In Search of Orthodox Islam 4/11

'A'udhu billahi min al-Shaytan al-rajim, Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Al-hamdulillah Rabbi 'l-alameen, bari' al-khalaa'iqi ajma'een. Wa as-salat wa as-salam 'ala asharafi al-anbiya'i wa'l-mursalin, sayyidina wa nabiyyina wa habibi qulubina wa tabibi nufusina, wa shafi'i dhunubina Abil Qasimi Muhammad. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. Thumma as-salatu wa as-salam 'ala aali baytihi at-tayyibeen at-tahareen al-madhlumeen. Wa la'anatullahi 'ala a'da'ihim ajma'een min yawmi 'adaawatihim ila yawm id-deen. Amma ba'd, faqad qal Allahu tabaraka wa taa'la fi kitabih, wa huwa asdaqul qaa'eleen. Bismillahi, al-rahman, al-Rahim. "Wa a'tasimu bi habl Illahi jami'an wa la taffaraqu wa adhkuroo ni'amata Allahi alaykum idh kuntum aa'daan faallafa bayna quloobikum fa asbahtum bi ni'amatihi ikhwaana, wa kuntum ala shafa'a hufratin min an-naar fa anqadhakum minha, qadhalika yubayn Ullahi lakum aayatihi la'allakum tahtadoon" (3:103). Salawat ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Tonight is our fourth night in our series Orthodox Islam, and I am immensely grateful to all of you for the feedback I am receiving from you. Much of it is in appreciation that we are able to discuss issues that are sensitive and contentious with respects, and yet with the ability to discuss them candidly. There are, however, some concerns that are raised as well and brought to my attention. And I wish to address them before we continue from where we left off last night as questions perhaps.

One of the concerns is that last night, when discussing the idea that there are principles in the Aqida of the Shi'as that insulate them from being radicalized, or at least as easily as the Non-Shi'a. Not as easily. This seems to have been misunderstood and misinterpreted, as my saying that the Sunni brothers are terrorists and the Shi'as are not. So I want to reiterate what I said last night, I think I said it very clearly last night that of the millions and millions of Muslims, ninety nine point ninety nine percent of them are not terrorists, Shi'a and Sunni. And I also mentioned that if you look at all the various terrorist groups that we talk about, whether it is the Boko Haram, al Shabab in Africa or the Sipah Sahaba in Pakistan or al-Qaida and Taliban and ISIS in the Middle East we can't help but notice that they all seem to subscribe to one ideology and it is the ideology of Wahhabism or Salafism. Now, this is not an accusation. This is a fact. It is not something that anyone should be shocked to hear.

Having said that, I want to also add to that that not every individual who calls himself Salafi is violent and extremist, you will meet individuals who call themselves Salafi, who practice the Salafi Manhaj, but are completely opposed and many of them are completely opposed to violence. I don't know what their view is about the Shi'a, whether they consider them Muslims or not but the mere fact that the Shi'a are permitted to go for Hajj tells us that not all of them consider us to be kuffar.

My point was not the fact that we are not terrorists and others are. My point was that those who seek to cause mischief, they prey upon Muslims, and when they prey upon Muslims, they seek the path of least resistance. And when they do that, they look for those who can be radicalized more easily. And if we speak of orthodox Islam, there are some principles that we have found from the teachings of the Ahl ul-Bayt, alayhum as-salam, that are missing in the mainstream Orthodox, in the mainstream Islam.

And so if we can restore those principles then, as I said last night, it is not an attempt to proselytize or convert and say we want all the Sunnis to become Shi'a, or us versus them, it is to say that the Ummah as a whole needs to acknowledge. The need for Adalah, for justice, the fact that the end does not justify the means, the fact that in Islam, just because someone hurts your loved ones and commits injustices, you cannot retaliate in like manner. And some of these ideas, that appeal easily to those who are taken advantage of and radicalized is the result of centuries of indoctrination by those who rule over Islam as dynasties. And so that is the point that I have been trying to make.

You will notice that in the media when they speak of terrorism, besides all these groups, the media will often speak of Iran as being a state sponsor of terrorism. But if you are an honest historian or just, you don't even need to be a historian, if you are honest about this and you study current affairs, you find that this labeling of Iran as terrorist is only because of the issue of Israel and Palestine. It is driven by the fact that Iran stands up for the Palestinian people and objects to the atrocities committed against them.

And in that regard, Iran supports Hezbollah and it is for this reason that they are being labeled terrorists. If tomorrow Iran wants to say we have nothing to do with the Palestinian people then you can be rest assured they will be removed from that blacklist of terrorists, but you don't see groups of Iranians in Africa, in Pakistan, in the Middle East, here and there in small bands and groups led by one individual causing, you know, acts of terror and suicide bombing and so on and so forth.

Now. You might say that, well, if she are not terrorists and neither are Sunni, and I totally agree with that, but the issue, as I said, is the discussion around where are we most susceptible and why is radicalization prone to certain groups of individuals and certain mad-hab and certain aqeedahs?

The other comment I received is that you are wrong in ascribing even the idea that terrorism is found in groups that call themselves Salafi or Wahhabi, because terrorism has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with politics. And once again, I say I agree it has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with politics. But those who commit these acts, whatever their political motivations are, whether it's to have control over others, whether it is financial, economic or whatever it is they are using religion to serve their political purposes.

It may not have anything to do with religion, but religion is being used. It is being done in the name of religion. Today, the Buddhists are committing a lot of acts of terror against Muslims. But why are they not being labeled as terrorists? Why are only Muslims being level terrorists? It is because of the proliferation of groups in the name of Islam all over the globe, where if they're suppressed in one place, they show up in another.

So it may not have anything to do with religion, but religion is being used. Now, if religion is being used as an Ummah, we need to find where in our Ummah is the weak link. And then we need to plug that hole and find out what is missing in that sector of the Ummah. If it is the concept of Adalah, if it is the concept of leadership, then we need to address that as an Ummah. So we need to ask that when they are misusing Islam, which version of Islam are they misusing and why? Why are they finding it easier to recruit individuals from that particular segment of the Ummah? And that is all that I was trying to say last night.

I want to also once again state it is in no way my intent to offend anyone. And I totally understand that in my audience here, there are individuals who are not from the Shi'a and there are individuals who are Shi'a but have family members who are not Shi'a. They have spouses, they have in-laws, they have parents. One parent may be Shi'a, one may not be. It is customary at the end of every series of lectures that the speaker will apologize and say if during the course of this I have said anything to offend anyone, then I apologize. I'm going to apologize from now because I will set things even tonight and going forward that will not necessarily be palatable to all of us.

But I trust that you will give some allowances to my sincerity, that what I seek is not to hurt anyone's feelings or to cause division in the Ummah, but rather to say we need to talk about these things because these are issues and we cannot speak of the future unless we understand our past. We need to understand how did the Ummah, if we want to understand why the Ummah is in the state it is today, we need to understand how we were governed, and what things were made sacred that shouldn't have been made, and what things were removed from being sacred that were meant to be sacred in Islam. So I think that makes it very clear.

