul Allah (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) twice; Hayya Ala al-Salat (Hurry to prayer) twice; Hayya Ala al-Falah (Hurry to salvation) twice; Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) twice; La Ilaha Illa Allah (There is no deity but Allah).”23
He then paused for a while and added, “When you stand for offering the prayer, you may say: Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) twice; Ashhadu An La Ilaha Illa Allah (I testify that there is no deity but Allah); Ashhadu Anna Muhammadan Rasoul Allah (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah); Hayya Ala al-Salat (Hurry to prayer); Hayya Ala al-Falah (Hurry to salvation); Qad Qaamat al-Salat (Surely prayer is performed) twice; Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) twice; La Ilaha Illa Allah (There is no deity but Allah).”
When I rose in the morning, I went to the Messenger of Allah (a.s) and informed him of what I had dreamed. The Prophet (a.s) said, “It has in fact been a true dream, God willing, so go with Bilal and teach him what you have dreamed to call it out, since he has a better voice than you.” I went with Bilal and taught him the Adhan and he called it out.
Umar Ibn Al-Khattab heard Adhan while he was in his house. He came out while his cloth drew on earth saying, “I swear by God Who appointed you rightfully for the Prophethood that I dreamed of what he dreamed, too.” The Messenger of Allah (a.s) said, “Praise be to God!”
Bayhaqi quotes from a chain of narrators reaching Muhammad Ibn Yahya that among the traditions narrated by Abdullah Ibn Zayd about Adhan, none is more valid than this one narrated by Muhamad Ibn Ishaq from Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Al-Taymi from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Zayd, because Muhammad has heard this tradition from his father.
We now discuss the validity of the document of this tradition, beginning from Muhammad Ibn Ishaq who is the first one in the chain of narrators. Al-Darqutni writes about him, “Master scholars have had controversy about him. He is not proof, though is regarded as a narrator.”24 Also, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal has regarded Muhammad Ibn Ishaq as doubtful in numerous traditions. Abu Dawud says, “I heard Ahmad Ibn Hanbal saying about Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, ‘He was a man who narrated traditions out of whim. He took other narrators’ books and adopted their traditions in his own books.’”25 Also, Al-Maruzi says, “Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said, ‘Muhammad Ibn Ishaq altered the facts. When he entered Baghdad, it made no difference for him whether to narrate traditions from Kalbi or others.’”26
Hanbal Ibn Ishaq says, “I heard Ahmad Ibn Hanbal saying, ‘The speech of Ibn Ishaq is not proof.’”27 Abdullah Ibn Ahmad also says, “I never saw my father considering traditions quoted by Ibn Ishaq as valid; rather he changed his traditions.” He was asked, “Can the traditions of Ibn Ishaq be dependable?” He replied, “They are not dependable.” Ayyub Ibn Ishaq Ibn Samiri says, “I asked Ahmad, ‘Would you accept a tradition narrated only by Ibn Ishaq?’ He said, ‘No, By God! I saw him narrating the speech of a group in one tradition without distinguishing each individual’s speech from another.’”28 About Ibn Ishaq, Al-Maymuni narrates from Ibn Mu’in, “He was doubtful.”29 Al-Nisa’i says about him, “He is not a strong person.”30
The document of this tradition is also faulty on the side of Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Al-Harith Al-Taymi from whom Ibn Ishaq has narrated the tradition. Al-Aqili quotes from Abdullah Ibn Ahmad, from his father who said about Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim, “In his traditions, there are biases. He narrates unknown traditions.”31 Moreover, the document of the present tradition reaches back to Abdullah Ibn Zayd about whom the viewpoints of Tirmidhi and others were mentioned.
For studying other aspects of the document and reviewing other traditions narrated about the dream as the origin of the Adhan, you can refer to Al-Nass wa’l-Ijtihad, case 23, Al-I’tisam bil Kitab wa’l-Sunnah, discussion on Al-Tathwib fi Adhan Salat Al-Fajr and Tadhkira Al-Fuqaha’, Vol. 3, p. 38 and 39.
Sunni jurisprudents have a lot of controversies regarding the chapters of Adhan and iqamah. Ibn Rushd says, “Scholars have controversy over Adhan holding four different views.”32 Having mentioned these four methods, he says, “The reasons for the different views held by these four groups are various traditions narrated in this regard and the variation of common routine among the members of each group over time.”33 Yet, the main differences among Shi’a and Sunni jurisprudents are in two issues; one is whether “حَيَِّ عَلى خَيرِ العَمَلِ” (Hurry to the best deed) is part of the Adhan and iqamah, and the other is that if tathwib is permitted in Adhan or not.
Besides what is enormously narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) about the inclusion of Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal in both Adhan and iqamah, various traditions have been narrated by the Sunnis. Bayhaqi, in Al-Sunan Al-Kubra, has a chapter entitled, باب: ما رُويَ في حَيَّ عَلى خَيْرِ العَمَلِ “Chapter: Narrations About Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal” Here, we mention some of these traditions as quoted from Al-Sunan Al-Kubra and other sources and then bring some Sunni scholars’ confirmation of them.
Ibn Umar used to say, in Adhan, Allahu Akbar and Ashhadu An La Ilaha Illa Allah three times each. Then, he probably said Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal (Hurry to the best of deed) after Hayya Ala al-Falah (Hurry to salvation).
The document of this tradition, as narrated in Al-Muwatta’ by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani, is, “Malik narrated from Nafi’ and he narrated from Ibn Umar that… etc.”34 Regarding the regularities common among our Sunni brothers, who can question the validity of this tradition’s document? Bukhari, too, writes about this document, “The most valid documentation of a tradition is that narrated by Malik from Nafi’ from Ibn Umar. Hakim has quoted this statement of Bukhari from Muhammad Ibn Isma’il Al-Bukhari.35 Ibn Hajar has also mentioned it in the biography of Nafi’ in Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib.
Ibn Umar used not to say Adhan when he was in travel; he rather used to say Hayya Ala al-Falah and, sometimes, Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal.
Muhammad Ibn Sirin, about Ibn Umar, said, “Ibn Umar used to say Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal in Adhan.”
Nasir Ibn Dha’luq has narrated the same thing about Ibn Umar while he was in a travel, as he has quoted from Abu Umamah.
Ibn Hazm, in his Al-Muhalla, writes, “It is indeed proven that Ibn Umar and Ibn Umamah, son of Sahl Ibn Hunayf, used to say in the Adhan Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal; and this has been proven by the most valid documents.”36
Halabi, in Sirah, says, “Ibn Umar and Imam Zayn Al-Abidin Ali Ibn Al-Husayn, after Hayya Ala al-Falah used to say Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal.”39
Whenever Ibn Umar said Hayya Ala al-Falah in Adhan, he followed it by Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal. Then he said Allahu Akbar…40
The editor of the book writes down as footnote, “This tradition is narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah from Ibn Ajlan and Ubaydullah from Nafi’ from Ibn Umar.41 The narrators reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah are generally accepted by all Sunni jurisprudents.42
Bilal used to say Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal during calling for the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer, but the Messenger of Allah ordered him to say Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-nawm (Prayer is preferred to sleep) instead.43
The only problem posed by the author of Majma’ al-Zawa’id about this tradition is the existence of Abdul Rahman Ibn Ammar Ibn Sa’d among the narrators. However, by reference to Rijal books, it becomes clear that no one has totally rejected him. Ibn Habban, in contrast, has considered him among the trustworthy narrators. It is interesting that despite these valid traditions recorded in the most authentic books of the Sunnis, Ibn Taymiyah says, “Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal is added by the heretic.”44 Nawawi has rejected it in Al-Majmu’. The major problem that some people have mentioned about Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal is that the practice of Ibn Umar and Abu Umamah, the Companions, is not proof and the traditions about their practice are not successive.
