Appendices to Chapter 1

Appendices From: Genuineness of the Holy Qur’an (Printed July 1974)

Appendix 1: An Answer

After the publication of the author’s first treatise on the genuineness of the Holy Qur’an as a part of the introduction to the translation of the Qur’an by Mir Ahmad Ali, he received letters and articles against the genuineness of the arrangement of the Qur’an (on hand). He, therefore, considers it imperative to refer to the arguments advanced against the arrangement of the Qur’an and to add a few lines to what we have already said. The main arguments forwarded in the aforesaid articles and letters with our replies are as follows:

1. The Qur’an was not collected and arranged during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. We have proved beyond doubt, the allegation is entirely unfounded and it was made and publicized for political reasons.

2. Imam Ali’s collection produced after the Holy Prophet and its arrangement was date wise. It has been proven this allegation is also not correct. The text and its revealed commentary were put into writing by Imam Ali as it had been dictated to him by the Holy Prophet then and there; so the text and its arrangement was the same as the one which is in our hand. The difference between him and his opponents was on the question of interpretation as declared by him and his followers in public repeatedly. The Qur’an which Ali brought to the mosque during the reign of the first caliph also contained commentary which was not acceptable to the ruling party. So Ali took back his collection and afterwards nobody had the chance to see it except the successive Imams of his House. As has already been pointed out, there is no single reliable tradition from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt to show the arrangement of his collection was different. All that is said in this connection is mere conjecture.

3. Some of the traditions assert the deviations made by the followers of the previous Prophets including tampering with their scriptures were repeated by Muslims. We have explained that traditions of this nature do not mean the repetition of those deviations in the same form. It is true that such misdeeds have been repeated in Islam in spirit but in different forms. For example, the followers of Moses worshipped the golden calf during the absence of Moses. Such a misdeed apparently did not take place in Islam. But a student of Islamic history will realize the same rebellious spirit manifested itself after the demise of the Holy Prophet when the question of obedience to Hujat (supreme authority) arose. Mischievous hands had tampered with the text of pre-Qur’anic scriptures, but in the case of the Qur’an the text could not be tampered with due to its wide popularity. So effort was made to tamper with its interpretation.

4. The other argument forwarded by the protagonists of this view is that in the present Qur’an the Madni and Makki surahs (chapters) are not arranged chronologically. The same is the case with some verses, i.e. some verses of Makki surahs are in Madni surahs and vice versa, and some abrogating passages have preceded the abrogated passages. There is no argument whatsoever to justify the arrangement of the Qur’an should be date wise according to the date of its gradual revelation. On the contrary, it has been proven that the gradual revelation means nothing but piecemeal recitation and quotations from the book which had already been revealed in its entirety to the heart of the Holy Prophet on the esteemed night in the month of Ramadan.

Importance is attached to the date of Makki or Madni surahs or passages only by those who have failed to take into consideration the revelation of the Qur’an as a whole mentioned before, and its arrangement in the stages of gradual revelation. Secondly, there is no such abrogated passage. Moreover, there is no argument to prove the recitation should be in accordance with the order of abrogated and abrogating passages. For recitational purposes and memorizing the Holy Qur’an by everyone, the rhythmical and other factors are taken into consideration.

5. The main argument advanced by the advocates of this view is the supposed non-appropriateness of the present position of certain passages of the Qur’an. This made them to evolve the idea of disarrangement of the Holy Book by mischievous hands. A few examples of such passages (according to them) are given below to warn the students of the Qur’an not to try to cover their inadequacy by discrediting the words of God which He has promised to protect forever.

(a) 2:142, regarding the change of the Qibla. According to them, this verse should have been placed after 2:144 because of the objection of the simple-minded people in which the reason for the change of the Qibla should have come after the passage which declares the new direction to which one should turn in prayers as the Qibla. This argument proves nothing but lack of proper study of the Qur’an by the critics. The old direction towards which the Muslims used to turn in their prayers as the Qibla was abolished in verse 115 of the same chapter which announces, “God is the east and west, therefore, to any direction you turn, that direction will be God’s.”

This was enough to give room to the simple-minded people to ask as to what made the Muslims give that particular direction towards which they used to turn in their prayers. This question had nothing to do with the fixation of the new direction which comes after verse 142. Therefore, the arrangement of the passages beginning with verse 106 about the abrogation of one sign of God by another sign up to verse 150 with which the question of abrogation of the old Qibla reaches its completion is entirely logical and systematic. Every passage has been placed appropriately in its present position. If a person fails to understand, he should blame his own short-comings and not the arrangement of the Qur’an.

(b) In the same chapter 2:234 deals with the requisite period of iddah, (i.e. four months and then days). It means a woman, after the death of her husband, should not remarry before the expiry of the said period (four months and ten days). It is said this verse abrogates 5:240 which is a directive either to the husband before his death or to the heirs to fix for a year some monetary allowance for a widow and allow her to continue residing in the same house of her husband for the same period, if she likes to do so. A proper study of the two verses proves beyond doubt there is no conflict between the two passages to establish abrogation of one by the other. Verse 234 is a directive to the widow to observe iddah for four months and ten days after the demise of her husband.