The other issue was to recognize that when we speak of Tashayyiuh, there is also an immense amount of good and contribution that we get from the Sunni Muslim community as well. It is important that I mention this to my Shi'a brothers and sisters as well, that in the past, until the rise of Salafism and when Saudi Arabia began claiming to be the spokes people for the Sunni community in the past, when the center of Sunni world was Egypt and Al-Azhar, there was a tremendous amount of cooperation between the Shi'a and Sunni community, and even prior to that. When you studied the history of Islam, you will find that even though the government was against the Shi'a and the Ahl ul-Bayt through all the centuries, at an individual level, the Shi'a and Sunni 'ulama worked very closely together. Many of our most famous Shi'a 'ulama and giants as well have studied under Sunni teachers like Shaikh al-Mufid. You hear of debates Shaikh al-Mufid had with his teacher who was a Sunni. If you look at the Tafseer Talabi, for example, he quotes a lot from Majma ul-Bayan, which is a Shi'a source.

And there is, for example, a very famous Muhaddith amongst the Shi'a who was called Ibn 'Uqda. He's one of the earliest Muhaddithoon and was an expert in Hadith transmission and 'Ilm ul-Rijal and so on. Some of the Sunni critics of his time who spoke against Shi'a, they had immense respect for him because of his knowledge of Hadith. So we have individuals like Dara Qutni and Ibn Adi, many of whom may not be familiar with these names and al-Subqy and so on. These are giants in the Sunni world. They used to describe even Ibn 'Uqda as one of the Hadith masters of the Shari'ah. He was a man that records say had memorized or was familiar with close to eight hundred and fifty thousand ahadith, of which three thousand was only on the Ahl ul-Bayt, alayhum as-salam.

And here is the amazing thing: they used to seek his opinion and respect his opinion in Hadith. But he was a staunch Shi'a and very often he used to disparage Abu Bakr and 'Umar. But they still held him in very high regard because of his knowledge of Hadith. So there has been that history of knowledge, if you look at, for example, one of our great works in spirituality is by Mullah Faidh Kashani, Al-Mahajjat ul-Baida'. Al-Mahajjat ul-Baida' was a recension on Ghazali's Hiyah 'Uloom ud-Din. He took Ghazali's work and he rewrote it. And whatever Ghazali quoted from Sunni sources, from Bukhari and Muslim, and quoted Abu Huraira and others, he removed all that. And he put "Qal Al-Baqir", "Qal As-Sadiq", and he wrote his footnote and comments on where he agreed and disagreed with Ghazali.

So it is in no way to say that there is nothing that the Sunni world offers us. We are one Ummah, we are one nation, and I said this on day one, that if leadership would have remained in the Ahl ul-Bayt, alayhum as-salam, what you have had today is the same Ummah as Muslim. And within that Ummah, they would have been a group that would have been identified as Shi'as, not a separate group or a separate sect in there.

Now, picking up from where we left last night, we were looking at the first issue that Muslims find objectionable amongst the Shi'a, and that is the issue of Sahaba. And I just want to say a few lines and then wrap that up and move on from that. I mentioned that Muslims regard Bukhari as being absolutely authentic, but there are traditions in Bukhari that, at least to our understanding, contradicts the Qur'an. And because Muslims created this aura of sacredness around this, that there cannot be any fault in this book, it is causing a downstream effect.

Now, I went and looked into this further today to say, why is the work of Bukhari being held with such feverish zeal that there cannot be anything wrong in it? There is a scholar in the US, an academic, Dr. Jonathan Brown, who converted to Islam in '97, and became a Hanbali Sunni Muslim. He is a professor at Georgetown University and he is well respected, is not too old, actually. He's young, probably around the age of 40 right now. And he is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia on Islam in Law. And he has some very interesting works on Hadith. His specialization is in Hadith. He's got a book that is called: Hadith Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. And he's got another book called: Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy and so on.

In his book: Misquoting Muhammad, he discusses why Bukhari is held with such sacredness. He says that at the time of Imam Ghazali, there was a time when Ghazali was teaching Hadith in Algeria. And one day a student came to Ghazali's class looking very concerned and perplexed. He said to Ghazali, I want to ask you about the Hadith in Bukhari that is troubling me. The Hadith is that when at the time that the Prophet Musa, alayhi as-salam, was to leave this world and the angel of death came to take the soul of Musa, alayhi as-salam, Bukhari says in the Hadith that Musa, alayhi as-salam, punched Malak Al-Mawt with such force that one of the eyeballs of Malak Al-Mawt popped out.

Now this student was very disturbed that how could such a tradition have come to Bukhari's work? And remember what we said? Imam Bukhari, for every Hadith he prayed 2 rakats and remember that you could put your marriage online to vouch for Bukhari's authenticity. And there is nothing under the canopy and the heavens more authentic than Bukhari after the Qur'an. Dr. Jonathan Brown says that Ghazali evaded the question and said to the student: you are distracted with trivial matters. This is a time when Muslim Ummah has been encircled by enemies and you are concerned about this hadith?

And remember Ghazali lived in the 12th century. He died 1111, so being encircled by enemies has not really changed a lot, even after several centuries. Now, Dr. Brown says. What Ghazali did by telling him this was to evade the question. Now he goes into a discussion to say why? He says, you see, there were many people collecting Hadith in the early days of Islam, but there was this concern that there was a lot of fabrications. What imam Bukhari and imam Muslim, did was they began a science where they discussed the criteria and basis on which to determine whether a hadith is true or false. So it was like a formula or a filter, and if you push ahadith into that machine, it checks and filters and if it comes up with a green light, it is sahih. And that criteria became solidified, which is why the books became so valuable to Muslims, because others were not creating this sort of a criteria.

And others after them began using that. So, for example, Al-Hakim Al Nisaboury has a word called Al-Mustadrak 'ala al-Sahihain. He collected 9000 plus ahadith called Al-Mustadrak on the basis of Sahihain. And he said, I have collected these traditions on the shara'it, on the conditions that imam Bukhari and imam Muslim established as this is how we are going to determine what is authentic and what is not. And the Shari'ah for the Muslim majority came to be on this basis and therefore the work of Bukhari and Muslim became foundational for Muslims.

Now, if you question anything in Bukhari and Muslim, you not only question the Hadith, but you question the criteria and basis on which the whole Shari'ah depends and therefore the whole edifice begins to collapse. On the Shi'a side, it was different, because they took Shari'ah from the imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt, alayhum as-salam. Now, I quote word for word, Dr. Jonathan Brown's book: Misquoting Muhammad. He quotes a famous Sunni scholar in the United States called Zaid Shakir. Many of you may have heard of imam Zaid Shakir, his well-known preacher in the United States. He says: imam Zaid Shakir once noted. Word for word, this is. If you knock out Sahih Bukhari, you knock out the Shari'ah. So this is the issue now when I wrap up this subject of Sahaba, I want to once again say that Shi'as are not anti Sahaba.

Shi'as are not bent or established on the idea that we reject the Sahaba, what the Shi'as are saying is there may have been reasons, they may have been circumstances under which we built a foundation as Muslims from a Shi'a perspective, that was because we left the door of the Ahl ul-Bayt, alayhum as-salam. Whatever has happened, there have been centuries. But none of these are infallible. And there is no hadith of the Prophet or anything in Qur'an to vouch for these individuals, like it vouches for the Ahl ul-Bayt, alayhum as-salam. The Prophet, for example, said, I leave behind the Qur'an and the Ahl ul-Bayt, my itrat. This is a sahih Hadith from Shi'a and Sunni perspective. So he is temping and vouching for the Ahl ul-Bayt, alayhum as-salam. The Qur'an vouches for their 'isma and tahara that no rijs can come near them. But there is nothing in the Qur'an or Hadith that vouches for imam Abu Hanifa or imam Shafi' or imam Bukhari, or to say they will only four firqas in Islam and so on.

