FOURTH MEETING Sunday night, 2nd Rajab 1345 A.H.
DISCUSSION REGARDING IMAMATE
Well-Wisher: You good people are aware that the word "Imam" has many meanings. Literally it means "leader." Imam-e-Jama'at means "one who leads the congregational prayers." He may also be the leader of men in political or spiritual matters. Imam-e-Jum'a means "one who leads the Jum'a prayers." Therefore, the Sunnis, followers of the four schools of law, call their leaders "Imams," such as Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i, and Imam Hanbal. These theologians and jurists are their leaders in religious matters, and they have set forth religious laws based on their research or on their own speculation regarding the lawfulness of actions. Accordingly, when we study the books of jurisprudence of the four Imams, we find many differences among them concerning the fundamentals of faith and the articles of the practice of the faith.
Similarly, all sects have such leaders, and among the Shias the ulema and jurists hold the same position. With the disappearance of our living Imam of the Age, they issue legal pronouncements based on their knowledge of the Holy Qur'an, the authentic sayings of the Prophet, and the apostolic Imams. But we do not call them Imams because the Imamate belongs exclusively to the twelve successors, descendants of the Prophet. There is another difference. The Sunnis later closed the door of ijtihad (striving to interpret the law). From the fifth century A.H. when, by order of the king, the opinions formulated by the ulema and jurists were collected, the so-called Imamate was confined to the four Imams, and the four schools of law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali) were established. People were forced to follow one of them, as is the practice at the present time. It is not known on what grounds following one Imam is preferable. What characteristics does the Imam of the Hanafis possess which the Imam of Malikis does not? What characteristics does the Imam of the Shafi'is possess which the Imam of Hanbalis does not? And if the Islamic world is forced to confine itself to following one of the four schools, then the progress of the Muslim community is totally blocked, even though Islam teaches us that we should move forward with the times. To do this, we need the guidance of the ulema. There are many matters in which we should not follow the verdict of a deceased mujtahid
(from jihad, to strive, meaning in this case, one who strives to interpret and to formulate religious practice and law, as ijtihad refers to the process of striving) but should turn to the living mujtahid for guidance. Many mujtahids were born later among you who were of higher rank in learning than those four "Imams." I do not know why preference is given to the latter so that none but they may be followed and the right of others ignored. In Shia jurisprudence, mujtahids in every age until the appearance of the Holy Imam of our time have the right to practice. In regard to new problems, we cannot follow the verdict of a deceased mujtahid.
LIMITATION TO FOUR SCHOOLS OF LAW HAS NO BASIS
It is strange that you call the Shias innovators and worshippers of the dead. They follow the injunctions of the twelve Imams, the descendants of the Prophet. However, it is not known on what grounds you attempt to force Muslims to follow the Ash'aris or Mu'tazalis regarding the fundamentals (usul) and one of the four Imams in the articles of the practice (furu') of the faith. Those who do not follow them are called Rafizis. Since Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari, Abu Hanifa, Maliki Bin Anas Muhammad Bin Idris Shafi'i, and Ahmad Bin Hanbal were like many other Muslim ulema and jurists, and since there is no injunction from the Holy Prophet to follow them, the restriction to follow them alone is an innovation. If I were to make this charge, what would you say in reply?
Hafiz: Since the four Imams possessed a high degree of devotion to Allah, piety, uprightness, and integrity, along with a vast knowledge of jurisprudence, it has become necessary for us to follow them.
Well-Wisher: We are not compelled by logic to confine ourselves to follow them alone. Many others of your ulema possessed these same qualities. The restriction to follow them alone is an insult to other ulema of equal merit. We cannot be forced to follow any one person or persons without an authoritative instruction from the Holy Prophet. There is no such authorization by the Prophet about your four Imams. So how can you restrict religion to these four schools of law?
SHIA'ISM COMPARED TO FOUR SCHOOLS OF LAW
Only a few nights ago you called the Shia sect "political,"
and said that since it did not exist during the Prophet's time
- that it came into being during Uthman's caliphate - it was unlawful
to follow it. The night before last we proved that Shia'ism was
founded in the time of the Prophet on
his own instructions. The chief of the Shias, the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, was brought up and trained by the Prophet from early childhood and received his religious knowledge from him. According to the records in your own authentic books, the Holy Prophet called him the Gate of Knowledge. He explicitly said: "Obedience to Ali is obedience to me, and disobedience to Ali is disobedience to me." In a gathering of 70,000 people, he appointed him Amir and caliph and ordered all Muslims, including Umar and Abu Bakr, to pay allegiance to him.
But it is not known how your four schools of law came to be established, nor which of the four Imams saw the Prophet nor whether any authorization has been reported from the Prophet about them so as to explain why Muslims should be forced to follow them. Without any compelling reason you follow your elders and offer nothing to authorize their Imamate except that they were great mujtahids, men of learning and piety. But, if these qualities are present to the highest degree in the progeny of the Prophet, then isn't it obligatory for us to follow them? Are these schools of law, which have no link with the Prophet, innovations, or is that sect founded by the Prophet and led by his descendant an innovation? In the same way, there are the other eleven Imams about whom there are separate hadith showing that they are the equals of the Holy Qur'an. In the Hadith-e-Thaqalain it is clearly stated that "Whoever is attached to these two is rescued, and whosoever stays away from them is lost." In the Hadith-e-Safina the Prophet said: "Whosoever keeps aloof from them is drowned and lost." Ibn Hajar in Sawa'iq (Bab-e-Wasiyyatu'n-Nabi, page 135), quotes a hadith from the Prophet saying that: "The Qur'an and my progeny are my Trusts; if you keep yourselves attached to these two, never shall you go astray."
In support of this, Ibn Hajar quotes another hadith from the Prophet about the Holy Qur'an and his purified progeny: "Do not go beyond the bounds of the Qur'an and my progeny; do not neglect them. Otherwise, you will be destroyed. And do not teach my descendants since they know more than you do."
After this, Ibn Hajar comments that the above hadith proves that the descendants of the Prophet are superior to all others in knowledge and in discharging religious responsibilities.
THE FOUR IMAMS HAVE DECLARED EACH OTHER TO BE INFIDELS
It is, however, astonishing that, knowing that the progeny of
the Prophet are superior to all others, the Sunnis follow Abu'l-Hasan
Ash'ari in the
fundamentals of Islam and the four Imams in the articles of practice of the faith. To follow such a course is due to fanaticism and arrogance. And even if we suppose what you say is true, that your four Imams are worthy of your allegiance because they were learned and pious, then why has each of them accused the other of infidelity?
Hafiz: You are very unkind. You say whatever comes to mind. You malign our Imams. This statement is a lie. If anything has been said against them, it is from the Shia ulema. From our side nothing has been said against them. We have shown them respect.
Well-Wisher: You apparently haven't read your ulema's books. Your own distinguished ulema have written books concerning their rejection. Even the four Imams have charged one another with violating divine laws.
Hafiz: Who are those ulema? What are their statements?
Well-Wisher: The companions of Abu Hanifa, Ibn Hajar (Ali Bin Ahmad Andalusi, who died in 456 A.H.), and others have always censured Imam Malik and Muhammad Bin Idris Shafi'i. Similarly, the companions of Imam Shafi'i, like Imamu'l- Haramain, Imam Ghazali and others have condemned Abu Hanifa and Malik. Let me ask you something: what sort of people were Imam Shafi'i, Abu Hamid Muhammad Bin Muhammad Ghazali, and Jarullah Zamakhshari?
Hafiz: They were great jurists, learned scholars, pious men, and our Imams.
THE SUNNI ULEMA'S CONDEMNATION OF ABU HANIFA
Well-Wisher: Imam Shafi'i said: "There never was born a more damned person in Islam than Abu Hanifa." He also said: "I looked into the books of the companions of Abu Hanifa, and I found in them 130 pages containing matter in opposition to the Holy Qur'an and the Sunna."
Abu Hamid Ghazali in his book Manqul fi Ilmi'l-Usul says: "In
fact Abu Hanifa distorted the religious code, made its way doubtful,
changed its arrangement, and intermingled the laws in such a way
that the code prescribed by the Holy Prophet was totally disfigured.
One who does so deliberately and considers it lawful is an infidel.
One who does it knowing it to be unlawful is a sinner." According
to this great scholar,
Abu Hanifa was either an infidel or a sinner. Many other books condemn Abu Hanifa. Jarullah Zamakhshari, the author of Tafsir-e-Kashshaf and one of your pious ulema, writes in Rabiu'l-Abrar that Yusuf Bin Asbat said: "Abu Hanifa rejected at least 400 hadith of the Prophet of Islam." Yusuf remarked that "Abu Hanifa said: 'Had the Prophet of Islam known me, he would have accepted many of my sayings.'"
Your own ulema have made similar criticisms of Abu Hanifa and the other three Imams. They can be found in Ghazali's Mutahawwal, Shafi'i's Nuqtu'sh-Sharifa, Zamakhshari's Rabiu'l-Abrar, and Ibn Jauzi's Muntazim. Imam Ghazali says in his Mutahawwal, "There are many mistakes in Abu Hanifa's work. He had no knowledge of etymology, grammar, or hadith." He also writes, "Since he had no knowledge of hadith, he relied on his own conjecture. The first being who acted on conjecture was Satan."
Ibn Jauzi writes in his Muntazim, "All the ulema are united in condemning Abu Hanifa. There are three categories of such critics: one group holds that his faith in the fundamentals of Islam was uncertain; another says that he lacked a strong memory and could not remember hadith; a third believes that he acted on conjecture and that his opinion was always at variance with the true hadith."
Your own ulema have criticized your Imams. The Shia ulema have not attributed anything to them except what your own ulema have said about them. On the other hand, there is no difference of opinion among the Shia ulema concerning the position of the twelve Imams. We regard the holy imams as the pupils of the same teaching. These Imams - all of them - acted according to divine laws which the last of the Prophets gave them. They never acted on conjecture or approved of innovations. What they said or did agreed with the sayings of the Prophet. Hence, there was no difference among them.
IMAMATE ACCORDING TO SHIAS MEANS VICEGERENCY OF ALLAH
According to the definition given by the ulema, the Imamate or Vicegerency of Allah, is one of the fundamentals of Islam. We believe that the Imamate is the Vicegerency of Allah for all of creation and the Khilafat-e-Rasul (successors of the Prophet) for this world and the hereafter. Therefore, it is obligatory for all mankind to follow its tenants in all matters, temporal as well as spiritual.
Sheikh: It would be better if
you did not declare categorically that the
Imamate is included in the fundamentals of the faith, since the great ulema of Islam deny its inclusion. It is included in the articles of the practice of the faith. Your ulema have made it a part of the fundamentals.
Well-Wisher: My statement is not confined to the Imamate of the Shias. Even your great ulema have the same belief. One of them is your famous commentator Qazi Baidhawi, who says in his Minhaju'l-Usul in connection with the discussion on narrations of hadith, "The Imamate is one of the fundamental principles of the faith, whose denial and opposition leads to infidelity and innovation."
Mulla Ali Qushachi says in Sharh-e-Tajrid, "The Imamate is the general vicegerent of Allah for both the affairs of this world and religion, like the caliphate of the Prophet." And Qazi Ruzbahan, one of the most fanatical of your ulema, points to the same meaning. He says: "The Imamate, according to the followers of Abu'l-Hasan Ash'ari, is the vicegerency of the Prophet of Islam for establishing the faith and safeguarding the interests of the Muslim community. All the followers are bound in duty to comply with its dictates. Had the Imamate not been a part of the articles of the practice of the faith, the Prophet would not have said that 'Whosoever dies not knowing the Imam of his age, dies the death of ignorance.'"
This has been quoted by your distinguished ulema, like Hamidi in Jam'i-Bainu's-Sahihain and Mulla As'ad Taftazani in Sharhe Aqa'id-e-Nasafi. Not knowing a single article of the practice of the faith would not be equivalent to ignorance stated by Baidhawi about not knowing the fundamentals, namely that ignorance of them is the cause of infidelity. Therefore, the Imamate is one of the fundamentals of the faith and is the completing stage of prophethood. Hence, there is a vast difference between the concept of our Imamate and those interpreted by you. You call your ulema Imams, such as Imam Azam, and Imam Maliki. But this is in the verbal sense. We also use the terms Imam-e-Juma'a, Imam-e-Jama'at. So there may be hundreds of Imams at one time, but in the technical sense in which we use the word "Imam," it means vicegerency of Allah. In this sense there is only one Imam at one time. The noble qualities of knowledge, magnanimity, valor, devotion to Allah, and piety have been perfected in him. He surpasses humanity in all merits and occupies a state of infallibility. The world shall not be without such an Imam until the Day of Judgement. An Imam of such excellence is at the highest stage of spiritual attainment. Such an Imam is divinely commissioned and is appointed by the Holy Prophet. He surpasses all creation, including the prophets of the past.
Hafiz: On the one hand you condemn the Ghalis, and on the other hand, you yourself unduly praise the Imams and consider their position higher than that of the prophets. Common sense denies this, and the Holy Qur'an has also declared that the prophets are placed at the highest rank. Their position lies between Divine Self-Existence and the possible. Since your assertion is not supported by reason it cannot be accepted.
THE RANK OF IMAMATE IS HIGHER THAN THAT OF GENERAL PROPHETHOOD
Well-Wisher: You have not yet asked on what grounds I have made this statement, and therefore you say it is without reason. The best proof for my statement is the Holy Qur'an, which, narrating the life of the Prophet Abraham, says that, after giving him three tests (of life, wealth, and sons), Allah intended to make his rank more exalted. Since prophethood and the title of Khalil (Friend) did not apparently warrant a higher rank, the office of Imamate was the only office of a higher order to which even a Prophet of Allah could be entrusted. The Holy Qur'an says: "And when his Lord tried Abraham with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: 'Surely I will make you an Imam of men.' Abraham said: 'And of my offspring?' 'My covenant does not include the unjust,' He said." (2:124) This verse, which indicates the position of the Imamate, also proves that the rank of the Imamate is superior to that of prophethood, since the position of the Prophet Abraham was raised from prophethood to the Imamate.
Hafiz: This means, according to your reasoning, that Ali's position was superior to that of the last Prophet. This is what the Ghalis believed, as you have yourself admitted.
GENERAL AND SPECIAL PROPHETHOOD
Well-Wisher: I do not mean what you have concluded. As you know, there is a great difference between general prophethood and special prophethood. The rank of the Imamate is higher than the rank of general prophethood, but lower than special prophethood. The last Prophet is the highest stage of special prophethood.
Nawab: Excuse my interruption. Weren't all the prophets sent by Allah? They are undoubtedly of the same rank. The Holy Qur'an says: "We do not differentiate between any of the prophets." (2:285) Then why have you differentiated between them and divided prophethood into two categories, general and special?
WISHER: Of course this verse is true in its proper context. That is, so far as achieving the aim of prophethood is concerned (which means teaching the people about existence of Allah, the Day of Judgement, and the training of their minds), all the prophets from Adam to the last of the prophets, are equal. But they differ in their qualities, achievements, and rank.
DIFFERENCES IN THE RANK OF THE PROPHETS
Is a prophet who was sent to guide 1,000 people equal to one who sent to guide 30,000 people, or to one sent to guide all of humanity? Let's take an example. Is the teacher of first-grade students equal to a teacher of fourth-grade students? Are the teachers of higher classes equal to professors or university teachers? All belong to the same administration and work under the same general program, their aim being to educate students. Yet, in view of the teacher's knowledge, they are not equal. Each is different from the other according to his learning, ability, and achievement. From the point of view of the aim of prophethood, all the prophets of Allah are equal. However, because of differences in rank and knowledge, they are different. The Holy Qur'an says: "We have made some of these Apostles to excel the others; among them are they to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by (many degrees of) rank." (2:253)
Your own Jarullah Zamakhshari says in his Tafsir-e-Kushshaf that the above verse means that our Prophet was superior in rank to all others because of his special merits, the most important of which was that he was the last of the prophets.
