Differences and Misunderstandings between the Shi‘a and the Other Schools of Thought

‘Abasa Wa Tawalla (He Frowned and Turned Away)

This verse is one of the verses of the Noble Qur’an whose interpretation differs between the two main schools of thought. The majority of the Sunni scholars claim that the man who frowned and turned away from a blind person was the Prophet, while the Shi‘a scholars say that the man who frowned and turned away was one of the companions of the Prophet; not the Prophet himself.

According to the Sunni scholars, the blind man was ‘Abdullah ibn Umm Maktoum. He is said to have come to the Prophet when the Prophet was conversing with a group of non-believers (Utbah ibn Rabi‘ah, Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Mutallib, ‘Ubay, and Umayyah ibn Khalaf) and was trying to incline their hearts towards Islam, since they were the leaders of Makkan society and if they embraced Islam then many others would follow them. The blind man came and interrupted the Prophet and asked him to teach him what Allah had taught him, not knowing that the Prophet was busy with this group of people. Thus according to the Sunni scholars the Prophet frowned.

The Shi‘a interpretation of this verse, as narrated from the sixth imam of the Ahlul Bayt, Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq, is that the verse descended because one of the companions of the Prophet, who happened to be from Bani Umayyah, was sitting next to the Prophet and when the blind man came the man expressed a dislike and disgust at him, hence he turned his face away from him.1 This interpretation is more in character with the Prophet since frowning was not one of the Prophet’s characteristics, even with his enemies. Nor was it of the Prophet’s character to be more inclined towards the rich and to abandon the poor. Allah attributes the highest moral character to the Prophet,

“And verily you (Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character.”2 “And by the mercy of Allah, you (Muhammad) dealt with them kindly. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you.”3 “Verily, there has come unto you a messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is anxious for you to be rightly guided. For the believers, he is full of piety, kind and merciful.”4

After all of these testimonies from Almighty Allah, it is difficult to believe that the Prophet would still frown and turn away from one of his blind companions, since he began and ended his mission by expressing his affectionate support to the needy, the blind, and the disabled in society, and spent nights without food to sympathize with the poor.

It is strange that some commentators would consider attributing this verse to one of the companions of the Prophet as an insult to the companions, but they would not consider the interpretation of this verse as an insult to the Prophet himself; even though he is the highest example of ethical and moral behavior, and is the master and leader of all the faithful.

The Father of Ibrahim and the Father of Imam ‘Ali

According to Shi‘a doctrine, all the messengers, prophets, and divinely ordained imams descended from monotheistic fathers, grandfathers, and ancestors. Allah states this when He addresses the Prophet Muhammad,

“Who sees you, O Prophet Muhammad, when you stand up at night for prayers, and your movements among those who fall prostrating (among your ancestors).”5

From this verse, we understand that the father, grandfather, and great-grandfathers of the Prophet—all the up to Adam—were believers in Allah; they did not associate anyone or anything with Allah.

Similarly, Prophet Ibrahim also descended from monotheists. According to history, his father died as a monotheist, thereafter, he became the custody of his uncle, who is metaphorically referred to as his “father” in the Qur’an.

Likewise, the father of Imam ‘Ali, Abu Talib was also from a monotheistic descend. Logic dictates that such a man who fiercely defended the Prophet for many years and never yielded to the demand of the Quraysh to hand him over to them, and whose death, along with that of Khadijah, prompted the Prophet to call that year “the year of sadness” was a believer in Allah and one who died as a Muslim.

Traditions found in some of the sahhah, saying that he is being punished by Allah should not be taken as authentic, and their chains of narrators must be doubted since politics played a great role in distorting the traditions of the Prophet; in addition to, the character assassination of great personalities of Islam, such as Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.

Abu Talib’s proper name was ‘Abd al-Manaff or ‘Imran. He defended the Prophet for forty-two years - before the Prophet started his mission and afterwards. It has been said about him, “Whoever reads the tradition of the Prophet will know that if it were not for Abu Talib, Islam would not continued its progress.”6 There is no doubt about the full submission and faithfulness of Abu Talib to the unity of Allah and the religion of Islam.