So it should not be beyond open to discussion and debate. And if we are not open to doing that, then we will continue suffering as we do, because there are traditions in our books that will continue influencing our ethos, and our mindsets. Before this problem of ISIS and so on in the Middle East, when we were able to freely go for Ziyarah. I remember that if you went for Ziyarah to Syria outside Damascus, they would take you for the Ziyarah of an eminent companion Hujr bin Adi. Hujr bin Adi was killed by Muawiyah. And there would be a guide, who would take you to all these Ziyarat al-athraf, and when they would bring you to the grave of Hujr bin Adi, these are the exact words the guide would tell you. And I'm showing you now the mindset of the Muslims because of how we have created the sacredness around. We cannot criticize anything to do with Sahaba, with Bukhari, with... Stay with the majority.

The guy who takes you to the grave of Hujr bin Adi and he would tell you: "Hadha qabru Sayyidina Hujr bin Adi, radhi Allahu a'n, alladhi qatalahu Sayyidina Muawiya, radhi Allahu a'n". This is the grave of our master, Hujr bin Adi, may Allah be pleased with him, who was murdered by our master Muawiyah may Allah be pleased with him. So qatil [murderer] is Radhi Allah and maqtool [the murdered] is Radhi Allah. This is the problem that Shi'as have. I mentioned this issue of Abu Sufiyan and Abu Talib. When we reject saying we can't accept everyone, especially if you are going to define Sahaba as anyone who saw the Prophet even once in his lifetime as a Muslim. You cast a very huge net and the issue of justice is now thrown out of the window. Now, it doesn't matter if the Prophet is being portrayed as a violent man. It doesn't matter if the dhalim is also being included as Sahaba, the insistence is that you stay with the majority, that you don't change what is set and that you don't question it. So this is where we are asking for dialogue. It is not to offend or to hurt anyone.

Now, I think that is sufficient with the issue of Sahabiyat. Let's move on and talk about the other issues that Muslims raise as concerns with regards to the Shi'a, if you're going to recite a Salawat 'ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad, wa ajj al-farajahum]. I have taken almost two or three nights discussing the issues of Sahaba, because that is the main issue. For the rest of the issues, I hope to complete them all tonight. I am, in terms of the content I have in mind for 12 nights, I am behind by approximately two lectures, so I will have to consolidate some matters.

I mentioned in one of the early nights that if you take everything that is said to be objectionable with the Shi'a, you can group them in three: lies and misconceptions, matters related to ahkam and Fiqh, and matters related to aqaid and theology. The issues that we talked about as being lies and misconceptions, the first was this misconception that the Shi'as are anti Sahaba, which we have talked about. The other misconception is that the Shi'as worship their Imams. This is a lie. The Shi'as do not do that. The other misconception is, now, this is the one that is really hard to convince anyone with. The Shi'as are taught to lie and hide their faith, because they have this concept called taqiyya. So if a Shi'a tells you anything such as we don't worship our Imams, don't believe him, he is lying. So it becomes a chicken and egg thing, because then now I could go blue in the face telling you I don't worship Amir ul-Mu'minin, but if you are not willing to trust me, then your response would be: no, this is taqiyya don't believe you.

Now taqiyya is mentioned in the Qur'an in chapter 16, verse one hundred and six. And many of you know this, that one of the most eminent companions of the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, Ammar Yasir, his parents, who are the first martyrs in Islam, and his father and mother were murdered right before his eyes. They tortured them. They tied ropes on their legs, like his mother. They tied ropes on each leg and the tied to two horses, and they sent the horses in two directions to tear her body apart. And he was tied to a post while he was watching. And his father was stabbed in the stomach. So when they came to him now, and they said he should acknowledge the idols and give up the deen of Muhammad, he said words to acknowledge the idols, and they let him go. As soon as they let him go, he came running to the Prophet while he was crying.

The Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, asked him, what was in your heart. He said, In my heart I had absolute faith and commitment. I said it only to save my life, to which this verse was revealed. Verse sixteen, one hundred and six to say it is only those who become faithless after faith that are to be condemned, but those who say words of kufr but their faith is intact to save their lives, then there is no harm in that (16:106). In fact, it is obligatory to save your life. And I mentioned yesterday or day before, that Bukhari mentions that from Abu Dardah, who says that we used to smile on the face of some of the other companions, but in our hearts we used to curse them. And Bukhari mentions that taqiyya is valid ila Yawm Al-Qiyamah [until the Day of Judgement].

Now, when you look at the history of the Shi'a, you cannot deny that we have always been persecuted. In the early days, our Imams were persecuted. In the later days we were persecuted. During the time of the Umayyads, individuals like Hajjaj bin Yusuf, they have not only killed eminent companions, like Kumail Ibn Ziyad, and Qambar, Sa'ed bin Jubair, but they killed thousands and thousands of Sadat. During the time of the Banu Abbas, Mutawakkil killed hundreds of thousands of Shi'as and Sadat. He used to ask for the Sadat to be buried alive while he was watching. So they would build a pillar and they would put a person in, or they would lay him down, and they would put cement and blocks and he would want to watch while they cover him up so that he is buried alive. Now, a lot of the Sadat fled, and they moved out of the Middle East, and they went to Iran, they went to the Middle East, they went to Egypt, they went to other places, which is why you have a large community today that are Sunni but are Sayyids. And they use the term Sharif. And a lot of them are Hasanis, and the reason they're Hasanis is because after the battle of Karbala, Imam Zayn ul-Abidin and the imams after him, who are descendants of Imam al-Husayn, did not rise and take a stand in fighting against the rulers of the time. But the descendants of Imam Hasan continued to fight against the rulers. And so they were targeted and a lot of Hasanis were killed. And so a large number of Hasanis fled from the Middle East and moved to other places.

And you have all heard of incidents of Sadat who went to places where they lived amongst Muslims who are not Shi'a, and they were so afraid to disclose that they were Shi'a and Sayyids they couldn't even tell their own children, because when the children went to school or madrassa, they might accidentally divulge because of which they would be killed. And it is only generations later that people would discover scrolls in which they would look at their shajar [family tree] and they would realize that we are actually descendants of the Prophet and we were originally Shi'a.

And that is why you will find a lot of the Sunni Muslims as well who are descendants from the Prophet, they have immense love for the Ahl ul-Bayt and at a close attachment, and they speak of... In lofty terms of the Ahl ul-Bayt . But they were raised with a Sunni manhaj and so in their fiqh and so on, they follow that madhab. Now, because of this brutal history that we have had of always being victims, we have been forced to practice taqiyya. Taqiyya is actually the exact opposite of Nifaq. The accusation is you Shi'a are hypocrites because you practice Nifaq. Nifaq, is that on your lips you claim to have faith, but in your heart, you don't have faith. Taqiyya is on your lips you claim you don't have faith, but in your heart, you have faith. It's the exact opposite, actually, of Nifaq. So, and also, I should add that prominent members of the Shi'a community are not permitted to practice Taqiyya because if they practice Taqiyya, then the community can go astray.