Nawab: I am glad you solved this problem, but I have another question, though it is somewhat irrelevant. Please tell us briefly the main characteristics of special prophethood.
Well-Wisher: There are many qualities peculiar to special prophethood, and there are innumerable reasons proving how one prophet of all of them is the special prophet of Allah. In fact, that stage concludes the cycle of prophethood. But these sessions are not arranged to prove the prophethood of Allah for Muslims. If we were to discuss this topic fully, we would drift from the topic of the Imamate. I will, however, briefly discuss the point.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SPECIAL PROPHETHOOD
The perfection of humanity lies in the perfection of the soul.
spiritual perfection cannot be attained without purifying the soul. This purification is impossible unless one is guided by the power of wisdom. One is then able to rise higher and higher with the force of knowledge and right action until he reaches the acme of humanity, as has been explained by Ali. He said: "Man has been created with the power of speech, which is the essence of humanity. If speech is adorned with knowledge and action, it resembles the existence of the ethereal realm, which is the origin of man's creation.When his speech reaches the place of temperance and is cleared of all physical matter, it becomes one with the ethereal realm. Then it leaves the animal world and reaches the highest stage of humanity."
Man's power of articulation renders him superior to all existence. But there is one condition attached to it: that he cleanse his soul of all impurities with knowledge and right action. These two factors in man are like two wings of a bird, which fly higher according to the strength of the wings. Similarly, man's level of human attainment rises according to his knowledge and right action. To pass beyond the province of animality and to reach the sphere of humanity depends upon the perfection of the soul. The man who combines in himself the faculties of knowledge and right action and reaches the third of three classes of men (the common people, the elite, and the most elite), arrives at the lowest stage of prophethood. When such a man becomes the object of Allah's special attention, he becomes a prophet. Of course prophethood also has different stages. A prophet may reach the highest point in the highest of these three classes. This rank is the highest in the sphere of possibility, which the sages call the First Wisdom, and which is the First Effect or the First Consequence. There is no rank higher than this in the realm of existence. This position is occupied by the last of the prophets, who is second to none except the First Cause. When the Prophet was raised to this highest stage, prophethood was concluded.
The Imamate is a stage lower than the highest stage of prophethood, but it is a stage higher than all other ranks of prophethood. Since Ali was raised to the stage higher than prophethood and was one in spirit with the Holy Prophet, he was endowed with the office of the Imamate and was thus superior to all previous prophets.
Hafiz: The last part of your remarks is perplexing. First, you say that Ali was at the stage of prophethood; second, that he was one in spirit with the Prophet Muhammad; third, that he was superior to the other prophets. What are your arguments to prove the truth of your assertions?
Well-Wisher: That Ali attained the rank of prophethood can be proven by the reference to the Hadith of Manzila (Tradition Regarding Ranks), which has been unanimously narrated in more or less the same words. The last of the holy prophets repeated a number of times and in different congregations: "Are you not content that you are to me what Aaron was to Moses, except that there shall be no prophet after me?" On other occasions he said to his followers: "Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses."
Hafiz: The authenticity of this hadith has not been proven. Even if it were proven to be true, it would be a single narration and therefore unacceptable.
AUTHENTICITY OF HADITH OF MANZILA FROM THE USUAL SOURCES
Well-Wisher: In providing information regarding the genuineness of this hadith, I will refer to your books. It is not a single narration. It has been authenticated by your own distinguished ulema, like Suyuti, Hakim Nishapuri, and others, who have proved its reliability with unanimous sources. Some of them are the following:
(1) Abu Abdullah Bukhari in his Sahih, Volume III, the Book of
Ghazawa, Qazwa Tabuk, p. 54, and in his book Bida'u'l-Khalq, p.
180; (2) Muslim bin Hajjaj in his Sahih, printed in Egypt, 1290
A.H., Volume II, under the heading, "The Merits of Ali;"
pages 236-7; (3) Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad, Volume I, "Grounds
for Naming Husain," pages 98, 118, 119; and footnote of the
same book, Part 5, page 31; (4) Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Khasa'isi'l-Alawiyya,
page 19; (5) Muhammad bin Sura Tirmidhi in his Jami'; (6) Hafiz
Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isaba, Volume II, page 507; (7) Ibn Hajar
Makki in Sawa'iq Muhriqa, chapter 9, pages 30 and 34, (8) Hakim
Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Abdullah Nishapuri in Mustadrak, Volume
III, page 109; (9) Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa,
page 65; (10) Ibn Abd Rabbih in Iqdu'l-Farid, Volume II, page
194; (11) Ibn Abdu'l-Birr in Isti'ab, Volume 2, page
473; (12) Muhammad bin Sa'd Katib Waqidi in Tabaqatu'l-Kubra; (13)
Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi in Tafsir Mafatihu'l-Ghaib; (14) Muhammad
bin Jarir Tabari in his Tafsir; as well as in his Ta'rikh; (15) Seyyed Mu'min
Shablanji in Nuru'l-Absar, page 68; (16) Kamalu'd-Din Abu Salim
Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 17; (17) Mir Seyyed Ali bin
Shahabu'd-Din Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, to-
wards the end of Mawadda 7; (18) Nuru'd-Din Ali bin Muhammad Maliki Makki, known as Ibn Sabbagh Maliki, in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, pages 23 and 125; (19) Ali bin Burhanu'd-Din Shafi'i in Siratu'l-Halabiyya, Volume II, page 49; (21) Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter and (22) Mulla Ali Muttaqi in Kanzu'l-Ummal, Volume VI pages 152-153; (23) Ahmad bin Ali Khatib in Ta'rikh Baghdad; (24) Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Manaqib; (25) Muwaffaq bin Ahmad Khawarizmi in Manaqib; (26) Ibn Athir Jazari Ali bin Muhammad in Usudu'l-Ghaiba; (27) Ibn Kathir Damishqi in his Ta'rikh; (28) Ala'u'd-Daula Ahmad bin Muhammad in Urwatu'l-Wuthqa; (29) Ibn Athir Mubarak bin Muhammad Shaibani in Jami'u'l-Usul; (30) Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Tahdhibu't-Tahdhib; (31) Abu'l Qasim Husain bin Muhammad Raghib Isfahani in Muhadhiratu'l-Udaba', Volume II page 212. Many other eminent scholars of yours have narrated this grand hadith with slight variations in words from many of the companions of the holy Prophet, such as: (1) Umar bin Khattab, (2) Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, (3) Abdullah bin Abbas, (4) Abdullah bin Mas'ud, (5) Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari, (6) Abu Huraira, (7) Abu Sa'id Khudri, (8) Jabir bin Sumra, (9) Malik bin Huwairi's, (10) Bara'a bin 'Azib, (11) Zaid bin Arqam, (12) Abu Rafi', (13) Abdullah bin Ubai, (14) Abu Suraiha, (15) Hudhaifa bin Assad, (16) Anas bin Malik, (17) Abu Huraira Aslami, (18) Abu Ayyub Ansari, (19) Sa'id bin Musayyab, (20) Habib bin Abi Thabit, (21) Sharhbil bin Sa'd, (22) Umme Salma (wife of the holy Prophet), (23) Asma bint Umais (wife of Abu Bakr), (24) Aqil bin Abi Talib, (25) Mu'awiya bin Abu Sufyan, and a host of other companions. In short, all of them have related with slight variation of words that the holy Prophet said: "O Ali, you are to me as Aaron was to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me."
Are all these great ulema - and there are many I have not mentioned - not sufficient to prove that this hadith has been unanimously accepted as true? Would you now confirm that you were under a misunderstanding? Since you assume an attitude of doubt in regard to the veracity of this hadith, you should consult Kifayatu't-Talib fi Manaqib-e-Ali Bin Abu Talib, chapter 7, compiled by Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i, who is one of the most prominent ulema of your sect. After quoting six hadith in praise of Ali, this author comments (page 149) on this hadith as follows:
"This is a hadith whose authenticity has been acknowledged
by all. It has been narrated by the most learned Imams and Huffaz
(those who know the Qur'an by heart), like Abu Abdullah Bukhari
in his Sahih, Muslim bin Hujjaj in his Sahih, Abu Dawud in his
Sunan, Abu Isa Tirmidhi in his Jami', Abu Abdu'r-Rahman in his
Sunan, Ibn Maja Qazwini in his Sunan. All of them have unanimously
acknowledged its authenticity. Hakim Nishapuri has said that this
hadith has entered the stage of continuity."
I'm sure that I needn't present further evidence to show that this hadith is genuine.
Hafiz: I am not an irreligious man, so I will not reject your sensible reasoning, but I draw your attention to the statement of the great scholar and theologian, Abu'l-Hasan Amadi, who has rejected this hadith.
Well-Wisher: I wonder why a learned man like you, after hearing the views of your own distinguished ulema, would give any credence to the statement of a wicked man, who did not even perform the ritual prayers.
Sheikh: Man is free to express his faith. If someone expresses his views, we should not slander him. It is unbecoming of you to malign him instead of giving a logical reply to his remarks.
Well-Wisher: You misunderstood me. I do not unjustly censure anyone. I was not alive during the time of Amadi. Your own ulema have reported that he was an irreligious man.
Sheikh: Where have our ulema said that he was irreligious man?
AMADI UNRELIABLE AS NARRATOR OF HADITH
Well-Wisher: Ibn Hajar Asqalani has written in Lisanu'l-Mizan: "Saif Amadi Mutakallim Ali Bin Abi Ali, the author, was banished from Damascus because of his irreligious views, and it is true that he did not offer prayers." And Dhahabi, who is also one of your prominent ulema, reported the same thing in his Mizanu'l-I'tidal. He said that Amadi was an innovator. If Amadi had not been a wicked and irreligious innovator, he would not have made slanderous remarks about all the companions of the holy Prophet, including your own Caliph, Umar Bin Khattab (one of the reporters of the hadith). It's not quite fair that you fault the Shias for not accepting hadith recorded in Siha. If a hadith comes from authentic sources, it is acceptable even if it is in the Siha. But if an established hadith, which is recorded by Bukhari, Muslim, and other authors of Siha, is rejected by Amadi, you find no fault with that.
If you wish to know the complete arguments regarding the authenticity
and sources of this hadith from the recordings of your own ulema,
and if you are prepared to condemn people like Amadi, you may
consult the volumes of Abaqatu'l-Anwar, written by the great scholar
and commentator, Allama Mir Seyyed Hamid Husain Dihlawi. In particular,
you should consider the hadith of Manzila so that you may know
great Shia Allama has collected sources from your own legal scholars and established the hadith's reliability.
Hafiz: You said that one of the reporters of this hadith was Umar Bin Khattab. I'd like to know more about that.
CONFIRMATION OF HADITH OF MANZILA BY UMAR BIN KHATTAB
Well-Wisher: Abu Bakr Muhammad Bin Ja'afaru'l-Mutiri and Abu'l-Laith Nasr Bin Muhammad Samarqandi Hanafi, in their books, Majalis, Muhammad Bin Abdu'r-Rahman Dhahabi in his Riadhu'n-Nazara, Mulla Ali Muttaqi in his Kanzu'l-Ummal, and others have reported from Ibn Abbas as saying that one day Umar Bin Khattab said: "Leave the name of Ali (that is, do not speak so much ill of Ali) because I have heard the holy Prophet saying that Ali had three qualities. If I had any one of these qualities, I would have treasured it more than anything on which the sun shines. Once I, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida, Jarra and some other companions were present, and the holy Prophet was resting against Ali Bin Abu Talib. He patted Ali's shoulders and said, 'Ali! so far as faith is concerned, you are the first of all the believers and so far as Islam is concerned, you have taken the lead.' Then he said, 'Ali! You are to me as Aaron was to Moses. And he is a liar who thinks he is my friend if he is your enemy.'"
Is it permissible in your belief to reject the statement of Caliph Umar? If it is not permissible, why do you pay attention to the absurd statements of a man like Amadi?
THE POSITION OF SINGLE NARRATION IN THE SUNNI SECT
I have yet to reply to one of your remarks. You said that this hadith is a single narration, and hence it is not acceptable. If we say such a thing according to the pattern of the men which we have in view, we would be justified. But it surprises me to hear such a thing from you because in your sect even a single narration is sufficient to establish the truth of a matter. If someone refuses to admit the authenticity of a single narration, he is, according to your ulema, an unbeliever. Maliku'l-Ulema Shahabu'd-Din Daulatabadi said in Hidayatu's-Sa'da': "If someone refuses to accept a lone report or conjecture and says that it is not acceptable, he is an infidel. If he says that this single narration is not correct, and this conjecture is not proved, he is a sinner, not an infidel."
Hafiz:We have drifted from our main topic. Please let us know how you
can prove through this hadith of Manzila that Ali occupied the rank of a prophet.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ALI
Well-Wisher: This hadith proves that Ali possessed three characteristics: (1) The rank of a prophet; (2) The rank of successor to the Holy Prophet; and (3) his superior position among all the companions of the Holy Prophet. Like the Holy Prophet, Ali's followers likened him to Aaron, who was a prophet, was invested with the caliphate of Moses, and was superior to all the Bani Isra'il.
Nawab: Was Aaron a prophet?
Nawab: Can you cite a verse from the Holy Qur'an in support of this point?
Well-Wisher: Allah mentioned his prophethood in many verses. He says: "Surely We have revealed to you as We revealed to Noah, and to the prophets after him. We revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, and Jacob and the tribes, and to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon; and We gave to David Psalms." (4:163)
And again He says: "And mention Moses in the Book; surely he was one purified, and he was an apostle, a prophet. And We called to him from the blessed side of the mountain, and We made him draw nigh, holding communion (with us). And We gave to him out of Our Mercy his brother, Aaron, a prophet." (19:51-53)
Hafiz: So according to your reasoning, Muhammad and Ali were both prophets.
Well-Wisher: I didn't express it the way you have. Of course, you yourself know that there is a great difference of opinion regarding how many prophets there have been. Some claim that there have been 120,000 - or even more. But all of them in their respective periods were divided into groups and were subordinate to a major prophet to whom a sacred book was revealed containing a new religious law. Five of them were major prophets: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the last of the prophets, Muhammad, whose rank is the highest.
Aaron was one of those prophets who was not permanent or independent.
He was subordinate to the shari'a (religious code) of his brother, Moses. Ali reached the rank of prophethood but was not elevated to the rank of prophet per se since he was subordinate to the shari'a of Muhammad. In this hadith of Manzila, the purpose of the prophet was to tell people that, just as Aaron had reached the rank of prophethood but was subordinate to Moses, Ali reached the rank of prophethood. The Imamate was conferred upon him, but he was subordinate to Muhammad.
SIGNIFICANCE OF ALI'S RANK
In his commentary on the Nahju'l-Balagha, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says in connection with this hadith that by mentioning the rank of Aaron in comparison to Moses, the Prophet indicated that Ali Bin Abu Talib occupied that rank. Similarly, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i, in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 19, after explaining the rank and position of Aaron, says: "The gist of the matter is that the position of Aaron in relation to Moses was that Aaron was his brother, his representative, partner in prophethood, and his successor or vicegerent when Moses was on a journey. The Prophet of Allah has also in this hadith indicated that Ali held the same position as Aaron held, except prophethood, which has been excluded by his saying: 'There will be no prophet after me.'"
Therefore, it is proven that Ali was the Prophet's brother, wazir (assistant), representative, and his successor, as declared by the Prophet in his journey to Tabuk. This hadith is unanimously accepted as true. The same view has been expressed by Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 29, and by many others of your prominent ulema.
