Are Shias obliged to avoid discussion on Caliphate…?
One of the conjectures indirectly related to the conjecture of silence is that Shias urged silence. They must restrain to debate and discuss the subject of Caliphate and Imamate of Ali. They are expected to not reveal usurpation of Caliphate by preceding Caliphs. Their crimes have sought cover under a false obligation of their being secrets of progeny of Muhammad.
As we pointed out in the first volume of this book, these conjectures are in fact new statements of invitation to silence (and always overlooking differences of knowledge between two schools). Answers too in this respect are dealt with. In short, it is contradiction between secrets of knowledge and political secrets of Ahle Bayt (a.s.).
What we want to explain here is a new point towards answering this conjecture.
A thing, reality of which is hidden from people, is called a secret. Accuracy or keen attention in understanding a subject results in giving it entity of secrecy. Or foreign hands could have been at work that resulted in pushing it into secrecy.
In any case, a reality which can be exposed is hidden from public knowledge. When it is hidden with all proofs it becomes a secret.
In these circumstances there is no need if subjects of all proofs (personal, external or exigency) remain concealed from the people, it is always necessary to maintain its link with the subject matter and it must never be separated from it.
In other words, the responsibility of maintaining this link is a subject that is not only applicable to a secret. Because anything hidden from people and having characteristic of a secret is not always under necessity of remaining behind a curtain.
In fact, between to be concealed or to continue to remain concealed is an issue that does not have a requirement. Except that there be a necessity for it.
On the basis of this if something is secret it does not imply that it is prohibited, therefore it is not that a secret should always continue to be a secret.
There are many things which should be known to all, but the obstacle…! The tyrant governments or tyrants that hold power first spread dread and fear among people to hold them from reaching to facts. These very facts change to secrets with passage of time.
It is obvious that not only concealing of these facts is not necessary, rather if they could be useful in securing prosperity in the next world, or its knowledge is a necessity for happiness in that world to keep them secret would be fatal to us. Especially if there is a direct relation between these facts and matters of faith or these facts help us to separate guidance from misguidance. Therefore it is prohibited.
Now we return to matters called secrets of progeny of Muhammad. This term is actually used for traditions in book of Sulaym Ibne Qays Hilali and connected to incidents that occurred in the early stages of Islam and usurpation of Caliphate and seizing of rulership after the Prophet.
Now the question is: why these facts are called secrets?
Did these incidents automatically became secrets or they were made into secrets? Was there a special aim in keeping them secret?
In reply we say:
Those events occurred or better to say were committed in broad daylight – seen by all, at the surface of society. Now such an open thing is changed into a secret to protect usurpation of usurpers and to protect their government. After every revolution, endeavors are made to hide the tyranny that led to its success and continuity. It is treated as a crime for the coming generations.
That this type of information is called secret is in itself proof that it is told in tyrannical conditions and had remained far from knowledge of common people due to pressing circumstances that dominated the society. Besides, the narration of events had not gone from a generation to next. So now after a lapse of so many years it would be impossible to know those facts.
So the contents of the book of Sulaym called secrets are facts in their reality and originality. The tyrants that grasped Caliphate laid hands upon these facts making them confidential so that they could reach to anyone’s knowledge. The reader of the book of Sulaym comes across information about Caliphs, their attitudes and their life by its root. And it contains information that is not available anywhere else.
 Referring to dictionaries like Taj al-Uroos and Qamoos it would be known that ‘Sirr’ is not only ‘that which he hides’ it also conveys things like ‘purity of all things’ ‘fear of all things’ etc.
Such type of confidentiality cannot be a correct interpretation of the word ‘secrets’. Because secondly today the past tyranny is no more.
Of course there are certain points in Sulaym’s Book, which should not be told openly because they relate to particular time and place? It will be detrimental to make them public. The matter is such that it needs special precaution and care. But not all matters in the book are such.
Therefore the word of ‘secrets’ should not be interpreted to keep all the matters of the book of Sulaym confidential.
Suffocating circumstances some centuries ago ruled society and therein were a few particular persons instrumental in this. Those restrictions were effective at that time but how it can now be a ruling for this present generation?
This question must be asked from those who claim:
“This writer on the basis of all he has learnt of the biographies of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) has narrated most narrations that caused mischief and unrest and gives advantage to the enemies. They caused scuffles between Shia and Sunni and Muslim bloodshed entailed. Things took the worst turn. Dissimulation became necessary. The Impeccable Imams had to prohibit revealing the secrets of Muhammad’s House.”
It is thus said that only because only calling some historical narrations as secrets does not mean that Imams have prohibited them. It must be seen what the obligation of a Shia is? To narrate events or not, should be decided by independent arguments. Can the word, secrets be applied or not? The answer must be found in Islamic rulings.
Although some correct applications of it indicate the same conjecture. However, careful attention must be paid because if secrets do not have any detrimental consequences, it is not necessary to keep them unrevealed.
In jurisprudence also revealing secrets has a bearing on condition of time and place. Some conditions could be fixed and unchangeable. Some may alter with change of time and place. Therefore decision depends upon their nature.
