Debunking Doubts 3 - ‘A Death of Ignorance’

So the question is about the prophetic hadith, the very famous report where the Holy Prophet has said, 'man maata wa lam ya'rif Imama zamanihi, maata miytatan jahiliyyatan' Whoever dies, not recognizing the Imam at this time, dies a death of ignorance', meaning as though he died in the pre-Islamic pagan era in the era known as the Jahiliyyah.

Now, there are two claims made here. The first is that the hadith is not authentic, and the second is that the Imams have never even said anything remotely close to that, right. The Imams would never say that believing in us or recognizing us is a condition of salvation.

So let us address the first part here. The hadith is accepted by both Shi'i and Sunni scholars, that is important to note. Not many ahadith would tick this box to be unanimously accepted, to have consensus among all Muslims as to the authenticity of the hadith.

So, for example, you know, in Sunni sources, which are irrelevant to our discussion, but again, it is important to know that they have mentioned it and they acknowledge the authenticity of the hadith.You have got the hadith being reported in Sunan al-Bahyaqi, Sahih Muslim, Musnad Abi Dawud, Sahih Ibn Habbaan, Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as well as other sources like al-Mu'jam al-Kabeer and others.

And as I said, it is important to note that while they have misrepresented the meaning of the hadith to be about giving an oath of allegiance to the Caliph, whoever that happens to be, and that is created a problem for the Sunni side because they have struggled to reconcile between the obvious religious nature of the oath and their dysfunctional political framework. And so, you know, they they they have reached the point where you have to give an oath of allegiance to, you know, whoever happens to be in charge, whoever is sitting on that throne so that has created a problem for them. But despite all that, they do not deny the hadith itself, so the problem is in the interpretation of the hadith, not in its authenticity and credibility.

As for Shi'i sources, the hadith's authenticity is undeniable, which proves beyond doubt that the claim about the report's lack of credibility is a blatant lie and it is a testament to his lack of credibility this person making this claim. If you do not want to call him an impostor, a liar, a deceiver, then at the very least he is ignorant of the most obvious truths. Now, let us see why that is.

As I said, the hadith is mentioned in Shi'i sources by the highest authorities and the most reliable and credible sources, I will mention a couple of those. The first is Al-Shaykh al-Sadduq Ibn Babawayh, ridwan Allahu ta'ala alayh, in his book 'Kamaal-ud-Deen' aw 'Ikmaal-ud-deen wa Itmaam un-Ni'mah'. Now, he reports this version of the hadith and there are multiple versions, by the way, which only go to reinforce the credibility of it, meaning that the hadith is mentioned by Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq, alayhi as-salam, in one case and then it is mentioned by Imam Al-Rida, alayhi as-salaam, and it is mentioned by Imam Al-Baqir, alayhi as-salaam. And so you have got a multiplicity of chains all leading back to the Holy Prophet, sall-Allahu alayhi wa aalihi.

Let me read the actual text here. So 'haddathana Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Ibn Ishaaq, radiyy Allahu anhu, qaal haddathani Abu Ali Ibn Humaam, qaal sami'tu Muhammad ibn 'Uthman al-Amri, qaddas Allahu ruha, meaning the second 'naib' of the Imam, Muhammad ibn 'Uthman Ibn Sa'id al-Amri, he was the second emissary to Imam Al-Zaman, an incredibly reliable individual, goes without saying, he said 'sami'tu abi', meaning 'Uthman Ibn Sa'id meaning the first emissary, 'yaqul, su'ila Abu Muhammadin al-Hasan Ibn al-Aliyyin, alayhima as-salam', so 'Uthman Ibn Sa'id is saying that I was in the presence of Imam Hasan Al-Askari, alayhi as-salam, when he was asked this question, what was the question? 'anil khabar il-ladhi ruwiya 'an aabaaihi alayhum as-salam', he was asked about this hadith that has been reported by his forefathers.

The hadith is this, 'anna al-arda laa takhlu min hujjatil-lillahi 'alaa khalqihi ilaa yawmil qiyamah' that the earth, the world will not be devoid of a hujjah, a proof of Allah, a representative of Allah, 'alaa khalqihi' upon the creation 'ilaa yawmil qiyamah' until the Day of Judgment, 'wa anna man maata wa lam ya'rif Imama zamanihi maata miytatan jaahiliyya' the second part of the hadith is the one that we are discussing that whoever dies, not recognizing the Imam of his time, has died a death of ignorance. 'Fa qaala alayhis-s-salaam, The Imam responded 'Inna haadha haqqun kamaa anna an-nahaara haqq' this is true as daylight is true. In other words, it is as true as anything can be recognized as such 'Inna haadha haqqun kamaa anna an-nahaara haqq' absolutely, yes this is true.