The Myth of the Distortion of the Noble Qur’an

Only one Qur’an exists, which was revealed by Almighty Allah to the Prophet Muhammad. No additions have been made to it nor have there been any deletions, and nothing in it has been rearranged or otherwise tampered with. Allah says, “We sent down the Book, and We are its protectors.”7 Unfortunately, some Muslims have the misconception that the followers of the Ahlul Bayt have a different Qur’an, yet if they were to visit the Shi‘a Masajid, homes, or Islamic centers and meet with their individuals and scholars then they would discover that this accusation has no basis.

One of the prominent Shi‘a narrators of hadith, Muhammad ibn ‘‘Ali al-Qummi al-Saduq asserts, “Our belief is that the Qur’an which descended from Allah upon His Prophet is what we find today between the two covers, and that is what the people have in their hands—no more and no less than is, and whoever attributes to us that we say other than that, is a liar.”8 The Shi‘a were always concerned over the correct transmission of the Noble Qur’an, and when the Prophet died, Imam ‘Ali swore that he would not wear his robe except for prayers until he had gathered the entire Qur’an into one volume (mushaf).9

However, in some of the sahih books, some narrations assert that entire Surahs, even verses of the Noble Qur’an are missing or were lost. For example, Imam al-Bukhari narrates, “Verily, Allah sent Muhammad with the truth, and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him.

We recited it, retained it in our memory, and understood it. Allah’s Messenger awarded the penalty of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and after him, we also awarded the penalty of stoning. I am afraid that, with the lapse of time, the people (may forget) and may say, ‘We do not find the penalty of stoning in the Book of Allah,’ and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah.

Stoning is a duty laid down in the Book of Allah for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or if there is pregnancy or a confession.”10 Other narrations also erroneously indicate that there was a verse in the Noble Qur’an saying to stone the adulterers.11

Imam al-Bukhari also narrates from one of the companions that there was a verse in the Noble Qur’an stating that the abandoning of ancestors is kufr (disbelief);12 but all Muslims know that no such verse in the Noble Qur’an exists.

Some other narrations, from other sources suggest that many verses of the Noble Qur’an are missing. Lady ‘A’ishah, for example, narrates that Surahtul Ahzab (33) used to have 200 verses during the time of the Prophet, but when the third caliph, ‘Uthman ibn Affan compiled the Noble Qur’an, he could only find 73 of them.13

‘Abdullah ibn Umar also narrates, “No one should say, ‘I have taken (the judgment) from the entire Qur’an.’ How does he know that this is the entire Qur’an? Verily, a great deal is missing from the Qur’an.”14 There are other claims as well which do not need to be mentioned further.

The intention here is not to pursue the issue of the false allegations of the distortion of the Noble Qur’an amongst the various schools of thought, since all the schools of thought should be respected. Yet, the point intended is that the Qur’an that the Shi‘as follow is the same Qur’an that exists everywhere in the world, and there is no other hidden Qur’an, as some people claim.

Mushaf Fatima

According to the narration of the Ahlul Bayt, when the Messenger of Allah passed away his daughter, Lady Fatima al-Zahra was in so much grief that Allah sent her an angel to console her, and that angel told her what would happen to her in the near future. She found comfort in this news, and her husband, Imam ‘Ali recorded what the angel said. These writings were gathered in a book called Mushaf Fatima.

Imam al-Sadiq says, “There is nothing unlawful or lawful in that book, but it says only what will happen in the future.”15 Other reports say that whenever the Messenger of Allah received a revelation, he would then explain it to his daughter, and she would write it in a book which was named Mushaf Fatima. The followers of the Ahlul Bayt believe that this book is now with the last Imam - al-Mahdi - of the school of Ahlul Bayt.

Mushaf Fatima is not a Qur’an or part of the Qur’an; and the only Qur’an that the followers of the Ahlul Bayt have and fully believe in is the one which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime, which is available throughout the world.