Hafiz: I think your claim that if our Prophet had not been the seal of the prophets, Ali would have held that office, is peculiar to you alone. No one else has said this.
Well-Wisher: This claim is not
confined to me and the Shia ulema. Your own ulema have held the
same view. One of your great ulema is Mulla Ali Bin Sultan Muhammad
Harawi Qari. In his Mirqat-e-Sharh bar Mishkat, he says, commenting
on the hadith of Manzila, "There is an indication in this
hadith that if there were any prophet of Allah after the last
of the prophets, it would have been Ali." Another of your
prominent ulema who has interpreted this hadith the same way is
the well known
scholar, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti. He writes towards the end of his Baghiatu'l-Wu'az Fi Tabaqatu'l-Huffaz, giving the chain of chroniclers up to Jabir
Abdullah Ansari, that the holy Prophet told the Commander of the
Faithful, Ali "Had there been any prophet of Allah after me, it would have
In addition, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Faqih Shafi'i says in the second of the six Mawadda in his book Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, quoting a narration from Anas Bin Malik, that the Prophet said: "Verily, Allah made me superior to all the prophets, chose me for excellence, and made for me a successor, my cousin, Ali. Through him, He strengthened my shoulders, just as the shoulders of Moses were strengthened by Aaron. He, (Ali) is my vicegerent and assistant. If there were any prophet after me, it would have been Ali, but there will be no prophet after me."
So you see that I am not alone in claiming the rank of prophethood for Ali. The Prophet and your own ulema have acknowledged it. Since he possessed the rank of Aaron, and since the era of prophethood had ended, Ali was the fittest person for the caliphate (vicegerency). One indication of Ali's exalted rank was that the Prophet permitted the door of Ali's house to remain open toward the mosque.
These comments caused excitement and confusion among the Sunnis. Well-Wisher asked why it was so.
Nawab: Last Friday we went to the mosque to offer prayers. Hafiz Sahib told us about the superiority of Caliph Abu Bakr. He said that he was permitted to keep the door of his house opened towards the mosque. We are surprised to hear you say that this permission was peculiar to Ali. Please clarify this point.
Well-Wisher: (Turning to Hafiz Sahib) Have you made this statement?
Hafiz: Yes. It is recorded in our authentic hadith, as reported by the pious and just companion of the holy Prophet, Abu Huraira. The Prophet ordered "That all doors opening towards the mosque be closed except the door of Abu Bakr's house, for Abu Bakr is from me and I am from Abu Bakr."
Well-Wisher: Surely you know
that because of the merit of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali,
the Bani Umayya made continued efforts through secret means and
particularly through the servile flatterers of Mu'awiya, like
Abu Huraira and Mughira, to fabricate such hadith. Moreover, the
followers of Abu Bakr, because of their support of him, strengthened
these fabricated hadith. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, in his commentary on
Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, and again in Volume 3, page 17,
mosque, except that of Abu Bakr. Contrary to this forged hadith, there are many authentic hadith, which are recorded not only in authentic Shia books, but also in reliable books of your own ulema, like Sahih.
Nawab: Since it is a controversial issue, with Hafiz Sahib saying it is peculiar to Abu Bakr, and with you saying it is peculiar to Ali, we would appreciate it if you would quote from our books so that we may compare your references with those of Hafiz Sahib.
HADITH THAT BY ORDER OF THE PROPHET THE DOORS OF HOUSES FACING THE MOSQUE WERE CLOSED EXCEPT THE DOOR OF ALI'S HOUSE
Well-Wisher: The following sources
have narrated that the Prophet ordered that all the doors of the
houses opening toward the mosque be closed except the door of
Ali's house: Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad. Volume I, page 175, Volume
II, page 26 and Volume IV, page 369; Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i
in Sunan and in Khasa'isi'l-Alawi, pages 13-14; Hakim Nishapuri
in Mustadrak, Volume III, pages 117-125 and Sibt Ibn Jauzi in
Tadhkira, pages 24-25 have testified to the reliability of this
hadith on the basis of chains of narrators of Tirmidhi and Ahmad.
Again, Ibn Athir Jazri in Athna'l-Matalib, page 12, Ibn Hajar
Makki in Sawa'iq Muhriqa, page 76, Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Fathu'l-Bari,
Volume VII, page 12, Tibrani in Ausat, Khatib Baghdadi in his
Ta'rikh (History), Volume VII, page, 205, ibn Kathir in Ta'rikh,
Volume 7, page 342, Muttaqi Hindi in Kanzu'l-Ummal, Volume VI,
page 408, Haithami in Majma'u'z-Zawa'id, Volume IX;, page 65,
Muhibu'd-Din Tabari in Riyadh, Volume II, page 451, Hafiz Abu
Nu'aim in Faza'ilu's-Sahaba and in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Volume IV,
page 183, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa', page 116,
in Jamu'l-Jawami', in Khasa'isu'l-Kubra, and in La'aliu'l-Masnu'a,
Volume I, page 181, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Hamwaini in
Fara'id, Ibn Maghazili in Manaqib, Munawi Misri in Kunuzu'd-Daqa'iq,
Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, page 87, devoting
the whole of Chapter 17 to this very issue, Shahabu'd-Din Qastalani
in Irshad-e-Bari. Volume VI, page 81, Halabi in Siratu'l-Halabiyya,
Volume III, page 374 and Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul
and many others, particularly from among the prominent companions
of the Holy Prophet, have narrated the same thing. For instance,
Caliph Umar Bin Khattab, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Abdullah Bin Umar,
Zaid Bin Arqam, and Jabir Bin Abdullah Ansari have confirmed the
reliability of this hadith. Some of your prominent ulema, in order
to save the people from being misled by the Bani Umayya, have
emphasized the truth of this hadith. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji
Shafi'i, in his book Kifayatu't-Talib, chapter 50, has dealt with
this hadith under a
special heading. Quoting from authentic sources, he says that since a number of doors of the companions of the Prophet opened towards the mosque, and since the Prophet had forbidden everyone to enter the mosque in the state of janaba or haiz (pollution making the ritual bath essential), he ordered that all doors of the houses be closed excepting the door of Hazrat Ali's house. He said, "Close all the doors; but let the door of Ali's house remain open." Muhammad Bin Yusuf Shafi'i says that it is peculiar to Ali that he was permitted to enter and stay in the mosque in the state of janaba. He goes on to say: "In short, the Holy Prophet's conferring this privilege exclusively on Ali was a great honor. It shows that the Prophet knew that Ali, Fatima, and their descendants were entirely free from impurity, as is clearly shown by the 'verse of purity' in the Holy Qur'an." These remarks of a Shafi'i scholar may be compared to the hadith mentioned by Hafiz Sahib. Leaving aside all the authentic sources we have quoted, if you have any proof of Abu Bakr's purity, please present it. The fact is that even Bukhari and Muslim in their collections of traditions have pointed out this fact that a polluted person cannot stay in the mosque. The Prophet said, "It is not permitted for anyone who is polluted to stay in the mosque except for me and Ali." Perhaps I may be allowed here to quote a hadith from the second Caliph, Umar Ibn Khattab, which has been reported by Hakim in Mustadrak, page 125, by Sulayman Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda chapter 56, page 210, and by others, like Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Khatib Khawarizmi, Ibn Hajar, Suyuti, and Ibn Athir Jazri. He said: "Verily, Ali Ibn Abi Talib possessed three outstanding merits. If I possessed any one of them, it would have been better for me than red-haired animals (camels): (1) The Prophet gave his daughter in marriage to him; (2) The Prophet ordered that all the doors of the houses opening towards the mosque be closed except the door of Ali's house; (3) The Prophet bestowed upon him the flag (of Islam) on the day of the Battle of Khaibar."
From these remarks, it is now clear that Ali was similar to the Holy Prophet in all respects, just as Aaron was to Moses. So when Moses found Aaron fittest for this office, he asked Allah to make him his associate in his mission, so that he might be his wazir (minister or assistant). Similarly, when the Holy Prophet saw that there was no one among all of his followers as deserving as Ali, he asked Allah Almighty to make Ali his minister and associate.
Nawab: Are there further hadith regarding this issue?
Well-Wisher: Yes, many exist
concerning this matter in your own books.
Nawab: I am prepared to listen to them provided you, too, (pointing toward the ulema of the other side) would like to listen.
Hafiz: No harm. Listening to hadith is as devotional a deed as the narration thereof.
WHILE BOWING IN RITUAL PRAYER, ALI GAVE A RING TO A BEGGAR
Well-Wisher: Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i in his Manaqib, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Durr-e-Mansur, the renowned theologian, Ahmad Tha'labi, in Kashfu'l-Bayan, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkiratu'l-Khawasu'l-Umma, in connection with the verse of Wilaya quotes from Abu Dharr Ghifari and Asma Bint Umais (wife of Abu Bakr) that they said that one day they offered their noon prayers in the mosque when the Prophet was present. A beggar began asking for alms. No one gave him anything. Ali was bowing (in the ritual bow). When he pointed to his finger, the beggar removed the ring from his finger.
The holy Prophet saw what happened, and raising his head towards the sky, said "O Allah, my brother Moses prayed to you: 'O my Lord, expand for me my breast and make easy for me my task. Appoint for me a helper from my family, Aaron, my brother.'" The verse was revealed telling Moses that his prayer was granted. Allah appointed for him a helper and strengthened his hands and gave them such power and authority that no one could overpower them. "...and Moses said to his brother Aaron: 'Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers.'" (7:142)
Aaron'S POSITION AS PROPHET AS WELL AS CALIPH
Hafiz: You said that Aaron was an associate of Moses in prophethood. How was he then made his caliph? An associate in prophethood holds a position superior to that of a caliph or successor. If the partner is a prophet and he is made the caliph, this is a lowering of his rank.
Well-Wisher: The principal prophethood
belonged to Moses, and Aaron's prophethood was subordinate to
that of Moses. But regarding preaching he was his associate, as
is evident from Moses' requests, recorded in the Holy Qur'an:
"He (Moses) said: 'O my Lord! Expand my breast for me, and
make my affair easy for me, and loose the knot from my tongue,
(that) they may understand my family; Aaron, my brother, strengthen
my back by him, and associate him (with me) in my affair.'"
Similarly, Ali was one who, besides possessing the rank of a prophet, was an associate of the Prophet in all stages and special qualities.
Hafiz: I am astonished to hear you exaggerating the position of Ali. We are all amazed. You just said that Ali possessed all the characteristics of the Prophet.
Well-Wisher: These statements are not exaggerations. They are facts. The Prophet's successor should, according to common sense, be the model of the Prophet. Even your own great ulema have expressed similar beliefs. Imam Tha'labi, in his commentary, confirmed this point. And the great Sunni scholar, Alim Fazil Seyyed Ahmad Shahabu'd-Din, in his Tauzihu'd-Dala'il, has referred to this point as follows: "It is not a secret that the Commander of the Faithful resembled the Prophet of Allah in most good qualities, selfless actions, habits, prayers to Allah, and all other exalted ways of life. This has been proved by authentic reports and reliable sources and does not require any proof or argument. Some ulema have counted some of those qualities which Ali and the Holy Prophet possessed equally."
Among the qualities shared by both is their lineal descent. And arguing from the verse of purity, we see that Ali is similar to the Holy Prophet in purity. (This verse was revealed in reference to five people: Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain.) Ali, like the Prophet, was the Vicegerent of Allah. According to both sects, the following verse was revealed in reference to Ali: "Only Allah is your Friend and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow." (5:55)
Ali was similar to the Holy Prophet in the performance of the
duties of prophethood and preaching, as the affair of the Sura
of Immunity (Bara'a) shows. The Prophet gave certain verses of
the Sura to Abu Bakr and instructed him to recite them to the
people during the Hajj. The angel Gabriel soon appeared before
the Prophet and told him that it was Allah's will that the matter
of the Holy Qur'an should be conveyed either by the Prophet himself,
or by one who was of him. Ali was identical with the Prophet in
his role as Vicegerent of Allah. The Prophet himself said: "I
have been commanded by Allah to announce this to you." Then
he grasped the hand of Ali and said, "Know you all, of whomsoever
I am the Maula (Master), Ali is also his Maula (Master)." Moreover, the self of Ali
is declared to be the self of the Prophet. The 'Verse of Imprecation'
(Mubahala) says: "But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what
has come to you of knowledge, then say: 'Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves; then let us be earnest in prayer and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.'" (3:61)
To return to the time in the mosque when Ali gave the beggar his ring and the Prophet invoked Allah, asking Him to make Ali his associate in his prophethood. Then the Holy Prophet prayed: "O Allah! I am Muhammad, Your chosen one and Your Prophet. Expand for me my breast. And make easy for me my task and appoint for me a helper from my family, Ali. Strengthen my back through him."
Abu Dharr related, "By Allah! The prayer of the Prophet had not ended when the angel Gabriel appeared and revealed this verse to him: 'Only Allah is your Friend and His Apostle and those who believe, those who maintain prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.'" (5:55)
The Prophet's prayer was granted, and Ali was appointed his vizier. Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i, in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 19, has dealt with this issue in detail. Furthermore, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Manaqatu'l-Mutaharin, Sheikh Ali Ja'fari in Kanzu'l-Barahin, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad, Seyyed Shahabu'd-din in Tauzihu'd-Dala'il, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Durr-e-Mansur, and other prominent scholars of your sect have narrated this in their works. Some of them have narrated from Asma Bint Umais (the wife of Abu Bakr) and some from other companions. The following was narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas: "The Prophet took me and Ali by the hand. He offered four rak'ats of prayer, and raising his hands toward the sky, said, 'O Allah! Moses, son of Imran, begged of you to appoint for him a helper and to make easy for him his task. I am Muhammad. I beg of you to expand for me my breast and make easy for me my task. Keep my tongue fluent so that the people may understand my speech. Appoint for me a helper from my family, Ali. Strengthen my back through him, and associate him with me in my affair.' I heard a voice saying, 'O Ahmad! I have granted your request.' Then the Prophet took Ali by the hand and said, 'Raise your hands towards the sky and pray to Allah so that He may bestow something upon you.' Then Ali raised his hands and said, 'O Allah, promise me on Your part that you will hold me in Your affection.' Immediately the angel Gabriel appeared and brought this verse of the chapter 'Mary': 'Surely (as for) those who believe and do good deeds upon them will Allah bestow love.' (19:96)
When the companions of the Prophet were surprised at this, the
Prophet said, 'Why are you astonished? The Holy Qur'an has four
parts: One-fourth concerns us (the Ahle Bait); one-fourth concerns
one-fourth is for unlawful matters; and one-fourth concerns commandments and ordinances. I swear by Allah that there are many verses in the Holy Qur'an which have been revealed in praise of Ali.'"
Sheikh: Even if this hadith is taken to be authentic, it does not indicate a special rank for Ali. The same hadith has been narrated concerning Caliph Abu Bakr and Caliph Umar. Qaz'a Bin Suwaid has narrated from Ibn Abi Malika who quotes Ibn Abbas as saying that the Holy Prophet said, "Abu Bakr and Umar are to me as Aaron was to Moses."
Well-Wisher: You should take into account the character of some of your narrators. Sometimes you argue from the reports of Amadi and sometimes from those of the notorious liar and forger, Qaz'a Bin Suwaid, even though your own leading ulema have discredited him. Allama Dhahabi, in his Mizanu'l-I'tidal, in the description of the affairs of Qaz'a Bin Suwaid and Ammar Bin Harun, rejects this hadith and says simply, "It is a lie." When your own ulema reject Qaz'a, the hadith that he narrates should be rejected. Compare this hadith of Qaz'a with the chain of hadith that I have quoted from the most prominent ulema of your sect and decide yourself which of the hadith you accept.