'Fa qila lahu yabna Rasul Allah' O son of the messenger of Allah, 'fa manil Hujjatu wal Imamu ba'daka?' who is the Imam, who is the Hujjah after you? 'fa qaala Ibni Muhammad', ajjal Allahu ta'ala farajahu ash-shareef, wa salawaat Ullahi wa as-salaamuhu alayhi. He pointed to his son, the Imam of the time, Imam Al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salat wa as-salam, and he said he is the Hujjah and the Imam after me, 'huwa al-Imamu wa al-Hujjatu ba'di' He is the Imam and Hujjah after me, then the Imam reiterates this point, 'man maata wa lam ya'rifhu maata miytatan jaahiliyya', so whoever dies without recognizing him has died a death of ignorance. Then the Imam goes on to say that he will go into occultation and those who are ignorant will be lost and perplexed, 'wa yahlaqu fiha al-mubtilun' you know and the rest of the hadith is irrelevant to our discussion.

But the point is, this hadith is authentic and it mentions this portion that is in question, that is mentioned in 'Kamaal-al-din' as I mentioned, it is mentioned in 'Kifaayati al-Athar', it is mentioned in 'Wasaa'il ash-Shi'a lil Hurr al-Amili' as well as other sources.

Another version of the hadith, which I want to mention as well, is reported by Ibn Hamza at-Tusi in his book 'Ath-Thaaqibu fil Manaaqib'.

Right, so let me read this actual text as well. 'An Muhammad Ibn al-Alaa al-Jurjaani, qaal hajjajtu fa ra'aytu Aliyy Ibn Musa Al-Rida, alayhi as-salam. This man says that I performed Hajj and I met Imam Al-Rida while I was on the pilgrimage, 'yatufu bi'l-bayt' he was circumambulating around the Ka'bah, 'fa qultu lahu, ju'iltu fidaak' I said to him, May I be ransomed for you, 'haadha al-hadith qad ruwiya 'an in-nabi, sall Allahu alayhi wa alihi, 'man maata wa lam ya'rif Imama zamanihi, maata miytatan jahiliyya' this hadith that has been attributed to the Holy Prophet, Is it true? The Prophet saying that whoever dies, not recognizing the Imam of his time has died a death of ignorance. 'Qaal, fa qaala na'am' The Imam, Al-Rida, alayhi as-salat wa as-salaam, said Yes, it is true.

'Haddathani abi ' my father told me 'an jaddi' he reported from my grandfather 'an il-Husayn Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talibin, alayhum as-salam, who reported from Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, 'qaal, qaala Rasul Allah, sallalahu alayhi wa aalihi. So just notice how this chain, the Imam, alayhi as-salaat wa as-salam, is emphasizing and reiterating the fact that this hadith is authentic, knowing that there is going to be deniers, knowing that there is going to be doubters. The Imam is saying this hadith is true, I heard it from my father, who heard it from his father going all the way back to Rasul Allah, sallalahu alayhi wa aalihi, who said, 'Qaala Rasul Allah, sallalahu alayhi wa aalihi, 'man maata wa lam ya'rif Imama zamanihi, maata miytatan jahiliyya' whoever dies, not knowing the Imam of his time has died a death of ignorance.

'Fa qultu lahu' this man, al-Jurjani then said to the Imam, 'ju'iltu fidaak, wa man maata miytatan jahiliyya?' What does that mean to die a death of ignorance? In case somebody tries to misrepresent the meaning of the hadith, in case somebody comes along and says ignorance means he does not know but his excuse for not knowing. The Imam responded, 'Qaala Mushrikun' he dies a death of polytheism, a death of disbelief, na'udhu bi Allah!

However, having mentioned these two ahadith, I want to mention a third one that was selected by al-Kulayni, ridwan Ullah ta'ala alayhi, for his al-Kaafi. This hadith, I chose it to be showcased because the chain in this hadith is so clear and unambiguous, it will destroy the argument that is made by this guy.

So this is in al-Kaafi volume No.2, page number 19: 'Muhammad Ibnu Yahya, I want to mention the chain and then talk about it later. 'Muhammad Ibnu Yahya 'an Ahmad Ibn al-Muhammad 'an Safwan Ibn Yahya 'an 'Isa ibn as-Saree' abi-l- Yasa'a qaal: 'qultu li-Abi 'Abdillah, alayhi as-salam, This person 'Isa Ibn as-Saree says to Imam al-Sadiq alayhi as-salam. So now we have got a hadith from Imam Hasan Al-Askari, a hadith from Imam Al-Rida, and now a hadith from the 6th Imam.

He said, I told him 'akhbarni bi da'aaimi-l-Islam'. Look at how important this hadith is, he says, I told him, tell me the pillars of Islam. 'bi da'aaimi il-Islam al-lati la yasa'u ahadan at-taqsiruhu an ma'rifati shay'in minha', the pillars of the religion that no one is allowed to not believe in them. In other words, these are the foundational tenets of the faith, these are the principles of the faith that no one can be excused for not believing in them. What are they?