Naming After the Prophets and the Imams

Some Muslim families who follow the school of Ahlul Bayt name their children after some of the prophets and imams in the manner of ‘Abd al-Nabi, ‘Abd al-Rasul, ‘Abd al-Husayn, ‘Abd al-Rida, and so on. Some people wonder whether this practice is permissible or not. Although the Prophet said that the best of names are those beginning with “‘Abd” and “Muhammad,” thus there is no harm in using the previous name because the name is not intended to be literal, and it does not imply that the specific child is a slave of the Prophet, Imam Husayn, or Imam Rida, or that the Prophet or the imams created him and are sustaining him. Rather, this sort of naming expresses gratitude, admiration, and love to those individuals such as the Prophet or the imams who dedicated their entire lives for the welfare of humanity.

The Noble Qur’an itself uses the word “‘abd” to mean other than the “servant of Allah” for example, the phrase “min ‘ibadikum” (from your male slaves) does not mean that the slaves are worshipping their owner. The real slavery and ownership is for Allah, but allegorically, the name ‘Abd al-Rasul implies that its bearer is a slave of Allah through the Prophet, since the Noble Qur’an states,

“Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.”16

Again, the sense of slavery is to be taken allegorically and not literally. Expressions like these find their way into a common speech in which people sometimes say the phrase “my master (sayyidi),” as a form of politeness. Some may even use the expression, “may I be your ransom (ju’iltu fidak)” without meaning it literally.

In the Arabic language, these phrases express gratitude and thankfulness. Hence, by naming a person ‘Abd al-Husayn or ‘Abd al-Rida is in no way shirk (polytheism) to Almighty Allah, since all Muslims agree that He is the only One who deserves submission and obedience.

Visiting the Shrines of the Prophets and Imams

Touching or kissing the shrines of the Prophet and the imams does not imply shirk, nor does it associate that particular person with Allah, because Allah has the ultimate sovereignty in this universe, and Muslims submit to, worship, and seek help only from Him. Visiting the shrines is merely a gesture of respect.

If the Prophet or the imams were alive then out of admiration people would shake their hands or kiss them. Since they are dead and people know that their shrines contain their sacred bodies, and perhaps their souls, then touching or kissing their shrines is a way of renewing allegiance and loyalty to these leaders.

People are well aware of the fact that such shrines are made of ordinary material and the worshippers know that it has no power of benefit or harm; nevertheless, the respect and tribute is for what the shrines represent—the souls of these great personalities. Besides, being present within the precincts of the sacred shrines gives the worshipper a sense of being in a sacred and holy place.

The Noble Qur’an teaches that when Prophet Yaqub cried over the separation of his son, Yusuf he lost his eye sight. Years later, Yusuf sent his shirt with one of his brothers and told him to put it on the face of his father so that he would regain his sight. The Qur’an says:

Go with this shirt of mine and cast it over the face of my father. He will become seeing. And bring to me all your family. And when the caravan departed (Egypt), their father (who was in Palestine) said, “I do indeed sense the smell of Yusuf, if only you think me not sane.” They (his family) said, “Certainly you are in your old error.” Then when the bearer of glad tidings arrived, he cast it (the shirt of Yusuf) over his face, and he became seeing. He said, “Did I not say to you that I know from Allah that which you know not?”17

Although Yusuf’s shirt was made of regular cotton material, which most of the people wore at that time, Allah made it bear His blessings because it touched the body of Yusuf. Thus with Allah’s permission and authority, this shirt, when it was put on his face, enabled Yaqub to see.

If touching the shrine of the Prophet or Imam ‘Ali or Imam Husayn is shirk (because these shrines are made from iron) then why do millions of Muslims touch the stones of the Holy Ka‘bah? Were these stones brought from Paradise or were they ordinary stones used from the land of Hijaz? All Muslims agree that the Prophet kissed al-Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone on the Ka‘bah, whereas he certainly did not go around kissing the stones in the alleyways and streets of Makkah, even though they may have been more alluring than the Black Stone.

Today, in most countries, both Muslim and non-Muslim, the flag of a nation is so sacred that soldiers, even civilians kiss it and put it on their faces. Does that mean they are worshipping a piece of cloth? Certainly not! The moral behind these examples is that they are glorifying the ideas behind the stones or the shrines or the flags, and these are the principles and etiquette which were carried by the great leaders and countries.