It should be said, in reply, that, first, some people regard the tradition and speech of the Companions as proof, as is quoted from Abu Hanifah, “We follow whatever we inherit from the Companions and investigate those of their followers and may oppose them.”45 Sarakhsi, too, says in Usul, “Our scholars, both the past and the late, have no difference in the fact that the speech of a Companion is proof in an issue which cannot be obtained by Qiyas.”46 In saying Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal, there is undoubtedly no analogy. Second, in some of the traditions, previously cited and others, Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal is attributed to the time of the Prophet (a.s) and his own assertion.47
According to these traditions, the Prophet ordered to replace Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal with Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm in the Adhan of the Fajr (Morning) Prayer; yet, this does not harm our intention, since as is explicit in the tradition, this substitution is only for the Adhan of the Fajr Prayer. Therefore, the Adhan of the other Prayers should include Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal as stipulated in the same tradition. Moreover, this tradition is in contrast with the traditions that deny tathwib in Adhan and shows clearly that Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is something added after the Prophet (a.s).48
The probability of the abrogation of Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal is also impossible, since if it were so, Ibn Umar, Abu Umamah and others would be informed and it would be meaningless to mention it in their Adhan. Furthermore, traditions narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) stipulate that Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal is a major part of Adhan in all occasions, which is revealed to the honorable Prophet.49
The second issue of controversy among the Sunni and Shi’a jurisprudents is tathwib. There is also controversy over it among the Sunni jurisprudents themselves. It has been said, “Tathwib means return and is therefore returning to calling out to prayers. When it is called out Hayya Ala al-Salat, people are invited to prayers; when Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is called out, there is a returning to the same phrase which means inviting to the prayers. It is quoted from Al-Mughrib that the traditional tathwib is the same calling out of Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm in the Fajr Prayers twice and the recent one is calling out Al-Salat Al-Salat (prayer, prayer) or Qaamat Qaamat (Prayer is established). Another meaning of tathwib is saying Hayya Ala al-Salat and Hayya Ala al-Falah each twice between Adhan and iqamah.”50
Anyway, whatever meaning tathwib may have, it is not included in Adhan and iqamah, but is something added later. Since the common meaning of tathwib is to say Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm we focus on it in this discussion. Ibn Rushd in Bidayah Al-Mujtahid, about the controversy over this issue, says:
The jurisprudents are not in agreement whether Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm should be said in the Morning Adhan or not. Most of them believe that it should be said, but some do not agree with it, since it was not so in the Adhan of the Prophet. Shafi’i believes so. The difference in this issue is that whether this phrase was said in the Prophet’s reign or added in Umar’s.51
The following is quoted from Al-Muhadhab:
In case of the Morning Adhan, after Hayya Ala al-Salat and Hayya Ala al-Falah, tathwib—saying Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm should be added twice. But in the recent verdicts, to say this phrase is undesirable.52
In Al-Majmu’, it is written that Abu Hanifah did not accept tathwib in this way and in Sharh Kabir, some people such as Ibn Umar, Hasan, Malik, Sufyan Thawri, Ishaq and Shafi’i believe in tathwib (in its common sense). Abu Hanifah said, “Tathwib between Adhan and iqamah for the Morning Prayer is to say Hayya Ala al-Salat and Hayya Ala al-Falah each twice.53 Nearly the same is narrated in Al-Mughni.54 Anyhow, in both books, the tradition of Abu Mahdhurah is adduced for tathwib. This tradition says, “In case of the Morning Prayer, you should say, ‘Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm…”
It should be born in mind that some people have considered tathwib as external to Adhan. In Al-Mabsut, after quoting a tradition, Sarakhsi says, “This tradition is an argument for tathwib being after Adhan (not a part of it).”55 After some more lines, he says, “People created this tathwib.56 People of Kufah added Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm to the Adhan and set the tathwib between Adhan and iqamah as two times of Hayya Ala al-Falah.
Now that the controversy of the Sunni jurisprudents themselves about tathwib became clear, we conclude that tathwib and even Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is not included in Adhan and to say it between Adhan and iqamah is not recommended at all because nothing has been revealed about it, nor is there any recommendation about it by the Prophet (a.s). Rather it is a phrase included in Adhan after the Prophet (a.s) by some of the Companions’ personal desire. Authentic evidences, to be discussed later on, are present in the Sunni traditions proving our claim.
Imam Malik says, in Al-Muwatta’:
“It has been narrated to us that the caller to the Prayer came to Umar for the Morning Prayer and found him asleep; he said, “Prayer is preferred to sleep. (Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm)” Umar therefore ordered to include this phrase in the Adhan for the Morning Prayer.”57
As is seen, it is explicitly mentioned in this tradition that Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is an addition to the Adhan made by Umar and has nothing to do with the original Adhan of Islam. Thus Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani, in Al-Muwatta’, stipulates that Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is not related to the Adhan. His exact viewpoint is that “Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is said after the Adhan and since it is not a part of it, it is not obligatory to add.”58
Suyuti, in Tanwir Al-Hawalik, explaining the document of this tradition, says:
What Malik has narrated from Umar is also narrated by Al-Darqutni in his Sunan with two documents; one is narrated by Waki’, in his Musannaf, from Muhammad Ibn Ajlan from Nafi’ from Umar’s son from Umar who instructed his Muezzin (caller to Adhan), “When you reach Hayya Ala al-Falah in the Morning Adhan, you should say Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm twice.” 59
Zurqani narrates the same issue in Ta’liqah.60 Master Sunni biographists have validated the narrators in both document chains and in general, there is no fallacy in the documents cited by the Sunni jurisprudents.61 Shawkani, about Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm, quotes the following from Al-Bahr Al-Zukhar:
When Umar invented this phrase, his son told him, “This is heresy.” When hearing this phrase, Ali is narrated as saying, “Do not add anything to the Adhan.” The author of Al-Bahr Al-Zukhar, after citing the tradition of Abu Mahdhurah and Bilal says, “If tathwib were religiously allowed, Ali, Ibn Umar and Tawus would not deny it.” As a conclusion from the traditions, we accept this issue (tathwib), not religiously, but if said as an additional part of Adhan.62
It is narrated from Abu Hanifah from Hammad from Ibrahim in Jami’ Al-Masanid…
I asked him about tathwib and he replied, “People have made tathwib and it is a good thing they have made. Tathwib includes saying Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm twice, after Adhan.” Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan Shaybani has cited this tradition in Athar from Abu Hanifah saying, “This is Abu Hanifah’s statement and we follow it.”63
It is narrated from Ibn Uyaynah from Al-Layth that Mujahid said:
“I was with Ibn Umar when we heard someone saying tathwib in the mosque. Ibn Umar said, ‘Let us get away from this heretic.’”64
Abu Dawud narrates this occurrence from Mujahid about the Noon or Evening Prayer.65
Ibn Jurayj says:
Amr Ibn Hafs informed me that Sa’d, a muezzin, was the first to say Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm. That was during Umar’s reign. At first, Umar told him that it was a heresy, but left it to himself later. Balabil did not say Adhan for Umar.66
Ibn Jurayj says:
Hasan Ibn Muslim informed me that someone asked Tawus, “When was Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm first called out?” He replied, “That was not called during the Prophet’s reign. After his demise, in the reign of Abu Bakr, Balabil heard this phrase from a man who was not a caller to Adhan. So, he learnt it and called out Adhan with it from then on. Abu Bakr was a little while alive after this happening. Then in his reign, Umar said, “It would be better if we prohibit Balabil from what he has invented.” But he apparently forgot this issue and people called out Adhan with this phrase up to the present time.67
Though a little difference is noticed between the first and second traditions, they share the same concept; that is tathwib and Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm was established after the Messenger of Allah (a.s). Anyway, the tradition of Malik with the document of Al-Darqutni and the testimony of famous and master Sunni jurisprudents suffice for proving it.
The traditions resorted to for proving Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm are all fallacious regarding their documents. These traditions are mostly those narrated by Abu Dawud and Al-Nisa’i from Abu Mahdhurah as is mentioned in Al-Mughni,68 Al-Sharh Al-Kabir69 and Al-Majmu’.70
In Sunan Al-Nisa’i, the tradition is as follows:
Suwayd Ibn Nasr said: Abdullah narrates from Sufyan from Ibn Ja’far from Abi Salman that Abu Mahdhurah said: “I called out Adhan for the Holy Prophet (a.s) and I called out in the Morning Adhan Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm.71
The document of this tradition in Sunan Bayhaqi is in this form: “It was narrated for us from Sufyan Thawri from Abu Ja’far from Abu Sulayman…” Abu Salman is therefore replaced with Abu Sulayman. Bayhaqi continues: “The name of Abu Sulayman is Hammam Mu’adhin (muezzin).”72
In this document, Abu Salman or Abu Sulayman is named Hammam Mu’adhin and is an unknown person. All that Ibn Hajar has brought about this man is that, “It is said that the name of Abu Salman Mu’adhin is Hammam and he narrates traditions from Ali and Abu Mahdhurah. Abu Ja’far Farra’ and Ala’ Ibn Salih Kufi narrate traditions on his authority.73
Beside the problem posed by Abu Sulayman about the document of this tradition, some believe that Abu Ja’far whose name is in this tradition is not known and not the same person as Abu Ja’far Al-Farra’. Nisa’i himself has mentioned this issue in Sunan.