THE FIFTH SESSION (Tuesday night, 27th Rajab 1345 A.H.)
Hafiz: From your eloquent talk last night, I conclude that you wanted to prove that Ali was the immediate successor of the Prophet, though in fact this hadith has only a specific significance. It was narrated during the journey of Tabuk. There is no proof that it has general significance.
Well-Wisher: In this hadith the word "Manzila" (Rank) is used in the general sense. The word showing exception clearly proves that the reference is of general significance. The Prophet named Ali along with the word "prophet" and described his Manzila using the phrase 'except that there shall be no prophet after me.' Most eminent ulema and authors have quoted the hadith from the Prophet, who is reported to have said to Ali. "Are you not content that you are to me as Aaron was to Moses except that there shall be no prophet after me?"
During his absence of forty days, Moses did not leave matters
to the discretion of his followers. He appointed Aaron, the best
man among the Isra'ilis, to act as his Caliph and successor. Similarly,
the last prophet, whose religion is most perfect, had even greater
reason to protect his people from the chaos of their free will.
He preserved the code of religion so that it might not pass into
the hands of the ignorant, those who would
change it according to their whims. The ignorant people would depend on their own conjecture and create divisions in the matter of law. So, in this sacred hadith the Prophet says: "Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses," confirming that Ali held the same levels of merit and authority as Aaron did. Ali was superior to the whole umma (community), and therefore the Prophet appointed him his helper and his successor.
Hafiz: What you have said about this hadith is above question. But if you just consider the matter carefully, you will admit that this hadith has no general significance. Its significance is confined to the Battle of Tabuk when the Prophet appointed Ali his Caliph for a fixed time.
HADITH OF MANZILA NARRATED SEVERAL TIMES
Well-Wisher: You might have been justified in your remark if this hadith had been narrated at Tabuk only. But the Prophet repeated the same hadith on different occasions. It was narrated when brotherhood among different individuals among the muhajirs (refugees) was established in Mecca. It was also narrated in Medina when brotherhood was established between the Muhajirin and the Ansar. On each occasion the Prophet selected Ali as his brother, saying, "You are to me as Aaron was to Moses except that there shall be no prophet after me."
Hafiz: So far as I have observed, the hadith of Manzila was narrated only at the Battle of Tabuk. The Prophet left Ali in his place, which caused Ali to worry. The Prophet consoled him with these words. I think you have been misled.
Well-Wisher: No, I am not mistaken. Your own authentic books have narrated it. Among them are Mas'udi (a reliable reporter according to both sects) who writes in his Muruju'dh-Dhahab, Volume II, page 49, Halabi in Siratu'l-Halabiyya, Volume II, pages 26 and 120, Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Khasa'isu'l-Alawiyya, page 19, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in his Tadhkira, pages 13-14, Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 9 and 17, and several others have narrated this hadith. They all say that, apart from the two occasions of establishing brotherhood, it has been narrated on many other occasions as well. Therefore, this hadith is not to be construed in a restricted sense or for a particular occasion only. Its general significance is an established fact. lt was through this hadith that the Holy Prophet declared on appropriate occasions Ali's succession after him. One of those occasions was the Battle of Tabuk.
Hafiz: How is it possible that
the companions of the Prophet heard this
hadith in its general sense, knowing that it meant the succession of Ali was willed by the Prophet and yet, after the death of the Prophet, they became hostile and accepted another man as caliph?
Well-Wisher: I have many references in support of my answer to your question, but the best response for this occasion is to consider the trials of Aaron in a very similar situation. The Holy Qur'an states that when Moses appointed Aaron his successor, he gathered round him the Bani Isra'il (according to some reports, 70,000 people). Moses emphasized that in his absence they should obey Aaron, his Caliph and successor. Moses then went up the mountain to be alone with Allah. Before a month passed, Samiri incited dissension among the Isra'ilis. He fashioned a golden calf and the Bani Isra'il, having left Aaron, gathered round the treacherous Samiri in large numbers. It had been only a short time before this that the same Bani Isra'il had heard Moses say that during his absence Aaron was to be his Caliph and that they should obey him. Nevertheless, 70,000 people followed Samiri. The Prophet Aaron loudly protested this action and forbade them from indulging in such sinful acts, but no one listened to him. The verse of Sura A'raf states that when Moses came back, Aaron said to him: "Son of my mother! Surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me..." (7:150)
Aaron WAS THE ORDAINED SUCCESSOR OF MOSES
The Bani Isra'il themselves heard the clear instruction from Moses, but when Moses went up to the mountain, Samiri seized his opportunity. He fashioned a golden calf and misguided the Bani Isra'il.
SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE AFFAIRS OF ALI AND Aaron
Similarly, after the death of the Prophet, some people who had
heard him say that Ali was his successor, turned against Ali.
Imam Ghazali referred to this fact in the beginning of his fourth
treatise in Sirru'l-'Alamin. He states that some people returned
to the state of their former ignorance. In this respect, there
is great similarity between the situation of Aaron and that of
Ali. Like many of your own great scholars and historians, Abu
Muhammad Abdullah Bin Muslim Bin Qutayba Bahili Dinawari, the
well-known Qazi of Dinawar, in his Al-Imama Wa Siyasa, Volume I,
page 14, narrates in detail the events of Saqifa. He says that they
threatened to burn down Ali's house and they forcibly took him to the
mosque and threatened to kill him unless he swore allegiance to them.
Ali went to the sacred grave of the Prophet and repeated the same words
of the Holy Qur'an which Aaron spoke to Moses: "He (Aaron) said: Son of my mother! Surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me..." (7:150)
Nawab: When the succession of Ali had been established, why did the Prophet use words which only implied that sense? Why didn't he clearly announce that Ali was his successor, so that no objection could have been raised after him?
Well-Wisher: I told you that the Prophet expressed the truth in both ways. This is evident from your own books, which have recorded numerous hadith in this regard. Literary people know that allusion is more impressive than a mere statement, particularly when the allusion is so deep-rooted that it contains in it a world of meaning.
Nawab: You say that there are many clear hadith recorded by your ulema concerning the succession of Ali. Will you please tell us more about this? We are told that there is no hadith which proves Ali's succession.
Well-Wisher: There are many hadith concerning the caliphate in your own authentic books.
HADITH OF INVITATION TO RELATIVES AND THE PROPHET'S APPOINTING ALI AS HIS SUCCESSOR
Of all the hadith concerning the vicegerency of Ali, the hadith of Invitation is the most important. On the day the Prophet proclaimed his prophethood, he also proclaimed that Ali was his successor. The ulema of your sect, including Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Muwaffaq Bin Ahmad Khawarizmi, Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali and a host of others have reported that when verse 214 of the Chapter Shu'ara: "And warn your nearest relations," (26:214) was revealed, the Prophet invited forty of the Quraish, to Abu Talib's house. He put before them a leg of goat, some bread, and a cup of milk. They laughed and said: "O Muhammad! you have not served enough food for even one man." The holy Prophet said: "Begin eating in the name of Allah." When they had eaten and were fully satisfied, they said to each other: "Muhammad has bewitched you with this food." The Prophet stood up among them and said: "O descendants of Abdu'l-Muttalib! Allah Almighty has sent me as a messenger to the whole of creation in general and to you in particular. I invite you to make two statements which are light and easy for the tongue, but on the scale of action they
are heavy. If you make the two statements, you will be masters of the lands of the Arabs and the non-Arabs. Through them you will go to Paradise and will obtain immunity from Hell. These two expressions are: first, to bear witness to Allah's Oneness, and second, to bear witness to my prophethood. The one who first of all acknowledges my call and helps me in my mission is my brother, my helper, my heir, and my successor after me."
The Prophet repeated the last sentence three times, and each time none except Ali responded to him, saying, "I will aid and help you, O Prophet of Allah!" So the Prophet declared: "This Ali is my brother, and he is my successor and Caliph among you."
CONFIRMATION BY SUNNI ULEMA AND BY EUROPEAN WRITERS
Besides the Shia and Sunni ulema of Islam, many impartial historians of other nations have given the details of this feast. They had no religious bias, being neither Shias nor Sunnis. One of these writers is the nineteenth-century British historian and philosopher, Thomas Carlyle. In his "Heroes and Hero-worship" he described the details of the feast at Abu Talib's house. After the Prophet's statements, Ali stood and proclaimed his faith in the Prophet. Therefore, the caliphate was bestowed on him. Other European writers have confirmed this fact, including George Sale of England and Hashim, a Christian of Syria, in his Maqalatu'l-Islam, and Mr. John Davenport in his Muhammad and the Qur'an. All agree that the Prophet, immediately after the proclamation of his prophethood, called Ali his brother, helper, successor, and Caliph. Moreover, several hadith confirm that the Prophet emphasized this fact on many other occasions.
CLEAR HADITH ABOUT THE CALIPHATE OF ALI
(1) Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad and Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddati'l-Qurba towards the end of the fourth Mawadda, have recorded that the Holy Prophet said, "O Ali! You shall discharge responsibilities on my behalf, and you are my Vicegerent over my following."
(2) Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad, Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i in Manaqib and Tha'labi in his Tafsir (commentary) have reported that the Holy Prophet said to Ali: "O Ali! You are my brother, successor, vicegerent, and the payer of my debt."
(3) Abu Qasim Husain Bin Muhammad (Raghib Ispahani) in Mahadhiratu'l-Udaba wa Muhawaratu'sh-Shu'ara wa'l-Balagha (printed in Amira-e-Shazafiyya, Seyyed Husain Afandi, 1326 A.H.), part II, page 213, quotes from Ibn Malik that the Prophet said: "Verily, my friend, helper, Vicegerent, and the choicest of men whom I am leaving behind, who will pay my debt and fulfill my promise, is Ali Bin Abu Talib."
(4) Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, at the beginning of the sixth Mawadda, narrates from the second Caliph, Umar Bin Khattab, that when the Prophet established the relationship of brotherhood among the companions, he said: "This Ali is my brother in this world and in the Hereafter; he is my successor from among my kin and my Vicegerent among my umma; he is the heir of my knowledge and the payer of my debt; whatever he owes to me, I owe to him. His profit is my profit, and his loss is my loss; one who is his friend is my friend; one who is his enemy is my enemy."
(5) In the same Mawadda, he quotes a hadith from Anas bin Malik, which I have mentioned earlier. Toward its end he says that the Holy Prophet said, "He (Ali) is my Vicegerent and helper."
(6) Muhammad Bin Ganji Shafi'i quotes a hadith from Abu Dharr Ghifari in his book, Kifayatu't-Talib, that the Prophet said, "The flag of Ali, the commander of the believers, the leader of the bright-faced people, and my Vicegerent, will come to me at the Fountain of Kauthar."
(7) Baihaqi, Khatib Khawarizmi, and Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i write in their Manaqib that the Prophet said to Ali: "It is not proper that I depart from the people without you becoming my successor since you are the choicest of the believers after me."
(8) Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i, one of the Imams of the Six Books of Traditions, narrates in detail from Ibn Abbas the virtues of Ali in connection with hadith 23 in Khasa'isu'l-Alawi. After describing the rank of the prophet Aaron, the Holy Prophet said to Ali: "You are my Vicegerent after me for every believer."
This hadith and others in which the Holy Prophet used the phrase "after me" clearly prove that Ali was his immediate successor.
(9) There is the "Hadith of Creation," which has been
narrated in different ways. Imam Bin Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad,
Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i
in Manaqib, and Dailami in Firdaus have quoted the Prophet as
saying: "I and Ali
were created of the same Divine Light 14,000 years before Adam was created. From the loins of the Prophet Adam and through his holy progeny, the Light was inherited by Abdu'l-Muttalib, and from him it was divided and inherited by Abdullah, (father of the Prophet) and Abu Talib, (father of Ali). I was granted prophethood, and Ali was granted the caliphate."
(10) Hafiz Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari (d.310 A.H.) writes in his Kitabu'l-Wilaya that the Prophet said in the beginning of his renowned address at Ghadir-e-Khum: "The angel Gabriel has conveyed Allah's command to me that I stop at this place and inform the people that Ali Bin Abu Talib is my brother, my successor, my Caliph (Vicegerent) after me. O men! Allah has made Ali your Wali (guardian), and Imam (guide). Obedience to him is obligatory on each one of you; his command is supreme; his utterance is truth; curse be on him who opposes him; Allah's mercy be on him who befriends him."
(11) Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda reports from the Manaqib of Ahmad, and he from Ibn Abbas, a hadith which describes many of Ali's merits. I quote all of it. Ibn Abbas reports that the Prophet said: "O Ali, you are the bearer of my knowledge, my Wali and friend, my successor, the heir of my knowledge, and my Caliph. You are the trustee of the heritage of all the preceding prophets. You are the confidant of Allah on this earth and Allah's proof for the whole of creation. You are a pillar of Iman (faith) and the guardian of Islam. You are a lamp in darkness, a light of guidance, and for the people of the world you are a raised standard. O Ali! He who follows you is delivered; he who disobeys you will perish; you are the luminous way, and a straight path; you are the leader of pure men, and the head of the believers; to whomsoever I am Master (Maula), you are also his Master (Maula), and I am the Master of every believer (man or woman). Only he is your friend who is born of lawful wedlock. Allah did not transport me to the heavens to speak with me without telling me, 'O Muhammad! Convey my salutation to Ali and tell him that he is the Imam of my friends and the Light of worshippers.' Congratulations to you, O Ali, on this marvelous excellence."
(12) Abu Mu'ayyid Muwafiqu'd-Din, the best orator of Khawarizm,
in his Faza'il of the Commander of the Faithful, printed in 1313
A.H., Chapter XIX, page 240, quotes the sources who reported that
the Prophet said: "When I reached Sidratu'l-Muntaha ('the
farthest Lote Tree,' the highest station during the Mi'raj), I
was addressed thus: 'O Muhammad! When you tested the people, whom
did you find the most obedient?' I said 'Ali.' Allah then said,
'You have told the truth, Muhammad!' Further, He said,
'Have you selected a Vicegerent who will convey your knowledge to the people, and teach my servants from My Book those things which they do not know?' I said, 'O Allah! Whomever you select, I will select.' He said, 'I have selected Ali for you. I make him your Vicegerent and successor.' And He furnished Ali with His knowledge and forbearance. He is the Commander of the Faithful whom no one can equal in rank among his predecessors or successors."
There are many such hadith in your authentic books. Some of your just ulema, like Nizzam Basri, have acknowledged this fact. Salahu'd-Din Safdi in his Wafa Bi'l-Wafiyya, in connection with the account of Ibrahim Bin Sayyar Bin Hani Basri, known as Nizzam Mu'tazali, says: "The Prophet of Allah confirmed the Imamate of Ali and appointed him the Imam (Guide). The companions of the Prophet were also fully aware of it, but Umar, for the sake of Abu Bakr, covered the Imamate of Ali with a curtain."
It is clear from your own books, hadith, and Qur'anic commentaries that Ali occupied the highest position of virtue. Khatib Khawarizmi reports from Ibn Abbas in Manaqib, Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in his Tadhkira, Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Mawadda, Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda and Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda V, quotation from the second Caliph, Umar Bin Khattab - all confirming with slight variations of words - that the Prophet said: "If all the trees were pens, if the seas were ink, if all the jinn and men were recorders - even then the virtues of Ali Bin Abu Talib could not be enumerated."
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COMPANIONS
Sheikh ABDU'S-SALAM: (Turning to Hafiz Muhammad Rashid Sahib) Allow me to say something briefly. (Turning to well-wisher). We never deny the high qualities of Ali, but to confine praise to him alone is not fair since the principal companions of the Holy Prophet were, one and all, men of virtue. You are indulging in one-sided talk, which misleads the people. Permit me to quote a hadith in their praise so that the truth of the matter may be revealed.