Imam al-Bukhari narrates that whenever the Prophet did the ablution (wudhu’), the Muslims used to gather and collect the remaining water and pour it over their faces for blessings.18 He also narrates that even the sweat of the Prophet was collected, in the following incident, “Umm Salamah was putting some cloth under the Apostle of Allah when he slept. There was a lot of perspiration from his body. She brought a bottle and began to pour the sweat in that. When the Apostle of Allah woke up he said, ‘Umm Salamah, what is this?’ She said, ‘That is your sweat which we mix in our perfumes, and they become the most fragrant perfumes.’”19

“Sadaqa Allahu Al-Adheem” or “Sadaqa Allahu Al-’Ali Al-Adheem”

There is practically no difference between saying, “Sadaqa Allahu Al-Adheem” (Allah the Most Great spoke the truth) or “Sadaqa Allahu Al-’Ali Al-Adheem” (Allah the Most Great and Most High spoke the truth). This issue is perhaps the least significant between the schools of thought, especially since both sayings have been used occasionally in both, the Shi‘a and the Sunni schools of thought.

However, the source of saying either of the above mentioned will be referred to the Noble Qur’an to dispel any misconceptions which may arise in the minds of some Muslims who think that the word “Al-’Ali” refers to Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, though it does not.

The initial phrase “sadaqa allah” occurs in the Qur’an in many places such as, “Say: Allah has spoken the truth (sadaqa Allah).”20 Al-’Ali” and “Al-Adheem” are among the 99 attributes of Allah. In the Noble Qur’an, Allah mentions His name coupled with “al-Adheem” by itself once,21 and He mentions both attributes together twice (2:255 and 42:4) whereas “Al-’Ali,” which is mentioned in numerous verses, such as 22:62, 31:30, 34:23, 40:12, 4:34, 42:51, not to mention others. Therefore, mentioning both attributes together (“Al-’Ali” and “Al-Adheem”) is in no way a reference to the name of Imam ‘Ali but rather imitating what the Noble Qur’an says in glorifying and exalting Almighty Allah.

Lamentation and Mourning the Tragedies of the Prophet and His Family

In general, the Noble Qur’an praises the act of crying and those who cry for a rightful cause. The Noble Qur’an describes many of the prophets and their followers by saying,

“When the verses of the Most Gracious were recited unto them, they fell down prostrating and weeping.”22

Similarly, it also describes certain believers as follows,

“And they say, ‘Glory be to our Lord. Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled,’ and they fall down upon their faces weeping, and it adds to their humility.”23

The prophet has been narrated to have cried over the deaths of several members of his family, such as his son Ibrahim, Imam al-Bukhari narrates:

The Messenger of Allah said, “A child was born unto me this night, and I named him after my father, Ibrahim.” He then sent him to Umm Sayf, the wife of the blacksmith, Abu Sayf. He (the Prophet) went to him, and I followed him until we reached Abu Sayf who was blowing fire with the help of bellows, and the house was filled with smoke.

I hastened my step and went ahead of the Messenger of Allah and said, “Abu Sayf, stop it, as here comes the Messenger of Allah.” He stopped, and the Apostle of Allah called for the child. He embraced him and said what Allah had desired. I saw that the boy breathed his last in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. The eyes of the Messenger of Allah shed tears, and he said, “Ibrahim, our eyes shed tears, and our hearts are filled with grief, but we do not say anything except that by which Allah is pleased. O Ibrahim, we grieve over you.”24

The Prophet is also narrated to have wept for his uncle Hamzah:

When the Prophet returned from the Battle of Uhud and witnessed the women of Ansar weeping for their martyred husbands, he stood up and said, “But nobody is weeping for my uncle Hamzah,” so the women understood that the Prophet desired people to weep for his uncle, and that is what they did. The crying for all the others ceased, except the crying for Hamzah.25

For his cousin Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib26 and his grandson Imam Husayn:

Lady ‘A’ishah narrates that when Husayn was a child, he came into the presence of the Prophet and sat on his lap, and Jibrail descended and told the Prophet that some of his nation would kill him (Husayn) and brought him a sample of the soil of Karbala, and said that the land was called al-Taff. When Jibrail left, the Prophet went out to his companions with the soil in his hand, and there were Abu Bakr, Umar, ‘Ali, and Hudayfah while he was weeping. They asked him why he was weeping. He said, “Jibrail has informed me that my son Husayn will be killed in the land of al-Taff,” and he brought me this soil from there and informed me that his final resting place will be there.27

Weeping for Imam Husayn is considered seeking nearness to Allah, because the tragedy of Imam Husayn is inextricably bound to the great sacrifice he endured for the sake of Allah. The Prophet, who knew the fate of his grandson, cried at his birth, cried when he was a child playing, and cried at his last moment before he died.