So Imam Al-Husayn, for example, could not practice Taqiyya. He could not say I will do Bai'a of Yazeed, just at face value. But in my heart, I don't accept it. If I was living at the time, and let's say, wa al-ya'dhu bi-Llah, I wasn't going to help Imam Al-Husayn, but I rejected Yazeed, I could have said that I will do Bai'a just to save my life, but he could not, because if he would do it, then an entire, then Islam is in jeopardy. So that is why you see that sometimes eminent ulama in the Shi'a community, Shaheed Baqr As-Sadr, Sheikh Nimr, so on, they speak up, they can easily do Taqiyya and they will save their lives, but they cannot because if they keep quiet, others will go astray. So Shi'as do not use the Taqiyya as a form of hypocrisy. If a Shi'a tells you I don't worship the Imams, he truly does not worship the Imams.

The other accusation is the Shi'as believe that their Imams control the universe. There are extremists in all religions and there are some amongst the Shi'a. But the important thing to keep in mind is that the Shi'a believe that any power an Imam has is not independent of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala. Now, we don't have the opportunity to go into a detailed discussion in bahath from a Qur'an perspective. But you can prove from the Qur'an that even though Allah has 'Ilm ul-ghaib, he gives this hidden knowledge to whomever He pleases, even though Allah is Qadir al-mutlaq, but He gives this power to whomever He pleases. He gave Jesus, peace be on him, the power, to take, to fashion a word from clay and blows into it, and it would come to life. He gave him the power to bring the dead back to life. Now, if you say 'Isa, alayhi as-salam, brought the dead back to life, it is not shirk unless you believe that 'Isa, alayhi as-salam, could do it, even if Allah did not will it. But Allah says in the Qur'an that you brought the dead back to life, Bi Idnhi, with my permission (3:49).

So we speak of our Imams as Imams who are "wa ajalnahum a'immatan yahdoona be amrina" (21:73). They are Imams who guide others under Our command. And we made them Imams when they showed Sabr, and when they showed Yaqeen. So anything that the Shi'as say about their Imams, that seems elevated, it is on the basis of with Allah's will, with Allah's permission, and empowerment from Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala. The issue of Shafa'a and Wasilla I will not go into that detail, because the vast majority of Sunni Muslims believe in that as well. Except for the Salafis, Sunni Muslims vastly and majority believe in the intercession of the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, and in the shafa'a of the Prophet.

The Shi'as have their own Qur'an. Now, in Arabic or in Islamic terms, the term that is used for any belief that the Qur'an has been changed is called tahrif, interpolation, that anything has been edited, removed or changed. I have read on tahrif extensively, and I have looked at all the ahadith in Sunni and Shi'a sources regarding tahrif. And I say this to you sincerely, my dear brothers and sisters, there are more traditions supporting tahrif in Sunni books of Hadith than there are in Shi'a. And you don't have to take my word for it. But what is important to remember is the Shi'a and Sunni unanimously agreed that there is no change in the Qur'an, and that all these traditions are to be rejected.

We have, for example, a very popular idea, many, many Sunni reports say that the Caliph Umar insisted that there is an Ayat in Qur'an with regards to stoning those who come into zina, and he called it the Ayat ar-rajm, rajm is to stone. And in this hadith, the Caliph 'Umar recited that Ayat in Arabic. It's there as well in hadith to say, this ayah was part of the Qur'an. But no Muslim today believes it is part of the Qur'an. There is a Hadith from Tabarani, another famous muhaddith amongst the Sunni, he quotes the hadith to say that the caliph 'Umar said that the Qur'an had one million twenty seven thousand letters. And if you count the letters of the Qur'an, it is not even one third of this, which means according to that Hadith of the Caliph 'Umar, two thirds of the Qur'an is missing. There is another Hadith from umm al mu'minin Aisha, that says that Surat al-Ahzab was much larger than what it is today. And there are many other traditions to say that many chapters of the Qur'an are missing. But no Muslim today will accept that the Qur'an is incomplete.

So you must therefore give the Shi'a the same benefit of the doubt when they say that any tradition you find in Shi'a literature that says the Qur'an is incomplete is not true. Some of the traditions the ulama have explained it differently. For example, if you see a Hadith from Imam Al-Baqr or Imam As-Sadiq, alayhi as-salam [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad] and he says this ayat is not like this, it is like this, you will find scholars like Allama Tabataba'i will explain and say what the Imam meant is the interpretation, the tafsir, the ta'weel of this Ayat is not how the mainstream Muslims interpret it, but it is like this.

Or, for example, this popular idea that Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, has his own Qur'an and that he wrote a Qur'an and he offered it to the Muslims and they refused to accept it. The understanding of there may be some groups amongst the Shi'a who truly believe this, that it's a different Qur'an and the belief that when the Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, comes, he will bring this Qur'an forward. But if you speak to the ulama, if you speak to someone like Ayatollah Sistani, for example, or Sayyid Al-Khu'i, for example, the understanding is that, yes, Imam Ali had compiled a separate Qur'an. But what was different in that is he may have compiled it in the order of revelation. So the Qur'an we have today is not organized in the order that it was revealed, the first verses to be revealed was from Suratul Iqra, which is not the opening surah. The Qur'an right now, is organized where the longer chapters are first, like Surat al-Baqara and Ali-'Imran, and so on, except for the Surat Al-Fatiha, at the start, and the shorter ones are all at the end.

Imam Ali may have compiled it in the order in which it was revealed. Plus, he may have put a lot of glossaries and comments and commentaries explaining the exact meaning of the Qur'an, which would have been handed down from Imam to Imam and which would be brought forth to bring the true original meaning of the Qur'an. But what is the proof that the Shi'as do not have their own Qur'an? The proof is that, first of all, the Qur'an itself in chapter 15, verse nine, says: "inna nahnu nazzalna adh-Dhikra wa inna lahu lahafidhoon" (15:9). It is We that have revealed this Reminder, and it is WWe that are its protectors. It is We that shall protect it. So anyone who says the Qur'an is altered has immediately contradicted this verse of the Qur'an.

Secondly, secondly, in Shi'a fiqh, when you pray salat, you have to recite a complete surah of Qur'an. In the Sunni madhab, you don't you can read a portion or a few verses, but in Shi'a you have to read a complete Sura. Now, if there are Suras that were incomplete, then we would have had Hadith from our Imams that would say when you pray salat you cannot recite these suras because they are not complete. But there is no surah that you cannot recite, except perhaps the surah that have the Wajib sajda, and there are two Surahs, two sets at the end, where they are seen to be together. When you read one, you read the other. But otherwise the Qur'an is complete.

There have been a lot of attempts in the past to blame the Shi'as of having their own Qur'an. And many of you, if you Google this, you will find it. There was an attempt at one point to say the Shi'as have this extra Surah called Surat al-Wilaya, and this was a forged surah that was written up as Surah al-Wilaya, and it was put into a copy of the Qur'an published, and it was planted in a Shi'a mosque. And the whole thing was set up. And then it was caught. It was divulged. And there is a whole story to it. But you can rest assuredly, walk into any Shi'a Masjid, anywhere in the world, and pull up a Qur'an from any shelf without announcing, and you will not find it to be any different. In fact, outside Iran, I think most of the Shi'a masajid the Qur'an is probably not even published from a Shi'a country or, maybe in Iraq as well. But if you were to pick up a Qur'an in the Masjid here, it is most likely printed either in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. So this is, again, a lie and a misconception.