Well-Wisher: I'm not concerned
with personalities. The Qur'anic verses and authentic hadith lead
us in one direction. I swear by Allah that I do not blindly love
or hate anyone. I ask the audience to stop me if at any time I
resort to anything which is against reason or common sense. hadith
acknowledged by both sects should be relied upon. I do not deny
the good qualities of the upright companions of the Prophet, but
we should search among them for one who is superior to the whole community. Our discussion is not about virtuous men, as the virtuous are many. We should find out who was the most meritorious person after the Prophet so that we may follow him.
Sheikh: You make unnecessary restrictions. In your books there is not a single hadith in praise of the caliphs. How can we argue on that basis?
Well-Wisher: On the first night of our discussions, you will recall that Hafiz Sahib himself agreed to a debate on the condition that our arguments be based on verses of the Holy Qur'an and on hadith accepted by both sects. Since I have your authentic books, I agreed to it. As all of you will confirm, I have not deviated from that stand. In support of my points, I have cited only verses of the Holy Qur'an and hadith recorded in the authentic books of your own eminent scholars. When you made this condition, you did not realize that you would be trapped later on. Still, I don't want this condition to be taken absolutely. I am prepared to hear even your one-sided hadith if they are authentic. Then we can determine facts justly. I have no hesitation in accepting facts in comparing the merits of Ali.
Sheikh: You cited a hadith concerning Ali's vicegerency but overlooked the fact that there are many hadith about Caliph Abu Bakr.
Well-Wisher: Keeping in mind that your own prominent ulema, like Dhahabi, Suyuti, and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid have reported that the Amawi's and the followers of Abu Bakr have fabricated many hadith in praise of Abu Bakr, you may cite a hadith from many of those so that a just man may judge its authenticity.
HADITH IN PRAISE OF ABU BAKR
Sheikh: There is an authentic hadith narrated by Umar Bin Ibrahim Bin Khalid, who reports from Isa Bin Ali Bin Abdullah Bin Abbas, and he from his father, and he from his grandfather, Abbas, that the Prophet of Islam told that gentleman, "O uncle! Allah has made Abu Bakr Caliph of his religion. So listen to him and obey him so that you may secure deliverance."
Well-Wisher: This is a rejected hadith.
Sheikh: How is it a rejected hadith?
Well-Wisher: Your own prominent
ulema have rejected it. Because
the reporters of this hadith were notorious liars and forgers, your ulema do not consider it worthy of acceptance. Dhahabi in his Mizanu'l-I'tidal, writing about Ibrahim Bin Khalid, and Khatib Baghdadi, writing about Umar Bin Ibrahim say, "He is a great liar." A hadith narrated by a liar is unacceptable.
Sheikh: It is reported from reliable sources that one of the pious companions of the Prophet, Abu Huraira, narrated that Gabriel appeared before the Holy Prophet and said, "Allah sends His salutation to you. He says, 'I am satisfied with Abu Bakr; ask him if he too is satisfied with me or not.'"
Well-Wisher: We should be very cautious about citing hadith. I draw your attention to a hadith which your own ulema, like Ibn Hajar (in Isaba) and Ibn Abdu'l-Bar (in Isti'ab) quote from Abu Huraira that the Prophet said, "There are many who misquote me, and one who misrepresents me has his abode in Hell. When a hadith is reported to you on my behalf, you should put it before the Holy Qur'an."
Another hadith acknowledged by both sects, narrated by Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi in his Tafsir Kabir, Volume lI, page 271, reports that the Prophet said, "When a hadith from me is reported to you, put it before the Book of Allah. If it agrees with the Holy Qur'an, accept it. Otherwise, reject it." The books of your own eminent ulema state that one of those who fabricated hadith in the name of the Holy Prophet was this rejected man, Abu Huraira, whom you have called pious.
Sheikh: I didn't expect a man of your standing to make slanderous remarks about the Prophet's companions.
Well-Wisher:You want me to be in awe of the word"Sahabi" (companion), but you are mistaken if you think the word "Sahabi" necessarily conveys honor. True, the companionship of the Holy Prophet enhances one's virtue, but this is based on the condition that the companion is obedient to the Prophet. If he acts against the instructions of the Prophet, then surely he will be rejected. Weren't the munafiqin (hypocrites) companions of the Prophet? Yes, and they were all cursed.
Sheikh: It is not proved that they were rejected. If they were rejected, what is the proof that they will go to Hell? Is everyone who is rejected or cursed destined for Hell? A cursed person is one who, according to the explicit ordinance of the Holy Qur'an, or the saying of the Prophet, is declared as such.
ABU HURAIRA'S CHARACTER AND HIS CONDEMNATION
Well-Wisher: There are clear grounds to show that Abu Huraira was an unreliable man. Your own ulema have confirmed this fact. One of the reasons for his being cursed is that, according to the words of the Prophet, he was an associate of the cursed son of the cursed Abu Sufyan. Abu Huraira was one of the hypocrites. On some occasions in Siffin he offered prayers led by the Commander of the Faithful, Ali. At other times he sat at the dining table of Mu'awiya to eat his fancy food. As reported by Zamakhshari in Rabiu'l-Abrar and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in the commentary on Nahju'l-Balagha, when Abu Huraira was asked the reason for his double-dealing policy, he said, "Mu'awiya's food is very rich and savory, and prayers behind Ali are preferable." Your own ulema, like Sheikhu'l-Islam Hamwaini in Fara'id, Chapter 37, Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Tibrani in Ausar, Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib (and a host of others) quote from this same Abu Huraira and others that the Prophet said, "Ali is with the Truth, and the Truth is with Ali." When he left Ali and courted the favor of Mu'awiya, was he not damnable? If one not only keeps silent at seeing the vicious deeds of Mu'awiya, but actually cooperates with him and helps him in order to advance his own worldly position and to fill his belly, is he not to be condemned?
The same Abu Huraira himself narrates (as recorded by your own eminent ulema, like Hakim Nishapuri in Mustadrak, Volume II, page 124, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal Tibrani, and others) that the Prophet said, "Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with Ali. These two shall not be separated until they reach me at the Fountain of Kauthar. Ali is from me, and I am from Ali. He who profanes Ali, profanes me. He who profanes me, profanes Allah." Mu'awiya, in his address of the Jum'a prayers, cursed Ali, Hasan, and Husain. He ordered that in all congregations those revered people should be cursed. So if a man is so intimately associated with such damned people and is pleased with their actions, is he not to be condemned? And, while associating with such people, if he helps them by fabricating hadith and forces people to utter curses against revered people, is he not to be condemned?
Sheikh: Is it reasonable for us to accept these slanders, that a sincere companion of the Prophet, fabricating hadith, may force people to curse Ali?
Well-Wisher: Of course it is
hard to believe that a sincere companion would do such a thing.
If any of the companions has done such a thing, it means that
he was not sincere. There are many hadith narrated by
your own ulema that the Holy Prophet said, "One who profanes Ali, profanes me and Allah."
Sheikh: To be frank, when you slander the companions of the Holy Prophet, saying that they fabricated hadith, how can we hope that you will not attribute evil motives to the high-ranking ulema of the Sunnis? You Shias have a remarkable tendency for slandering great men.
Well-Wisher: You are unfair in attributing such things to us. Islamic histories of the past 1,400 years testify against it. From the beginning of the first century of Islam, the Umayyads abused the infallible Imams, the descendants of the Holy Prophet, and their adherents, the Shias . Even today, your prominent ulema record slanderous reports against the Shias in their books in order to mislead the people.
Sheikh: Who of the Sunni ulema has slandered the Shias ?
IBN ABD RABBIH'S SLANDERS AGAINST THE SHIAS
One of your great literary scholars, Shahabu'd-Din Abu Umar Ahmad Bin Muhammad Bin Abd Rabbih Qartabi Andalusi Maliki (died 48 A.H.), in his Indu'l-Farid, Volume I, page 269, has called the Shias "the Jews of this Umma." He says that, just as the Jews are enemies of the Christians, the Shias are enemies of Islam. He claims that the Shias, like the Jews, do not accept the fact that one may be divorced three times from the same person, nor do they accept the practice of 'idda (the prescribed period of chastity for women after divorce). Both the Shias here and the Sunnis who are familiar with their Shia friends will laugh at these claims. You will find in all books on Shia jurisprudence stipulations regarding three divorces and idda after divorce. He also alleges that the Shias, like the Jews, are the enemies of Gabriel, because Gabriel communicated Allah's commandment (wahi) to the Prophet, not to Ali. (Laughter among the Shia audience.) We Shias believe in the Holy Prophet. We believe that Allah's commandments were revealed to him through Gabriel, whose rank is far higher than that attributed to him by this worthless writer.
SLANDERS BY IBN HAZM
Another of your great ulema is Abu Muhammad Ali Bin Ahmad Bin
Sa'id Ibn Hazm Andalusi (died 456 A.H.), who has recorded particularly
queer notions about the Shias in his famous Kitabu'l-Fasl fi'l-Milal
Wa'n-Nihal. For example, he says that the Shias are not Muslims.
They are heretics,
the followers of Jews and Christians. In Volume
IV, page 182, he writes that, "According to the Shias, it
is lawful to marry nine women." This report can be disproved
easily by consulting Shia books which clearly state that it is
unlawful to keep more than four wives in permanent marriage at
one time. There are many other similar unfounded allegations and
filthy things attributed to Shias in this book, which you would
be ashamed to hear.
SLANDERS BY ABU TAIMIYYA
One of your most irreligious ulema is Ahmad Bin Abdu'l-Halim Hanbali, known as Ibn Taimiyya (died 728 A.H.). He had extreme malice toward the Shias, the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, and the descendants of the Prophet. His Minhaju's-Sunna is filled with his bitter enmity against Ali and the progeny of the Holy Prophet. Anyone who is even slightly acquainted with the facts would be astounded to hear his lies. For example, he writes that "There is no larger group of liars than the Shia sect, and it is for this reason that the authors of Siha's did not include in their books hadith narrated by them." In Volume X, page 23, he says that the Shias believe in four fundamentals of religion - tauhid (Oneness of God); adl (justice of Allah); nabuwat (prophethood); and imamate (vicegerency). In fact, in Shia books of faith, available everywhere, it is written that the Shia faith consists of three fundamentals: tauhid, nabuwat, and ma'ad (the Day of Judgement); adl is part of tawhid and the imamate is part of nabuwat.
In Volume I, page 131, he states that the Shias do not gather
in the mosques. They do not offer jum'a or congregational prayers.
If they ever offer prayer, they do it individually. (Laughter
among the Shias .) But of course we place great emphasis on congregational
prayers. In many cities of Iraq and Iran, which are centers of
the Shias, our mosques are crowded with worshippers offering congregational
prayers. On the same page, he writes that the Shias do not make
the pilgrimage to the Ka'ba. "Their Hajj (pilgrimage) consists
only in visiting the tombs, which they consider superior to the
Pilgrimage to Mecca. They condemn those who do not go for ziarat
to the tombs." (Laughter.) Shia books of prayer contain a
special Chapter for the Hajj prayer (Kitabu'l-Hajj). Shia theologians
have written many books prescribing the rituals for the Hajj, wherein
special instructions have been given to perform the Hajj rites. Many
ahadith from our Imams insist that if a Muslim (Shia or Sunni) has the
means, and yet fails to perform the Hajj, he is excommunicated from
Islam. When he dies, he is told: "Die whatever death you can, be it the
death of a Jew, a Christian, or a fire-worshiper." Can you believe that in
the face of such instructions Shias would refrain from performing the
Hajj? In addition to these misrepresentations, this wicked man has said that a great Shia Scholar, Muhammad Bin Muhammad Bin Nu'man (Sheikh Mufid), wrote Manasikhu'l-Hajj li'l-Mashahid. The correct title is Mansikhu'z-Ziarat, which is available everywhere and which contains instructions about the visit to the places of ziarat, including the holy shrines of the most revered Imams. If you consult these books of ziarat, you will find that a visit to the tombs of the Holy Prophet and the Imams is commendable, not obligatory. The best proof against the allegation of this irreligious man is the practice followed by Shias, who make the pilgrimage by the thousands every year. Another false accusation of this liar can be found in Volume I, page 11, where he says that the Shias call their dogs by the name of Abu Bakr and Umar and always curse them (Abu Bakr and Umar). (Laughter among the Shias .) This is ridiculous. According to the Shia belief, the dog is utterly polluted. A Muslim house with a dog is deprived of Allah's blessings. Therefore, Shia Muslims are strictly forbidden to domesticate dogs except under certain conditions (hunting, protecting the house, or herding sheep). One of the many reasons for discord between Yazid and the grandson of the Prophet, Imam Husain, was that Yazid was fond of dogs and domesticated them without good reason. Ibn Taimiyya also writes that since the Shias are awaiting the reappearance of the last of their Imams, in many places, particularly in the sardab (underground hall) of Samarra (where the holy Imam disappeared), they keep ready a horse. They call for their Imam to appear, saying that they are fully armed to serve him. He also writes that the Shias turn toward the East during the last days of Ramadhan and call for the Imam to appear. Some of them even forego their ritual prayers, thinking that if they were busy saying their prayers and the Imam appeared, they might be deprived of their service to him (laughter by the Sunnis and the Shias ). We are not so much surprised at this wicked man's ridiculous stories. But we are surprised at the behavior of the present ulema of Egypt and Damascus who, without asking the Shias with whom they live, follow the absurdities of men like Ibn Taimiyya. It would be tiring to give a long list of the inaccurate reports of Ibn Hajar Makki, Hafiz, and Qazi Ruzbahan. Their books are known, although from the point of view of authenticity, they have no value.
For instance, the Milal wa'n-Nihal of Muhammad Ibn Abdu'l-Karim
Shahrastani (died 548 A.H.), in the eyes of scholars, has not
the least value. One will not find anything in it except utterly
false beliefs attributed to Shias, like the worship of Ali and
belief in the transmigration of the soul. Obviously he was not
a man of learning. Writing about Ithna Ashari Shias, he says that
the tomb of Ali Ibn Hadi Muhammad Naqi, who came after Imam Muhammad
Taqi, is in Qum. But even children know that the holy shrine of
Imam Ali Naqi is located adjacent to the shrine
of his son, Imam Hasan Askari, in Samarra. I don't think further references of this nature are necessary to prove that the Sunni ulema have concocted false reports concerning the Shias. And I am not alone in levelling charges against the integrity of Abu Huraira. The Sunni ulema have also exposed his bad character in their own books.
ABU HURAIRA'S CHARACTER AND HADITH CALLING FOR HIS CONDEMNATION
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, in his commentary on the Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 358, and in Volume IV, reports from his Sheikh and teacher, Imam Abu Ja'far Asqalani, that Mu'awiya Bin Abu Sufyan organized a group of companions of the Holy Prophet and the children of the companions for the purpose of fabricating hadith. Among those who concocted filthy hadith against Ali were Abu Huraira, Amir Bin As, and Mughira Ibn Shaba. Giving details of these stories, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid narrates that Abu Huraira once entered the Kufa mosque and saw a huge gathering of people who had come to welcome Mu'awiya. He shouted to the crowd: "O people of Iraq. Do you think that I would tell a lie in opposing Allah and His Prophet and buy Hellfire for myself? Hear from me what I have heard from the Prophet. 'Every Prophet has a Haram (sacred dwelling place) and my Haram is Medina. One who is responsible for innovation in Medina is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all humanity.' I swear by Allah that Ali was responsible for an innovation." (That is, Ali incited dissension among the people and so, according to the Prophet, should be cursed). When Mu'awiya learned of this (that Abu Huraira did such a thing for him and did it in Ali's capital, Kufa), he sent for him, gave him a reward, and made him the governor of Medina. Aren't his misdeeds sufficient to prove that he deserves condemnation? Is it proper that a man who mistreats the most noble of the caliphs should be regarded as pious simply because he had once been a companion of the Prophet?