'An ma'rifati shay'in minha al-ladhi man qassara 'an ma'rifati shay'in minha fasada dinuh' he then elaborates, he says the foundations that are so critical that if anyone does not believe in them, their religion is corrupted, their religion is invalidated. 'fasada dinuhu. Wa lam yaqbal Illah minhu 'amalah' and Allah will not accept his actions without these pillars, without these beliefs. 'Wa man 'arafahaa wa 'amila bihaa salaha lahu dinuh' and just to emphasize this point further, he says whoever knows them and acts upon them, Allah will accept his religion from him, his religion will be accepted, 'salaha lahu dinuh, wa qabila minhu amaluhu' and Allah will accept his deeds from him.

What are these pillars? What are these absolute fundamentals? Look at what the Imam says ' fa qaal, Shahadatu 'an laa ilaha illa Allah' the testimony that there is no God other than Allah, number one. 'wa al-imaanu bi anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah' and belief that Muhammad is the messenger of God, sallAllahu alayhi wa alihi. Number two: 'wa il-iqraaru bimaa jaa'a bihi min 'indillah' and recognizing and acknowledging what he brought from Allah, what the Prophet brought from Allah. 'Wa haqqun fi al-amwaal al-zakaat' and alms in your wealth in the form of zakat, to give in the way of Allah, Subhanahu wa ta'ala - this is number three. 'Wa al-wilaayatu allati amara Allahu 'azza wa jalla bihaa, wilaayatu 'aali Muhammad', Allahumma salli ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, and the authority, wa al-wilaayatu allati amara Allahu 'azza wa jalla bihaa' the authority and the allegiance that Allah has commanded us to have. To who? To 'aali Muhammad, to the family of Rasul Allah.

'Qaal, fa qultu lahu, hal fi wilaayati shay'un duna shay'in fadlun yu'rafu liman akadha bihi'? He said, I asked the Imam, is there different levels of 'wilayah', of allegiance? The Imam responded with this verse in the Qur'an- 'Qaala, na'am qaala Allahu 'azza wa jalla - "ya ayyuha alladhina aamanu ati'ullah wa 'ati'ur-Rasul wa 'ulil amr minkum" (4:59),' oh you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those that have been given authority over you', In Surah al-Nisa. ' wa qaala Rasul Allah'- the Imam then, he mentioned the verse from the Qur'an and a hadith from the Holy Prophet. What is this hadith? 'man maata wa lam ya'rif Imamahu, maata miytatan jahiliyya' whoever dies not knowing his Imam has died a death of ignorance. The Imam then concluded by saying,'wa al-ardu la takunu illa bi Imamin' and the world, the Earth will not be except with an Imam, it will not exist except with an Imam. 'wa man maata la ya'rifuh Imamahu, maata miytatan jahiliyya' and whoever dies... once again, the Imam doubles down whoever dies, not knowing his Imam has died a death of ignorance.

Now, what is interesting here is that the person making this claim about this hadith not being authentic suddenly pivots to a subject that is completely irrelevant, he goes off on a tangent and mentions Sahl Ibn Zayd al-Adami al-Razi, and talks about how this person was a prolific hadith narrator and how he was known as a liar and 'mughaali' and he was thrown out of the city of Qum by Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Isa al-Ash'ari and so on and so forth, and how he invented and concocted all of these ahadith. This is a side note which has no relevance to our discussion.

I will have something to say about this. inshAllah, in a in a different question. However, as far as this hadith is concerned, why do you even mention him? because remember, these ahadith that we, that we, that I shared with you, Sahl Ibn Ziyaad is not mentioned there. So what is the point here? Why do you even talk about this person? Even though I have things to share about him and I am of the opinion that you can not so easily dismiss this individual as a liar, as a fabricator, but we leave that for another discussion. For now why even talk about him? Because you are confusing the audience you are making them think that this hadith of whoever dies, not knowing the Imam of his time has been narrated by Sahl Ibn Ziyaad, which is not the case.

So let us actually talk about this particular hadith, which I mentioned has been reported in al-Kafi. No one who knows anything about rijaal and isnaad will cast any doubt on this hadith authenticity. Why? Let us talk about the narrators of this hadith one by one.

The first one was Muhammad Ibn Yahya al-Attar, al-Mukanna bi Abi Ja'far al-Ash'ari al-Qummi. He was the among the Mashaayikh of al-Kulayni, ridwan Ullahi ta'ala 'alayhi, and all scholars of Rijaal have classified him as 'thiqah', he is reliable, he is trustworthy. That is the first one. Muhammad Ibn Yahya al-Attar.