Another lie is that the Shi'as believe if you love and follow the Imams, you don't need to pray and you will go to Jannah, and that you don't have to pray or fast. Ali ki mohabbat kafi hai, kullu Shi'a jannah, you go to your qabr. If you don't pray, you don't fast. It doesn't matter. As long as you love Ali, you love Husayn, you go to Jannah. This is a lie. Why? Because the hadith of the Imams themselves reject it. Forget about not praying, if you take your prayers lightly! Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad] he says: "la tanalu shafa'tuna, mustakhiffan bi as-salat", our intercession will not reach the one who takes his prayer lightly. And a long, long time ago, very long, maybe 17, 18 years ago, I had once delivered a lecture in which I demonstrated that every single Imam towards the end of their lives or when they were passing away, they mentioned Salat. That Salat, Salat, Salat, and you be the best in observing Shari'ah and upholding it. That is how you become an adornment for us. "Kunu la na zaynan, wa la takunu la na shaynan" . No one should point to my Shi'a, the Imams wanted and said and say that, look, the Shi'as are fasiq. They should point at you and say: if there is anyone who is adamant about practicing Shari'ah, it is these, the followers of Jafar as-Sadiq. So this is emphasis of Al-Ai'mma.

The other lie about the Shi'as is that the Shi'as were originally an extremist group. And then over time, in order to survive they sobered and they kind of watered things down and removed extremist elements and kind of took a little from here and there and became now part of some Madhab of that is worthy of a second look at. Now here I want to quote something that is very interesting. If you go to the university to stay and take a course on Shi'a Islam, even University of Toronto, they will use a standard textbook called "An Introduction to Shi'i Islam" by Moojan Momen. Moojan Momen, he criticizes many things and so on, but at one point he writes something very interesting and I quote verbatim here, he says: The very term ghullat dates after the time of As-Sadiq, that ghuloo is extremism. He says the very term ghuloo and ghullat, it only came about after the time of As-Sadiq, not before that. Now, listen to this: "and all the modern academic scholarly research has produced very little evidence that regardless of what the followers may have said or thought, the imams themselves did not say or think anything different from what present day mainstream Shi'as think and practice". Perhaps you didn't catch that. Let me tell you what he is saying. He says, despite all the academic research we have done, there is very little evidence to show that there is any difference between the hadith of the Imams and what the Shi'a practice today.

So here is the issue, if Shi'as had been extremists, then they would have fabricated traditions of extremism and attributed it to their Imams, and then over time, when Shi'as watered down their extremism and made it more mainstream, what you would have found today is that the Shi'as are not extremists, but the hadith about their Imams, the ones that they would call Sahih hadith would have shown signs of that extremism. But what he is saying is there is nothing extreme in the hadith of Al-Baqir and as-Sadiq and there is nothing extreme in the Shi'a today. Therefore, any extremism was something that rose over time as an anomaly, as something separate, that rose and fell and that exist separate from mainstream Tasha'yyu. But there is a consistency between what the Shi'as practice and believe today and what their Imams taught centuries ago. And that in itself is proof that Tasha'yyu was never extreme, and that the Imams always, always rejected those who ascribe divinity to them, and spoke of extremism with regards to them.

The other misconception or lie imputed to the Shi'as is the issue of visiting graves of the Imams, and building shrines over them. As far as visiting Graves is concerned, all Muslims agree to that. Even the Salafis have a Hadith that they support the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, used to encourage Muslims to go and visit the graves because it reminds them of the hereafter. And there is ahadith in Bukhari and others to say that the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam went to visit his mother's grave. Now, there is an issue of contention there because they use an Ayat of Qur'an where they say that the tafseer of that Ayat is the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, went to his mother's grave with companions, and he cried at his mother's grave. And when they asked him why he was crying, he said, I asked Allah to ask for forgiveness for my mother, but He refused me, because she wasn't a Muslim when she died. So then I asked Allah if I could at least go visit her grave and He allowed me. So he went to visit the grave. And based on that, it is permissible to visit graves.

So visiting graves is not an issue as far as building of shrines is concerned. Again, mainstream Muslims don't have an issue with this. In Sunni Islam, there is a lot of shrines for Sufi saints, for example, and generally in Islam, again, it is a bahath, a discussion, but it doesn't need to be dealt with right now. And it is not a reason for which you might say Shi'as are not Muslims because of this. The other lie that we have mentioned time and again is that Shi'aism was started by a Jew named Abdullah bin Sabah. One of our greatest historian, Allama Murtaza Askari, that I mentioned earlier, who has written three volumes on Aysha, he has written a work on Abdullah bin Sabah, and he has done extensive research on every single report, narration, anything you can find on Abdullah bin Sabah. And he has proven he is a fictitious figure. They never existed anyone by the name of Abdullah bin Sabah. So this was another lie that was created again against the Shi'a.

The other issue that is rejected, that is raised as a concern that why Shi'as cannot be Muslims is, they say, anyone who does not believe in the khilafat of Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, Muawiyah and Yazeed cannot be a Muslim. Now, this is more from the Salafi side because the Sunni Muslims, you know, would not say this regarding Yazeed. The issue here first is that Yazeed, being a Muslim is also questionable, apart from being sharib ul-khamr, and being a gambler, and drinking wine, and womanizing and all that, there is record of his poetry. Like, for example, when the Qafilah is brought before him of Imam Zayn Al-Abidin and the Ahl ul-Bayt before him, there are words that he sings while he is drunk in which he says: laita ashiyakhin be Badrin shahidu. If only my forefathers who were killed in Badr by Ali were here, they would have said to me. In our language, Shabash oh Yazeed, for what you have done. And then these are the words of Yazeed, he says: la'ibat Hashim bi 'l-mulki fala, khabrun ja'a wa la wahyun nazal. The Banu Hashim played a game because there was no revelation that was ever sent. Nothing ever came down from Allah, they just made this all up in order to have power. These are the words of Yazeed. How does this then become a measure and a yardstick for saying who is a Muslim and who's not?

Now, let's reduce the scope and say those who say that Shi'as are not-Muslim because they reject the first three caliphs. Here what we see is we are not trying to fight, this is us versus you and who's right and who's wrong. All we're saying is, is this the reason for Shi'as to be rejected as being Muslims? The first issue is that Muslims say that the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, never appointed a successor. If the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, never appointed a successor, and therefore there is nothing in the Qur'an or Hadith to say that the first caliph in Islam has to be Abu Bakr, then where is the daleel and the proof to say that this is going to be the measure and the yardstick of Iman and kufr? I can argue for the case of Ali bin Abi Talib on the basis of Ghadir, for example, or on the basis of Da'awat ul-'Ashira, that the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, said: man kunto mawlahu, fa hadha Ali mawla. And this is a Mutawatir hadith that nobody can reject. We could argue about the meaning of Mawla, but there is no hadith from the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, to say that the first, second, third caliph have to be this.

And therefore, if an individual says, I don't accept them as caliphs, you might say they are wrong. You might say that, you know, they are mis-portraying these individuals, but you cannot use it as a measure in a yardstick of Iman and kufr to say that if you reject them, then you cannot be a Muslim. The yardstick of a Muslim will always have to remain that anyone who says "la ilaha illa Allah. Muhammadun Rasul Allah" is a Muslim and you cannot tell him you are not a Muslim and do takfir on him.