Propagator of this conjecture regards every secret confidential. To him detrimental consequences are enough to prove a secret as confidential. Within these milestones, he is groping his way between a secret and confidential matter. It is only to escape from narration of events which are shameful due to their criminal characteristics.
 Muhammad Jawad Hujjati Kermani: Jam-e-Jam Daily, Issue No. 10, Bahman 1379
Even if we accept some information in early stages of Islam concerning events of Caliphate and division of the nation thereat are secrets. Still there remains a question if these events in their width and breadth found in books of Sunni sect or found in documents, are they still secrets or confidential?
There are libraries where historical books are collected, through them bitter events that occurred in the early period of Islam can easily be traced, hence these events can no more be secrets.
In the same way in the present age, analysis of events had become a science. Scholars and historians trace the track of past nations. How can Muslim historians be prohibited and restricted from reaching to root of the causes?
If it is claimed that it is an insult to the Prophet’s House where divine revelation descended, then what to say about the train of events that ensued, such as setting fire to the door of the House, miscarriage of Mohsin, threat of killing to Ali and a series of events? Should these events not be told or recorded in history?
In reply we say: None of these events can be considered as secrets as all are mentioned in Sunni books.
We invite our readers to the book, Attack on Fatima’s house by Abdul Zahra Mahdi. He has mentioned the event in detail with documentary proofs. The scholar has presented the events following Saqifah for public scrutiny and judgment.
Again, oriental scholars like Wilfred Madelung have written with courage recorded every bit of events of that early period of Islam and describes in detail the plot of Helpers and Emigrants. (Companions of the accursed scroll). All this is supported by documentary proofs and evidences.
“Wilfred Madelung, German orientialist, in his book, first puts forward the theory of Lammens i.e. the triumvirate of power (Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah Jarrah). Then he explains according to the analysis of Caetani that in this triangle, the inspiring element was Umar. According to Madelung, Abu Bakr had aspired power and undoubtedly, prior to the Prophet’s demise he had decided to be his caliph…Therefore he was
 [Succession of His Eminence, Muhammad]
 [Belgian orientalist]
 [Italian orientalist]
determined to destroy his opponents who were Ahle Bayt of Prophet and was waiting for an opportunity.
Further, Madelung stresses on existence of a pre-planned and well-decided design of Abu Bakr for obtaining Caliphate. However he thinks it was fortuitous, a matter of chance that the plot took shape in Saqifah. Besides, he considers the help of a few from the people of Quraish was very much efficacious which led to public allegiance…”
The Second caliph has admitted most confidential matters quoted in Sulaym’s Book:
“During journey to Syria, when Umar reached the district of Shura he was informed of an epidemic in Damascus. Umar said: If I die and Abu Ubaidah were left alive, I would have appointed him to Caliphate. If he (Abu Ubaidah) is dead I will make Maaz bin Jabal a caliph.
If we keep this statement in line with episode of Saqifah it appears too congruous with its very spirit. Because the most important persons who supported candidacy of Abu Bakr were themselves: Umar, Abu Ubaidah Jarrah, Salim and Maaz bin Jabal.”
“Not only Maaz he also preferred Salim for leadership and he said: If Salim were alive, I would have appointed him.”
On the basis of this except for the issues specified by Ja’fari jurisprudence every topic that in the view of unity-seekers is to be kept secret must be propagated if those things are mentioned in Sunni sources or they can be traced in Sunni books. Unity-seekers cannot prohibit making them public.
All these matters, that is about Caliphs, their identities, intentions etc. that exist only in Shia books and records are such that their refutation is nowhere to be
 Allamah Askari: Saqifah, Pgs. 11-13, Preface by Dr. Mahdi Dashti
 [He was from the Ansaar - emigrants]
 Ali Muhammad Meer Jalili: Imam Ali (a.s.) wa Zamaamdaaraan (Imam Ali and the Rulers), Pg. 58; quoting from: Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 4, Pg. 227
 [He was a Persian]
 Ali Muhammad Meer Jalili: Imam Ali (a.s.) wa Zamaamdaaraan (Imam Ali and the Rulers), Pg. 59; quoting from: Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 4, Pg. 227 [The point to be noted is that the Caliph is talking of conditions of successorship of Maaz and Salim but before that in Saqifah he had argued on the basis of Caliphate for Quraish and overpowered the Ansaar.]
seen in Sunni books and according to the authority of these books they are not disproved.
Now we should see as to where dissimulation stands in our days:
In every sense, silence of Ali in having intellectual discussions based on proofs was not to create differences nor did it carry any motive to foment disunity. Still they say:
“Imam Sadiq recommends unity. He advises dissimulation against tyrants in order to avoid divisions. It is especially for Shia and Sunni brothers that they should say that Muslims must have piety, they must practice dissimulation and refrain from creating any type of difference.”!
Anyway, analysis of events of early Islamic days is an urgent need for Islamic society and our present young generation. It is also a valid foundation of creating unity.
 Abdul Kareem Bi-Aazaar Shirazi: Payaam-e-Taqreeb, (Message of Unity) Pg. 80