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It is not from the definite signs of the reappearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (AS).

Wassalam.

Beating the chest is an expression of sadness and grief used by human beings in many societies including Muslims. Ayisha daughter of Abu Bakr did the same when her father died as you can see in Sunni books e.g. Fat-h al-Baari bishar-h Saheeh al-Bukhari by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, V.6,  P. 225.

Muslims did beat their chests on the demise of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) including Aiysha and other Muslim women as she said herself.( Musnad Abi Ya'la al-Mousili , V.8, P. 63.),

Same was done by those who love Ameerul Mo'minnen and other Infallible Imams on their demises. Those who do not have real love for Ahlul Bayt (AS) do not feel sad for the tragedies of Ahlul Bayt (AS) hence do not understand why lovers of Ahlul Bayt (AS) do that. It is in fact an expression of noble feeling of sadness and grief for the tragedies of the Prophet (SAWA) and his Holy Progeny Ahlul Bayt (AS). 

We can not help those who do have such feeling for the Prophet (SAWA) and Ahlul Bayt (AS).

Wassalam.

Shia Muslims follow the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) in each and every matter and he himself had joined and combined the Prayers when he was in Madinah with out any unusual situation, and said when he was asked why: To keep my Ummah away from difficulty كي لا أشق على أمتي.

We pray Dhuhr and Assr one after the other combining, following the Prophet (SAWA)  who used to combine some times, and we believe that combining is not compulsory so we also pray Dhuhr the wait and pra Assr later on. 

Unfortunately, some Muslim sects have ignored the Sunnah of the Prophet, despite calling themselves as followers of the Sunnah.

Wassalam.

The hadith of “pen and paper”, or the hadith al-qirtas, is also called the raziyya yawm al-khamis that translates to ‘The Calamity of Thursday’.

The authenticity of this event cannot be disputed, it is recorded in multiple sources including the Sahih of Bukhari and the Sahih of Muslim and they record it multiple times.

What is extremely important is the essence of what that event was all about. Can we actually know what the Prophet (s) would have written?

I suggest that we can know with full certainty. And the reason may surprise you.

The answer is contained within the words of the Prophet Muhammad (s) that also show that not only was he in his full faculties, unlike what some people around him alleged at the time to try and dissuade him from writing those words, but also that he left the clue for what he was going to say in his choice of words.

  • Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Thursday! And how great that Thursday was! The ailment of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) became worse (on Thursday) and he said, 'Fetch me something so that I may write to you something after which you will never go astray."

The construct used by the Prophet (s) was:

أَكْتُبْ لَكُمْ كِتَابًا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدَهُ أَبَدًا

The lan tadillu ba’dahu abada(n) phrase, and its very minor variants, have the Prophet (s) promise that his followers will never go astray if they follow that instruction.

Now, clearly if the Prophet (s) failed to write the words and if that was the only time he was going to state something of such importance it would mean he did not fulfil his responsibility to the people. That cannot ever be the case.

And so we must look for all the earlier times that the Prophet (s) used the same construct throughout his career as a Prophet (s).

One might think that must have been on tonnes of occasions.

But, interestingly, it isn’t!

The Prophet (s) was fully cognizant of what he was doing. He chose words that would allow future generations to understand the opposition that he faced, in his final days, to his choice of the system of successorship, whilst also making sure that future generations would be able to identify with precision what that was from a record of his earlier pronouncements.

In other words, this is a perfect use of balagha and a consistency of discourse.

So where else did the Prophet use the construct ‘you will never go astray after me’?

He mentioned it on the day of Ghadir Khumm, in public, several weeks earlier to the Calamity of Thursday event.

(Al-Hakim says:) The first tradition (mentioned above) is supported by this one narrated by Salamah ibn Kuhayl, from Abu al-Tufayl, which is also sahih according to the requirements of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Narrated to us Abu Bakr ibn Ishaq and Da`laj ibn Ahmad al-Sijzi, both of them from Muhammad ibn Ayyub, from al-'Azraq ibn `Ali, from Hassan ibn Ibrahim al-Kirmani, from Muhammad ibn Salamah ibn Kuhayl, from his father, from Abu al-Tufayl, from Ibn Wathilah that he heard Zayd ibn Arqam, may God be pleased with him, say:

"The Messenger of Allah , may Allah 's peace and benedictions be upon him and his progeny, came down at a place between Makkah and Madinah near the trees with five big shades and the people swept the ground under the trees. Then the Messenger of Allah , may God's peace and benediction be upon him and his progeny, began to perform the evening prayer.

After the prayer he began to address the people. He praised God and extolled Him, preaching and reminding (us), and said what God wanted him to say.

Then he said, 'O people! Verily, I am leaving behind two matters among you- if you follow them (the two) you will never go astray.

These two are: the Book of God and my ahl al-bayt, my `itrah.'

Then he said thrice: 'Do you know that I have more right over the believers than they over themselves?' The people said, 'Yes.'

Then the Messenger of Allah , may Allah's peace and benedictions be upon him and his progeny said, 'Of whomever I am his master (mawla) `Ali also is his master.'"

Source - al-Mustadrak `ala al-Sahihayn, Haydarabad: Da'irat al-ma`arif al-nizamiyyah (4 vols), 1334-42 AH, vol. 3, p. 109

This hadith of the Prophet (s) using the same construct, is attested to in multiple sources, in longer and shorter versions. It is considered not just authentic but mutawatir by Sunni scholars as well.

There are also another set of narrations that also use the same construct of lan tadillu ba’di but instead of the Ahl al-Bayt or ‘itra they mention the sunnah.

Although on face value that does not contradict the successorship of the Ahl al-Bayt as announced at Ghadir Khumm, research scholars have determined that the sunnah versions are all weak and fabricated.

For instance, the version in the Muwatta’ of Imam Malik does not have a full chain of narration. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in his Is’af al-Mubatta’ attempts to find full-isnad versions of the sunnah versions and ends up producing just a few that are filled with confirmed liars and fabricators, not even just weak or forgetful narrators.

For details of this research, see The Hadith of the Will (wasiyya) about the Thaqalayn: The Book and the Sunnah

Clearly, the original and true words of the Prophet (s), using the same language he used on that fateful Thursday, and what he would have written if allowed, was that the Muslims should follow after his death the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt, with ‘Ali b. Abi Talib as the first member of that leadership.

The rest is history.