The other issue, and there's just two or three more here, is one of that if you don't follow one of the four Madhabs, if you are not a Shafi'i, a Malaki, a Hanafi or a Hanbali, then you cannot be accepted as a Muslim. We cannot pray behind you. We cannot accept you as part of the Ummah. Once again, the issue is the same that these madhahib came to form much later during the time of the Banu Abbas. On what basis do you remove Muslims and say you cannot be a Muslim unless you follow this madhab? If you look at the history of madhahib, it's very interesting. In the early days of Islam, there were many individuals who had started their own school. For example, Hasan al-Basri had his own Madhab and Fiqh. Tabari, the author of Tarikh At-Tabari, his name is Muhammad Bin Jareer At-Tabari. He had started his own school. He was born a Shafi'i, but then he started his own school that was called the Jariri School because of his name Ibn Jarir.

And there is in Sunni literature that there was 11, 12, maybe 15 different schools. And when the government and the authorities saw this is getting out of hand and all sorts of schools are popping up and growing from all sorts of places, they clamp down on this and said only these four will be accepted as official schools and anything else is not acceptable. So this is an institutionalization from the governments of the time, but it is not from Shari'ah perspective. Otherwise, you don't have a case to argue why the schools of fiqh have to be four and not three or five. So this is, again, this is no reason to say the Shi'as are not Muslims.

There is another lie that is said about the Shi'as that the Shi'as believe that revelation was supposed to come to Ali bin Abi Talib, but na'udhu bi-Llah, Jibra'il did khiyana and sent it to Muhammad, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, instead of Ali [astaghfiru Allah]. This is a very popular misconception that you will find people quoting on the Internet as well. I cannot emphasize enough that in the Shi'a Madhab, we take our understanding of religion first and foremost from the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam. The Imams, alayhum as-salam [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], and I say this with utmost respect, do not have the authority to introduce anything to Shari'ah. They only tell you what is the Shari'ah of Muhammad. And that is why we insist on taking from them.

They clearly says Imam As-Sadiq, alayhi as-salam, clearly says, if I tell you anything and I don't tell you my source, then that is from my father, al-Baqir, who heard from his father Zayn al-Abidin, who heard from his father, Al-Husayn, who heard from Amir al-Mu'minin, who heard from Rasul Allah, who heard from Jibra'il, who heard from Allah. There is a golden chain, the Silsilat udh-Dhahabiyah, that goes all the way down. So the Shar'ih, the legislator of Shari'ah is only Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala.

And when we talk about the second caliph and some of the changes he made in Shari'ah, we shall revisit this issue to say that even the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, when people would ask him questions he would not answer, he would wait until the verse was revealed. So the Shari'ah of Muhammad, when we say: halalu Muhammad halal ila Yawm Al-Qiyamah, wa haramu Muhammad haram ila Yawm Al-Qiyamah, what he made halal is halal to the Day of Judgment and haram, he, Shari'ah comes from him only it is called Shari'ah Muhamadiyya, and we take this further down our maraja' in the Sunni fiqh. When a Sunni imam sometimes issues a fatwa, he will tell you: this is my opinion or my fatwa. The Shi'a maraj'ih do not have a right to express their opinion. They simply plumb everything they can find in Qur'an and Hadith to find what was the opinion of the Prophet, and if they can't, they look in the hadith of the Imams, and trace it back to the Prophet. When they can't find anything, then they do not tell you. This is wajib, haram, they tell you ihtiyat wajib, ihtiyat haram. Why the ihtiyat? Because he does not have the authority to tell you: I say it's wajib or its haram. So there is a direct line going back only and only to the Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam.

Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, used to say, ana 'abdun min 'abidi Muhammad. I am just a humble slave from the slaves of Muhammad. When we praise the Ahl ul-Bayt we attach to them, Ahl ul-Bayt means household, household of who? Household of Muhammad. Husayn, alayhi as-salam, is precious to us, why? Because he is grandson of Rasul. Ali is precious to us, why? Because he is Wasi of Rasul. Fatimah, alayha as-salam, is precious to us, why? Because daughter of Rasul. So rest assured, there is no one more supreme in Islam to us beyond Rasul Allah, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].

The final one for tonight, there is this other story that has gone around, not so much now that says the Shi'as are permitted to commit all kinds of sins on the day of Ashura. They get together in their mosques, men and women together, and they commit every sin you can think of together. And then they cry and cry and beat themselves and everything is forgiven. So we have this one day where there's a free license to do as you please, and you are forgiven at the end of the day. Now, these are the sort of things that I'm saying are absolute misconceptions, lies, and it doesn't take anyone, you know, a lot to realize that these are untrue. However, there are other issues that are true differences between us, and we need to discuss them. Now, there is a few, not as many, with regards to the fiqh and Ahkam issues, I will have to cover them at a high level tomorrow and then inshaAllah, we will then try and move towards now saying if we have discussed our differences, what are the theological differences between the Shi'a and the Sunni Madhab and these theological differences,

we want to argue to say if the mainstream Ummah were to adopt these principles of Adalah and Imamah then we would all, as an Ummah, be closer to Orthodox Islam. And then setting these two as a yardstick now we will start reviewing the history from the time of the Prophet's Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam passing away to the early khilafah, to the Ummayad and Abbasids and we will bring that very quickly to the present day, and the different Muslim governments, rules, movements, and see time and time again, is this point making sense to us as Muslims that because we lack Adalah and Imamah, we are in the plight that we are in today.

If we can recite a Salawat ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad wa ajjal farajahum] Salla Allahu wa sallama alayka ya Aba Abdillah. Wa 'ala arwahy illati hallat bi finayk. Ruhi wa arwahu 'alameen laka al-fidha. Ya laytana kunna ma'akum Aba Abdilla, fa nafuzu fawzan Adheema.

Tonight is our fourth night in remembering Aba Abdillah Al-Husayn, as we wait in anticipation for the day of Ashura. And I mentioned in one of the early nights that because the angels and everything in the creation of Allah weeps for Husayn, alayhi as-salam, it is our honour that we as sinners, as humble individuals, to be blessed with such opportunities that we can get together and shed some tears or listen to the masa'ib of Husayn, alayhi as-salam.

This is truly a blessing of the mother of Husayn, alayhi as-salam. You know, the arbab of Aza' in the past used to say that when you cry for Husayn, Fatimah, alayha as-salam, collects those tears in her rumal, and you may interpret this metaphorically, but we have many ahadith from the Imams to say, and the 6th Imam, alayhi as-salam, when he used to hold the Majlis, he used to say to the Shi'a that do not think that only I am present before you, whenever you remember Husayn alayhi as-salam, then the spirit of Husayn alayhi as-salam is also present in that Majlis.

And that is why the Imams give so much emphasis, because there is so much barakah and there is so much blessing and so much honour to those who are given this opportunity. Imam Al-Ridha, alayhi as-salam, used to invite great poets like Da'ib Al-Khuzail society and where an Imam should be sitting on the pulpit and others sitting down, the Imam showing the respect of the Aza of Husayn, he would sit down and ask the poet to sit on the pulpit and say, Read the marthiya of my jadd Husayn.