Sheikh: On what grounds do Shias consider him accursed?
Well-Wisher: There are many
arguments in support of our view. One of them is that one who
abuses the Prophet is, according to both sects, condemned. According
to the hadith which I mentioned earlier, the Holy Prophet said,
"One who abuses Ali, abuses me; one who abuses me, abuses
Allah." It is clear that Abu Huraira was one of those who
not only abused Ali Bin Abu Talib, but who fabricated hadith to
incite others to
ABU HURAIRA'S COLLUSION WITH BUSR IBN ARTAT IN THE MASSACRE OF MUSLIMS
We also condemn Abu Huraira for his collusion with Busr Ibn Artat in the massacre of thousands of Muslims. It has been reported by your own historians, including Tabari, Ibn Athir, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, Allama Samhudi, Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Khallikan, and others that Mu'awiya Ibn Abu Sufyan sent the cruel Busr Ibn Artat with 4,000 Syrian soldiers to Yemen via Medina to crush the people of Yemen and the Shias of Ali. The assailants murdered thousands of Muslims in Medina, Mecca, Ta'if, Tabala' (a city of Tihama), Najran, Safa, and its suburbs. They did not spare the young or old of the Bani Hashim or the Shias of Ali. They even murdered the two small sons of the Holy Prophet's cousin, Ubaidullah Bin Abbas, the governor of Yemen, who had been appointed by Ali. It is said that more than 30,000 Muslims were killed on the order of this tyrant. The Bani Umayya and their followers committed these insane atrocities. Your beloved Abu Huraira witnessed this slaughter and was not only silent but actively supported it. Innocent people, like Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari, and Abu Ayyub Ansari sought refuge. Even the house of Abu Ayyub Ansari, who was one of the Prophet's chief companions, was set on fire. When this army turned towards Mecca, Abu Huraira remained in Medina. Now I ask you to tell us, in the name of Allah, whether this deceitful man who had been in the company of the Holy Prophet for three years, and who narrated more than 5,000 hadith from the Prophet, had not heard those famous hadith regarding Medina. The ulema of both the sects (like Allama Samhudi in Ta'rikhu'l-Medina, Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, page 163) have quoted from the Holy Prophet, who said repeatedly: "He who threatens the people of Medina with oppression will be threatened by Allah and will be cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by humanity. Allah will not accept anything from him. May he be cursed who threatens the people of Medina. If anyone harms the people of Medina, Allah will melt him like lead in fire." So why did Abu Huraira join the army which devastated Medina? Why did he fabricate hadith in opposition to the rightful successor to the Prophet? And why did he incite people to revile the man about whom the Prophet had said: "To abuse him is to abuse me"? You decide whether a man who fabricated hadith in the name of the Prophet was not cursed.
Sheikh: It is unkind of you to call the most reliable companion of the Holy Prophet an irreligious fabricator.
CONDEMNATION OF ABU HURAIRA AND UMAR'S BEATING HIM
Well-Wisher: It is not I alone who am "unkind" to Abu Huraira. The first man who was unkind to him was the second Caliph, Umar Bin Khattab. Ibn Athir and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharhe-Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume III, page 104 (printed in Egypt), and several others have reported that after Caliph Umar appointed Abu Huraira governor of Bahrain in 21 A.H., the people informed the Caliph that Abu Huraira had amassed great wealth and had purchased many horses. Umar therefore deposed him in 23 A.H. As soon as Abu Huraira entered the court, the Caliph said: "O enemy of Allah and enemy of His Book! Have you stolen Allah's property?" He replied, "I never committed theft, but the people have given me gifts." Ibn Sa'ad in Tabaqat, Volume IV, page 90, Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isaba, and Ibn Abd-e-Rabbih in Iqdu'l-Farid, Volume I, write that the Caliph said: "'When I made you the governor of Bahrain, you had not even shoes on your feet, but now I have heard that you have purchased horses for 1,600 dinars. How did you acquire this wealth?' He replied, 'These were men's gifts which profit has multiplied much.' The Caliph's face grew red with anger, and he lashed him so violently that his back bled. Then he ordered the 10,000 dinars which Abu Huraira had collected in Bahrain be taken from him and deposited in the account of the Baitu'-Mal."
This was not the first time that Umar beat Abu Huraira. Muslim writes in his Sahih, Volume I, page 34, that during the time of the Prophet, Umar Bin Khattab beat Abu Huraira so severely that the latter fell down on the ground. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes in his commentary on Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 360: "Abu Ja'far Asqalani has said: 'According to our great men, Abu Huraira was a wicked fellow. The hadith narrated by him were not acceptable. Umar beat him with a lash and told him that he had changed hadith and had attributed false sayings to the Holy Prophet.'" Ibn Asakir in his Ta'rikh Kabir and Muttaqi in his Kanzu'l-Umma report that Caliph Umar lashed him, rebuked him, and forbade him to narrate hadith from the Holy Prophet. Umar said: "Because you narrate hadith in large numbers from the Holy Prophet, you are fit only for attributing lies to him. (That is, one expects a wicked man like you to utter only lies about the Holy Prophet.) So you must stop narrating hadith from the Prophet; otherwise, I will send you to the land of Dus." (A clan in Yemen, to which Abu Huraira belonged.) Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, in his commentary on Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 360 (printed in Egypt) reports from his teacher, Imam Abu Ja'far Asqalani, that Ali said, "Beware of the greatest liar among the people, Abu Huraira Dusi." Ibn Qutayba, in Ta'wil-e-Mukhtalifu'l-Hadith, and Hakim in Mustadrak,
Volume III, and Dhahabi in Talkhisu'l-Mustadrak and Muslim in his Sahih, Volume II, reporting about the characteristics of Abu Huraira, all say that A'yesha repeatedly contradicted him and said, "Abu Huraira is a great liar who fabricates hadith and attributes them to the Holy Prophet." In short, it is not we alone who have rejected Abu Huraira. According to Caliph Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha, and other companions and followers of the Prophet said that he was completely unreliable. Accordingly, the Sheikhs of the Mu'tazilites and their Imams and the Hanafi ulema generally reject the hadith narrated by Abu Huraira. Moreover, in his commentary on Muslim's Sahih, Volume IV, Nadwi emphasizes this point: "Imam Abu Hanifa said, 'The companions of the Prophet were generally pious and just. I accept every hadith with evidence narrated by them, but I do not accept the hadith whose source is Abu Huraira, Anas Ibn Malik, or Samra Bin Jundab."
We reject the same Abu Huraira, whom Caliph Umar lashed and called a thief and a liar. He was rejected by Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha , Imam Abu Hanifa, and by many companions and followers of the Holy Prophet. We reject the same Abu Huraira who was rejected and called a liar by our master, the chief of the monotheists, Ali, and by the holy Imams and descendants of the Prophet. We reject Abu Huraira who was a belly-worshiper, who, despite knowing the superiority of Ali, ignored him. He preferred his patron, the damned Mu'awiya, sat at his table to relish dainty dishes, and concocted hadith in opposition to Ali. In view of our discussion so far, you and I are obliged to see to it that when a hadith from the holy Prophet is under consideration, we should first refer it to the Holy Qur'an. If the hadith agrees with the Qur'an, we should accept it, otherwise not.
REPLY TO THE SUPPOSED HADITH THAT ALLAH SAID "I AM PLEASED WITH ABU BAKR - IS HE ALSO PLEASED WITH ME?"
The hadith which you narrated earlier (although it is one-sided)
may be referred to the Holy Qur'an. If there is no hindrance,
we will surely accept it. One ayat of the Qur'an, however, says:
"And certainly We created man and know what his mind suggests.
We are nearer to him
than his jugular vein." (50:16) You are aware that hablu'l-warid (jugular
vein) is a common expression used to express extreme nearness. The
meaning of this verse is that Allah is All-Knowing. Nothing is hidden from
Him, however deep it may be in man's breast. Allah knows the secrets
of our hearts. And in the Chapter of "Yunus" He says: "And you are not
(engaged) in any affair, nor do you recite concerning it any portion of the Qur'an, nor do you do any work but We are witnesses over you when you enter into it. And there does not lie concealed from your Lord the weight of an atom in the earth or in heaven, nor anything less than that nor greater, but it is in a clear book." (10:61) According to these verses, and according to common sense, nothing is hidden from Allah. He knows what man does or thinks. Now compare this hadith with these two verses and see whether they can be reconciled. How is it possible that Allah Almighty would not be aware of the pleasure of Abu Bakr, so that He Himself might be obligated to ask him whether he was pleased with Him or not? Common sense and the Holy Qur'an indicate that this "hadith" is false.
AHADITH IN PRAISE OF ABU BAKR AND UMAR AND THEIR DISQUALIFICATION
Sheikh: There is no doubt that the Holy Prophet said: "Allah will show Himself to all the people in general and to Abu Bakr in particular." He also said, "Allah did not put anything into my breast that He did not put into Abu Bakr's breast." He also said: "I and Abu Bakr are like two horses who are equal to each other in a race." Again he said: "In the sky there are 80,000 angels who pray for blessings for him who is a friend of Abu Bakr and Umar. And in the next level of the sky there are 80,000 angels who curse him who is an enemy of Abu Bakr and Umar." The Holy Prophet also said: "Abu Bakr and Umar are the best of all mankind from beginning to end." Abu Bakr's and Umar's rank can be assessed from the hadith in which the Holy Prophet said: "Allah made me from His light, Abu Bakr from my light, and Umar from Abu Bakr's light, and my followers from Umar's light. Umar is the lamp of the People of Paradise." There are many such hadith recorded in our authentic books. I have narrated only a few so that you may know the real position of the caliphs.
Well-Wisher: The meaning of these hadith leads to heresy and infidelity, which clearly proves that the Holy Prophet could not have said such things. The first hadith implies that Allah has a body and it is infidelity to believe that Allah has a body. The second hadith indicates that Abu Bakr shared in what was revealed to the Holy Prophet. The third hadith implies that the Holy Prophet was in no way superior to Abu Bakr. The other hadith conflict with innumerable hadith, which are accepted by both sects, that the best people of the world are the Prophet Muhammad and his descendants.
Apart from these clear facts, your own distinguished ulema, like
in his Tadhkiratu'l-Muzu'a, Firuzabadi Shafi'i in his Safaru's-Sa'adat, Hasan Bin Athir Dhahabi in Mizanu'l-I'tidal, Abu Bakr Ahmad Bin Ali Khatib Baghdadi in his Ta'rikh, Abu'l-Faraj Ibn Jauzi in Kitabu'l-Muzu'a, and Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Al-Lu'ali'l-Masnu'a fi'l-Abadusi'l-Muzu'a - all concluded that these hadith are fabricated. They all insisted that these hadith are forged. They conflict with The Holy Qur'an and with common sense.
Sheikh: But consider another hadith, which surely is authentic. The Holy Prophet said: "Abu Bakr and Umar are the masters of the old men of Paradise."
Well-Wisher: If you would examine this supposed hadith more closely, you might find that, apart from the fact that your own ulema have rejected it, this hadith cannot possibly be from the Holy Prophet. Everyone knows that Paradise will not be inhabited by old people. There are no gradual changes there. There are many reports accepted by both sects which relate to this matter. One of them is the affair of Ashja'iyya, an old woman who came to the Prophet. In the course of his talk, the Prophet said: "Old women will not enter Paradise." The woman was deeply saddened and she said, weeping, "O Prophet of Allah, this means I shall not enter Paradise." Saying this, she departed. The Prophet said: "Tell her that on that day she will be young and will enter Paradise." Then he recited the following verse of the Holy Qur'an: "Surely We have made them to grow into a (new) growth, then We have made them virgins, loving, equals in age, for the sake of the companions of the right hand." (56:35-38)
In another hadith accepted by both you and us, the Holy Prophet said: "When the inhabitants of Paradise enter Heaven, they will be youthful with pure clean faces, curly hair, charming eyes, 33 years of age."
Sheikh: Your statements are true as they are, but this is a specific hadith.
Well-Wisher: I don't understand.
What do you mean by a "specific hadith"? Do you mean
that Allah will send a group of old men to Paradise so that Abu
Bakr and Umar may be their masters? Besides, your own prominent
ulema regard this hadith as fabricated. The Prophet gave us a
procedure for validating hadith. I stated earlier that any hadith
which is not consistent with the Holy Qur'an is to be rejected.
Our own scholars reject several hadith purported to have originated
with the Prophet or with the holy Imams on the basis of the principle
enunciated by the Prophet: "Whenever a hadith is reported
as having come from me, refer it to the Holy Qur'an; if it is
consistent with it, accept it; otherwise, reject
it." Accordingly, our scholars do not accept hadith which are inconsistent with the Holy Qur'an. I stated earlier that your own ulema have written treatises on the rejection of fabricated hadith. For example, Sheikh Majdu'd-Din Muhammad bin Yaqub Firuzabadi in Safaru's-Sa'ada (p. 142), Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Kitabu'l-Lu'ali, Ibn Jauzi in Muzu'a, Muqaddasi in Tadhkiratu'l-Muzu'a, and Sheikh Muhammad bin Darwish (Mashhur be Hut-e-Beiruti) in Asna'l-Talib - all have said that the chain of narrators of the hadith stating that Abu Bakr and Umar are the masters of the old men of Paradise includes Yahya bin 'Anbasa. Dhahabi says that this Yahya is an unreliable narrator, and Ibn Jan held that Yahya used to fabricate hadith.
Thus, apart from my previous arguments, even your own ulema consider it a false hadith. In fact, it is probable that it was fabricated by the followers of Abu Bakr, the Umayya family. In order to humiliate the Bani Hashim and the progeny of the Holy Prophet, they used to fabricate hadith parallel to those authentically narrated in praise of the family of the Prophet. Men like Abu Huraira, in order to gain access to the ruling coterie of the Bani Umayya, often fabricated hadith. Because of their hostility to the descendants of the Prophet, they concocted hadith parallel to those accepted by both Shia and Sunni ulema.
Nawab: Which is the accepted hadith in this case?
HADITH THAT BOTH HASAN AND HUSAIN ARE THE FOREMOST OF YOUTH OF PARADISE
Well-Wisher: The authentic hadith is that the Prophet said: "Hasan
and Husain are the foremost of the youth of Paradise and their father is
superior to them." Many ulema have narrated this hadith. For example,
Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Mir Seyyed Ali Abu Abdu'r-Rahman
Nisa'i in Khasa'is-il-Alawi (three hadith), Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 159, Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda,
Chapter 54, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, quoting from Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja
and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Sibt Ibn Jauzi on p. 133 of Tadhkiratu'l-Mawadda, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad, Tirmidhi in Sunan, and
Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 97,
recorded this hadith and the latter added that the great narrator of
bin Yusuf has commented that it is an unquestionably genuine hadith. The unbroken continuity of the chain of narrators of this hadith is a proof of its being authentic. Further, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Ibn Asakir in Ta'rikh Kabir, Volume IV, page 206, Hikam in Mustadrak, Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq Muhriqa - in short, all of your eminent scholars have confirmed the authenticity of this hadith.
Sheikh: But consider this hadith, the authenticity of which no one will deny. The Holy Prophet said: "In whatever nation Abu Bakr lives, it is not proper that any other person be preferred to him." This hadith proves that Abu Bakr is superior to the whole umma.