Verse 240 is a recommendation addressed to the husband, before death, or to the heirs to finance the widow and allow her to continue to stay in the same residential house of the deceased husband, for a year if she likes. One passage enjoins on her not to marry a person for a particular period and the other passage recommends other relevant people about her stay at the place with the provision of her maintenance during the period of stay. There is no conflict between the two passages at all. On the contrary, verse 240 indicates the heirs can ask the widow to vacate the place after a year. This supports the Shia school of fiqh (jurisprudence) in which the widow does not inherit the land of the residential house of her husband, and this restricts the directive given in 4:12 which shows she should have no share in the residential land left by the husband.

She may be entitled to its value but not to the land itself, otherwise the heirs would have no right to ask her to vacate the house after one year because she has a share in the property. Therefore, instead of holding the passages in question as contradictory to each other, 2:240 should be considered to be still in force restricting the above-mentioned passage of chapter 4 concerning the share of a widow in the property of her husband in the sense she is not entitled to the residential land.

(c) In chapter five concerning the celebrated passage of verse three, ‘al-yauma akmaltu lakum deenkum” (This day have I perfected your religion for you), it is said it is not in its proper place. It should have come after verse 67 “Ya ayaharrasool baliq” (Oh Our Apostle (Muhammad) deliver you what has been sent down unto you from your Lord). The critics thought the completion of religion depends on the delivery of the last message. He thought the religion is completed when its last vital issue is delivered to humankind and ignored the fact the delivery of this message to humankind is a stage which comes after its being completed fully by God. A religion is completed when its vital and final issue is decided by God, not when the message about the vital issue is delivered to humankind. The completion of religion depends on Divine decision and decree which should precede its delivery or announcement.

This is supported by the reports from the Imams (Ahl al-Bayt) which show the passage dealing with the “completion of the message” was revealed when the Holy Prophet was still in Mina or ‘Arafat and the passage, ordering the Holy Prophet to announce the “completion” was revealed after the Holy Prophet left Mecca for Medina (ref Tafsi-Safi). It should be borne in mind the phrase al-yaum (today) or the “day” used twice in verse three and once in verse five of the same chapter does not refer to a particular day of 24 hours of our calendar. It also does not refer either to the day when one passage was revealed at Mina or the day when the other was revealed at Ghadir, on 18th Dhil Hijah, because the contents of these two verses had been revealed on various occasions long before the day of the last pilgrimage of the Holy Prophet.

Therefore the phrase al-yaum should be interpreted to mean one of ayamullah (God’s day which means various periods or stages of development of evolution in the realm of creation, divine administration and legislation. Accordingly in the hierarchy of the arc of ascent, the stage at which the divine decision concerning the vital and final issue of Islam was revealed to the last Prophet, i.e. the Prophet of Islam, should be called the “day,” al-yaum, because the divine decision concerning this issue means the finality of all previous issues. Without decision of the final issue, no issue can be considered as settled. So al-yaum refers to the last stage in the arc of ascent where the question of wilayat (divine leadership) is settled.

Another objection of the critics regarding the passages in verse three is it has come between the passages of the verse which deals with the various kinds of prohibited foods such as carrion, blood, pork, etc. At the end of this verse after the passage of “completion” the Qur’an allows one, in unavoidable circumstances, to use the prohibited food to the minimum extent possible. According to the critics, the passage of completion is irrelevant between the passages before and after, in the verse. The critics ignore the super-rhetorical hint which makes the passage of completion quite relevant to the passages mentioned before and after it. It shows nobody can disregard the vital issue of religion, i.e. the question of Imamate and follow the lead given by others except in unavoidable circumstances, in the same manner that one is not allowed to eat the prohibited food except is unavoidable circumstances. In short the Qur’an has placed obedience to undeserving leaders in the same line as that of prohibited food.

(d) 33:33 known as Ayat-i-Tat’hir has been placed between the passages which contain warnings to the wives of the Holy Prophet. This made some commentators to include the wives also in the term of Ahl al-Bayt used in the passage. Thus the critics thought this particular passage has been mischievously shifted from another place. But both the commentators and the critics ignore the divine purpose of placing this parenthetical sentence between the passages of warning to the Prophet’s wives. All the pronouns used in the passages pertaining to the wives are in plural of feminine gender, but the pronouns in this parenthetical sentence are plural, masculine gender. Moreover, the structure of the sentence with the particular particle, Inama denoting exclusiveness and use of the objective phrase Ankum governed by the preposition ‘Ana before the phrase al-rijis, which is also in the objective case governed by the verb Yuzhiba, denote inclusion of the Ahl al-Bayt exclusively as the object of divine intention for purification.