We are told that in Medina, a man once came to Iman as-Sajjad and said to him, Ya Ibn Ar-Rasul Allah, my daughter is getting married, and I would love if you would participate at her wedding. The Imam said to him, I am in a state of mourning and I'm not able to come to this wedding. So he asked the Imam and said, Ya Ibn Ar-Rasul Allah, is there anything I can do? That will bring you to my home and bless this occasion. And Imam as-Sajjad said to him, yes, if you keep the Majlis of my Baba Husayn, I will come.

This is how we started this tradition, what we call what shuruwat ash- shady were at the start of a wedding we hold a Majlis, and people are surprised. Why do you cry before the start of a wedding? We cry because we want the spirit of Zayn Al-Abidin to be at our weddings as well. So the man says, I kept the Majlis of Husayn and I invited poets and people came. And the poet went up the pulpit and began preaching, reading Marthiya and people were crying, but my Imam was nowhere to be seen. He said, I thought to myself, it is not like my Imam to promise me and then not show up. So he went out looking, waiting at the door. When will Ali Ibn Al-Husayn come? He finally thought, let me go out to the road and see perhaps he is approaching from outside.

When he stepped outside his house, he found Imam as-Sajjad arranging the sandals of the Azadar. Mawla, you should be sitting inside I kept this majlis so you will attend, and what did Zayn Al-Abidin say to him? He said, you do not know the maqam of those who cry for Husayn. So an Imam serves the Azadar of Husayn. And that is why when you go to Karbala, many of you go for Arbaeen, you see this Ihtiram, generally when you go around Iraq, you don't find people giving you this sort of hospitality. But when you walk from Najaf to Karbala, they want to polish your shoes. They want to press your feet. They beg you, Zahir Zahir, please take something from me. Those who can't afford to give you food, they hold a box of tissue. Take something from me, ya zair.

Why? Because they know what they get back in return for this. This is the blessing of the Azadar, and that is why I say to those who volunteer at the Majlis of Husayn, you are blessed with this opportunity, but treat the Asadar of Husayn with immense, immense respect because they are not your guests, they are the guests of Zahra, alayha as-salam. Ajrukum 'ala Allah.

Last night, we began discussing the As-hab and Ansar of Husayn. Tomorrow night, I have kept for perhaps the leader of the As-hab and Ansar, Habib Ibn Al-Madhair, but tonight I want to discuss different As-hab of Husayn and pay respect to them.

There are so many of them and it is impossible to mention all of them. But you should try and make a point, perhaps on the day of Ashura to at least read through the list and say salam to them. These were not ordinary people. Husayn, alayhi as-salam, personally handpicked every one of them. And when you read their history, they were eminent companions. They were leaders of their tribes. They were commanders in armies. They were people of nobility. They were people of very, very high rank. So great was their valour that we are told that 72 men were able to hold back an army of tens of thousands, twenty, thirty thousand men from the time of Fajr to the time of Asr.

How long does it take to massacre and kill 72 men who are thirsty and hungry, many of them who are children like Awn and Muhammad, babies? Seventy two are in that list. How long would it take to kill them? And they are hungry and thirsty for three days. They hold back an army like that from morning to the end of the day. And by the time of Dhuhur, there were still 33 men left with Husayn, 15 As-hab and 18 from the Banu Hashim. This tells you that these were not ordinary people.

When we look at the Ziyarah that we recite, Ziyarah Warith, for example, look at how we describe the As-hab. Karbala was a land that was considered to be cursed. And anybody who stopped there suffered great afflictions and they attributed it to the land of Karbala because there was something immense waiting to happen. But today, Karbala is Karbala Mu'alla. Al-mu'alla, we are told that Karbala is a part of Jannah. They are required to say that when Allah will destroy this earth at the end of times, He will remove Karbala and keep it separate and then He will place it where He places Jannah.

This is Karbala. How did Karbala go from being a land that is cursed to a land that is so blessed? It is the blood of Husayn, isn't it? But it is also the blood of As-hab and Ansar, why? Because in Ziyarah, we say, when we say "As-salam alayka ya Ansar al-Husayn and ya Ah-sab al-Husayn, we say "tibtum, wa tabat il-ardhu allati fiha dufintu". Purified are you, and purified has become the land in which you are buried because of you. "Fa Ya laytana kunna ma'akum", if only we had been with you, " fa nafuza Fawzan Adheema", then what great and lofty status is we, too, would have acquired. So when I think of the As-hab of Husayn, I imagine Husayn alayhi as-salam walking in an open field that is covered with weeds and he selectively goes and picks the roses one by one from amongst those weeds.

There are many who joined the Imam Ali Husayn from Makka going towards Kufa, because they thought they were going to a place where they will have a lot to benefit from. But when they found that Husayn, alayhi as-salam, is heading to a desert, the left Imam Husayn. But there were many who are not with Husayn, alayhi as-salam, and he brought them towards him. One by one, he wrote letters to them. He wrote a letter to Habib. And there were some who in whom he saw the potential. They were opposed to Husayn, but he changed their hearts and he brought them towards himself.

One amongst them is Zuhayr Ibn Al-Qaim Al-Bajri. During the time of Imam Husayn, alayhi as-salam, the Muslims were largely categorized in group as being Alawi or Uthmani. Zuhayr was known as an Uthmani, and it so happened that when the qafil of Imam Al-Husayn was moving towards Kufa, Zuhayr was also traveling with his family. He had his servant, his wife and a small qafila of traveling. Now, he knew this was the qafila of Husayn, but he did not want to meet Husayn, because he was opposed to Husayn at the time. So what Zuhayr did was wherever Husayn stopped, he did not stop, he kept moving. And wherever he saw Husayn, alayhi as-salam, moving, he stopped, to avoid meeting Imam Al-Husayn.

Now, look, when Allah has chosen you because of the purity of your heart. We said last night that when we say would we have been with Husayn, we should look at what are the qualities in these people that we can take. In Hurr we saw the quality was Ihtiram for Fatimah that if you have a deep, deep seated love for the daughter of the Prophet, that will save you and place you with the potential to be on the Ansar of the Mahdi, inshaAllah.

We shall talk of Abu Thumamah, and you will see that being particular about your salat, not only praying, but praying on time is another quality that could qualify you to have been in Karbala. With Zuhayr Ibn Al-Qaim, we shall see the benefit a man has in life when he is blessed with a spouse who does not hold him back, but encourages him and pushes him in matters of faith and religion, and this could be the other way as well, and we shall see this with Habib as well tomorrow.

There came a point at which Zuhayr Ibn Al-Qaim stopped his qafila and Husayn, alayhi as-salam, stopped. As he sat in his tent, we are told at that point, the Zuhayr had heard of all the politics and he was so fed up, he had hung his sword up. He was now feeling like an old man, tired, fatigued, confused, perplexed. When a horseman showed up outside his tent. When Zuhayr stepped out of his tent, the man said to him, "ana baridu al-Husayn", I am the messenger of Husayn, and I have brought a letter for you. Zuhayr reads the letter, it says it is from Husayn bin Ali, Oh Zuhayr, I would like to speak to you. He says to the messenger, Go back to Husayn, I will think about it. He goes back inside.