It is a natural act for people to show sympathy and affection towards those whom they love when they are stricken by grief and calamity. The Noble Qur’an says,

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I do not ask any reward from you for this (preaching the message) but love for my relatives.”28

The Messenger of Allah explicitly told the Muslims that this verse refers to his Ahlul Bayt—’Ali, Lady Fatima, Hassan, and Husayn (for further information, see section on “Ahlul Bayt”). Thus, it is incumbent upon the Muslims to show love and sympathy for these individuals and the trials that they endured for the sake of Allah and to safeguard the religion of Islam.

None of the Ahlul Bayt died a natural death; all of them were either poisoned or killed by the sword in their struggle to defend Islam. None can fail to feel sorrow and pain for their tragedies. How can someone hear about the tragedy of ‘Ashura, when Imam Husayn sacrificed 72 members of his family and companions for the sake of Allah, and was killed in such a tragic manner. The tragedy continued, when the women of his household—the family of the Messenger of Allah—were taken captive and dragged from city to city, accompanying the severed heads of Imam Husayn, his relatives and companions; how then can a person not cry?

Even those who are not Muslim shed tears when hearing this story. If Muslims will cry over their own relatives, then how can they not cry over the family of the Prophet of Allah? Imam Husayn was not killed to be cried for; he gave his life to save the message of Islam and was martyred to fight tyranny and corruption. But the tears and sadness for Imam Husayn brings about a solemn pledge to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet and his family.

Showing sympathy about the tragedy of Imam Husayn and others from the Ahlul Bayt is neither an innovation nor is it a bid`ah. It must be noted that following the path of Imam Husayn is more important in the school of Ahlul Bayt, than merely crying for him.

Three Divorces in One Session

In Islam, divorce should be avoided as much as possible. The Prophet has been reported to have said that in the eyes of Allah, divorce is the most hated of all permissible acts; and it should only be performed as a last resort. Islam encourages family mediators to be called,29 and divorce should be pronounced on three separate occasions following a three-month waiting period before becoming irrevocable. The Qur’an says,

“Divorce is only permissible twice, after which the parties should either stay together in a goodly manner, or separate with kindness. And if he has divorced her the third time, then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she has married another husband. Then if the other husband divorces her, it is no sin on both of them that they reunite, provided that they will keep the limits ordained by Allah.”30

Unfortunately, some non-Shi‘a Muslim jurists allow a husband to divorce his wife irrevocably by issuing three divorce pronouncements in a single occasion, which is clearly opposed to the intent of the Noble Qur’an. It has been narrated in the books of sahhah, as well as in other books,31 that the three divorce pronouncements in one session was considered as only one legal divorce during the time of the Prophet, the first caliph, and the first two years of the second caliph’s rule. After that, the second caliph allowed the three pronouncements in one session to be considered as a three legal divorce, and hence the wife would be unable to go back to her husband.32

Khums in Islam

Khums is one of the pillars of Islam which was ordained by Allah and practiced during the life of the Messenger of Allah. Khums means “one-fifth,” and indicates that one fifth of a person’s excess income has to be dedicated, according to the Qur’an, for the following,

“And know that whatever profit you make, verily, one-fifth of it is assigned to Allah and to the Messenger and to his family and also the orphans, the destitute, and the wayfarer, if you have believed in Allah, and in that which We sent down to our servant Muhammad.”33

Khums, in brief, means paying one-fifth of the surplus of one’s income after taking away the expenses of the person and his dependants. It consists of two equal parts: one being the share of the Imam, meaning that this part goes for constructing masjids, Islamic seminaries, Islamic schools, libraries, hospitals or clinics, orphanages, printing of the Noble Qur’an, hadith books, Islamic books and lectures, and others things which will benefit, defend, or propagate Islam. The second part is the portion for the poor sayyids (descendants of the Prophet), since they are banned from receiving zakat (charity).

