(3) So Should We Not Discuss Historical Differences?

by the Grand Ayatullah N. Makarim Shirazi

“Some of the scholars of Egypt and Sunni brethren of the south [Iran] have considered some historical serials of Iranian television [entitled as “Mukhtar Nameh”] as an insult to the companions of the Prophet. They should realize that insult is one thing and narrating history is something else; these are fundamentally different issues.

“Can anyone doubt that there was a battle in Islam by the name of Siffin? Can anyone doubt that some companions (sahaba) did not pledge allegiance to the Imam of their time and fought against him in [a battle in] which many were killed? Are you saying do not narrate the history?

“We cannot close our eyes to history [and historical differences]; insulting is one thing while research is something else—these two should never be confused with one another. These brothers should realize that historical issues cannot be forgotten; all books on history of Islam are full of these events. Even the historical books of the Sunnis talk about the issue of Talha, Zubayr and ‘Abdullah bin Zubayr.

“If history is researched objectively, then many realities and events will become clear. In Islamic history, some companions (sahaba) were steadfast in the path of the Prophet while some did not remain on that path. If we look at the issues and events of history in an unbiased way, then our duty will become clear. This means narrating the event, and that should not be considered as an insult.”

An Example from Amirul Mu’minin ‘Ali (a.s.)

During the Battle of Siffin, Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) saw some of his companions hurling abusive words towards the Syrian forces. He advised them:

“I dislike you starting to abuse them, but if you describe their deeds and recount their situations that would be a better mode of speaking and a more convincing way of arguing.

“Instead of abusing them you should say, ‘O Allah! Save our blood and their blood, produce reconciliation between us and them, and lead them out of their misguidance so that he who is ignorant of the truth may know it, and he who inclines towards rebellion and revolt may turn away from it.’” (Nahjul Balagha, sermon 204)

أمير المومنين علي (ع) نے جنگ صفين كے موقع كے پر اپنے ساتھيوں ميں سے چند آدميوں كو سنا كه وه شاميوں پر سب و شتم كر رهے هيں تو آپ نے فرمايا:

“ميں تمهارے لئے اس چيز كو پسند نهيں كرتا كه تم گالياں دينےلگو.

“ اگر تم ان كے كرتوت كھولو اور ان كے صحيح حالات پيش كرو، تو يه ايك ٹھكا نے كى بات اور عذر تمام كرنے كا صحيح طريق كار هوگا.

“تم گالم گلوچ كے بجائے يه كهو كه: خدا يا همارا بھي خون محفوظ ركھه اور ان كا بھي، اور همارے اور ان كے درميان اصلاح كي صورت پيدا كر اور انهيں گمراهي سے هدايت كي طرف لا تاكه حق سے بے خبر، حق كو پهچان ليں اور گمراهي و سركشى كے شيدائي اس سے اپنا رخ موڑ ليں.” (نھج البلاغه،خطبه نمبر 204)