(1) Musaddad narrated to us from al-Harith Ibn Ubayd from Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Malik Ibn Abu Mahdhurah from his father that his grandfather said: I said, “O the Messenger of Allah! Teach me your way of saying the Adhan!” The Prophet touched my head and said, “Say like this…” He mentioned the phrases in Adhan one by one until he reached Hayya Ala al-Falah; and then he said: “In case of the Morning Prayer, say: Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm.74
In this tradition’s document, there is Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Malik about whom Ibn Hajar narrates Ibn Qattan’s saying, “He is unidentified and nobody has ever narrated a tradition from him except Harith.” After quoting the traditions of Thawri and Harith Ibn Ubayd narrated by Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Malik, Ibn Hajar quotes Abdul Haq as saying, “We cannot adduce these documents.”75 Harith Ibn Ubayd is also subject of controversy.76
(2) Al-Hasan Ibn Ali, nicknamed Abu Ali, narrated to us from Abu Asim and Abd al-Razzaq from Abu Jurayj that Uthman Ibn Sa’ib narrated from his father and the mother of Abd al-Malik Ibn Abu Mahdhurah that Abu Mahdhurah narrates from the honorable Prophet (a.s) that Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is said twice in the Morning…77
In this tradition too, Uthman Ibn Sa’ib and his father are not known except by this very tradition.78 The mother of Abd al-Malik is also unknown.
(3) Al-Nufayli narrated to us from Ibrahim Ibn Isma’il Ibn Abd al-Malik that he heard his grandfather, Abu Mahdhurah, saying in the Fajr Prayer Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm.79
This document is also invalid, since Ibrahim Ibn Isma’il Ibn Abd al-Malik has explicitly been criticized.80
In concluding from the traditions narrated about tathwib, it should be said that, first, as we know, the documents of these traditions are doubtful and unacceptable. Second, even if these traditions are not considered as doubtful, they undoubtedly cannot be followed. The reason is that they are in contrast with those true ones stating that Al-Salat Khayrun Min al-Nawm is a phrase added by people’s own approbation, after the time of the Prophet (a.s). As a result, both groups of traditions are invalid and thus unacceptable. Therefore, there is no proof for the inclusion of tathwib in the Adhan, or its recommendation after the Adhan.
As the final discussion of this chapter, I quote the research-based statements of Allamah Sharaf Al-Din, in Al-Nass wa’l-Ijtihad, to illuminate the issue of the testimony to Ali’s (a.s) Wilayah in Adhan:
“Adhan includes eighteen phrases, in our view as followers of Imamiyyah; Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) four times; Ashhadu An La Ilaha Illa Allah (I testify that there is no deity but Allah) twice; Ashhadu Anna Muhammadan Rasoul Allah (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) twice; Hayya Ala al-Salat (Hurry to prayer) twice; Hayya Ala al-Falah (Hurry to salvation) twice; Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal (Hurry to the best of deed) twice; Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) twice; La Ilaha Illa Allah (There is no deity but Allah) twice.”
iqamah is composed of seventeen phrases which are the same as Adhan’s, each repeated twice, except La Ilaha Illa Allah (There is no deity but Allah) which is said once; and between Hayya Ala Khayr al-Amal (Hurry to the best of deed) and Allahu Akbar (Allah is great), there are two times of Qad Qaamat al-Salat (Surely prayer was established).
Tribute to Muhammad and his Household (saying “اللهم صلِّ على مُحَمَّد وآل مُحَمَّد” Allahumma Salli Ala Muhammad(in) wa Aali Muhammad) after mentioning the name of the Prophet (a.s) is recommended as is completing the testimonies by the testimony to the Wilayah and Imamate of Ali (a.s), in both Adhan and iqamah.
Whoever has denied the testimony to Ali’s Wilayah in Adhan, regarding it as heresy, has made mistake and has as uncommon belief. The caller to Adhan in Islam [usually added phrases to the beginning and the end of Adhan—phrases that are not derived from the religion, but still they are not heresy and adding them is not forbidden. The reason is that the callers to Adhan do not consider these phrases as parts of Adhan, and include them just due to the general arguments.81 The testimony to Ali’s Wilayah is subject to these general arguments. Moreover, short phrases from the people themselves do not nullify Adhan and iqamah.82 To say these during Adhan and iqamah is therefore not forbidden…”83
Consequently, since naming Ali (a.s) is as worship, there is no doubt about the preference of mentioning his name in general and in Adhan, in particular. As Muttaqi Hindi narrates in Kanz Al-Ummal:
ذِكْرُ عَلِيٍّ عِبادَةٌ.
Mentioning Ali’s name is as worship.84
One of the issues, which is of great attention to the observers and is especially evident in places of pilgrimage like Mecca and Medina, is that most of the Sunnis, even their travelers, perform the five prayers at five distinct times and the Shi’a perform them as Jam’ Taqdim1 or Jam’ Ta’khir.2 This difference is very astonishing for the public who are unaware of the traditional and jurisprudential issues and also for most of the Sunnis who are used to differentiating between the five times.
During the hajj pilgrimage, I met a young salesman in Medina who was originally Turkish. He asked me, “Why do Iranians miss their Evening Prayer?” The simplest answer to persuade him in that short time was that at least they are travelers and it is permissible for them to delay the Evening Prayer and perform the Evening and Night Prayers together.3 Further elaboration was not possible in that short period, but it can be deeply discussed with the scholars to inform people of it and hence eradicate some false opinions. This is of course possible if the scholars are not affected by the common habit and the status quo in the society, which unfortunately sometimes happens. Fossilization of ideas in the people’s minds has basically been one of the major problems of the Prophets in the course of history. The disbelievers are quoted in the Holy Qur’an as saying:
بَلْ قَالُوا إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَى أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ مُهْتَدُونَ.
Nay! They say: We found our fathers on a course, and surely we are guided by their footsteps. (44:22)
Both the Shi’a and the Sunnis should therefore know that some of their habitual rules, which are taken for granted, are not really self-evident in Islam; rather they have no true document. The reason for the existence of these common habits has been the verdict of great scholars in some cases, and political considerations in most others, while the same rules had not been common previously and had just been some alternatives beside others. Surprisingly, these habitual rules are evident even in case of everyday duties of the Muslims, like ablution, prayer, etc.
So painful it is! Muslims who have seen the Prophet’s ablution and prayer everyday, have so much disagreement even in a tangible issue like the crossed position of hands in prayers. Some prohibit it, others know it undesirable and others permissible and still some others know it desirable. Some say the hands should be placed above the navel, others believe they should be beneath the navel and so on, while the Prophet performed prayer five times everyday, before all the Muslims and said:
صَلُّوا كَما رَأيْتُمونِي أُصَلّي.
Pray as you see me pray.4
Whatever the reason for these controversies be, and regardless of their justifiability or unjustifiability, it is evident that clarity of an issue for a certain group in by no means the proof of it according to the Qur’an and tradition. In this discussion, we are to discuss, based on what was mentioned, performing the prayers together and their exact time to make it clear that simultaneous performance of prayers is permissible in all conditions, according to authentic traditions of the Sunnis. In fact, the Noon and Afternoon Prayers and also the Evening and Night Prayers have the same time.
God, the Exalted, states in the Holy Qur’an:
أَقِمْ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا .
Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed. (18:78).
In this honorable verse, Almighty God orders the prayers from the declining of the sun until the darkness of the night and also orders of performing the Morning Prayer, stating that the Morning Prayer is witnessed by the angels of night and day. Considering the lexicon, traditions, exegesis of the verse and the common sense, it is understood that the All-Wise God has ordered the five prayers in this verse, determining their times. Ibn Faris says about the meaning of duluk (declining):
The word has a root meaning ‘declining’ or ‘removing something from something else in a general way.’ When it is said, ‘It declined,’ it means that it disappeared. Also, it means moving something in a way that it does not remain in one place.5
Ibn Athir, in Nihayah, supports this meaning, too. Azhari believes that declining of the sun is its inclination from the center of the sky in the middle of the day. This way, the verse contains all the five prayers and it means:
O Muhammad! “Set up prayers!” That is keeping up praying from the declining of the sun to the darkness of the night. So, up to this part of the verse, four prayers are contained, i.e. Noon, Afternoon, Evening and Night Prayers. The fifth prayer is included in “وقرآن الفجر”, meaning perform the Morning Prayer. Therefore, these are the five prayers Allah has considered obligatory for His Prophet and the ummah. If we regard duluk as meaning the sunset, the verse will refer only to three prayers.6 In Arabic, دلوك means ‘declining,’ that is when the sun passes the longitude and when it rises or sets, because in sunrise and sunset, the sunlight declines, too. In (the book entitled) Nawadir Al-I’rab too, the word means the height of the sun.