Many historical references from different schools of thought mention that the khums existed during the time of the Prophet and was banned during the time of the first and second caliphs.34 The interpretation by the Ahlul Bayt of the word “ghanimtum” in the Qur’an, chapter 8, verse 41 is “everything you gained”—whether from war, work, trade, or other sources, since Islam’s history testifies that the Prophet took out one-fifth from the war booty, and also from assets other than the war booty during peacetime.35 Other non-Shi‘a scholars have supported this position.36

Temporary Marriage (Mut‘ah)

Discussing the legality of temporary marriage should not in any way be perceived as encouraging youths to engage in such a practice. Permanent marriage is the norm which is recommended and encouraged in the Noble Qur’an and in the traditions of the Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt. Temporary marriage is the exception and should be used as a last resort whenever permanent marriage cannot be afforded or things become extremely difficult to bear (for one who can not get married). This section does not intend to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such a marriage; but rather, to address its Islamic legality with respect to the Noble Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet.

Marriage in Islam is a sacred institution, a commitment, and a pledge by two individuals to respect and uphold each other’s will, dignity, honor, and aspirations. Marriage is of two types: permanent and temporary. Both share the same rules and restrictions and both need a prescribed form of proposal and acceptance, and marriage—even the permanent one—is open to conditions and restrictions. If the marriage is not confined to a period of time, then it would be considered as a permanent one, and if it is conditioned by a period of time, then it is a temporary one.

While disagreeing on the matter of temporary marriage, the scholars of other schools of thought agree that if a man intends to marry a lady for a short period of time without telling her that he will be divorcing her after a period of time and hides his intentions then the marriage is still valid. In such a case, temporary marriage seems more logical since the couple can actually agree on the terms and conditions beforehand with full honesty.

In essence, temporary marriage is a ‘normal marriage’ with a mutual agreement that is conditioned by a period of time. The conditions for this marriage include the following: a proposal and acceptance, a dowry for the woman, both parties have to consent and both have the freedom to accept or decline, both have to be sane, and a virgin woman must have her father’s or guardian’s approval. However, in temporary marriage, there is no obligation for sustenance or inheritance unless it is stated and conditioned in the marriage contract.

Regarding this practice, the Noble Qur’an says,

“So with those whom you have engaged in mut‘ah (temporary marriage), give them their dowries as prescribed.”37

In the tradition of the Prophet, scores of hadiths state the permissibility of temporary marriage. Imam al-Bukhari narrates, “There came to us the declarer of Allah’s Messenger and said, ‘Allah’s Messenger has granted you permission to have temporary marriage,’—that is mut‘ah with women.”38 He also narrates:

We were on an expedition with Allah’s Messenger and we had no women with us. We said, ‘should we not have ourselves castrated?’ He (the Prophet) forbade us to do so. He then granted us permission to contract temporary marriage for a stipulated period giving the women garments; and ‘Abdullah then recited this verse,

“O you who believe, do not make unlawful the good things that Allah has made lawful for you, and do not transgress. Allah does not like the transgressors.”39

Imam al-Bukhari also narrates:

“We went out with Allah’s Messenger on the expedition to Banu al-Mustaliq. We were suffering from the absence of our wives, so we decided to have temporary marriage with women but by observing ‘azl (outside ejaculation). But we said, ‘We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us - why not ask him?’ So we asked Allah’s Messenger and he said, ‘It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will definitely be born (and nothing can prevent this from occurring).’”40

Imam Muslim also narrates instances of temporary marriage being done at the time of the Prophet41 and gives clear reference that temporary marriage was lawful during the Prophet’s time, the time of the first caliph Abu Bakr, and during part of the time of the second caliph—who was the one who prohibited it. Even after that time, it was still accepted by some Sunni scholars, such as al-Qurtubi who considered it as a lawful form of marriage and that it had been agreed upon by the predecessors and the successors (the salaf and the khalaf).42

The leaders of the Ahlul Bayt argue that according to the Noble Qur’an no one has the authority to make any act lawful or unlawful by his own desire. If there were an interest in banning temporary marriage then Allah, the All-Knowing would have done so through His Prophet.