Thus the structure of the sentence shows, beyond doubt, (i) some males are included which justifies the use of the masculine gender, (ii) the object of divine will is a particular person exclusive of all other people, so this will and intention cannot be considered legislative which is general including all, it must be creative ones, (iii) of the wives of the Holy Prophet some were subject to reproach, and some though they were good yet there were people better than them among the female believers (vide 46:5), but there can be none better than the members included in Ayat-i-Tat’hir mentioned above. Having all these considerations in view, the inclusion of wives in this passage becomes impossible. Therefore, the justification of bringing this parenthetical sentence between the passages concerning wives was further warning to them to have the idea of being included in the passage.

Thus the appropriateness of the position of the passage here is very clear. This is supported by the report indicating the place and manner in which the Holy Prophet announced the inclusion of particular people. According to what Muslim (Book of Traditions) has recorded in his Sahih when the passage was revealed the Holy Prophet was in the room of ‘Ayesha. The Holy Prophet asked for a sheet and ordered Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain to join him inside the sheet and said, “Oh my Lord, these are my Ahl al-Bayt.” According to ‘Ayesha the Holy Prophet excluded her and did not allow her to join them, though the occasion took place in her room. According to some other reports the event took place in the house of Umm Salamah, and when Umm Salamah asked the Holy Prophet if she could get under the sheet, he said, “Although you are a good lady, yet these are the only members, my Ahl al-Bayt.”

However, whether he was in the house of ‘Ayesha or Umm Salamah or the incident was repeated at both places, the inclusion of Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Husain under the sheet in question and the exclusion of the wives is in accordance with the exclusive nature of the parenthetical sentence between these passages. The passage is like a gem studded in a ring. The ring cannot be included in the gem, and the gem is not like the ring. In support of this, there is a report from the fifth Imam Muhammad al-Baqir in which the position of this passage among the passages concerning the wives has many indications (vide Safi).

(e) It is said the celebrated passage in 42:23 known as Ayat-i-Mawadat al-Qurba is not in its proper place. The chapter was revealed in Mecca most probably even before the birth of Fatima though the Sunni and Shia traditions assert the term Qurba (nearness) here has been applied to the same people to whom Ayat-i-Tat’hir (33:33) and Ayat-i-Mubahala (3:61) have been applied, i.e. Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain, who were the closest to the Holy Prophet in respect of spirit and blood relationship, and many a time the Holy prophet declared they were identified with him and he was identified with them. The antagonist of the Ahl al-Bayt rejected the traditions on the plea that it is a fabrication of the pro-Ahl al-Bayt group. But both the critics and antagonists are lacking a proper appreciation of the significance and application of the passage in question in the light of the other passages and verses of the Qur’an.

Granted the revelation of the whole surah including this passage at Mecca was before the birth of Fatima, Hassan, and Hussain, yet nobody can deny the surah and the passage were revealed after 26:214 (“and warn the nearest of kin”). This was revealed in connection with the invitation of the kin by the Holy Prophet to help him in his divine mission. On this occasion none of the relatives or kin responded and accepted his offer but Ali. It proves him and none else, then, was the nearest person to the Holy Prophet in respect of both the spirit and blood relationship. So even if it is granted that all the members of the House of the Holy Prophet were not born and present at the time of revelation of 42:23, there is no doubt, Ali was there. It would be enough for the appropriateness of revelation and application, if one of the members like Ali was present.

The application of the verse to other members of the same status who would be born later on would be quite natural, as a corollary. The traditions whether narrated by Sunni or Shi‘ah traditionists show nothing more than quoting of this verse by the Holy Prophet in the case of Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain repeatedly to confirm the significance of the verse and the extent of its applicability to the people of a particular status, i.e. those who enjoy nearness to the Holy Prophet in spirit and relationship, who are near to or rather identical with him in purity of spirit, birth and conduct. It includes not only the above-mentioned four people but the successive Imams of the “House” too. It excludes those whose nearness to the Holy Prophet was due to mere blood relationship but who were lacking in high degree of faith and purity of conduct. Next to those purified people it also includes those who have the honour of complete attachment in spirit, faith, and conduct to those above-mentioned “purified personalities” like Salman.

However, deliberate effort has been made to make this verse vague And its application doubtful by the anti-Ahl al-Bayt group to deny the appropriateness of its position in the Makki chapter.

It is not out of place to refer to various interpretations of this verse by the antagonists.

(i) The verse does not mean the Holy Prophet should ask any reward towards the delivery of the divine message to humankind. They say the exceptional phrase “except the love for the sake of nearness” may mean no expectation of any reward made to preach to you (addressing his Qurayshite relatives) except my love of you for the sake of your relationship to me.

(ii) It may mean “I do not ask for any reward from you save you should love each other for the sake of the relationship.