Mubarrid has also confirmed that duluk refers to the inclination of the sun toward west up to sunset.7 As a result, even though duluk may mean the setting of the sun, in this honorable verse, the most suitable meaning is the declining of the sun from the center of the sky. Beside what was narrated from Azhari and others in proving this meaning, various other traditions have also been narrated in this regard, two of which we bring here:
عِن ابنِ مِسعود رصي الله عنه قال: قالَ رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : أتاني جِبرئِيلُ عَليهِ السَّلامُ لِدُلوكِ الشَّمسِ حِينَ زالَتْ فَصَلّى بِيَ الظُّهْرَ.
Ibn Mas’ud—may Allah be pleased with him—said: The Messenger of Allah (a.s) said: “(Archangel) Gabriel (a.s) came to me at the time of (duluk) declining of the sun and performed the Noon Prayer with me.”
The same concept is narrated from other people such as Ibn Abbas, Anas, Umar, Ibn Umar, Abu Barza and others. It is also narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) that duluk means declining, not sunset.
(دُلوكُ الشَّمْسِ) زَوالُها، (غَسَقُ اللّيلِ) انتِصافُهُ، (قُرْآنُ الفَجْرِ) رَكْعَتا الفَجْرِ.
‘Declining of the sun’ is its inclination toward the west and ‘the darkness of the night’ is the middle of the night and ‘Qur’an Al-Fajr’ is the two-unit Morning Prayer.8
With regard to these various traditions, we cannot regard the two traditions narrated by Suyuti from Ibn Mas’ud and Ali (a.s), implying that duluk means the sunset. Furthermore, these two types of traditions are in contrast. Supposing that the first group of traditions are not preferable and the invalidity of both types is proven, it undoubtedly becomes clear that we should refer to the Holy Qur’an’s lexical level, which made it obvious that duluk in the honorable verse means declining of the sun. That is why Shafi’i stipulates, “Duluk, in the verse, stands for the declining of the sun.”
About the word غسق (ghasaq) in the honorable verse, the author of Mu’jam Maqayis Al-Lughah says, “The root of ghasaq (darkness of the night) is (gh-s-q), which is grammatically perfect (sahih) meaning ‘darkness.’ The meaning of ghasaq is hence ‘darkness.’9 Raghib says in Mufradat, “ghasaq stands for the intensity of the darkness.” It is also quoted from Ibn Abbas that the word means the appearance of night and its darkness.10
Anyway, it seems that غسق الليل means the middle of the night and this is more compatible with what Raghib said in Mufradat previously quoted. So, it is very unlikely that غسق الليل refers to sunset or the beginning of the night, because sunset is neither the intensity of the darkness nor the appearance of the night. It is neither the darkness of the night nor the time for the Night Prayer.
Now that the meanings of duluk, ghasaq and qur’an al-fajr are clear, we understand that God, the Almighty, has ordered the performance of five prayers in this verse, mentioning the time of these prayers. The verse states: perform prayers from the noon up to the middle of the night and perform the Morning Prayer, too. Accordingly, the time of the four prayers begins from the noon until the midnight. If we did not have enough evidence that we should perform the Noon and Afternoon Prayers before the sunset and the Evening and Night Prayers after the sunset, we could conclude from the verse that the common time of these four prayers is from the Noon up to the midnight.
However, since there is firm evidence on the fact that the Noon and Afternoon Prayers should be performed before the sunset and the Evening and Night Prayers after it, we have to restrict the general significance of the honorable verse. In other cases, however, we can resort to the verse and conclude: From the beginning of the noon until the sunset is the common time for the Noon and Afternoon Prayers11 and from the sunset to the first half (or the first one-third) of the night, according to different views, is the common time for the Evening and Night Prayers.
That is why when Imam Baqir (a.s) was asked about the Prayers ordered by Almighty God, he said: “They are five prayers a day.” He was asked again: “Has Allah mentioned them in His Book?” Imam Baqir (a.s) stated:
نَعَمْ! قالَ اللهُ تَبارَكَ وَتَعالى لِنَبِيِّهِ:”أقِمِ الصَّلَوٰةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ.“ (دَلُوكُها) زَوالُها، فَفيما بَينَ دُلوكِ الشَّمْسِ إلى غَسَقِ اللّيلِ أرْبَعُ صَلواتٍ سَمّاهُنَّ اللهُ وَبَيَّنَهُنَّ وَوَقَّتَهُنَّ. (غَسَقُ اللّيلِ) هُو انْتِصافُهُ. ثمَّ قالَ: ”وَقُرآنَ الفَجْرِ إنَّ قُرْآنَ الفَجْرِ كانَ مَشْهوداً.“
Yes, Almighty God said to His Prophet: “Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun until the darkness of the night”. Duluk is the declining of the sun so, He has obliged the performance of five prayers between the time of decline of the sun and midnight; and has determined the time of them. ghasaq is midnight.12 He, the Almighty, then said, “…and the morning recitation. Surely, the morning recitation is witnessed.”
Razi acknowledges, in Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, that the honorable verse implies the common time of the prayers:
“If we interpret ghasaq as intense darkness, we would say that intense darkness appears at the disappearance of the white twilight, which appears at the disappearance of the red twilight itself. The word إلى (until) in the honorable verse shows the end of a period. A rule, which is continued up to an ultimate period, would be permissible up to the end of that period. As a result, performing all the prayers is permissible before the appearance of the white twilight.”13
Furthermore, Razi says:
“If we take ghasaq as meaning the beginning of the darkness of the night, we can still get the meaning of common time for all the prayers. If we interpret ghasaq as the beginning of appearance of darkness, it would mean the sunset. So, what is mentioned in this verse would include three times: the decline of the sun, the beginning of sunset and before the sunrise. This requires that, first, the decline of the sun be the common time for the Noon and Afternoon Prayers and, second, the beginning of sunset be the common time for the Evening and Night Prayers. Therefore, interpreting gahsaq as the beginning of the darkness requires that the performance of the Noon and Afternoon Prayers or Evening and Night Prayers (simultaneously) be permissible, unconditionally (whether in travel or not).”14
He then continues:
“But external evidences prove that simultaneous performance of prayers, while not being in travel and with no special problem, is not permissible.”
We will soon show you that traditions prove the permissibility of simultaneous performance of prayers while not in travel and unconditionally.
Alusi, in spite of his extreme bias, has implicitly acknowledged this meaning for the honorable verse, saying:
“The permissibility of simultaneous performance of the prayers is something confirmed by true traditions.”15
This issue is so much taken for granted in the traditions that Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the most reliable Sunni reference books of traditions, have frequently cited it. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal has mentioned some of these traditions in his Musnad, which are also narrated in other sources.
In Sahih Muslim, there is a chapter entitled:
بابُ: الجَمْع بَينَ الصّلاتَينِ في الحَضَر
Section: Simultaneous Performance of the Two Prayers while not being in Travel16
We hereinafter quote some of the traditions mentioned therein:
… صَلّى رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم الظُّهْرَ وَالعَصرَ جَميعاً وَالمَغْرِبَ وَالعَشاءَ جمِيعاً في غَيرِ خَوفٍ ولا سَفرٍ.
The Messenger of Allah (a.s) performed the Noon and Afternoon Prayers simultaneously and the Evening and Night Prayers too, while he was not in travel nor was he in danger or fear.17
صَلّى رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم الظّهرَ والعصْرَ جميعاً بِالمَدينَةِ في غَيرِ خَوفٍ ولا سَفَرٍ… أرادَ أنْ لا يُحرِجَ أحداً مِن أمَّتِه.
Abu Zubayr said: Sa’id narrated from Ibn `Abbas that The Prophet (a.s) performed the Noon and Afternoon Prayers together in Medina, and not in travel, without any fear. I asked Sa’id, “Why did the Prophet (a.s) do so?” He answered, “I asked the same question from Ibn Abbas and he answered, “The Prophet (a.s) did not want to take his nation into trouble.18
… جَمعَ رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم بَينَ الظُّهْرِ وَالعَصرِ والمَغرِب وَالعِشاءِ في المَدينَةِ في غَير خَوف ولا مَطر… أرادَ أنْ لا يُحرِجَ أمَّتَهُ.
