Recently a Sunni has written in his magazine about an amazing miracle of Pir Dastagir. He says that since he was a Hasani Sayyid, his spiritual effect is such that all Hasani Sadaat (descendants of Imam Hasan) are all Sunnis while the Sayyids (descendants) of Husayn (a.s.) are Shia. When a person is a bigot, he is blind and deaf. First of all, Abdul Qadir Jilani was not a Sayyid. It is a false claim and also that other Hasani Sadaat were Sunnis.
It is written in Umdatul Matalib that Pir Dastagir was not a Sayyid and he never even claimed thus. His sons also did not make such a claim. His grandson was first to claim it, but he could not prove his claim. Even if Abdul Qadir had been a Sayyid, he could not have the power to make anyone Shia or Sunni. Except Allah, no one has the power to make anyone a believer or infidel. Even the Holy Prophet (S) had no power to forcibly convert infidels into believers. Just as the Holy Quran says:
“Surely you cannot guide whom you love.”1
Such vain thoughts are possible only in such people. If a writer is not unbiased, he cannot write the truth. The claim that all the past and present Sadaat Hasani were Sunnis is false. There is nothing to prove that Hasani Sadaat should only be Sunnis and Husaini Sadaat only Shia. At present there are many Hasani Sadaat (descendants of Imam Husayn) who are Shias and many Husaini Sadaat who are Sunnis. The same had been in the past. Since disunity occurred in Sadaat, they never followed one and the same religion, as we have proved in the foregoing pages.
There was a tribe that descended from Imam Hasan (a.s.) and resided outside Medina. They were all Shias, but it seems the writer of Zujarul Awaam is unaware of this. This tribe still follows Shia religion even though Sunnis of Medina accuse them of various falsehoods, but they are not prepared to forgo their ancestral faith. Since they are Shias, Sunnis of Medina oppress them in various ways. Even the Turkish government did not accord them any respect. Except for menial and laborious jobs, these Sadaat do not have any gainful employment. They live in very difficult conditions, yet they do not wish to go away from there. If someone offers them Khums money, the Medinites snatch it away from them and the Turkish authorities are mute witnesses of this. Why do the heavens not crash at such atrocities on these Sayyids? It is nothing but the consequence of Umar’s words: “We have the Book of Allah with us.” Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“Say, I do not ask from you any recompense except the love of my family members.”2
And the Prophet said: “I leave among you two heavy things.” But the commands of Allah and His Prophet were not obeyed. The statement of ‘We have the Book of Allah with us’ became more powerful. Now I wish to ask whether such things have an iota of truth? The fact is that no miraculous power can make any Sayyid a Shia or Sunni, although it is very unlikely that a Sayyid should become a Sunni, but when the factors are such that can make him a Sunni, he becomes a Sunni. There are mainly three causes that can make a Sayyid, Sunni. They are as follows:
(1) The first cause is ignorance. That is, he doesn’t know what is the religion of Ali al-Murtadha’ (a.s.) and what is the religion of Zaid Ibn Thabit. He thinks the religion he is following was the same as the one his ancestor, Ali (a.s.) had and all Bani Hashim were believing in the same religion. Most of the time he has this misconception and the truth is never revealed to him.
But if he learns that the religion of his ancestor was distinct from the Farooqi religion or that the name of his ancestor has been removed from Quran, as we have shown above, he would not remain a Sunni for a moment. The same thing happened to this writer, who after studying the books had to give up the deviated religion.
(2) The second cause, which is not less powerful than the first one, is worldly position and power. When Ahlul Sunnat were in power, Shias had to observe dissimulation (Taqayyah) and thus they pretended to be Sunnis. Their children and descendants thus became Sunnis and still continue to be.
(3) The third cause is social influence and education. Usually many Sayyids at a young age are influenced by Ahlul Sunnat company and themselves become Sunni. They never give up their ancestral religion after research and study. It would not be surprising if one day such people were to become Jews or atheists due to the influence of company.
Similarly, due to education and training, there is a distance from ancestral religion. A good example is that of Sayyid Mahdi Ali Khan Sahab, Mohsinul Mulk. He was a Sadaat from a high family. His family religion was Imamiyah, but he left it and died on the faith of Ahlul Sunnat. I used to be astonished at his giving up his ancestral religion. But one day I heard him in a speech at Bankipur and from that day my astonishment ended. It seemed from his statements that beyond his grandfather, they were of a famous family. They were leaders of religion being Sayyids and they also had worldly power. But during the time of his father, they underwent difficult times. In his own words, they could not even afford five rupees a month to pay for a tutor.
In such a state of poverty, he was forced to go to Barabanki at the age of eight, where a royal personage took him under his care. He gained education and finally got a job under the British. Since he was very brilliant, he worked hard and soon he rose to a good administrative position and finally became the Deputy Collector.
Obviously, if the Nawab had continued to live with his family, he wouldn’t have got the chance to gain such education and to become a collector. What else could he have done rather than opt for the religion of the collectors, because he did not get any chance to get religious training at home? If he had gone under the care of a Padre, he would have become a Christian. There is no doubt that his family religion was Shiaism, but he did not get any teaching of Shia faith.
On the other hand he got training in the Hanafite School. The first impression is the most powerful one, so it was not unexpected from him. Thus, being a boy from a Shia family, he left his religion. His relatives used to be very surprised at this, but he did not do anything unexpected. He followed only the religion whose teachings had been inculcated in him. And that was also the religion of his benefactor who had taken him under his care and had done everything to provide him shelter and education. The Nawab used to remember his benefactor with gratitude.
It is well known that Nawab Mohsinul Mulk reached the position of collector and was based in Mirzapur. At that time, other Sunni officers like Imdad Khan served in the capacity of Deputy Collector. Though he was not a religious person, the Nawab took care to follow the exigencies and during his stay in Mirzapur, he wrote his book, Aayatul Bayyinah. The quality of this book is well known to all those who are well-versed in Ilmul Kalam (Scholastic Theology). Here we do not wish to evaluate his book. It is sufficient for us to prove that education and training in wrong hands can make a boy from a Shia family a Sunni.