These two interpretations have one point in common: the Holy Prophet does not ask any reward. In the former it shows the motive of preaching is the love of his relatives, and the latter the motive is to make us love each other for the sake of the relationship. Both interpretations limit his motive of preaching in which he is either concerned with his relatives and no one else or only admonishes people to love each other for the sake of relationship, ignoring all other important teachings of Islam. Moreover, both interpretations are against 34:47: Say, “Oh Prophet! The reward which I have asked you is in your interest.” The verse asserts the Holy Prophet was ordered to ask for some reward, but the reward in question, is consequently in the interest of those from whom he is order to ask for it. It is obvious the Holy Prophet’s mission was not confined to things which would be benefitting the Quraysh, his relatives, because he was Rahmatan lil-‘Alameen (universal grace). Nor was the mission confined to making relatives love each other.

The purpose of his mission and the extent of his teachings were to enable a person to attain the highest stage of nearness to the Absolute, and to be away from the deeds which drag one to hell.

(iii) The third interpretation of the verse by the antagonists is the Holy Prophet was ordered by God to ask his opponent relatives (the Quraysh) to love him because of his being related to them and not to give him trouble. This interpretation means the Holy Prophet was ordered to ask the unbelievers for reciprocal love. This is quite against the specific declaration 58:22 in which no reciprocal love should exist between the believers and non-believers, particularly those who oppose God and His Apostle even if they are close relatives.

لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُمْ بِرُوحٍ مِنْهُ ۖ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ ۚ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {22}

“You shall find not a people who believe in God and the hereafter befriending those who oppose God and His Apostle, be they even their own fathers, or their sons, or their own brothers, or their kinsmen. They are those God has inscribed faith in their hearts and has strengthened them with a spirit from Himself, and He will admit them into gardens beneath which flow rivers, they shall abide therein, with God well-pleased with them, and they will be well-pleased with God. They are the party of God. Be it known, verily the party of God alone shall be the successful ones.” (58:22)

That being so how could it be possible for the Holy Prophet to request his antagonists to love him for the sake of relationship? According to 19:96, the reciprocal love is bestowed by God on those who believe and practice righteousness and not between the believers and non-believers.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وُدًّا {96}

“Verily those who believe and work good deeds, the Beneficent (God) will appoint love for them.” (19:96)

(iv) The fourth interpretation refers to what is adhered to by all the pro-Ahl al-Bayt commentators whether of the Sunni or Shi‘ah school and supported by several traditionists. The verse means the Holy Prophet was ordered by God not to ask any reward except Mawadat (Love) for certain people for the sake of their nearness to him. This nearness cannot be mere blood relationship or nearness in spirit regardless of blood relationship, because certain people who were related to him were declared as the members of his House free from inward and outward uncleanliness and purified to the utmost extent of “purification.” Thus these people enjoy both nearness in spirit and blood relationship. This interpretation is further defined and clarified in 34:47 which says the reward asked for was in the interest of those from whom the reward was asked for in 25:57. The Qur’an asserts the reward in question was asked not from every person but only from those who intended to adopt a way towards their Lord.

قُلْ مَا سَأَلْتُكُمْ مِنْ أَجْرٍ فَهُوَ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ {47}

“Say you, ‘Whatever recompense I have asked for you, it is only for yourselves. My recompense is (to be expected) from God (alone) and He is witness over all things.’” (34:47)

قُلْ مَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِلَّا مَنْ شَاءَ أَنْ يَتَّخِذَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا {57}

“Say you (Our Apostle Muhammad), ‘I ask you not aught of any recompense (for my ministry) save he who will take the way unto his Lord.’” (25:57)

This means those who intend to approach God in spirit should love those who enjoy nearness to the Holy Prophet in spirit and blood relationship. The true love for those people is the sole means for approaching God. If all the passages given above are taken into consideration there will not be the slightest doubt in which the word Qurba in the exceptional sentence Ilal Muwadat fe-Qurba (i.e. Save love for the sake of nearness) is the only means to help one to approach God is not applicable to anyone but the members of the Ahl al-Bayt, the purified Imams of the House, the Queen of Paradise Fatima, and next to them to those who are attached to them in soul and spirit. There is thus no room for the other three interpretations.

6. The challenging verse of the Qur’an wherein those who doubt about the Qur’an being the word of God are required to bring the like to it.

In 11:3-4, 10:37-38, the Qur’an challenges the sceptics and disbelievers to produce the like of one of its chapters. This is the minimum they are asked to produce because the smallest chapter of the Qur’an, chapter 108, al-Kauthar, contains only three very short verses. In 11:13, the sceptics and disbelievers were asked to bring ten chapters like it. In 17:88, and jinns and ins (jinns and human beings) were challenged to join together to produce something resembling the Qur’an. In 2:23-24, the challenge is they should produce something like the Qur’an. According to the critics the passages differ from each other. In some chapters like two and ten, the challenge is made for one whole surah. In chapter 11 the challenge is made of ten surahs. In chapters 17 and 52 the challenge is about the Qur’an as a whole.