Now, look at how Allah can bless you. His wife says to him: Oh, Zuhayr, what is this? He says, It is a letter from Husayn. What is Husayn asking for you? He says, Husayn wants to meet me. She says, What are you going to do about it oh Zuhayr? He says, I do not intend to go and meet him. She says to him, oh Zuhayr, he is the grandson of your Prophet. Oh Zuhayr, if nothing else is the son of Zahra. Go oh Zuhayr. What will you lose? Just go speak to him. You don't have to do what he says. Just go listen to what he has to say.

With this encouragement from his spouse, Zuhayr gets on his horse. He rides towards the camp of Husayn. There is no record in history of what it is that Husayn said to Zuhayr. But what history tells us is that when Zuhayr came back, he was a completely changed man. There was a light radiating from the face of Zuhayr. Zuhayr, who had become an old man, was now sitting upright on his horse. Zuhayr had become young again. Zuhayr, his blood was raging. Zuhayr came to his wife, beaming and smiling. Zuhayr was with such excitement he pulled his sward out. Zuhayr said to his wife, go back to your family. I have free do, he said to his servant. I have freed you. He gave his wealth away. His wife said to him, What has happened to you oh Zuhayr? What has happened to Zuhayr? Zuhayr has fallen in love with Husayn. Zuhayr leaves his camp. He goes back. He goes out and meets Husayn. He joins the qafila of Husayn. He goes with Husayn to Karbala.

Zuhayr is one of those eminent people who fight in the battle after Dhuhur. For every one of the As-hab and Ansar of Husayn, Husayn went out to the battlefield, he placed their head on his lap. He gave them time and spoke to them softly. He wiped the sand and blood from their faces. He asked them if they had any wasiyah and all of them looked up and how blessed they were to see the face of their Imam and to have their heads on his lap. But alas, for Husayn, when he would be left alone, there will be no lap on which the head of Husayn will be left.

Our salams to Zuhayr Ibn Al-Qaim Al-Bajri. The other companion of Husayn is Abu Thumama As-Sayyidawi. Abu Thumama on the day of Ashura, when it was the time of Dhuhur, he looked up and saw it is time of Dhuhur. He said "Ya Aba Abdillah, it is the time of Dhuhur, our hearts desire that we pray behind you once more" . Imam Al-Husayn blesses Abu Thumama and says: "dhakkart as-salat, ja'alak Allahu min al-musallin". Look at how beautifully an Imam blesses his As-hab and his Ansar. Or Abu Thumama, you have remembered salat at a time such as this. May Allah raise you amongst those who prays salat. Abu Thumama was one of those who prayed with Husayn. When he lost his life as well, Husayn blessed him as well and said, oh Abu Thumama you remembered salat. Go, my jadd will quench your thirst. You will enter Paradise as well before me.

Another eminent As-hab of Husayn is 'Abis, 'Abis bin Shabib. 'Abis bin abi Shabib ash-Shakiri. 'Abis was a man from Kufa. 'Abis was a man who had fought in Siffin with Ali. 'Abis was a man who had an injury on his forehead that was left over from Siffin, when 'Abis, when Muslim bin Aqil came to Kufa, 'Abis was one of those who stood with Habib Ibn Madhahir and delivered a lecture to Muslim telling him to call Husayn because of which eighteen thousand people pledged allegiance to Muslim bin Aqil. When Muslim bin Aqil wrote a letter to Husayn and said Mawla come to Kufa, he gave this letter to 'Abis.

'Abus was the one who took the letter to Mekka to Husayn. 'Abis traveled with Husayn to Karbala. This 'Abis was so valiant, a warrior, that the army of Umar Ibn Sa'd feared him. And we are told that when 'Abis went to the battlefield, Umar Ibn Sa'd said to the people: oh people, this is a lion that has come. This is a man who fought in the battle of the Siffin. You will not be able to challenge him. 'Abis kept calling out to them and say, What do you fear? Come and fight me. I am thirsty for three days, no one dared to come and fight 'Abis. When 'Abis no one coming towards him, he removed his helmet, he removed his armor. He said, Come fight me then. And some of the reports say 'Abis removed his shirt as well as he charged towards the enemy, someone said to him: oh 'Abis, you have removed your helmet, you have removed your armor. Have you gone mad? Have you gone insane?

And the words of 'Abis have now, have become immortalized. When you go to Karbala, you will find this everywhere. 'Abis said, yes, I have gone mad. I have gone mad: "hubb al-Husayn ajannani". The love of Husayn has made me mad. I am now madly in love with Husayn. 'Abis charged into the army and killed two hundred of them. Umar Ibn Sa'd said attack him from all sides. When they killed 'Abis, he is one of those shahid they beheaded immediately. As soon as they beheaded him, they began fighting for the head of 'Abis to say: We killed Abis. Umar Ibn Sa'd said it is a lie. No one men could have killed 'Abis. Our salaams to 'Abis.

Another As-hab of Husayn was Sa'id bin Abdullah. Sa'id bin Abdullah was that companion of Husayn that when Husayn stood to pray Salat adh-Dhuhur, Sa'id bin Abdullah stood in front of Husayn as the arrows came flying towards Husayn, Sa'id bin Abdullah kept taking these arrows on his chest. We are told that Sa'id took as many as he could take. He did not fall as long as Husayn was praying. When about Aba Abdillah al-Husayn said as-salam alaykum wa rahmatu Allah then Sa'id bin Abdullah fell at the feet of Husayn. Husayn took the head of Sa'id, he placed it on his lap, Sa'id opened his eyes and looked at Husayn. He asked only one question to Husayn. He said, "Sayyidi wa Mawlai, hal wafaytu ila hadhi?" Oh Husayn, have I been faithful and loyal to my ahad? Yes oh Sa'id you have been faithful. Oh Sa'id, you stood before me, you will enter Jannah before me. Go Sa'id, my Jadd will quench your thirst.

One of our salams on Sa'id bin Abdullah, one of the most eminent companions of Husayn after Habib was Muslim Ibn Awsaja'. Muslim Ibn Awsaja' was one of those who went after Dhuhur as well. When Muslim Ibn Awsaja' fell from his horse and called Ya Aba Abdillah adrikni!, Husayn ran out to the body of Muslim. Habib went out with Husayn. Now the head of Muslim is on the lap of Husayn, Habib sat besides, Muslim, Husayn is rubbing the sand and blood from Muslim's face. Husayn is combing the hair of Muslim. Habib sits beside Muslim and says: Oh, Muslim, I am following you shortly after. But oh Muslim, if you have any wasiya, give me your wasiya, I will fulfill it. But Muslim points to Husayn, he says, or Habib, usikum bi hadha! Oh Habib, as long as you are alive, let no one hurt my Husayn. Oh Habib. Let no injury fall my Husayn, as long as there is breath left in your body. Habib promised Muslim: oh Muslims with every breath in my body. As long as I am there, no one will hurt your Imam.

But I would say to Muslim: oh Muslim come at the time of Asr! Look at your Husayn! You will see Husayn rolling in his own blood on the hot sands of Karbala. Zaynab will be standing on a mount calling out: why does not the heavens fall? Ya Ibn Sa'd, the grandson of the Prophet is being killed! Oh Muslim, you will see horses trampling the body of the son of Zahra'! There will be no one to say, this is the body of the grandson of your Prophet.

Wa Husayna! Wa Madhluma! Wa Ghariba! Matam al-Husayn. Ya Husayn! Ya Husayn!