Well-Wisher: I regret that you accept a hadith so uncritically. Had this hadith been narrated by the Prophet, he himself would have acted upon it. But he gave preference to Ali in the presence of Abu Bakr. Was Abu Bakr not present at the time of Mubahala when Ali was chosen as the Prophet's self? In the Battle of Tabuk, when the older and more experienced Abu Bakr was there, why did the Prophet make Hazrat Ali his deputy and Caliph? Why was Abu Bakr deposed by divine command in favor of Ali when the older man had been sent to Mecca to preach Islam and to recite verses from the ninth Chapter of the Qur'an, "The Immunity"? While Abu Bakr was present, why did the Prophet take Ali with him to Mecca to break the idols, letting him mount his own shoulders, ordering him to smash the idol Hubal? Why, in the presence of Abu Baker, did the Prophet send Ali to preach among the people of Yemen? Finally, why did the Prophet make Ali his successor and Vicegerent instead of Abu Bakr?
Sheikh: There is a very strong hadith from the Holy Prophet which cannot be contradicted. It is related by Amr bin As who said: "One day I asked the Prophet: 'O Prophet of Allah! Whom do you love most among the women?' He replied, ' A'yesha .' I said: 'Whom do you love best among the men?' He replied, ' A'yesha 's father, Abu Bakr.'" Since the Prophet preferred Abu Bakr over all other men, he was superior to the whole community. This fact in itself is the most compelling proof of the legitimacy of Abu Bakr's caliphate.
REPLY TO SUPPOSED HADITH THAT ABU BAKR AND A'yesha WERE PREFERRED BY THE PROPHET
Well-Wisher: Apart from the
fact that this hadith is concocted by Abu Bakr's supporters, it
is inconsistent with authentic hadith which are accepted by both
sects. This hadith should be considered from two
points of view: from the side of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha and from the side of Abu Bakr. The Prophet could not have said that of all women he loved A'yesha most. I have already stated earlier that this contradicts many authentic hadith in both Sunni and Shia books.
Sheikh: Which hadith does this tradition contradict?
Well-Wisher: There are many hadith about the mother of the Imams, Fatima Zahra, narrated by your own ulema, which contradict your statement. Hafiz Abu Bakr Baihaqi in his Ta'rikh, Hafiz Ibn Abdu'l-Bar in Isti'ab, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, and others of your ulema have reported that the Prophet said repeatedly: "Fatima is the best of all the women of my community." Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad and Hafiz Abu Bakr Shirazi in Nuzulu'l-Qur'an Fi Ali narrate from Muhammad Bin Hanafiyya, and he from the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, Ibn Abdu'l-Barr in Isti'ab, in the account of Fatima, related from Ummu'l-Mu'minin Khadija, from Abdu'l-Warith Bin Sufyan and from Abu Dawud and Anas Bin Malik, Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Chapter 55 of Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda XIII - these and many other narrators of hadith have reported from Anas Bin Malik that the Prophet said: "There are four pre-eminent women of the world: Mary, daughter of Imran; Asiya, daughter of Mazahim; Khadija, daughter of Khalid; and Fatima, daughter of Muhammad." Khatib in his Ta'rikh Baghdad narrates that the Prophet declared these four women the best of all the women of the world. Then he pronounced Fatima to be superior to them all in this world and in the hereafter. Muhammad Bin Isma'il Bukhari in his Sahih, and imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad narrate from A'yesha Bint Abi Bakr that the Prophet said to Fatima: "O Fatima, I give you the good tidings that Allah made you superior to all the women of the world, and made you the purest of all the women of Islam." Also Bukhari in his Sahih, Part IV, page 64, Muslim in Sahih, Part II, in the Chapter "Merits of Fatima," Hamidi in his Jam'a Bainu's-Sahihain, Abdi in his Jam'a Bainu's-Sihahu's-Sitta - these and many others have reported on the authority of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha that the Prophet said: "O Fatima! Are you not happy that you are the chief of the women of all the world?" Ibn Hajar Asqalani has quoted the same passage in his Isaba in connection with the life of Fatima with the version: "You are the best of all the women of the world." Also, Bukhari, Muslim, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Tibrani, and Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi - all have recorded this hadith.
THE VERSE OF LOVE FOR THE PROPHET'S FAMILY
In addition, Bukhari and Muslim, each in his Sahih, Imam Tha'labi in his
Tafsir, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad, Tibrani in Mu'jamu'l-Kabir, Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 32, on the authority of the Tafsir of Ibn Abi Hatim, Manaqib of Hakim, Wasit and Wahidi, the Hilyatu'l-Auliya of Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani, and Fara'id of Hamwaini, Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq Muhriqa, under verse 14 on the authority of Ahmad, Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 8, Tabari in Tafsir, Wahidi in Asbabu'n-Nuzul, Ibn Maghazili in Manaqib, Muhibu'd-Din Tabari in Riyazu'n-Nuzra, Mu'min Shablanji in Nuru'l-Absar, Zamakhshari in Tafsir, Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi in Tafsir Kabir, Seyyed Abu Bakr Shahabu'd-Din Alawi in Rishfatu's-Sadi min Bahr-e-Faza'il-e-Baniu'l-Nabi'i'l-Hadi, Chapter 1, pages 22-23 on the authority of Tafsir of Baghawi, Tafsir of Tha'labi, Manaqib of Ahmad, Kabir and Ausat of Tibrani and Sadi, Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin 'Amir Shabrawi Shafi'i in Al-'Ittihaf, page 5 on the authority of Hakim, Tibrani, and Ahmad, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ihya'u'l-Mayyit on the authority of the Tafsirs of Ibn Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawaih, and Mu'jamu'l-Kabir of Tibrani; and Ibn Abi Hatim and Hakim - in short, most of your eminent ulema (barring a few staunch followers of the Bani Umayya and enemies of the Ahle Bait), have narrated from Abdullah bin Abbas and others that when the following verse of the Holy Qur'an was revealed: "Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein..." (42:23) a group of companions asked "O Prophet of Allah, who are those of your relatives whose love has been made obligatory on us by Allah?" The Prophet replied, "They are Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain." Some hadith contain the words "and their sons," meaning Hasan and Husain.
SHAFI'IS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT LOVE FOR AHLE BAIT IS OBLIGATORY
Even Ibn Hajar (a very intolerant person) in his Sawa'iq Muhriqa, page 88, Hafiz Jamalu'd-Din Zarandi in Mi'raju'l-Rasul, Sheikh Abdullah Shabrawi in Kitabu'l-Ittihaf, page 29, Muhammad Bin Ali Sabban of Egypt in As'afu'r-Ra'ghibin, page 119, and others have related from Imam Muhammad Bin Idris Shafi'i, who is one of your four Imams and the religious head of the Shafi'is, that he used to say: "O Ahle Bait of the Prophet of Allah! Love for you has been made obligatory for us by Allah, as revealed in the Holy Qur'an (referring to the above verse). It is sufficient for your dignity that if one does not send salutations to you in the ritual prayers, his prayers will not be accepted." Now I ask you, can the one-sided hadith reported by you stand against all these authentic hadith which have been accepted by both the Sunni and Shia sects?
MISCONCEPTION REGARDING HOLY PROPHET'S LOVE FOR A'yesha
In regard to the Prophet's love for you A'yesha , do you think that because of his sensual desires he loved A'yesha more than Fatima? It is true that A'yesha was his wife and therefore an Ummu'l-Mu'minin (mother of the believers) like the other wives of the Prophet. But is it conceivable that he loved A'yesha more than he loved Fatima, whose love was made obligatory in the Holy Qur'an, for whom the verse of purity was revealed and who was included in the Mubahala? Surely you know that the Prophet and the vicegerents were not motivated by sensual desires, and that they looked only to Allah. This dedication was particularly true for the last of the Prophets. He loved those whom Allah loved. Should we reject these authentic hadith which have been accepted by ulema of both sects, and which agree with the verses of the Holy Qur'an, or should we regard the hadith that you have just narrated as fabricated? You claim that the Prophet said that he loved Abu Bakr more than any other man. But this claim is also at variance with many other authentic hadith which have been narrated by your own ulema, who have insisted that, according to the Prophet, the most dearly loved man was Ali.
HOLY PROPHET PREFERRED ALI TO ALL OTHER MEN
Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 55, narrates from Tirmidhi Buraida's hadith that, according to the Prophet, the most dearly loved woman was Fatima and the most dearly loved man was Ali. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 91, reports on the authority of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha that she said: "Allah did not create any one whom the Holy Prophet loved more than Ali." He adds that this is the hadith which Ibn Jarir in his Manaqib and Ibn Asakir Damishqi in his translation have narrated from Ali. Muhyi'd-Din and Imamu'l-Haramain Ahmad Bin Abdullah Shafi'i relates from Tirmidhi in Dhakha'iru'l-Uqba that people asked A'yesha which woman was loved most by the Prophet, and she replied, "Fatima." Then she was asked about the man loved most by the Prophet and she replied, "Her husband, Ali bin Abu Talib." Further, he related from the Mukhalis of Dhahabi and Hafiz Abu'l-Qasim Damishqi and he from A'yesha that she said: "I have not seen a man more loved by the Holy Prophet than Ali, nor a woman more loved than Fatima." In addition, the Sheikh relates from Hafiz Khajandi and he from Ma'azatu'l-Ghifariyya that she said: "I went to have an audience with the Prophet in A'yesha 's house while Ali was outside the house. The Prophet said to A'yesha , 'This (Ali) is the
dearest to me and the most honored among all men. Recognize his
and pay respectful regard to his position.'"
Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Amir Shabrawi Shafi'i, who is one of your prominent ulema, recorded in Kitabu'l-Ittihaf bi Hubbi'l-Ashraf, page 9, Sulayman Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, and Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 6, from Tirmidhi, and he from Jami' bin Umar - all narrated the following: "I went to Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha with my aunt (father's sister), and we inquired of her who was loved most by the Holy Prophet. She replied, 'Among women it was Fatima and among men, her husband, Ali bin Abu Talib.'" This same hadith has been related by Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda II, with the variation that Jami' bin Umar said that he received this reply from his aunt.
Similarly, Khatib Khawarizmi has related this hadith from Jami' bin Umar, and the latter from A'yesha at the end of Chapter 4 of his Manaqib. Ibn Hajar Makki, in Sawa'iq Muhriqa, towards the end of Chapter 2, after recording 40 hadith on the merits of Ali, relates the following hadith from A'yesha : "Among women, Fatima was the woman most loved by the Holy Prophet of Allah and among men, her husband." Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i, in Matalib-us Su'ul, page 7, after recording several specific hadith on this issue, expresses his own conclusion in the following words: "These authentic and unequivocal narrations prove that Fatima was the most beloved of the Prophet above all other women. She is the highest in rank of all the women of Paradise and also the foremost of women of this community as well as the foremost of the women of Medina." These reliable hadith clearly establish that of all creatures, Ali and Fatima were the most loved by the Prophet. Another proof of the Prophet's preferring Ali to other men is the "Hadith of the Bird" (Hadith-e-Ta'ir). This hadith is so well known and so commonly accepted that we need not mention all its sources. I will mention only some of them.
HADITH OF THE ROASTED BIRD
Most of your prominent ulema, like Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi,
Nisa'i, and Sijistani in their Siha, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in
his Musnad, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his commentary on Nahju'l-Balagha,
Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, and Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi
in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 8, and a host of other reliable
authors have recorded the hadith-e-Ta'ir in their works. They
verify that this hadith was reported by 24 narrators of hadith
from Anas Bin Malik. Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma
writes about it in these words: "In the books of authentic
hadith and reliable narrations, the hadith-e-Ta'ir from Anas Bin
Malik is indisputably correct." Sibt Ibn Jauzi, on page 23
of his Tadhkira, and Sunan of Tirmidhi and Mas'udi on page 49 of Volume II of Muruju'dh-Dhahab, have focussed especially on the last part of this hadith which contains the Prophet's prayer and its acceptance by Allah. Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in the 9th hadith of his Khasa'isu'l-Alawi, and Hafiz Bin Iqda and Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari have all referred to the unbroken chain of narrators and to the authentic sources of this hadith, saying that it was narrated by 35 companions of the holy Prophet from Anas Bin Malik. In short, all your distinguished ulema have verified the authenticity of this hadith and have included it in their books. Allama Seyyed Hamid Husain has dedicated an entire volume of his Abaqatu'l-Anwar to this hadith. He collected all reliable sources from your distinguished ulema and clearly proved the authenticity of this hadith.
According to this hadith, one day a woman brought a gift of a roasted bird to the Prophet. Before eating it, the Prophet, raising his hands, invoked Allah thus: "O Allah! Of your whole creation, send the person who is the dearest to you and to me, so that he may partake of this roasted bird with me."
Ali then came in and ate the roasted bird with the Holy Prophet.
Some of your books, such as Fusulu'l-Muhimma of Maliki, Ta'rikh of Hafiz Nishapuri, Kifayatu't-Talib of Ganji Shafi'i, and Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, etc., in which the hadith has been reported from Anas bin Malik, have recorded that Anas said: "The Prophet had not finished his invocation when Ali came into the house, but I kept the matter secret. When Ali stamped his foot the third time, the Prophet ordered me to let him in. When Ali entered, the Prophet said: 'Allah's Mercy be upon you; what brings you to me?' Ali then told him that he came to him three times but was allowed entrance only this time. The Prophet asked what made me behave like that, and I replied: "The truth is that, on hearing your invocation, I wished that such an honor might fall to the lot of someone of my tribe." Now I ask you respected people whether the invocation of the Holy Prophet was accepted or rejected by Allah.
Sheikh: Obviously Allah accepted it since He has promised in the Holy Qur'an that He would accept the Prophet's invocation. Moreover, Allah knew that the Prophet would not make an inappropriate request. So Allah always accepted his invocation.
Well-Wisher: Allah sent Ali,
the most deserving person in His creation, to the Prophet. Your
own scholars have confirmed this event. Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i
has in his Matalib-us Su'ul, Chapter 1, Part
5, page 15, established the high position of Ali as the beloved of Allah and of the Prophet on the basis of the hadith of Ensign (Rayat) and the hadith of the Bird (Ta'ir). In that connection he says: "The intention of the Prophet was that the people should understand the unique and high distinction of Ali, who attained the highest pinnacle to be reached by the pious." Also Hafiz and Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i (died 658 A.H.) writes in his Kifayatu't-talib, Chapter 33, referring to the virtues of Ali Bin Abi Talib, that this hadith clearly proves that Ali was the dearest person in creation to Allah. Later he says that Hakim Abu Abdullah Hafiz Nishapuri related this hadith-e-Ta'ir of Anas from 86 narrators and also recorded the names of all 86 narrators. (See Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 32). That "hadith" quoted by you, in comparison with the hadith narrated by your own high-ranking ulema (excepting a few stubborn fanatics), cannot be relied upon and would be rejected by learned men.
Sheikh: I'm afraid that you have made up your mind not to accept what we say.
Well-Wisher: How can you attribute such bias to me? Can you cite a single instance in which you have put forward a cogent argument and I have unreasonably rejected it? I swear that in religious debates with the Jews, the Christians, the Hindus, and the Brahmins, the ignorant Baha'is in Iran, the Qadanis in India, and the materialists - in all of these circumstances, I never acted obstinately in my argument. I never adopted a refractory attitude towards these unbelievers - how could I do so with you, my brothers in Islam?
Sheikh: We read the account of your debate with the Hindus and Brahmins of Lahore in the newspapers. We were greatly impressed by it. Although we had not met you, we felt we were morally affiliated with you. I hope that Allah will lead you and us to the right path. We believe that if there is any doubt about a certain hadith, we should, according to your proposal, refer it to the Holy Qur'an. However, if you question the excellence of Caliph Abu Bakr and the mode of caliphate of the major caliphs, and if you consider the hadith dubious, will you also hesitate to believe an argument based on the verses of the Holy Qur'an?
Well-Wisher: May Allah not grant
us the day when we doubt facts based on the Holy Qur'an or authentic
hadith. However, when we have entered into a religious debate
with any nation or community, they also argued from the verses
of the Holy Qur'an to establish their point of view. Since the
verses of the Holy Qur'an have various levels of meaning, the
last Prophet, in order to guard the people against misunderstanding,
did not leave the Holy Qur'an as the sole source of guidance.