So they criticize that according to the present arrangement in the beginning the challenge was made in respect of one surah and when the sceptics and disbelievers tried to answer that challenge the number was increased to ten, and when they showed readiness to answer that also, then the challenge extended to the whole book, and this shows the “Author” was not firm in His challenge. The argument against the Qur’an was evolved by the opponents of Islam and the early writers of the pseudo-religions of modern times. It will be surprising if any Shia or Sunni theologian falls into the trap of this fallacy. There is not the slightest doubt in which chapter two of the Qur’an is the latest chapter among the chapters containing the above-mentioned challenging verse and therein the challenge is for one surah and nothing more.

This shows the “Author” (God) has always been sure of His stand and no one would ever succeed in producing the like of even the smallest chapter of the Qur’an. This verse leaves no room for the above fallacious argument against the firm stand of the “Author.” The above argument has shown that due to the lack of proper study of the Qur’an the advocates the theory of disarrangement could not understand the appropriateness of the position of the verses. They found it easier to discredit the arrangement than to admit their own ignorance. This is the reason why the advocates of this view differ from each other in giving reference to the verse. There is not a single tradition from the Holy Prophet or the Imams to show any of the aforesaid verses or chapters are not in their proper position. This attack on the arrangement of the verses is nothing but a conjecture based on whims and fancies.

Such innovations have gained popularity among some schools of traditionists particularly in India. It seems to have become a matter of personal prestige. However respectable may be the group but genuineness of the Qur’an with its authoritative status is more important as an article of the faith than any other consideration. Imam Ali told Talha, “The Qur’an in its entirety given for recitation in the hands of the people is the same Qur’an which has an irrefutable proof of the Ahl al-Bayt’s authoritative status, the necessity of their being obeyed by the people and their rights to be observed by all.”

On the Day of Resurrection the Holy Prophet will complain to God in which this “Qur’an” was forsaken by his followers:

And shall say (out) the Apostle (that day), “Oh my Lord! Verily my people have held this Qur’an as a vain forsaken thing.” (25:30).

This complaint cannot be true unless the Qur’an in its entirety from all aspects is within the reach of those who have forsaken it, otherwise the tone of complaint would have been different and the Holy Prophet would have said the people have tampered with the Qur’an. It would mean what was left among them was not the Qur’an. The proper study of this verse is the best proof against tahrif in any shape and form.

The Qur’an terms itself as Light. The Holy Prophet and all the infallible Imams of his house have also termed it as “light of guidance” which, if adhered to, will illuminate the darkest (unknown) regions and aspects of creation in its relation to humankind, provided, as the Holy Prophet has said, “One keeps it before him always as a torch light.” The very fact of its inimitability is enough to answer and refute all that is said against its genuineness and authoritative status.

Those who claim the arrangement of the letters, words, phrases, sentences, passages or chapters of the Qur’an in hand is not the same as was left by the Holy Prophet among the people with itrat, mean the arrangement was non-revealed; so the Qur’an requires of them imperatively to produce the Qur’an in any other arrangement provided its super-rhetorical standard and recitative and rhythmical beauty is not affected. It is true many non-Muslims and some credulous traditionists and theologians have tried to produce the Qur’an in a chronological form, but they failed miserably to keep that invincible beauty and super-rhetorical standard. However, it is a matter of regret in which those who claim to be not only true Muslims but qualified students of Islamic theology should say the Qur’an as revealed to the Holy Prophet and left by him among the people as an ever-lasting miracle, did not remain intact for 16 to 17 years, but that the Qur’an in its non-revealed arrangement produced by Zayd ibn Thabit and a few Umayyad youths of no academic significance has remained intact until today.

Appendix 2: Last Sermon of Caliph ‘Umar

There is a lengthy tradition in Bukhari, volume four, on the chapter about the stoning of the pregnant adulteress. Bukhari narrates from ibn ‘Abbas. It contains important matter which throws light on the events taking place immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet, of which one is the view of ‘Umar (the second Caliph) about the omission of some verses from the Holy Qur’an. It shows he was the first one who announced the incompleteness of the Qur’an on hand. The translation of the text is given here to enlighten the readers.

Text from Bukhari

According to ibn ‘Abbas, he used to teach the Qur’an to some dignitaries among the Muhajirin. One of them was ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-‘Auf. Once ibn ‘Abbas went to ‘Abd al-Rahman’s residence at Mina where he was not available and had gone to another part of Mina to meet ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab who was on his pilgrimage to Mecca. He waited for ‘Abd al-Rahman. On his return ‘Abd al-Rahman said to ibn ‘Abbas he wished ibn ’Abbas was present at ‘Umar’s residence when a certain person came to the Commander of the Faithful (‘Umar) and informed him of the wish of someone who had said, “When ‘Umar dies he would give his vote of allegiance (ba‘yat) to a certain person, and it would be similar to Abu Bakr coming to power by an unconstitutional method (falta) which was regularized later on.”