Sa’id Ibn Jubayr says that Ibn Abbas said: “The Prophet (a.s) performed the Noon and Afternoon Prayers and Evening and Night Prayers simultaneously in Medina, without any fear nor in the raining conditions… not to take his nation into trouble.19
…صَلَّيْتُ مَع النّبيِّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ثَمانِياً جَميعاً وَسَبْعاً جَميعاً. قُلتُ: يا أبا الشّعثاء! أظُنُّه أخَّرَ الظُّهرَ وَعَجَّلَ العَصْر وأخَّرَ المَغرِبَ وَعجَّل العِشاءَ. قال: وأنا أظُنُّ ذاكَ.
Amr narrates from Jabir Ibn Zayd that Ibn Abbas said: “We performed prayers with the Prophet (a.s), once eight units (four units of the Noon Prayer and four units of the Afternoon Prayer) and once seven units (three units of the Evening and four units of Night Prayers).” Amr says: I told Abu Al-Sha’tha’, “I think the Prophet (a.s) delayed the Noon Prayer and hurried in the Afternoon Prayer and also delayed the Evening prayer, hurrying in the Night Prayer.” He said, “I think so.”20
The second half of the previous tradition is not more than conjectures of the narrator himself; yet, conjecture does not avail against the truth, as stipulated in the Holy Qur’an.
إنَّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم صَلّى بِالمَدينَةِ سَبْعاً وَثمانِيَةً؛ الظّهْر وَالعَصرَ وَالمَغرِبَ وَالعشاءَ.
The Prophet (a.s) performed seven units and eight units of prayer in Medina—the Noon and Afternoon Prayers, and the Evening and Night Prayers.21
In this tradition, disordered involution and evolution22 is used, i.e. seven units of the Evening and Night Prayers and eight units of the Noon and Afternoon Prayers.
… رَأيْتُ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم جَمعَ بَينَ الظُّهرِ وَالعَصْرِ وَالمَغرِبِ وَالعَشاءِ… فَأتَيتُ أبا هُريرَةَ فَسألْتُه فَصَدَّقَ مَقالَتَه. 337
Abdullah Ibn Shaqiq says: One afternoon, Ibn Abbas delivered a sermon until the sun set and the stars appeared. The public said, “Prayer! Prayer!”23 A man from Banu Tamim came saying, “Prayer! Prayer!” repeatedly. Ibn Abbas reproached him and said, “Do you want to teach me the Prophet’s traditions? I saw him performing the Noon and Afternoon Prayers together and the Evening and Night Prayers simultaneously, too.”
Abdullah Ibn Shaqiq said: I was not satisfied with this claim, so I went to Abu Hurayrah and asked him about it. He confirmed the speech of Ibn Abbas.
…لا أُمَّ لكَ! أتُعَلِّمُنا بِالصَّلاةِ وَكُنّا نَجْمَعُ بَينَ الصَّلاتَينِ عَلى عَهْدِ رَسولِ اللهِصلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم .
A man told Ibn Abbas, “Prayer! Prayer!” Ibn Abbas did not say anything. The man repeated it three times and Ibn Abbas kept quiet. At the third time, Ibn Abbas reproached him and said, “Do you teach me prayers while we performed prayers simultaneously in the Prophet’s time?”24
Bukhari, who has always attempted not to narrate anything in contrast with the governments’ policies and in accord with the tradition of the Ahl al-Bayt, narrates some of the aforementioned traditions under different subtitles. Though other traditions are true according to this presupposition, he has not narrated them and he himself is aware of the reason. Anyway, some traditions, which stipulate the simultaneous performance of prayers unconditionally and even while not in travel are narrated by Bukhari in his Sahih. In Chapter: Time of the Sunset, we read:
… صَلّى النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم سَبعاً جمِيعاً وَثمانِياً جَميعاً.
Abdullah Ibn Abbas says: The Prophet (a.s) performed seven units (of prayer) once and another eight units together.25
In Chapter: About The Night Prayer And Its Time And One Who Has Much Time For Performing It, we read:
… صَلّى النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم المَغْربَ وَالعِشاءَ.
Ibn Umar, Abu Ayyub and Ibn Abbas said that the Prophet (a.s) performed the Evening and Night Prayers simultaneously.”26
In Chapter: About one who doesn’t perform nafilah (optional prayer) after an obligatory prayer, it is written:
…صَلَّيْتُ مَع النّبيِّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ثَمانِياً جَميعاً وَسَبْعاً جَميعاً. قُلتُ: يا أبا الشّعثاء! أظُنُّه أخَّرَ الظُّهرَ وَعَجَّلَ العَصْر وأخَّرَ المَغرِبَ وَعجَّل العِشاءَ. قال: وأنا أظُنُّ ذاكَ.
Amr narrates from Jabir Ibn Zayd that Ibn Abbas said: “We performed prayers with the Prophet (a.s), once eight units (four units of the Noon Prayer and four units of the Afternoon Prayer) and once seven units (three units of the Evening and four units of Night Prayers).” Amr says: I told Abu Al-Sha’tha’, “I think the Prophet (a.s) delayed the Noon Prayer and hurried in the Afternoon Prayer and also delayed the Evening prayer, hurrying in the Night Prayer.” He said, “I think so.”27
In the same chapter, Part: Postponing The Noon Prayer To The Afternoon, we read:
… إنَّ النّبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم صَلّى بِالمَدينَةِ سَبْعاً وَثَمانِيَةً الظُّهْرَ وَالعَصْرَ وَالمَغْرِبَ وَالعِشاءَ. فقال أيّوب: لَعَلّه في ليلَةٍ مَطِيرةٍ. قال: عَسى.
Ibn Abbas said: The Prophet (a.s) performed seven units of the Noon and Afternoon Prayers and eight units of the Evening and Night Prayers in Medina.
Ayyub said, “It might have been raining.” He said, “Maybe.”28
In Tuhfat Al-Bari, the author acknowledges, in this part, that the title does not fit the theme of the tradition. It was more appropriate to entitle it “Chapter: On The Noon Prayer With The Afternoon One And The Evening And Night Prayers.” He then concludes, “In Bukhari’s interpretation when naming this chapter, there is fallacy and deficiency.”29
In Part: The Afternoon Time, we read:
Abu Umamah says: We performed the Noon Prayer with Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Umayyad caliph, then went to Anas Ibn Malik who was performing the Afternoon Prayer. I told him, ‘Uncle! Which prayer were you performing?’ He said, ‘It was the Afternoon Prayer and this was the Prophet’s way of praying.’30
This tradition proves that Anas performed the Noon and Afternoon Prayers simultaneously following the Prophet (a.s). It is very unlikely that Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz had performed the Noon Prayer at the end of the Noon Prayer time since in that case it was not surprising that Anas was praying. Surprisingly, Anas narrates this way of praying from the Messenger of Allah (a.s), using the word كنا ‘we were’ and the present tense verb نصلي ‘praying’ which show continuation of an action, as was the case in one of the traditions of Ibn Abbas.
Also, In Part: The Afternoon Time, we read:
عَن عَائشَةَ إنَّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم صَلّى العَصْرَ وَالشّمْسُ في حُجرَتِها لَمْ يَظْهرِ الفَيءُ مِن حِجْرَتِها.
Aishah narrated that the Prophet (a.s) performed the Afternoon Prayer while the sun was shining and the afternoon shade had not appeared in his room yet (i.e. the sun was still in the middle of the sky.)31
عَن عائِشةَ قالَت: كانَ النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يُصَلّي صَلاةَ العَصْرِ وَالشَّمْسُ طالِعَةٌ في حُجرَتي لَم يَظْهَر الفَيءُ بَعدُ.
The Prophet (a.s) performed the Afternoon Prayer when the sun was still shining in my room and there was no sign of the afternoon shade yet.32
Muslim has narrated this tradition somehow differently. In any event, this tradition of Aishah as well as the other traditions show that the Prophet (a.s) did not delay his Afternoon Prayer to a time when the shade of objects is the same height or double the height of them; otherwise it was meaningless for Aishah to say, “The sun was shining in my room and the afternoon shade had not appeared yet.” Further, the room was small and even if its walls were low, the shade still appeared very soon. I am certain that these traditions are the strongest arguments for proving the common time of the Noon and Afternoon Prayers. Also, because there is a sense of continuation, some may deduce from these traditions the early performance of the Afternoon Prayer. Anyhow, they at least prove the permissibility of simultaneous performance of prayers.
In Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, we read:
…صَلَّيْتُ مَع النّبيِّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ثَمانِياً جَميعاً وَسَبْعاً جَميعاً. قُلتُ: يا أبا الشّعثاء! أظُنُّه أخَّرَ الظُّهرَ وَعَجَّلَ العَصْر وأخَّرَ المَغرِبَ وَعجَّل العِشاءَ. قال: وأنا أظُنُّ ذاكَ.
Amr narrates from Jabir Ibn Zayd that Ibn Abbas said: “We performed prayers with the Prophet (a.s), once eight units (four units of the Noon Prayer and four units of the Afternoon Prayer) and once seven units (three units of the Evening and four units of Night Prayers).” Amr says: I told Abu Al-Sha’tha’, “I think the Prophet (a.s) delayed the Noon Prayer and hurried in the Afternoon Prayer and also delayed the Evening prayer, hurrying in the Night Prayer.” He said, “I think so.”33
… صَلّى رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم في المَدينَةِ مُقيماً غَيرَ مُسافِرٍ سَبعاً وَثمانِياً.
The Prophet (a.s) prayed seven units together and an eight unit in Medina, while he was not a traveler.34
It is also narrated from Ibn Mas’ud:
جَمَعَ النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم (يَعني في المَدينَةِ) بَينَ الظُّهرِ وَالعَصْرِ وبَينَ المَغرِبِ وَالعِشاءِ… صَنَعتُ هذا لِئَلاّ تُحْرَجَ أمَّتي.
The Prophet (a.s) performed the Noon and Afternoon Prayers simultaneously and also the Evening and Night Prayers in Medina. He was asked about it and he said: “I did it (performed prayers like this) so that I will not take my nation in trouble.35
It is also narrated from Ibn Umar:
جَمعَ لنا رَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم مُقيماً غَيرَ مُسافِرٍ بَينَ الظُّهرِ وَالعَصرِ وَالمَغرِبِ… لأنْ لا يُحرِجَ أمَّتَهُ إنْ جمَعَ رَجُلٌ.
The Prophet (a.s) performed the Noon, Afternoon and Evening Prayers together, while he was not traveler. Ibn Umar was asked: “Why did the Prophet do so?” He replied: “Not to take his nation into trouble, in case someone performed the prayers together.”36
No contrasting tradition, containing the Prophet’s forbidding the simultaneous performance has been ever narrated except what Hanash narrates from Ikramah and from Ibn Abbas. Hanash has been criticized by Bukhari, Ahmad and others. Narrating his tradition, Tirmidhi says, “He has been weakened by narrators like Ahmad and others.”37 Ikrimah, too, has been decided as doubtful. Two other traditions have been narrated from Umar without being attributed to the honorable Prophet (a.s) both of which have been denied by Bayhaqi. In short, none of the narrators have doubted the validity of the traditions stipulating the simultaneous performance of prayers by the Messenger of Allah (a.s).
Besides the mentioned traditions, there are various other traditions proving the permissibility of simultaneous performance of prayers narrated from the Prophet on special occasions, like the Arafah Day,38 and Muzdalifah Night,39 in travel and when raining. Also, other traditions prove that the Noon and Afternoon Prayers and also the Evening and Night Prayers have common times.40
It is surprising that in spite of these clear and true traditions, habits were so much fossilized in the minds of some people that they began misinterpreting the Prophet’s Traditions. The dear readers have witnessed some of these misinterpretations in narrating the aforementioned traditions. Surprisingly, having quoted the tradition of Ibn Abbas about the permissibility of simultaneous performance of prayers—without any fear or condition of raining—Tirmidhi says, “People have discarded this tradition.” Nawawi has stipulated, in his Tafsir,41 that there has never been a consensus on discarding this tradition.
In order to perform in contrast with the tradition, some people have misinterpreted it. Of course, each group denies the interpretation of the others and they are all invalid indeed. Nawawi says:
“Some of the early master scholars have misinterpreted the tradition saying that simultaneous performance of prayers have been due to the probability of rain, but this is so weak an interpretation because another tradition includes, ‘without fear or condition of raining.’ Others have misinterpreted that the simultaneous performance was practiced in the cloudy weather when the Prophet (a.s) performed the Noon Prayer. When the clouds have gone and it became clear and it was the time for the Afternoon Prayer, the Prophet performed the Afternoon Prayer. This interpretation is invalid too, since it cannot be true about the Evening and Night Prayers. Still, others have said that the Prophet (a.s) delayed the first prayer, performing it at the end of its time and afterwards performed the next prayer at the beginning of its time. So, it has been simultaneous performance in appearance, not in reality.
This interpretation is weak or rather invalid due to the fact that it is in contrast with the appearance of the tradition in a way that it is so improbable. Also, the deed of Ibn Abbas, his justification of it and the confirmation of Abu Hurayrah—all these discard this interpretation. Another group has interpreted the tradition as applying to the probability of illness and other legal excuses. This is the idea of our companions like Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Qazi Husayn. Khattabi, Mutawalli and Ruwyani have accepted it. I accept this interpretation as it agrees with the explicit significance of the tradition, the deed of Ibn Abbas, Abu Hurayrah’s approval and also because the trouble of illness is more intense than that of rain.”42
It is strange to understand how the explicit significance of Ibn Abbas’s tradition allows the simultaneous performance of prayers in illness! Were all the people ill when Ibn Abbas preached the sermon? See how the wrong habits distort people’s understanding and lead to such misinterpretations!
As Ibn Hajar Asqalani points out, if the Prophet (a.s) had performed prayers simultaneously due to illness, others could not pray with him, except those who had the same excuse. Yet, it can be said that the Prophet (a.s) prayed along with his Companions, as Ibn Abbas stipulates the same concept in his tradition.43 It is also surprising that Ibn Hajar himself misinterprets the tradition to the apparent simultaneous performance44 without any proof which is nullified by the aforesaid argument of Nawawi. Ibn Hajar, too, got subject to criticism, in what was written as the interpretation of his book. By the same token, the criticizer of Ibn Hajar was criticized by his predecessors.
This vicious circle is only due to the persistence on denying the tradition of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s); otherwise, at least one group who narrate from them would accept the unconditional simultaneous performance, not mixing the best times of the prayers with other times. Nawawi says:
Some scholars allow unconditional simultaneous performance of the prayers due to a problem, provided that they do not get used to it, like Ibn Sirin and Ashhab among the companions of Malik. Khattabi has narrated this from Qaffal, Shashi Kabir, a companion of Shafi’i, from Abu Ishaq Maruzi from a group of narrators; and Ibn Mundhir has accepted it. This is proved by Ibn Abbas’s saying, “By so doing, the Prophet wanted not to take his nation into trouble,” because in his speech there is no reference to illness or any thing else.45
In Al-Mughni and Al-Sharh Al-Kabir, Ibn Shabramah is narrated to have said, “Simultaneous performance of prayers is permissible if there is a problem or something, as long as it does not become a habit.”46 Also, Nawawi says in Al-Majmu’, “Ibn Mundhir, one of our scholars, believes that simultaneous performance of prayers is permissible while not as a traveler, with no fear or rain or illness.”
As you see, Nawawi has not mentioned the condition that it should not become a habit. At the end of the chapter, he brings about a problem entitled “Chapter: Opinions About Simultaneous Performance Of Prayers While Not In Travel, And With No Fear, Rain Or Illness” saying:
According to our opinion (i.e. Shafiite) and those of Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ahmad and most of Sunni scholars, simultaneous performance of prayers is not allowed. Ibn Mundhir has narrated the permissibility of unconditional simultaneous performance from a group of narrators saying, ‘Ibn Sirin has allowed simultaneous performance when necessary, but not as a habit.’”47
Yet, Sayf Al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al-Shashi Al-Qaffal, in Hilyat Al-Ulama’, narrates the permissibility of the unconditional simultaneous performance of the prayers as quoted by Ibn Mundhir from Ibn Sirin.48
Anyway, the condition of not getting a habit is also an unproven misinterpretation added by some people to the traditions. Though the honorable Messenger of Allah (a.s) did not want to take his nation into trouble, some people have habitually added some conditions, taking themselves and others into trouble, while Almighty God states:
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمْ الْعُسْرَ .
Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty. (2:185)
It can also be said that the Messenger of Allah (a.s) performed his prayers simultaneously most of the time, if not always, as is evident from the traditions of Ibn Abbas and Anas in which past continuous was used, and also from the tradition of Aishah and all the traditions stipulating the earliness in performing the prayer. The simultaneous performance of prayers the Prophet (a.s) did most of the time was of course jam’ taqdim, not jam’ ta’khir, though the latter has been narrated. It should be kept in mind that if simultaneous performance of prayers results in the forsaking of nawafil (supererogatory prayers), it is not preferred. Rather if it leads to weakening the Prophet’s traditions, it will be unlawful. Maybe, this is the supposition of those who have deemed permissible the simultaneous performance as long as it does not become a habit, i.e. it does not oppose the tradition of the Prophet (a.s). This reverence is only for denying the weakening of the tanafful tradition—though nawafil themselves are subject to controversy—no more. There remains therefore no problem.
Discussions about the best time of prayers, according to Shi’a jurisprudents, require an opportunity itself, and what has been mentioned was only the Sunni traditions in this regard.
Jurisprudents have had different opinions about the unconditional simultaneous performance of the prayers to be summarized herein:
The Hanafites believe in the unlawfulness of simultaneous performance of prayers, whether in travel or not, with any problems except in two cases—on Arafah Day and at Muzdalifah Night in certain conditions.
The Shafiites believe in the permissibility of simultaneous performance of prayers for the traveler and when raining and snowing under certain conditions. To them, simultaneous performance is not permitted due to intense darkness, wind, fear or illness.
The Malikites consider the reasons for the simultaneous performance of prayers as follow: illness, rain, muddy earth, darkness at the end of lunar month, and on Arafah Day and Muzdalifah Night for the hajjis under certain conditions.
The Hanbalites allow simultaneous performance of prayers on ‘Arafah Day and Muzdalifah Night; and for travelers, patients, nursing mothers, a woman with excessive menstruation, the polyuric, one who is unable to purify her/himself, one who is unable to distinguish the time and one who is fearful for his/her property, health or reputation; and also in rainy, snowy, cold, windy and muddy weathers. They also mention some conditions.
They think simultaneous performance of prayers is permissible due to any sort of problem, provided that it does not become a habit.
Ibn Shibramah allows the simultaneous performance of prayers due to any reason and even with no special reason as long as it does not turn to a habit.
Ibn Mundhir and Ibn Sirin, according to Qaffal, permit the simultaneous performance of prayers under all circumstances unconditionally.49
As was proved, the latter opinion is the truth and is the same as the stipulation of the Holy Qur’an. Imamiyyah, too, following the Ahl al-Bayt, adopt this opinion.
This chapter was finished on the eighth of Safar, AH 1415 corresponding to twenty-seventh of Tir, 1373.
The prostration in prayers is another issue on which the Shi’a and Sunni are disagreeing. The Shi’a necessarily prostrate themselves only on the earth (either soil, sand or stone) or uneatable and unclothing plants.1 When they do not have access to clean earth, they carry some molded soil or something else on which they can prostrate. Those aware of jurisprudential issues know that so many arguments prove this way of prostration, which has been the way of many Companions and their followers. It is also preferred according to religious precautions. In this part, we first define prostration, and then briefly deal with some traditions adducing the way of the prostration of the Shi’a. We finally mention the opinions of jurisprudents.
In Al-Sihah, an Arabic-Arabic dictionary compiled by Al-Jawahiri, we read, “Prostration in prayers stands for putting the forehead on the earth.” The same definition is mentioned in Al-Nahayah, Lisan Al-Arab and Taj Al-Aroos. Obviously, prostration is the ultimate degree of humility above which there is no humility and it is not permitted except for Allah, the Holiest.2
The Holy Qur’an states:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ لَا تَسْجُدُوا لِلشَّمْسِ وَلَا لِلْقَمَرِ وَاسْجُدُوا لِلَّهِ الَّذِي خَلَقَهُنَّ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ .
And among His signs are the night and the day and the sun and the moon; do not prostrate to the sun nor to the moon; and prostrate to Allah Who created them, if Him it is that you serve. (41:37).
Also, prostration is the closest state a servant can have toward his Lord:
كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ.
Nay! Obey him not, and make obeisance and draw nigh (to Allah). (96:19).
A tradition reads:
إنَّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قالَ: أقْربُ ما يَكونُ العَبْدُ مِن رَبِّهِ وَهُو ساجِدٌ؛ فَأكْثِروا الدُّعاءَ فَيهِ.
The Prophet (a.s): “The nearest state of a servant to his Lord is in prostration, so supplicate a lot in prostration.”3
Keeping in mind that prostration is the ultimate degree of humiliation and is lawful only for the Almighty, we should now see what can we prostrate on to show the greatest degree of humility. As is evident from the definitions of the lexicographers, the highest level of humility is prostration on the ground and, especially, the soil while the ground cannot be applied to rug or eatable or clothing things growing from the earth.
So, in addition to the arguments, which will follow, prostration should essentially be on the ground or soil, unless of course there is enough evidence that prostration on things other than the earth is lawful. Yet, as we will see later on, there is only support for prostration on the ground and uneatable and unclothing things growing from it.
The traditions about prostration are generally of the following kinds:
جُعِلَتْ لِيَ الأرْضُ مَسْجِداً وَطَهوراً.
The Prophet (a.s): The earth is set as the place for my prostration (masjid) and as cleaner.4
As you see, in this uninterruptedly reported tradition, the ground is especially mentioned as the place of prostration proving that there must be a reason for this specification. This tradition at least shows that prostration is not permissible on anything and, as a result, it is only permitted on the things allowed in the religion and not on uncertain things. It may be claimed that the honorable tradition means that worship in Islam is not limited to special places like the synagogues of the Jews or the churches of the Christians, and it is possible in any place on the earth.
The tradition is therefore, not related to prostration. In response, this meaning is not in contrast with the issue of prostration, and that prostration is not allowed on all things. In other words, the former meaning is included in the latter and is a requirement for it because if all the places on earth are suitable for prostration (and this is prostration in prayer, because of the concept of ‘clean’ afterwards,) worship can be done on all the places on the earth. Accordingly, Sunni master scholars, like Ibn Hajar5, Muhammad Ashraf Azim Abadi6, Qastalani7 and Amir Al-San’ani8 have all accepted and rather preferred the meaning of prostration place for ‘masjid,’ in the tradition.
… كُنْتُ أُصّلّي الظّهرَ معَ رَسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فأخَذَ قَبضَةً مِن الحَصى لِتَبرُدَ في كَفّي أضَعُها لجَبهَتي أسْجُد عَليها لِشدَّةِ الحَرِّ.
Bayhaqi has narrated this tradition in Al-Sunan Al-Kubra with a little difference. He also narrates the same tradition from Anas Ibn Malik in another way commenting, “If prostration on a cloth one is wearing was permissible, it would for sure be easier than cooling hot sand in one’s hand and putting it for prostration.”11 Bayhaqi has hence considered this tradition as the proof on the impermissibility of prostrating on a cloth attached to the body.
Though Bayhaqi’s claim is true, it should be added that if prostration on cloth—either attached or unattached to the body—was permissible, it would be no need for cooling the sands, because as prostration on an attached cloth is easy, it is also easy on an unattached cloth, a piece of cloth or even a coin in one’s pocket. So, the tradition can also act as a proof on the impermissibility of prostration on unattached as well as attached cloth.12
The reason is that Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari narrates the tradition with past continuous verb, adding كنت to the present tense verb, which shows that this has not occurred just once.
Nevertheless, this tradition shows that prostration is not permissible on everything, otherwise constant attempting to prostrate on sands was not wise.
… شَكَونا إلى رَسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم شِدَّةَ الرَّمْضاءِ في جِباهِنا وأكَفِّنا فَلَم يُشكِنا.
We complained to the Prophet (a.s) about the hotness of sands to our faces and palms when praying, but he did not pay attention.13
Having narrated the same tradition, Ibn Hajar Asqalani says, “This is a true tradition narrated by Muslim.”14 It is emphasized in Tuhfat Al-Muhtaj that the document of Bayhaqi is valid.15 It is also said in Subul Al-Salam that the tradition is true.16 The same is narrated from Ibn Mas’ud.17 This tradition clearly proves that prostration is not allowed on everything, otherwise complaining about the hotness of the sands was unnecessary and they could prostrate themselves on things other than the hot sands.18
… وإذا سَجَدْتَ فَأمْكِن جَبْهَتَكَ مِن الأرْضِ حَتىّ تَجِدَ حَجْمَ الأرْضِ.