The second one is Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Isa al-Ash'ari. He was a companion of Imam Al-Rida, alayhi as-salam, Imam Al-Jawad, alayhi as-salam, and Imam al-Hadi. So three Imams. And not only that, but Shaykh al-Tusi says 'innahu shaykul Qummiyin wa wajhuhum wa faqihuhum'- so he was not just a companion, he was also a 'faqih' and he was the leader of the Qummiyyin. That is Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Isa .

The third narrator of the hadith is Safwaan, Safwaan Ibn Yahya al-Bajali, he was also a companion of Imam Al-Rida and Imam Al-Jawad, alayhum as-salam. But it was not just that, he was also one of the representatives of these two Imams who was so close to them that Imam Al-Jawad, alayhi as-salam, praised him in a manner that is absolutely incredible. Imam Al-Jawad, when Safwaan Ibn Yahya al-Bajali passed away, he said in a hadith - 'radiyy Allahu anhuma'- May Allah be pleased with them, meaning Safwaan Ibn Yahya and Muhammad Ibn Sinaan, another of the companions of Imam Al-Jawad. The Imam said, May Allah be pleased with them, 'bi ridaaya anhuma'- for I am pleased with them.' Fa maa khaalafaani qattu', for they never disobeyed me, Allahu Akbar. So the third narrator of this hadith is a person who is been praised by Imam Al-Jawad as someone who never disobeyed him.

We come to the fourth individual in this chain who is 'Isa ibn Saree, who is also given the Kuniya of Abu'l-Yasa'a. He was among the companions of Imam Al-Sadiq, alayhi as-salam, and scholars of Rijaal also classify him as 'thiqah', meaning reliable.

So the entire chain of this particular hadith is composed of 'thuqaat bi laa munaaza'a'- thuqaat, reliable individuals whose reliability and whose trustworthiness is not subject to any kind of debate. It is unanimous, everybody accepts it.

And therein lies the problem with these individuals who make claims, as this person does, about this hadith not being authentic. You see, he slaps a doctorate title before his name, throws around some names and obviously there is going to be people who fall for that deception and believe everything he says or because he is a doctor, because he must know what he is talking about,right? You have a degree in Arabic grammar or whatever it may be, just stick to that. That is my advice to you.

The hadith says 'al-mar'u makhbu'un tahta lisaanih'- A person is hidden underneath his tongue. The moment an illiterate person speaks, they expose their ignorance, they expose the fact that they are illiterate, so be quiet for your own sake, for you to come out and make this bold claim that this hadith does not have an authentic chain shows how ignorant and foolish you are.

He then goes on to say that the imams never made themselves a condition of salvation. Rather, he says, all they said was that we are preservers of the 'sunnah' we can help explain the Qur'an. So basically, they were preservers of hadith, they were simply reporters, they were like journalists who report a hadith from one person to another, and they understood a little bit of Arabic so they could explain the Qur'an. This and again, you know, I have said this before, I will say it again.

This is not Shi'a belief. You can call yourself an Isma'ili if you want, you can call yourself a Sunni if you want, you can call yourself a Baha'i if you want. You are not a Shi'a if you say this. The entire Shi'a faith is predicated on indisputable statements and facts, things like 'Allahumma waali man waalahu, wa 'aadi man 'aadah, wa ansur man nasara, wakhdhul man khadalah.' To suggest that the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt were normal people, they were scholars, they were good people, they were individuals who reported there were teachers in the hawza, right, belies the entire belief system in 'tashayyu'.

So you are not a Shi'a. Just call yourself whatever you are. Do not claim that you are a Shi'a and then spout these false beliefs that have been imported from, you know, the Sunni faith or whatever other religion that you happen to be influenced by.

And that is the problem with these people they are bending over backwards to impose their own neo-Salafi views on 'tashayyu', on Islam, right. And in doing so, they will misrepresent the Qur'an and ahadith and disfigure the texts beyond recognition.

However, we have already established the fact that he is lying here by saying that there is no authentic chain for this hadith. He is lying! There is no question about it! I mentioned all of the chain in one particular hadith, which does the job, right. He is a liar!

The authenticity of this hadith and dozens like it cannot be questioned, as we have demonstrated. And all of this highlights the central position of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhimu as-salam, alongside the Qur'an. This is beyond question. And that alone is enough to discredit these impostors and their entire agenda without the need to probe their other extremist views and deviant beliefs.

What is worse, and I will just mention this last point, is that when he is asked which qualified scholars follow the approach that he is advocating for, he mentioned a few obscure names, individuals who are either on the extreme fringe or completely unknown within the hawza circles, and a couple who have been completely discredited and debunked for their heretical and deviant views and beliefs, all of which shows that you are either dealing with someone who is completely ignorant or lacks the most basic qualifications to address these issues. And certainly cannot take up any position of religious guidance or teaching of any kind.