As has been
acknowledged by both sects (Shias and Sunnis), he himself said: "I leave with you two great things: the Book of Allah (Qur'an) and my descendants. If you are attached to these two, never, never shall you go astray after me. Verily, these two shall never be separated from one another until they meet me at the Fountain of Kauthar." For this reason, the meaning of the revelation of the Holy Qur'an should be sought either from the Prophet, the primary interpreter of the Holy Qur'an, or after him, from the equals of the Holy Qur'an, the holy descendants of the Prophet. The Holy Qur'an says: "So ask you the people of the Remembrance if ye know not." (21:7)
"PEOPLE OF THE REMEMBRANCE" ARE THE AHLE MUHAMMAD, THE DESCENDANTS OF THE HOLY PROPHET
The Ahle'dh-dhikr means the people of the Remembrance, Ali and the Holy Imams, his descendants, who are the equals of the Holy Qur'an. Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi-in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 39, quoting from the Tafsir-e-Kashfu'l-Bayan of Imam Tha'labi, narrates from Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari, who said: "Ali said: 'We descendants of the Holy Prophet are the people of the Remembrance.'" Since Dhikr, "Remembrance," is one of the names of the Holy Qur'an, this family contains the people of the Qur'an. As reported by your and our ulema, Ali said: "Ask me anything you like before I leave you. Ask me about the Holy Book (The Qur'an) since I know about every verse in it - whether it was revealed in the night or during the day, on a plain field or in the steep mountains. By Allah, no verse of the Holy Qur'an was revealed but I know about what it was revealed, where it was revealed, and about what person it was revealed. Allah Almighty has endowed me with an eloquent tongue and a wise mind."
Therefore, basing arguments upon verses of the Holy Qur'an should be in accordance with their authentic meaning and the interpretations given by those capable of reliable commentary. Otherwise, everyone would give his own interpretation of the verses of the Qur'an, according to his scope of knowledge and faith, and that would only result in differences of opinion and conflicting ideas. With this in mind, I ask you to cite your verses.
CITATION OF A VERSE OF THE HOLY QUR'AN ABOUT THE APPOINTMENT OF THE FOUR CALIPHS, AND A REPLY
Sheikh: Allah clearly says in
the Holy Qur'an, "Muhammad is the
Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking grace from Allah and (His) good pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration." (48:29) First, this verse proves the superiority of Abu Bakr. Second, it vindicates the position of the four caliphs as opposed to the claim of the Shia sect that Ali was the first caliph. This verse unequivocally states that Ali was the fourth caliph.
Well-Wisher: Certainly this verse does not give any obvious indication about the mode of appointment of the caliphs or about the excellence of Abu Bakr. Therefore, you must point out at what place of the verse this meaning is concealed.
Sheikh: In the beginning of this verse, the phrase "those who are with him" refers to that great man who was with the Prophet on the 'Night of the Cave.' The order of succession in the caliphate is also apparent from this verse. "Those who are with him" means Abu Bakr, who accompanied the Prophet in the Cave of Thawr on the night of Hijra. The phrase "strong against unbelievers" means Umar Bin Khattab, who was very harsh with the unbelievers. The phrase "compassionate to each other" refers to Uthman Bin Affan, who was very kind. The phrase "on their faces are their marks, the traces of their prostration" refers to Ali. It is clear that Ali is the fourth Caliph, not the first, since Allah mentioned him in the fourth place.
Well-Wisher: I wonder how I should reply so that I may not be accused of self interest. No Qur'anic commentaries, including those of your great ulema have interpreted these words as you have. Had this verse been about the order of the caliphate, the first day after the death of the Prophet, when Ali, the Bani Hashim, and the distinguished companions of the Prophet raised objections and refused to swear allegiance to the Caliph, baseless arguments would not have been put forward. They could have given a silencing reply by citing this holy verse there and then. Hence, it is clear that your interpretation is an afterthought. None of the great commentators of your sect, like Tabari, Imam Tha'labi, Fazil Nishapuri, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti, Qazi Baidhawi, Jarullah Zamakhshari, Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi, or others have interpreted it thus. I fail to understand how you derive this meaning. Where and by whom was such a meaning given? This verse, from the literary and technical point of view, also goes against what you say.
Sheikh: I never expected that
you would stand so boldly in opposition to the obvious meaning
of such a verse. Of course if you have anything
to say against this you may let us know so that the real position may be established.
Well-Wisher: Considering the grammatical construction of the verse, if we interpret its meaning as you have, it would either mean that Muhammad is Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali or that Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali are Muhammad! Even beginning students know that this sort of interpretation is grammatically inaccurate. Besides, if this verse referred to the four caliphs, there would have been the conjunction "and" to coordinate words to give your meaning, but it is not so. All the commentators of your own sect say that this verse refers to all the believers. Moreover, the qualities enumerated in this verse apparently refer to one person only, who remained with the Prophet from the very beginning, and not to four persons. And if we say that one person was the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, it would be more appropriate according to common sense and hadith than naming any others.
ARGUMENT FROM THE "VERSE OF CAVE" AND ITS REPLY
Sheikh: It is strange that you claim that you do not indulge in misleading arguments, although your views are quite perverse. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "If you will not aid him, Allah certainly aided him when those who disbelieved expelled him, he being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: 'Grieve not, surely Allah is with us.' So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see..." (9:40)
First, this verse supports the previous verse and proves that the phrase "and those who are with him," refers to Abu Bakr who was with the Prophet in the cave on the night of the Hijra. Second, the fact that he was with the Holy Prophet is in itself a great proof of Abu Bakr's merit and his superiority to the whole umma. The Prophet could foretell that Abu Bakr was his successor, and that the existence of the Caliph after him was necessary. Therefore, he realized that he should protect Abu Bakr as he would his own. So, he took him with him so that Abu Bakr might not be caught by the enemy. Such treatment was not shown to any other Muslim. This clearly proves his right to the caliphate in preference to others.
Well-Wisher: If you would look at the verse more objectively, you would see that your conclusion is wrong.
Sheikh: Can you advance reasons
against the conclusions that we have
Well-Wisher: I should like you to pass over this issue at the moment because speech breeds speech. Some biased people may interpret our comments with ill will. I do not wish to incite hatred. One might conclude that we wish to dishonor the caliphs, though the position of each individual is fixed, and it is not necessary to make useless interpretations.
Sheikh: You are being evasive. Be assured that reasonable argument does not breed contempt; it removes misunderstandings.
Well-Wisher: Since you have used the word "evasive," I am constrained to reply, so that you may know that I am not avoiding the issue. I wanted to maintain the propriety of our debate. I hope that you will not find fault with me. You made a thoughtless assertion that the Prophet knew that Abu Bakr would be his Caliph after him. Therefore, it was necessary for him to save his life, and so he took him with him.
FACTS ABOUT ABU BAKR'S ACCOMPANYING THE HOLY PROPHET
Reply to your statement is simple. If Abu Bakr had been the only Caliph
after the Prophet, such a view could be possible, but you believe in four
caliphs. If this argument of yours is correct, and if it had been necessary
Quraish unbelievers were railing at the Prophet's companions. The Prophet ordered Ali to sleep in his bed, and, fearing that Abu Bakr would disclose this fact to the unbelievers, the Prophet took Abu Bakr with him.
Finally, it would have been better if you had pointed out what evidence there is in this verse to show the superiority of Abu Bakr or whether accompanying the Prophet on a journey is proof that one is entitled to the caliphate.
Sheikh: The evidence is there. First, the companionship of the Prophet and that Allah called him the Prophet's companion is in itself a qualification. Second, the Prophet himself said: "Verily, Allah is with us." Third, the sending down of tranquility upon him from Allah, as mentioned in this verse, is the most compelling proof of Abu Bakr's excellence. Therefore, all of these points taken together indicate his superiority to others regarding the caliphate.
Well-Wisher: No one hesitates to acknowledge the position of Abu Bakr, an elderly Muslim, one of the distinguished companions and the father of the wife of the Prophet. However, these reasons do not prove his superiority of the caliphate. If you try to prove your point with such statements before impartial men, you will be courting strong criticism. They will say that companionship with virtuous people is no proof of merit or superiority. For example, we often see that bad people accompany good ones, and hosts of infidels accompany Muslims on journeys. Perhaps you have forgotten what the Holy Qur'an says about the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), who said: "O my two companions of the prison (I ask you): are many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah, the One, the Supreme?" (12:39)
Regarding this verse, commentators have said that when Joseph was taken to the prison, on the same day the King's cook and the wine bearer, both of whom were unbelievers, were also put into the prison with him. For five years these three men (both believers and unbelievers) lived together as companions. When preaching to them Joseph, called them his companions. Was this companionship of the Prophet ever made grounds for regarding the two infidels as virtuous or dignified? Did their companionship with the Prophet effect a change in their faith? The writings of the commentators and historians tell us that after five years of companionship, they were separated from each other in the same condition.
Another verse of the Qur'an states, "His companion said to
him while disputing with him: 'Do you disbelieve in Him who created
dust, then from a small seed, then He made you a perfect man?'" (18:37) Commentators agree that this verse refers to two brothers: one was a believer, whose name was Yahuda. The other was an unbeliever whose name was Bara'tus. This fact has also been reported in the Tafsir-e-Kabir by Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi, who is one of your ulema. These two talked to each other, the details of which cannot be given here. Allah has, however, called both of them (believer and unbeliever) "companions." Did the unbeliever derive benefit from his companionship with the believer? Obviously not. Thus, companionship alone is no basis for claiming one's excellence. There are many examples in support of this view.
THE PROPHET'S WORDS "ALLAH IS WITH US" NO PROOF OF EXCELLENCE OF ABU BAKR
You also said that since the Prophet said to Abu Bakr, "Allah is with us," that this is proof of Abu Bakr's excellence and his right to the caliphate! You might reconsider your views. People might ask, for example, "Does Allah remain with the believers and saints only, and not with the unbelievers?" Do you know any place where Allah does not exist? Isn't Allah with everyone? Suppose a believer and an unbeliever are together in a congregation. The Qur'an says: "See you not that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth? Nowhere is there a secret counsel between three (persons) but He is fourth of them, nor (between) five, but He is the sixth, nor less than that, nor more but He is with them wheresoever they may be." (58:7) According to this verse and according to common sense, Allah is with everyone.
Sheikh: The expression "Allah is with us" meant that they were Allah's dearly loved ones because they traveled in the way of Allah for the purpose of preserving His religion. Allah's blessings were with them.
Well-Wisher: But surely this expression does not prove that one possesses an eternal blessing. Allah Almighty looks at people's deeds. It has often happened that at one time, people performed good deeds and were recipients of mercy from Allah. Later they disobeyed Allah and were subjected to divine wrath. Satan, as you know, worshiped Allah for thousands of years and received kindness from Him. However, as soon as he disobeyed His Command, he was damned. The Holy Qur'an says: "He said: 'Then get out of it, for surely you are driven away. And surely upon you is a curse until the Day of Judgement.'" (15:34-35)
Excuse me, there is no harm in citing examples. My purpose is
the point. History contains many examples of those who were close to Allah but who, after being tested, were cursed. Bal'am Bin Ba'ur, for example, a contemporary of Moses, became so close to Allah that Allah revealed to him the Ism-e-A'zam (the greatest name of Allah, through which anything sought for is immediately granted by Allah). He invoked Allah by means of the Ism-e-A'zam and caused Moses to suffer in the valley of Tia! But at the time of trial, Bal'am was overpowered by his love for the material world. He followed Satan and was condemned. Commentators have given detailed accounts of this event. Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi in his Commentary, Part IV, page 463, has reported this matter from Ibn Abbas, Ibn Mas'ud, and Mujahid. Allah in the Holy Qur'an tells us: "And recite to them the narrative of him to whom We give Our revelations, but he withdraws himself from them; so Satan overtakes him, and he is of those who go astray." (7:175)
Or consider the case of Barsisa Abid, who originally worshipped Allah so much that he became Mustajabu'd-da'wa (one whose invocations are granted). However, when the time of trial came, he failed. Misled by Satan, he committed fornication with a girl, was sent to the gallows, and died an unbeliever. The Holy Qur'an refers to him in these words: "Like Satan when he says to man: 'Disbelieve,' but when he disbelieves, he says; 'I am surely quit of you; surely I fear Allah, the Lord of the worlds.' Therefore, the end of both of them is that they are both in the fire to abide therein, and that is the reward of the unjust." (59:16-17)
So if man has done good deeds at one time, it does not follow that his end will be good. It is for this reason that we are instructed to say in our invocation: "Let all our actions end in good."
Sheikh: I really didn't expect an honorable man like you to cite the examples of Satan, Bal'am-e-Ba'ur, and Barsisa.
Well-Wisher: Excuse me, I have already stated that there is no harm in citing examples. In fact, we must cite them in learned debates to prove facts. Let Allah be my witness: I never intended to defame anyone by citing these examples. My purpose is to prove my point.
Sheikh: This verse clearly proves Abu Bakr's excellence because it says: "So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him..." (9:40) The pronoun here refers to Abu Bakr, which proves his superiority.
WELL-Wisher: You have misunderstood it. The pronoun used after
Sakina (peace) refers to the Prophet. Peace was sent to him and not to Abu Bakr, as is evident from the later sentence in which Allah says: "...and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see." (9:40) The fact is that the hosts of unseen angels were to aid the Prophet, not Abu Bakr.
Sheikh: I admit that the divine help was for the Prophet, but Abu Bakr, being in company of the Prophet, was not without blessings.
THE SENDING DOWN OF PEACE WAS ON THE PROPHET OF ALLAH
Well-Wisher: If the bestowal of divine blessings referred to two people, Arabic grammar would require that pronouns be used designating two people in all the phrases of this verse. But the pronouns refer to one person, the Prophet, and Allah's blessings were for him. If through him the bestowal had been intended for others as well, their names would have been mentioned. Hence, the sending down of peace in this verse is for the Prophet alone.
Sheikh: The Prophet of Allah was independent of the divine bestowal of peace. He did not need it because he was assured of divine blessings. Hence, the bestowal of peace was for Abu Bakr.
Well-Wisher: On what grounds do you say that the Prophet was independent of divine blessings? No person - Prophet, Imam, or saint - is independent of divine blessings. Perhaps you have forgotten what the Holy Qur'an says about the incident of Hunain. "Then Allah sent down His tranquility upon His Apostle and upon the believers." The same thing has been said in chapter 48 (Fath) verse 26, of the Holy Qur'an. The believers are included after the Prophet in this verse, just as in the "verse of the cave." If Abu Bakr had been a believer who deserved the bestowal of peace, either the pronoun for two persons would have been used, or his name would have been mentioned separately. This matter is so clear that your own ulema admit that the pronoun connected with peace does not refer to Abu Bakr. You might consult Naqzu'l-Uthmaniyya, compiled by Sheikh Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Abdullah Iskafi, who is one of the prominent ulema and Sheikhs of the Mu'tazilites. That scholar completely refutes the absurdities of Abu Uthman Jahiz. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid also recorded some of those replies in his Sharh Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume III, pages 253-281. In addition, there is a phrase in this verse, the implication of which is contrary to your point. The Prophet said to Abu Bakr: "Fear you not." The phrase indicates that Abu Bakr was frightened. Was this fear praiseworthy or not? If it was, the Prophet would not prohibit anyone
from doing a good deed. A vicegerent of Allah possesses certain qualities. The most important of them, as pointed out in the Holy Qur'an, is that he never fears the vicissitudes of life. He exercises patience and fortitude. The Holy Qur'an says: "Now surely the friends of Allah - they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve."(10:62)