On hearing this statement ‘Umar got angry and said, “This evening I will publicly warn those people who intend to usurp the rights of people.” And further ‘Abd al-Rahman advised ‘Umar not to do it there because in Hajj season people gather from all corners of the country and they would try to be near ‘Umar. They might hear something from him (‘Umar) and without understanding may narrate it improperly. It would be better to keep quiet. ‘Abd al-Rahman had suggested if he would go back to Medina, sensible and noble people would hear him and react properly. ‘Umar replied to ‘Abd al-Rahman that on the first occasion after his arrival in Medina he would follow his advice.

Ibn ‘Abbas says on the first Friday after their arrival (in Medina) he hurried to the mosque at noon and found Sa‘eed ibn Zayd sitting close to the pulpit. He sat near him. Meanwhile, ‘Umar entered the mosque. Ibn ‘Abbas told Sa‘eed that ‘Umar would deliver a sermon the like of which was not uttered before, but Sa‘eed did not believe. ‘Umar sat on the pulpit quiet until the adhan (call for prayer) was over. Then he stood up and after praising God said, “I am going to say something, it is destined to me that I should say. It may be my last sermon before I die. Whoever hears and understands should convey my statement wherever he goes. Whoever does not properly grasp my utterance, I do not allow him to tell lies about me. God sent Muhammad, His true Prophet and revealed the book to him. One part of it was the verse concerning the stoning of one who commits adultery. We read the verse, understood and digested it. The Prophet did stone me and us too after him.

“I am afraid that after some length of time some people may say they do not find the verse in question in the Book of God and will go astray by giving up the revealed ordinance of God. The stoning of an adulterer is a part of the Book of God whether the act is committed by a man or a woman, even if she is pregnant, when proved by a witness or confession. Besides that, we used to read in the Qur’an, ‘Do not turn away from your parents. It is ingratitude to turn away from your parents.’”

(The structure of both the sentences uttered by Caliph ‘Umar differs from the divine style of the Qur’an. It seems to be a piece of imagination of the speaker.)

Then he uttered, “The Prophet has said he should not be worshipped in the same manner as it was done in the case of Jesus, son of Mary. Concerning me you all can say I am a servant of God and the Prophet (‘Abd Allah wa Rasool). I have been informed some of you have said this before ‘Umar dies he would do ba‘yat on the hands of someone. One should not be misled by the ba‘yat-e Abu Bakr (i.e. vote of allegiance to Abu Bark). It was unconstitutional (falta) and later on it was regularized. Yes, it was so. But God saved us from its evil consequences. Of you none is like Abu Bakr to whom people may submit. Whosoever receives ba‘yat without consulting the Muslimeen should not be followed nor the person who did ba‘yat with such a person, lest there be rift and fight among the Muslims.

(Caliph ‘Umar accepts the ba‘yat of Abu Bakr was unconstitutional which might have resulted in evil consequences. In the face of this confession by him, to defend the unconstitutional act’s continuous repercussion on the Muslims was not sound.)

Then he stated the events after the demise of the Holy Prophet. “The Ansars gathered in Saqifah. Ali and Zubayr and those who were with them remained aloof. The Muhajirs approached Abu Bakr. I told Abu Bakr we should go to Saqifah. On the way we met two people from the Ansars. We informed them of our intention. They said we should not go there and settle our affairs with approaching the Ansars. I insisted to proceed to Saqifah. We found a person there wrapped in a mantle (chador). I asked him who was he. He said he was S‘ad ibn ‘Ubaydah, suffering from fever. When we sat at Saqifah, the speaker from the Ansars, after praising God, reminded us of the services of the Ansars for Islam and addressed the Muhajirs they were driven out from their home and were sheltered by the Ansars.

“Now the Muhajirs wanted to deprive the Ansars of their rights. When he finished his speech, I wanted to talk, which I had prepared in my mind but Abu Bakr did not allow me to talk. I had to submit to him as I did not want to annoy him. Abu Bakr spoke extempore better than what I had prepared in my mind. He accepted the services of the Ansars for which they deserved the post but said the post suites none but the tribe of Quraysh on account of their ancestral superiority and sacredness of their native place (Mecca). Then Abu Bakr proposed one of the two people of Quraysh who were with him (i.e. ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubayda). At that time I felt myself far below the rank of being the head of the people among whom Abu Bakr was one.

Meanwhile a speaker from the Ansars proposed he would settle the dispute thus, ‘You have your own head and we will have our own head.’ When the dispute intensified and voices grew louder, then I feared the situation may become worse, therefore I forced Abu Bakr to stretch out his hand. I did ba‘yat and with me other Muhajirs also did ba‘yat. Some of the Ansars followed them. Then we manhandled Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubaydah who refused to do ba‘yat. Somebody said, ‘You people killed Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubaydah.’ I said, ‘God may kill him!’” Further ‘Umar said, “We thought there was nothing better than doing ba‘yat with Abu Bakr because we were afraid of leaving them (i.e. the opposite party) without ba‘yat. If we had left the opposite party without ba‘yat they may have done ba‘yat with someone among them after us.