Mut‘at al-Hajj

Mut‘at al-Hajj means that Muslims are free from the restrictions of ihram (ritual consecration) during the time between ‘umrah and the hajj, as the Noble Qur’an states in

“Complete the hajj and the ‘umrah for God’s sake, and if you are prevented, then [make] such [sacrificial] offering as is feasible. And do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its [assigned] place. But should any of you be sick, or have a hurt in his head, let the atonement be by fasting, or charity, or sacrifice. And when you have security—for those who enjoy [release from the restrictions] by virtue of the ‘umrah until the hajj—let the offering be such as is feasible. As for someone who cannot afford [the offering], let him fast three days during the hajj and seven when you return; that is [a period of] complete ten [days]. That is for someone whose family does not dwell by the Holy Mosque. And be wary of God, and know that God is severe in retribution.” (2:196)

However, spousal relations between the time of ‘umrah and hajj were prohibited by the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab who declared, “O people, three things existed during the time of the Messenger of Allah that I prohibit and make unlawful and will punish for: Mut‘ah al-Hajj, mut‘ah al-nisa (temporary marriage), and ‘hayya ‘ala khayr al-‘amal’ (in the adhan).”43 Similarly, he also said, “Two types of mut‘ah existed during the time of the Messenger of Allah, and I prohibit them and will punish for them: mut‘ah al-hajj and mut‘ah al-nisa.”44

Suyuti reports that Umar ibn al-Khattab was the first to introduce the tarawih prayers, lashed eighty lashes (instead of one hundred) as a punishment for drinking, prohibited mut‘ah marriage, performed four takbirs (instead of five) in the funeral prayers, and many other things.45

Tirmidhi narrates that ‘Abdullah ibn Umar was asked about mut‘at al-hajj. He said that it is lawful. The person pointed out that ‘Abdullah’s father had been the one to prohibit it. ‘Abdullah ibn Umar answered, “If my father prohibited that, and the Messenger of Allah did it, which one do we have to follow—my father or the commands of the Messenger of Allah?”46