A man asked the Prophet (a.s) something about prayer. The Messenger of Allah (a.s) told him: “… and when you prostrate, place your forehead on the earth, in a way that you can feel it.19
… إنّ النّبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم كَانَ إذا سَجَدَ أمْكَنَ أنْفَهُ وَجَبْهَتَهُ مِنَ الأرْضِ.
Tirmidhi says after this tradition, “The tradition of Abu Humayd is true and fine.”
… رَأيْتُ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يَضَعُ أنْفَهُ عَلى الأرْضِ إذا سَجَدَ مَعَ جَبْهَتِهِ.
I saw the Prophet (a.s), when prostrating himself, place his forehead and his nose on the earth.22
The same tradition is narrated with a bit difference, “I saw the Prophet (a.s) prostrating himself on the earth putting his forehead and nose on it.”23
… إنَّها لا تَتِمُّ صَلاةُ أحَدِكُمْ حَتىّ يُسبِغَ الوُضوءَ... فَيَسجُدُ فَيُمَكِّنُ وَجْهَهُ (أو جَبْهَتَهُ) مِن الأرْضِ... لا تَتِمُّ صَلاةُ أحَدِكُم حَتىّ يَفْعَلُ ذَلكَ.
The holy Prophet (a.s) said: Your prayers would not be true unless you accomplish your ablutions… and place your faces (or foreheads) on the earth.”24
In point of fact, using the word ارض (the earth) in these traditions has been on purpose. It is mentioned to distinct earth from the other things, especially since both are being mentioned in the traditions, as we read in Sahih Bukhari and other books:
كُنّا نُصَلّي مَع النَبيِّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم في شِدَّةِ الحَرِّ، فإذا لَم يَسْتَطِعْ أحَدُنا أنْ يُمَكِّنَ وَجهَهُ مِن الأرْضِ بَسطَ ثَوبَهُ فَسَجدَ عَليهِ.
If prostration on cloth or rug was the same as prostration on the ground, there was no need for opposing earth and things other than it in these traditions. That is why even when the ground was wet, prostration was done on it. It is narrated, for instance, that the Holy Prophet’s forehead was wet with mud sometimes:
رَأيْتُ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يَسجُدُ في المَاءِ وَالطّينِ حَتىّ رَأيتُ أثَرَ الطّينِ في جَبْهَتِه.
I saw the Messenger of Allah (a.s) prostrating on the earth, which was wet with water and mud, to the extent that I saw mud on his holy forehead. 27
عَن أبي سَعيد الخِدريّ: إنّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم رُئيَ عَلى جَبْهَتِهِ وَعَلى أرْنَبَتِه أثَرُ طِينٍ مِن صَلاةٍ صَلاّها بِالنّاسِ.
Mud was seen on the Prophet’s forehead and nose because of the prayer he had performed with the Muslims.28
Tradition confirming that the Prophet was seen, on a raining day, putting a parchment rug on earth for praying should only be applied to special situations, not to contrast the previous ones. How is it possible that prostration be permissible on everything and still the earth be specifically mentioned in various traditions?
There are various traditions stipulating that the nose should be put on the earth in prostration, while stating the same condition for the forehead, too. This is specially the case in traditions stating that the nose should be put on the same thing as the forehead is put in prostration. One instance is the tradition Ibn Abbas narrates from the Prophet (a.s):
لا صَلاةَ لِمَنْ لا يَمَسُّ أنْفُهُ الأرْضَ ما يَمَسُّ الجَبينَ.
The prayer of one, who doesn’t put his nose on the same thing as he puts his forehead, would not be accepted.31
Also, traditions stating that in prostrating, the turban should be put aside from the forehead shows the necessity of putting the forehead on the earth:
“The Prophet (a.s) saw a man who prostrated on a layer of his turban, so he pointed with his finger to the man, to take off his turban and pointed to his forehead.”32
Bayhaqi, too, says in Sunan, “Reports indicating that the Holy Prophet (a.s) prostrated on a layer of his turban is by no means valid.”33 People other than Bayhaqi have stipulated this concept, too.
With regard to the aforementioned traditions, some of the Companions, their followers and others in later ages necessarily prostrated themselves with their foreheads directly on the earth or at least they preferred this way of prostration.
Abdul Karim Abu Umayyah says, “I was informed that Abu Bakr Siddiq, the caliph, prostrated on the ground or prayed in a way that his body touched the earth.
Abu Ubaydah narrates, “Ibn Mas’ud did not prostrate or pray on anything except the ground.”
Asim narrates, “Whenever Ibn Sirin prayed in a place where his forehead and nose did not touch the earth, he would change his place of praying.
It is narrated that whenever Masruq left home, he carried a brick with him to prostrate on.34 It is also narrated in Fat’h Al-Bari that whenever Masruq embarked a ship, he carried a brick with him to prostrate on when praying. The same tradition is narrated from Ibn Sirin.35
Razin, a former slave of the Abbasids, said, “Ali, son of Abdullah Ibn Abbas, asked me to send a flat stone for him for prostration.”36
Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz has been narrated to take the soil from the earth and put it on his mat to prostrate on.37
Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates that Urwah Ibn Al-Zubayr was reluctant to prostrate on anything except the earth.38 The same is narrated from people other than Urwah.
It is recorded in Al-Mudawwana Al-Kubra that Malik knew it undesirable to prostrate on a carpet, cloth, mat or skin. He used to say, “It is allowed to stand, genuflect or sit on these materials, but prostration and putting the palms on them is forbidden. But he permitted prostration and putting the palms on sand and things growing from the earth.”39
As a result, as stipulated by some Sunni scholars, prostration should be on earth not other things, except khumra40, straw mat and other uneatable and unclothing things growing from the earth. The traditions that allow prostration on mat and things other than the earth should only be applied to cases of necessity or be ignored entirely because of their contrast with other traditions. In short, one who puts his forehead on the earth has followed the act of the Prophet (a.s) who said, “Place your face on the earth.”41
On the other hand, anyone who refrains from this has in fact followed the ignorance of Abu Jahl who said, as Muslim, in Sahih, and Ahmad, in Musnad, narrated from Abu Hurayrah,42 “Did Muhammad put his face on the earth before you?” They said, “Yes, he did.” He said, “I swear by Lat and Uzza’ (two idols) that if I see him do this, I will cast his face to the earth.” He once came to the Prophet (a.s) while he was praying and wanted to tread his holy neck.
Whenever Abu Jahl tried to harm the Prophet (a.s), he returned shielding himself with his hands. When he was asked about that, he would answer, “There is a trench of fire and fear between him and I; and many feathers and wings.” The holy Prophet (a.s) said, “If he approached me, the angels would tear him into pieces.”
At the end, it is worthwhile to bring a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s) determining things appropriate for prostration:
السُّجودُ لا يَجوزُ إلاّ عَلَى الأرْضِ أوْ عَلى ما أنْبَتَتِ الأرْضُ إلاّ ما أُكِلَ أوْ لُبِسَ… لأنَّ السُّجُودَ خُضوعٌ للهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَلا يَنْبَغي أنْ يَكونَ عَلى ما يُؤكَلُ وَيُلْبَسُ لأنَّ أبْناءَ الدُّنيا عَبيدُ ما يأكُلُونَ وَيَلبِسونَ، والسّاجِدُ في سُجودِهِ في عَبادَةِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، فَلا يَنبَغي أنْ يَضعَ جَبْهَتَهُ في سُجودِه عَلى مَعبودِ أبْناءِ الدُّنْيا الّذينَ اغْتَرُّوا بِغُرورِها.
Husham asked Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Inform me of things on which prostration is permissible and things on which it is unlawful.” Imam Sadiq (a.s) stated: “Prostration is not permissible but on the earth or things growing on it, except eatable or clothing things from it.” Husham asked: “May I be sacrificed for you! What is the reason?” The Imam (a.s) replied: “Because prostration is for the Glorified Allah, so it is not lawful to be done on things which are eaten or worn; since those fond of this world are servants of what they eat and wear, while prostration is worshipping God. Therefore, prostration is not lawful on things that deceive the adorers of the worldly life.”43