Then we too would have had to do ba‘yat with the person whom they had chosen, and if opposed there would have a rift and quarrel. Therefore, whosoever takes ba‘yat with a person without approval and consultation with the Muslimeen his ba‘yat should not be followed by others. Nor the person with whom he has made ba‘yat should be accepted as Caliph lest there will be a rift and quarrel.”

The gist of the sermon of Caliph ‘Umar in this connection shows the first ba‘yat that took place after the Holy Prophet, was not based on any certified virtue. It was purely based on tribal bureaucracy to whom they were accustomed before Islam. The rift, of which he was afraid, continued throughout the history of Islam and no stable form of government came to power without the use of force which was against Qur’anic guidance.

Appendix 3: Fisl al-Khitab

After discussing in detail the views of the celebrated theologians and jurists on the genuineness of the Holy Qur’an and its authoritative status, one feels it is inevitable to remove the fallacious notions created by certain authors and a few solitary weak traditions relating to tahrif (i.e. the distortion of the letters, words, verses or arrangement of the Qur’an). In the last two centuries of the Hijrah some traditionists had tried to question the status of the Qur’an within the very narrow field of the sporadic traditions which are dearer to them than reason and the Qur’an.

In the beginning of the present century, the late Haji Mirza Hussain Nuri (d. 1320/1908), who belongs to this group, has written many valuable books which earned a name for him, but unfortunately his book Fasl al-Khitab, a bundle of contradictions, represents the views against the unanimous verdict of Shi‘ah scholars of all centuries regarding the genuineness of the Qur’an and subjected him to the severe criticism of his contemporaries whose superiority in learning is unquestionable.

The study of the book will show it refutes its own contentions. While he insists in which the Qur’an was not put into book form as it is now, he asserts at the same time that Ali used to write every verse of the Qur’an with its revealed commentary and its inner significance by the order of the Holy Prophet. Here the question arises whether Ali’s writing of the Qur’an was based on a particular order or system or was it something haphazard? Secondly, it is obvious the Holy Prophet’s reference to the Book of God, the text of which he was leaving among the people with the Ahl al-Bayt, was in complete accord with the text which he had already dictated to Ali. Therefore, there is no room left for the author of Fasal al-Khitab to assert the Qur’an was not put into writing during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet.

The story in which Ali had kept himself engaged in collecting the Qur’an after the demise of the Holy Prophet is nothing but a mere fabrication of the ruling party just to give reason for Ali’s delay in participating in the ba‘yat. They wanted to prove Ali thought the collection of Qur’an was more important than the issue of ba‘yat, otherwise he was not opposed to Abu Bakr being the caliph. The baseless propaganda gave a chance to the unscrupulous traditions of the later period to accept the fact the Qur’an was not collected and arranged during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet.

Another point which the author of Fasl al-Khitab takes for granted is the arrangement of the so-called collection of Ali was chronological. Without repeating the details which have already been discussed, it is an accepted fact that no Shi‘ah traditionist has ascribed the chronological arrangement to any Imam (Ma‘sum). The first person who attributed this type of arrangement to Ali is ibn Sireen whose fidelity to the Ahl al-Bayt are two traditions in the connection narrated by Kafi from the fifth Imam through Jaber-e Jaufi. Jaber says, “I heard the fifth Imam Abu Ja‘far used to say that excluding Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Holy Imams after Ali nobody except a liar could claim he collected the Qur’an as a whole as it was revealed, compiled and preserved as God has sent it down.”

Next to the tradition Kafi narrates through the same traditionist Jaber from the same Imam in which he (the Imam) said that except the successors of the Holy Prophet (i.e. the Imams) nobody could claim he was in possession of the Qur’an as a whole with the outer letters (exoteric form) and inner significance (esoteric form). The second tradition from Kafi explains what the Imam meant by the word “Qur’an as a whole” as it was narrated in the first tradition. The Imam meant that nobody except Ali and his successive Imams were in possession of the Holy Qur’an with both its exoteric and esoteric aspects which were revealed to the Holy Prophet and dictated to Ali then and there. This tradition is a general explanation for all the traditions which have been narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt giving various versions of particular verses. These particular verses are not found in the text in hand, they refer to the inner significance of the verse.

It is surprising the author of Fasl al-Khitab, in order to prove the Qur’an in hand is not the whole one which was revealed, quotes the first tradition ignoring the second which explains the former. It is very difficult to say the second tradition escaped his notice.

Nuri has criticized Mullah Faid-e Kashani for not narrating the tradition which states the Qur’an contains 17,000 verses. He has boldly accused the Mullah of dishonesty. The question of the number of verses has already been discussed at length to disprove this statement. Moreover, he himself cannot escape similar charges. Anyhow, all his contemporaries and scholars of later periods wished the late Nuri would not have written in this book which has damaged his reputation.