  • 1. Tafsir Majma ‘al-Bayan, Vol. 10, 437 (in the narration of al-Sadiq)
  • 2. Noble Qur’an, 68:4
  • 3. Noble Qur’an, 3:159
  • 4. Noble Qur’an, 9:128
  • 5. Noble Qur’an, 2.218-219.
  • 6. Ibn Abi al-Hadid al-Mu‘tazili, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah. Vol. 1. 142.
  • 7. Noble Qur’an, 15:9; For more details, see al-Mudhaffar, Aqa’id al-Imamiyyah, 41.
  • 8. I‘tiqadat al-Suduq, 164
  • 9. al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 3, 127
  • 10. Sahih al-Bukhari, “Book on Penalties”, Hadith 6327 and 6328, “Adherence to the Noble Qur’an and Sunnah”, Hadith 6778; Sahih Muslim, “Book on Penalties”, Hadith 3291; al-Tirmidhi, “Book on Penalties”, Hadith 1351 and 1352; Abu Dawud, “Book on Penalties”, Hadith 3835; ibn Majah, “Book on Penalties”, Hadith 2543; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 23, 29, 36, 40, 43, 47, 50, and 55; Malik, “Book on Penalties”, Hadith 1295 and 1297; al-Darami, “Book on Penalties” Hadith 2219
  • 11. “Book of the Virtue of the Qur’an”, Vol. 6, 508 and Vol. 9, 212; Sunan Abu Dawud, “Book of Ahkam”
  • 12. Sahih al-Bukhari, “Kitab al-Fara’idh” Vol. 8, 540
  • 13. Suyuti, al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an, Vol. 1, 63
  • 14. Ibid., Vol. 3, 81
  • 15. al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, Kitab al-Hujjah, 240
  • 16. Noble Qur’an, 24.32.
  • 17. Noble Qur’an, 12:93- 96.
  • 18. Sahih al-Bukhari, “Kitab al-Libas”, Vol. 7, 199
  • 19. Sahih al-Bukhari, “Book on Taking Permission”, Hadith 5809; Sahih Muslim, “Book on the Virtues”, Hadith 4302; al-Nisa’i, “Book on Ornamentation”, Hadith 5276; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 3, 103, 136, 221, 226, 230, 231, and 287; Vol. 6, 376
  • 20. Noble Qur’an 3:95
  • 21. Noble Qur’an 69:33
  • 22. Noble Qur’an, 19:58
  • 23. Noble Qur’an, 17:109
  • 24. Sahih al-Bukhari, “Book on Funerals”, Hadith 1220; Sahih Muslim, “Book on the Virtues”, Hadith 4279; Abu Dawud, “Book on Funerals”, Hadith 2719; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Vol. 3, 194
  • 25. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 2
  • 26. Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, 152; Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, Ch. “Weeping for the Dead”, says, that the Prophet visited the grave of his mother, Aminah and cried and caused those around him to cry too. Ibn Abi al-Hadid al-Mu‘tazili, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, Vol. 3, 387
  • 27. al-Mawardi al-Shafi‘i, A‘lam al-Nubuwwah; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, on the authority of Umm Salamah (one of the wives of the Prophet).
  • 28. Noble Qur’an, 42:23
  • 29. Noble Qur’an, 4.35.
  • 30. Noble Qur’an, 2:229-230
  • 31. Sirat ibn Ishaq, Vol. 2, 191
  • 32. Sahih Muslim, “Chapter on the Three Divorces”, Vol. 1, 575; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 314; al-Bayhaqi, Vol. 7, 336
  • 33. Noble Qur’an, 8:41
  • 34. Sunan al-Bayhaqi, Vol. 6, “Sahm Dhil Qurba”; Musnad al-Shafi‘i, “al-Fay’”, 187; Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 18, “al-Khums”; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 320; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 2, 305; Lisan al-Mizan, Vol. 6, 148; Huliyat Abu Nu‘aym, Vol. 2, 205; Sahih Muslim, Vol. 5, 198; Sunan al-Nisa’i, 177 and 178; Tafsir al-Tabari, Vol. 10, 5
  • 35. See for further details: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 314; Sunan ibn Majah, 839
  • 36. al-Qadi Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, 25-27
  • 37. Noble Qur’an, 4:24
  • 38. Sahih al-Bukhari, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 4725; Sahih Muslim, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 2494; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 4, 47, 51, and 55
  • 39. Noble Qur’an, 5:87; Sahih al-Bukhari, “Book on the Interpretation of the Noble Qur’an”, Hadith 4249, “Marriage”, Hadith 4683 and 4686; Sahih Muslim, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 2493; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 385, 390, 420, 432, and 450
  • 40. Sahih al-Bukhari, “Book on Types of Selling”, Hadith 2077, “Setting Free”, Hadith 2356; Sahih Muslim, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 2599; al-Tirmidhi, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 1057; al-Nisa’i, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 3275; Abu Dawud, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 1855-1857; Ibn Majah, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 1916; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 3, 88; Malik, “Book on Divorce”, Hadith 1090, al-Darami, “Book on Marriage”, Hadith 2126 and 2127
  • 41. Sahih Muslim, “Book of Marriage”, Ch. 3, Narrations 15-17
  • 42. Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Vol. 5, 132; Tafsir al-Tabari
  • 43. Sharh al-Tajrid, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 49
  • 44. Tafsir Fakhr al-Razi, Vol. 2, 167; Sunan al-Bayhaqi, Vol. 7, 206; Bidayat al-Mujtahid, Vol. 1, 346; Al-Muhalla, Vol. 7, 107; al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an, Vol. 1, 279; Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Vol. 2, 370; al-Mughni, Vol. 7, 527; al-Durr al-Manthur, Vol. 2, 141; Kanz al-‘Ummal, Vol. 8, 293; Wafayat al-A‘yan, Vol. 5, 197
  • 45. al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, 137
  • 46. Sahih Tirmidhi, Vol. 4, 38