We would like to point out here that Mullah Faid-e Kushani is far above any allegation and he is a link in narrating the tradition between the author of Fasl al-Khitab and the Imams. When the above author discredits Mullah Faid-e Kashani, he loses the important link.

Appendix 4: A Luminary

The “Introduction to the Qur’an” is the outcome of deep research by the great scholar, the late Haji Mirza Mahdi Pooya (no honorifics can elevate a name now so eminent). The intellectual zeal and intuitive insight of this most profound and constructive thinker have elucidated logically the genuineness of the Qur’an, the meaning of revelation, the existence of God and the inevitability of faith in divine occultation (i.e. the birth, presence, disappearance and re-appearance of the 12th Imam – the last Imam from the Ahl al-Bayt, the progeny of the Holy Prophet) – all these articles of faith being based on the Qur’an.

He completed this work in spite of continuous ill-health. The work had been reviewed thoroughly by the eminent judge, the late justice Shahabuddin, former chief justice of the supreme court of Pakistan. Justice Shahabuddin was among the close friends of Aqa Pooya who imbibed the scholarly exposition of the Qur’an by the Aqa.

This great scholar left this world in July 17, 1973, (16 Jamadi up-Thani 1393 Hijrah) (may the Almighty further elevate his station). He was born in 1317 Hijrah in a very learned family of Yazd, Iran. His father Hujjatul-Islam Aqa Mirza Muhammad Ja‘far of Yazd were celebrated scholars of their time, the former being a brilliant student of the Shia divine Syed Kazim Tabataba’i Yazdi, who in turn was the student of the latter.

Aqa Pooya received his education in Yazd (Iran) and Najaf (Iraq). By the age of seven he was learned in “Euclid” and other intricate mathematical problems of Pythagoras. He was the most intelligent student of Mujahid Aqa Naini. The sublimity of calibre of this young scholar was recognized by his mujtahid who was deeply interested in his career.

However, Aqa Pooya did not stay in Iraq and Iran. Being very sensitive he was affected by the unhappy conditions prevailing in Iraq and Iran that he migrated to Madras in India. His mujtahid Aqa Naini was very unhappy over the migration of such a brilliant scholar and were it possible he would have ordained a religious decree to stop his migration. He set himself to the task of learning the English language there and kept steadily to it until he attained a sound knowledge of the language.

Scholars and people in Pakistan found common indebtedness to Aqa Pooya for his choosing to settle in Karachi and enlightening those around him by his conversations and fortnightly religious discourses – Dars-e Qur’an – where one could discuss one’s doubts and be satisfied by Aqa Pooya’s learned self.

Association with him has given birth to learned scholars and famous orators. Many have been blessed by his piety, tolerance and benevolence. He was one of those scholars who never raised an eyebrow at the unbeliever pestering him with his problems which were at times childish, at times serious. He was all ears and always successful in putting the questioner at ease and at showing him where the flaw lay in his reasoning. Problems of everyday life to the most scholastic ones were solved by him through recitation of relevant verses from the Qur’an with explanations.

In the eyes of the living divines of Najaf and Iran, he is an accepted authority on the interpretation and exposition of the Qur’anic verses from esoteric and exoteric points of view.

His explanatory notes in the Translation of the Qur’an by Mir Ahmad Ali and his book Fundamentals of Islam are among the monumental works of this epoch. His outstanding works will always serve as guidelines not only to the scholars but all those interested in knowing and grasping the meaning of Islam, universal truth, regardless of their creed, nationality, and sect.

His personality attracted Hindus, Christians, Parsees and Christian missionaries from abroad, who were left spell-bound and overwhelmed with admiration at his sound reasoning and clear exposition of Islam through the Qur’an, as presented by the Holy Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt.

Though the great luminary has physically disappeared from the scene, he retains a position in the horizon and generations to come will be enlightened with the rays of his learning.

I am duty bound, according to the wish of the late Aqa Pooya to offer thanks to Mr. Habib Esmail, Benevolent Trust, whose constant services in the achievement of religion ideal need no introduction, and Mr. Mushtaq Ali K. Laddhani who carried out his work devotedly.

I feel it is my supreme fortune to have had close association with this benefactor, the late Aqa who taught me Islam and dispelled all doubts relating to religion which was the product of the particular western philosophic thought and envious tendencies of the time. Not only my humble self but my late loving daughter Najiba (Mrs. Syed Fida-e Shabir), M.A., lecturer of English literature S.M.B. Fatima Jinnah Girls’ College who passed from this world at a young age, had also learned and grasped the instructions of the late Aqa which unfolded the outer and inner aspects of the Qur’an and teachings of the Holy Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt. She had been co-operating with her humble and assiduous labour during the Aqa’s views through his writings on various occasions (may Allah bless her soul).

At the end I request all the readers to observe their religious obligation and pray for the late Aqa Pooya’s elevation of station in the permanent abode for his great services to the cause of Islam.

Syed Muhammad Murtaza